4 Ways to “Spring Clean” Your Relationship with Food

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Spring has sprung as they say, and something strange has happened.

You’ve found a new motivation to clean.

Now maybe you are a Neat Nancy, Tidy Heidi, or Clean Jean. All through those cold winter days, you floated around with your duster and tiny talking animal friends as you hummed a happy working song. You can barely contain your excitement to drive old treasures to the local Goodwill. And those kids rooms will stay messy over your dead body. This is YOUR season.

What about you, Messy Bessy? Well, you’ll be cleaning too. Tidy Heidi is coming over for wine and The Bachelorette, and you sure as hell will not be hearing about the state of your household cleanliness during commercials.

Regardless of your motives, Spring is coming in hot. The sun’s awake, so you’re awake. So we have to clean.

But why should Spring cleaning just be about, well, dirt? As the snow melts and that seasonal depression starts to fade, NOW is the perfect time to jump on those health goals and eating habits you’ve been meaning to make time for.

Before you begin, let’s reset.

All great habits need a great foundation. Take a moment to spend some time to evaluate your relationship with food.

Throw your old habits away, and start making space for new ones: like these.

1. Start Listening to Your Body.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve learned not to trust our body cues.

We lick our plates clean and tell the kids to take three more bites before they are excused.

It’s time to retrain yourself to listen to hunger cues.

Give yourself the space to remember the physical and mental feelings of hunger, satiety, and fullness.

And gosh dang, let go of the need to stuff yourself. Eat till you are satisfied and save the rest for later.

You’ll save money, discomfort, and maybe even drop a few extra pounds.

2. Take the Scale Off Its Pedestal

If you have ever dieted, you know how easy it is to worship the scale.

Entire television shows are dedicated to dropping weight, and so are we.

While it can certainly be helpful to shed excess pounds, let’s hear this.

Weight is secondary to health.

The focus of any new habits, eating changes, restrictions, indulgences, or physical activity MUST be health, not weight.

A focus on weight over health can lead to all kinds of harmful restriction, dangerous diets, poorly-placed self worth, and so much more.

Focus on achieving balance in your eating, activity, and life. If weight changes come, we will celebrate them as just a cherry on top.

3. Quit Punishing Yourself

Lean in here.

There is no place for shame in your relationship with food. Nip it in the bud.

There is no such thing as a “good” food or a “bad” food. There is simply a role and frequency that each food can play in your healthy lifestyle. For example, just because poultry and leafy greens are lead actors does not mean that a brownie can’t be an extra.

It follows then, that if there are no good and bad foods, then you cannot be “good” or “bad” for eating a certain food.

Your worth is inherent. Don’t let your relationship with food dictate that understanding.

4. 80/20 Your Life

There is something beautiful about balance, isn’t there? The peace and rest that flows from feeling fulfilled.

Food can do that too, believe it or not.

Do you fill your stomach with junk food? Or do you run at the sight of a donut?

You don’t have to live in the extremes.

Dietitians sing the praises of moderation, but the concept can be confusing. Try 80/20.

Eighty percent of the time, choose foods that fuel your body with lean protein, high amounts of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, heart-healthy fats, and lots of fiber.

Twenty percent of the time, give yourself the freedom to indulge. Have a dessert, grab a slice of pizza, or head to that food truck.

Your body and mind thrive when you make all foods legal. Simply pick and choose where they fit.

When all is said and done, your food philosophy will drive every food choice you make.

A healthy lifestyle begins with a healthy relationship with food.

So seek balance, take a breather, and give yourself some grace.

This Spring Cleaning can actually change your life.