What's Your Relationship Status with Your Food?
February 14, 2019
Thinking about updating the relationship status between your brain and what you put in your body? Though HopeWay doesn't treat primary eating disorders, clients are encouraged to consider the impact that their relationship with food has on their mental wellness.
Our registered dietitians, Ellen Jones and Sarah Craig Haverland, help clients connect the dots between their gut and their brain as they learn how to improve their relationships with food.
Sometimes it's easy to just focus on the physical aspect of this connection. For example, food is energy that is required for survival and provides nutrients that physically interact with the body and brain. Clients learn about the many nutrients that are important to supporting brain health while cooking with them in The Learning Kitchen. Though the physical relationship is important, it is equally vital to consider the emotional impact as well.
Unfortunately, our relationship with food can be negative at times. Meal planning, grocery shopping and food preparation can be stressful for many, especially those struggling with mental illness. Additionally, many feel guilt and shame around food choices and body image. Clients who wrestle with these negative emotions are encouraged to improve upon their food-related relationships through individual and group work with their therapists and our registered dietitians.
But on the positive side, the smell and taste of food can evoke happy memories and even provide pleasure or joy. The act of gathering, preparing and sharing food with others is an innate way in which people can form and strengthen their connection with others. Our clients have the opportunity to develop these skills in both the HopeWay Dining Hall and the Learning Kitchen.
As we approach National Eating Disorders Week (February 25 - March 3), here are some helpful tips to keep a positive relationship with food in your lives:
- Practice mindful eating by using all 5 senses when eating foods
- Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues to gauge energy intake rather than counting calories
- Allow yourself flexibility in food choices
- Improve your food experience by plating foods, sitting down at a table, turning the TV off and even turning on some music
- Enjoy - allow yourself to find satisfaction in your favorite foods!
Don't let your enthusiasm for healthy life-changes wane now that we're well into the New Year. You have what it takes to maintain a positive relationship status with your food!
-Written by Ellen Jones, MS, RD, LDN and
Sarah Craig Haverland, RD, LDN
HopeWay's Health and Wellness Specialists