“3 Check-In” Method To Repair Your Relationship with Food
Updated: Jun 7
By: Nicole Bentley, LCSW
A person’s relationship with food is very personal and can change throughout their life. If you are concerned about your relationship with food for any reason, utilizing the “3 Check-In Method” can be helpful to reconnect with food in a healthier way. This method can be useful for any person, with any relationship with food. Its function is to center yourself, re-align yourself with your values, and eat in a way that serves those values.
Now let’s walk through the “3 Check-In Method” in detail. It involves checking-in with yourself before, during and after an eating event (a meal, snack, cocktail party, wedding, etc.)
1. Before eating, the check-in serves as an intention setting opportunity. To do this, ask yourself these questions:
How am I feeling right now? This question is important because you have the opportunity to connect with yourself, and make sure your food intake is separate from your mood.
How hungry am I right now? Think of a scale in your mind where 1 is very hungry and 10 is extremely full, and decide where you are on that scale. That way, you can assess how much you would like to eat to reach a comfortable place of fullness.
What are my intentions? You might find it helpful to set a few intentions to keep you focused on your needs and values. Examples might include eating mindfully, sticking to your meal plan, choosing and eating foods that you enjoy, listening to your hunger/fullness cues, or working on your pacing.
2. The check-in during the eating event serves as an opportunity to be mindful of the intentions you set earlier. Choose a time and simply assess if you are meeting your intentions. Feel free to have more than one check-in point during the eating event if you think it is necessary, or if the event is especially long; however, be sure to trust yourself and avoid obsessively focusing on your food.
3. The third check-in serves as an opportunity for reflection and self-compassion. As you attempt to repair your relationship with food, be sure to be kind to yourself as your habits and patterns might be challenging to shift. Compassionately consider how the eating event went, if you met your intentions, and what you will change the next time.
The “3 Check-In Method" can be tailored to fit your needs and goals, and is flexible enough to meet your needs even as they might change with time. You can use this method for 3 meals per day, or reserve it for more challenging eating events only. However you might choose to use this method, be sure to remain focused on your individual needs with food, and how you would like to repair your individual relationship with food.