In the era of coronavirus, self love and mental health have never been more important. But, there has been so much shame around the decisions that we make with our food. Many women feel that their appearance is the most important thing about them. Society reinforces this standard, constantly suggesting we take on a diet mentality. The diet industry suggests there is something wrong with you–regardless of your body.
Thus, the journey to self love feels harder than ever. All of the harmful conversations about food has undoubtedly affected many of us–especially those with confused or warped perceptions around what they eat. We might find ourselves trying to “count calories” or feel bad for eating “bad foods”. Shaking these issues is not always easy, as we are consistently taught that being thin is the secret to self love.
That’s why this week, we want to offer a body-positive post that will hopefully help dispel some of the stigmas around mealtime. We hope that these tips on eating intuitively and respecting your mind and body help you on your journey!
Diets Inherently Damage Self Love
Life is meant to be enjoyed! The diet mentality in our society is a major issue, as it makes all women feel they need to lose weight to feel validation, happiness, and so forth. And, most of the world isn’t able to stick religiously to any diet. Then, when people “cheat” on their diet, they start beating themselves up for not having the “willpower” to stick to their diet. In turn, women feel even worse about themselves after diets.
While diets–in principle–seem healthy, they are usually very toxic. Thinness is marketed as happiness, and it takes a toll on not only body image, but also on self love. The bottom line is, not everyone’s body is the same. The way you are now is beautiful and perfect regardless of what society may tell you. The diet industry makes billions of dollars a year because you are constantly told that you are not good enough as you are.
Of course, we should all incorporate healthy foods into our diets here or there for our own well-being. But, if having some tasty sweets or chips would make you feel fabulous, do it for yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you what foods are “good” or “bad.” You get to decide what feels best for you. Restricting foods and counting calories is a slippery slope. In order to have a healthy relationship with both food and ourselves, we need to recognize these flaws in dieting itself.
There is no reason to alter the nourishment you put into your body unless it is something you truly want to do–and do on your own terms. Don’t let other people tell you the way you live your life or choose your foods is wrong. The book “Intuitive Eating” combats the common diet approach that women often fall victim to, and helps build on your self love journey.
Eat When You Are Hungry
Many of us feel like we need to deprive ourselves of all the things our bodies need in order to change the way we look. But, if your stomach is growling, it is time to eat something. Going around feeling really hungry is not suitable for your mental or physical health, as it makes your body go into survival mode. In fact, diets often don’t even work for this reason. In restricting calories, your body holds on to fat and slows your metabolism.
Aside from this aspect, every moment is an occasion–and again, life is meant to be enjoyed! Love and respect your body; it is the only one that you have! Think of your body as like a baby. Would you let a baby go hungry? Probably not. Or, think of what you would say to your best friend if she were in your shoes. You would probably tell her she needs nourishment.
So, nourish your body with what you need to feel good, satisfied, and happy. No one can tell you how to do it best except you. You and your body are so closely connected. You’ll notice that when you respect all the aspects of your existence, you’ll care so much less about other people’s input and feel so much more in tune with yourself. The Intuitive Eating Workbook is a great option on your guide to self help.
Exercise For The Right Reasons
A lot of people kick themselves to go to the gym every day for strenuous workouts and think they have to do it to burn off the calories. But, exercising for body image being the priority is not a very kind thing to do to yourself. If you go into an exercise counting calories, you likely won’t even enjoy the workout. Exercise–like eating–should be an experience that you do out of self love and happiness.
If you genuinely don’t like to exercise, don’t push yourself to do so. But also, there are so many other types of ways you can get moving. Yoga, walking, and even dancing in your room are alternatives to typical methods of exercise.
Getting moving should be about feeling good– both mentally and physically. The visual aspects of exercise can be pleasant, but that is not a critical part. Loving and respecting yourself is what is most important. Remember to exercise because it is good for you, not because you are trying to fit a mold of what “beauty” is. We recommend “The Goddess Revolution” to help you reclaim your life and change your relationship with your body.
If you’re interested in more wellness content, check out How to Maintain Your Mental Health During Quarantine.
We hope this article offers you help on your journey in self love, and moreover, gives you a break from all of the diet and exercise advertisements. Again, these industries profit off of putting you down, so remember your worth extends beyond the mirror–and more importantly, that each body is different, unique, and beautiful in its own way!