Hear me when I say that 'healthy' when it comes to food is about so much more than just being mindful or eating your fruits and veggies. It is also largely about your individual relationship to food and all the nuances that come along with that. Heres 7 signs that you might have a poor relationship with food.
1. You place morality on food
Using words like good and bad to describe food seems harmless, but it's actually doing you more damage than you might realise. Using these words to describe foods implies that they have morality attached to them, which they DO NOT. No food is inherently good or bad- this is diet culture speaking (learn more). Instead of using this language, try to be more intentional in the way you describe food eg: more/less nutrient dense, more/less optimal, more/less ideal.
2. You think about food a lot
I'm not talking about mental excitement or anticipation of a delicious meal. I mean when your thoughts about food are taking up a lot of brain space, a lot of the time. What to eat, what not to eat. When to eat, when not to eat. How much to eat, how often to eat- to the point where you don't have the brain space for things you actually want to think about. Things that actually bring you joy instead of just stressing you out!
3. You have a lot of food rules
Food is actually pretty simple and straightforward... or at least it should be. Its the rules we create and adopt surrounding food that make it seem difficult and confusing. Not sure how to examine your own food rules? start by being mindful of where you use words like should/shouldn't, or can/can't with food. The truth is there are very few actual rules when it comes to food.
4. You track everything you eat every day
Now I am not denying that tracking food can be a fantastic educational tool to help you feel in control of your nutrition and empowered in your food choices. But I do not believe it should be a long term thing for ANYONE. If the thought of not tracking your food seems scary or impossible, something needs to change! Even my clients who have very specific aesthetic or body compositional goals have days, weeks and months of untracked eating... and you should too!
5. You view food only as fuel
While at its core, food is simply calories/ energy and therefore is fuel for our bodies... it is so much more than that! food is meant to be enjoyed. You should never need permission to enjoy the food you eat. You also have the power to eat something simply because you want it! While it is important to be able to balance eating for fuel with eating for enjoyment- both have equal value in a healthy relationship with food! Plus, enjoying the food you eat will actually aid in your adherence to any goal oriented eating plan you may have- so it makes the process so much easier!
6. You think you have to earn your food
Never, under any circumstances, should you have to earn the right to eat your food and nourish your body. Regardless of it you exercised or not, ate more the day before etc- your body needs enough food, every day, no matter what. And its fine if you don't eat exactly the same amount every day, or if you eat strategically for your training performance. But not eating enough simply 'because' is a huge red flag.
7. Food makes you feel negatively
You shouldn't feel guilt or shame for what or how much you eat. I get it, sometimes people in your life may offer their unsolicited input on your food choices, but if YOU are making YOURSELF feel bad because of your inner beliefs about food- That is a problem. Simply put, food isn't that deep, so you really don't need to feel like it's a huge make or break thing on a continual basis.
Does this sound like you? Don't worry you're not alone.
I have quite literally struggled with every single one of these things before and let me tell you IT SUCKS. You are definitely not alone in this, but with awareness, comes the opportunity to actually do something about it! Something that I would recommend, is investing in a nutrition coach to help take control of your relationship with nutrition and feel empowered in your ability to make the right food choices for you!