There are many people struggling with body image, and the desire to be thin or eat only the "good" foods may cause some people to follow excessively strict and dangerous diets.
We can all play a role in creating a healthier environment for ourselves and those around us. Here are some common phrases you would be better off removing from your vocabulary.
- "I'm going on a diet!" It seems innocent enough, right? Diet talk and advertisements have become a normal part of life these days. In fact, going on a diet is supposed to be a healthy thing to do. But in truth, choosing foods based on their alleged ability to manipulate your size or change the number on the scale is not a healthy behavior. Instead, appreciate your body for all the amazing things it does for you each day, and choose foods that will fuel it and nourish it all the time – not just when you want to lose weight.
- "You look great! Have you lost weight?" It seems like a simple compliment, but by commenting on someone's weight loss you have subconsciously justified the means by which the person lost the weight, whether healthful or not. Furthermore, commenting on physical appearance perpetuates the idea that how someone looks on the outside is the only thing worth noticing. If you must comment on physical appearance, compliment a person's outfit or haircut. Or, better yet, start seeking out ways to compliment people on their character traits. Let's make bravery, kindness, happiness, work ethic, intelligence and creativity (to name a few) the things that we notice and celebrate in each other before weight loss and thinness.
- "Is this food 'good'or 'bad'?" Somehow, it's gotten to the point where foods are reduced to one single nutrient they contain, and, based on the latest headlines, are either put on a pedestal or given the cold shoulder. In reality, all foods can be part of a healthy diet, and any food can be unhealthy if it is chosen to satisfy an emotion rather than hunger. Instead of focusing on making a better food choice, focus on making a better behavior choice. If you are not eating because of true physical hunger, find non-food ways to cope with what you're really feeling.
Although the media and diet industry have very loud voices, we can collectively offer a voice that speaks even louder. By refusing to buy into these messages and making ourselves heralds of a different version of health, we can all help to create an environment where bodies of all sizes are accepted, food is respected and energy is spent on what is truly important.
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