If you're looking to make a lifestyle change and don't know where to start, ask yourself this question first...
"What is my relationship with food?"
This is an important question and one we all need to ask ourselves before searching for a quick fix.
Listen up friends! There is no such thing as a quick fix...
Diet pills are not the answer.
Cleanses are not sustainable.
And following a strict meal plan is not for everyone!
Identifying eating behaviors, being mindful about what you feed your body and building a relationship with food is the answer to living long and healthy.
Here are 5 steps to understand and adjust your relationship with food:
Keep a food diary and track everything you consume.
It can be from juice in the morning, to almonds on-the-go, to cookies after dinner. Everything.
To get an accurate behavior test, you should track for at least 2 weeks and don't change anything about your diet... that's whole the point!
What you might find after 2 weeks of logging is that you have habits you didn't even realize.
Maybe you eat more than usual when you drink alcohol with dinner.
Maybe you realize you have 4 sodas a day and hardly any water.
Maybe you mindlessly snack during your commute.
Or maybe you realize you go out to eat... a lot.
You might find that your macronutrients are way out of whack - as in not eating enough protein or consuming a ton of carbs.
Keeping a food diary is a great first step in identifying these trends in your everyday diet.
After a while, as you fill your cart at the grocery store or order out, you'll be more mindful of your habits, correct them, and form new ones!
Just keeping a diary of your meals will help you stay accountable day in and day out.
Make note of your "trigger foods."
These are the foods that release the chemical dopamine, which translates as pleasure in the brain.
Are your guilty pleasures or "trigger foods" savory snacks or sweet treats?
My suggestion, follow the "out of sight, out of mind" rule and don't even keep the foods under your roof.
Create an obstacle in which you literally have to go out of your way to pick up this guilty pleasure. If you find yourself driving to the grocery story for Ben & Jerry's 5 times a week, you might have a bad habit worth adjusting.
Eventually, you'll ask yourself, "do I really need this?"
And just like that... your craving for ice cream is under control.
Eliminate distractions during meals.
Do you eat in front of the TV? Take bites between Tiktoks? Read a book or multi-task during breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Yup. I'm guilty, too.
Making a conscious effort to be present when you eat will help you build a stronger connection with your body.
This change of habit will limit over-eating behaviors AND allow you to actually enjoy the food in front of you. You'll feel more satisfied and most likely eat less, too.
Remember, for any relationship to be successful, you must be present. The same goes for food. So unplug and enjoy each bite!
Make more homemade meals.
The sure fire way to build a connection with your body is knowing exactly what you're feeding it.
When you order out, do you ever wonder how your meat is prepared? How much oil or butter is used in your dish? If there are any preservatives used to prolong the shelf-life?
The best way to give yourself peace of mind is to prepare your own meals.
"But I don't have time!" you say...
If you have time to scroll through instagram or watch a movie, you have time to prepare a nutritious meal. I promise your body will thank you and the post-meal feeling will be so rewarding.
Build a stronger relationship with food every time you cook from home.
You'll even notice that you'll slow down just to enjoy the work put behind the dish. This will also help the brain register satisfaction and the sense of being full so you don't over-indulge.
And finally: Step #5
Don't get sucked into diet fads and don't believe everything you see on social media.
There is no universal pill, cleanse or procedure that can cure the relationship you have with food.
We are all unique in our own way so don't expect one diet trend to change your body the same way it does for someone else.
If you find yourself constantly bloated, gassy, not reaching those fitness goals etc. start with your own dietary habits, find the trends and replace those bad behaviors with good ones.
Follow these 5 simple steps towards understanding your relationship with food and make small changes that will improve your overall eating habits.
Nothing changes if nothing changes, right?
Start today - commit to making positive changes for a longterm healthy lifestyle.
Need help? I got you! Reach out to me at email@example.com.