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Stop saying ‘I'm fat!’ How to create a healthy relationship with food

Here are a few tips to help you form a positive relationship with food, which is key to having a healthy body.

Racha Adib

Published: Updated:

Many of us have an unhealthy relationship with food. At times we’re at peace with it, but then we indulge in unhealthy behavior and are left with feelings of resentment.

Do you find yourself counting every calorie you eat? Do you finish off all the cookies in the cupboard and find it hard to leave some for tomorrow? Do you find it hard to listen to your hunger cues and stop eating when you are satisfied as opposed to stopping because you don’t want to put on weight? If you’ve answered yes to these, you might want to reconsider your attitude towards food and eating.

Here are a few tips to help you form a positive relationship with food, which is key to having a healthy body.

Embrace the flavors of real food

You may have become accustomed to the taste of artificially flavored candy, sugar laden drinks, and deep fried potato chips, that you’ve forgotten the delightful taste of real food. Give your diet an overhaul. Buy fruits and vegetables in season and you’ll notice they hold bolder flavors because they’re fresh. Enjoy your steak with a dash of pepper and sea salt and embrace the actual flavor steak has to offer instead of drowning it with cream based sauces. Hold the mayonnaise, and dress your salads with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and an array of herbs. You’ll realized real food has a lot to offer to the senses and will leave you feeling good.

Take up cooking

Cooking is empowering and can help you create meals that satisfy you. You can choose the flavors you enjoy done the way you like them. That will definitely make your relationship with food a happier one. If you’re new at the kitchen, begin with simple recipes. Don’t let recipe books restrict you. Open up your palette and experience new foods by cooking different combinations. This brings in new flavors and makes cooking more fun. You’ll be left with a great sense of accomplishment when you’re done.

Focus on opportunities

Attitude is very important and there are more than one way to get a message across. You might tell yourself “I have to go on a diet and I can’t eat anymore fast food!” but this restrictive attitude will most likely fail. You’re focusing on what you will be losing instead of what you’ll be gaining from following a healthy diet. Instead, you can say something like this, “I want to take care of my body and begin eating nutritious food”. The second statement focuses on the positive aspects of changing your lifestyle and is more motivating. If you start out with the right attitude, your goals will be more achievable.

Change the way you speak to yourself

Respect yourself and believe in your capabilities. Research has found that people with low self-esteem tend to eat more. That means if you are serious about having a healthy body, you need to start conditioning your mind first. Change your “I can’ts” to “I can’s”. Say “I will find time to work out” instead of “I do not have time to work out”. Never talk down to yourself. Calling yourself fat, ugly, and hopeless can be very damaging to your self-esteem.

Instead think about the things you love about yourself and why you deserve a healthy body and healthy food to nourish it. If you love your hair, tell yourself you want to eat the right foods to keep it strong and beautiful. Positive self-talk like this is more beneficial than berating yourself into shape.

Get expert help

The only way to know if you have a healthy relationship with food is to learn what your body really needs. You might be feeling guilty for having too much bread for lunch, but how would you know if it’s too much? By consulting a dietitian, you can learn how many portions of fruits, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and vegetables you should be getting each day. The diet can also be personalized to fit your lifestyle, making it so much easier to stick to.