It’s time to flip the script, friends. Negative self-talk, body shaming and food shaming is bad for you and everyone else around you.
Are you talkin’ to me?
This is a message to parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and family. If you can’t do this work for yourself please consider doing it for someone else. There is likely a child, teen or another person in your life who is suffering from body shame right now. Consider your daily inner body and food critic. Now think about that same critic while using those same words towards your children and grandchildren, friends and colleagues. Ouch.
It is not enough for you to tell those around you one thing (love and respect your body) while you say and do the opposite with your own. They notice how you call yourself fat or ugly and then internalize that these two things are synonymous. They watch as you restrict food or shame yourself when you “overeat.” They pay attention when you obsess over every calorie consumed and every pound lost or gained.
In the last week alone I have had conversations with 5 separate people on 5 occasions – hearing about their children/teens suffering with body shame and disordered eating. It is devastating. The good news is that we have an opportunity to support and teach them in leading by example.
Where do we start?
It can feel really overwhelming. Where do you even begin? I’ve got a few recommendations. Before proceeding, I want you to promise yourself to practice curiosity and compassion (no judgment, shame or guilt)
Start with self awareness. Notice every single time that you are critical of your body or make comments (in your head or out loud) about your food choices. Then start to make a change for yourself. For every critical/negative thought or comment make three positive or respectful comments about your body and/or food choices.
Notice your relationship with food. Bring in your curious anthropologist to observe your behavior. Are you mindful when eating (for the most part)? Are you eating while doing 10 other things? Are you really enjoying your food? Are you trying to ignore the hunger cues and pushing through your busy work day in an effort to curb calories?
Notice with curiosity, not judgment. Real life example: Right before sitting down to write this I was literally sitting at my computer, searching for online files, doing a virtual chat with an online credit card assistant while listening with earbuds to a zoom webinar and eating kettle corn. DON’T JUDGE. There’s a lot for my anthropologist to make note of!
You’ve got this!
This is where we begin. We start small and we start with ourselves. Email me to tell me about what you’ve noticed this week. I want to hear about your wins and your challenges. Next week we’ll explore next steps that you can use. You have an opportunity to be the change for yourself and for others around you. I’m gonna help you get there!