We’re in a relationship with food and our bodies every single day: the two are powerfully entwined. And if you’ve joined the Trim Down Club, or thinking of joining, you probably wish your relationships with both were a little better.

Here are 6 ways that you can improve your relationship with food and your body:

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Change How You Think About Food

Food, real food—we’re not talking about the hyper-processed food-like items that stock the supermarket—isn’t good or bad. Yes, milk goes bad and some of us enjoy Brussels sprouts (but not when they’ve been boiled into submission). But food just is. Sometimes it’s high in fat and calories and sometimes it isn’t. The real question is, do you enjoy it? Does it make you feel good? It’s okay to have weird loves, like lemon wedges sprinkled with salt, or hate something you’ve seen a celebrity hawk.

A childs hands holding an apple that has had a heart shaped bite taken out of it

Focus on the Pleasure of Food

You should enjoy food. And you should particularly enjoy those foods you want, but label as “bad.” Try this experiment: eat your favorite “guilty pleasure.” But check the guilt—because it’s not bad. There’s only one rule to this: eat it slowly, savoring every mouthful. Enjoy it for all the pleasure it gives you—but don’t ask it to do more than that. Caramel, after all, is not a better job. It’s caramel. That’s its job.

Change the Way We Think About “Healthy”Valentine's Day

That’s because we are not physiologically satisfied with food labelled in this way. Doubt me? Try a little thought experiment. A friend invites you over for lunch and serves you a glass of white wine, some asparagus spears wrapped in prosciutto and toasted, along with some strawberries dipped in dark chocolate. And says, “This is such a healthy dish.” Or, “Tasty little treats like this are so much fun.” Which words will make you enjoy it more? You bet. #2. Hands down. Yale University demonstrated this with a little study called Mind Over Milkshakes. Simply changing the label from indulgent to sensible changed study participants’ hormonal responses to the exact same milkshakes from satiated to not satisfied at all.

We suspect that’s why food manufacturers plaster obviously-unhealthy foods with labels saying how good they are for you. To trick you into eating more.

Cook Something

Modern processed food is carefully optimized with salt, sugar and fat so you can’t help but eat a lot of it, far more than your body can use. Really. If you want to stay at or reduce to a healthy weight, and you’re eating processed food, you’re engaged in a losing battle with people whose jobs depend on how many calories they can drive into you. Every time you cook something tasty for yourself, especially every time you punch up the flavor with spices and herbs or flavored vinegars, rather than salt and sugar, they lose. Do it often enough and you lose your taste for processed food. And you—and your body—totally win.

Ask How Food Makes You Feel?

This is the kicker. If what you eat makes you feel great now, a few hours from now, and the next day, that’s what it should do. If you’re eating to cope with emotional stresses, then you need to have a serious conversation with your body, your heart and your mind about what you really want. If you dislike what food is doing to your body, or if you find yourself eating foods in ways that make you hate what you’re doing, you may need to seek professional help.

Move in a Way Your Body Loves

Our bodies were made to move. Give yourself a treat and move in a way you love, until you are happy and tired. Take the dogs for a walk, lift weights, go for a swim or a hike with friends from your book club. Enjoy the sun and the wind on your skin. Then come home and have a really tasty meal.

To learn more about how food affects your body and how different foods force your body to become fat, click here.

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Comments 8

  1. I always like vege stir fry cucumbres oions pepers apple celary green or red tomato add one or four drops of hot sause after cooking add some apple cider vinager sometimes if their is any meet left in fridge like lean pork or chicken is this healthy I like it

  2. I don’t like a whole lot of different foods. Chicken, fish, turkey, a little beef and no pork . I do like the lunchmeats, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Exercise is a problem for me , I’ve had cancer 2 different times, I hurt all over and some days I can not lift my leg. I really need to lose weight without losing my mind. I started 2 weeks ago and the foods have made me feel better, I’ve had more energy, and it seems some of the pain is gone.

  3. Hi, samary3908. There is always a way, and I’m happy to help in whatever way I can.
    First, just about any movement can help – don’t worry if it seems like it’s not enough. The point isn’t to have it burn calories by itself, but rather for it to preserve and tone muscle tissue to burn the calories for you. If you are followed by a health care professional familiar with your case (and I truly hope you are), perhaps he/she can refer you to a physical therapist who can recommend exercises that will limit additional injury and perhaps even help you strengthen your core. If you have already done this – great! If this is not an option, please do repost, and we will do our best to work through the issue.
    Second, I recommend you use the full Menu Planner (in “Apps” above) and select the foods that will work best for you.
    Third, the following are options for healthy food items that require minimal preparation:
    • Fresh and dried fruit
    • Cut raw vegetables
    • Oven-baked vegetable chips
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Trail mix combinations of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
    • Sandwiches – good breads with nut butters, hummus and similar spreads, tahini, canned or smoked fish, cheese, homemade “cold cuts” from fresh meats, egg salad, etc.
    • Whole grain or Paleo crackers plus any of the above
    • Hard-boiled eggs
    • Sliced or string cheese
    • Cottage cheese
    • Yogurt
    • Milk (dairy or vegetal), plain or flavored with cocoa powder and a recommended sweetener
    • Hearty soup in a thermos (2-3 food groups, i.e. meat or legume, vegetable, whole grain)
    • Hearty smoothie/shake in a thermos (2-3 food groups, i.e. fruit/vegetable, dairy/vegan, seeds)
    • Edamame or other legume/pulse snacks
    • Whole grain or Paleo cereal or granola (cold in small sealable bag, cooked in thermos)
    • Canned beans
    • Prepared healthy foods in containers – from leftovers or prepared the night or weekend before.
    • Homemade whole-food muffins or bars
    • Popped grains, i.e. organic popcorn, sorghum, quinoa

  4. due to physical disabilty i am unable to standor walk. also one sholder is damaged inadition to my spine. how do i exercise enough to burn my caloric intake. i had cancer last year which meant all corrective joint surgey was cancelled. the cancer treatment affected my lymph system. i am despart to find help. cooking is not always possiable. do i eat weight water prepared meals can you suggest prepared meals?

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