We all have relationships: with our parents, children, partners, and co-workers. We have also seen that, for better or worse, we have a relationship with our food. To have a healthy relationship with food means that one is able to eat for the reasons of physiological rather than emotional hunger and to stop eating at a point when the body and mind are truly satisfied. In order to have a healthy relationship with food, one must first have permission to eat. Our diet mentality has robbed us of even having permission to eat.
Many of us don’t even know when we’re hungry or comfortably satisfied. If our urge to eat is triggered by external situations such as the time of day or the availability of food, we may lose the awareness of our body’s messages of hunger. If eating is our primary coping mechanism for dealing with uncomfortable feelings, we may never experience physical hunger since we are medicating ourselves with food before we even experience the sensations of hunger.
When you watch inner signals of hunger you tend to make food choices without feeling guilt; honor hunger, respect the fullness and enjoy the pleasures of eating.
A healthy relationship with your food begins by paying attention to what you eat. This simple beginning accomplishes several things at once.
- You begin to eat smaller bites.
- Focus more on quality than quantity, and
- Enjoy what you eat even more.
The basics of eating involves the taste buds present on your tongue. If you take gargantuan bites that your mouth brims with food and your cheek is packed solid. In that case you can’t even taste 90 percent of the food you are swallowing. You are doing something, but, not tasting the food.
A healthy relationship with your food allows you to appreciate eating at a relaxed pace that benefits you. Fortunately, you are more in control of this kind of relationship than most others. Unlike your partner, you can determine exactly what all the facets of this significant other-your food-are like. As opposed to personal relationships, where each of you can have competing agendas, foibles and weaknesses to work through, developing a relationship with your food is completely under YOUR control. Also, there’s no problem leaving one set of foods for another.
Key Principles of the Fat Fallacy
We need to think differently and approach diet and health from a mature point of view. This implies, of course, that our old immature points of view can be “upgraded” very easily if we want them to be.
In the end, this is about you. What kind of relationship do you want to have? Is your goal just to finish and then roll off to something else? Or do you want a relationship where you take your time, where the point is to savor the process, where you want to enjoy it as long as possible?
Building a healthy relationship requires:
- Some commitment to retraining how we think-buying quality food,
- Allotting the time to enjoy the process, and
- Giving the meal the social importance it deserves.
- Learning to differentiate between physical or emotional hungry. If you’re not sure, drink some water, as you may be dehydrated. Take a few slow deep breaths, as fatigue and stress often masquerade as hunger. If you realize you’re not physically hungry, ask yourself what triggered your desire for food. Look for alternate options to fight stress like exercise, meditation, calling a friend, being in nature, taking a relaxing bath.
Eating is a joy, not something to treat like a nuisance. You have to be there when you eat. Food is a pleasure, not something to be inhaled so quickly you can’t even taste it. Retraining what and how we eat ultimately builds this new relationship. Some will undoubtedly see it as ironic that, in the end, simply interacting in a healthy way with your food is all that’s needed to take the weight off.
Eat only to the point of energy. If you eat past this point, you will feel sluggish and actually lose energy. It is important to make sure you are breathing fully as you eat, bringing oxygen to the body in order to digest the food.