I spent most of my teenage life feeling very out of control with my food and weight. My body never responded the way I wanted it to. I was a fad dieter and found myself trying out every local dietician like they were on some kind of dress rehearsal.
Looking back, it’s clear to me now what a turbulent and negative relationship I was having with my very own body. I was hating on it. Your body cannot give you what you need when there is constant battle and emotional despair. Your body takes on all the negative banter and self doubt and manifests it into stress. It cannot function optimally when there is such stress and pain.
Over the last few years I have tried my very best to release any negative feeling associated with food and weight. These are some of the rules that I use when I feel a negative thought coming along.
1. Stop punishing yourself for what you ate yesterday.
It’s not serving you or your body! In fact, your body listens to this negative clutter, which creates unwanted stress within the body! Stress is the number one health killer.
2. Practice mindful eating: sit, chew, and breathe with your food!
Actually look at it. Taste it. Smell it. Use your senses! Appreciate what is on the plate. This way your brain will signal “satiety” and you’ll be less likely to overeat.
3. Have gratitude for your food!
I hate to sound like another airy-fairy health preacher, but this word gratitude can change your life. Stop and think about how this food got to your plate and how lucky you are to have access to it. It is a gift: about to nourish your body with so much goodness. Your heart, hormones, brain, and cells need the nutrients to function for you.
4. Enjoy your food.
Do not cloud your eating experience with negative thoughts like, “I should not be eating this” or “I’m a failure that I couldn’t control what I ate.” Your body will manifest those thoughts into bodily stress! Hello, cortisol!!! Goodbye to optimal digestion! Please, be at peace with your plate.
5. Stop the vicious cycle of all-or-nothing.
If you make a bad food choice, try to let it go! Your body listens to what you do most of the time, not sometimes! Most of us think “well I ate that donut so I may as well just keep going” this usually turns into what is known as a ‘food binge’. Now see that’s where the problem arises… your body does not mind the donut so much but it will start to mind all the rest that you fill it with. It simply does not know what to do with it all at once.
6. Practice positive affirmations.
Affirmations are a powerful tool to reverse negative thoughts and reprogram your beliefs, behavior and actions. They can change the way you see the world and most definitely helped me improve my relationship with my body. Practice statement like this:
- This plate of food is so good for me.
- My body knows how to use this food.
- My cells are about to be not nourished with so much goodness.
7. Let go of the need to be and eat perfectly.
I promise you, no one eats perfectly. Not even me! Perfect does not exist! Try release that need and remember you are good enough.
8. Stop comparing!
Your body and nutritional needs are different from those of your friends, your sister and your mother! Their relationship with food has nothing to do with you. They have an entirely separate and complex body mechanism. You cannot take their relationship with their food personally, my loves!
9. Don’t be difficult with food.
It’s important not to let your healthy lifestyle get in the way of your social life. (I try very hard with this one!) If you’re out with family and friends, do not worry about the food options. It’s not important. Simply choose the best available to you. Otherwise, you will only complicate your relationship with food.
10. If you’re reaching for food when you’re not hungry then something emotional is going on.
I invite you to stop and ask yourself what it could be. Why are you reaching for that comfort? Just identify it. If you realize you’re not actually hungry, I encourage you to then do something else that’s pleasurable!
Go for a walk, massage, hot bath, paint your nails, be intimate with your partner, watch your favorite TV show with a cuppa, have a chat to your bestie or go stalk some health blogs and write down your fave recipes! Anything!
11. Remember: this is it. One life. One body! Treasure it. Look after it.
Feed it because it needs the nutrients. Your body is depending on you for the love and care in order to function and proceed with all its biochemical actions! It works so damn hard!! I think it deserves our respect. I see my body as my baby.