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Food, My Friend: How to build a healthy relationship with food & exercise

How do we build a healthy relationship with food and exercise? How do we build a healthy relationship with ourselves?

Man, those are good questions. And honestly, it takes a lot of hard work. I wish that healthy relationships with food and exercise came easily for everyone. I wish that everyone was raised to love themselves and have a great relationship with themselves. Unfortunately, a lot of us struggle with food. A lot of us struggle with exercise. A lot of us struggle with self-love. And, a lot of us have been conditioned to struggle with these things. 

“How many of us were raised to eat intuitively—for example, to not always have to finish the food on our plates?”

How many of us were raised to believe that exercise was fun and beneficial for our bodies? How many of us were raised to believe that food was our friend? How many of us were raised to trust our minds and bodies? 

I think one of the first steps to building these healthy relationships is to be honest with ourselves about where we come from, and where we’re at. It’s hard work to look at the past, to dig a little deeper, but it’s also so important. I think that a lot of times we block out negative things from our past. And while we don’t want to get stuck in old ways of thinking or looking back all of the time, we do have to know what we’re working with in order to heal and to move forward.

After digging into what we’ve been conditioned to believe about these things, I believe the next step is to dig deep into how we want to move forward. Here are some good questions to ask/answer for yourself:

  1. Do I view food as a friend or an enemy?
  • If I view food as an enemy, how do I want to work to change this?
  • If I view food as a friend, how did I get to this point?
  1. What type of relationship do I want to have with exercise?
  • Is exercise something that I do out of love or hate for my body?
  • If exercise is something that I do out of hate for my body, how can I start to change this?
  1. What type of relationship do I want to have with myself?
  • Do I trust and love myself?

After answering these questions, the next step is to make small changes. All beneficial, sustainable, lasting habits and changes come from starting small.

Instead of trying to change everything at once or make drastic changes, start with small, sustainable habits. If you’re able, I always suggest working with a therapist, a nutritionist, or a coach to help you during this transitional/healing/rebuilding stage of your life. 

I am so grateful to have done this work for myself, and to be able to now do this work with my clients. If you’re starting out on this healing journey, please know that you do not have to do it alone. Building these healthy relationships take time and hard work. But the hard work is worth it. Get the help and the support that you need. Have a lot of grace and self-compassion and love for yourself in the process. And always remember that you are not alone!

Abby Horst

A podcaster, wife, health/wellness coach, beach lover, and musician. She specialises in nutrition education, meal planning, and developing sustainable habits. She passionately works with her patients to help them build healthier and happier relationships with food, exercise, and themselves.

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