“Practical” body image tip #1…
(…and for those of you who are unclear why shifting your body image is CRITICAL for changing your relationship with food, including behaviors like “emotional eating” and binge-eating, please take a moment to read this & read this.)
Ya know how this whole “body image thing” is really a cultural and social problem that affects us by virtue of the fact that we’re social creatures who desire love and acceptance?
YEAH—your negative body thoughts are not innate or permanent birth defects—they are thinking patterns that you were trained into by your surrounding cultural influences,
the media you consume,
the friends you choose to hang out with,
the beliefs of the romantic partners you choose, etc.
The cultural influences you’re surrounded by literally create your body-image as you move through the world,
and while parts of the weight-obsessed culture you experience on a daily basis are difficult to escape—for instance, you probably can’t avoid seeing the giant Weight Watchers billboard on the highway you take to work every day—
you have at least *some* control over…
the people you hang out with,
the media (especially images) you consume,
and the conversations you choose to participate in.
If you haven’t done so already—it’s time to take an honest inventory of the cultural influences that affect your relationship with food and body—and assess which of them you might actually have the power to change.
What are you reading in your spare time?
Diet or “health” blogs that encourage restriction or exacerbate your fear of food?
OR body positive literature? (e.g. Linda Bacon’s Body Respect? Or blogs like, The Body Is Not An Apology?)
What conversations are you engaging in with your friends, co-workers, etc.?
Are you indulging “diet talk” at the water cooler,
OR are you directing conversations towards more productive interests?
What are you looking at on social media?
Fitspo and exclusively straight-sized fashionistas?
body diverse models,
and other body-positive activists (my faves are Virgie Tovar, Jes Baker, and Melissa Fabello).
And perhaps most importantly…
Who are you spending your time with?
People who love to body-hate on you or themselves (e.g. “ughgh I gained so much weight over the holidays”) and/or obsessively talk about dieting or food in a morally-charged way (e.g. “I can’t believe I just ate that” / “I’m on a cleanse”).
OR PEOPLE WHO DON’T DO THAT SHIT.
Think about your answers. Take inventory. Make changes where appropriate and possible. That’s practical tip #1.
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