I Love Food Day is being celebrated on September 9th! I’m excited that this day exists so we can all share our love for food. Chocolate covered strawberries? Homemade macaroni & cheese? Decadent chocolate cake? What would you celebrate with (you can tell I’m a chocolate fan!)? Sometimes our love for food can be confusing though, right? Every day news about food or nutrition is changing. One day something is “good” for us and the next it is “bad” for us. If that wasn’t enough, then there’s also WHY we eat that can confuse us. For example, “I’m not feeling very hungry right now but I really want to eat some chips.” Sometimes we can have a love/hate relationship with food. Let’s break down some of this confusion.
Take the morality out of food
Thinking of food as “good” or “bad” can actually have negative consequences. When we eat these “bad” foods, we internalize this and think of ourselves as “bad”. We don’t even enjoy these foods while we eat them because we’re feeling so guilty about it and usually end up eating more than we intended. Try taking these labels away from food and ask “What do I feel like eating today?” instead of “What should I eat today” and see how this shift in mindset can help your relationship with food. It might be scary at first, but stick with it! Your body will naturally encourage you to eat nutritious foods most of the time and still enjoy things you may think of as off limits right now.
Listen to your body
We have all gotten out of touch with our bodies’ wants and needs when it comes to food and nutrition. Instead of listening to our inner nutrition expert, we ignore it and we don’t trust ourselves around food. If we only listened more closely, our bodies would tell us what we need and when we need it. Practicing mindful and intuitive eating are amazing approaches to help us get back in tune with our bodies.
Diets don’t work
It’s true! Many of us probably know this already but we continue to immerse ourselves in dieting and diet culture because we don’t know what to do instead. I give you full permission to STOP the madness. Stop looking for the next best plan or program and listen to your body.
Watch out for fake news
Nutrition headlines are always out there about super foods or the latest fad diet, usually trying to sell products or spread information that sounds good but isn’t always backed with real scientific evidence. Be weary of any headlines promising things that are too good to be true, focus on weight loss, or seem extreme.
Lastly, avoid making food and nutrition about changing your body.
Most of us would probably like to change something about our bodies. But where do these feelings come from? Typically, cultural pressure to feel like we need to look a certain way to be of value and to be healthy. This is beyond problematic. All bodies are good bodies. If you’re unhappy with your body, try to start accepting and respecting your body. One way to do this is replace negative self-talk about your body (or yourself in general) with positive thoughts. At least noticing these negative thoughts can help too. If you wouldn’t say these things to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself. This may be really difficult at first. Try expressing gratitude for your body to start. Be thankful that your legs can carry you from place to place or that your arms can be used to embrace people you care about. Stay positive!
Practice these suggestions and see how your relationship with food and your body changes. You may even be able to celebrate I Love Food Day exactly the way you want.