Learning to Have a Healthy Relationship With Food with Jennifer Proctor

Posted by: Garden of Life on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Anyone who is trying to make a change in their lifestyle, diet or eating habits needs to have a good relationship with food. Whether you are trying to lose weight, eat more healthily or overcome an eating disorder having a positive attitude towards food and knowing what you need in order to reach your goals while maintaining good general health is key. Some people can over think when it comes to food, strategically planning their meals and banning themselves from anything they believe to be ‘unhealthy’. Others may not think about their food choices enough and binge, snack or skip meals. As with any good relationship, balance is important – here are some tips that will help you have a healthy relationship and good outlook towards food and eating.

Educate Yourself
Many people often become focused on numbers and calorie counting, particularly when they are trying to lose weight. A more useful way to spend your time is to learn about food types – what they contain in terms of nutritional content (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants etc) and what you as an individual need in order to maintain a healthy, well balanced diet whilst still achieving your goals. There are many food myths and misconceptions out there – for example authoritynutrition.com suggests that red meat can be high in saturated fat and The Nutrition Source suggest that eggs often are high in cholesterol but both do also indicate that when eaten in moderation they can have a wealth of health benefits too. Make sure that you research the facts for yourself and while you’re at it, learn new ways to use, prepare and present food; new and exciting recipes can make eating a much more enjoyable experience. Learn to recognize your own eating habits and identify where you have gone wrong in the past. This will help you address the areas that you need to change and slot the right types of food into your diet.

Plan ahead and make time
Planning meals ahead is important, particularly for people who lead busy lives and are prone to skipping meals. Overthinking food is unhealthy but viewing it as an afterthought can also lead to bad habits such as snacking, binge eating and relying on unhealthy (and often overpriced) convenience food. Make time to sit down and plan your meals for the week before you do a weekly supermarket shop. You don’t have to be rigid, in fact you should allow for flexibility and spontaneity, but having at least some idea of the meals you will eat and finding the time to sit down and eat them rather than eating on the move will ensure that you are improving your habits, thinking more about the food you are eating and probably saving money too. Taking at least 20 minutes out to eat a meal will also allow you to properly digest your meal leaving you feeling fuller for longer. 
Pyschguides suggest that having an unhealthy relationship with food can interfere with many aspects of everyday life so addressing those areas is a good step in improving your relationship. 

People who are trying to lose weight or are recovering from eating disorders can have strict ideas about avoiding ‘unhealthy’ foods. But having a good relationship with food can sometimes mean adjusting your thought processes and understanding that a healthy diet is a well balanced diet. Incorporating some treats into a well balanced diet doesn’t make you unhealthy but limiting yourself to only a few food types, even very healthy ones, can mean that you are missing out on vital nutrients or failing to meet your calorie needs. So don’t deprive yourself of the things you enjoy eating – a cake or pizza in moderation is fine and allowing yourself an occasional treat will make you much less likely to binge heavily when you have a weak moment.

Set goals but be patient
Understand that unhealthy eating habits and a bad relationship towards food can take a long time, sometimes years, to develop and so changing this will take time too. Set yourself realistic goals and don’t try to rush your progress – this will make you more prone to failure which will damage your self esteem and set you back further. The physical act of eating healthily is one thing but changing your thought processes towards eating and identifying the reasons that you developed a bad attitude towards food in the first place can take longer.

Seek support but don’t compare
Seeking support and information through nutritional experts, counsellors or support groups can sometimes be invaluable when it comes to improving your relationship with food and making dietary changes. Therapy may help you overcome and mental barriers that are affecting your outlook towards food but if you would just like some support and encouragement from like minded people then joining a weight loss club can be the boost you need. Enlisting the support of others means having someone to go to for advice and their presence will make you less likely to give in. Make sure that you don’t compare yourself to others though – everyone is on their own journey when it comes to weight loss, weight gain or generally improving their attitude towards food and their needs are all different. Height, age, muscle mass and activity levels are just a few of the physical differences that make everyone individual so comparing your success to anyone else isn’t just unhelpful but pointless too.


About Jennifer Proctor:

Jennifer has had many jobs from landscape gardening to working in an women's shelter, but she's at her happiest when tending her garden and writing. When doing neither of those things, she enjoys being taken for walks by her over enthusiastic Labradors.


Beatriz commented on Saturday, May 03, 2014
I tried to make the maker´s diet, by a book traduced to spanish. With some dificulties I imported Perfect food, Vytamyne code, Super seed and mega potency fish oil. In my country the inportation of this type of products is not essy, because it is necessary an autorization of te governement.
I bugth it by internet in Biovea S.A. and can take it.
I cahnge my food adapting my plan to de diet, aproximately. I am alergic, and I must to take antibiotics for pulmonar infection, with frecuency. I could know if you can assesment in food option or in some product for this probleme?.
it is possible to take an interview with colaborators of the Gardedn of Life Enterprise? What can I do ?

Sincerely: Beatriz

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