Best To Ditch the Food Police, Find Kindness for Your Body
We’ve all been there. Looking in the mirror and asking your body why it looks the way it does. That infamous sigh in the bathroom mirror with an audible “why do you have to look like this?!”. The staring with shame at an unflattering picture where my arms look like they are the size of my thighs. I have felt the pressure to hide and attempt to “treat” the dimples in my legs that seem to show no matter what insane workout I attempt to do. I have seen my arms jiggle and think to myself; how does one hide one’s arms from public view?
Unfortunately, these feelings often propel us to seek nutrition advice and get “back in line” like the women in the diet commercials who say, “I can finally fit back in my old jeans again!”. That feeling of shame acts as the ON button of motivation to get our eating habits to a place where we see our bodies shrink. This isn’t always the case. There are people who legitimately want to feel healthier and the source of seeking nutrition advice is actually from a place of self-care and love.
However, in my experience, this is not the norm. The norm is that devastating feeling of dissatisfaction with our bodies. The norm is seeking nutrition advice to hopefully find someone who will be disappointed if we report the eating of the brownie that we told them we would not (under any circumstance) eat. We seek food police. The dietitian with a big smile, slim figure, and very inflexible food plan will keep me in check. I need a drill sergeant of food that will reinforce that feeling of shame if I don’t keep up with my diet.
Can I tell you something as a dietitian?
This does not work. Not only because Registered Dietitians are not the food police. This does not work because body shame should never be the motivating factor for a meaningful change in your life. Shame will keep you in that cycle of feeling proud of shedding a few pounds (but not too proud, should have been this small a while ago!) and feeling devastated when you happen to indulge in your favorite salty fries.
Ditching Food Police!
What works? You-being kinder to yourself and your body. When you stop punishing and rewarding yourself for the size of your jeans you finally get some peace in your relationship with food and your body. If we think about how we look at our friends’ bodies and how we may treat them in general, do we base our love and affection on how small or big they are? No. If we did, we would be considered a bad and sick friend. Maybe we are a bad and sick friend to ourselves. Find that place of compassion and self-care, and from there we can build a healthier place for your eating habits and for your amazing, beautiful, and fantastic body!
I am a Registered Dietitian (RD) also based in Chicago, IL. I have worked in various clinical settings including dialysis, ICU, and NICU. I am bilingual and have had the pleasure to work with many Spanish/Spanglish speaking individuals.
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