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How To Improve Your Relationship With Food And Eating

At this point in human evolution, eating is a part of all of our lives.  The average person spends over an hour just eating and drinking in a day.  This does not include the time that goes into shopping for your food or making it.  This means that food is an unavoidable, big part of life. We have a relationship with our food whether we like it or not.  Some people have a great relationship with food. They operate from a more live to eat approach than an eat to live approach.  I am one of those people. Other people do not have a good relationship with food.

There are many experiences that can and do lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.  Most of the trauma we experience that destroys our relationship with food involves trauma related to receiving within relationships, body image and abundance.  But today, rather than go into all the root causes of individual issues regarding food, I’m simply going to explain how to improve your relationship with food.

  1. Examine your relationship to food.  How do you feel about food? How do you feel about eating?  If an extraterrestrial landed on the planet to objectively study your eating habits, what would its observations be, assuming that you could see yourself through its eyes?  How do you feel about those observations? Can you identify any areas of concern? For example, do you act like you don’t care what you eat and consider it a nuisance to have to?  Are you hyper controlling about what you eat? Do you feel guilty when you eat? Do you worry about getting fat when you eat?
  2. Directly face and integrate your un-resolved traumas that have specifically led to a poor relationship with food.  If you have trauma around food, certain situations involving food and eating and even specific foods will cause you to have an emotional and even physical reaction.  You can use that reaction to discover the root trauma causing it and to create resolve to the unresolved issues and negative beliefs therein. To learn how to do this, I suggest you try The Completion Process.  The process itself is explained in detail in my book that is literally titled: The Completion Process.
    Also, these traumas relative to food, like any other trauma, cause us to fragment.  In order to drastically improve our relationship with food, we have to create integration and harmony between these polarized selves.  We have internal fragments specifically around the topic of food. I suggest you watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease and apply the processes put forth in that video specifically to issues related to food.  Facing and integrating the trauma you have at the root of your negative relationship with food reveals the most powerful steps we can take personally to improve our relationship with food.
  3. Imagine that food is art.  Art that is edible. Foods in and of themselves are an art form created by the earth itself and when food is prepared by someone to make a specific recipe or dish, it is an art piece created by whoever makes it.  For one week, commit to the practice of looking at food in the grocery store and deciding what to get as if you were at a gallery looking for the art that appealed the most to your senses. When you make food, do so with the idea that you are creating art and when you eat a dish that someone created for you, imagine it is edible art created by the artist who in this case is whoever prepared it.  Hopefully, by the end of the week where you dedicate yourself to this practice, it will be the new second nature way you view food.
  4. Practice mindful eating.  Eating food is a somatic experience.  It gives rise to all kinds of sensory experiences and sensations.  When we are not fully present when we eat and when we eat too fast, we tune out this sensory experience and as a result, we do not experience our food fully.  We take it for granted. We don’t extract the full richness out of it. We can’t tell how our bodies respond to certain foods.
    When you sit down to eat, give yourself time to do it.  The cultures that are the healthiest regarding food dedicate long periods of time to only eating. They do not eat on the run or in a rush.  Slow down and focus 100% on the experience of eating the food. With no distractions, focus on the look of it, the scents, textures, flavors, and sensations as if you were on a foreign planet trying something for the first time.  And eat slowly. A good trick is t put the fork down between every bite. Make sure to chew the food completely and really savor it without being focused on anything else. Really enjoying your food will dramatically change the relationship you have to your food.
  5. With any food, whether it is something singular like a peach, or something complex like a curry, try to imagine, sense, taste or feel every single thing that went into it.  For example, to get a peach to your table it had to start as a seed. It had to have soil and sunlight and rain from the clouds and the energy from the farmers who grew it and the energy of the truck that drove it to the store.  What people don’t realize is that a single peach is made of these elements. If you are super attuned, you can taste the season and the rain cloud and the sunlight in a peach. You can also taste the focus that a farmer had towards the specific peach.  The amount of effort that went into the creation of this one single thing is mind blowing. You are ingesting all of that energy. Imagine tracing the food backwards from your table to its origin like a story line. When you are doing this with a whole dish, like a curry, do this with every ingredient in the dish.
  6. Get more sensitive and begin the art of intuitive eating and food purchasing.  A good relationship with food means a communication between your emotions, body, mind and the food you are eating.  You need to start feeling to be sensitive enough to be intuitive about eating. I suggest that you watch my video titled How To Feel if you struggle with this.  And apply the practices set forth in the video specifically to meal times.  When you go to the grocery store, notice what your body is asking for.  Notice how you feel about specific foods. One day, beans may be exactly what your body is saying it intuitively wants.  The next day, it may not want beans at all. One day the broccoli might feel vital and full of life, the next day you may sense that it is unhealthy or was handled in an abusive way.  Notice what foods are upsetting to your body and emotions and should probably be avoided.
    Pay attention to the feeling of being full and the feeling of being hungry so you can listen to you body’s natural cues about when to eat and how much.  The closer of a relationship you have with your emotions, the easier it will be to feel if you are choosing foods specifically to emotionally cope with not getting some other need met that is in fact the real need in a given moment.  When we cover over an emotion with food, we lose the opportunity to hear what the emotion is telling us and respond to the actual need it is trying to convey. Most of us are actually pretty good at “attuning” to foods if we put our attention on it.  Most of us simply don’t take the time to attune with and communicate with our food so we allow our subconscious to rule our food choices. The more alive a food is and unprocessed it is, the easier it is to communicate with and feel.
