Summertime is a season many of us look forward to, with its warm weather and enjoyable outdoor activities. However, it can also bring complexities when it comes to our relationship with food and body image. Especially if you are in the process of recovering from an eating disorder or healing your relationship with food and body.
In this blog post, we will explore six tips to help you navigate the summer season while healing your relationship with food and body.
Prefer to listen to the podcast episode? Click here for The Balanced Dietitian Podcast (episode 144)
One of the most important steps (and probably one of the hardest for many) is to reject the concept of that there is a “summer body” you must achieve. This is basically rejecting the societal pressures to fit into the thin ideals.
Your body here and now, is already a summer body.
By letting go of the idea of having a “summer body”, you will allow yourself to release the pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards and instead focus on accepting and appreciating your body as it is. This is a huge mindset shift that requires unpacking a lot of internalized fatphobia,body image healing and radical acceptance. If you are looking for a therapist to support you with this work, check out our therapist at The Balanced Practice here.
Wearing clothes that are comfortable is CRUCIAL. Avoid trying to fit into clothes from previous years if they no longer fit. Your comfort matters and will impact your ability to be present throughout the summertime. Invest in clothing that fits your current body and allows you to move comfortably.
When you feel comfortable in what you wear, you can fully engage in activities and enjoy the moment with less hyperfocus on your body.
Planning ahead can help you approach summer events with intention and presence. Here are a few things to consider when planning upcoming events:
Consistently nourishing your body with ENOUGH food is a non-negotiable, not only during summer events but also in your everyday life.
Make sure to eat all your meals and snacks, providing your body with the nourishment it needs. Do not skip any meals to reduce your portions before an event. “Saving your calories” is not a useful technique and will only hinder your relationship with food.
A well-nourished body is a happy body. Without enough food, it is almost impossible for your body to feel safe!
If you are not sure how much food is enough food, seek the guidance of an anti-diet registered dietitian who can help you determine what is enough for your body. Check out our anti-diet dietitian at The Balanced Practice here.
Recovery and healing can be challenging, AND you don’t have to go through this alone. Having a support system to navigate this with you is a really big part of the healing journey. Your support system can include your loved ones (family+friends), your care team (dietitians + therapists) and a like-minded community.
Here at The Balanced Practice, we really believe in the power of community when in recovery and healing your relationship with food (which is why we have created The Balanced Program for folks healing from disordered eating and the ED Recovery Program for folks recovering from their eating disorders). A community provides a sense of belonging and validation, reminding us that we are not alone in our experiences. Sharing our thoughts, feelings, and struggles with trusted individuals can alleviate stress and foster emotional resilience. Moreover, a support system offers different perspectives and insights, enabling us to gain valuable advice and guidance.
We love food-related activities here at The Balanced Practice, as food can be such a beautiful way to connect with loved ones AND when we are in the process of healing our relationship with food, engaging in non-food related activities can be really supportive for the overall recovery.
When we are doing the healing work always being surrounded by food can be more triggering therefore planning non-food-related activities can provide a much-needed distraction, allowing you to connect with others without having to focus on food. It can also be a great way to discover other interests, develop new skills, and experience new things.
Some activities could be paint night, bowling, going to the beach, taking a walk on a scenic path, etc.
As summertime brings forth new challenges related to food and body image, it’s essential to prioritize your healing journey. By rejecting the idea of a summer body, wearing comfortable clothing, planning ahead, consistently eating enough, seeking support, and planning non-food related activities, you can navigate summertime with self-compassion and cultivate a healthier relationship with food and your body.
Remember, healing is a process, and every step you take toward self-acceptance and well-being is significant. Embrace the joy and experiences that summertime brings while honouring yourself!
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