The fitness industry is fraught with confusing terms related to food as well as unhealthy dieting regimes. It may be difficult to recognize unhealthy mindsets and terminology in the fitness sphere at first because when we see people with fit physiques and demonstrating discipline in their eating habits, we value those things and see them as healthy. And in the right way, these things are healthy and admirable. But disordered eating habits and food fear can creep in easily.
If you were raised by constant crash dieters or you have been brainwashed by the multi-billion dollar dieting industry, you may be befuddled by what it means to have a healthy relationship with food. You are not alone. The truth of it all is that food is both for enjoyment and nourishment and it is what fuels us to live our lives and reach our fitness goals. Here are some ways that you can nourish your body without fearing food.
Words have power. A successful marketing or branding campaign will leave you with words that you subconsciously associate with certain products. And as we mentioned, the global diet industry is a 900+ billion-dollar machine. To say they pump a lot of psychology into their ads and marketing is an understatement. You may associate certain foods with certain moral characteristics, and you may not even realize why. But the answer most likely lies in being exposed to decades of diet branding. So, the first step to having a good relationship with food is to change the way you think and speak about it.
Try to avoid labeling certain foods as “good” or “bad”. Squash endless yo-yo dieting by removing phrases like “cheat day” and “cheat meal”. Avoid the trap of referring to dishes and ingredients as “clean”, “guilt-free”, or “off-limits”. Instead, use language that highlights how food fuels your body and enriches your life. Words like “satisfying”, “nourishing”, and “delicious”.
Whether you weight lift, do Pilates, or do some combination of training, you are likely familiar with the concept of mind-muscle connection. Being present during your workouts and really focusing on engaging the target muscle goes a long way in getting the most out of your sessions and in developing a good technique.
A similar principle can be used when sitting down for meals or grabbing a snack. Through unhealthy habits, many of us have lost the ability to interpret our bodies' hunger cues. This could be from years of ignoring your body’s hunger cues to restrict calories or it could be because you use food to cope with negative emotions and tend to ignore your fullness cues in that regard. Whatever the case may be, you can relearn how to listen to the natural hunger and fullness cues our bodies send out. To start, check in regularly with yourself. Ask, “am I hungry?” If yes, have something to eat. As you are eating, stop every few bites and ask yourself “am I still hungry?” or “am I satisfied?”. If no, keep eating until the answer is yes. Checking in with yourself frequently in the beginning will help you to retrain your mind to listen to your body’s hunger cues.
Remember that being satiated is a large part of listening to your body. And oftentimes it can help you meet your physical goals as well. To ignore your craving for a salty potato chip you may eat a series of “healthy” snacks and still feel unsatisfied. Then you are left hyper fixating on food and maybe even consuming more calories than you would have if you just ate a small portion of the potato chips that you wanted in the first place. So, remember you can honor your cravings even if you have physique goals that you are trying to meet. You may simply choose to limit that portion instead of putting it off limits altogether. Allowing yourself to have bits of the foods that you truly enjoy will help you not become burnt out in your fitness routine and you are more likely to make healthy habits a long-term lifestyle.
At the end of the day, food is essential. We eat it every day, multiple times a day. Make sure that you are both nourishing your mind and your body with the foods you eat.
At Junkyard Training, we want you to perform at your peak. If you are interested in trainers that care about you, having full access to all sorts of gym equipment, and rehab options at your fingertips, stop by our facility today!