  7. Learn as much as you can about food, especially the positive things about each food.  Knowledge is empowerment. Foods are not only art; they are also the building blocks of your wellbeing.  They are not only a source of enjoyment; they are also medicine. You will have a whole new relationship with lemons for example when you learn that they can be used to detoxify, reduce inflammation, stimulate digestion, lighten hair, increase immunity and soothe a sore throat.  
    You will have a whole new relationship with stir fry when you learn that what gives an amazing stir fry dish its signature flavor is the pan it is cooked in.  And that a great wok is never washed so the flavors of every meal seep into the pores of the metal itself and because of this, the flavor cannot be re-produced in any other pan.  These woks are considered family heirlooms passed from generation to generation.
  8. Grow you own food and cook your own food.  Some of you will not like growing your own food and others will.  Some of you will not like cooking and others will. You can still have a wonderful relationship with food and not grow food or cook.  But it is incredible how much depth is added to the relationship between you and what you eat by growing and cooking your own food. Just for the sake of improving your relationship with both, try both.  If there is no way to do that, watch videos created by people who do love it and are passionate about the process of growing food. Try cooking. Start with something super simple and if you like it, try more complex recipes.  You can also watch videos of people cooking and soak up the passion they have for it.
  9. Stop punishing yourself for what you ate.  There is nothing you can do about it. Guilt can only serve to inform you of what you think is right and wrong for you.  Guilt is an indication that you did something that you think was wrong to do. Either let go and make a different choice now or change your perspective about it having been a wrong choice.  The more stress you have around eating, the worse the relationship is between you and food. Exercising super hard or swinging the pendulum to eat hardly anything so as to make up for what you did after indulging is a recipe for disaster.  It puts your body in a yo-yo energetically and physically, which is very bad for the body. Dieting and exercise can be used as a serious form of self-control and self-punishment. It is also self-punishment to keep any problem foods you may have in the house in the same way that it is a problem to keep alcohol around if you are alcoholic.
  10. Make your relationship with your food personal.  Everyone’s relationship to food will be unique and their own.  Take time to develop this unique relationship. What is food about for you?  You will have a different relationship to food than your partner, your best friend, your mother and your boss.  You will have different dietary needs at different times. You will have different preferences. Let your relationship be totally yours instead of constantly comparing and trying to make their relationship the same as your own.
  11. As your consciousness and sensitivity increases, you will be much more sensitive to certain foods.  Certain foods will be appealing and certain foods will no longer be possible for you to eat. But the energy of restricting yourself creates a painful relationship with food.  So, with the exception of foods that are a NO for you personally, practice moderation instead of self-prevention. If you love French fries for example, have some. If someone ordered dessert, let yourself have a spoonful. Do it at the right time when you are not starving and not desperate to use food to emotionally escape from the way you feel.
  12. Never deprive yourself of food on purpose.  It may make you feel in control to fast, but if fasting is done to try to control your body instead of out of love for your body, it signals the body to feel shame and also signals it that it is going to be deprived, so it needs to store food.   This means eat regularly. Some people feel better eating small bits throughout the day. Others feel better eating three meals.  Others feel good eating two, but at different times during the day than standard meal times. Let yourself eat.
  13. Allow food time to be a social experience.  Allow it to be a way to give and receive love.  Food brings us together. It has the capacity to unite people.  It is a demonstration of love. Both love from the earth to us and from person to person.  No matter what culture we come from, continent we live on or opinion we disagree on, one thing we can all agree on is good food.  Build up friendships with people who have a similar taste in food and relationship to food. And let eating be a time of mutually enjoying the art of food.  Let it be a shared experience.
  14. Eat specifically to feel good and eat what makes you feel good.  Think about that for a minute because living with this philosophy will drastically change the relationship you have with food for the better.  For example, eat what gives you energy and don’t eat what makes you feel sluggish. Do not eat according to change the measurement on a scale or to do what you mentally know you ‘should or shouldn’t do’. Pay very close attention to how foods make you feel.
  15. Start a food diary so as to become as conscious as possible about your relationship to food.  Keep track of your meals and even snacks between meals. With each one, write down what you ate, what the environment that you ate in was like, how the food tasted, looked, sounded and smelled and how it made you feel.  Describe how much you liked the experience of eating that meal from one to ten and explain why you chose that specific rating.
  16. Mealtime is a sacred part of life.  It is a sacred practice. In order to develop a good relationship with food, the rituals that you develop around it should be special and should be designed for pleasure.  Anything you personally want to do to enhance the sacredness of this practice in your life, do so. For example, you could put special effort into making or having specific foods at specific holidays.  You can ensure that meal times are a time when every member of the family stops what they are doing to have a joint experience. You could choose to eat in bowls and cutlery that are beautiful to you. You could drink out of cups that are fun to drink out of.  You could take your take out food out of the box it came in and eat it on some china. You could deepen your love of and knowledge of specific ingredients. You could go out of your way to get special ingredients. You could eat with the seasons. Ask yourself this question each time you eat: How could I make this eating experience even more special and even more enjoyable?

How you feel about the entire process of growing or purchasing foods to preparing foods to eating foods will determine to what degree we are nourished by foods and nourished by the experience of eating.  Eating is much more about nourishing your soul, emotions, mind and body, as it is a tool to stay alive. The more pleasure you allow it to bring you, the better your relationship with food will be.


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