Traits of People Who Have a Healthy Relationship With Food
Did you know when we see Instagram food photos, we might each perceive the photos differently? For example, a woman looking to lose weight may be thinking about the calories and macros, while someone else may be counting portion fix containers or keto servings.
A healthy mindset about food and healthy eating habits go a long way toward helping people achieve weight-loss and weight-maintenance goals. Here are a few traits of people who are at peace with what’s on their plate:
1. They eat food for fuel and health, not to suppress emotions /
People with a healthy relationship to food view it as a source of fuel that: provides nourishment for their body to run efficiently, helps them power through a tough workout, keeps them healthy, and keeps their brain sharp. They’re free from emotional eating — they know that food isn’t a cure for sadness, boredom, stress, anxiousness, or loneliness.
2. They practice intuitive eating /
People with a healthy relationship to food seem to have the innate skill of intuitive eating. This means that they eat when they’re hungry, stop when they feel satisfied, and don’t let outside influences dictate what time or what types of foods they should be eating.
We’re born with an innate sense of intuitive eating, and as adults, we often lose that ability. The sweet spot is relearning that intuitive eating behavior and adapting it to fit your goals. The ability to know your body’s signals and then respond to those inner-body cues without feelings of guilt or judgment can lead to a more positive body image and an increased likelihood of taking on other healthy lifestyle habits.
3. They don’t feel the need to “make up” for an imperfect eating day /
People with a healthy relationship to food enjoy the occasional treat without the accompanying guilt. For them, diet is never all-or-nothing (i.e., black/white; good/bad). They tend to follow the 80/20 rule, meaning they eat healthy 80 percent of the time and allow for indulgences 20 percent of the time. They enjoy treats mindfully — they take the time to truly experience the taste, texture, smell, and beauty of what they’re eating. So you have a couple slices of pizza or an ice cream cone every now and then — good for you! At the end of the day, you should enjoy living your life.
4. They don’t allow food to dictate their lives /
People with a healthy relationship to food don’t obsess about food to the point where it interferes with how they go about their business. They may meal prep on Sunday and have an Instagram feed filled with indulgent food photos. But eating and everything about food don’t take precedence over family, friends, or personal goals.
If you find yourself skipping out on events for fear of overindulging on bar food or bottomless mimosas, it may be time to work on a more balanced mindset toward food.
5. They don’t compare their body or what they eat to others /
People with a healthy relationship to food understand that we are all unique in body, mind, and spirit. Our bodies aren’t meant to look like one another and we aren’t all supposed to look like supermodels or superheroes.
They feel comfortable ordering a juicy hamburger when their friend orders a salad because they know that next time they’ll probably try the salad when their friend orders dessert. What we can all strive for is a strong, healthy body with confidence that radiates.
(By Krista Maguire, R.D., C.S.S.D)