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How to Have a Healthy Relationship With Food Podcast Episode 137

If you want to eat healthily or lose weight, you need to work on your relationship with food.

The diet culture leads us to "restrict" and "deprive" ourselves. Certain foods become forbidden and "bad". But the reality is "nothing is forbidden in moderation".

But often "moderation" isn't moderation because certain foods have a hold over us.

So what is a healthy relationship with food?

And how can you can your relationship with food?


How to Have a Healthy Relationship With Food Transcript

Hel­lo and wel­come to the Fit and Fab­u­lous Podcast with me, Dr. Orlena Ker­ek!
It is now Au­gust and we've had a few days of rain here in Spain, which is some­thing I'm grate­ful for be­cause al­though I love the summer, it is very hot. It’s re­al­ly love­ly to just have a lit­tle bit of respite and to know that the sum­mer will re­turn.

The oth­er thing that is hap­pen­ing in my life is Au­gust is that this month marks the two thirds of the way through our ad­ven­ture, which is liv­ing in this tiny, yet beau­ti­ful house whilst our house is being done up.

We've still got four months to go be­fore we move back to our home, which feels like it hasn't been a home for such a long time. I guess eight months is a long time.

It's a beau­ti­ful house, but there are six of us squeezed into a small space and if you have noisy bois­ter­ous chil­dren and you're try­ing to work, you will un­der­stand how much of a chal­lenge that can be.

But I'm also very grate­ful to this house be­cause it has every­thing we need.

Dieting is a Habit We Can Change

To­day, I want to talk about your re­la­tion­ship with food.

I was talking to some­one this morn­ing and she was telling me how she di­ets on and off over the years. I asked her why she does this di­et­ing and es­sen­tial­ly she said, she has a habit of doing it since she was 18.

Dieting can become an emotional rollercoaster

So many peo­ple go through this jour­ney of dieting. They cre­ate this pos­si­bil­i­ty, this vi­sion of how amaz­ing it's go­ing to be. They’re go­ing to feel fab­u­lous. It's go­ing to be won­der­ful, ex­cept they ob­vi­ous­ly have to get there. They start off and do really well but then life happens. Then we start lis­ten­ing to that left-hand side of our brain which tells you to stay safe and keep things as they are.

People then tend to enter into this mind­set of, ‘I can't do it. There's some­thing wrong with me. I am bro­ken. I have tried so many of these things.’

A woman preparing a meal with a bunch of vegetables  #healthyeating #diet

Being on and off a diet makes you gain more fat

Let’s say you weigh a hun­dred kilo­grams and have 50 grams of fat. You start dieting and exercising and you lose some weight. Some of that weight is go­ing to be mus­cle and fat.

Then you go back and you stop dieting and exercising.

At this point, let’s say you lost 10 kilograms so you now weigh 90 kilograms. Since you lost some mus­cle tone, what hap­pens when you go back to the way you were eating is you are going to be gaining more fat.

The prob­lem of jump­ing on and off your diet is it doesn't help your pro­por­tion of fat.

Dieting does not work according to research

Re­search says that di­et­ing does not work. If you’re aiming to live a healthy lifestyle and lose weight in ways that are de­priv­ing and re­stric­ting, it's not go­ing to work.

Peo­ple might diet for six months, but af­ter years they go back to where they were. And that's re­al­ly the test. It's look­ing at the long term.
The key to healthy living is to address the underlying causes of our habits

The idea of our re­la­tion­ship with food is one of the fun­da­men­tal pil­lars that I teach which is emo­tion­al well­ness. It is such a fun­da­men­tal part in mak­ing healthy changes because if we don’t ad­dress the un­der­ly­ing rea­sons for why we do things, we aren't go­ing to make changes that stick.

Dr Orlena teaches people to build a healthy life on autopilot

I aim to teach peo­ple to get to healthy living just out of habit and with­out hav­ing to think about it.

You exercise in a way that you re­al­ly en­joy, that you find fun be­cause you love it.

So for me, every sin­gle morn­ing, I'm at the beach at 10 because I love to swim. I don't get up and swim every morn­ing be­cause I think I ought to do it be­cause I feel some sense of oblig­a­tion to do it. I do it be­cause I love it. And I know that it gives me en­er­gy, helps me feel bet­ter and more in con­trol of my­self than if I don't.

This is where I want you to get to. It's all hap­pen­ing on au­topi­lot so that you don't have to think about it.

Having a good relationship with food means eating in moderation

What does it look like to have a good re­la­tion­ship with food?

Noth­ing is for­bid­den in mod­er­a­tion. I know we talk eating foods that are more healthy and avoiding foods that aren’t healthy. The truth is you can still eat packaged foods but just in moderation.

One of the arguments I hear peo­ple say is, ‘I want to eat those de­li­cious pack­aged foods all the time and if I can't eat it all the time, then I feel de­prived.’

One thing that I would love you to do is to fall in love with healthy foods and re­al­ly see that they are tasty and de­li­cious. They can give you the same plea­sure as those sweet packaged foods.

