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There are many ways that your relationship with food may have become imbalanced. Irregular work hours, stressful circumstances or trauma, underlying emotional or psychological disorders, poverty, complications from diseases, and plenty of other causes may have left you with an unhealthy relationship to food, and these are rarely easy or straightforward to correct. Many people will go their whole lives with a toxic relationship with food, suffering from malnutrition, obesity, diabetes, and other complications while the underlying cause -- their poor eating habits -- goes untreated.
Advanced Health is ready and able to help you heal your relationship with food, to get you on the path to lifelong wellness.
Last Wednesday, Katie Schmidt, our Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, discussed the link between disordered eating behaviour and digestive health at Advanced Health’s FREE Monthly Educational Seminar. People who attended learned how to heal their relationship to food.
Katie offers nutrition and mindset tips to help you ditch the all-or-nothing mentality and return to a state of joy in the way you eat and think about food.
The following steps should be the start of your journey toward forging a new relationship with food, and becoming your best self.
Look Forward, not Backward
Many people with an unhealthy relationship with food have difficulty remembering not to recriminate. They get trapped in destructive cycles, where the perceived failures of one day impact the choices of the next day. A person might lapse and continue to make unhealthy choices. They may then decide that, since the damage was already done, they might as well continue and indulge in further lapses. A person might regret one day’s actions, and self-medicate with comfort foods, furthering the cycle.
The first step toward transforming your relationship with food is to stop looking backward, and to begin looking forward. You can’t change the past, but each choice you make will have a direct impact on the days yet to come. Don’t take your eyes off the future, and make choices with your goals in mind.
Abandon All-or-Nothing Thinking
One cookie isn’t the same as a bag, and a pretty-good day is just as valid as a perfect one. Many people let small imperfections or lapses get blown wildly out of proportion, fixating on tiny missteps rather than the overall trend. They miss the forest for the trees.
No one will heal their relationship with food with absolutist thinking. It just isn’t going to happen that way. Rather, transforming your relationship with food needs to be a cumulative process where small successes are allowed to lead into larger ones, and each positive step needs to be embraced and rewarded.
Deal with Stressful or Emotional Turmoil
Many toxic food relationships stem from underlying preconditions. A stressful work life, for instance, may push a person toward using food as a reward or an emotional salve after a long work day. Food abuse is often correlated with stress, depression, or mania. Emotional or psychological imbalances tend to lead a person toward unhealthy choices, like overeating or indulging certain foods. In order to restore that relationship to food to a healthy, balanced one, it’s critical that a person restore his or her emotional and psychological state to a similarly balanced one.
Look into other self-care options, like yoga, exercise, meditation, counseling, artistic expression, and so on. Speak with Advanced Health’s integrative nutrition health coach Katie Schmidt if you’re concerned about your emotional or psychological state and how it is impacting your relationship with food.
Treat Food as Fuel and Medicine
Food, while pleasurable, is meant to be more than an experiential treat. Food fuels our bodies, providing the nutrients and energy to heal injuries, move, breathe, grow, and live. Certain foods can have a profound impact on health. They can reduce inflammation, shorten recovery time, treat nausea, cure headaches, and plenty more. It’s important to make food choices based on the situation. For example, a diet rich in animal protein and/or processed food causes liver and kidney damage along with frequently triggering cortisol production and insulin resistance (aka., diabetes). Eating more than 3 times per day after age 29 causes digestive distress and damages organs in the long run. Natural sugar such as in fruit in tiny doses each week (not each day) can potentially boost energy during the day but harm sleep and repair work at night.
Eat only the amount your body needs and focus on foods which grow mostly above ground. They are full of oxygen, water, and easily absorbable nutrients unlike animal protein which is loaded with industrial toxicants and extremely dehydrating inside the body. Listen to your body, not your emotional response to indulging in eating for the wrong reasons.
Stop Counting Calories
Healthy eating is about nutrients and being nourished. Counting calories is not equivalent to being healthy. A person could eat nothing but cheeseburgers, for instance, and stay within his or her daily calorie limit. That person would gain no nutrients his cells could utilize for energy but instead by contaminated with carcinogens and other industrial toxicants which damage cells. Have variety in your cells, especially with an expansive array of plant-based fresh food.
Look for complete nutrition rich in green vegetables, ancient whole grains, legumes, and mushrooms. They are rich in nutrients and fiber allowing you to satiated and light. Keep animal products to a minimum each week. Avoid over-processed GMO grains like wheat, corn, soy, and rice since they are unsafe for the digestive system and loaded with tons of pesticides.
Stay away from sugar, processed food, excess sodium, synthetic preservatives and additives. Although these foods are legally sold in the U.S., they are banned in many other countries globally since their ingredients have been clearly shown to cause cancer, autism, psychiatric disorders, and many other chronic diseases.
Drink plenty of warm filtered tap water and shift away from beverages in plastic containers since the gasoline additives from the plastic leak into the water. Have water in between meals instead of snacks, and try not to drink beverages while eating. Fast for over 4 hours before bedtime and periodically 14 hours at night. Fasting is critical to healing especially since repair work only occurs at night between 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
When you follow some of these guidelines, calorie counting doesn’t matter.
Practice Mindful Eating
Healthy eating is a practice. Healing your relationship with food is just as much about how you eat as it is about what you consume.
When eating, make sure you take your time to sit and slow down. Eat slowly and while eating down. Savour the eating and drinking experience instead of being distracted by working, reading, watching TV, or talking. Treat eating as a pleasure activity unto itself every single time.
In this, and other mindful practices, Advanced Health is here to help. Contact us today to set up an appointment, and let us help you get on the path to lifelong wellness.
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