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Body Shaming

Over the past years, “body-shaming” has become a hot topic, not just online but in everyday life. Unfortunately, body-shaming can happen to almost anyone — regardless of gender, ethnicity, social class, or age. Celebrities, pregnant women, thin people, curvy people, fit people, athletic people, young people, old people — the list of who’s become a target for body-shaming is endless. We also have a tendency to talk negatively about our own bodies, not only to one another, but to ourselves.  As a culture, we’ve become obsessed about body size, shape, and weight.

What is body-shaming?

  • Inappropriate negative statements and attitudes about another person’s or your own weight or size.
  • Criticizing yourself or others because of physical appearance

Body-shaming can manifest itself in a variety of ways, but usually it will usually appear as:

    • Self-criticism of yourself and your appearance through comparison to another person.
    • Criticizing another person in front of them.
    • Criticizing others behind their back.

Examples of body-shaming:

    • Look at my ____ (body part).
    • I can’t wear that… because ____ (reason)!
    • I am such a “insert negative feeling” for eating that.
    • You shouldn’t wear that because of the way you look.
    • You’re so thin that you look like a skeleton.
    • You’re the kind of person who needs to exercise.
    • Did you see what she’s wearing today? (said in a negative tone)

Regardless of how or why body-shaming happens, it most often will lead to comparison and shame, reinforcing the idea that outward appearances are essential for human worth and love. The result — an unhealthy relationship with food, exercise, and especially an unhealthy relationship with yourself.  This just continues the cycle of shame, comparison, and never feeling like you’re “good enough”.

This month, I challenge you to become more aware of your relationship with body-shaming. Is this something you do on a regular basis? Is this a way you cope with being uncomfortable in new situations? Do you surround yourself with people who are body-shamers? What can you do to reduce and eliminate body-shaming?

Remove the Body Shame

Stop commenting on other people’s body shape and size. Find something else to talk about. End of story.

Enough with the negative thoughts and words. Instead of criticizing yourself, come up with ideas on how you’re going to move forward on your journey. For example, when you’re buying a dress and have tried it on, only to find it’s too tight, say to yourself, ‘I’ll get the larger size so it hangs better” rather than saying “My legs are so big and I’m so fat.” Acknowledge not being comfortable and embrace your body and self for who you are and where you are on your journey. All bodies fit.

Fuel your body with foods that empower you to live mindfully. Choose foods that make you feel good, energizing you to live the way you want. Keeping a food and symptom journal and working with a dietitian can help you identify what foods work well for your body, helping you achieve your goals.

Appreciate your body with a neutral approach. Instead of focusing energy on what your body is not, try to think of your body as a vehicle for your life– and that’s it! This simple shift into “neutrality” can make a big difference in the way you perceive yourself and your capabilities. In time, self-love and appreciation will in return result in a healthier body and mind.

Recognize that negative self-talk and body-shaming are not productive. Negative self-talk and body-bashing only sinks you into a deeper depression, leading to a cycle of self-loathing, emotional eating, and more body-bashing.

Practice self-love. Practicing self love means practicing self care. Nourish yourself with good food, movement, hydration, and rest. Remember to lift yourself and others up with positive words, thoughts, and actions.

3 Things to Do in January Besides “Diet”

Ugg… January is here! It really is “national dieting month” and even though I’ve tried to avoid “diet talk” as much as possible, I still hear friends, family, and clients talking about how they are going to be “good”, “eat clean”, “lose weight”, and “finally take control back”.

So if you know me, you know I’m all about creating a happy and healthy lifestyle. No diets needed! Dieting can increase disordered eating behaviors and habits, and also send you down a destructive relationship with food. So rather than diet, what can you do? Here are some ideas so you don’t have to diet and feel deprived. Rather live your life and feel fabulous about food!

1. Practice Your Intuitive Eating Skills. One of the best things you can do for yourself when everyone around you is trying to detox or go on the latest “New Years Resolution Diet” is practice your intuitive eating skills. Intuitive Eating is comprised of 10 principles that help you reject the diet mentality, honor your hunger and fullness signals, and improve your relationship with food and body image. Instead of removing foods from your diet this month, try adding in more healthful options and remind yourself that there is space for both apples and ice cream. Practice eating mindfully instead of restrictively by truly tuning into your body’s hunger and fullness signals. Finally, one of my favorite principles is “Challenge The Food Police” – which means that you practice saying ‘No’ to that voice in your head that tells you that you’re bad for not doing the detox that everyone at your office is doing, or good for skipping dessert at that party. Food is neither good or bad; food is just food and all foods fit into a healthy lifestyle!

2. Go for a daily walk. Gyms are notorious for their New Years Resolution marketing campaigns. If a gym is not for you, try the cheapest exercise on earth: WALKING. Taking a daily stroll for even just 15-30 minutes/day can do wonders for your health. Start with 15 minutes and slowly work your way up to 30 or longer. This is also a great way to manage stress levels. You can find a walking buddy in your neighborhood or at your office, walk your dog, or listen to your favorite podcast or music, all while improving your health and well-being.

3. Start a gratitude practice instead of “trying to change”. Unfortunately we connect “losing weight” to “being happier” when this simply isn’t true. Try to focus on what you have, right now! Actively thinking about what you are grateful for has been shown to reduce stress levels and increase happiness. Practice saying out loud one thing you are grateful for each day. Bonus if you can write it down or post on social media! Spread the word 🙂

Non-Diet Ideas for Health

I love these ideas to focus on health and well-being for the new year. All of these sound so much healthier than a diet!

  1. Go to a yoga class. Even better if you sign up for a class package!
  2. Try a new recipe and cook with your family
  3. Go grocery shopping and pick some new food items
  4. Eat out at a new restaurant
  5. Go on a hike
  6. Plan and BOOK a vacation!
  7. Go to bed 1 hour earlier tonight and get more rest
  8. Diffuse essential oils throughout your house or office
  9. Pick up a new book and read for 20 minutes each day
  10. Volunteer and give back to your community

Holiday Gift Ideas from Eat With Knowledge

Happy Holidays!!! Here are some amazing ideas to celebrate the gift of peace with food and a healthy body image.

#wear_IEAT clothing and accessories Help promote a healthy relationship with food by wearing an “I EAT” tank top, sweatshirt, or tote by Registered Dietitian Nicole Groman.

Spiralizer A 5-blade vegetable slicer that makes “veggie noodles” in a snap! Create zucchini noodles (“zoodles”), beet noodles, or even sweet potato curly fries.

Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN This practical, inspirational, and visually lively book shows you how to create a healthier and happier life by treating yourself with compassion rather than shame.

Homemade Muffins & Theo Hot Chocolate Gift Box Spending the holidays away from home or at the in-laws? Come prepared with this box full of soft muffins and rich hot chocolate to enjoy with the whole family. The purchase of this gift provides weekend meals for one child.

Intuitive Eating Fundamentals e-Course A 13-week course to help you trust your body and make peace with food created by Registered Dietitian and Food Psych podcast host Christy Harrison.

Ninja Coffee Maker My favorite coffee maker! Ninja’s patent-pending brewing technology is designed to deliver better, richer-tasting coffee with variable richness levels that are never bitter.

Baby Bullet Baby Food Making System Make an entire week’s worth of healthy, nutritional baby food in less than 5 minutes

A gift certificate to a favorite restaurant. My favorites in Nyack include Communal Kitchen and Art Cafe!

Consider making a donation to a charity. Project Heal is my favorite – they fund eating disorder treatment for clients who cannot afford it.

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