Maintaining a Positive Relationship With Food When Making a Lifestyle Change

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

When it comes to making a healthy lifestyle change, one of the most common changes people want to commit to, is maintaining a healthy weight. However, once the decision has been made to work toward a healthier lifestyle, it is important to know that it is not only your actions that you are working on changing. You are also changing your mindset. A positive change cannot be made with a negative mindset.

The Joy of Food

In the August edition of WELCOA‘s Well Balanced newsletter, Maggie Gough, RD, explains the role that food plays in our lives. She states that “food is one of the most enjoyable aspects of life,” and she is right. When we gather with friends and family, it is often around a dinner table. When we travel to a new place, we are excited to try the local delicacies because it is one of the best ways to experience a new culture. When we want to show our love, appreciation, or sympathy for those we care about, we cook them a meal. These are all positive associations with food. As soon as we begin making a lifestyle change, though, the first thing to change is our view of food. When you view food negatively, it not only disrupts your goals, but it also kills the joy in all the situations listed above.

Maintaining a Positive Relationship With Food

Listed below are tips from Maggie Gough, RD and WebMD on how to maintain a positive relationship with food when making a lifestyle change:

  1. Do not think about food as the enemy to your goals. Instead, remember that food is your source of energy, it is what keeps you alive. This thought process will make smarter food choices easier and less confusing.
  2. Make balanced, healthy meals a habit. Do not skip meals, especially breakfast, or tell yourself that not eating will help you reach your goals. Your body needs regular meals to perform at it’s best, both mentally and physically.
  3. Redirect your negative thoughts. For example, instead of saying “I need to stop eating or I will never loose weight,” try saying “I feel full, fulfilled, and satisfied by that meal.” You will be surprised at what an impact a small, positive thought can make.
  4. Enjoy the little moments of indulgence instead of criticizing them. There will always be get-togethers, celebrations, or events with less than healthy choices. Grab the smallest plate to help keep your portion sizes smaller, and allow yourself to indulge. Don’t think about the healthier choice you could have made, just eat slowly and truly enjoy the moment. This not only reenforces a positive relationship with food, but you are also practicing moderation and self control.
  5. Remember that you are more than the number on the scale. Instead of watching the numbers, focus on how your lifestyle changes make you feel. When you realize that you wake up feeling refreshed, you have more energy thougout the day, and you feel more confident, you will be happier and more motivated to continue.
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