Improving Your Relationship with Food

By Unite Fitness Retreat, Brooke Bouwhuis

Conflicting isn’t it? We need food to survive on a physiological basis but the food we eat can also be very destructive when we don’t have a healthy relationship with it.

Feeling out of control around food is stressful and the negative banter that ensues is even worse.

There are steps you can take to release that negativity, but the key may not be what you were expecting.  It’s not about finding the next perfect, exciting diet that will change your life forever.  It’s about giving up dieting – forever.

Still an idea fraught with conundrum and fear.  If I don’t have a “diet” then what am I?  Have I given up hope?

Quite the contrary.  Giving up dieting is where we begin the work of changing the way we think.  Changing the way we think is the only way to begin to rebuild a healthy relationship with food.  These steps are outlined in greater detail in the process defined by the creators of Intuitive Eating – Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.

Steps to Improve Your Relationship to Food

  • Begin with honoring your hunger.  This means slowing down and identifying if you are hungry?  Do you really want _____? Will I be deprived if I don’t eat it?  Will it be satisfying?  You deserve to eat without guilt, relearning what the toddler in us knew when we only ate one bite of cookie and ran back out to play.  Identify where your hunger is on the hunger scale and honor it.  Give yourself permission to eat and permission to not eat.


  • Coming to terms with food is the sense that it is not good or bad and YOU are not good or bad if you eat or don’t eat the food.  Learn to challenge those thoughts by using mindfulness – slowing down and be in the moment of what your mind if full of.  I feel “angry” and I want to eat _____. What does your body feel like? Tense muscles, throbbing head, pounding heart?  Those physiological reactions will ebb and flow but won’t be with us forever. Feel those feelings with curiosity and let them go. Challenge those feelings and thoughts and let them go.


  • Being satisfied and content with the food we eat is healthy. Was it a burger and fried or a giant colorful crisp salad with grilled salmon?  Sometimes your body will crave either one of those options and it may be exactly what you needed.


  • Finding ways that are not related to food to deal with your feelings – exercise, meditations, journaling, calling a friend, taking a nap. Getting to the root cause of the feelings and working through them without food will free you from thinking your hunger is based off physiological need rather than emotions.


  • Exercise will enable you to feel energized, strong and alive. Find something you love to do and shift your focus from losing weight to feeling powerful, vibrant and successful.  Your body is beautiful and capable exactly as it is.  What an incredible machine you have been given to share your light and talent with the world.  Let it shine!