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Do You Have a Negative Relationship with Food?

Do You Have a Negative Relationship with Food?

Team Missy

In a world where social media, peer pressure, and diet culture are ever-present, it’s easy to develop a complicated relationship with food. For many teenagers, this relationship can become strained, leading to unhealthy eating habits and negative self-perception. Recognising these struggles is the first step toward building a healthier, more positive connection with food.

Here’s how you can start…

Understanding Your Relationship with Food

Your relationship with food goes beyond just what you eat—it’s about how you think and feel about eating. Do you find yourself obsessing over calories? Do you eat in secret or feel guilty after enjoying your favorite treats? These are signs that you might have a negative relationship with food.

Recognising the Signs of a Negative Relationship with Food

  • Emotional Eating: Turning to food for comfort when you’re feeling sad, stressed, or bored.
  • Food Guilt: Feeling guilty after eating, especially when you’ve indulged in something you enjoy.
  • Restrictive Eating: Skipping meals or severely restricting your intake to control your weight.
  • Obsession with Dieting: Constantly thinking about dieting or your weight, and frequently trying new diets.

Steps to Develop a Healthier Relationship with Food

  • Listen to Your Body: Your body is amazing and knows what it needs. Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied. It’s okay to eat when you’re hungry and okay to stop when you’re full.
  • Balance, Don’t Restrict: All foods can fit into a healthy diet. Instead of labeling foods as “good” or “bad,” focus on balance. Enjoy a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains, and yes, even desserts!
  • Mindful Eating: Practice being present during meals. Chew slowly, savor each bite, and try to minimise distractions like phones or TV. This can help you truly enjoy your food and recognise when you’re full.
  • Be Kind to Yourself: Self-compassion is key. If you overeat or eat something you feel you shouldn’t have, be kind to yourself. Remember that one meal or snack doesn’t define your eating habits or your health.
  • Educate Yourself: Learn about nutrition from reliable sources. Understanding how different foods fuel your body can help you make informed choices without the pressure of diet culture.
  • Seek Support: If you find that your relationship with food is affecting your mental or physical health, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Talk to a trusted adult, counselor, or healthcare provider. You’re not alone, and there is support available.

Be Wary of Social Media

Social media can be both a positive and negative influence on our relationship with food. Follow accounts that promote body positivity and healthy living rather than those that push unrealistic body standards and fad diets. Remember that what you see online is often curated and not an accurate reflection of reality.

Building a Positive Body Image

A healthy relationship with food goes hand-in-hand with a positive body image. Celebrate what your body can do rather than focusing solely on how it looks. Engage in activities that make you feel strong and happy, whether it’s dancing, hiking, yoga, or any other form of movement you enjoy.

The Journey to a Better Relationship with Food

Developing a better relationship with food is a journey, not a destination. It takes time, patience, and practice. Celebrate your progress and be gentle with yourself along the way. Remember, your worth is not defined by your diet or your body shape. You are valuable and deserving of love and respect, just as you are.

Building a healthier relationship with food can profoundly impact your overall well-being. By listening to your body, practicing balance, and fostering a positive body image, you can develop habits that support both your physical and mental health. Embrace the journey and remember that you are not alone. There’s a community of support ready to help you every step of the way.

See Also

For more tips and support on developing a healthy relationship with food, visit and join our community of strong, empowered girls.

For further supports BodyWhys have a lot of resources.

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