Creating a Healthy Relationship with Your Body

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What kind of relationship do you have with your body? How do you speak to yourself? How do you nourish and rest?

Set intentions with movement

It’s important to set intentions over goals in order to reduce negativity. A goal can come with failure and negative emotions. When it comes to movement (exercise) it is based around goals, consequences, or punishments. How common it is to say “oh I went to the gym to work off all the desserts I had over the holiday” or “I work out so I can eat __”. Movement should be enjoyable and for self-care. Exercise is for burning off calories or trying to change our body. Take out negativity with moving your body.

Heal your relationship with food

How often do you label food as good or bad? Healthy and unhealthy? Diet’s aren’t sustainable whether its Whole 30, Keto, Paleo, Noom, or intermittent fasting. Diets come with restrictions plus guilt and shame attached to foods. The best thing you can do is unsubscribe to diet culture, embrace all foods, and practice Intuitive Eating.

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

  1. Let go of Diet Culture: it promotes weight loss and false hope that brings you back in a cycle
  2. Honor Your Hunger and Fullness: connect with your body and listen when it is hungry. Diets promote restriction which leads us to think about food more frequently
  3. Make Peace with food: allow yourself to have permission to eat all food
  4. Challenge the Food Police: challenge your thoughts that you feel “good” for eating “healthy” and “bad” for “having too many carbs”. It’s all the messages we’ve learned from diet culture
  5. Find your Satisfaction Factor: feeling grounded in your body without shame in what you’re eating can lead to internal cues of when you feel satisficed
  6. Feel Your Fullness: check in with yourself while you’re eating
  7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness: find ways to cope with your emotions that don’t come out on food. Find the source of your emotions and use other coping mechanisms
  8. Respect Your Body: it’s hard to be in a place of acceptance of ourselves if we are trying to control, manipulate, or change the size/shape/appearance of ourselves. It’s natural for our bodies to change as we age. 
  9. Movement: move your focus to what feels good rather than compensation
  10. Honor Your Health: make choices that can honor your individual health and taste buds

Avoid comparison

With social media, access to others can be a constant, and therefore so is comparing our lives, experiences, or bodies. Social media rarely shows someone’s struggle or complete authenticity. Try to decrease negative inner self-talk that comes out through comparisons. If we avoid making comparisons, we can focus back on our own experiences. Be mindful of setting boundaries with others when it comes to food judgments and negative body comments.

Next Steps

Look at the content you consume on social media. If it embraces health at every size or endorses diet culture and beauty standards. Three Instagram accounts I always recommend are Tiffany Roe (@heytiffanyroe), Natalie Peikoff (@kneadtotalk), and Alicia & Bree (@wirl_co). 

Journal more and consider what messages you have received about your body. What has been modeled to you about bodies in your family? What beliefs have you taken from society? What body comments said by others do you still listen to? Do you wish to have a different sized body and what do those emotions from that time period really represent? 

Add in some readings to give you more perspective:

  • Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach by Evelyn Tribole
  • Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon
  • Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out-and Never Say Diet Again by Rebecca Scritchfield
  • Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight by Linda Bacon
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Julie's passion is working with adolescents and young adults through life transitions, identity exploration, LGBTQIA+, substance use, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. She believes everyone deserves the opportunity to heal and be recovered.

Julie Pate, LPC, LCDC Intern

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