I had the pleasure of delivering a talk to the local Forest Rotary Club this morning.
In a male-dominated gathering, the topic I chose was "Building Positive Relationship with Food".
I mean, how often do you get to talk about food- and body-positivity with men?
Much less than you'd get a chance to talk with women!
So there was no way I'd miss this opportunity.
When it comes to our relationship with food, body-image is an inevitable topic of discussion.
Because our culture, unfortunately, has developed a rigid thin-idealisation.
And our rather fear-driven pursuit of health is backed by the belief that:
"if we manipulate our body to fit in to the "healthy" category according to the BMI, we are safe".
So food and eating becomes:
"if I get the diet right, then I will have the perfect body and a perfect health."
And so we welcome the dieting culture which puts you in to restrictive eating, categorising food as "good" or "bad", placing nutrient composition a higher priority than seeing the actual food itself, and building guilt and shame around eating the so-called "naughty" foods.
Did I say this dieting culture also comes with body and food shaming, plus future risks of disordered eating and depression?
This. is. ridiculous.
What we need now in the area of food and eating is connection.
Connecting our thoughts to the internal signals from the body.
"am I hungry?" "am I full?"
"what do I feel like today?"
"what would I enjoy eating this moment?"
"who would I like to share my meals with?"
"did I enjoy the last meal I had?"
"how is my body feeling, and what is it telling me, about the food I consumed?"
This connection is part of mindfulness.
And by practicing to connect with your body and being mindful, you can also build trust.
A trust between you and your body that the body you live in right now at this moment is enough; not something that needs to be "fixed".
The more we connect with the inner-being, the more we build trust.
So that you can feel comfortable to accommodate flexibility in eating, without holding on to rigid diet rules.
So that you can be kind to yourself without being critical or judgmental about food choices.
So that you can enjoy movement and activity through the lens of self-care, instead of an act of punishment to "burn the fat".
This is an old article from Teen Vogue but it's too good not to share.
Why Body Positivity Isn't Just for Fat Girls
In a culture where there's so much emphasis put on one's appearance, it's no surprise that people find and pick faults of their bodies and blame it for the whatever problem they are facing - relationship, friendship, work, family, social connection, self esteem...
But the real problem here is not the shape or size of one's body.
It is the attitude towards bodies.
Health comes in so many forms; in different shapes and sizes; with a variety of food and eating.
And once you can unhook weight from health, that is when you can really enjoy movement and eating, and accelerate your health to an improved well-being.
I also LOVE Body Positive Australia and the work they do.
I highly recommend reading their blog posts too :)