5 Tips For A Healthier Relationship With Food

For anyone who struggles with an impaired relationship with food, building a healthier one can sometimes seem like an impossibility. We’re here to today to let you know that it is by no means impossible to repair your relationship with food but it may require some work and it doesn’t happen overnight. As a result, it’s really important that you’re consistent with your efforts and that you actually WANT to improve your relationship with food. As strange as it may sound, simply saying that you do doesn’t actually mean you do.

Really exploring where this relationship comes from can be really helpful in making the first step to improving it. We must highlight that anyone struggling with an eating disorder should seek personalised advice from their GP and that this information is very general and therefore some pointers may resonate with you whilst others may not. For more personalised information please always seek advice from your healthcare provider.  

Explore where this relationship comes from
An impaired relationship with food can be triggered by a number of external and internal factors which include: feeling out of control in other areas of your life, a lack of self-esteem, self-confidence or self-worth, a controlling person in your life or pressure to look a certain way and competition from those around you. Once you can identify where this comes from (and for some people it can be far more complex than it can for others) it can be much easier to tackle it as you can work on dealing with the contributing factors.


Learn your triggers
Your impaired relationship with food can be triggered by a variety of factors and it can be challenging to work on improving this relationship if you’re not sure where your triggers are coming from. In order to try to acknowledge what triggers you, keep a food and events diary whereby you can record times at which your dietary intake is most affected along with the events which occurred before and after. Over a period of time you may be able to create more of a picture as to what your triggers are.


Find ways to manage your emotions
Changes in emotions can be a great contributing factor to overeating. Once you have identified your triggers you can then start to acknowledge them as they creep in. If emotions such as sadness, loneliness, stress and anxiety are impacting your dietary intake try to find other ways to release these emotions so you’re not having to rely on food. For example reading a book, sitting down with a cup of tea, going for a walk or listening to a podcast can all help to leave you feeling a little calmer. Additionally, journaling can be a great way to release your emotions too.


Practise eating mindfully
Eating mindfully helps you to engage more in what you’re eating rather than eating mindlessly and in a state of stress or anxiety. Where possible, try to ensure you’re always sitting down when you eat, avoid distractions such as phones, TV, newspapers or work. This can improve digestion and promote the feelings of satiety from your food too.


Tune in to your appetite
Being able to identify the difference between true hunger and emotional hunger can help you to assess whether you’re eating for reasons other than being truly hungry. Hunger which comes on suddenly and requires instant food is likely to be emotional or stress related hunger. In these cases try to remove yourself from a food focussed environment and focus on something unrelated. For example, phone a friend, watch TV or engage in a creative activity as a way to re-train yourself out of thinking about food when the emotions kick in.


There you have some top tips for helping to improve your relationship with food, however, if it is impacting your quality of life please seek personalised professional advice.