What comes to your mind as you see this pic for the first time?
In my practice, I like using the analogy of the umbrella and the rain.
What is it? It’s an image that helps me explain how difficult it is to live in our body in a world where diet culture and beauty standards continuously bombard us telling we should be this and that, we should be doing this and the opposite.
It can be invisible, but nonetheless painful, to juggle the many conflicting messages of the diet culture about what our body and our eating choices should be like.
Most of the time it all happens in our mind, and it can be hard to voice it outside.
On one side, we’re constantly exposed to food advertisement. It’s in every corner. On our commute to work, on tv, radio, in the magazine beside the till when we’re shopping. Food, food, food.
On the other side, diet and body weight-related talk is everywhere too. I bet it was part of some recent conversation you happened to be involved in work, at the hairdresser or a family dinner. Diet, diet, diet.
Just to make an example, in Sept I went back home – yes I was in Sardinia last month too 🙂 and the first thing my father said, after not seeing me for a whole year was:
“I don’t know if it’s the dress you’re wearing. You seem to me bigger than I remembered! Did you put on weight?”.
In such a landscape it’s extremely hard to enjoy food with pleasure and calm. It’s not something that comes natural to do anyway, because of the layer of conditioning, judgment and the constant comparison with other bodies, which happens almost on a daily basis.
There’s work to be done to be able to enjoy the pleasure of mindful, carefree eating and live peacefully in your body.
In fact, if we wait for it to happen without consciously working on it, we might be waiting for a very long time, if not forever.
For many of you, doing the body work to break free from diet culture could mean understanding and accepting that the beliefs you hold about food and your body are part of you. However, you are no longer willing to let these beliefs take over your whole live as they did before.
I want to give you some examples of what ‘the work’ might look like:
- Learning and accepting that your binges don’t represent the core of who you are. They have been your way to feel safe and protected, but they don’t determine your value. However, there are other ways you are willing to try and learn to deal with the difficulties in your life.
- Working on the pain and the shame of the comments and remarks you received about your weight and your body at any stage in your life. Along with appreciating that there’s no need to look for approval outside of yourself. You don’t need anyone to tell what you body looks like and whether it is good or bad.
- Becoming aware of the self-critical dieting voice you may have developed over the years – something like “I shouldn’t be eating so many carbs” and similar. Plus, coming to terms with the fact that dieting and/or engaging in activities with the purpose of losing weight, is a great predictor of weight-gain, and it can backfire (as it’s carefully explained in this post).
It’s like learning to dance with the rain, where you become ever more able to avoid the drops by opening a big colourful umbrella (like the red one in the pic).
You can’t control if it’s going to rain, but you have control over how much you want to get soaked.
As you probably heard me say before, it’s never too late to start over. And there’s no limit to the number of time you can start again.
You might be in your 40s, or your 60s or even your 80s. You can always build your colourful umbrella.
Your unique and precious life is under that umbrella.
P.S.: In case you don’t know yet, this website has a free resources page to help you start your healing journey.
Have a look and get in touch to ask any questions you have. I might be able to recommend an article or another resource to support you.