Have you ever wondered how some of your friends/family members stay effortlessly slim without ever having to worry about their food choices? In my time working with individuals to rebuild their relationship with food, I have noticed that the same patterns seem to trap many people in the cycle of dieting but then over-eating/binge-eating (and this cycle often leads them to put on weight). I have also noticed however, that those that have a positive relationship with food, are at a naturally healthy weight and that don't obsess about food - also share some traits/patterns of behaviour. It is these patterns of behaviour that I also aim to cultivate for my clients - so that they too can build a healthy relationship with food.
Below are 5 things that I have noticed that those people that are effortlessly at a healthy weight and that have a healthy relationship with food don't tend to do. (Just to clarify too that by slim I mean someone that has a healthy weight/BMI for their height, I am not talking about being stick thin or very slim - which arguably isn't something to aim for either because of the negative effect it can have on your mental health and physical health too):
1. Put themselves on very restrictive or very low calorie diets
The brain and body interprets dieting as starvation. When think we are starving, all our brain and body want to do is to keep us alive. So eventually a very restrictive diet will drive us to over-eat/binge-eat. This is why research indicates that the vast majority of diets don't work long-term - rather than lead to weight loss, in the long-term they often only lead to over-eating or binge-eating (and in turn weight gain).
2. Completely ban foods/food groups
Due to the way in which the human brain works, banning foods completely, tends to lead to a mindset where we crave what we can't have. It gives forbidden foods more power over us. Those with a positive relationship with food don't tend to categorise foods as "bad" and "completely off limits" (unless of course they have an allergy or intolerance to those foods).
3. Avoid food/ not eat out / hide their eating
I tend to find that many of my clients are terrified to eat out or enjoy meals with others because they worry about how many calories they will end up eating or whether they will break one of their diet rules. However, whilst avoiding meals out and socialising around food, they then tend to find that they over-eat when they are alone and in secret. I aim to get my clients to a place where they can enjoy eating out and socialising around food - and where they don't feel the need to hide when/what they are eating.
4. Obsess over food
When you are constantly worrying about your weight, this can also lead to obsessive thoughts about food too. For those with a positive relationship with food and that are effortlessly slim, their weight doesn't tend to be their focus and this in turn means that they don't tend to spend too much time thinking about food. I help my clients to stop obsessing over food as this in turn can help them to effortlessly get to a healthy weight.
5. Feel guilty when eating
The guilt and shame that come with eating something "unhealthy" can often drive people to then think "what is the point, I have been "bad", I might as well have 5 more of those cakes". Those with a healthy relationship with food, don't tend to feel guilty when they eat "unhealthy" foods sometimes and this means that they don't then feel the need to over-indulge on these foods... they can just have one cake without needing more.
If you would like some help in rebuilding your relationship with food please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are meant for so much more than to spend your life worrying about food choices, your body and your weight... you are meant to live life, to have fun and to focus on things that truly bring you joy!