I’ll be the first to admit that I need to look and a certain way to feel happy when I look in the mirror, I also need to feel a certain way in my clothes to walk confidently in my body.
This is not to say that I am striving for perfection – although I definite used to. Perfect does not exist, perfect is unattainable, but what I do want is to feel great in my body with all of its apparent flaws. I’m sure that no matter how hard I work there will always be room for my body to be tighter and more sculpted.
So how can you begin to bridge the gap between being happy with the way you look, but not have a ‘perfect body’?
It all comes down to loving your body. If the journey does not begin there, then we will always be unhappy.
Our relationship with food is the perfect place to begin bridging that gap. When the main purpose for eating becomes nourishing our body and becoming intuitive with what foods feel good in our body, it changes our perspective on things.
Just like any other relationship, our relationship with food needs to be nourished. It is not something that develops overnight, it is something we need to work on daily and just like other relationship there will be downfalls, but when we get past those downfalls we experience amazing satisfaction and the gift of feeling happier, more vibrant and confident in our own bodies.
Here’s 8 Tips to Change your Relationship to Food:
1.Stop using food as a reward. This goes for anything; exercise, a bad day, a stressful week. Instead look beyond food and make a list of other things that you really enjoy doing and use those as a reward, especially things that don’t have any post guilt associated with them.
Go for a walk, read a book, go for a workout, take a nap, have a tea, take a yoga class, got for a massage, meditate, practice a hobby. If the thought of any of this bores you, it’s time to start experimenting new things until you can find something you enjoy.
2. Rid your house of food you know you have little control over. It’s just mean to do that to yourself! You can have all the willpower in the world on a good day, but we all know that good days quickly turn into days when we’re stressed, tired, anxious, and the first thing we will do is turn to those sweet or salty snacks we have little control over.
This does not mean you should never enjoy the foods you love, it just means that you aren’t going to keep them around to cure your stress.
3. Focus on getting maximum nutrition from your meals. When you focus on nutrition, you’ll be able to inadvertently give up sugar, which is a massive bonus! Sugar is one of the most addictive substances there is. We don’t realise just how addicted we are until we decide to take it away. But there is an amazing sense of freedom to not be at the mercy of having to eat something sweet with every meal or to be compulsive when you eat something sweet. Once you allow yourself to experience this freedom, the next time you have something sweet you will notice that it may be too sweet, because your taste buds have changed, and you no longer feel like you need to eat loads of that food to feel satisfied.
Removing sugar from your diet will allow more room for nourishing foods and open up your senses to the taste and texture of natural whole foods, which can be an adjustment if you’re used to eating a lot of processed foods.
4. Plan to eat before you’re starving. Planning your meals and prepping for the day is essential because you don’t want to end up without any food when you’re hungry. If you wait till you’re too hungry and you have no food around, you’ll likely make the wrong choice and just eat anything. So become religious about planning and prepping so you can fuel your body when it needs it.
5. Start focusing on what you get to eat rather than what you don’t get to eat. Like with every other relationship in your life, if you you want to make it work you need to focus on the positive. For example if you only focus on the annoying things that your partner does then your relationship will not last, simply because none of us are perfect. Instead if you focus on the good and being grateful for that then you will be able to let some of the annoying things, because it is the good that nourishes us.
If you are always focusing on the fact that you can’t eat processed and fast foods and be healthy, then there will be little room for gratitude for the fact that you have the ability to eat healthy foods that nourish you.
6.Slow down your eating. When we eat fast we are eating unconsciously. We are not taking the time to savour our food or really enjoy it, and we end up either over-stuffed or unsatisfied.
Taking the time to chew, breathe between bites allows us to connect with our food in a totally different way. Slowing down our meals will also improve our digestive system. Our digestion begins in the mouth, when our enzyme rich saliva is mixed with our food. It’s also much easier for our body to digest food that has been chewed properly than food that is scarfed down in large pieces.
7. Take time out for meals. Often we eat fast because we don’t have time. We scarf down breakfast so we can rush off to work, then scarf down lunch while while we work. So by the end of the day we feel like we haven’t eaten at all. This leads to overeating when we get home and finally take the time to relax.
8. Meditate with a mantra. This is one of the most powerful tools that you can use. Begin your day by meditating on what you want your relationship with food to be that day: do you want to be the version of you that eats consciously or do you just want to go through the motions? Starting the day with a meditation, even as short as 10 min can make a huge difference in your mindset for the day and allow you to be more conscious with your actions.
Hope these tips help!