Updated: Feb 28
Written by: Serena Benali, Registered Dietitian
One of the most powerful ways to reset your relationship with food is with a change in perspective. These 6 ways to reset your relationship with food are 6 keys and opportunities to see things in a different light… a change in perspective can change everything, it can inspire a new way of doing things, a new trajectory, and a new relationship with food.
Here are the 6 key ways to reset your relationship with food.
1. Stop Dieting
Dieting, restricting foods, skipping meals, cutting out food groups are all part of the problem so they can’t be part of the solution. These behaviours often initiate a dysfunctional and distorted relationship with food. Unfortunately, behaviours like this are so rampant in our diet culture that we are often blind to their true impact on wellbeing and mental health.
⇒ Strategy: Stop dieting. Reflect on what behaviours you have participated in and how they have impacted your relationship with food, make a list. Then ask yourself if you really want to continue with these behaviours or if you’re ready for an easier way… a way that doesn’t include food rules, skipping meals or obsessing over food.
2. Connect with the Pleasure of the Eating Experience.
Eating is a pleasurable experience. However, we often miss out on truly experiencing this pleasure because we are disconnected from the eating experience. We’re in our heads, on our phones, multi-tasking and then before we know it the food is gone. When you become present with your food choices you are better able to receive the pleasure from the eating experience and make the right food choices for yourself. As Evelyn Tribole, Registered Dietitian and intuitive eating co-founder says “If you don’t love it, don’t eat it, and if you love it, savour it.”
⇒ Strategy: Be present with your food choices and receive the pleasure from the eating experience!
3. Understand Why you Eat Besides Hunger
Why you eat when you’re not hungry is a complex question. To start, we often let our inner world of emotions dictate when and how much we eat or the habits we’ve formed around food. If we give ourselves the opportunity to pause before we eat, we can begin to understand what drives us to food and why we are eating.
⇒ Strategy: Pause! Before you begin eating, pause and do a body scan: is there any tension in your body? Are you hungry? See what is there and be present with whatever sensation is there. Then, if you still want to eat be present with those food choices.
4. Find your Satisfaction Sweet Spot
If you’re not looking for it, you’ll always miss it. And by it I’m talking about that sweet spot with food. That spot where you’re satisfied, satiated and received the pleasure from your food. Tapping in to this moment can be instrumental in helping you reset your relationship with food. You’ll connect with your body in an intimate way where you trust it to know when you’ve had enough and as a result you feel no need to eat past this point or overeat.
⇒ Strategy: Try the half plate exercise. Plate yourself half the amount you would normally eat (don’t worry the point is not to restrict but to help you more easily identify your sweet spot). Check in with your hunger and fullness throughout, when your plate is done wait 5 minute and if you’re still hungry get more, eat three bites and pause for a few minutes and see when you’ve hit your sweet spot.
5. Shift your Perspective from Wanting to be Skinny to Healthy.
With social media being oversaturated with thin bodies of Kardashian-like proportions it can be hard to get perspective. It can leave many of us feeling dissatisfied with our bodies. Body dissatisfaction can lead to distorted eating patterns, a toxic relationship with food and this is a risk factor for developing an eating disorder. It can be easy to forget all the good your body does for you and all the process it does for you without any need of your conscious effort. A study looking at the mental health effects of social media reported a higher Instagram use was correlated with depressive symptoms, low self-esteem, general and physical appearance anxiety, and body dissatisfaction. This study was consistent with previous research citing excessive Instagram use may contribute to negative psychological outcomes.
⇒ Strategy: Shift your desire from thinness to a desire to feel good because when you do what feels good, it will always lead to more good. Clean up your social media feed to one that leaves you feeling inspired and good.
6. Get Support from a Registered Dietitian
A Registered dietitians, like myself, can help you reach a healthy, happy place with food and your body. Healing your relationship with food can feel overwhelming and confusing but you don’t have to go at it alone. I can help guide you through your healing journey with ease.
⇒ Strategy: Book your complimentary discovery call!
These 6 strategies can help you reset your relationship with food to one that is happier and healthier. After all, good nutrition is not just the food you eat but a good relationship with food.
References: Sherlock, M., & Wagstaff, D. L. (2019). Exploring the relationship between frequency of Instagram use, exposure to idealized images, and psychological well-being in women. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 8(4), 482–490. https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000182