Food can be a tricky subject for so many people. I would even say that it is tricky for most people. Most people, not everyone, but most people have had some issue with food in their past. I get it.
I have definitely had issues with food in my past. I’ve had family and friends make comments about my food choices throughout my entire life including present time. I’ve had people tell me that specific foods are going to make me fat. I’ve had people tell me that I’m a health nut. I’ve had people ask, “you’re going to eat that?! Isn’t that unhealthy?” I’m sure most of those questions and comments were well intentioned, but you never know how someone will interpret them and hold on to them for life.
Here’s the thing: no one has the right to comment on your food choices. Your food choices are your business. It’s difficult to prevent someone from making comments, but you can control how you react to them. You get to choose how you view food and your relationship with food.
My hope is that you will see food as a positive experience and a way to express love for yourself and others.
5 Ways to Practice Self-Love with Food
1 – Forget food rules
Don’t fall for food rules or restrictions. Don’t believe media or social media or “well intentioned” family/friends that say you should cut out _________. Don’t believe anyone that says you can’t eat before bed, or that you shouldn’t pair certain foods together. Here’s the truth there are no food rules.
2 – Make peace with food
Give yourself permission to eat what you want and don’t deprive yourself of food. Also, do not feel guilty for eating certain foods. Choosing vegetables over cake does not make you a better person. Eating ice cream for breakfast doesn’t make you a bad person. Morality and food don’t go together.
3 – Be Mindful
Be mindful of the foods you eat. Eat your meals without distraction and take a moment to notice your foods. Notice what your foods look like, smell like, and the texture. When you’re eating, pay attention to the taste, temperature, and texture of your foods. Give yourself complete permission to experience joy and satisfaction from your foods. Find gratitude in the foods you eat. You can be thankful for the nourishment, the taste, the cook, the meal spent with loved ones, etc.
4 – Do not use food to cope with emotions
Find ways to cope with your emotions rather than turning to food. Emotional eating is similar to putting a band aid on your feelings. The feelings will still be there and now you also have to deal with the feelings overeating has caused.
Consider journaling about your feelings instead of eating. When you start to feel scared, anxious, stress, lonely, etc., sit with your feelings, feel them then write them down. You could also talk to a trusted friend or a counselor.
5 – Honor your health
Honor your health by eating foods that supports your body and soul. Eat foods that are nutrient dense to supports every cell of your body, such as whole grains, protein, veggies, fruits, beans, legumes, fats, and water. Eat enough of those foods to meet your body’s health requirements. For example, your body needs a certain amount of fat to produce hormones, fat soluble vitamins, and cell wall production, such as your brain cells.
It is also important to eat foods that supports your soul. These are foods that make your soul happy, not to cover emotions, but just happy. These foods are usually spent with loved ones during celebrations, get togethers, or just for fun.
Where to start
Begin by focusing on one or two of these food self-love actions at a time. Once you feel comfortable with those, add another action and continue as you see fit. Remember this is about YOU and YOUR relationship with food. If you would like to add to this list, then great. If you don’t want to practice all 5 of these actions, again great.
As the cool kids say — you do you.
What is your number one tip to practicing self-love with food?