We’ve discussed how creating good food versus bad food lists is a recipe for an unhealthy relationship with food. Now we’re going to take that one step further and talk about how to build a healthy relationship with food. This is the foundation of a ROCK Your Dream Body lifestyle of eating.

6 Secrets To Building A Healthy Relationship With Food

1. Deprivation Is Not The Answer

Deprivation isn’t the answer. In fact, it will hold you away from your dream body more than anything else because you can only deprive yourself for so long before you binge.

When I truly learned how to stop turning to deprivation, counting calories, and obsessing over food in order to lose weight, I ending up losing 8 pounds without even trying... after battling to lose those last 8 pounds for many years.

2. Slow Down While You Eat

In retrospect, I see that this is one of the BIGGEST catalyst for me in building a healthy relationship with food. Here are a few ways to start bringing more awareness into your meals:

Practice tuning in while you eat.

This means no multi-tasking—leave the TV, phone, books/magazines, and computer in the other room. When you pay attention to what you eat, you’ll find that you enjoy it much more and are satisfied with much smaller portions.

Relax while you eat.

Your emotions have a direct physiological affect on your body’s ability to metabolize food. In other words, there’s an energy to the emotions you produce as you eat. Make sure you’re putting out good ones.

3. Bless your food

I know this sounds cheesy, but regardless of your religious beliefs, there is something very powerful about prayer before a meal. It prepares your body for the food that you are about to eat. It brings you into the present moment so that you are focused on the task at hand (eating).

Simply ask that this meal nourish your body and your cells in all of the ways that you need to be nourished and for your body to easily release whatever parts of the meal that it does not need.

4. Stop Hating On What You Are Eating

Another key shift in building a healthy relationship with food was that I stopped wishing I could be eating something else.

I said that I lost 8 pounds without even trying, but that doesn’t mean I ate cupcakes and pizza all day and the weight magically fell off. The truth is, I eat a lot of salads, lean meats, fish, yogurt, berries, oatmeal… you know the drill.

But I don’t feel deprived at all, I feel like I am making food choices that are both nourishing AND satisfying.

5. Be Willing To Experiment

When you want to build a healthy relationship with food, you've got to be open to trying new things. You never know what you are going to like unless you give it a try. Who knows, it could become your new favorite food.

For example, lately I’ve been getting really creative with my salads, adding in new ingredients like raw mushrooms, fresh peas, strawberries, slightly cooked and chopped asparagus, and making my own dressings. Google “homemade salad dressing” and you’ll find tons of great inspiration-evoking ideas.

Eating healthy food can be fun. Look at it as an adventure, seriously. Here’s another story for ya.

Ryan and I recently began experimenting with new protein pancake recipes. Each time we make them, we add something new or tweak a few ingredients.

Now, here’s the thing. A protein pancake (made with protein powder, eggs, ground flax, milk, and spices) is not the same texture as a buttermilk and white flour pancake, so the first step is to not set yourself up to expect that kind of pancake.

The texture is different. It’s denser and heartier. I top mine with sliced strawberries and a drizzle of agave nectar and I really enjoy it. But if you approach protein pancakes with the expectation that they are going to be light and fluffy... than you’ll probably be disappointed.

So, it’s all about perspective. The same thing can be said for the difference between stevia and sugar. Or a black bean “burger” and a beef burger. I think that sometimes people can get sideways on these sorts of things because they get upset that whatever they are eating doesn’t taste the same as whatever they are comparing it to.

But to me, it’s not about comparison. Choosing one over the other doesn’t have to be about deprivation, but rather a broadening of options.

6. Pay Attention To Your WHY

Why do you want to eat healthy food? Why do you want to get the body of your dreams? Keep your focus on the uplifting reasons that inspire you to take action that supports these intentions.

I like eating big, colorful, creative salads because they make me feel really good when I eat them – clear minded, full of energy, able to finish out the afternoon without a nap! I eat protein pancakes because they are satisfying to me, and again, my body just feels really good when I eat them.

I don’t force myself to eat them because I think I have to. I do it because I want to. That’s a huge distinction and this is how I’ve been able to maintain my leanest body weight to date really easily. I started looking at this lifestyle through a new lens. A lens of inclusion.

  • How can I make this fun?

  • In what creative ways can I incorporate the flavors and textures that I love, using whole food ingredients?

  • What types of foods make my body feel really good when I eat them (i.e. no gas, indigestion, bloat) and how can I eat more of those foods more often?

Stop seeing yourself as a victim and instead take control of your health. Make small changes to your every day habits and soon you will have an empowered, healthy relationship with all food.

This will not only have a dramatic effect on you mentally, but also on your metabolism and how your body functions as a system.