As we head into the three-day weekend, I have a special treat for you today! My friend and fellow RD Corinne Dobbas is filling in for me to share a great post about forming a healthy relationship with food. About a year and a half ago, Corinne sponsored my blog for the month and I shared some of my favorite posts of hers. I love her life philosophy and the work she’s doing with women to help them love their bodies.
Read on and be sure to go check out her blog if you enjoy today’s post!
Nobody teaches you how to have a healthy relationship with food … or your body. At least no one taught me when I was growing up. And oh how I wish they had.
Below are 7 tips for a healthy relationship with food you can start using today. I’ve gathered these tips through my own personal work and after helping hundreds of clients. I hope these ideas help you just as much as they helped me and my coaching clients.
- Food is nourishment
It’s easy to make food the “bad guy.” After all, if you’re trying to button-up your favorite pair of jeans – that used to fit – you’ll likely be told to eat less or stop eating that. The constant chatter to restrict to look prettier or more desirable, leaves us forgetting the very simple fact that we literally need food to survive. In fact, when we eat the “right” foods (real whole foods and lots of plants), food can actually heal.
Shift your perspective from food being the “bad guy” to being nourishment and with that thought alone, you’ll start making making healthier choices and feel that much more free.
- Trust your body
Have you ever watched a child eat? They start when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. They trust their bodies. You used to do this too. And you can do it again. Instead of counting calories or points, start tuning-in to your hunger. Think of your hunger like a scale. It starts at 0 (starving) and goes up to 10 (I ate so much I feel sick stuffed). You want to eat when you’re feeling hunger pangs (around a 3) and stop when you’re satisfied (around a 6 or 7).
Check-in with yourself throughout the day and before a meal to see where you’re at on the hunger scale. And throughout your meal, breathe, taste, and tune-in to where you are on the full scale. When you hit comfortably satisfied (a 6 or 7), you’re golden. Practice with the hunger scale and overtime it’ll become natural. Repeat after me: I choose to honor my hunger and fullness.
- Learn to play in the “grey”
Black and white thinking is such a downer. It looks something like this: “I ate the entire bag of chips. There it goes! The day is ruined. I might as well eat whatever I want now.”
Don’t do that to yourself! Instead of getting so judgmental and emotionally wrapped up in your decision, take a step back and look at WHY you did what you did. When you can observe and figure out your WHY, you can then make a better choice next time. Remind yourself that observation is power for change.
- Focus on how you feel instead of the scale
The scale can make you crazy. And if you’re like every other woman out there, the number changes all the time, based on when you just worked out, how much water you’ve had, time of day, time of month, your recent sodium intake … and the list could go on.
Ditch the scale and start focusing on how the foods you’re eating make you feel. And I don’t just mean how they make you feel short-term. Because let’s be honest, if that were the case, I’d down an entire bag of Reese’s Pieces. In the short-term, that bag would make me feel awesome, but no doubt, within an hour, I’d feel sick. Bottomline: choose foods that make you feel good long-term. With this outlook, choosing whole fresh foods (and lots of produce) will become your way of living.
- Connect the dots
Take a step back and begin to ask yourself questions.
Am I really hungry – or just bored?
Do I want to overeat every time I get off the phone with her?
Or (gasp!), is my nightly ice-cream routine just a habit?
When you’re done with diets, you stop relying on meal plans telling you when and what to eat. Instead, you start to connect the dots between why you do what you do. You start to observe, and when you have this powerful information and are ready for true change you learn how to continually make better choices that stick.
- Find your tribe
Who are you spending your free time with? If they’re people who don’t make you feel good after you hang out with them, it may be time to reconsider your social circle and start rebuilding. For example, if you’re focusing on nourishing your body, uplifting your spirit, and exercising to empower and connect with yourself, and you’re hanging out with people who are constantly trying to lose 5 pounds, get rid of cellulite, and working out to burn calories, you’re going to have a hard time being happy.
Get clear on what type of people you want in your life. Once you’re clear, think about where they’d be (Yoga studios? CrossFit gyms? Book clubs?) and then go out and make some friends. Over time, you’ll form a new like-minded crew that will allow you to flourish in mind, body, soul, and spirit.
- Keep it simple
There are so many diet rules and books out there and by this point, I bet your eyes glaze over when you see them. Ditch the food rules and go back to point #2, trusting your body and honoring your hunger and fullness. And when it comes to food – keep it simple – real whole fresh foods.
Here’s an easy motto I share with all my coaching clients: protein and produce. The idea is you want to make sure all of your meals have some form of protein (beans, lentils, chicken, seafood, fish, bison, turkey, tempeh, eggs, yogurt, etc) and produce (vegetables and/or fruit). The protein will keep you fuller longer and fuel lean muscle mass. And the produce, especially veggies, will fill you up with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. You can’t go wrong with too many vegetables.
Lastly, if you’ve been having a really hard time shifting away from your diet mindset, stop thinking of what you can’t eat and start thinking of what you should be eating more of. Nine out of ten times (even for myself at times!) the answer is more vegetables. It’s a simple mindshift, but it gets you thinking more (not less), and that’s a good thing.
What tip did you find most helpful? Or, maybe you have something to add to the list? Would love to hear from you in the comments below!
Corinne Dobbas, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian, Wellness Coach, and yogi (in training) with a Masters in Nutrition. Corinne helps kind, caring, compassionate women develop a healthy positive relationship with food, their body, and themselves. Specifically, Corinne helps women get MORE. More life. More laughter. More friendships. More health. More happiness. More self-love. More self-acceptance. Visit her at www.CorinneDobbas.com