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How Do I View Food As My Friend?

When I was healing from my eating disorder, one of the hardest things was learning to see food as good for me. Since I had started struggling with bulimia and anorexia around 14, I had always viewed food as “bad.” If I ate too much I had to punish my body by purging the food or over-exercising. Looking back, it makes me so sad. And it breaks my heart when I see others struggling with their relationship with food. I now know how much better life can be when food is my friend, and I want everyone to be able to experience this. 

If you’re struggling to view food as your friend—to view it as good for you—I want you to remind yourself every day that food keeps your body alive and functioning. Remind yourself every day of how much your body does for you. Remind yourself every day of one positive experience you’ve had with food—even if they’re very few and far between. Reminding yourself of the truth of how food and your body help you, can help you learn to love food and your body again.

“Remember that this change in thinking will not happen overnight.”

But if you start to remind yourself of these things every day, over time your thinking will follow suit.

A few reminders to tell yourself daily or post around your home:

  • Food keeps my body functioning.
  • Food gives my body energy to do the things I love.
  • Food gives my brain fuel for thinking.
  • Food helps my mental health.
  • Food keeps me alive.
  • Food is my friend!

When you’re building or rebuilding a healthy relationship with food, keep in mind that this also does not happen overnight. One of the keys to any type of healthy relationship is consistency—and this includes your relationship with food. What does this mean?

“Don’t try to “quick fix” your relationship with food.”

Start small habits, small changes, and stick with them consistently over time. A nutritionist, dietitian, therapist, or coach can help you with these changes and habits. 

A few that I would suggest:

  • Instead of trying to eat three large meals a day, start with multiple small meals.
  • Start with eating foods that make your body feel good. As well as foods that are easy for you to eat without feeling guilty (regardless of nutritional status).
  • Start to focus and find small wins from each day, instead of focusing on all of the “failures.”
  • Start to see a therapist or dietitian and start to be honest with them and yourself. 
  • Start journaling how you’re feeling on the bad days and the good days.

Stick with a small change until it feels a little easier, and then add another one on top.

Throughout all of this, please remember that you are not alone. You are not the only one who struggles with food. You can get to a better place with food. And all of these changes that matter WILL take time and hard work. Your body is beautiful, it does so much for you, and it needs food to keep it alive. Food is your friend—even if you don’t believe that right now. 

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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