As is often the case with milestones in the year, sadly there has been a lot of negative talk around food in light of lockdown ending.
This can be really tough for people living with eating disorders and those trying to heal their body image.
Our Senior Occupational Therapist, Kendra, shares her top tips for protecting your recovery and steering clear of diet talk:
Conduct a social media detox
“… negative food talk can be disguised under a pursuit for “wellness” or described as a “lifestyle” change. Make sure to give yourself a breather from these platforms.”
Be mindful of the content and messages you are absorbing day-to-day through social media. These platforms grab so much of our attention but have the capacity to negatively impact our relationship to ourselves, bodies, and relationship to food.
Conduct a social media “review” to clear out anything that causes you to reflect negatively on yourself. It is okay to follow accounts that inspire self-love and life beyond an eating disorder, and it’s okay to unfollow (or “mute”) people who cause the opposite. This is your life!
Social media platforms are driven by positive engagements, meaning that people are encouraged to share things that evoke positive messages specifically. Unfortunately this means that we never get the full picture. And to put it in perspective, it’s estimated that 95 million pieces of content are posted on Instagram alone every single day. That is so much “positive” content to get your head around!
Remember, negative food talk can be disguised under a pursuit for “wellness” or described as a “lifestyle” change. Make sure to give yourself a breather from these platforms. In lockdown, and especially on grey and uninspiring days, it’s easy to lose ourselves in doomscrolling.
Clock your intent
“Pause, check in and make a mental note of your intentions for seeking out such content, particularly if you already know it could do some harm.”
Kendra recommends critically checking in with your intentions behind particular activities.
For instance, are you purposefully pursuing popular magazine titles or blog articles that you know might be triggering?
Pause, check in and make a mental note of your intentions for seeking out such content, particularly if you already know it could do some harm. Perhaps you’ll want to bring this pattern to therapy so you can unpack it a little and think about what’s at the root of this compulsion.
Let others know what’s helpful
“If people around you are reinforcing a way of speaking about food or body shape that is triggering or undermining your important work in recovery, speak up.”
And what’s also unhelpful!
Have an honest conversation with friends and family around what feels triggering when it comes to diet talk and body image.
We live in a pervasive diet culture and you’ll be shocked by just how much diet talk has entered our lexicon. Food is inherently neutral with no moral judgement associated with it, yet diet talk ascribes terms like “sinful”, “naughty”, “cheating”, “indulgence”, etc. which all have negative associations.
If people around you are reinforcing a way of speaking about food or body shape that is triggering or undermining your important work in recovery, speak up. Often people don’t know they’re doing it – so you’re giving them a helping hand!