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Wellness

How To Create A Healthy Relationship With Food

The most misunderstood topic in nutrition and health. Why do we so often believe that more is always better? The truth is that a healthy relationship with food is a skill, not a recipe. It takes practice and experience to improve and refine your relationship with food.

I had an interesting conversation with my good friend and fellow blogger, Sarah, about the ways diet and nutrition have shaped what she chooses to eat and drink and the way she thinks about food. Her main point was the concept of balance in a diet or in what you eat and drink. She said we get caught up in this balance issue more than we really understand our food and that what we are eating is actually the result of a chain of factors, including our family history, the health of our environment, the socialization/lifestyle choices we have made along with how much money we have.

A healthy relationship with food and diet can help you make healthy choices on your own at anytime, not just during the holiday season. I don’t know if you remember that story in which Santa Claus gives children and pets a choice on Christmas morning. Santa said, “Well, my name is Santa Claus. And before that, you know, we did have fun together. So I know what you think is food.”

I believe the point of the story isn’t to create a food debate among Christians. Rather, I think the point is to point out that we all have a relationship with food so that we can focus on it more. The more we understand it and work with it, the more that can be done to better serve it. I believe the best relationships are with people who have been in the same situation we are and who are willing to understand and work to help us. Let me explain.

There are all kinds of good and bad relationships that can take place with food. In the best of them, we try to understand our relationship with food as best as we can and we work to strengthen it. Some of my favorite bloggers (as of the writing of this blog) are Julie’s Girl, Rachel Love at The Frugal Girl, and Sarah at Sarah of the Nourishing Gourmet. These are people who have an intimate relationship with food and are willing to work for it. They care what you eat more than even their own family.

It’s a skill. We’ve all gotten into food fights with friends, family, co-worker (or even our cats), and the list goes on. It’s a tricky relationship that requires patience, self control, trust, and a willingness to work at it. It is an important relationship to build as it gives us the tools to help us manage our health and also to better understand the health of our food. And we’ve all seen that it can be hard to trust some people enough to trust anyone else. I’m convinced that the relationships necessary for a healthy relationship with food are formed mostly when the person we are talking to is willing to listen and to work with us. This is a time-tested relationship that can be created with time and practice.

With this concept in mind, my own food choice became important to me and to help me navigate my relationship with food as a health conscious person. I took the concept of balance seriously and began to understand that it can be hard to always go back to food after a change. I have a rule for myself: I only eat one meal a day during the fall and spring break and I’ve never taken this rule more seriously than it now is and I’ve never felt so good about myself. I really enjoy eating on a regular basis during the week and on holidays and special occasions. It’s a beautiful experience for me and I’m able to eat healthy because I enjoy eating and because I understand the role of food to me. In contrast to this, when I’m at home with the kids, I always find it easy to sneak a cookie without thinking about how much I’m consuming. In fact, I don’t think about what I’m eating until a few hours after I’ve finished eating it.