You’ve just finished a huge Thanksgiving meal.
Some of you are stuffed to nauseous status, others are stuffed to guilty status.
Now I’m going to speak to the guilty feeling folks right now: Stop feeling guilty. Accept it for what it is. If you’re feeling extremely full, go on a family walk, or just pass out in front of the football game.
I both work in weight loss and have struggled with my own weight, so I understand building a healthy relationship with food is a challenge. Weight and body image are sensitive subjects, and I’d be preaching to the choir if I wrote an article about the effect our society plays, so instead I’ll stick to the positive, how to develop a good relationship with food and your body.
This is a raging battle for most, and for a type 1 diabetic, it’s a hundred times worse. As a diabetic, taking care of yourself means examining every morsel you let down your esophagus and calculating how your metabolism will react and the amount of insulin required. We constantly play the balancing act trying to maintain sugar levels in the normal range and hopefully avoiding lows and highs. Food is a crucial factor in diabetes care, meaning it can take over your life, as it did mine. Even with the medical technology we now have, pumps and continuous glucose monitoring, constant awareness and carbohydrate counting are still crucial for control. I have friends who when concerned or stressed will forget to eat (the health of this is questionable). As a diabetic it is impossible to simply forget to eat or forget about food, because your diabetes will remind you. Maybe you’ll get low in the middle of a meeting or run out of glucose mid run because you didn’t eat lunch. Whatever it is, at some point food will rule your thoughts.
For diabetics and non-diabetics alike, building a positive relationship with food and your body is still important, and something most of us need to work on
8 Steps to Creating a Healthy Relationship with Food
1. Stop Stressing about every calorie you eat and start really enjoying ever bite.
You probably already have enough stress in your lives and don’t need to add to that by capping your calories at 1200. Instead enjoy every bite and try to eat as mindfully and colorfully (I’m not referring to skittles) as possible. The more micronutrients you have in your diet, the better you’ll feel.
2. Be proud of your physical accomplishments
Yes, most of us have those days when our body refuses to do what we think it ought to. Whether you’re struggling to get into side crow, Run those miles, or do a final rep with a heavy weight, remember to be proud that you are at least making the effort. Keep putting in that effort, and hopefully eventually you’ll be going from crow to headstand, completing that set or finishing your first half marathon (something I have yet to do).
3. Stop feeling guilty after eating
We all do it, and with holiday parties approaching, the guilt may creep in. Instead of setting yourself up for a guilt trip and then taking it out on your body the next day, allow yourself to slip up and enjoy that slip up. If you feel terrible treat yourself to a relaxing walk or swim.
5. Be naked more often
Or maybe just wear less clothing around your house. This may make you seem like an exhibitionist, but it will help you become more comfortable with your body, ideally leading to more self-love.
I’m not kidding. You may ask me how this could possibly help with your body image, but it does. Even if you’re in a relationship, taking time for yourself is important, and what could be more personal? An added plus is the dopamine/oxytocin high.
7. Spend more time outside
Yes, it’s winter even in San Francisco, but taking your workouts outside still has all the same benefits as it did in the summer.
8. Remain Positive
In the studies I work on, the participants that remain positive even when they aren’t losing the most weight, are the most successful. I have to believe that this is because they don’t get discouraged or sweat the small stuff, but instead see the big picture: the goal is to be as healthy as you can be both mentally and physically.