How to Build a Happier Relationship With Your Diet

Meryl Pritchard's followers might consider her the poster child for a highly intuitive, holistic approach to eating—the nutritionist and wellness entrepreneur built a brand from this ethos, after all. But long before she modeled this wisdom into a business, Pritchard was confronting her own anxieties with her diet head-on.

"I had a poor relationship with food throughout my young-adult life because I simply didn't understand how food worked in my body," she recalls. "When I went to college and was left to my own devices, I ate whatever was easy, convenient, and tasted good. This meant bagels, boxed mac and cheese, chips, sugar, and basically anything that came in a package."

The trajectory that followed might sound all too familiar for some of us. "My body changed so fast that I didn't even know what was happening," she says. After gaining weight, Pritchard began experimenting with yo-yo dieting and restriction before finally learning about a plant-based style of eating—by way of Alicia Silverstone's best-selling book, The Kind Diet ($10).

"It revealed some truths behind the mass-produced-food industry and focused on plant-based, whole-food recipes," she says. "This was exciting and new for me, and it ultimately changed my life. I started eating this way and noticed how good I felt. Then I adjusted her plan to my own body's needs by incorporating fish and eggs back in. I was learning to listen to my body and which foods helped it thrive."

Learning to be mindful about what she ate was the first step in learning what "nourishment" could really mean—namely, that it was about so much more than satiating and fueling her body. "Food is a lot more than just calories; it’s information," she says. "It talks to your DNA and tells it what to do. You have the ability to turn symptoms on and off just by changing your diet. Everything you eat is composed of energy. You consume that energy, and it becomes a part of you. That's why I believe that it's important to put high vibrational foods into your body if you want to be a high vibrational being. The body is smart, and nature provides literally everything we need to thrive."

It's an aspirational approach, to be sure. But the prospect of reshaping a fraught or unrewarding relationship with food can also be daunting. Below, Pritchard explains where to begin.