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How to Improve Your Relationship with Food: 3 Tips

I was thinking about relationship to food today because, well, I’m currently 6 months pregnant and had a hard and fast craving for cookie dough earlier! 🍪

My kitchen was already a mess, and yet there I was pulling out all the ingredients and my mixer to make edible cookie dough. 

Craving satisfied! 😋

I ate a good 6 or 7 spoonfuls, and put the rest in the fridge.

Pregnant or not, a craving like this would have gone VERY differently years ago.

🙉 First, I would have tried to suppress and ignore the craving. Then I would have been in my head about how much exercise I’d done that day, or could plan to do, to “justify” indulging in the craving. 

Then, I would have finally caved, after I was even more starving, eaten in a state of guilt, and probably have eaten the whole bowl of cookie dough until I felt sick. #notsatisfying on any level. 😣

The difference is purely in my relationship with food.

Instead of fighting food, now I’m friends with food.

Instead of trying to control my body, I focus on balance and self-care.

Instead of tracking and counting obsessively, I’m simply intentional and intuitive with my eating. 

If you’re looking to get to a place of freedom and peace with food, keep reading! If you want to discover just where your relationship with food is, take my free quiz! Hey that rhymed.

I created the “food belief personality type” quiz to let you know where you stand with food. What’s going well with you and food, and what might be some negative beliefs to work on?

I know first hand how difficult it can feel to work on relationship with food or body when you’re caught in the middle of diet mentality. 

It’s like you know 🧠 intellectually you need to work on body image and food freedom, but for some darn reason you keep going to the next diet, weight loss strategy, or promise of a quick fix. 🌀

Interrupting this cycle is the first step. Your first decision is to choose another approach. It might feel scary. And it might feel like it won’t get you the “results” you want. 

But if some of the results you want are:

  • More body confidence
  • Peace of mind around food
  • Consistency with balanced eating
  • More joy, empowerment and ease around your healthy habits… IT’S WORTH IT!

Remember, you can always go back to the frustrating, soul-sucking cycle of restriction. 😉

Here are 3 Tips to Create a More Positive Relationship with Food:

1 – STOP DIETING

Stop weighing yourself. 

Stop counting and tracking. 

Stop following plans that have rules and restrictions.

Stop surrounding yourself with diet messaging.

Unfollow accounts if you need to. Don’t buy magazines about weight loss.

Change the channel if a “magic weight loss” pill commercial comes on.

Leave social media or community groups that are promoting unrealistic weight results.

This is not a direct comparison by any means, but might make for an understandable analogy.

An addict in recovery probably wouldn’t do well if they’re surrounded by partying and substances.

So why would you continue to surround yourself with voices, messages and people who are in extreme diet mode all the time?

2 – PRACTICE REGULAR MEAL TIMING

Another scary ask, I know! However, you’ve probably heard that skipping meals and not eating enough can lead to weight gain too, right?

And to be honest, for MOST of my clients who want to lose weight… NOT EATING ENOUGH is contributing to weight gain more so than eating too much! 

Skipping meals leads to binging later. It leads to hormone imbalance which can cause us to hold onto more fat. It leads to low mood, possibly being nutrient deficient, and losing muscle. 

Trust that this practice is to HELP YOUR BODY FIND IT’S HAPPY WEIGHT. It’s not a way of sabotaging you into gaining more weight. But you have to give it a fair chance! 

Eat 3 meals a day with 1-2 snacks. Focus on prioritizing protein and whole foods. But DON’T make any food “off limits”.

Try to stick to serving sizes. Want ice cream? Great! Have it! Put a scoop in a bowl. Don’t eat it out of the pint. 

3 – PRACTICE INTUITIVE AND MINDFUL EATING

Intuitive eating is the practice of being in tune with your appetite, your cravings, and even with certain nutrient needs your body might be asking for.

Practice this by planning meals ahead as best you can. Try to get a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and proteins on a weekly basis. 

When a craving arises, and it’s for more of a “treat food” like sweets, salty, fried food, crunchy chips, etc. Take a few breaths and ask yourself if you are physically hungry, or is this an emotional craving?

If hungry, is there a healthy-ish version of the treat food you could choose instead? HINT: It’s ok if there’s not.

If you want peanut M&Ms and nothing will replace that craving, don’t worry about it. Get you some peanut M&Ms, pour out half the bag in a dish, and mindfully enjoy them! 

If your craving is rooted in stress or emotion, take another deep breath. Contemplate if there is something else you can choose to help you through this emotion. Would it feel helpful to journal, listen to music, go for a walk, talk to someone?

Again… if not, and satisfying the craving is the decision you make, it’s not the “wrong” decision! You’re choosing it now from an empowered place. Own the decision and then practice mindfully eating your treat.

Mindful eating is a practice in the moment of eating ANY meal, snack or treat! It’s actually a scientifically proven practice that helps with nutrient absorption, feeling satisfied and satiated, utilizing the calories from the meal optimally, and digesting properly. 

The main goal is to sit down with your food. Take a few breaths. Try to slow down. If you’re having any negative thoughts about eating, try to deeply exhale and release them. 

It can take up to 20 minutes for the brain in our belly (the enteric nervous system) and the brain in our head to communicate “I’ve had enough”. So eat slow, enjoy each bite. Take in the colors, smells, textures, etc. 

It’s ok if you can’t take 20 minutes at each meal. But start somewhere. Time yourself for 5 minutes and see if you can just be present with your food. See what you notice.

CONCLUSION:

Stop dieting. Implement regular meal timing. Practice intuitive and mindful eating.

These 3 tips are a great place to start! Remember to have grace and compassion for yourself, and know that your journey is your own and it’s beautiful. 

Be patient with the process and know that every effort and step in the direction of a positive relationship with food is MEANINGFUL! Don’t discount your progress. It can be easy to do when all we want to do is “be there”. 

Pause along your journey and reflect on your progress. What negative thoughts are no longer part of your daily life? What is a consistent habit you’ve formed and don’t have to think about it any more?

CELEBRATE YOURSELF!

This is an important part of motivation to keep going. Celebration helps you stay the course! 

ABOUT ME:

My name is Tessie Tracy, and I’m a Certified Eating Psychology and Nutrition Coach, as well as a fitness expert & keynote speaker.

I’ve helped hundreds of women like you finally lose the diet mentality, and feel on track and consistent with healthy habits that don’t include restriction, punishment or guilt!

I’ve been featured in various media outlets, such as Well + Good, BuzzFeed, The Wash Post, USA Today College, and more. And I’ve worked with major companies as a corporate wellness trainer, such as USC, George Washington University, Nissan, Bank of America, Westinghouse, and MindBody, to name a few.

Want to discover just how positive (or negative) your relationship to food is? Take my FREE Food Belief Personality Type QUIZ! 👇🏽

You’ll answer a number of questions, and then get an assessment of whether your the apple, the beet or the carrot! Each personality type gives you a sense of where you’re doing well with relationship to food, and what might need work. You’ll be given personalized action steps according to your food belief personality type! Download and take the FREE quiz now!

Comment below with any questions or thoughts you have!

xo,

Tessie

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