Your Relationship With Food: 5 Factors to Consider
Your relationship with food goes far deeper than simply what you eat on a daily basis. In fact, a negative or unhealthy relationship with food can affect everything from your relationships to your self-esteem and wellbeing. But how do you know if you’re in an unhealthy relationship with food, and how do you change negative patterns? We break it down for you below.
What Is a Healthy Relationship With Food?
A healthy attitude towards food means you allow yourself to eat when you’re hungry. You don’t eat for emotional reasons, or as a coping mechanism – you stop when you’re satisfied both in mind and body.
So, you’re in a healthy relationship with food if you can eat without attaching negative feelings to the experience. Negative feelings or behaviors might include:
- Having a set of rules around what you can and can’t eat
- Feeling guilty if you eat a certain food
- Apologizing for what you eat
- Stressing out if you’re in a social situation where there’s more food involved
- Relying on fitness trackers or apps to dictate your food allowance
- Ignoring your own hunger signals
- Labelling certain foods “off limits” with no medical reason to do so
Does this sound like you? If not, don’t worry! You simply need to understand what influences your relationship with food, and what steps to take to move forward.
What Influences Your Relationship With Food
There are five major influences on how you view food and which type of eating patterns you’re most comfortable with: personality, past experience, habits, senses, and your external life. Let’s consider how each factor affects your relationship with food and some possible warning signs for toxic feelings.
1. Your Personality
Yes, your personality influences your relationship with food! If you’re prone to anxiety, you might be more prone to controlling your food intake. On the other hand, if you’re outgoing and sociable, you might be really chilled about how you eat, even if it means you eat to excess.
While you can’t control your personality, it’s important to be mindful of how it might affect your attitude to food.
2. Your History
If you’ve struggled with an eating disorder or any form or eating disorder in the past, there’s a chance that those traumas may still influence how you eat now.
You might also attach negative or restrictive emotions to food if you have a history of chronic dieting, or if your parents instilled certain eating habits in your mindset as a child.
3. Your Habits
Bad habits are hard to break! If, for example, you’re prone to eating while working at a desk, or drinking alcohol while watching a movie, these patterns could subconsciously be fuelling an unhealthy relationship with food.
3. Your Senses
Do you have strong “sensory” associations with food? Some people find that triggers like a familiar taste or sweet smell are enough to encourage overeating. While you should savor what your senses are telling you, it’s crucial you understand how much control they have over your eating patterns.
5. Your Work and Social Life
The eating patterns of those around you, in a work or social setting, may influence how you view food. So, for example, if your friends are all trying different “fad” diets, you might feel pressured to try your own diet. Or, if your peers comment on how much you eat, you might subconsciously restrict your food intake to fit in.
How to Build a Healthy Relationship With Food
Changing your relationship with food is a challenge, but don’t worry – it’s absolutely possible! Here are some tips to consider if you’re ready to change your eating patterns for the better.
It’s your body – never let the opinions of others control what you eat, or how often you eat.
If you’re hungry, eat. Your body’s trying to tell you something, so respect it! Eat free from other distractions so you can actually enjoy and savor your meals. Remember that no food is off-limits unless you have a medical condition. Enjoy everything in moderation.
Most importantly, be patient with yourself. Negative eating patterns can take time to reverse.
How Wellory Can Help You Build Your Relationship With Food
There’s no need to struggle with disordered eating alone. At Wellory, our coaches can walk with you every step of the way as you find a new, improved relationship with your favorite foods!
To find out more, simply contact us, or download the app and start your 1:1 nutrition coaching today!