When did food become so complicated? It must’ve been nice to be our grandparents several years ago— no confusing health advice bombarding our inboxes, fewer options at the grocery store, and just eating because you’re hungry.
What a life that must’ve been. Nowadays, the act of eating for a lot of people is either confusing, burdensome, or an emotional turmoil.
For me, it was emotional turmoil. Having gone through an eating disorder, it’s no surprise that my relationship with food was torn to pieces and become a mere shadow of any natural eating instincts. It’s really a catch 22 if you think about it; food is necessary to live, but how do you navigate that when you’re recovering from disordered eating habits?
The process was a tough one and took a lot of inner reflection, but repairing my relationship with food has been a life-changing experience. I not only made the realization that I needed to change the way I thought about food, but I also came to the conclusion that I needed to change how I viewed myself.
When you love yourself, you make choices that are from a place of wanting to be healthy and genuinely caring for your well-being. I love the advice of considering how you would treat your five-year-old self. If they came to you saying they’re worried about how eating pizza will affect their body, I’m sure you wouldn’t hesitate to tell them to eat the pizza with pride.
We deserve this same kind of love too, especially when it comes to eating. We already have enough messages telling us how to look and what to eat, being your own worst critic won’t help. Instead, let’s try to turn the process of eating into an act of self-love.
Since I went through the process myself, I put together some tips that helped me on my journey to loving to eat again.
When you’re hungry, eat.
I can’t stress this one enough. Restricting is not love. Period. If your body is sending you hunger cues and you choose to ignore them, your mind will feel like it’s being punished.
Instead, give your body what it deserves: nourishment. Choose to love yourself enough to eat.
Slow down and enjoy your food
I struggle with this one a ton. I am the queen of eating in my car or while I’m getting work done.
Have you ever ate a meal and before you even realized it, your bowl is empty, and you barely enjoyed the food? It’s easy to get distracted or have the habit of eating quickly. When we slow down and savor every bite, we are making the pleasure of eating last longer. And, let’s be real, food tastes great! Why wouldn’t we want to savor the taste for longer?
Eat with friends and family.
Many cultures around the world eat every meal together; it’s a time to share stories, laugh, and connect. Eating alone is not a bad thing, but mixing it up by sharing some meals throughout the week with the people you love can be beneficial to get out of your head while you’re eating and once again enjoying mealtime.
Eat foods you truly love that are nutrient dense.
This is kind of a two-fold step. The first is that finding meals you genuinely enjoy is crucial to repairing your relationship with food. Hate salads? Don’t eat them! I’ve noticed that my body enjoys warm foods over cold. I stick to making a lot of bowls and curries.
The second aspect of this is making sure that your food is nutrient dense. Your body with feel better and you’ll feel more satiated after.
Now, this, of course, doesn’t mean that you should never eat things like pizza. Pizza might not be filled with nutrients but it fills your soul— and that’s important too.
Let’s choose ourselves over all of the nasty thoughts and expectation we have going on in our head. Let’s have breakfast lunch and dinner. Let’s treat our bodies with the food it deserves. Let’s eat from a place of love.