Updated: Jun 25
Written by Serena Benali, Registered Dietitian. Published October 9, 2023. [Updated May 1, 2023]
Have you ever wanted to change those negative thoughts that seem to run on autopilot? We all have our own inner voice, which depending on the day can be supportive and kind or harsh and negative, with the latter being most common.
Changing our relationship with food and developing healthy eating habits often starts with changing how we think about and relate to food. It can start with healthy eating affirmations.
If you want to develop a healthy relationship with food but have negative thoughts running through your mind your efforts will be met with much resistance and self-sabotage. However if you get your thoughts in line with the kind of healthy eating habits and healthy relationship with food you want you can achieve your health goals with more ease, grace and enjoyment.
In this article we’ll go over:
What Affirmations Are
The Research Behind Affirmation: Do they work?
How to Make Healthy Eating Affirmations Work
How to do Affirmations
The Key to Affirmations
Best Affirmations for Healthy Eating
What Are Affirmations?
Affirmations, also referred to as mantras, are positive statements you say to yourself to aid in changing unhelpful or negative thoughts. Affirmations help you not only change your thoughts to more positive ones but this can also help change your behaviour.
Do Affirmations Work? What The Research Says
The idea of repeating affirmations to change your thought patterns to be positive and leading to positive behaviour change may sound woo-hoo but decades of research prove otherwise.
The research behind affirmations boils down to neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to rewire itself; for neural networks to remap and reorganize how they fire together and grow.
Affirmations help with behaviour change by helping rewire our thinking patterns. They bring out a more expansive view of yourself and resources (1).
Research has found that affirmations can help individuals make better dietary choices. Individuals who used affirmations to support their healthy eating habits reported more positive results with their eating habits, such as eating more fruits and vegetables and reducing their intake of processed and unhealthy foods (3). Furthermore, individuals who used affirmations also reported improved self-confidence and a more positive body image.
Positive affirmations also improve problem-solving under stress (2). How does this relate to healthy eating? A default behaviour after an exhausting day of work may be to open up your skip-the-dishes app and order some takeout. If you have been consistent with affirmations you would be more inclined to remember those simple, nutritious and delicious meals you can whip up quickly. You may have even thought ahead of your busy work day and have leftovers in the fridge or a freezer-friendly pre-made meal ready to go.
To help you start taking action on healthy eating, check out our FREE meal plan. The recipes are dietitian-approved, simple, delicious and the best part is they have 5 ingredients or less!
Affirmations Aren’t Magic on Their Own
Affirmations are a piece of the psychological puzzle to help rewire unhelpful and negative thoughts and aid you in making the behaviour change you desire but they do require action. Saying your affirmations while bingeing Netflix and ordering skip-the-dishes won’t help.
Repeating affirmations while taking aligned action toward your goals is where the magic happens.
How to Make your Healthy Eating Affirmations Work
Define Your Values Around Health
Understanding your core personal values around health helps understand your why behind wanting to improve your health and doing affirmations. For example:
Healthy eating is important to me because I want to feel good every day and I want to have the energy to do the things I want to do or play with my kids.
Having a healthy relationship with food is important to me because I want to treat myself with kindness. I want to feel good about the food I eat. I want to be at peace with food and my body.
How To Do Affirmations
What's the best way to go about doing your affirmations?
Whichever way helps you be most consistent. You can write them out once and read them with conviction, you can write them on post-it notes or keep them in your phone notes. You can take a few moments to journal out your affirmations and feel into them with belief.
Keep Your Affirmations Simple
The best affirmations are the ones that are short and to the point. Don’t try to stack multiple affirmations into one, rather keep them meaningful and straightforward.
Get an Accountability Buddy
Choose a trusted friend or family member to share your affirmation goals. Share with them your plan for implementation and allow them to hold you accountable.
Acknowledging and celebrating small wins along the way is shown to help achieve the long-term benefits and behaviour change that comes with affirmations. Did you pack your lunch for work? Did you make leftovers for tomorrow? Whatever it is, recognize your efforts and celebrate them!
Practicing Your Affirmations
Deliberate practice is defining your plan and taking action on your plan. Let’s define your plan for practicing your affirmations.
How often should you do your affirmations?
It’s best to do your affirmations 2-3 times a day.
It’s ideal to have one of those times be first thing in the morning before you even reach for your phone. Morning affirmations are ideal - your mind is fresh and can be more easily primed to carry the positive affirmations into the day. A mid-day affirmation session can help anchor in your thoughts. And a moment in the evening or before bed can help prime our subconscious mind as your conscious mind goes to sleep.
