8 Ways to Develop a Healthy Relationship with Food

“I spend a lot of time holding the refrigerator door open looking for answers.”

Food/Fitness Blogger.  Former Caterer. 9-5’er. As you see, I LOVE food.  My daily afternoon snack was 2 bags of chips, Doritos were my preference, a candy bar, and a bottle of juice because, hmmpphh (sticks nose up) …I don’t drink soda. Yeeessss, I thought I was better than a soda drinker at 250lbs. One cold & rainy Black Friday afternoon, sitting on my couch in my undies, after consuming a plate full of carby Thanksgiving goodness, I felt something crawling on my stomach. After jumping up several times and not seeing anything, I realized that was my stomach touching the couch. It’s time I said. I checked into rehab (Weight Watchers) the next day. I lost 60 lbs. in only 8 months….just to gain all but 13lbs. of it back.  A few years later, after having my son and losing 30 lbs., I got a new job, (Yay for me!)What I didn’t know is that they are about that #officelife. There was food everywhere. I gained 28lbs. within the first year. So why did this keep happening? I’m doing everything right….right?

1. Eat mindfully.
Our body is amazing. It automatically does what it’s supposed to do like tell us when to eat and when to stop; but we don’t always listen. IF your pants are tight: STOP. If you are full and can’t eat another bite, but your mind wants to keep going because it’s Aunt Carol’s banana pudding: STOP. If you are developing the “itis” (Google it) while you’re eating: STOP.  Listening to your body’s cues will help you manage how much you’re consuming.

2. Everything in moderation.
I went on a girls trip this past weekend and needless to say my options were limited, so I didn’t do my best, but I didn’t do the worst either. When the choice was Panera or Red Robin, I chose Panera, and  also worked out at the hotel. I don’t deprive myself, nor do I gorge. I eat what I want when I want, but in moderation. Deprivation will always lead to failure. Your will power might be victorious in one situation, but what about the next? I’m not endorsing eating bad foods. It’s human nature to want what we can’t have; this is why I give myself a “Can Eat” foods list vs. “Can’t Eat.” Fries aren’t evil, they are just fries. How you manage your consumption defines future choices. This isn’t my Red Robin burger but it looked so perfect and such a great pic 😉

3. Eat that donut, but the timing has to be right.
They say don’t go to the grocery store hungry because you will buy things you don’t need and you will over spend; and who wants a skinny wallet and expanding waistline? If you do decide you’re in the mood for cookies or fries, pick a time when you’re not hungry for a full meal, so you don’t overdo it. “If you’re starving you’ll consume more of it.

4. Eat when you’re physically hungry.
I only eat when I am hungry. Yes, that sounds easy but it took me a while to get here. When I have my moments, like mindlessly eating my son’s cheese crackers, I ask myself why am I eating this? Do I really want it? Usually the answer is “no.” Am I eating them because I’m bored or dinner’s not ready and I’m really hungry? Target your emotion and find other ways to resolve them. Emotional eating is usually linked to soothe stress and anxiety. This causes us to crave higher-calorie, fattier foods. We try to mask what the emotion is teaching us with food.  

5. Eat breakfast.
You know why they call it breakfast? Because you break your fast from sleeping for 8 hours… or if you’re like me, 4-6 hours. Eating a balanced breakfast manages your hunger throughout the day, takes your body out of starvation mode, and gives you more energy.

6. Don’t keep challenging foods in the house.
Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies are my weakness. I can pass on tons of food, but those are my kryptonite. I know this so I walk right past those cookie pushers. Identifying what your triggers are, you can take small steps to redirect them. Instead of buying it and leaving it in your fridge to keep tempting you, don’t bring it in the house.

7.  Don’t “make up” for a meal.
I believe in balance. We’re human, so every meal won’t be a contender for the cover of a health magazine. If you have a regular workout schedule, follow it. Don’t go harder or starve yourself because you had a bad meal.  Restriction=Binging because now, you’re hungry.  

 8. Don’t sit down with the whole bag.
My co-worker gave me a gallon sized bag of pistachio biscotti once because I did a favor for her and she was giving a token of appreciation. As grateful as I was, I stared confusingly at that huge bag like I stare at reality stars who actually think they add value to the world. I passed them out to other co-workers.  I know who I am, and I bet you know who you are. I had one and kept it moving. Don’t deprive yourself, but manage your situations.

The problem was I didn’t have a healthy relationship of food. I didn’t understand its impact.  I remember when I was on Weight Watchers I would eat 2 pts. for breakfast, 4 for lunch, and a 2 pt. snack, then eat everything in sight when I got home because I had 20 points left. I would eat three 100 calorie packs at 4pts. each, just because I had points left. I didn’t know HOW to eat. Additionally I was putting things in my mouth faster than I was burning it off.

I didn’t understand carbs. I thought complex carbs=#winning. What I didn’t know is you can have too much of a good thing. What I didn’t know was oatmeal for breakfast, that brown rice bowl from Chipotle for lunch, honey on sweet potatoes for dinner, and a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich was carb overload. I didn’t understand to not go back for seconds…and thirds just because it’s my favorite. Fitness is one day and one meal at a time. Find your balance and find your “why.” Now days I don’t look for answers in the fridge; I stopped asking it questions I already knew the answer to.



Nieta is a self-trained chef, fitness addict, wife, and mother of one AMAZING Bumblebee! Her passion is to help others start and stick to their fitness goals with clean chEATing.

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