3 Steps for improving our relationship with food

by Laura Jean

Laura Jean is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian with 15 years experience who focuses on the ‘whys’ of eating and how you can connect to your body to guide your interaction with food. She is passionate about supporting women to develop a healthier relationship with food and enjoy every eating experience. Through Eat with Awareness, Laura helps women to ditch diets and be ‘less crazy’ around food. She empowers you to reclaim your inbuilt ability to interact with food and become the expert in your own food journey and she is featured in episode 363 of The Bridechilla Podcast.

Listen to Laura's episode of Bridechilla

You're engaged, Congrats....NOW CHANGE

The big question has been answered with a big YES, so naturally you’ve changed your social media status to ‘engaged’ and then…BAM…you start getting hit with adverts for body transformations, weight loss and figure control underwear. The diet mindset wedding machine has swung into action.

There are plenty of trigger points across a woman’s life where you are made to feel bad about your body and sadly getting married is a big one. And it’s not just limited to the bride either – the bridal party and mothers of both sides tend to get hit by the pressure to ‘get in shape’ for the big day.

I call foul!

This 6+billion dollar industry is not interested in you or your big day…they’re interested in the bottom line. And one way they know to get women to spend up and get sucked into the crap they are peddling is by playing on insecurities and body issues.

The shitty fact is that most women have body hang-ups and most women are made to feel bad about their body as it is. The truly shitty thing about it all is that it makes you feel unworthy because of your body. And this is total bullshit.

You are more than a body. Your worth is not linked to your weight. You are worthy just as you are.

You don’t need to go on any crazy diets, shrink your body or sacrifice your mental and emotional health in the pursuit of some bullshit ideal set by an industry out to profit off making you feel crap about yourself.

So, what can you do instead?

Instead of pursuing some restrictive healthy eating regime you can actually work on your relationship to food and your body. Here’s how to get started

Photo by Arek Adeoye

3 Steps for a healthier relationship with food

1.Curiosity

Get curious about what’s going on for you. Here are some good questions to ask when it comes to behaviours around food and your body:

  • Who benefits from this behaviour? Dig deep on this one. It’s easy to think ‘oh I benefit because it’ll help me lose weight’ BUT keep digging and try some follow-up questions – will it actually help you lose weight? Have you used this behaviour in the past, and if so did it lead to sustainable weight loss or just a quick drop and later rebound? What is the trade-off or sacrifice to your mental, emotional and physical health?
  • If I wasn’t worried about my weight or what other people thought of me would I do this?
  • Would I do this if it made me gain weight? This is a good one for all those ‘but what about health’ situations. Sometimes the diet industry is sneaky and gets you to buy into a behaviour by selling it as a health behaviour when in fact it’s just a weight loss behaviour in sheep’s clothing. If it was good for your health but made you gain weight would you still do it?
  • Does this behaviour get in the way of my connection to my body?

Which leads us to step number 2….

Photo by Miguel Bruna

2. Connection

Your body is ready to chat; it’s just waiting for you to listen and to trust it.

Did you know you were born with the ability to know what, when and how much to eat? Your body has all this info covered and it’s just waiting to work with you around navigating food. The key is to connect.

  • Listening and picking up on your physical cues around food is the first step. What does hunger, satisfaction and fullness feel like in your body?
  • Then it’s about trusting those cues and knowing your body’s got your back. Part of this can be unlearning all the rules, restrictions and dieting dogma that’s gotten in the way of hearing your body.
  • And lastly you need to honour your body’s messages. Hungry? Eat!! Don’t drink a big glass of water, brush your teeth or suck on a bloody appetite suppressant lollypop. Use food, that’s what it’s for, that’s what your body is asking for – honour it.

Photo by Jon Tyson

"Feeling comfortable in your body, trusting your body and still eating what you enjoy."

Laura Jean

3. Compassion

Above all else it’s important to be compassionate with yourself. It’s ok to not love your body straight away, it’s ok to need to work on your trust around hunger cues, and it’s ok to still want to lose weight.

Be kind to yourself, treat yourself like you would your best friend, talk nicely and give yourself space to learn and unlearn.

This is a whole new way of looking at food and your body so it’ll take time, but know this: you can’t fail at being the expert in you…there’s simply no-one else equipped for the job.

Your wedding, and the lead up, should not be a time where you are made to feel sh*t about yourself and trying to change your body to be worthy. You are worthy just as you are. Time to listen, trust and believe that lady!

Want more help to get started? 
Download a free get started guide to start working on your healthier relationship with food. Learn more HERE.

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Show image by Sarah Diniz Outeiro

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