Our relationship with food is a major factor in success and happiness while attempting to change body composition or lose fat.
Unfortunately, attempts to change body composition are often accompanied by intense restriction and even guilt if we go off course occasionally.
This causes yo-yo dieting, binge eating and in severe cases, can even lead to eating disorders.
Remember, having a healthy relationship is essential, not only for success when dieting but also ensuring sustainable changes that generate happiness and satisfaction rather than guilt and shame in the long term.
In this article, I’ll describe 6 of the best tips I’ve experienced in a decade of coaching clients for helping to rebuild a damaged relationship with food.
Tip #1: Consider A Flexible Dieting Approach
One of the best things you can do for yourself in order to have a better relationship with food is to consider using a flexible dieting approach.
The flexible dieting approach uses energy balance and a focus on macros (carb, protein and fat) to drive your weight loss, rather than focusing on specific acceptable foods.
In essence, you find your required calories and then decide on a macronutrient ratio. From here, you can consume any foods you desire, as long as the total calories and macros are in line with your budget.
For example, this approach of dieting allows foods such as ice cream and even pizza, as long as you’re not over consuming total calories.
Unfortunately, many other types of dieting focus on foods you have to exclude, even if you enjoy consuming them. This creates an issue because it can result in stress and even guilt if you decide to indulge in those foods.
By using a flexible approach rather than a restrictive one, you’ll be able to continue to see progress while enjoying foods you normally consume.
Tip #2: Eat Trigger Foods In Moderation
Continuing after the suggestion for a flexible approach, I suggest that you identify trigger foods and eat them in moderation.
If you have a subpar relationship with food, these foods will include those which make you feel guilty after consumption.
Often times, we assign certain feelings of anguish and guilt with certain indulgent foods. Pizza for instance is one of my personal trigger foods. In the past, after eating pizza, I have sometimes felt as if I’ve let myself down. Now, I realize I can easily eat it every week and still reach my goals if it’s in moderation.
The best way to overcome this issue is to consume these foods in moderation while accepting that the world isn’t going to come to an end because you’ve consumed it. When you do this, you will relax more and actually be able to achieve a better balance.
By consuming trigger foods in moderation, you’ll allow yourself to be comfortable and enjoy a smaller amount of those foods rather than eating a whole pizza and feeling like you failed.
Tip #3: Focus On The Whole Picture, Instead Of One Meal
When it comes to trigger foods, often times we think of our diet in specific segments rather than considering the whole picture.
Many times, if you indulge in foods like pizza or ice cream, it’s easy to feel bad about it and view yourself as failing in your goal. The truth is that your success or failure in a diet is largely dependent on your long-term changes.
Ensuring that you’ve reduced calories on average over the course of a month is far more important than the fact that you ate an additional 200 calories at dinner.
While it can sometimes easily occur that you blame yourself and feel guilty for eating indulgent foods, it’s a habit that can ruin your diet and happiness. Rather than blaming yourself for enjoying food, consider your long-term progress and understand that your success is dependent on much more than one single meal.
Tip #4: Don’t Guilt Yourself
Guilting yourself because of food is a bad road to go down. Many of us, myself included, are prone to do this, but it can single-handedly ruin your relationship with food.
If you begin or even continue measuring your self worth based on your foods choices, you’re setting yourself up for failure and misery.
As mentioned prior, your success is contingent on many different variables, not single meals. Rather than blaming yourself for enjoying food, consider trying to make up for it by reducing calories the next day or exercise for an additional 20 minutes.
Any way you spin it, there’s little reason to feel guilty over single meals, especially since you can easily make up for it.
Tip #5: Search For Testimonials Of Flexible Dieting
I know you think that it must be too good to be true that you can eat foods you enjoy while still losing weight. However, it isn’t.
Since the birth of the flexible dieting approach hit mainstream media, literally thousands of people like you have experienced firsthand the power of flexible dieting for providing a better relationship with food while still seeing results.
Sometimes, you just need to see proof for yourself that the idea will actually work.
I suggest searching the Internet to find success stories for people using this approach and understand how their relationship with food and their personal body image has changed as a result.
You can view some of the results that members of RudyMawer.com have achieved here, using similar dieting approaches and advance workout techniques.
Tip #6: Stop Labeling Foods As Good Or Bad
One of the better things you can do for your relationship with food is to stop labeling foods as good or bad.
Unless, of course, we are talking about ingredients such as Trans Fats, there are few foods or ingredients that are truly “bad for you.”
Unfortunately, our society has placed many different types of foods in categories, which are often considered good or bad. As a result, many people consider bad foods to be the sole cause of many health issues.
As mentioned, your success is contingent on multiple variables and your average actions.
I suggest attempting to cease labeling foods as good or bad and enjoy most foods in moderation. Doing so will help to eliminate guilt while putting you on track to having a better relationship with food.
6 Tips To Build A Better Relationship With Food
Having a bad relationship with food is a difficult situation to be in. Fortunately, we’re starting to understand that intense restriction simply isn’t necessary and there are better and more sustainable approaches to changing body weight.
Use the above tips to work towards having a better relationship with food as it will significantly improve your progress and likely your whole life.
If you want enjoyable and easy to follow recipes that let you love your diet, check out our 120 High Protein Recipe Cookbook here.