I didn’t know I had an unhealthy relationship with food for quite some time. I followed what I read in the media and just thought I had trouble with willpower. Things got worse and worse and I didn’t realize that I actually had a very unhealthy relationship with food. When I did realize this, this is when I finally started looking for help. My intention with this post is to help those of you that do have an unhealthy relationship with food but have yet to seek help, feel inspired to do so.
There are many signs that can tell you, your relationship with food isn’t healthy. In this post today I’ll share 6 that I see the most often. If you can relate to these I would encourage you to reach out to someone for help because you don’t have to stay in food jail and there is freedom on the other side.
You feel anxious when you can’t stick to your food rules.
This is often happens when travelling or attending events like a potluck, family dinner, etc. You have no idea how many calories are in the food and you have limited “safe” options in your mind, so you start to feel anxious and make a fuss about it. Often you might feel a bit guilty after but sometimes you don’t even realize your behaviour is unhealthy. People with a healthy relationship are able to go with the flow and trust their bodies, making choices of what’s available that feels best for them. No scene required! 😉
You are constantly seeking for information outside yourself about what you should and shouldn’t eat.
You find yourself listening to nutrition podcasts all the time, reading nutrition blogs and constantly going back and forth between different ideas and ways of eating. The big thing here is the intention behind this and with the women I work with it’s all about controlling their bodies, which is an unhealthy mindset. A healthy mindset would be to learn the basics about nutrition and try different things to see what feels best in your body. The key here is listening to what feels best for your body, listening to that, then stopping the constant seeking.
You feel better than others because you eat so “clean” and “pure.”
When we start to bring morality into food this becomes an unhealthy mindset too. Eating a certain way does not make you better than others. Shaming others because you feel the way they eat isn’t good, is also not healthy. Healthy is non-judgemental and understanding the concept of bio-individuality when it comes to food. This means that we’re all so different and unique and have different needs based on many factors including our gender, activity level, constitution, genetics, history, etc.
You use terms like “clean,” “cheat meal,” “fall off the wagon,” “good,” “bad,” etc.
This language about food being good or bad, or you being good or bad depending on what you are eating is black and white thinking. This black and white thinking comes from a place of perfectionism, control and having to do everything right. Moderation isn’t sexy, but it’s that grey area where you avoid those unhealthy extremes. Instead of thinking of food as good or bad, maybe try whole or processed and don’t make it bad if you eat something processed. Something happens when we label something as off limits that makes us want it even more. When we remove all restrictions, we can begin to trust our bodies and eat what we need for health, hunger and enjoyment.
You feel out of control around certain foods and like you lose your willpower around them.
Often women feel they need more willpower to avoid the foods they consider “bad” or to stick to their diets. The problem is these restrictions are what actually cause them to feel out of control with food in the first place. This restrictions leads to a vicious cycle of restrict-binge-shame-restrict-binge-shame. To stop the cycle, you need to stop the restriction and learn to eat intuitively and mindfully. Willpower is short lived and should never need to be used with food. When we also look under the food at what we’re using food to cope with for, we can do the inner work to shift that and stop needing to use food as a drug. When we do this, we can honour our bodies needs and no longer rely on willpower. Those foods also aren’t an issue, it’s your thoughts around those food. You might not believe me right now, but you absolutely can keep whatever it is in your fridge or pantry that you feel out of control with and not feel tempting to eat it all.
You look at food as something to control, so that you can lose weight or avoid gaining weight.
When we view food as calories that make us fat or something we need to watch so we can lose weight, this more often than not comes from a place of hate for our bodies and fear of weight gain. A healthy relationship with food is about choosing to nourish your body with what it’s asking for, from a place of love. Food is looked at as something to supply your body with energy so that it can function and take you through your day, as nourishment so that you can feel vital, strong and healthy and as enjoyment. Food should be enjoyed and savoured. Choosing to eat from love is a healthy mindset shift of honouring body.
If you feel you are struggling with your relationship with food and want to break free from the diet-binge cycle forever, I created my 12 week EAT FROM LOVE Journey for women with you in mind. I’ve been there and know it’s possible when you commit to looking deeper and going within. As a starting point you can download my free EAT FROM LOVE Food Journal to help you become more aware, look under the food and find your specific triggers.