A Healthy Relationship with Food

I'm not positive that I do have a "healthy" relationship with food. What I do know is that I have a healthier relationship with food currently than I did last year or at any other point in my recent past. In a previous post, Weight, I talked about some of my struggles with food and eating. However, right now I want to talk about the ways I actively try to do better because it is a daily, almost hourly, thought and choice I make.

The first part of figuring out what a healthy relationship with food is for me was analyzing all of my eating habits and restrictions to figure out how to reverse them. It doesn't sound fun, and it wasn't. I still am aware and often think about those standards I set in place for myself but now I am better about talking myself out of them.

For instance, I know now that no matter what I have to eat breakfast every single day within the first hour I'm awake. If I don't do that I can fall into what, for a lack of a better term, I will call 'challenge' mode. Which is where I see how long I can go without eating anything. I would do this a lot with working and school because it was an easy environment to do so. Basically, I go without breakfast and then it is like a challenge for the day to see how little I can get by on.

Now, I know how to reverse that negative train of thought by making sure to not only have breakfast, but to enjoy it. I like to listen to a podcast (my favorite is 'Thick & Thin" by Katy Bellotte) or music while I make breakfast and usually make it something I actually cook like an omelet as opposed to a bowl of cereal. Breakfast is now my favorite meal of the day, which is bizarre considering I went a good portion of my life strictly avoiding it.

Something I have struggled with in developing my healthy relationship with food is how to make a well rounded meal. I have found that I feel better about eating whole meals if they have more nutritional value, but I had zero idea how to cook a real healthy meal. I've learned to create a habit of eating two meals a day, breakfast and dinner, with some snacking in the afternoon. For both of my meals I am always certain to include fruits and vegetables. That's such a small, pretty obvious thing to do, but I genuinely did not know how to eat healthily, or at all, without feeling a guilt that would follow me for the rest of the day. So, my personal favorites are broccoli, spinach, raspberries, blueberries, and bananas, and I love that I love them.

This isn't the biggest achievement or really that exciting to read about, I'm sure, but I am excited to enjoy food. I'm happy to feel less guilt about eating anything. Yesterday I had a salted caramel brownie at a really cool food market and it was delicious. Halfway through I debated throwing it out because I felt terrible for indulging, but guess what? I'm allowed to indulge sometimes and that brownie was so good it should have been illegal. Sometimes the guilt still gets me, like when a friend and I got ice creams earlier this week. Mine was an ice cream sandwich and I felt mildly anxious buying it and incredibly guilty eating it. So, I didn't finish it and instead tucked the rest of it back in the wrapper pretending to have eaten it all and threw it away. Then I went home and did not stop thinking about it until the next day.

Negative thoughts are always going to be lurking, but it is my job to correct them in order to let myself live a happier and healthier life. That's a lesson I've been learning my whole life. It's nearly impossible to have the negative thoughts disappear entirely, but it is very possible to learn how to cope and work through them in a healthy way instead of giving into them.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or unhealthy eating habits, visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ to learn more or call the NEDA helpline at:

1-800-931-2237

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