This post is to mark the occasion of Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2020 (February 24th to 29th).
There are different patterns of disordered eating and definitions vary. For example, it may involve a preoccupation with controlling calorie intake, self-induced vomiting or excessively eating. It may look like food controlling you, instead of you being in control of your food consumption.
These patterns can develop due to a combination of reasons for example; stress, internalisation of the “thin ideal”, self-esteem difficulties or a tendency for perfectionism/control. Body image can also be a key element of disordered eating. In light of this, here are some “body-positive” tips:
- Instead of self-criticism, practice positive affirmations when looking in your mirror
Self-affirmations are mantras that affirm your worthiness. You can practice these as thoughts by reminding yourself “I am enough”, “I am beautiful” or “I will not compare myself to strangers on the internet”. A creative way to remind yourself to do this is to stick post-it’s with self-love messages on your mirror! 🙂
- Bin the scales
Some of us can become fixated with the number on the scale. Consider that maybe we would be happier not knowing this number. After all, it is not a measure of your self-worth- it simply tells you your relationship with the gravity of the earth. A better measure is one related to health outcomes and what you are made up of such as a DEXA scan or in-body composition scan, with data like this you can speak to a qualified health professional if you need to make a lifestyle change.
- Accept compliments
Many of us are acquainted to accepting compliments under a condition (e.g. “thanks but..”/ “that’s just because…”). Practice instead saying “thank you”- this will suffice. Don’t undervalue yourself by rebuking compliments with conditions or apologies. You are worthy of a positive acknowledgement.
- Wouldn’t say it to a friend? Don’t say it to yourself
When you find yourself being self-critical, ask yourself “would I say this to a friend?”. When the answer is ‘no’, this is probably because you are aware of the harshness of the comment, that it would affect your friends feelings or that quality under criticism does not define their character. Consider this. If these are the reasons you would not say the comment to your friend- why would you say it to yourself? Operate on the rule that if you wouldn’t say it another person, don’t say it to yourself!
- Don’t compare yourself to others, or your younger self
Theodore Roosevelt held that “comparison is the thief of joy”. Imagine a world where everyone is the same and there are no differences between person to person. This depicts a boring existence. Why? Our differences are what make us interesting and unique. Your variation to those on your Instagram feed, your friends or your younger self is what makes you special! Cherish these differences.
- Find a supportive network
Surround yourself with people that make feel uplifted. These will be people who appreciate your value. Remind yourself of how these people see you when you are feeling unconfident.
At Activate, we look at so much more than photoshoots or competing in fitness. We have a more holistic and mature view on health and fitness that has come with years of study and experience in the field. We know that you and your overall wellbeing is what is most important.
For concerns over relationship with food:
- Body Whys offers a support helpline, face to face support, online groups and individual email support; (https://www.bodywhys.ie/.).
- You can also chat with one of our nutrition coaches to discuss concerns and we’ll point you in the right direction.