At the core of cyclical, yo-yo dieting is often one singular truth: Many of us have an unhealthy relationship with food. You might be using food to soothe emotions, you might feel addicted to certain foods, or you might even hate food because it has become such a problem in your life. Whatever your feelings, an unhealthy relationship with food can make it very difficult to lose weight and keep it off.
Just as treating an underlying disorder is preferable to treating only the symptoms, changing your relationship with food is a better choice than adopting one fad diet after another. As you begin your weight loss plan, use these six tips to begin changing your relationship with food.
Give up fad diets – for good. Fad diets encourage you to view foods in black or white, all or nothing terms. Foods are labeled “good” and “bad”, and you are expected to follow a strict diet of only “good” foods. The problem is, no one can stay on these types of diets forever. So they only encourage yo-yo dieting and an unhealthy preoccupation with shame.
Forgive yourself. No one is perfect all of the time. No, not even Gwyneth Paltrow! If you’ve indulged in past mistakes regarding food, accept that you can’t change the past. You can only change the present and future. Keep your mind’s eye focused forward.
Enjoy your food. Yes, really, even when you’re trying to lose weight, you should enjoy your food! Remember that for most people, eating is a social affair. So invite a friend over to make chef salads together, or meet up for a smoothie and chat. Also, while many healthy foods are also tasty, presenation can also matter. Set the table with your favorite dishes, and add a festive touch of flowers or a candle. Try new recipes that you find online or in cookbooks, and food can become an enjoyable hobby.
Adjust your mindset about “forbidden” foods. Is there a healthier substitute that is almost as tasty? That works for some people. On the other hand, sometimes only the “real deal” will do. Give yourself permission to indulge; just remember appropriate serving sizes.
Practice gratitude. Often we get hung up on negatives, such as foods we can’t have or how much we don’t feel like exercising. Instead, try to see the good in every situation. You are fortunate to have nutritious food to eat, you’re able to walk and ride bikes, and you’re in relatively good health. Celebrate all that you can do, and try to let go of the “cants”.
Schedule an appointment with us. If you’ve struggled to lose weight in the past, or you need help changing your relationship with food, call us to schedule an appointment. We can help you identify the problems that have held you back in the past, and refer you for nutritional counseling or other services as needed.