Summer has finally arrived, and so has time off from school, vacations, dog days at the pool and other fun activities to fill up the long days. Oftentimes, fun activities and fun foods collide: barbecues, restaurants and ice cream stands. If you are struggling with an eating disorder or poor relationship with food, the summertime can be stressful if you correlate fun foods with shame, guilt, and compensation. But you can allow yourself to enjoy food, perhaps like you used to.
Here’s 3 tips for making peace with food this summer:
1.Food is food – it isn’t a moral decision. You are not a good if you eat healthful foods, and you are not horrible if you eat less nutritious foods. What you eat has absolutely nothing to do with who you are as a person! Our sneaky and overbearing diet culture has made us think otherwise, but I encourage you to reject this illusion.
2.You do you – are you afraid of judgement and what people around you may think if they see you eating ice cream? Focusing on your own needs and wants and worrying less about other people is a good place to start. We don’t possess magical powers to read other people’s minds (that I know of), so we can’t assume that people are thinking negative things. You may be thinking, “well my family/friends have said judgy things before”! I’m so sorry that you’ve experienced that – its not OK. Unfortunately, we can’t control other people’s behaviors, so learning to set boundaries about what is OK and what is not OK is important if this is a recurring thing.
3.Don’t miss out – for me, summertime is tied so tightly to some of my happiest memories growing up. But dieting and restricting fun foods took those moments of joy away from me and turned them into missed opportunities – to connect with my family and friends, to accept that food can be eaten simply for pleasure, to live in the moment. What has diet culture stolen from you? How can you stand up to your eating disorder and start living again? Don’t wait another day to take action.
For more tips and support, talk to your nourishED dietitian or contact us here.