4 Factors That Determine Your Relationship With Food


Most of us know the basics of what it takes to be physically healthy. If your goal is to lose weight, calories consumed need to be less than calories burned. If you are putting on muscle and building strength, we’ve learned that the right nutrition and timing is key. And if you are trying to maintain your weight and shape, we know that eating well-balanced meals and limiting your junk food intake is important. 

And even if we don’t know this: we have all the knowledge at our fingertips. But often our perspective doesn’t allows us to successfully execute the basics. We make ourselves miserable with short-term rigid diets because "I can’t control my binge eating." That attitude is like dropping your phone and instead of picking it up to salvage it, you stomp on it and smash it to pieces. Would you ever do that? Probably not because you value your phone. 

I’m not going to show you some new workout craze or a diet that will "BURN FAT INSTANTANEOUSLY." There are plenty of other sites you can read to get that. I think workout challenges, nutrition plans and fitness regimens are great. But real lifestyle change and sustainable results occur when we gain a deeper understanding of our individual food relationship. Through my own trials and tribulations with food (and eating disorders) and through observing my clients I have found four elements that determine your food relationship. Food History, Food Mindset, Food Logic and Food Skills.

Let’s break it down:

Food History: What had I been told about certain foods or meals growing up? What was the general attitude towards healthy and unhealthy foods? What associations do I keep with certain foods?

Food Attitude: What is my inner dialogue or mentality when it comes to nourishing my body with calories? What is my strongest emotion when it comes times to eat? Is it guilt or shame?

Food Logic: What is the story I keep telling myself that continues to justify my current relationship/patterns/habits with food?

Food Skills: What is my ability to nourish my body and eat for optimal health? What skills or information do I already have and what am I lacking?

Real Life Case:

It is very common to have more than one food attitude as we associate different emotions with types of food. For example, I seek emotional comfort with butter. My food history with butter/ghee in particular was my mother’s love. She would always make me feel extra special when after making a roti, she would use the back of the spoon to smear tasty ghee or butter on it before feeding me. Then as a budding athlete and teenager I was told that butter was not only bad but also not allowed in my diet. My logic with butter became, “because I am an athlete I cannot have butter.” What happened? When I needed emotional comfort I reached for butter. However, because it was a restricted food, there was guilt and shame associated with eating it. Can you guess what happened next? Bread and butter binge eating sessions.

Through recognizing this, I was able to re-channel a more appropriate way to receive the emotional comfort I was seeking. I also retrained my brain to understand that butter is not “bad” by understanding its full nutrional value. Instead of binge eating something I truly enjoy and need, I incorporate it in my diet almost everyday. No binging, no guilt.

What are your four food elements and how can you improve upon them to achieve a better relationship with food? 

Protein Powered Chickpeas


I’m very fortunate to have exceptionally health conscious parents. My mother, who is an extraordinary cook has nourished her army of hungry athletes while sticking to our Punjabi cuisine. Most people will say, Indian food and athletes?! Not a good mix. Unfortunately the scientifically advanced Indian diet has been diluted and polluted with processed grains, butter, oil, sugar and salt. With the depth of nutritional knowledge we have at our fingertips with Ayurveda, eating Indian could be uber healthy.

One of my favorite dishes packed with muscle-building protein is Chole (chickpeas simmered in onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and cumin seeds, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder and red chilli powder).

These legumes offer 39 grams of protein per 1 cup while maintaining a super low amount of saturated fats. They also provide substantial dietary fiber, copper, folate and magnesium. Yay fiber!

Our recipe is low on salt using green chilies to enrich taste instead. We use coconut oil for cooking not butter. What about ghee? Yes, less than 1 tablespoon is used for the whole batch. Chole is served with raw onions that have a cooling effect and helps promote proper digestion. Often Ayurveda recommends avoiding onion (and garlic) with meals and is mostly used for medicinal properties. However, I do enjoy the cooling effect of raw onions especially after a workout. 

How I Learned to Forgive Myself



Forgiving ourselves is one of the most difficult yet rewarding things we can do for our inner wellness. Sometimes its scary to let go of the all the guilt, shame and disappointment we bury ourselves in because those feelings have become familiar and ‘safe’. We dare not think what might replace that heavy burden and how we could feel differently about ourselves. In a weird way we get comfortable with feeling down and bad about ourselves. It can even be a form of penance to wallow in our own self-pity.  

In my own personal experience, I recognized that those feelings were no longer serving me (they never were) but I wasn’t ready to let go of them. They had been a huge part of me for many years and I was scared of what would happen if I actually released the guilt and forgave myself. To my delight what has replaced the disappointment is feeling really good about myself, something I’m growing more and more accustomed to.

It has taken a TON of work; daily habits, nurturing exercises and heightened awareness. I had good days and bad days and I still occasionally have bad days.

What is most rewarding about the self-work is that I can look back at those old emotions and see how distant I am from them. They no longer hold power over my mental state or my perspective.

How I forgave myself and released guilt:


Admit out loud to a trusted friend(s) what you have been unable to forgive yourself for. “I am guilty for not having done better in tennis.” “I am guilty for getting an eating disorder and for the pain it caused those around me.” In my case, I had to say this out loud numerous times and fill pages and pages of my diary to finally admit I felt guilty about it. 


Recognize the unrealistic expectations you have placed on yourself and your actions. This one has been exceptionally hard for me to recognize; what is reality based and what is fictional. The way I picked this apart was by a fact vs. fiction exercise. You write down 6 statements you believe to be facts and then label them as fact or fiction.

Here is a sample of what mine looked like.

1. Not being unhappy will make me complacent.  Fiction.

2. It is raining outside. Fact

3. You must always set your goals too big in order to achieve your actual goals. Fiction.  

4. Starting out small is no good you have to have a big plan. Fiction.

5. I played tennis at an elite level Fact.

6. Not being perfect makes me less worthy. Fiction.


Whenever I thought about the issue - guilty thoughts and hurt feelings would lead to the sharp pain in my chest or an anxiety lump in my throat.  I became more aware that it was the thoughts and physical manifestations that were making me feel bad not the actual past issue. This allowed me to focus on changing my physical state when those thoughts crept in.

Often I would be riding the subway to work and suddenly get a sharp pain in my chest. It would make me shrivel up and want to hide in my bed all day. It was a real struggle to commit to breathing through the anxiety instead of giving in to it and getting down.  It took me 3 months to get rid of that physical reaction. 

I feel that personal forgiveness is one of the road blocks we face when moving towards self-love and life success. 

How to Recover from Muscle Soreness

One of the most annoying things about training and competing is muscle soreness. My trainer used to tell us "soreness is weakness leaving the body." That still didn't really help me recover faster. Muscle soreness from fatigue or overexertion benefits from a variety of approaches and the focus should always be on bringing fresh blood to your body as quickly as possible. Here are a few methods that help me get fresh legs fast. 

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