The One Thing That’s Ruining Your Relationship with Food

The One Thing That’s Ruining Your Relationship with Food

My inbox on any given day contains 10-20 emails with the following:

“HELP, I’m addicted to bread…”

“I’m addicted to sugar, can you help?”

“I can’t stop eating chocolate, what should I do?”

Of course, I can’t provide a personalized response to these questions without getting to know more about you, but I can say with 97.2% certainty that the reason you feel out of control around bread, sugar, chocolate or any other food is due to diet mentality.

I’ve worked with more than 130 women and while they are all unique, there is one common thread – they all had an on again, off again relationship with diets. Whether they were counting calories, counting points, portioning their food out into colorful containers, or keeping a mental note of “good” and “bad” foods, they were all stuck in the dieting mentality.

Unfortunately, you can’t heal your relationship with food unless you’re willing to let go of dieting and everything that comes with it.

  • Counting points, calories, and carbohydrate grams
  • Only eating “good” or “healthy” food
  • Only eating at certain times of the day
  • Eating low-carb, low-fat meals
  • Pacifying hunger and cravings with protein shakes, coffee, or diet soda
  • Eating gluten-free for weight loss
  • Beating yourself up because you “lack willpower”

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point.

The diet industry rakes in $60 billion a year. There’s always some new trendy way to eat that’s gonna make you look like the latest A-list celebrity, get your body back after pregnancy, or help you get “tight and right” so you can rock the latest in swimsuit fashion, but diets don’t work.

The One Thing That's Ruining Your Relationship with Food - jennifersterling.com

If they did, you wouldn’t be reading this post and Oprah wouldn’t have made $12 million dollars from a television commercial about eating bread!

If you want to heal your relationship with food, you have to ditch the diet mentality. Click To Tweet

You can start by: 

  1. Acknowledging that diets don’t work and can actually harm your body

A dieting body is a starving body.

While you may not look like the stereotypical starving child we see on television commercials, your body responds to restriction and deprivation as if there’s a shortage of food. In order to maintain the status quo, your body needs energy. We get energy from the food we eat, so when you deprive yourself of calories (energy), your body responds by slowing down your metabolism so the energy you have will last for a longer period of time.

Your body will always try to maintain equilibrium, the latest research around the popular television weight loss show, The Biggest Loser, provides clear evidence of this.

  1. Removing Willpower from the Equation

Willpower is defined as “control deliberately exerted to do something or to restrain one’s own impulses.” This deliberate control may come in handy when you’re tempted to tell your boss how you really feel, but it has no business on your plate.

Cravings are normal, and attempting to quiet them will only make you feel more out of control around food. Deprivation and restriction leads to rebellion – telling yourself that you can’t have bread, sugar, chocolate, or any other “bad” food will only make you crave it more.

  1. Throwing Out Your Scale

We give the number on the scale so much power that it can sabotage days, weeks, and months of progress. I see it in clients all the time— they feel great, but it’s not enough. They need tangible proof that they’re making progress, so they hop on the scale and find that they didn’t lose as much weight as they feel they “should” have. And all of the progress they have made goes out the window. They start to beat themselves up because “they must be doing something wrong” or they blame me, sever our relationship and go back to dieting — 90% of the time these clients return once they figure out (yet again) that dieting isn’t a sustainable solution.

The number on the scale is just a distraction. It keeps you focused on external objectives when the real focus should be on the internal process of reconnecting with and understanding your unique body.

  1. Practicing Self-Compassion

You can’t hate your body into submission. If that were possible, your food issues wouldn’t exist. Beating yourself up may be second nature to you at this point, but it’s not working.

In the words of Einstein, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Hating your body is what got you into this, but it’s not going to get you out of it. The only way out is to be kind to your body and compassionate with yourself.

  1. Getting Support

Dieting is the norm in our society, unfortunately. We’re constantly bombarded with blog articles and magazine covers filled with celebrity fitness tips, the latest weight loss crazes, and detox teas. It can be hard to quiet the noise and listen to yourself, but deep down you know those things are (at best) short-term solutions.

The path to healing your relationship with food can be a long and bumpy road, but getting support and loving guidance from someone with specialized training will help you get there quicker and with less bumps along the way.

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For years I struggled with how food owned my life, and then I took control not just of my plate, but my passion. With a background in body movement, dance, and once-upon-a-time bakery owner, I now help women create mindful lives.

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