Do you want to build a more positive relationship with food? This is such an important aspect in taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
For the past few years, nutrition has really been viewed in black and white, primarily in terms of physical health only.
We have been taught to think only about what dietary choices we make that are beneficial to our physical health and what choices we make that negatively affect our physical health, which ones we should change or adjust.
To some extent, these are still considerations that we need and want to have in nutrition. We naturally want to nourish our physical bodies to promote full, healthy, and comfortable lives.
But as we always say here at Nutrition Stripped, food is so much more than just physical nutrition. Time has shown us that the choices we make about food affect much more than just our physical health. It also affects our mental health.
When we have a positive relationship with food, physical nutrition is no longer at the expense of mental health.
Read on to find out what a positive relationship with food really looks like so you can take steps to help align yourself with those traits.
What a positive relationship with food looks like
- A positive relationship with food is one that makes you feel confident about your food and nutritional choices.
- You eat in such a way that your physical health is supported in the long term.
- They are present at meals so that you can fully experience your food.
- They enjoy food for the sake of pure enjoyment.
- You have the mental clarity to distribute energy to other facets of your life without interrupting your eating.
- You eat when you are physically hungry, listen for signals of satiety, and understand your nonphysical hunger signals.
- You are comfortable with your eating habits and are in tune with your diet.
That all sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to be able to prioritize both physical and mental health so that you can function as your best self?
Now that you have some examples of what a positive relationship with food might look like, let’s talk about the qualities you need to embody.
1. You eat properly with balanced meals
In order to have confidence in your diet and nutrition choices, and to eat in ways that make you feel full and energetic, we need to know how to prepare nutritious, balanced meals.
This is where our Foundational Five systems come into play. If you are unfamiliar with this system, you can download our free guide to cover it!
It’s an easy, evidence-based way to prepare meals without having to consider all of the deluge of information we hear and see every day about food and nutrition.
By preparing meals that consist of protein, starchy and sugary carbohydrates, non-starchy carbohydrates, fat, and flavor factors, you can eat with ease. No doubts or questions.
A balanced plate promotes a balanced, positive relationship with the food.
2. You are able to balance the two in your diet and enjoyment
As a registered nutritionist and wellness coach, I find that customers struggle the most with this concept.
The vast majority of diets and trends out there will train you to believe it is one way or the other. They either eat for nourishment or for pleasure. Because of this, people often find themselves on a start-and-stop cycle with an all-or-nothing mentality.
They are either “all-in” and only eat for physical nourishment, or “all-out” and only eat for immediate satisfaction and enjoyment.
If you’ve been on a diet or tried a detox before, this mentality should sound familiar.
A positive relationship with food is one in which you can appreciate the many roles food plays in your life, including the vital nourishment it gives your body and the joy and pleasure it can bring .
You can eat nutritious and enjoyable meals with ease. No more food rules, allowances or restrictions.
3. You don’t label food as good or bad
So often we hear that nutritious food is good and right, while pleasurable food is bad and wrong, that at this point it just sounds like a fact.
In reality, however, this concept is very far from the truth.
Associating morals with this food creates an imbalance. It creates a negative relationship with food. It welcomes feelings of guilt, pride, stress, fear, and the compulsion to step into your relationship with food.
A positive relationship with food no longer implies such feelings. It lets you know that food is just food. It is either food, enjoyment, or a combination of both and allows you to find the right balance based on your individual desires, needs and preferences at any point in time.
4. You make conscious food choices to find the right balance
Have you ever gone on a diet where you had to measure all of your food? Stand on a scale? Fill in color-coded, pre-made plastic containers?
Or maybe you were on a diet where you were only allowed to eat at certain times of the day when you couldn’t possibly have dessert after dinner because it would cross your eating window.
These are examples of a negative relationship with food.
A positive relationship with food is one in which we consciously eat with intent rather than rigidity and rules.
It means that we physically check in with ourselves to adjust to the hunger and satiety signals of the body to determine portion sizes. Where we eat when we physically feel the need and not when we are told.
Sometimes when we have dessert after dinner because it’s a mindful, enjoyable experience.
Mindful eating enables a balanced, positive relationship with food.
5. Diets, trends, and detoxes don’t entice you
When you prepare meals using the Foundational Five, eat mindfully, prioritize food over enjoyment, and know that food has no morals, you have confidence in how you are eating.
The next major fad doesn’t have the ability to suck you in, make you believe you need to eat this new way, or you’ll be doing everything wrong.
A positive relationship with food is a confident relationship with food – you naturally know that you are doing what is best for your body.
How to create a positive relationship with food
Within the Mindful Nutrition Method ™, we teach our members how to build their own unique, positive relationships with food. We give them the tools, resources and knowledge they need to confidently feed themselves.
Members are able to recalibrate their relationship with food in order to leave the nutritional cycle for good and move forward with mindfulness and ease.
Having a positive relationship with food means having power and autonomy over your life and decisions, which is a beautiful thing!