7 Simple Steps To Transform Your Relationship With Food

by Shahrzad Warkentin

Sustenance is one of the most basic human needs, but navigating your relationship with food can be very complex. Break free of any negativity related to eating (ie, there's no need to hate yourself just because you indulged in that burger) and build a positive association with eating instead.

And by the way, this big topic appears in our addictive new original show Altar'd, premiering January 17 at 8PM, where brides- and grooms-to-be are challenged to lose weight 90 days before their wedding — transforming their eating habits, exercise habits, and basically, their entire lives. Check out more about the new show here. 

Ready to transform your own relationship with food, and make the act of eating something more positive and mindful? Try these 7 simple tips:

1. Find ways to enjoy the act of eating more.

Somewhere along the fast food drive-thru-filled road of life, the fine art of eating a meal for the sake of enjoying it has been forgotten. While you may not be able to make every breakfast, lunch, and dinner a long, enjoyably drawn-out affair, carve out time to slow down for at least one meal a week. Focus less on Instagramming your food, unplug from the world as you eat, and just live in the moment. Be mindful of tastes and how you feel as you eat. Being present helps to shift your attention away from feelings of guilt and helps you eat happier.

Also on Z Living: A Cheat Day Helps You Lose Weight

2. Grow your own dinner.

Nothing will make you appreciate food more than growing it yourself. Spending hours in the garden planting, watering, and weeding is rewarding in so many ways, but one of the greatest gifts is the sensation as you bite into that first ripe red tomato or crisp cucumber. Food tastes different when you've grown it yourself because you're acutely aware of all the labor that went into that one simple bite. This newfound appreciation will help you be more mindful of how and what you eat.

3. Hone your culinary skills.

Going hand in hand with growing food is preparing it. Too often the enjoyment of cooking is tossed aside in the flurry of getting your family fed, but even with eating, the journey can be just as rewarding as the destination. Hone your culinary skills by signing up for a cooking class or buying a new cookbook. Set aside one night a week to focus on the art of cooking and have fun with it. Invite your spouse or kids to join in too. Working together to lovingly craft a healthy meal will make eating it that much more enjoyable. Check out all of Z Living's popular cooking shows that focus on crafting healthier recipes and eating mindfully.

4. Create new food traditions.

Holidays and major life events are inextricably linked with food. From turkey and pies at Thanksgiving, to icing covered cakes for birthdays, food is a big part of celebrating, no matter what your background or culture. You don’t have to cut out food from the festivities in order to avoid the guilt of overindulgence. Instead of breaking traditions, create new ones. Adapt recipes and meals to healthier versions so that you can eat without worry and create a more positive connection between food and celebrating life's greatest moments. 

Also on Z Living: Simple Swaps For Your Favorite Holiday Comfort Foods

5. Focus on goals instead of numbers.

When you’re trying to lose weight, the scale can be very intimidating and have a negative impact on your relationship with food. Break the bad cycle and stay off the scale altogether. Instead, focus on specific goals you want to meet, like eating meatless meals a certain number of days a week or fitting into a specific pair of jeans. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what the numbers on the scale are, if you are accomplishing what you set out to attain.

Also on Z Living: How To Think Yourself Thin Using Nothing But Your Mind

6. Listen to your body.

Rather than trying to stick to regimented meal times that can leave you feeling stressed about when you can eat, stop watching the clock and start listening to your body instead. When you feel hungry, eat, and when you feel full, stop. It may sound too easy, but it really can be that simple in order to avoid overeating and stressing over being hungry. It can take a while to really get in tune with the cues your body is giving you, especially after years of eating meals too quickly or stress-eating. Take some time to really get to know yourself and your needs. 

7. Focus on your physical reaction to food.

Instead of focusing on what is good or bad for you, pay attention to how specific foods make you feel. For example, foods that are more nutritious might leave you feeling lighter and healthier after a meal, while foods that tend to be rich or salty can leave you feeling sluggish and bloated. When you understand how your body will react to a certain food you might be inclined to eat more or less of it.

Don't miss Altar'd, premiering January 17 at 8PMCheck out more about the new show here. 

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