In Part 1 of ‘7 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Food’ we talked about the fact that food isn’t the enemy of your weight loss and that improving your relationship with it can be a great way to not only lose weight, but be healthier too.
Here are five more ways to start having a better relationship with the food you eat.
1. Eat Well When You’re Physically Hungry
This is an off-shoot of the mindful eating we told you about in Part 1. Your body has powerful mechanisms in place to make sure it gets enough energy for your survival and well-being. So, when it’s getting close to meal time, and you feel hungry, try to give your body what it needs: healthy, nutritious foods, and try to avoid scarfing down a pizza because you’re absolutely famished.
Also, try to be aware when your ‘hunger’ is really due to an emotional reaction, both happy or sad, versus a real need to eat.
2. Slow Down
Another off-shoot of mindfulness is to not just gobble down everything on your plate. In case you’re wondering if you eat too quickly, take a look around whenever you eat with others. If you’re among the first one’s finished, you’re probably eating too quickly.
When you slow down your eating, you are less likely to blow right past the point where you’re actually full and keep eating, mindlessly, to the point of being ‘stuffed’.
3. Get Rid of the Unhealthy Foods You Overeat
Okay, we’re not food-blaming here. We already established that food isn’t the enemy! But if you know for a fact that the bag of potato chips doesn’t stand a chance of survival once it’s opened, why put that sort of temptation on the path to a healthier, slimmer you?
The good news is, you don’t have to go without anything if you skip the chips. Treat yourself to a new flavour sensation that’ll make you feel great. Hmmmmm, hummus and whole-wheat pita!
4. Use Your Dinnerware at Snack Time
No, you don’t have to lay out a full place setting just to eat your caramel corn. But, instead of grabbing the whole package, put a couple handfuls into a bowl and put the package back on the shelf. This not only reduces the chance of mowing your way through all the caramel corn in one sitting, but it helps you be more mindful (that ‘mindful’ thing keeps showing up everywhere, eh?) of the fact that you may not need the entire package to feel full. Even if you go back for one more bowl, you’re practising some control and mindfulness, instead of presuming you’re not done until the caramel corn is all gone.
5. Change Your Attitude Towards Snacks and Snacking
One of the food ‘groups’ that we tend to mistreat the most is snacks. We might eat fairly healthily otherwise, but when its snack time, nothing but the sweetest, saltiest, most fattening foods will do.
But snacking is an important part of a healthy diet. Smart snacking means eating good, nutritious foods between meals to keep your hunger pangs at bay and avoid overeating at meal times.
In other words, snack time isn’t recess for your diet. It’ll help if you try to stop thinking of snack foods as a treat. The packaged and processed snack foods we usually reach for, the ones we think of as treats, are not going to help you reach your goals for health and weight.
If you still can’t stay away from the caramel corn, change your attitude towards it too. Instead of thinking about it as a snack food, think about it as a treat. Giving yourself treats, in moderation, can be a good way of getting your fix without getting too much.
There are lots of other ways for you to have a healthier relationship with foods. Just like any relationship you have, the one you have with food can grow and get better all the time. And the more effort you put into it, the more it will reward you. If you’re looking for help with your food relationship, call or visit your nearest Herbal One Centre and talk to a nutrition counsellor.