So many of us have a negative mindset toward food. You might not even think you feel negatively toward food until you stop to think about it. Which I encourage you to do. Ask yourself these questions:
Do you have a “cheat day”?
Do you sometimes feel guilty after you eat something?
Do you have foods that are off-limits?
Do you overeat without realizing it?
Do you use food as a reward?
If you answered yes to any of the above then you might not have as great a relationship with food as you think. You might not think that there is anything wrong with having a cheat day but the issue lies in the mindset. Because when you think about it, cheating on anything isn’t exactly positive. And feeling guilty about eating something doesn’t project a positive relationship with food either. But our relationship with food doesn’t have to be that way.
Food can be enjoyable, fun and fuel, but not a problem solver. And certainly, it’s not meant to comfort or soothe emotions. But unfortunately, that is how so many of us use food and we become trapped in that negative food mindset. Part of changing how we think about food is changing how we think about ourselves.
Tips to help create a healthy mindset:
1. Learn your triggersChanging how we think about food means identifying what triggers us to eat emotionally or to unnecessarily overeat. It can take some time to identify exactly what our triggers are but it’s very important to do so. By identifying our triggers we can learn to deal with the trigger without involving food. But by ignoring triggers we turn to our emotions and fall back into the same habit. I recommend keeping a food journal to track your emotional eating habits. In your journal track the following:
What conversations are you having before a food binge?
What people typically surround a food binge or emotional eating?
What emotions am I feeling?
Where am I when feel triggered to eat emotionally or binge?
2. Focus on food as fuelCreating a positive mindset toward food means remembering the role food is supposed to play in our lives. And that is to fuel our bodies. It’s easy to forget that foods primary purpose isn’t to simply taste good and fill our stomachs, it is used to give us the energy to go about our lives.
Practice shifting your mindset while grocery shopping. When choosing each item, decide whether or not the item is something that will nourish and fuel your body or whether it simply tastes good. Then decide if the item really belongs in your cart or not. Regular practice of this exercise will not only change how you look at food, but it will change what and how you eat too.3. Cook your own foodCooking your own food will keep you on track and assure you that you are eating both a balanced and clean meal. Cooking creates a strong connection between you and food. Start in control of your choices!