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5 Steps to Have a Healthy Relationship with Eating

Photo: Courtesy of Marnee Wohlfert

Eating is a huge part of our lives. Each day, we make tons of decisions about food. What to eat, what not to eat, how much to eat and so on. If you have a complicated relationship with food, this can make every day — from snacks to meals to social gatherings — stressful. It might also make it challenging to maintain those healthy eating habits you know are important to your overall health.

That’s why we all need to take time to pause and honestly reflect on our eating habits, because they can have a big impact on mental and physical wellbeing. Eating well is a tool for not only looking your best, but feeling your best, too. To help you improve your relationship with food for a healthier, happier you, here are my five tips.

1. Tune into your feelings

Sometimes we eat when we’re not hungry but are experiencing a powerful emotion. If you tend to eat when you feel upset or sad, for example, try another activity. Call a friend or take a walk. Maybe you avoid eating when you feel anxious. Identify ways to manage those feelings in a healthy way, like meditating or talking to a professional. Remember, your body needs fuel to help you handle whatever life throws your way.

2. Master portion control

This can be tricky, but it’s key to stop eating when you’re comfortably full. One simple way to avoid overdoing it is to use a smaller plate, or put some chips or crackers on a small plate instead of eating straight from the bag.

3. Say “no” to extreme or fad diets

Overly restrictive or “quick-fix” diets can be really unhealthy and impossible to maintain. While it may take some time, the best way to lose weight or maintain a healthy one is to eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and foods with whole grains and healthy proteins. You should also avoid foods with added sugar, calories or unhealthy fats. Be sure to mix in regular exercise, too. Aim for about 30 minutes a day.

4. Be kind to yourself

It’s okay to indulge sometimes. If you have an unhealthy meal or two, don’t beat yourself up. Just move on, and get right back on track. Remember, the key is moderation.

5. Revel in your body

We all have things we’d like to change about our bodies. But why not focus on the positives instead of the negatives? Our bodies can do some pretty amazing things. Try listing out the qualities you love, and focus on how strong and healthy you can be.

Don’t underestimate the power of treating your body well by eating right, exercising, managing stress, and getting plenty of sleep. You’ll look and feel your best.

If your concerns about food and eating interfere with your daily life, talk to your doctor or nurse about getting help. You don’t have to struggle alone. People want to help.

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