If you want to lose weight and push yourself towards healthy eating, then eating a lot of fruits and vegetables will help you accomplish that.

Little tweaks to your habits and rou­tines will help you steer towards healthy eating

Let me tell you a sto­ry of Alex­is. She was a client that I had a few years ago. She would eat choco­late on the way back from work, be­cause she felt that was a way of look­ing af­ter her­self.

We put in sys­tems and habits and rou­tines in all four of the pil­lars. So one of the un­der­ly­ing is­sues was that she didn't feel that she was look­ing af­ter her­self. We worked on that and she de­cid­ed to give up choco­late for a cou­ple of weeks.

She would go back to it for the next couple of weeks but even­tu­al­ly she got to the stage where she's like, ‘Choco­late just doesn't do it for me any­more. I don't get the same en­joy­ment as I used to. What I'm ac­tu­al­ly re­al­ly lov­ing is these healthy foods.’

You just have to step away and see the big­ger pic­ture and think, ‘I've got this de­sire, but I can have a de­sire for some­thing else. And I can ful­fill that de­sire for some­thing.’

Eating in mod­er­a­tion is the key to healthy eating

As mentioned earlier, you can still eat the things that you want to eat but just in moderation.

If you're eat­ing lots of pack­aged foods all the time then you are go­ing to put on weight. But you can shift that to eat­ing lots of healthy foods and say, ‘I'm eat­ing foods that nour­ish my body, that pro­vides me with the en­er­gy and the nu­tri­ents that I need. And from time to time, I en­joy these oth­er foods, and then I stop and I don't have this over­whelm­ing de­sire or urge to car­ry on.’

How to fix your relationship with food

Getting from where you are right now to where you want to get to re­quires a lit­tle bit of work. It re­quires a bit of tri­al and er­ror. It re­quires looking at the thoughts and emotions that are go­ing on un­der­neath.

I en­joy every­thing that I eat. I en­joy eat­ing food. And yes, some­times I overeat as well. That hap­pens. But the re­al­i­ty is if you're overeat­ing fruit and veg­eta­bles, you're overeating far few­er calo­ries than if you're overeat­ing on packaged foods.

And yes, from time to time, I eat pack­aged foods. My kids love ice cream and I also indulge sometimes I have to con­fess. But again, I know when to stop.

Creating healthy meals for your family can be easy and fun

I was talk­ing to a client a few days ago and she said, ‘I just don't have this mind­set of, I en­joy cre­at­ing food.’

Now here's the hard truth as par­ents. We have to cre­ate food for our chil­dren, so you can choose to en­joy it, or you can choose not to.

You can fig­ure out how to make it fun and how to make it less of a chore and fig­ure out the bits that you don't en­joy do­ing.

Try to find fun and different ways of do­ing things and cre­at­ing healthy food 

For me, one of the things I've done is I love to ex­per­i­ment­ with how I can take some­thing like fruit and veg­eta­bles or some­thing healthy and cre­ate an easy recipe that works for my fam­i­ly. Some­times I win the game and some­times I don’t because they don’t like it.

A few weeks ago I was ex­per­i­ment­ing with nuts. I soaked cashews, whizzed them up and put them in the freezer. None of my kids liked it.

I tried again with peanuts and I added some co­coa and raisins. And again, my kids didn't like it.

Bottom line, try to find fun and different ways of do­ing things and cre­at­ing healthy food and turn­ing it into a game.

Until you have re­al­ly cor­rect­ed your re­la­tion­ship with food, you can't cre­ate a sus­tain­able way of liv­ing healthily 

If you have this mindset that ‘I'm not al­lowed to eat these foods.’ That is de­priv­ing your­self. You're al­ways go­ing to come from a place of feeling deprived and what you’re doing is sac­ri­fice.

You need to change how you think about things so that you can come from a place of loving what you eat and loving what you do. And yes, from time to time, you have treats and that is fine but just in moderation.

 Photo of a bowl of salad #healthyfood #vegetables #eatinghealthy

Join the Fix My Re­la­tion­ship with Food Work­shop

To­mor­row, Wednes­day on Au­gust the fourth. I am host­ing a workshop called the, Fix My Re­la­tion­ship with Food Work­shop.

If you're al­ready on my email list, I will send out an in­vi­ta­tion for that. If not sign up to be on the email list. I hope you can make it. It will be at 8:00 PM cen­tral Eu­ropean time, which is 7:00 PM in the UK.

If you can't come then join the Face­book group. Have a love­ly day, and I will be back with you again next week!

A plate of pesto pasta #healthyfood #healthyeating #diet

Come and Join the "Fix Your Relationship with Food" workshop. August 3rd, 2pm eastern.

Grab "Dr Orlena's Road Map to Healthy Amazing You" to be sent the zoom link. (Or if it's after the date, the next free workshop).  


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Dr Orlena Author Bio

Dr Orlena is a health coach. She helps busy mums go from "I can't lose weight" to feeling fit and fabulous. Find out more about her here.


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