Top 3 Tips to Start Healing Your Relationship with Food

Heads up: The top 3 tips are all the way at the bottom (I promise) but I highly recommend you read from the top

To better understand the meaning of a word, I sometimes like to find synonyms to that word.

So, it was only fitting to find the synonym to the word ‘relationship,’ when I was seeking out a better understanding of what it meant to have a positive relationship to food.

My findings? Synonyms to the word relationship: affinity, connection, kinship, linkage.

Do those words ring true when you think of your relationship with food? Do you feel a sense of closeness and connectedness with your food? A trusting bond that your food serves you in a beneficial way?

Unfortunately, the reality is many of us do not feel much of any harmony with our food. In fact, we quite frankly spend the majority of our time agonizing over it. We resent our food - the fact that it makes us gain weight, bloat, break out, get moody, distracts us, takes up our time, and that we feel so darn emotionally attached to it.

What happened? Why did something that used to be so natural become so unnatural. Why is it that as humans we are busy counting calories and creating a new fad diet every year while animals in the wild seem to know what, when, and how much to eat without an app to tell them?

Two things come to mind to answer that question.

  1. Thanks to mankind’s flare for innovation, we have created highly processed and engineered foods that we weren’t eating hundreds of years ago. Something that animals in the wild don’t have to worry about (except maybe for pigeons)

  2. Human brains are far more developed (and complex) than those of other animals. Our ability for language, problem solving, introspection, and EMOTIONS

So if we weave those two things together, for the first time humans encountered foods that were not originally part of our diet (and most often not particularly beneficial for our diet) and as emotional beings we began to develop a relationship to these foods.

Cue the difficult relationship.

With the introduction of “bad” foods that taste good, we developed new food addictions and health challenges that perhaps we didn’t have in the past. So what did we do? We began to create rules. Rules about what to eat and when to eat and how much to eat. The result? These very rules and messages sent us emotional beings into a spiral of confusion, frustration, and attachment and as a result we have become out of touch with our bodies, with a lack of trust or intuition for what to eat and when.

Our “good food, bad food” complex lands us into a spiral of binge and restrict cycles. You know the saying, “you want what you can’t have,” well it is as true with food as it is with dating. Because of the rules we create, the temptation to eat the foods we so desperately try to avoid grows and grows until we JUST CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE and we devour the entire cake and feel like shit and then resent the food after - enter negative relationship with food

So what is an emotional human to do in a society thats full of “bad” foods that taste so darn good?

This FINALLY brings me to my top 3 tips for starting to heal your relationship with food.

  1. Re-write the rules:

    I said it. Throw out the good and bad, because clearly it isn’t working for you. Instead of telling yourself that a food is bad or good for you, FEEL if it is or not. That’s right. Trust your body to tell you (scary thought isn’t it). Our minds can trick us, our body speaks clearly. Reach for the first food you desire, eat it, and experience it, don’t think negatively about it before, during or after, and just notice how you feel (aka mindful eating)

  2. Get spiritual about food:

    Sounds strange doesn’t it? Since we’ve determined we aren’t robots, we know that we might not always eat “perfectly.” When you eat in a way that doesn’t serve you (meaning you don’t feel good), tell yourself there is a reason you are eating (or have eaten) the food that you are. Explore the experience. See the way you eat as providing you deeper insight into your needs and wants - get spiritual about it.

  3. Find your why:

    Can I make a recommendation? Don’t make your why losing weight - it tends to be a trap. Why do you want to have a good relationship with food? So that you can be more present in your conversations with loved ones? Have more energy for work? Fuel your body for a summer full of amazing hiking? Sleep better? Connecting with the why you want your relationship to be better that is linked to deep meaning can help carve the path to success.

Its a marathon and not a sprint, but I am confident those 3 steps can help get you started for the slow jog.

In the meantime, if you would like support with the process, you can schedule a nutrition consulting appointment by connecting with me . I look forward to hearing about your journey!

P.s. if you haven’t already, I recommend taking a listen to my podcast episode on the Daily Sweat by clicking here

Andrea Zimmering