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It doesn’t matter whether you barely eat or you binge eat, if you’re relying on food as a way to get through a difficult situation, you have an unhealthy relationship with food. It’s not an easy thing to identify, but it’s something that you have to learn to recognize early on so that you can avoid the cyclical trap of bad eating habits. What usually begins as a way to shed a few pounds by switching to a healthy eating regime can often end up fairly unhealthy. If you are feeling the need to micromanage your meals, it’s not healthy. If you’re stuffing the food in to fill a gap because you’re not eating at healthy intervals, you’re not going to be displaying a good relationship with food.
Breaking that cycle is going to take more than just calorie counting, working out or booking in liposuction procedures. You need to look at the emotions behind the habits you’ve managed to set up for yourself and learn to manage those emotions carefully. So, how can you crack the bad eating cycle?
1. Don’t Play The Shame Game.
If you are picking up an item of food or perusing the menu of a restaurant and you feel any guilt about your choices, this is shaming yourself. Feeling bad for the food that you eat because it’s labelled as ‘bad’ is not healthy. Food is neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’ and the whole idea of a healthy diet is finding a balance across all food groups. Choosing to eat food that is more fatty or sugary than something else doesn’t mean you have made a ‘bad’ choice and it doesn’t mean you need to feel ashamed for it, either. The more you label foods to be bad for you, the harder it’s going to be to avoid them. Instead, train your brain to recognise all food as acceptable, just needed to be eaten in moderation. Mindful eating is important, and you can read about that here.
2. Find A Balance.
When you are in a stressful situation, you need to recognise self-sabotage. If you are reaching for doughnuts just because you are feeling particularly stressed, you need to recognise that and cut it out. There’s no shame in indulging, but if you’re indulging due to stress, it’s something that you have to stop, because it’s not going to be a treat if you’re going to feel bad about your choices after the fact. Learn where your head goes when you’re feeling low, and retrain your reactions to the stress in your life. Look elsewhere for an outlet for your stress, and switch it to meditation and mindfulness before indulgence and gluttonous behaviour.
Breaking an unhealthy relationship with food is never going to be easy, especially when you are used to doing things a certain way. Realising that you don’t need to rely on food in times of stress is the key in moving past bad eating habits, and realising that you are worth the changes that you make matter a lot.