4 Symptoms of an Unhealthy Relationship With Food

Christian Coulson
Updated: June 14, 2020
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There was a time when my relationship with food wasn’t something to be proud of.

I remember being so determined on reaching my goal that I’d do anything to not go off of my plan.

One Thanksgiving, I brought my own prepped meals but couldn’t resist the temptation, so I decided to have some dessert.

This made me feel so guilty that I said to myself: “You’ve already screwed up, so might as well just eat everything you want.” I ended up binge eating and feeling depressed the day after.

That’s when I realized I needed to work on my relationship with food.

Here are 4 symptoms of an unhealthy relationship with food.

1. Food Focused

Whether you’re losing weight to look better or to improve your health, there’s always the danger of focusing too much on food itself.

This behavior can create fears and make you miss on other aspects of your life that are unrelated to food.

So if you’re constantly worried about what you’re going to eat or where you’re going to eat, you may want to add a little flexibility to your weight loss approach.

If you’re on a strict diet, try adding a “relaxed meal” once a week, it will help you feel less stressed and give your metabolism a break from the calorie deficit, which can help break plateaus.

One relaxed meal won’t negatively affect your progress at all.

2. An All or Nothing Mentality

Most of us want everything to be perfect, but the truth is, it almost never is, and weight loss is no different.

If you believe that you need to eat clean all the time or might as well not eat clean at all, you might have an unhealthy relationship with food.

People with this mindset tend to go crazy whenever they eat something that’s not allowed in their diet, they feel all their hard work is lost and decide to binge eat.

Binge eating then leads to a state of depression and regret where people start punishing themselves by not eating anything the next day or doing more cardio.

Truth is, having something outside of what’s “allowed” on your diet won’t ruin your progress, a few slices of pizza is nothing compared to eating an entire pizza, plus brownies.

If you slipped, don’t feel everything is lost and binge eat, just enjoy that little treat you had and get back to your routine.

Here are 7 effective tips to help you prevent overeating and 6 mindsets to avoid if you want to lose weight.

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3. Labeling Foods as “Good” or “Bad”

Another symptom of an unhealthy relationship with food is labeling foods as “good” or “bad.”

This often happens because of a few reasons:

  • no basic knowledge of nutrition,
  • restrictive diets that cut out complete food groups, and
  • taking other people’s comments and thoughts as “facts.”

Truth is, some people will do better by cutting carbs, others won’t; some might do better by eating carbs but just cutting sugary and processed foods; we are all different.

This doesn’t mean that pizza, burgers, and Pop-Tarts are bad, they are a little more calorie-dense than other foods and also contain little less nutritional value, but I think we can both agree that having a slice of pizza here and there won’t kill us.

The issue with processed and sugary foods is that since they have lots of calories but are not filling, it’s easy to overeat them and gain weight.

That’s why I recommend adopting the 80/20 rule for weight loss.

4. It’s Affecting Your Personal Relationships

If you constantly miss going out with your friends and family because you’re afraid to go off the diet, you may want to re-evaluate your relationship with food.

I’m all up for making some sacrifices to reach your goals, but if you have to sacrifice spending time with family and friends, you might not be using the right approach.

Keeping a balance between your weight loss goals and relationships is important for long-term success, besides, there are things you can order at restaurants that are low-calorie, and if you learn how to eat, you will be able to control your portions on holidays and when eating out.

Here’s how to keep your calories low when eating out.

I hope you enjoyed this article about 4 symptoms of an unhealthy relationship with food!

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