Whether we like it or not, our lives definitely seem to revolve around food. It gives us energy, satisfies our cravings and keeps us alive, so it’s a pretty big deal! It’s not uncommon at all to be in love with food, and today foodies are more vocal than they’ve ever been about their passion. However, with so much emphasis on body image in our society, it’s easy to develop a relationship with food that isn’t so healthy. Disordered eating affects more people than you would think... and it may even affect you! While it’s perfectly okay (although super annoying!) to post photos of what you’re eating and center your weekend around good food and good wine, being obsessed with food can quickly turn into a habit that has serious negative effects on the body. And it can definitely totally and completely stress you out. Here are 15 signs you may have an unhealthy relationship with food.
15 You Have No Control Over Cake
We all have that one food we would kill for. Those with a sweet tooth might go crazy for that perfect slice of chocolate cake, while others dream about pizza. So don’t apologize for having a craving. It’s also fine to satisfy those cravings every once in a while, but losing all control when faced with cake or cookies or french fries might indicate that something’s not right. It’s definitely hard to resist being tempted by our fave foods, but once you’ve indulged, you don’t have to keep indulging. It’s true that this behavior is really normal, but it still could signify an unhealthy relationship with food, because you’re giving the cake or the pizza a higher value than your goals or how your body’s really feeling. You might also feel like you have to eat the whole thing because you might view the food as a rare treat, when in reality, it’s just food!
14 You Don’t Like Eating In Front Of People
If you feel too insecure to eat in front of a certain person, or even in front of other people in general, it definitely means you don't have the best relationship with food. Being too afraid or feeling unattractive when you eat in front of someone usually means that you view eating as something shameful or ugly and that you think you’ll be judged for it. It might be because you’re unhappy with your body, but not always. Realistically, there is nothing embarrassing about eating at all! No matter what size you are, you still need to eat. It's a basic human need and nothing is more normal... or more totally necessary. If you find yourself reluctant to eat the next time you’re on a date or out with friends, take note because it could definitely be a sign that your relationship with food is in some serious need of revamping.
13 You Cut Out Entire Food Groups
There are a few exceptions to this one, of course. People who suffer from food allergies and intolerances shouldn’t have to eat things that make them sick, and we’re definitely not suggesting that vegetarians should start eating meat again. But if you’re the kind of person whose diet is purely about weight loss and then you start cutting out whole food groups, it’s a little bit concerning. Any healthy diet will be about balance, so going cold turkey on the carbs or fat is never a good idea. First of all, there are various kinds of carbs and various kinds of fat, and you need the good types of both for a healthy body. Cutting them out completely will not only deny you the benefits of complex carbs and good fats but because you’re being so restrictive and relentless, you’re also more than likely aboard the direct train to binge town.
12 You Give Up If You Eat The Wrong Thing
We are definitely guilty of this one (since we've definitely all dieted at some point in our lives). If you eat something you’re not supposed to on your diet, common sense would tell you to carry on as if nothing had ever happened, but plenty of people use a simple hiccup as an excuse to eat whatever they want for the rest of the day and start fresh tomorrow. They’re abiding by the logic that the day is already ruined so they might as well enjoy it now because they won’t be making the same mistakes in the future. This isn’t a great attitude to have towards dieting because that logic is all wrong. An extra 100 calories might push you over your daily limit, but it’s not going to do as much damage as an extra 1000 calories! If you accidentally dent your car, you don’t then go and drive it straight into a wall because “when it rains it pours”.
11 You Hate Yourself For Slipping
It isn’t healthy to eat your way through the entire ice cream section of the supermarket because you had a bite of brownie after lunch, but it also isn’t healthy to do the opposite. Punishing yourself for food mistakes is usually a clear sign that your relationship with food needs some work! You don’t need us to tell you that all humans make mistakes, so please don’t beat yourself up if you do fall off the wagon. Watching what you eat is definitely super difficult since it takes organization, commitment, and willpower, and it’s even harder to do when you’ve got other things going on in your life. So if you can’t help eating a brownie at work, accept it. If you want to stay a bit longer in the gym or say no to your dessert that night, that’s fine. But don’t swear off sweets and cheat meals for the next six months.
10 You're An Emotional Eater
Yup, we're all guilty of being emotional eaters at some point or another. With so many yummy foods available to us today, eating has really become more about pleasure and the experience itself than simply fueling our bodies. Life will always be better when there’s good food around, and it’s totally okay to indulge in amazing dishes when you’re celebrating or when you need some cheering up from time to time. It’s when these things become a habit that’s ruining your body, that you have a problem on your hands. If you’re going through a rough patch and you find yourself constantly eating comfort food to help you through it, you need to draw the line at some point, and hopefully, it’s before you’ve put on a ton of weight and feel even worse about yourself. Celebrating every single happy moment with a bar of chocolate will probably do you more harm than good in the long run!
9 You Deny Your Cravings
Nope, this isn't a sign of how much of a superhero you are. It's a sign that you have a totally problematic view of food. You definitely can’t go around eating cheesecake every time you feel like it, but never allowing yourself a night off isn’t good for your long-term success rate, and it isn’t good for your overall happiness! Aside from choosing to avoid eating meat if you’re a vegetarian, and avoiding the foods that don’t agree with your body, you shouldn’t view any kind of food as the devil. You should give your body a break from time to time, and allow yourself something that you’re totally craving. One piece of cake won’t make or break you, and as long as you’re eating right most of the time and you do have the mental strength you need, making the choice to stray when you’re really craving something is normal and healthy.
