Food Psychology: How To Eat vs. What To Eat

Welcome back to the podcast. I’m so happy that you are here with me today. How are you doing, my friend? How are we feeling today? I was a little under the weather on this week’s podcast but I had to record this episode because it’s an important conversation!

We’ve done it! We’ve made it to the end of April and the end of this Canadian winter. It’s starting to actually feel like spring now and slowly moving towards the summertime, which is really exciting. I know that this transition, period can often be difficult when we are healing our relationship with food and our body. There’s a little bit more emphasis on bodies over the summertime, so I invite you to take a moment and just check in with yourself about how we’re feeling about this new transition into summer. What thoughts do we have around food in our body as summertime is coming along? For some, you may be starting to feel a bit more stressed around the temperature changing. For others, you may be further along in your healing journey and you’re like, “I cannot wait for my first summer without diets.” I’m sure there are even some of you that are far, far along in the journey and you’re like, “Temperature change means nothing to me.”

Wherever you are, check in with yourself on how we are feeling about it.

Today, I wanna have a conversation about food psychology.


  • [03:56] Nourishing our body to feel good is important but HOW we eat is equally important
  • [07:07] How we feel about our relationship with food
  • [10:54] Feeling disempowered in our relationship with food

[03:56] Nourishing our body to feel good is important but HOW we eat is equally important

This is the piece where we really mix food and psychology together to really understand ourselves better; to understand our own patterns and triggers and behaviours.

A couple weeks ago I did a presentation for a tech company and the whole presentation was about creating a healthy relationship to food in a positive relationship with food.

We started by talking about why we have an unhealthy relationship with food and where that actually come from.

What are all of the things since you can remember, that you have been told to you about food? What about the way that you eat or about specific types of food? If you think back about your own like food history, you’ve probably gotten thousands and thousands and thousands of messages about food that today will impact the how you eat, because how we eat is impacted by things, such as:
1) Our emotions, which we’ll talk about,
2) Our thought processes and beliefs.

Those two things are extremely impactful, and then we have additional things that impact our food decisions, such as context and social environment.

[07:07] How we feel about our relationship with food

Before we can even get to that piece of gentle nutrition, we need to get through the thickness and the muddiness of how you feel about your relationship with food. This will impact your relationship with food, but also your relationship to self and body too.

If I feel a lot of stress when I eat or a lot of guilt and shame when I eat, it will impact not only the foods that I pick, it may also impact the speed at which I eat and how my body is able to digest and absorb that food. Once I’m done that meal, I may continue to feel the guilt and shame, which will then impact my day.

This is the part that we don’t spend enough time working on.

Our emotions and how we feel around food will highly impact the way that we eat. So when it comes to emotional eating and the way that our emotions will impact our food, there’s different ways that we can manage this more kindly and really understand that relationship a little bit better. Emotional eating itself is really not bad, right?

[10:54] Feeling disempowered in our relationship with food

A lot of us, can feel very disempowered in our own relationship with food. A lot of us may have started following plans from a very, very young age, so we may not actually know how to nourish ourselves without those external cues. So, when it comes to actually the behaviour of eating, our brain can feel pretty chaotic with a lot of different thoughts. Each and every one of us has acquired different sets of rules and beliefs about food. All of those thoughts and beliefs are impacting the behaviours of eating. They’re impacting the way that we are able to eat and enjoy eating (or not enjoy eating). If I have a very restrictive mindset around food, food in itself can feel very, very stressful.

Feeling guilt around food can, not only, lead to less satisfaction in the meal, but it can also lead to increased stress, which leads to poor digestion, or for some overeating or eating past the point of satiety.

Take a moment to really think about HOW you eat; not just what you eat, but how does it feel for you to have your meals? Are they pleasurable times? Are they stressful times? Do you enjoy the meal times? Is it a time for yourself where you’re taking care of yourself or does it feel like a chore?

If these eating periods don’t feel good, this is where our work begins.

Food psychology is really important when we are thinking about wanting to have a good relationship with food, when we’re wanting to heal from years of eating disorder or disordered eating, when we’re wanting to be in a position where food can just feel a little bit easier, a little bit more streamlined, and just not a heavy task. We really need to look at the how of eating.

So, today I invite you to start reflecting on how that feels for you. I really think that the first step in change is awareness, and when we’re able to bring that awareness in, then we’re able to make significant change, and once we are able to work on the HOW, then the WHAT becomes easier.



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