In recent years, there’s been a lot of publicity around the way Americans relate to food. Healthcare professionals, politicians, and media outlets have raised the alarm about an obesity epidemic. Former First Lady Michelle Obama famously sought to improve the school lunches that are available to students. Prominent doctors have pointed out that the Standard American Diet is, in many ways, actually SAD.

The landscape around food in America for the past decade has been something of a battleground. Luckily, experts have identified plenty of ways that people can forge a better relationship with food. The first, and perhaps most important, is to stop going on diets. Make diet a noun, not a verb. All the word diet should mean is the food that an individual eats in a given day. Trying out new weight loss fads is always a recipe for disaster because all dieting does is create an illusion. When someone limits themselves to an odd restriction for a week or two, of course, they’ll see extreme results. They’re often cutting out entire food groups. When they return to healthy eating, they’ll see average results and put the weight back on.

A good relationship with food isn’t a battle. It’s a dialogue. Working with the body, instead of against it, is a great way to make improvements. By fueling themselves with healthy options like greens, legumes, and fruits, people will start to feel fuller and healthier. Incorporating fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet will help you to feel full for extended periods since they are a good source of fiber. High-fiber foods take longer to digest and can help to decrease cholesterol, control blood sugar, and maintain a healthy weight. 

Another tip is to eat every 2-3 hours. This eating schedule means hunger pains will never arise. Allowing yourself to get too hungry can lead to overeating when you do eat. By limiting your body’s hunger response, you are more likely to stop eating once you feel full and not over-indulge.

Understanding the body’s rhythms is an essential part of a good relationship with food. When people get inadequate sleep, they’re more likely to make poor choices when it comes to food. Aim for good holistic health and make sleep a priority. This will help reduce cravings and make it easier to make good choices.

Although it is a good idea to adopt a healthier lifestyle in general, people should still make allowances for treats. Typically, experts accept that one cheat day per week is a good idea. While foods like soda, chips, and brownies will never exactly be healthy, an occasional indulgence is healthy. Everyone should make some time for fun, and food can be a part of that.