It’s Time to Improve Your Relationship… with Food!

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Tomato Jar

My journey in my relationship with food has been at times rocky, often love/hate, and sometimes just over-indulgent. I’m talking, I can put down a whole pizza and rack of breadsticks by myself in like 3 breaths. Don’t ask me how. It’s amazing.

Anyway, since my daughter was born, that relationship has changed drastically. It’s become more consistent. It’s much more positive. Much like marriage advice that is often passed around, I have been encouraged to focus on the positive in my relationship with the foods that I eat.

Here’s how it started:

When I was pregnant, I was so focused on all the things that the baby needed. I made sure I got enough leafy greens and colorful veggies, lots of fruit, and tons of protein (I’ve always been a protein junkie though). My goal was to get as much nutritive goodness into my body as I possibly could – I mean, I had to nourish this little nugget and have enough energy to get myself from bed to kitchen to couch and back at least once a day. Don’t get me wrong, I gave myself tons of goodies too – there was one week where I followed up every meal with a PB&J and bowl of applesauce, another where the day ended with a trip to Coldstone for a milkshake, and my personal favorite was the cream cheese and nutella-topped graham crackers (what? Ew!).

But here’s what I have realized since my daughter was born (and even more so since we’re done nursing) – when I focus on getting everything I need to have a healthy mind and body in my diet every day, I barely have the time or room to think about the giant bowl of ice cream that my husband is enjoying next to me.

What has never worked for me is focusing on what NOT to eat. Don’t eat French fries. If you even look at that milkshake, you’re gonna add an inch to your waist. Nope. I don’t think that works for anyone (but if it does for you, get after it, girl)! I’ve found that when I focus on deprivation, all I can think about is all the things I am not having. But when I focus on abundance – on the abundance of nutritious and delicious food I get to eat every day – I am totally satisfied.

Let me add this – now that I see all the yummy goodness I put into my body, the occasional Chik-fil-A peppermint milkshake (cannot resist) or giant plate of nachos (with a side of queso, yes please), no longer feel like a guilty pleasure. I choose to enjoy them – to really stop and say, “yup – this is just that good” – and I don’t beat myself up afterwards.

So, whatever “healthy” means to you, add MORE of that to your diet. (For me, it means tons of protein – some lean, some not so much – a bunch of veggies and fruit, and lots of traditional fats). Take the time to appreciate the good you are doing for your body, and enjoy it when you take advantage of the not-so-good. Let’s think about our relationship with food fondly. We will be better for it, and so will our little ones!