Many of us have an unhealthy relationship with food. I’m not referring to those with clinical eating disorders, which are a serious problem in our country. I’m talking about the damaging relationship that starts when we forget that food is meant to fuel our bodies for activity. Let me repeat that with emphasis: food is meant to fuel our bodies for activity.

Instead of adopting this philosophy, many of us get caught up in mindless behavior that makes us act as though food is fuel for our souls. As such, we develop and act upon food cravings, which are emotional longings that convince us to snack in response to boredom, stress, and life calamities that have nothing to do with genuine hunger. We simply associate these foods with pleasure and turn to them for a quick dose of emotional satisfaction.

Having a healthy relationship with food means putting it back where it belongs: as the engine of activity that allows us to stay moving in our lives. By incorporating this “you are what you eat” mentality, eventually we come to crave only the foods our bodies need to stay active. That’s not to say the process is an easy one. Good nutrition takes discipline and hard work. It takes determination, commitment, practice, and time. In the end, however, our bodies re-calibrate in response to the good nutrition and the appeal of junk food begins to diminish.

One way to conquer this mind game is to plan a once-a-month binge. Pick your poison (I choose honey mustard pretzels) and control the binge. Many have reported it to be rather empowering. Plus, there’s no regret because it was planned. Best of all—we overcome the feeling of being deprived of our favorite guilty pleasures. You can do it!