I’ve often said that our relationship with food reflects our relationship with everything else in our lives—including our relationship with ourselves. So it makes sense that our relationship with food deserves a healthy dose of kindness, understanding, and a whole lot of self-compassion. In my upcoming book, Why Did I Just Eat That? How to Let Go of Emotional Eating and Heal Your Relationship with Food, I suggest various tools to repair and heal relationships with food.

Two of the most effective tools are closely related: Mindfulness and Affirmations.

Mindfulness and Affirmations

Regular readers of my blogs and newsletters will be familiar with my enthusiasm for mindfulness as an effective life skill. When we learn to shift our awareness to embrace the present moment, we can disengage from life’s chatter and chaos.

Mindfulness keeps us present. When we are focused on the now, we are not living in the past, haunted by whatever negative feelings might be rooted there. When we are focused on the now, we are not thinking about all the things that might go wrong in the future. I mean, we cannot change the past, and the future has yet to occur. All we have is the present moment. When we guide our thoughts to staying present, we feel more grounded. We experience lower stress, enhanced focus, and higher emotional well-being.

Mindfulness Sets the Stage for Affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements that are aimed at reshaping our beliefs and attitudes for the better. Mindfulness provides the mental clarity and groundedness that allows affirmations to be absorbed and integrated. Moreover, there is a sort of synergy between mindfulness and affirmations. Mindfulness enhances the authenticity and effectiveness of affirmations.

You might even say that an affirmation is simply guided mindfulness!

Considering the Power of Affirmations

Affirmations seem so simple that it’s easy to dismiss their power. After all, they are just phrases we repeat to ourselves. Yet those little snippets of positive energy hold within them the power to transform our thoughts, our perspectives, and ultimately, our behaviors. They minimize limiting beliefs and thought patterns, encouraging a resilient and optimistic mindset.  With consistent use, the ideas affirmations carry can influence the ways we view ourselves and affect our eating choices, guiding us toward decisions that align with our best interests.

Turning Negative Beliefs into Positive Transformations

Deep-seated, negative beliefs about food, body image, and self-worth affect many, many people. Some have adverse beliefs that insist they have no control over food choices. Others hold ideas that unless they live up to unattainable (or at least, unsustainable) standards, those people lack worth. To have such negative beliefs associated with food pretty much guarantees continuing unhappiness. In many cases, this dynamic contains the dark shadows of self-loathing.

Affirmations help challenge and replace these negative beliefs with positive ones. Through consistently repeated positive declarations, it is possible for us to rewrite narratives and reclaim the power over relationships with food, self-worth, and body image.

It’s a Process

Lasting change does take time, but with repeated self-exposure to our own positive, aspirational statements, what felt way out of reach slowly seems at least possible. Affirmations are most effective when used consistently, whether or not we completely believe what they say at first.  And once we believe that it is possible for us to make good choices and take care of our bodies, we’re more likely to actually start to engage in beneficial eating behaviors. The more we repeat positive messages to ourselves, the more they become ingrained in our thoughts and finally our actions. Demonstrating to ourselves that we are engaging in beneficial eating behaviors can boost self-confidence and self-esteem. Over time, this tends to lead to establishing—and then maintaining—a more constructive and beneficial relationship with food.

For more details on the most effective ways to construct and use affirmations, check out my blog posted in March of 2023.

The Take-Away

The combination of mindfulness and affirmations offers a powerful toolkit for reshaping our thoughts and behaviors surrounding food. With consistent use, we can challenge and gradually replace negative beliefs with positive transformation.