How is your relationship with food?

by Saree Jitta

It sounds like a silly question – how can you have a relationship with food. But what if I told you that the reason you’ve been trying for the past year to lose weight or go on a fad diet, but it didn’t work. Maybe it’s not the exercise itself, perhaps it’s not an actual diet, but it’s your relationship with food.

Most people think if you want to lose weight you have to eat very little and workout more. So, most girls ended up killing themselves at the gym and starve themselves. For sure you’ll lose weight but once you start eating normal again your weight will bounce back. This is not a healthy lifestyle in the long term. If a trainer promises you that this diet will make you lose 20 pounds without doing any exercise, I want you to run as fast as you can! When it comes to diet there’s no one size fits all, what works best for her might not work for you.

Fresh vegetable salad and healthy food for sport equipment for women diet slimming with measure tap for weight loss on wood background. Healthy Sport Concept

I have one client who said to me I have been doing IF (Intermittent fasting) for months. It worked at the beginning but now I have stopped losing weight. Then I asked her ‘what did you have for lunch and dinner’ and she said ‘well I have a bit of noodle and chicken, in the afternoon I get hungry again so it could be an apple, then for dinner, I have a bit of rice and fish. Can you see why she lost weight? I mean first of all; I have nothing against any diet, but most people think this is the right diet for them. She lost at the beginning because she stopped having breakfast and when you eat less and workout more, of course, you’re going to lose weight. She loves this diet because she said it’s a good excuse for her not to have breakfast because she doesn’t have time in the morning. Don’t get me wrong it works for many people, but you need to make sure that you have enough nutrients. She’s only had a bit of protein, carbs for lunch and dinner, not to mention not enough good fats for her hormones to function well. 

Another girl told me the other day. ‘I have lost a lot of weight on a Keto diet’ but she said she feels very tired every day and has started to lose her hair. I mean with Keto you eat very little carbs and high fat. Well, when you don’t eat carbs and workout a lot yes you will lose weight. Again some people only eat less carb but because the percentage of the fat is too high for Keto, they didn’t hit the macro ratio (will explain more about macro later in the article) so they ended up losing weight but had no energy and this might mess with their hormones.

Young Woman Eating Delicious Burger Near Open Refrigerator

There is no good food and bad food. Chocolate cake isn’t the enemy for your belly. ‘Does it mean I can eat as much cake as I want’? Well If you want to eat as much cake as you want. I want to ask you ‘why do you want to eat that much in the first place’? I mean you can still eat cake but if you feel guilty after you eat it, then maybe it’s not the cake itself that’s bad but it is your emotional baggage that we have to work on. That used to be me… when I was angry, sad or even bored. I turned to food because it gives me comfort but when I started to gain weight, I blame it on food that’s making me fat and unhealthy. I blame that fried chicken for dinner and chips late last night. Then it got to the point that I couldn’t live like this anymore. I want to be able to enjoy my food and not to have to feel bad after I eat ice cream. I have started to write down if I find myself feeling guilty after I eat. 

  • Where are you? (location, places).
  • What happened before you reach out for the food? (A fight with your lover? Negative thoughts in your head?)
  • Who are you with? (Be very specific.)
  • What do you feel before and directly after you eat? (Tired? Angry or sad?)

The more I write on my food journal the more I started to see patterns. That someday if I am in a good mood after I have had a piece of cake, I feel fine – no blaming or guilt. But when I have a bad day or get in a fight, I always feel bad after I eat. Another example; I find out that when I feel guilty after chips and soda because most of the time, I feel like I am not good enough. Then what’s the point of trying, I might just as well just eat this “bad food” or someday in my journal I write insecurity and reach out for a tub of ice cream or stuff myself with a whole box of pizza to numb the feelings. Then again, I blame it on the food. 

Then I shift my mindset and tell myself that there is no good or bad food if you love yourself. Your just need to take care of your body, nourish it with good nutrients. I dig deep into the source of my problems instead of suppressing them. I have started to meditate and journal. Bit by bit I start to feel better with myself, I have control over my food because I have control over my emotions. I mean those feelings and emotions will come and you cannot stop or force them but what you can do is let them come and go, observe it but you don’t have to hurt yourself by consuming too much food. These days I still have a slice of cake and enjoy it because I know that I put good nutrients in my body as well. It is not the end of the world that you have a doughnut. It is all about balance you should be able to enjoy life too. My trick is I think of food as fuel for my body, and if that day I eat a bit too much that is ok. I can lift heavier weights the next day. Or downsize my food for dinner. 

To give you an idea of good nutrients and what is macro?

Food consists of three macro nutrients 

Proteins

Carbs

Fats

Micronutrients 

Our body needs vitamins and minerals to function well.

Proteins

Your body, after water, is mostly made of protein. You require protein every day, it performs literally thousands of functions in the body. It does this in the form of different combinations of amino acids, the “building blocks” of protein. If your goal is to lose fat or gain muscle, you need to add protein in every meal!

Protein choices:

  • Lean red meat
  • Chicken (no skin)
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Low-fat dairy – except for eggs
  • Don’t be afraid to eat whole eggs as most of the nutrients are in the yolk. Avoid processed meats, high fat meats and full fat dairy products.

Carbohydrates

The preferred form of fuel for the body’s energy needs. Simple or sugary carbs have their place but for the most part you should eat complex or slow burning carbs. An important point about carbs and where the average person makes their mistake is that after you supply your energy needs, any excess carbs will be stored as fat.

Think of this as similar to filling your car’s gas tank – once the tank is full, if you keep pumping, you will have a lot of excess gas spilling out all over the place. Once your energy needs are met and you keep eating high carb meals, the excess “spills out” and you get fatter.

Carb choices:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams
  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole grain products
  • Veggies (these are fibrous carbs) and fruits such as strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Grapefruit
  • Apples

Fats

It might surprise you to hear that to lose fat you have to eat fat, but it’s true! The right kind of fats, known as essential fatty acids (EFAs), help to boost metabolism, aid brain and nerve function, balance hormones and even improve your skin, hair and nails. There are three types of EFAs: Omega 3, 6 and 9.

To make it super easy for you, make sure you get a variety of fats. You should get 35% of monounsaturated fat, 35% of polyunsaturated fat and 30% of saturated fat.

Monounsaturated fats include:

  • Nuts.
  • Avocado.
  • Canola oil.
  • Olive oil.
  • Safflower oil (high oleic)
  • Sunflower oil.
  • Peanut oil and butter.
  • Sesame oil.

Polyunsaturated fats include:

  • Walnuts.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Flax seeds or flax oil.
  • Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna, and trout.
  • Corn oil.
  • Soybean oil.
  • Safflower oil.

Saturated fats in include:

  • Dairy foods – such as butter, cream, ghee, regular-fat milk and cheese.
  • Meat – such as fatty cuts of beef, pork and lamb, processed meats like salami, sausages and the skin on chicken.
  • Lard.

Aim to have protein in every meal (size of your palm), carbs (1 hand cupped), fat (size of your thumb), and veggies (a fist). If you can have this in every meal, you should get enough good nutrients for your body. 

Remember everything that I do it comes from the place of love not punishment. I understand that as a human being I will not be perfect every day. But even though I do not quite live up to my exacting standards it is just another practice at me developing self-love and being kind to myself. Once you fix your relationship with food you will enjoy it even more, even on the bad days and you should have no guilt or shame afterwards.

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