Are Your Food and Body Image Thoughts Healthy?
Have you ever wondered if your food and body image thoughts are truly healthy? In a culture fixated on diets and body appearance, it isn’t uncommon to feel overwhelmed or bombarded with messaging. Whether you’re in the car on the way to work, shopping at the grocery store, or out with some friends - you’re likely to be exposed to some messaging about food and body image.
This messaging is pervasive and inescapable. As it infiltrates into your own thoughts about your eating habits and body appearance, it wouldn’t be surprising if it felt obsessive and controlling. How do you decipher if it’s gone too far?
One question I often ask clients is: “What percentage of your waking hours do you spend thinking about food and your body image?” When I first started asking this question I was surprised at the responses I received - I knew that diet culture was pervasive, but I didn’t know the extent it influenced the day-to-day life of people. So, I want to ask you the same question.
What percentage of your waking hours do you spend thinking about food and your body image?
This question is an opportunity to step back and look at the big picture. If you found that your percentage was fairly high, it might mean that your food and body image thoughts could use some quieting.
Some other questions you may ask yourself to help you decipher whether or not your food and body image thoughts are helpful or unhelpful are:
Do you allow food or exercise rules decipher whether or not you participate in different social events with friends or family?
Do your conversations with others often revolve around the latest diet trends, your newest exercise regimen, or how you feel in your body?
Does a change in your eating or exercise plan for the day leave you feeling like a failure?
If your answer was “yes” to any of these questions, it might be a sign that things have gone to far.
Don’t stress, I have a few ideas to help you quiet the noise and start creating a more peaceful conversation with yourself.
If you weren’t spending x percentage of time thinking about food and body image, what would could you spend your time thinking about? Write those things down and slowly start intentionally thinking about them.
If you’re tracking (i.e. writing down) everything you eat or your exercise patterns, consider stopping. I know it might seem difficult, but this can contribute to feelings of shame or guilt when plans change.
Be aware of the information you’re consuming and get curious about it. Don’t believe everything you hear and know that what works for someone else, might not be the best option for you.
Start quieting the diet culture noise today and change the internal conversation you’re having with yourself. You deserve to live a life that is infiltrated with thoughts that are meaningful to you.