There are too many of us out there who struggle with our body image. And really, it’s no surprise. In a world that’s often pushing a diet culture narrative and encouraging us to restrict our portions and food groups as much as possible, it seems inevitable that many people struggle with their body image or relationship with food.
In fact, a whopping 61% of adults feel negatively about their body image most of the time.
But here’s the thing. Food is meant to be enjoyed! Food is supposed to symbolise pleasure in its most basic form and be a way for you to bond with friends and family, get to know new cultures, and make memories.
If you’re struggling with your body image and want to heal, here are some tips to help you along the way.
Use Neutral Terms
You’ll often hear people describing the food they eat as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or even describe themselves as bad for eating something that’s high in calories or not very nutritionally dense.
Using these terms around food gives food morality and makes it either ethically good or bad. In reality, though, food is neither good nor bad - it’s just food.
Sure, some meals have more nutrients and fewer calories than others, but even these so-called unhealthy treats can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Zooming out and looking at the bigger picture is a must.
Team Up With a Professional
If you’ve been trying to fix your relationship with food and are struggling, it might be time to call in the pros. Teaming up with an experienced professional to build your body image and create healthy habits that last is a great way to get a helpful external perspective.
Health coaches such as Kathrine at Passion For Plants help to make your dream of living without food anxiety and a toxic diet mindset a reality.
Don’t Rule Out Foods
Naturally, some people have to remove food or food groups from their diet entirely for religious, ethical, or health reasons. But if there are foods you can eat, enjoy eating, but are choosing not to, this can be a sign of a bad relationship with food.
Rather than banning yourself from ever eating another chocolate bar, see these treats as part of an overall healthy picture, and eat them when you feel the craving. Otherwise, you might end up over-restricting, which can lead to a binge-restrict cycle riddled with guilt.
Stop ‘Burning Off’ Your Food
When people have a poor relationship with food, this can sometimes extend to exercise, and exercise can start to be seen as a tool to ‘burn off’ and repent for eating food that’s high in calories.
Instead of doing exercise as a way to burn off food, find a type of exercise that you genuinely enjoy and see it for what it is - a way to move your body, become stronger, and build strength. After all, watching your abilities increase over time is a great way to build self-esteem!
Once you put these techniques into practice, you’ll soon see the potential for enjoyment and positive self-esteem that arises when you let go of toxic diet culture and lean into loving yourself.