Informational Articles

Quiz: Do You Have A Healthy Relationship With Food?

Do You Have A Healthy Relationship With Food

KASANDRA BRABAW

You already obsess over your relationships with your ex-husband and mother-in-law, but do you ever stop to think about what kind of relationship you have with food? In today’s society, where we’re constantly bombarded by messages and images of food and weight loss, it’s easy to develop an unhealthy relationship with eating that, even if you think you’re healthy, can wreak havoc on your physical or mental well-being, not to mention your enjoyment of meals and social situations that involve food.

What to do? Our quick quiz, designed with the help of top nutritionists and Sondra Kronberg, R.D., C.D.N., C.E.D.R.D., director of the Eating Disorder Treatment Collaborative, can help you begin to figure out whether you and food are best buddies, in a complicated relationship, or downright enemies. Once you identify what kind of relationship you have with food, you can determine if you need to make changes to better enjoy something we all have to do every day—eat!—in order to survive.

 

1. If you put too much food on your plate, you’re more likely to…
A)    Put my fork down when I feel satisfied, even if there’s still food on the plate.
B)    Put my fork down when I feel full.
C)    Keep eating even after I feel full.

2. You’re out to dinner with friends and really want a piece of cheesecake for dessert. You…
A)    Get the cheesecake. It’s okay to indulge once in a while.
B)    Only get the cheesecake if someone will split it, or if everyone else is getting dessert.
C)    Don’t get the cheesecake, but think about it all night.

3. Your best friend tells you all about a new diet that’s supposed to make you lose weight quickly. You think…
A)    I don’t need a restrictive diet. I feel healthy eating the foods I like.
B)    I’ve tried those diets in the past and they never work. Better stick to clean, healthy foods.
C)    I’ve got to try this!

4. On a typical day you think about food…
A)    When I’m hungry.
B)    When I’m hungry or stressed.
C)    All the time.

5. You’ve heard about a new “superfood” that’s supposed to be ridiculously good for you. You gave it a try, but don’t like it. You…
A)    Will give it more than one chance, but am not going to force myself to eat it.
B)    Will never eat it again.
C)    Eat it at least once a week—and hate every moment of it.

6. All your friends are using calorie counter apps on their phones. They say you should try it, too. You think…
A)    No thanks. My body is better than any app at telling me when it’s had enough food.
B)    Maybe. I can’t always tell if I’m full—a calorie counter might be able to help me determine when to stop.
C)    Yes! I can’t trust myself to eat only what my body needs.

7. It’s a super busy day at work and you don’t have time to grab breakfast. Your only option is the bagels someone left in the break room. You…
A)    Grab a bagel—I’m hungry and it’s better than skipping breakfast.
B)    Get the bagel, but only eat half even though I’m still hungry.
C)    Skip breakfast. No way am I going to eat a bagel.

Mostly As: You and food are best buds—in a good way.
Here’s the thing: No one has a perfect relationship with food. Chances are, you sometimes stress eat or overindulge. But if you eat mostlyclean, healthy foods, are able to listen to your body and what it needs, and don’t feel guilty when you have a treat, then congratulations: You have a healthy relationship with food.

People in this camp generally practice “relaxed eating,” according to Kronberg. That means you don’t freak out when you have to eat a bag of chocolate-covered almonds for breakfast because you’re stuck somewhere that offers only a vending machine. It also means you don’t obsess about food or your weight. (Note: There’s a difference between being concerned about your weight and/or trying to eat and exercise to get to a healthier weight AND obsessing about weight.)

Mostly Bs: You and food have a love/hate relationship. 
Most people fall into this middle ground: Food isn’t your whole life, but you definitely make a good number of dietary decisions based on 1) what other people will think about what you’re eating and 2) whether eating certain foods or not eating them will cause you to gain weight or help you lose it. Food isn’t always on your mind and it doesn’t get in the way of your quality of life, but it’d be lying to say you don’t feel guilty whenever you eat too much or eat something you believe to be unhealthy like a cupcake.

Mostly Cs: You and food are mortal enemies. 
You think about food almost ALL the time. And those thoughts, which include what or when you’ll eat next, how healthy your diet is, whether or not the food you eat will help you lose weight, and/or whether you’ve been “bad” for eating too much or a treat, interrupt your daily life, prevent you from enjoying food, meals, or social situations, and are possibly interfering with your health. If you fall into this group, you may need to get help. Disordered eating can take many forms—not just the anorexia and bulimia that most people are familiar with. Visit theNational Eating Disorders Association for more information or consider seeing a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other trained specialist for help.

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