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Here's How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Food (Your Mind and Body Will Thank You)

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Want to break those unhealthy eating habits that are getting in the way of a healthy mind and body? These tips are worth a try.

Do you find yourself at the office refrigerator too often? Is it hard to think of a moment when you’re not snacking at work?

Sometimes we can feel out of control when it comes to eating. We feel compelled to go on fad diets, or work out extra hard at the gym. Although it is very important to exercise and watch what you eat, it’s equally imperative that you build a good relationship with food. This can determine the quality of your life–both at work and at home.

Having a healthy relationship with food takes effort but working towards feeling more at peace with eating is well worth it. Here’s what you can do in order to prevent unhealthy habits from continuing.

Be flexible.

“Our minds love to think in black-and-white terms,” says Susan Albers, author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food. “Right versus wrong. Fat versus thin. Perfect versus ruined.” If you slip on a diet, don’t let yourself mentally spiral. When this happens, you will find yourself overthinking, overeating, and even believing all sorts of negative thoughts and judgments about yourself. Consider being less strict with what you eat. Albers advises to even occasionally break your diet–even just a little bit–because being flexible can relieve much of the stress you may feel. And, as she notes, “When you see that nothing bad happens, flexibility won’t be as intimidating. You might even enjoy it.”

Be attentive.

When do you overeat or eat bad food? Does a certain event or feeling trigger your unhealthy eating habits? Sometimes, for example, we crave certain foods when we are bored at work, and we head to the vending machine to resolve the craving. Be mindful of your hunger triggers and cues–when you finally notice and pay attention to your unhealthy eating patterns, you can effectively dismantle them.

Be relaxed.

Keep a relaxed approach when it comes to food–not only does this help with weight maintenance but it also helps you make progress with your health overall. Relaxed eating helps you eat until you’re nutritionally satisfied and helps ease emotional eating, so consider slowing down during all meals–even lunch at your desk. Examine the different textures, tastes, and components of your food, and above all–enjoy.

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