Signs you might have an unhealthy relationship with food & when to see a Dietitian
To move toward a more positive relationship with food, it’s important to recognise what an unhealthy relationship with food might look like and when to seek additional support.
So how do you know if you might have an unhealthy relationship with food?
The following might provide some insight:
- Do you feel emotions like guilt, shame, fear or anxiety around food and eating?
- Do you have specific rules around eating that you must follow? E.g. What, when and how much you are allowed to eat?
- Do you have a list of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods? And do you deny yourself from eating things that you truly want to eat because they are ‘bad’?
- Do you rely on calorie counting apps, smart watches or other external cues to tell you what, how much and when to eat?
- Do you withdraw from social activities that include eating because you fear what you might have to eat?
- Do you feel like you have to compensate for what you eat with exercise or by limiting your next meal?
- Do you feel like you can’t stop thinking about food, diets, calories and/or weight?
- Do you constantly feel dizzy, weak and/or tired?
- Have there been changes in menstrual regularity? E.g. Stopped or missed periods.
You don’t have to experience all of these signs to improve your relationship with food. A tell-tale sign that your relationship with food could be improved is if you feel guilt, shame, fear or overwhelmed around food.
It’s also important to recognise that your relationship with food may ebb and flow. Some days you might eat with complete food freedom, and other days you might not, or you might be somewhere in between. The goal of improving your relationship with food is to have more positive experiences and build upon strategies to help you when you are struggling. When you improve your relationship with food, you’ll notice less guilt and anxiety around eating and more food freedom.
So when should you see a Dietitian?
If you feel as though you might have an unhealthy relationship with food, or there are negative emotions and behaviours around food and eating that are interfering with your ability to live a full and meaningful life, please consider reaching out to a non-diet Dietitian and therapist for support.
A non-diet Dietitian can support you to:
- Heal your relationship with food, body and exercise
- Foster behaviours that will support your physical, emotional, social and mental wellbeing
- Reconnect with your body’s physiological cues, trust your body’s inner wisdom and eat intuitively
- Find satisfaction in food choices
- Fight against diet culture and reclaim your mind and self
As you navigate your relationship with food, remember that food is not inherently good or bad, and neither is a person for eating a particular food. There is nothing wrong with valuing nutrition, but when it takes away from your overall physical, mental and social wellbeing, including your quality of life, it becomes unhelpful and unsustainable.
Food is so much more than just physical nourishment – it is a source of connection, celebration, pleasure, culture and tradition. You are allowed to enjoy it.
The journey toward a more positive relationship with food can be a long process that has many levels to it. It will look differently for everyone. But, it is absolutely worth it. You will learn to understand and appreciate your own body.
Follow our Instagram at @glowgrouphealth for more non-diet & body positive content!
Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any health conditions and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.