Making the decision to commit to losing weight is the most important – and most…
How to Create a Healthy Relationship with Food
By Rachael Vishram, Clinic Psychologist Wesley LifeShape Clinic
It is common for people to have a difficult relationship with food, and many women struggle with this very issue. Unfortunately, these issues often manifest into a cycle of dieting. However diets are only a short term process. Every diet has an end, and after losing an initial amount of weight, you get tired of being restricted and go back to your previous habits. Subsequently, the weight you’ve worked hard to lose simply comes back on.
So to help you mend and strengthen your relationship with food, here are some helpful tips to get into a sustainable weight loss mindset:
- Understand that behaviour needs to change, and how to manage the cycle of change
While we might all want the instant gratification of weight loss, the quick fix option rarely teaches us how to maintain healthy behaviours and the motivation to keep them in place. Changing your habits and behaviours around food and exercise is crucial for sustainable weight loss. It’s incredibly important for these changes to become second nature and are integrated into your lifestyle. In the early stages this can be difficult, but becomes easier as time goes by.
- Improve your relationship with food
Many individuals become scared of consuming certain food groups. Food is morally neutral – we have been conditioned to feel proud when we choose the healthy piece of fruit, guilty when we eat a piece of chocolate cake instead. However it’s important to understand your emotional connections to food, develop the mindset to allow indulgent food choices where appropriate and implement alternative strategies to counter troublesome eating cues. If you need help in this area, a dietitian can help you delve deeper into your emotional triggers and help you to understand what you are looking for in food and how to address that need directly.
- Think about your thoughts
Unhelpful thoughts can trigger uncomfortable emotions, and manifest in self-defeating behaviours such as overeating. Often negative thoughts (e.g. “I have failed”) are an automatic process, and so it is important to work on but this requires an ongoing commitment to challenging these and thinking more helpfully (e.g. “it is okay that I didn’t lose as much weight this week because I exercised regularly as I had planned”). Try an exercise where you reflect on your past experience with weight loss and address the fear of failure that is so often present and holding you back from lasting change.
As well as this, in order to improve your relationship with food, it is important that you learn about different healthy foods and the positive impact that they can have on your body. This will help you to appreciate and understand the importance of different foods, while also revealing how directly influential your diet can be on your health. It is essential to ensure that you don’t simply source all of your information from online, as not all websites contain legitimate information. Try to look at information on government websites or websites that have scientific and medical research, as they will be the most authentic.
It is important to remember that food and your diet shouldn’t control your life. If you feel as though you are unable to get a hold of your relationship with food, it is always best to see a dietitian for information, assistance and support. The program offered by Wesley LifeShape Clinic provides that next level of expertise and support that a quick fix fad diet doesn’t. They aim to help every client achieve long-term results by addressing your mindset, not just your food intake and exercise regime. For sustainable weight loss the healthy choices need to feel right, need to be consistent with our values and not feel like hard work or deprivation.
About Rachael Vishram
Rachael graduated from the Queensland University of Technology in 2013 with a Masters in Clinical Psychology, and is now a registered clinical psychologist.
Rachael worked in private practice after university and commenced work as a psychologist with Wesley LifeShape Clinic in January 2015.
GDip Psych, BPsych (Hons), MAPS. MPsych (Clinical)
About Wesley LifeShape Clinic
Over 15 years, Wesley LifeShape Clinic has helped more than 10,000 Australians achieve healthier, happier lives through their award-winning weight management programs. The LifeShape program enables the lifestyle and health benefits gained from losing weight, improving your health and gaining a positive mindset.
The LifeShape Clinic’s team of specialist medical professionals support each client by creating a personalised weight loss plan to reach a healthy weight, improve nutrition, exercise and mindset – helping to find balance and break the dieting cycle.
If you’re interested in finding out how the clinic can help you achieve your health and wellness goals, please phone 1 800 567 348 or visit their website.