Your Relationship with Food and Mental Health Recovery

December 5, 2017 Nancy Zacharakis

Learning how your relationship with food affects your mental illness is key for mental health recovery. Your relationship with food impacts your mental health.Many times our relationship with food affects our mental illness recovery and our mental illness recovery affects our relationship with food. Whether it’s overeating or not eating enough, usually our eating patterns are abnormal. This affects our mood, energy, thoughts, and feelings about ourselves. Lack of normalcy with food can make it extremely difficult to recover from mental illness. Being healthy and confident in our food choices, or having a good relationship with food, is key to recovery.

When to Focus on Your Relationship with Food

What comes first, healing our relationship with food or healing our mental illness? It’s different for every individual but I believe that if you heal your relationship with food, you will feel more positive, more powerful, more confident, and overall, happier; and this will allow your mental illness recovery to happen.

By the same token, if you were to start feeling less depressed, less anxiety, happier, and more confident, then your relationship with food would certainly change. So, it’s definitely going to be a personal choice. Personally, when I started having a healthier relationship with food, my depression and anxiety naturally decreased.

How Does Food Affect Mental Illness Recovery?

Food affects mental illness recovery in many different ways. As stated earlier, food affects our confidence, our energy levels, our mental clarity, how we feel about ourselves and our body. On a chemical and internal level, our gut sends signals to our brain that affect our mood as well. So your gut health is extremely important to your mental health, and this is ultimately determined by the food you are eating.

Eating nourishing, health-giving foods, and fueling your body with nutrient-dense meals, is certainly going to affect your mental illness recovery in a positive manner. Of course, this is not the end all be all, this is not the cure for mental illness, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

How to Heal Your Relationship with Food

This is a topic that could take weeks to answer and is definitely not going to be covered in one paragraph at the end of this post. But as always, awareness is the first step.

Knowing that your relationship with food is abnormal and having the desire to heal it is the beginning of the journey. There are thousands of resources out there depending on what your struggle with food entails, but my first suggestion is to find someone who has struggled with a similar food issue and ask for his help and guidance. See if they have a program or information and go from there. No matter what you are struggling with, you are not alone and there is someone out there who has experienced the same thing and survived it. Find and work with him. Mental illness recovery and improving your relationship with food is possible.

APA Reference
Zacharakis, N. (2017, December 5). Your Relationship with Food and Mental Health Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 15 from

Author: Nancy Zacharakis

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March, 31 2023 at 6:36 am

Your relationship with food is an important part of your mental health recovery. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet can help to regulate your mood, boost your energy, and improve your overall mental wellbeing. It is important to take the time to learn about healthy eating and incorporate it into your lifestyle. Making small, positive changes to your diet can have a big effect on your mental health.

December, 6 2017 at 12:14 pm

I appreciate this post Nancy. I have depression and PTSD and I eat because I think I deserve "at least" some good food amidst the emotional misery. It's not healthy to think that way -- but I didn't really think about it at all until reading this. I think I've got some 'relationship with food' goals to set.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Nancy Zacharakis
December, 17 2017 at 10:27 am

Hi Kholly thank you so much for commenting on this post. It is totally okay to enjoy some good food here and there but eating to make yourself feel better is where things get tricky and unhealthy. I'm so glad you read this and realized something may be off with your relationship with food. That's a great goal to have. Awareness is the first step to recovery and improvement.

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