Feel Into Your Affirmations
What would it feel like if your affirmation were already true? What would it feel like to nurture your body in a way that felt good and left you feeling energized? What would it feel like to look in the mirror and like what you see? Would it feel like? Joy, confidence, peace?
Spend 90 Seconds Feeling Into your Affirmations
Can you spend a minute and a half feeling into your affirmation with self-belief and conviction? That's all you need! Affirmations don’t need to take 10 minutes to make them effective. A few minutes can suffice. What makes them effective is your belief in them. When it feels complete for you, trust that it’s complete.
Make Affirmations in the Present Tense
To make your affirmations most effective, say them in the present tense. This will allow you to feel into them with passion and conviction.
Rewiring neural pathways takes time. Give your affirmations time to permeate your subconscious mind. We don’t plant a seed and then check in the soil after a few days to see if it’s growing. We need to be consistent and trust that our affirmations are helping us rewire our thinking patterns.
The Key To Making Affirmations Work
The Use of Bridging Words
There's something that I like to use called bridging words. I define bridging words as words that help bridge the gap in believing an affirmation to be true. It also bridges the gap in believing in yourself.
My two favourite bridging words are: learning and becoming.
When we say an affirmation that feels disingenuous it signals alarms in our brain that says: Liar Liar! and unfortunately you can’t just bypass this voice.
Bridging words are a way to work with the conscious mind so it becomes more supportive. For example, saying “I love and appreciate my body” can feel like a flat-out lie, saying however I’m learning to love and appreciate my body can feel more genuine, aligned, and something you can work towards.
Bridging words helps us align with the new thoughts in a way that doesn’t cause resistance but in my opinion, a way that allows for greater neuroplasticity.
Healthy Eating Affirmations
Here are 50 affirmations for healthy eating and developing a healthier relationship with food. Tweak them to suit you and use bridging words as needed.
I nourish my body with whole foods that leave me feeling energized.
My body breaks down the food I eat easily and effortlessly nourishing all the cells in my body
I find balance in what I eat.
I listen to my body and eat till satisfaction.
I enjoy giving my body what it needs, and not in excess.
I drink water to hydrate my body, cells and skin.
I allow myself to receive the pleasure and enjoyment from eating.
I give myself permission to enjoy food.
I am in tune with my body, and nourish it accordingly.
I have a healthy balanced relationship with food.
It is easy for me to eat well.
I feel good and energized after eating.
I eat well and feel good in my body.
I enjoy getting groceries and supporting my health with whole foods.
I enjoy cooking nutritious meals for myself/family.
Cooking nutritious meals is easy for me.
I enjoy showing my love for others by cooking nutritious meals.
I am grateful for the nutritious foods I am able to cook with.
I enjoy planning my meals to make my days easier.
I eat healthily. It is an act of self-care I enjoy.
When I go out to eat, I eat to satiety.
I have my own food rhythm that is sustainable and perfect for my body.
Eating healthy comes naturally to me.
Eating healthy is effortless for me.
I can enjoy all foods, without guilt or worry.
There is no emotional baggage attached to the food I eat.
What I ate yesterday is history... It doesn't impact today.
Food does not control me. I feel good and at peace with my food choices.
I choose to be happy and nourish myself today.
Mindful Eating Affirmations
I am present with my food choices and enjoy my food to the fullest.
I listen to my body when it is satisfied and full.
I take pleasure in having a nice eating environment.
I savour each bite.
I take the time to nourish myself.
I slow down and take time to eat so I can enjoy my food more.
I can fully be present in the eating experience.
I am mindful of all my senses during the eating experience.
Being mindful while eating is easy and makes food more enjoyable.
Affirmations for a Healthier Body Image
I am learning to be at peace with food and my body.
I am grateful for the freedom my body gives me.
I speak to my body with kindness
I choose to feel good in my body.
I trust my body's signals
I am worthy of love and respect
I am worthy and feel good in this body now
I do not compare myself or my body to others
I have an intimate relationship with my body
I appreciate the instrument my body is
Nothing is missing for me to start feeling good in my body
My body is my friend and I treat it as such
Key Takeaways: Affirmations for Healthy Eating
Affirmations help rewire your brain and self-talk. What makes them effective is backing them with consistency and an unwavering conviction in them, but the key lies in taking action.
I invite you to get my FREE guide: Healthy Relationship with Food Starter Guide. With a tangible workbook, created by a dietitian, you’ll be able to start taking action on your healthy eating. You’ll take 3 key action steps to build a healthier relationship with food and develop healthier eating patterns!