Relationship with Food

Your relationship with food is one of the most important relationships you will ever have.

Food can be viewed as a symbol for tradition, togetherness, expression, energy, and love. However, living in a world so warped by diet culture, negative body image, and toxic views on eating, sometimes food can feel far removed from all of these beautiful symbols, particularly love. We may feel we need to consume less, take up less space, and constantly strive towards the newest version of bodily “perfection”. It can be really challenging to maintain a healthy relationship with food when there is so much external influence telling us what is right and wrong, healthy and not healthy. Let’s dive into how we can identify our relationship with food and strengthen it!

Relationship with Food

Frequently Asked Questions

Everyone has some sort of relationship with food, whether they are conscious of it or not. Having a relationship with food simply means having communication between your body, mind, and the foods you are eating. What we think about food, how we treat it, and what value we give it all corresponds with our unique relationship with food. As with all relationships, there are “healthy” and “unhealthy” versions. This is based on the impacts of our actions and thought patterns revolving around food. Even those that appear to have the “healthiest” diets and lifestyles may have the unhealthiest relationships with food and body.

A healthy relationship with food may look like…
  • Allowing yourself unconditional permission to eat the foods that make you feel good physically and mentally
  • Relieving yourself of the pressures of trying to eat “perfectly”
  • Viewing food as nourishment, enjoyment, or a combination of the two
  • Feeling in control around food, versus feeling like food has control over you
  • Understanding you are not morally superior or inferior based on your food choices
  • Showing patience and kindness toward yourself when emotions or old thought patterns arise

It is not uncommon for a person’s relationship with food to fluctuate throughout the course of their life. There are a number of factors that can affect the health of this relationship. Some of these factors include…

  • Emotions

  • Learned behaviors and beliefs

  • Social/societal pressures

  • Frequent exposure to media

  • Environment

  • Financial status

  • Physical and mental health conditions

  • Certain medications

  • Trauma

Your relationship with food is just as important as the other relationships in your life. It has a direct impact on the way you fuel your body, which affects your physical and mental wellbeing. Maintaining a healthy relationship with food allows you to be more in-tune with yourself, receive more satisfaction from the foods you eat, and provide your body the nourishment it craves. It can also help you intuitively maintain a healthy body weight, reduce food-related anxiety, and prevent disordered eating patterns. By having a healthy relationship with food, you are more likely to be physically and emotionally happy, which as a result positively impacts the other important relationships in your life!

Achieving a healthier relationship with food is not going to happen overnight; it takes time. Here are some ways you can begin to improve your relationship with food…

  • Examine your own food story – How did I view food when I was growing up? Is it different from how I view food now? Who was my biggest food influence growing up? Can I recall a specific moment (good or bad) around food? What was I being told at this moment?
  • Rethink your food vocabulary – There is no “good” or “bad” food… There is just food! (Food neutrality)
  • Challenge your food beliefs – Where did this food belief come from? Why do I believe this? Is it a fact? How does this belief affect me?
  • Think about what food does for your body – Have an attitude of gratitude!
  • Give yourself permission to enjoy – Food should bring you joy and satisfaction!
  • Listen to your body – Honor your hunger cues and cravings… Your body knows what it needs.
  • Have a “grace over guilt” mindset – Don’t punish yourself for things you ate previously.
  • Recognize your feelings and triggers around food – Unlearning food beliefs and behaviors can resurface many emotions we may have not even realized we have, and that is okay. Notice how you are feeling and be kind to yourself.
  • Meet yourself where you are at – Show yourself the compassion and patience you deserve… Baby steps are still steps!

How Can the Mindful Eating Dietitian Help Me?

We want to guide you not only on your journey towards improving your nutritional health, but your growth as a human being. We are passionate about helping you become more in-tune with your body and mind, as well as helping you truly understand your own relationship with food. We will gently challenge you to evaluate your own beliefs, behaviors, and emotions around food to provide an opportunity for introspection. Together, we will get you to a place where you are feeling more confident, relaxed, and compassionate around food. We will come up with strategies and practices to help you maintain a healthy relationship with food that are tailored to your lifestyle and story.

Relationship with Food

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