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10 Ways to Tell if You Have an Unhealthy Relationship With Food and How to Fix It

Health + Wellness

By Brian Syuki

The idea of having a relationship with food may sound like an odd concept, but it makes sense if you spend most of the day thinking about your eating habits and food consumption. Most folks, especially those trying to lose weight, have an unhealthy relationship with food.

Most folks, especially those trying to lose weight, have an unhealthy relationship with food.

This obsessive relationship can make it hard for you to enjoy food or lose weight. Unfortunately, most folks don't even realize that their eating habits are abnormal. So I've compiled 10 signs of an unhealthy relationship with food and how to fix them.

1. You Avoid Eating in Social Gatherings

Are you scared of going to parties because of food? Or do you feel uncomfortable eating around people but then overindulge when alone?

Solution: Eating at home before going to a social gathering will reduce chances of overeating since you'll be almost full.

2. You See Foods as Either "Good" or "Bad"

Having a list of foods you should and shouldn't eat is a sign of an unhealthy relationship with food. And it means you'll feel guilty or ashamed if you eat the "bad" foods.

Solution: Eating the "bad" foods every once in a while won't make you fat. But make sure you avoid foods that can trigger binge eating.

3. You Think About Food Most of the Time

Thinking about junk food or when you'll eat next or the calories in your next meal will only worsen your relationship with food. In fact, thinking about food can lower your performance at work.

Solution: Talk to a professional if you think about food a lot. In the meantime, try to divert your thoughts when you find yourself obsessing over your food.

4. The Number on the Scale Affects Your Mood and Self-Esteem

Does stepping on the scale make you sad or sometimes make you cry? Sadly, these feelings can make you binge or overeat.

Solution: Don't let the number on the scale affect your mood—sometimes your weight increases due to water retention. Tracking body fat percentage can keep you motivated even when the scale doesn't budge.

5. You Punish Yourself After Bingeing or Overeating

It's common to see folks over-exercise or starve themselves after bingeing.

Solution: The best thing to do after bingeing is to resume to normal eating and workout routine. Don't try to compensate through over-exercising or starvation.

6. You're Obsessed with Calories

Some people only eat foods after checking the calorie content first. This makes it hard to enjoy different foods.

Solution: Stop obsessing over calories and start eating nutrient-dense and fiber-rich foods. It's highly unlikely to consume excess calories if you eat plant-based foods.

7. Emotional Eating

Do you eat when feeling lonely, sad, happy or depressed? Well, using food to deal with emotions doesn't help.

Solution: Find ways to deal with your emotions that don't involve food. For instance, you can take a walk when feeling sad.

8. You "Let Go" on the Weekends

Folks with unhealthy food relationships are able to avoid overeating on weekdays, but overindulge on the weekends.

Solution: Maintain the same eating schedule you use on weekdays. Being busy will also reduce chances of bingeing.

9. You Secretly Eat Junk

Do you lie to family and friends about the food you eat? Some folks even hide food wrappers or eat in the dark.

Solution: People can only help you if you're open about your unhealthy relationship with food. Share your challenges with friends and get professional help if you need it—you might be surprised at the support you receive.

10. You Can't Stop Eating

Not being able to regulate the amount of food you eat is a sign of an unhealthy relationship with food.

Solution: Practice mindful eating—eat slowly, turn off the TV, sit upright and drink a glass of water before and after each meal.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.

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