Many of us carry damaging thoughts about food which are from a variety of factors including internal and external influences. Our diet driven world creates an unhealthy thought process about food – it becomes the enemy instead of the fuel.
I have wasted years eating too little, too much and/or stuck in a poor relationship with food that was damaging to my mind and my body. I want to help others change negative thought patterns about food so that we can nourish our bodies and eat mindfully – all while enjoying every bite!
If you’ve yo-yo dieted, restricted yourself and obsessively tracked calories, a change in your mindset can start to transform how you think of food and repair the relationship. You can start by focusing on these common harmful thoughts:
Thinking of food as forbidden
Been there, done that. A lot of us will start a "diet" by restricting foods we consider bad. When we start to label any food as “off-limits” (especially foods we like), we restrict ourselves and in turn throw our cravings into overdrive for the very food we are removing from our diets. This is a clear path to failure since your enjoyment of those foods won’t just go away - hence why my love of potato chips is still going strong! Instead of wasting your effort into forbidding certain foods, focus instead on adding healthier foods into your day. So, instead of saying you will no longer eat chips (cause that ain't happening), say you will eat 2 servings of vegetables every day. This is a much more positive mindset to begin changing your eating habits rather than jumping into a restrictive mode.
Thinking of food as comfort
Ah...emotional eating...where my people at? I have been an emotional eater for as long as I can remember but it really took hold after I had my daughter. By using food to cope when we are feeling angry, sad or hurt quickly turns into a cycle that is hard to stop – we link the food to making us feel better even if just for fleeting moments. This is an easy way to hide from our problems instead of dealing with them.
The best cure for this mindset is too be honest and aware that you are doing it. When you find yourself reaching for food as comfort, try to take a few moments to ask yourself how you are feeling and how the food will actually make you feel after you are done. Then, choose another activity such as working out, reading, calling a friend or going for a walk. You’ll give yourself time to cope with the emotions in a healthier way and also feel better afterwards.
If you struggle in your relationship with food, changing your mindset will not happen overnight but with true effort to recognize that you have the power to change it, it will become easier. Pay attention to how you think about food and the damage those thoughts can do – be more mindful and engaged with yourself.