6 Harmful Thoughts Fueling Your Battle with Food

Posted on June 1, 2017

“Eating is not a crime. It’s not a moral issue. It’s normal. It’s enjoyable. It just is.” — Carrie Arnold

With the advent of new media and popular culture which has emphasized on being slim and skinny, it is inevitable that many of us today begin to become self-conscious of our body image, even comparing ourselves to the slim and skinny bodies on magazine covers and in movies. Letting go of these six toxic thoughts about food will help you eat mindfully, and with joy.

1. Thinking of Food as a Reward.
Rewarding a healthy diet with unhealthy food, like during cheat days, defeats the purpose of eating with joy. Having cheat days can make your daily meals seem less enjoyable in comparison, which diminishes your pleasure.
A more mindful approach is to allow yourself to indulge on not-so-healthy foods occasionally in moderate portions, instead of reserving certain moments or days to pig out on junk food. Don’t see these indulgences as “rewards” or “prizes” reserved for certain occasions.

2. Using Food as a Punishment.
Using food to punish yourself is just as damaging as using it to reward yourself.
Eating less or not eating to “punish” yourself for overeating is only going to reinforce the feeling you have been “bad,” and this will make you more anxious and paranoid around food. You don’t need to deprive your body; torturing yourself is not the answer.
The best thing you can do to stop this cycle is to practice self-love. Love yourself, love your body, and know you don’t need to punish it.

3. Thinking of Food as Comfort.
Emotional eating happens when we see food as a form of consolation. The best thing you can do for yourself is to actively seek healthier ways to cope when things seem bad—and there are plenty of them, such as exercising, meditating, listening to music, taking a walk, playing with a kitten or a dog, taking a nap, and talking to friends. These are more effective and healthier ways to lift up your mood.

4. Seeing Food as Something “Prohibited.”
Food restrictions often result in constant thoughts and cravings about the food you are “forbidding” and this keeps you from fully enjoying the meals in your plate. Forbidding unhealthy food makes you stressed and is ineffective, but if you simply focus on eating more whole foods, your mind will be at peace and you will eat healthier without even noticing.

5. Seeing Food as Entertainment.
When you go to the movies, do you eat popcorn because you’re truly hungry or just because that’s how it’s done? Eating mindfully means being aware of your food and enjoying the experience. Using food as a distraction won’t let you enjoy your meals the same way.

6. Measuring Your Self-Worth Based on How Much You Eat.
You’re more than what or how much you eat.
Beating yourself up over what you eat is exactly what harms your relationship with food and steals your happiness. If you feel you haven’t been eating healthy, don’t get angry with yourself. You can always make a change for the better and improve your diet whenever you decide. It’s important you see food as your ally, not as the enemy.

Food is not meant to make you feel guilty, worried, or restrict you in any way. It is there to nourish, support you, and make you feel your best. If you want to heal your relationship with food, begin by transforming the harmful thoughts that keep you from fully enjoying your eating experience.

Category(s):Eating Disorders

Source material from PsychCentral

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