We all know that an unhealthy relationship leaves you feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied. What if your unhealthy relationship is with the food you eat? Sure, it provides a temporary escape from whatever ails us, but once the pint of ice cream or bag of chips has been devoured we are left with unmet emotional needs. I love what Asheritah CiuCiu said in her 5 day devotional “Food is Not the Enemy” (found on YouVersion), “For something as mundane as what we eat, food has become an increasingly complex issue that causes many of us to feel guilty, overwhelmed, and even hopeless.”

The relationship you have with food can be detrimental to your health and weight loss when it is an unhealthy one.

Here are ten signs that you have an unhealthy relationship with food

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  1. You think about food all the time – If you have access to food when you are hungry, there is no reason for thoughts of food to consume your mind and interfere with your life. Constant thoughts about food (what to eat, what not to eat, how many calories, etc.) are a sign that you may be denying yourself the nutrients your body needs.

 

  1. You prefer to eat in private – If you can’t handle eating in the company of others without feeling self-conscious, you obsess over what your options may be at a restaurant or party (excluding food allergies), or you avoid social situations involving food all together, chances are your food relationship isn’t healthy.

 

  1. You suffer from food guilt – There is no reason you should spend hours beating yourself up for having a slice of cake or eating an extra breadstick. Eating habits are not all or nothing and an “indulgence” shouldn’t get you bent out of shape. If you are spending more time mentally beating yourself up for eating something than you spent actually enjoying it, you are suffering from food guilt.

 

  1. You deny yourself the foods you crave – A healthy relationship with foods means that you know what you want as well as what you need in your diet. It also means that you accommodate both your wants and your needs… meaning that sometimes you will just want that chocolate chip cookie. Often cravings are our body’s way of telling us we are lacking something in our diets.

 

  1. You cut out entire food groups – Healthy eating is all about balance (barring food allergies or moral preferences). Rigid perfectionism, and guilt if you eat a “forbidden food”, in your diet is a precursor for disordered eating and a definite warning sign to an unhealthy relationship with food.

 

  1. You eat the same foods all the time – Trying new foods isn’t something that that should cause you anxiety unless you have a severe food allergy causing the anxiety. If you find that your dietary intake has become very rigid out of fear (not due to convenience and/or dietary needs) or the idea of trying a new food causes fears and anxiety to surface, you could have bigger problems to deal with.

 

  1. Your emotions control your eating habits – If you eat to procrastinate, to entertain yourself, to reward yourself, or to console yourself, you are allowing your emotions to control your eating habits. This means that you aren’t listening to your body about what its needs are. Besides, those feelings will resurface if not addressed. There are healthier coping mechanisms that should be explored.

 

  1. You are controlled by food rules – There are no hard and fast rules that you need to follow in order to lose, maintain, or gain weight. If your mind is more concerned with following unnecessary rules when it comes to food instead of listening to your body, chances are, you need to evaluate your relationship with food.

 

  1. You punish yourself for breaking your food rules – Choosing to eat a salad for lunch because you know you are going out for pizza for dinner is called balance. Going on a week-long juice cleanse because you ate three slices instead of two or exercising excessively to “make up” for eating dessert while out a dinner is a sign that you need to evaluate your relationship with food.

 

  1. You have no self-control when it comes to food – A couple signs that you have no self-control when it comes to food are when you can’t have certain foods in the house without eating them, or you find yourself eating a full bag of chips without realizing it until afterward. A lack of self-control regarding food is a definite sign you need to reevaluate your relationship with food.
Remember this, typically our issue is not with food, but with our thoughts surrounding food. If you have identified that your relationship with food is unhealthy, you might be wondering what the next steps are. If you find that your negative relationship with food is affecting your quality of life, then it might be time to consider working with a qualified health coach, talking to a therapist, or visiting your doctor to work through why you have the relationship with food that you do.

You can contact me via email at tiffiney@healthcoachtiffiney.com or using the contact form on the website. Interested in health coaching? I will be launching an online group coaching program May 14th and you can find out more details here.

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