When trying to lose weight and maintain it, oftentimes the hardest part is working through binge eating, emotional eating, and food cravings. Your relationship with food is a lifelong one and one that can’t be avoided, so it’s important to maintain a healthy one. Not one that causes you stress, frustration, and weight gain. At some point in our lives, we need to develop a healthy relationship with food—one that is founded on fulfilling your nutritional needs, not your emotional ones.
One thing to remember is that it’s crucial to begin eating for health and nutrition, not for emotion. Sound eating involves bringing in balanced meal plans, picking out healthy foods while eating out, and making a point that you’re getting the correct vitamins and minerals in your diet.
Lucky for you, I’ve put together 10 great tips for you to build a healthy relationship with your lifeblood (food) so that you can start feeling great and losing weight!
One of the most crucial aspects of mastering good food relationships is to discover alternate ways to manage tension and being able to handle feelings without the use of food. Strategies might include going for a quick walk, working out, doing some deep breathing, meditating, listening to music, writing a few words down on paper, utilizing sensory relaxation techniques, and practicing self-control.
Consume 3 meals a day plus good for you snacks.
At a minimum try to eat 3 good quality meals a day and at least 1 healthy snack in between. Eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism in the morning. Follow breakfast with a balanced lunch and dinner, with some healthy snacks in between. Where possible, stick with your scheduled mealtimes, as skipping meals frequently leads to binge eating or emotional eating later in the day as you haven’t managed your nutrition that day.
Keep away from temptation.
Throw away (or give away) those unhealthy, sugar loaded, junk filled snacks. You’re much more likely to binge if you have junk food, sweets, and unhealthy snacks in the house or at your work desk. Take away the temptation by clearing your refrigerator and pantry of your preferred go-to unhealthy foods. Start replacing your go to foods with healthier alternatives such as apple slices with cinnamon and honey or strawberries dipped in good quality dark chocolate.
Let’s say that again: QUIT DIETING! You’ve heard it before, but it’s important! The deprivation and hunger of dieting almost always kick off food cravings and the urge to overeat because we deprive our bodies of essential and quality nutrition. Rather than going on a diet, base your diet on eating healthier and controlling your portions. Put balance back into your diet, and discover nutritious foods that you love. Take small bites, and eat only until you feel satisfied, not uncomfortably full. Instead of banning foods altogether, try crowding them out with better options to the need to eat them slowly diminishes.
It’s time to get moving. Not only will exercise help you slim down in a healthy way, but it also does wonders for your body by lifting depression, betters overall health, and brings down stress. The natural mood-boosting effects of physical activity may help put a stop to emotional eating. Just try something as simple as walking for 10 minutes a day or doing some morning and evening stretches, or if you are up to it, go for a 20-30 minute run.
One of the common reasons for weight gain is eating out of boredom. Rather than snacking when you’re bored, try to distract yourself. Take a walk; call a friend, read a book, watch a funny video, read the jokes section in the newspaper, or take up a hobby. Think of ways you can keep a little busy to stop your tummy speaking to your brain when it’s not actually hungry.
Get adequate sleep.
If you’re tired, you might want to keep eating in order to supercharge your energy. Take a nap or go to sleep earlier as an alternative. Aim for a good quality sleep of around 7-9 hours (depending on your body’s needs). Sleep will allow your body time to rest and also the time to digest your food for the day.
Listen to your body.
This is probably the most important part of losing weight for life. Learn to differentiate between physical and emotional hunger. If you ate recently and don’t have a growling tummy, you’re probably not truly hungry. Give the craving time to pass by drinking a glass of water and really listening to your body at the time.
Maintain a food diary.
To get great insights into your eating patterns and to truly understand your body when losing weight, it’s important to keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, when, how much, and how you’re feeling while you eat. You might come across patterns that reveal the connection between your moods and eating.
You’re more likely to buckle under to binge eating triggers if you lack a firm support network. Talking helps, even if it’s not with a professional person. Lean on loved ones and friends, join a support group, or ask a professional for help (contact form is below ;)).