Food can be like that charming ex you dated on and off throughout your entire high school career: frustrating and complicating, with a dash of unhealthy obsession. Except this time, it’s unlikely that you can cut the cord completely and move on. Food is a necessity. So, you must decide to be “just friends” and develop a respectful and balanced relationship with it.
But how can we maintain that healthy relationship with food?
Marque Medical has developed 6 Dos and Don’ts to keep your relationship with food as healthy as possible.
1) DO: Practice Portion Control
Learn to serve yourself the right amount of food. Calorie intake will vary depending on age, gender, and how physically active you are. Here are some tricks to refrain from overeating. Use smaller plates, like a salad plate, to dish out your main meal. Smaller plates are harder to pile up. Surprisingly, the color of your plate can also affect how much you eat. The more the food blends in with the plate color, the more you’re likely to overeat. Try blue or white plates, that’ll make portions easier to see. Finally, opt for individual serving sizes for your favorite guilty pleasures. Rather than allowing yourself the opportunity to sit on the couch with that tub of rocky road or family-size bag of Lays, buy single-serving packages to control portions effectively.
2) DO: Eat Mindfully
The Center for Mindful Eating explains that the connection we have with food reflects what is going on with our internal and external environments. Eating mindfully means individuals process their responses to food without judgment (no blaming or shaming). After which, they’re able to become more aware of hunger and satiety cues to guide eating decisions. Listen to your body.
3) DO: Eat When You’re Physically Hungry
Not eating when your body’s hungry is as unhealthy of a relationship with food as overeating. It’s okay to be hungry. It’s healthy to be hungry. Don’t fear food, enjoy it. Create positive eating experiences to avoid added stress in your life.
4) DON’T: Skip Breakfast
“Starting your day with a healthy, balanced breakfast with proteins, fats, and carbs and not high in sugar is the key to healthy eating,” says Marjorie Nolan Cohn, MS, RD, CDN, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Breakfast has been scientifically proven to give us more energy and nutrients we’d miss throughout the day. The National Health Service says, “Eating breakfast has long term health benefits. It can reduce obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.”
5) DON’T: Let Negative Emotions Control Your Eating Habits
“Emotional eating is typically to soothe unpleasant emotional arousal,” says clinical psychologist and author of Emotional Eating, Edward Abramson, Ph.D. Identify what’s really going on first. If it’s boredom, stress, or an emotional response other than hunger, find a healthier outlet for those emotions. Take a walk, call a friend, write your frustrations in a journal, or turn on your favorite song. Find ways to reduce the real reasons you may be reaching out for food.
6) DON’T: Compare Yourself to Others
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Your nutritional needs and body type are a lot different than those fitness idols you follow on social media. Your relationship with food is your own. Eat what feels right for you. Listen to your body when it tries to tell you something. And finally, love your body enough to nurture and maintain a balanced relationship with food.
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