By Brittini Maitland
We all know how important it is to have positive relationships, but most people do not consider their relationship with food. A relationship with food? Yes! Your relationship with food is the key proponent of healthy nutrition. So how do you find out if you have a healthy relationship with food?
First, let’s look at what makes a healthy relationship. Most people describe a healthy relationship as one that involves trust, respect, and compromise. An unhealthy relationship can be defined as a relationship that is marked by disrespect and control. So how does this apply to food?
Your relationship with food can be healthy or unhealthy; but not in the way that you think. Sorry, but this article has less to do with calories or nutrition facts; it is more about the way you connect with food. If a negative relationship is marked by disrespect and control, this same concept can be applied to your connection with food and can help you find out if you have an unhealthy relationship with food.
If you find yourself only eating (or taking in nutrients) once a day, I would say you have a disconnected relationship with food, which means you have an unhealthy relationship with food because there is no respect for what food does for you. In my professional experience, many of my older or busy clients have this issue – if this is you, you have to connect more with food. Remember that FOOD = FUEL. Not taking in food (especially nutrient-rich foods) throughout the day can result in low energy and health issues. Nutrition experts recommend eating 3 balanced meals and 1 to 3 healthy snacks per day to have a healthy relationship with food.
If you find yourself “rewarding” yourself with certain foods or withholding certain foods from yourself, this can characterize an unhealthy relationship. Am I telling you to gorge on chocolate cake? No! But you cannot have a relationship with food that has this type of negative control. A positive relationship is characterized by trust, respect, and compromise. Applying this to food, you have to trust yourself with food. You can enjoy different foods through compromise, regardless of what the food is when they are a part of making memories. However, as I mentioned before you only want to eat to fill your hunger – do not eat to stuff yourself.
So let us sum it up. To achieve a healthy relationship with food you must trust yourself with what you choose to eat, respect that food is fuel and you need it, and compromise with what you eat. Do not pressure yourself to eat perfectly, but relax and choose to practice balance and flexibility in your eating.