5 Strategies For Having a Healthy Relationship With YourselfAugust 7, 2017
Let’s face it, the sad reality is most people in society today do not have the best relationship with their body & food. For those who have struggled with running the gamut through fad diets, binging, and/or overeating, food--as well as your body--can sometimes feel like an enemy.
Culturally we are told that we can only start living a truly full life once we have “mastered” our relationship with food or once we attain a certain body size. I’m here to tell you that the most important part of your journey towards health is, recognizing that whatever your body size is, you have value.
5 Strategies for a Healthier Relationship With Your Body & Food
1. Recognize Your Worth
Your body is not the epitome of who you are as a person. Your body is the wonderful holder of your soul, your personality, your dreams, and passions. Many people struggle with feeling like they are less than if they live in a larger body compared to those who live in a smaller body. Sadly, society, friends, family, and often well-meaning medical providers can perpetuate this message. This is completely and utterly false. Individuals in larger bodies have just as much right to live and breathe in this society as a supermodel walking down the Paris catwalk .
2. Move Your Body In A Way That Makes You Feel Alive
Do you loathe running? Is the stairs machine at the gym something that you dread but force yourself to go on anyway? That sounds like a miserable way to approach exercise. Exercise can either be an ominous part of your day or something that allows you to revel in all that your body can do for you. If you detest running, there are another 1000+ physical activity options out there that you can try out that you might enjoy more. Maybe that’s signing up for a Latin dance class or even going on a walk around your neighborhood. Find an activity that brings you closer to a place where you are in awe of what your body can do for you and what joy and fullness it can bring to your life.
3. Don’t Wait Until You Reach A Goal Weight To Pamper Yourself
One of the most powerful changes I see in my clients often occurs when they begin to see their current body as something worth caring for. This could be buying yourself a nice outfit, going to get a massage, getting your hair done, or getting a manicure/pedicure. Take some time do things that make you feel like your current body is worthy of care because it is!
4. Balance Food Wisdom With Food Pleasure
Balancing food wisdom with food pleasure means balancing the concept of good nutrition with foods that you enjoy. Do you really love Girl Scout cookies but notice that eating more than 1~2 cookies can make you feel lethargic the rest of the day? You can take this information into account while still allowing yourself to enjoy those 1~2 cookies on occasion. Allowing yourself to enjoy 1~2 cookies but not going overboard represents a balance of these 2 concepts. No one is forcing you to just have 2 cookies, but you are being kind to yourself by stopping at 2 because you want to feel good even after eating the cookies.
5. Check Your Own Negative Body Talk
Unfortunately, many of us at some point in our lives, have experienced someone talking negatively about our bodies. Maybe it was an offhanded comment by a friend, family member, or teacher. Despite the fact that many of the vocalizers of such comments may think their words are harmless, we know that these words stick and are hard to purge from our minds. The same goes for negative comments we make about our own bodies. We can perpetuate feelings of poor self-worth and negative body image in our own minds by making derogatory comments. This can be a hard habit to break (or even recognize for that matter!).
One way to start to change these habits is to have a mantra. This mantra may be something that you decide on beforehand and have at the ready when you feel tempted to say something negative about your body.
This could be something as simple as:
- “I’m so thankful that my legs allow me to go on a walk with my dog.”
- “My arms allow me to hug the ones I love”
- “My nose allow me to smell the scent of my favorite flower”
- “My eyes allow me to see all the beautiful and vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables at my local farmers market.
Having a mantra handy can make it easier for you to begin to see your body in terms of its amazing capacities rather than something to loathe.
It is possible to have a healthy relationship with food and your body whatever your size. Try implementing one or more of the above steps to kickstart yourself on your road to a life where you are your own biggest fan and ally. You can do it, and most importantly, you are worth it!
ABOUT THE AUTHORTiffany Haug, MS, RDN, EDOC is a Master's level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in treating eating disorders as well as obesity. Tiffany holds a Certificate of Graduate Study in Eating Disorders and Obesity (EDOC) from Northern Illinois University—the only graduate certificate of its kind in the nation. She currently works as an outpatient Dietitian at a private practice.
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