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How to enjoy food without guilt

 Having an unhealthy relationship or fearing food harms your mental health (Photo: iStock)

Do you guilt trip yourself every time you snack on a bar of chocolate or some ice cream? That should not be the case but it is happening to those who have weight goals to meet or feel conscious about how they look and really want to change who they see in the mirror.

Having an unhealthy relationship or fearing food harms your mental health.

It is time you told that inner voice to shut up and shut out everyone, especially your critics who constantly remind you of what you already know.

Granted, you must eat nutrient-rich foods, work out and keep stress away to live healthily. We all know the mantras to a fulfilling lifestyle. But who said you could not eat what you want as long as you check those boxes?

According to Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch's book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, eating intuitively is the way to go. It simply embraces the straightforward approach of prioritising your internal cues over external ones.

Meaning, you should eat when hungry and stop when full. This principle goes against the globally accepted three-meals-a-day ratio. Breakfast, whether you are hungry or not, lunch and dinner. Not forgetting the snacking and drinking in between all that.

So the idea here is to reject the diet mentalities we have going on and listen to your body. Forget the fad diet plans and follow what your body says because no one knows how to nourish and feed your body better than your own body. Food is not your enemy.

Make peace with yourself if you have any negative associations with certain foods you love but force yourself to keep off. The reason you really need to do this is to avoid feelings of deprivation.

Failure to do so, your body releases cortisol, the primary stress hormone, making it even more difficult to control cravings and maintain a good weight. You do not have to eat until you wipe the plate clean as we have been taught since childhood despite being satiated.

Practice mindful eating. Serve what you can finish comfortably. If your body asks for more, add. But do not force your body to finish the huge potion you usually serve.

Another point the authors bring to the table is, to look for movement that works for you. Many hate going to the gym so do not feel stuck with that as the only way you can exercise.

Look for a movement that you enjoy. That could be taking walks, swimming, dancing, you name it. And when you feel like having that blueberry cheesecake, enjoy it once in a while.

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