Updated: Oct 8
Written by Serena Benali, Registered Dietitian. Published October 6, 2021. Updated July 17 2023.
One of the most powerful ways to reset your relationship with food is with a change in perspective. This article shares six strategic keys to reset your relationship with food and present you a fresh new outlook on nourishment.
By embracing these changes, you're not just adjusting your viewpoint, you're reinventing your whole relationship with food. These six keys are designed to inspire innovation, redirect your course, and foster a healthier, more fulfilling relationship with food.
Let's embark on a journey towards nutritious enlightenment and reawaken the joy in eating healthily.
Here are the 6 key ways to reset your relationship with food:
1. Abandon Diet Restrictions
In our quest to reset our relationship with food, the first crucial step is to put an end to dieting. Adopting restrictive diets, skipping meals, and excluding entire food groups often contribute to an unhealthy relationship with food and warped perception of food. Sadly, these actions are deeply embedded in our diet-focused society, rendering us oblivious to their true impact on our wellbeing and mental health. By discarding these practices, we lay a solid foundation to cultivate a healthier, more balanced relationship with the foods we eat.
⇨ Solution: Abandon Diet Restrictions.
Start with a personal reflection on your dietary habits and the effects they've had on your relationship with food—jot them down if it helps. Take a moment to evaluate: do you wish to persist with these rigid behaviors, or are you primed for a more liberated approach? This fresh path is free of strict food rules, meal skipping, or obsessive food thoughts, making your relationship with food a much more relaxed and enjoyable one.
2. Savour the Joy of Eating
Eating should be a delight, an experience to be relished. Yet, we often miss out on the joy it brings due to our disconnect from the process. Lost in thought, engrossed in our phones, or juggling multiple tasks, we hardly notice when our plate is emptied. By being present and mindful about our food choices, we can fully immerse in the pleasure of eating, making healthier and more satisfying choices.
In the wise words of Evelyn Tribole, Registered Dietitian and co-founder of intuitive eating, "If you don't love it, don't eat it, and if you love it, savor it." It's a simple yet powerful guide to help us relish our meals while making conscious, beneficial choices.
⇨ Solution: Embrace Mindful Eating!
Engage fully with the experience, allowing yourself to truly relish the pleasure that each meal brings. This is the key to making healthier and more satisfying food choices. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the meal!
3. Understand Why you Eat Besides Hunger
Identifying why you eat when you’re not hungry can be a complex endeavor. Often, our emotional landscape or long-standing habits dictate our eating patterns. However, by allowing ourselves a moment of pause before we reach for a snack or meal, we can start to unravel the motivations that push us towards food. By understanding these triggers, we're able to address the underlying issues, fostering a healthier relationship with food.
⇨ Solution: Hit the Pause Button!
Prior to diving into your meal, take a moment to do a quick body scan: is there any tension? Are you genuinely hungry? Acknowledge whatever sensations are present. If the urge to eat persists, stay mindful during the process and savor your food choices. This pause can make a world of difference in understanding and controlling your eating habits.
4. Discover Your 'Satisfaction Sweet Spot'
Imagine a sweet spot in your relationship with food—a place of perfect balance where you feel satisfied, satiated, and fully relish the pleasure derived from your meals. Finding this can be a game-changer in reshaping your food dynamics. This moment allows for a profound connection with your body, fostering trust in its ability to signal when it's had enough. As a result, the urge to overeat or continue eating past this point significantly diminishes. Cultivating this awareness can be a pivotal step in your journey towards a healthier relationship with food.
⇨ Solution: Implement the 'Half Plate' Exercise.
Serve yourself half the portion you typically would—this is not to limit intake, but to help you discover your satisfaction sweet spot more effortlessly. Assess your hunger and fullness levels throughout the meal, and once you've finished, wait for 5 minutes. If you're still hungry, feel free to get more food, take three bites, then pause for a moment. Use this break to observe and recognize when you've hit your sweet spot.
This practice will empower you to tune into your body's signals and understand your unique satisfaction threshold.
5. Pivot Your Mindset from 'Skinny' to 'Healthy'
Social media has a harmful harmful impact on our perception of body image.
In a social media landscape awash with slender figures and unrealistic beauty standards, maintaining a balanced perspective can be challenging. This constant barrage of images often leaves many of us discontent with our own bodies.
Body dissatisfaction can trigger harmful eating behaviors and create a toxic relationship with food, potentially leading to eating disorders. Amidst these negative feelings, we often overlook the incredible functions our bodies perform autonomously, in support of our wellbeing.
Research highlights the adverse psychological effects of social media. One study reported a direct correlation between extensive Instagram use and symptoms of depression, low self-esteem, anxiety (general and appearance-related), and body dissatisfaction, corroborating previous research suggesting that excessive Instagram use could contribute to negative mental health outcomes. Hence, it's essential to shift our focus from aspiring for a 'skinny' body to nurturing a 'healthy' body and mind.
⇨ Solution: Pivot Your Focus from Thinness to Wellness.
Strive to prioritize feeling good over looking a certain way—when you nurture what truly makes you feel good, it fosters a positive ripple effect in your life. Additionally, curate your social media feed to inspire positivity and wellness rather than perpetuating unrealistic body ideals. This way, each time you scroll, you're left feeling uplifted and encouraged.
6. Seek Guidance from a Registered Dietitian
Nourishing a healthier relationship with food can sometimes feel like navigating uncharted territory. But you don't have to do it alone. A registered dietitian can provide valuable insights and personalized guidance tailored to your unique needs and challenges. They can help debunk diet myths, recommend balanced meal plans, and empower you with effective strategies for mindful eating. Remember, there's strength in seeking support, and with a dietitian by your side, you're better equipped to embark on this journey towards a healthier, happier relationship with food.
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.
⇨ Solution: Schedule an Appointment with Our Expert Dietitians.
Get started on your transformative journey by booking a session with our professional dietitians. Don't hesitate to contact us or schedule an appointment. We're ready to support you every step of the way.
Key takeaways: How to reset your relationship with food
Reseting your relationship with food is about fostering mindfulness and encouraging self-nurturing practices. Start by abandoning diet restrictions to break free from the cycle of guilt and binge eating often associated with such constraints. Instead, embrace the joy of eating. Savor each bite, taking the time to appreciate the textures, flavors, and aromas of your food, which can make your mealtime experience more satisfying.
Each step of this journey invites us to treat food as a source of nourishment and pleasure rather than a point of stress. By adopting these strategies, we foster a healthier, more satisfying relationship with food, setting the stage for a lifetime of wellness.
Ready to begin your journey towards a healthier relationship with food? Our FREE Healthy Relationship with Food Starter Guide is just what you need! This guide is filled with tips, strategies, and insights from our expert dietitians to kickstart your journey to wellness. Let's make food your friend, not your foe! Download your free guide today and step into a happier, healthier relationship with food.