As a culture, we have been subconsciously inundated with a lot of bad and even dangerous habits when it comes to our relationships with food. Food is everywhere and our habits are killing our goals. How can you begin to break lifelong conditioning? Here are a few tips!
1. Eat mindfully
Snacking is a favored form of eating in American culture. From holidays to parties, to just about any gathering in public, we are always surrounded by food. You know you have considered canceling plans until you found out there was going to be food. No shame, sistah, I’ve done the same!
The problem is that we find ourselves worshipping food as a culture, eating even when it’s not necessary. While I am a proponent for eating deliciously, food is to be enjoyed with a purpose, not out of boredom or for the sake of eating.
2. Enjoy everything in moderation
It is common for us to fall into the rhythm of cooking with the same ingredients all the time. Especially if cooking is not your forte, seeking new ingredients can sound exhausting. However, neglecting dietary variety is like listening to Frozen’s Let It Go on repeat while driving from New York to Southern California.
Our bodies will begin giving off subtle warning signs that it is starting to hate those foods – things like a scratchy throat, itchy ears, fatigue, mild stomach and chest pains, etc. It is quietly pleading “Please stop, or I will have to kill you. Literally. STOP!” Getting adventurous with Pinterest or cooking apps every few months will avoid the development of food allergies and intolerances. Stay tuned for more info on how I am looking to serve you in this area.
3. Eat when you’re physically hungry
Drinking proper amounts of water will curb pangs of hunger significantly. Getting your body used to an eating schedule teaches it when to expect nourishment. Starving yourself, snacking all day, and eating sporadically puts your body in survival mode. It will start holding all body fat in case you decide to starve it, which will contribute to weight gain and dangerous amounts of inflammation.
4. Stop eating when you’re comfortably full
By the time you’re so full your stomach hurts, your body has had more than enough. As a child, you might have been conditioned to clean your plate whether you were full or not. That well-meaning practice only skewed your relationship with food. It trained your mind to associate leftover food with negative feelings. It is 100% okay to stop eating when your body is done.
5. Don’t keep problematic foods in the house
One random day, you might be sitting in your house, ready to cut out junk food, so you decide to eat all of the junk food in the house so it won’t be a temptation, right? Cut the problem off at the source. Don’t buy it, don’t allow other people to bring junk food into your house, and don’t even do the sympathy walk through that section of the store, looking at your vices longingly.
6. Don’t sit down with the whole bag or box
If you have access to the whole package – especially if you’re eating while doing something else – you’re most likely going to mindlessly eat until the food is gone. If you pour yourself a bowl of food closer to the serving size, once it runs out, you’re most likely going to think a little longer about getting up, pulling the package out again, opening it, and preparing a second round of snacks.
7. Know the difference between a snack and a treat
There’s taste-testing the food as you cook, and then there’s preparing an entire snack as you make the meal…you’re also going to taste-test the meal as you eat your other snack. No matter what anyone says, we’ve all done it. Snacks are smaller meals that serve you good nutrients. Treats are typically foods that should be enjoyed in moderation. Light servings of whole foods or meat serve as snacks individually. Eating them altogether as your 5th sizeable meal of the day is a little more than a treat. Sugary foods – even the natural ones – are deemed as a “treat”.
8. Give yourself permission to enjoy eating
This is one of the most direct things you can do to improve your food mindset. It may help to write down affirmations defying your toxic beliefs about food and eating habits. Place them around your kitchen and the places you most often eat.
Eating is necessary and great for you. If you’re struggling just to eat or eating on a schedule, this may be the first step for you. Speak positively to yourself, be patient, and take time to appreciate the food in front of you every time you eat.
9. Don’t “make up” for a meal
Do you double dose on medication if you miss a dose? No, that can harm your body significantly. Food is medicine. If you miss a meal, don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t feel entitled to a double meal. Eat until you’re full, and make sure you’re maintaining proper water intake.
10. Don’t eat for the number on the scale
The fastest way to fail at losing weight is to focus on losing weight. Speaking directly to my all-or-nothing gals, if your end goal is to lose weight, a couple of things happen. First, you will most likely become stressed about the pressure of changing your eating habits for weight loss, which will cause you to spiral. You might start stress eating or starving. Second, you won’t be eating for the right reason. Your mind is carrying out the opposite of the “clean-your-plate-or-else” mentality. It’s equally as toxic. Extremism is rarely not dangerous. You’re not eating for the wrong reasons. Food is not about weight.
Are you struggling to cultivate a healthy relationship with food? Let’s chat!
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