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What kind of a relationship do you have with food? Do you believe in diets or are you a food-junkie? Or do you eat when you are emotionally disturbed? Much like our relationships with people, our relationship with food can be beneficial or harmful. An unhealthy relationship with food looks like binge-eating, yo-yo dieting, cheating on a well-established diet, consuming unhealthy foods and causing harm to your body, and being unmindful to what goes into your body. Here are five strategies to develop a healthy and positive relationship with food:

1. Stop labeling food as “good” or “bad”
Ascribing moral qualities to food does not solve anything. Instead, if you label your food, the chances are high that you will beat yourself up over a poor judgment in eating choice. It is paramount to keep a healthy perspective by realizing that some foods contribute to your wellbeing than others.

2. Minimize the instances leading to unhealthy choices
Just keeping some foods in your vicinity can habituate you to eat them. So, make sure that you avoid any opportunities where you are likely to be pressured or prone to make unhealthy eating choices. That being said, a piece of cake on a birthday is OKAY.

3. Don’t be very restrictive
Choose modest consumption over the complete removal of certain foods. Setting a goal not to eat a particular food may be unrealistic and at most unavoidable. Instead, choose to eat foods in moderation.

4. Keep a food journal
A food journal helps by allowing you to observe what you are eating and what you are feeling at the time. This is essential to infer patterns and habits. Documentation of your feelings also helps in figuring out plans for relapse periods. For instance, instead of choosing sugar, choose the alternate plan such as walking to release the emotion.

5. Cook your meals
Instead of eating out or microwaving frozen foods, cook your meals. Cooking gives you more control to choose healthy ingredients and you can make the right decisions for your body and health.