It has been a while since I joined a WIAW link up. I missed it. If you’re totally lost, you can find out more about this fantastic link up right here.
Last week, I started writing a post about diet and negative body image talk. Basically, it’s the kind of dialogue that includes guilty food comments people make as they eat another piece of dessert or take a second helping. It’s also labeling foods as “good” and “bad” or thinking that eating extra food requires compensation with extra exercise. It’s saying, “Oh no, I would love another piece of bread, but I shouldn’t. It’ll go straight to my hips.” This kind of dialogue is incredibly annoying and frustrating, especially to someone recovering from an eating disorder, but it also sucks the pleasure out of eating good food. It fosters an unhealthy relationship with food.
The post morphed into a rant, and although rants are cathartic, they’re not always very compelling. Me typing furiously about how much I hate listening to diet talk will at best sound hysterical and at worst make you close your tab. That would be sad. Please don’t leave just yet. Perhaps a better way to address it is to dig a little deeper, try to understand where it comes from and how to respond when you’re face to face with it.
|breakfast: zucchini pancakes + almond butter + strawberries|I think one of the most important things to realize about negative body image and diet talk is that it often stems from insecurity. When I remind myself of this, I can be compassionate, instead of just annoyed, because I can empathize with feeling insecure. Everyone has felt insecure about his/her body at one time. We can’t change people’s perception of themselves, but we can support them, love them, and assure them they do not have to be insecure about their body, where ever they are on their health journey. Joyce has been blogging recently about the Health at Every Size movement. I’m still learning about it, but it sounds like a really beautiful, important movement to embrace.
|lunch: salad + brown rice and a veggie burger|We can change the conversation too. Ask the person about their job or family or how their week went. Try to do it gently and without being weirdly abrupt. If that doesn’t seem appropriate for the situation, just talk through it. If the person is feeling guilty about overindulging, or maybe just indulging, remind him/her that our bodies need cake just as much as they need kale. If you’re not comfortable with speaking to the person, then don’t. That’s okay too.
|snackage: an orange + crackers + dates and almond butter|It’s ingrained in our culture, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s where you come in. You get to decide how you speak about and view food. That should feel empowering! We do live in a diet, image obsessed world, but that food culture is only inherited when people perpetuate the mindset and dialogue. It changes when we decide to change.
|dinner: toast + broccoli with nutritional yeast|Food should be fun. When we worry about how it will make us look vs. how it will make us feel, we give it too much power. I mostly eat lots of plant food because that makes my body feel energized and vibrant. I also eat ice cream and croissants and cheesecake because those foods make me appreciate food creativity…and sugar. Sugar is tasty.
|more snackage: chocolate + almond butter|We build a healthier relationship with food by changing the way we talk about it and encouraging other people to change the way they talk about it too.
Food is vital.
Food is cultural.
Food is art.
And in case you need the reminder, don’t worry so much, about food, about your size, about all the little things that seem really important. In the grand scheme of things, they aren’t actually that important. Take of yourself. But don’t stress about taking care of yourself.
So tell me…
Does diet talk bother you?
How do you think we can build a healthier relationship with food?
Tell me something yummy you ate this week.