When you think about it, food is one of the most consistent and prevalent aspects of our lives. Multiple times each day we’re determining, whether consciously or subconsciously, what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat.
Food can be a delicious and nourishing part of our days. But with all the messaging swirling around about which foods are “good” and which are “bad”, as well as when and how much we “should” be eating – there can end up being a lot of guilt, shame and confusion around our food choices. Not to mention, we all lead busy lives and making time to eat healthfully can be hard!
But it’s time to change that. Let’s dig into three ways we can build a healthy, happy relationship with food.
1. Work on eating more intuitively
Between the many diets, the mixed messaging, and the pressure for our bodies to look a certain way in our society, many of us have become disconnected from our bodies and our own internal cues. A wealth of research indicates that a premise such as Intuitive Eating can help us to eat in a more balanced, healthful way that is aligned with our body’s tastes and needs. Consider reading a book like Intuitive Eating to learn more about how you can honor your hunger, find satisfaction in your meals, and incorporate gentle nutrition practices that feel right for you.
2. Practice mindful eating
In today’s busy, stressful world, it’s easy to end up eating in a rush, while distracted, or for emotional reasons. Mindful eating has been shown to be effective in addressing binge eating, emotional eating and eating in response to external cues. Some ways to practice mindful eating are:
Taking a moment before mealtime to check in with your body to determine how hungry you truly are and what you feel would satisfy that hunger
Avoiding distractions such as your phone or work, and focusing on the experience of eating
Taking time to truly appreciate and experience that food -- look, touch and smell while preparing and before eating
Chewing slowly and checking in with yourself throughout to see if you are still hungry and that the food is still tasting good to you
This may take time to get used to, so be patient as you build in this new practice.
3. Make food preparation fun!
Eating nourishing, healthful foods is a whole lot easier when we enjoy the process of preparing them. But with the many things we have to do in our days, this may not always feel like the easiest task. Ask yourself what you could do to enjoy preparing healthful meals more. Perhaps you could team up with a friend and call each other when meal prepping for the day or week and catch up while you cook. Or you could pick a favorite podcast or album that you only listen to while cooking. In addition, if it fits within your budget, consider occasionally incorporating meal kit delivery services such as Chefs Plate or HelloFresh. These can be a helpful way to experiment with some new recipes and flavors and reinvigorate your inspiration.
Most importantly, be kind and patient with yourself as you work on establishing a healthy relationship with food. It won’t happen overnight, but with time you can find your way to a healthy, enjoyable and satisfying way of eating that works for you.
Want to learn more about mindfulness?
If you feel your busy days are keeping you from living more mindfully, consider booking our Mindfulness for Busy Working Professionals workshop for you and your team.