8 Ways to Change Your Relationship to Food
Updated: Mar 20
For so many people, the relationship they have with food is an incredibly tricky one to say the least.
Our incredible Transformed Dietitians and other Therapists have some awesome top tips that we have put together to share with you all on how to you can all work towards changing your relationship to food, for good.
Start by incorporating one or two of these tips per day, and build them up from there!
1. Avoid labelling foods good and bad News flash!
Food does not have a morality. When we say we are good when we eat a salad and bad when we eat a chocolate bar, are you at all surprised guilt creeps in and leaves us feeling as though we have failed?
Food is there to be savoured and enjoyed and therefore if our language leads us to feel desperately unhappy, we need to change that language.
So we challenge you, the next time you have a chocolate bar, instead of saying how ‘naughty’ you’ve been, just say, ‘this is delicious’ and move right on.
Let's focus on eating mindfully instead!
Slow down, enjoy and appreciate the flavours!
2. Listen to your feelings, but don’t respond with food
One of the best things you can do is work out what feelings your reward food/drink gives you.
Is it joy, comfort, love, freedom, rebellion, relaxation, de-stress, for example.
Then you can begin to look for other ways that also release these feelings (e.g. buying some new clothes, having a hot bath, booking yourself a massage, go walking in the bush, call a friend, enjoy a hot cup of tea and perhaps a couple of squares of Lindt 70% dark chocolate, read a good book, etc.).
Find other ways to feel what you are searching for, so that food doesn’t have to be the only thing that gives you that feel-good vibe.
3. Avoid banning foods entirely
Banning foods entirely, inevitably leads us to an internal battle, whereby that ‘banned food’ starts to dominate your thoughts.
If you want a packet of salt and vinegar crisps so desperately that it’s all you can think about, have a few crisps, eat them slowly and savour them.
There’s no point banning something to only face a desperate binge at a later date.
4. Re-frame why we eat - eat to be healthy
As soon as someone says that four-letter word ‘diet’ they start to feel deprived and restricted. A ‘diet’ or a change in eating habits does not need to mean that you should be feeling starved and hungry.
Think about all the foods you can eat regularly as part of a balanced diet and enjoy them – plant foods, lean protein, smart carbs and plentiful wholefoods – and lets all plan to eat for health.
Let’s develop a new love story - with healthy food and drink.
5. Eat to feel satisfied, not stuffed
The Japanese follow the concept of eating, which simply means eating to 80% full. If you eat to the point that your clothes feel tight and you need to undo a belt, slow down!
Find that point where you feel happily satisfied before you feel horribly stuffed.
Don’t forget it takes up to 20 mins to truly register fullness.
6. Avoid obsessing over food or the scales
Please do not stress about what you’re eating every day and put away your scales for a while. Sometimes it is more important to focus on giving yourself some extra love, enjoying nutritious meals and a little of those foods you love and listening to your body.
Take the pressure off – it’s amazing what a difference this can make. Trust that you know what foods will nourish your body, how much you need to eat, which types of exercise will challenge your body and relax your mind.
Aim for progress, not perfection. Do the best you can, forget about the scales and worrying about your next meal.
Focus on you instead. If you’re looking to shift the weight but have it STAY off, you’ll need to change your mindset.
7. Give yourself permission to eat
When you give yourself permission to enjoy a piece of chocolate or to have popcorn at the movies, you are releasing a whole lot of stress that can come with eating indulgent foods.
It’s OK to have any food, just watch your portions and eat slowly and mindfully. If you scoff something down, the delicious experience vanishes very quickly. Instead, take your time and really enjoy that moment.
8. Have fun with food!
Pull out a recipe book, invite some friends over, host a party or create something you never thought possible. Get in the kitchen and reconnect with the YOU who loves playing in the kitchen. Create foods that impress your friends, but more importantly impress YOU!