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As spring and summer approaches, it can be common to experience an increased social focus on weight, body size and diet promotion.

Here are some tips to help you create a more peaceful relationship with food and your body this spring season.

Listen to your body

Your body knows what it needs, but sometimes these cues are ignored or not understood. Dieting can make it even more difficult to recognize and respond to the sensations of hunger or fullness.

Tuning into hunger and fullness cues is a great place to start a healthy relationship with food. When starting out, it can be helpful to use the hunger and fullness scale. It might take some practice, but with time you’ll come to recognize hunger and fullness signs.

Challenge your food rules

Creating food rules about what we should and shouldn't eat can be harmful if the rules cut out nutritious foods, cause you to eat too few calories to fuel your daily activities, or cause you to become so focused on food that it begins to control your life or prevent you from enjoying daily activities. This can lead to feelings of guilt and shame around eating, which can perpetuate the cycle of dieting and food restriction.

With practice, however, it is possible to remove negative attitudes about food and rules, and honour cravings without judgement. For example, instead of treating certain foods as rewards, remind yourself it’s okay to eat them anytime, while being mindful of how often, how much and how it makes you feel when you eat them.

Recognize that health looks different for everyone

Healthy bodies come in different shapes and sizes, and are not determined by weight alone. Self-worth is not related to what you eat or how you look. Developing a healthy relationship with food and your body includes separating weight and worth, which can positively impact our self-esteem and body image.

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