Three things that may help you change your relationship to your food — and yourself.

Let’s have a heart to heart for a minute. Do you loooove every meal that you eat? I mean really love it.

Like, enjoy the heck out of every bite, get giddy when you’re about to eat it, then feel totally satisfied afterward? Yeah, that kind of loooove.

Nine times out of 10 when I ask this question, the answer I get is “no.”

It’s funny how much attention we give to food when we’re not eating, only to ignore it — or eat foods we don’t even enjoy — when it’s actually time to sit down and have a meal.

No wait, that’s not even true because most times we eat while multitasking and don’t take the time to even sit down while we eat.

I love food. I mean it: I really love food. I love sweets, I love savory food, I love smelling food, and I love enjoying how a great meal looks before I get to eat it.

That being said, I’m not perfect either, and even though I teach these things on a daily basis, I can get wrapped up in the go-go-go lifestyle and forget to totally tune into every meal too.

But there’s one thing that I won’t do, and that is eat something that I don’t want to eat. It’s not worth it.

If you eat the healthiest food in the world and dislike it, your body registers that icky emotion as stress.

When you’re stressed, your nervous system goes into fight-or-flight mode, shutting down all unnecessary-to-survival bodily functions (digestion and metabolism being at the top of list); your body can’t break that healthy food down properly.

This may be one reason why people don’t see results when they are sticking to their diets, and why certain foods bother your stomach and other times they don’t.

So what do you do, eat burgers and fries all day? Noooo. You recalibrate.


1. What are you consuming

Whenever I start working with a new client, I have them keep a food journal, including everything they eat for two week days and one weekend day. I don’t recommend doing this for a long period of time because it can lead to obsessive behaviors, but for a short period, it can be helpful for getting a clear picture of where you are at to start.

So what are you eating? Ideally, you want the majority of your consumption to be from whole-food sources. I live by the 80/20 rule when it comes to food, meaning 80 percent whole foods (in their natural state, preservative-free, minimally processed) and 20 percent non-whole foods (packaged, bottled, etc.).

In addition to food, what are you drinking and chewing? I have so many clients who complain of digestive issues in the beginning of our work together. Come to find out, many are chewing sugar-free gum or drinking diet soda all day long.

The fake sugars in these things products wreak havoc on digestion. Take it from someone who knows! I used to have a pack-a-day Orbit habit. By the end of the day my stomach would be so bloated I looked like I was 4 months pregnant.

2. Redefine What You Want for the Long Term

Yeah, you want the number on the scale and, of course, to fit into those skinny jeans, but what is driving you to achieve your dream body even more than that?

Is it to be able to walk (or run … gasp!) on the beach in your bikini feeling sexy and confident about the way you look?

Is it to be healthy, strong, clear-minded, and happy so that you can squeeze every, last drop out of the time you have on this planet with your family and friends?

Is it to have a healthy relationship with all food, freeing up the time you obsess over what to eat and when, so that you can focus on your creative projects, relationships, and daily life?

At the foundation of each of these examples: Joy. Fun. Living life to the fullest. That’s what we all want and we believe our dream body will grant us.

The more that you can start guiding your choices by this foundation principle of joy — infusing it into each and every day right now, along the way — the faster you’re setting yourself up for long-term dream-body success. Because you’re no longer chasing: You’re living for the now, eager for more. Which is what life is all about anyway.

3) Be Open to a Change in Perspective

People ask me all the time, “So, how does this work? You really eat whatever you want, all the time.”

Yeah, I do. Now, their perspective of “whatever I want” and my perspective of “whatever I want” might be totally different.

Yeah, I eat burgers and fries. Sometimes. But I honestly love the way I feel when I eat mostly fresh, creative salads, veggies, and proteins. Dessert is a staple for me, so I choose healthy options that leave me feeling like I did something good for my body in addition to satisfying my sweet tooth.

Guilt is no longer a part of my personal vocabulary. I still talk about it when working with clients, but I rarely feel it myself, and if I do, I know how to check myself before I wreck myself.

And I’m not the only one. You can do this too. It’s not a fluke. It’s not something that applies to everyone else except you. You can do this, I know you can. And if you need some help, I’d be honored to stand by your side and guide you every step of the way.

Sheila Viers is an Emotional Eating Expert, Holistic Life Coach and co-founder