8 You Don't Eat Healthy Foods
It's also a pretty horrible idea to only eat what you're craving, because honestly, you're going to miss out on the nutrients that you really do need to get on a regular basis. It's all about balance, as you've probably already heard, but that means healthy stuff, too. You don’t have to tell us about how hard it is to force down green vegetables when you can’t stand them, but the nutrients your body will be getting from that broccoli override your taste buds! It comes back down to how you view food: if it’s all about emotions for you, and you eat solely for pleasure, then you’re probably going to be eating a lot more tasty foods that are bad for you, and forgetting about the nutritious food your body needs. Eating can be an amazing experience, but you should see food as a fuel first. We’ve said that it’s still important to enjoy yourself, but please don’t forget about what you’re doing to your health!
7 You've Got Major Food Guilt
On some level, food guilt is a thing for all of us. Whether it’s because we’ve strayed from our goals, put on some weight, or somebody has judged us for eating an entire loaf of garlic bread by ourselves, we’ve all been there. But if it’s at the point where it actually upsets you in more than a funny way, it could mean that you’re placing way too much importance on food. It’s great if you’re not reacting to a slip up by eating twice as many calories or by starving yourself for the rest of the day, but we hope it’s also not eating you up inside (pun totally intended). Unless you really did go overboard and eat the whole house in response to a small mistake, it’s very unlikely that what you’re feeling guilty over actually made a difference. Food is great, sure, but definitely not worth ruining your whole day over. You have better things to do and think about.
6 You’re Either So Hungry All The Time Or Binging
If you've got a super unhealthy attitude toward food, you tend to see this whole eating thing in a really black and white way. You're either always on a super strict diet... or the total opposite, aka eating anything and everything in plain sight. Neither of those are sustainable ways of life, so it’s not good to be in the eternal trap of switching between them. You’re far better off finding a healthy, balanced eating plan that isn’t going to stress you out and rolling with it as often as you can. Life is hectic, so there are definitely going to be periods when you eat much more than you usually would (hello, Christmas), and then try to make up for it by trying extra hard to be healthy, but that shouldn’t be your whole life. Save your stress for other things, and don’t make food such an effort all the time! Go with the healthy flow.
5 You Eat Food That Makes You Sick
If you have specific intolerances and allergies, or just a sensitive stomach, you should make eating choices based on what’s going to feel good for you (and your gut, of course). A sign of a harmful relationship with food is constantly eating foods you enjoy and spending the following hours curled over with serious cramps. It’s not fair that some of us are coeliac or lactose-intolerant, or are allergic to eggs or shellfish, but there’s no point in trying to fight it. Yummy food shouldn’t be so important to you that you’re willing to make yourself feel sick over it! There might be things you can take to relieve the symptoms today, but bombarding your stomach with food it cannot digest is not the way to a long, healthy life. If you notice stomach trouble, it’s a good idea to test this out as soon as possible to avoid eating things that your body can’t stand.
4 You Think The New Craze Is The Answer
Oh yes, another place we’ve all been... unfortunately. Fad diets are always tempting when you first hear about them, but by now you should know that you’re probably not going to get the results you want like that. You have to do your own research into the effects of crazy, restrictive, short-term dieting if you’re tempted to go down that road. We get that seeing photos of a celebrity in a bikini on Instagram makes you want to eat 500 calories a day, but eating 500 calories a day won’t help you get there. And even if it did, it wouldn’t help you stay there! If you have a healthy attitude towards food, you’ll know that you need enough food to sustain you, and need a balance of a wide variety of foods for your body to prosper. No matter what commercials or that negative voice inside your might tell you, food really is your friend.
3 You Think About Food 24/7
You know that food is a pretty important part of life. It's emotional sometimes, it's social, and it's familiar and nostalgic. It makes you think and feel and crave. But it's one thing that there's a meme about a fast food chicken nugget obsession... and then there’s thinking about food to the point where it’s driving you crazy. That right there is a huge problem! It doesn’t matter if you spend your day counting and recounting the calories you’ve consumed, or planning your meals for the next month, or working out what you can eat that will make you feel better about some other issue. Food shouldn’t be all you’re thinking about! It is crucially important in that it keeps us alive and healthy, but not at the level that you neglect thought space for other important things. It should not be taking over your life! If it is, you have to remind yourself it’s not worth it.
2 Your Friends Have Tried To Intervene
When you've got a problem with food, you can do an amazing job of hiding it from the rest of the world (unfortunately). Other times, though, the people in your life notice that there's a huge problem and they step in to try to help. This could be your best friends, coworkers, or family members. If that’s you, you should definitely listen up! These signs are often hard to pick up in ourselves because they seem so normal after a while, so it’s possible that you don’t even know there’s a problem with the way you see food. It’s a good idea to listen to what other people have to say about it because they could have noticed something that’s honestly gone over your head. Keep in mind that people don’t always know what they’re talking about, so if you know none of this applies to you and someone tries to convince you otherwise, you don’t have to take it on board. But listen in case they’re onto something.
1 You Don’t Listen To Your Body
The biggest and most obvious sign that you have an issue with food is that you totally ignore what your body is telling you. We’ve already mentioned that if something is making you sick, you should do yourself a favor and step away from it straight away, but people with warped views of food sometimes give it so much power in their lives that they prioritize eating or not eating it over how hungry they are. You should stop eating when you’re full, not when the delicious plate of spaghetti and meatballs is finished (we feel your pain). This is a surprisingly difficult lifestyle to follow when you’ve been raised to eat every single crumb on your plate, but eating that way isn’t healthy. It’s important to listen to your body, and stop seeing food as both your beloved partner and a mischievous enemy. It’s just food, and it’s under your control.