If you have history with body hate and eating disorders, you know that mealtimes, exercise and pretty much anything that requires you to get up and personal with your body presents a challenge. I have good news, and bad news for you. The bad: the only way through is through, darling. You have to eat to live and you will face a dressing room mirror sooner or later, the time to mend your relationship with food and your body is now.
The good: There is a whole new world waiting for you on the other side of body hate, eating disorders and self destruction. This world is one where you no longer are chained to the self-induced torture of loathing your thighs in shorts and obsessively monitoring your diet only to lose all control when the urge to binge strikes. What would you do with all of that freed up time and energy? Imagine.
I'm not saying that this will be easy, nor am I claiming that you will never struggle with body hate again, but a few mindset shifts will go a long way in helping you reach a more loving place. Without further ado, here are 3 truths that will pull you in the right direction.
1. Food is fuel. Period.
When you have a history of weirdness around food and body image, the number one thing that has to change is the way you define food. The labels you put on food should be the first to go. Ditch the notions of food being either good or bad and aim to see it as nothing more than fuel for your tank. Through this lens, you will learn to tune into your body and gravitate towards food that can deliver the most appropriate fuel source for the occasion. Seeing food as fuel will help you shift from panicking over the glycemic index of a banana to making intuitive decisions based on what your body needs to run optimally in that moment.
2. Your body is your friend.
It can take some time to get to a place where you can form a solid friendship with your body after the turbulence of body hate. This, though, is going to be the thing that will help pull you out of cycles of self-destruction. First things first, learn to listen to your body and answer it's cues. A friendship goes both ways. This will take some time to get in the flow of as an eating disorder puts you in something like a one way dictatorship with your body- it thrives on you trying to control your body to do what you command of it. Befriending your body requires that you treat it with respect, the way you would treat a friend that you care about.
3. Exercise is for loving your body.
Exercise can be used for you or against you. In the woes of body hatred, exercise is often used to further self destruct. It becomes a loophole for restrictive dieting, something that has to be done to undo the damage of a binge. In order to move into a healthy place, this view of exercise as damage control has to shift. When used as a means to love your body, exercise becomes empowering. The key is to find something that you love doing. Whether it be yoga, walking, swimming or lifting weights, moving your body in a way that feels good will play an important role in forming a healthy relationship with your body.