By Mirella Flores
February can be a challenging month for people experiencing difficulties with eating disorders, body image, and size acceptance. By February, the food-related activities of the holidays are behind us and a lot of New Year’s resolutions to work-out and lose weight have begun to dissolve. And [drum roll]…there is also Valentine’s Day, a day that intertwines being loved with receiving chocolate. I find it ironic that we use chocolates to show our love and affection,
while ourselves or loved ones might feel unlovable because of our body image and/or disordered eating.
Eating chocolate might also be associated with shame of eating “forbidden” and “bad” foods. If you have experienced an eating disorder, you might have heard your eating disorder telling you that, “You’re fat. You’re disgusting. You don’t deserve to eat.” So, chocolates may have become a big no-no. But it does not stop there. Society often tells femme people that chocolates are bad if we want to fit this body ideal we ought to be aiming for. This can led us to place judgment on some foods and then avoid them, which disconnects us from food. If you have ever binged on a whole bag of chocolates, you probably did not experience the chocolates either. Just because we eat a certain food it does not mean we are experiencing it or that we are having a healthy relationship with our food and body.
Regardless of whether you are experiencing difficulty with eating disorders, disordered eating, body image, and size acceptance, mindfulness eating can help you build a positive relationship with food and your body. Mindfulness eating does not involve restricting food or giving up anything at all. You can mindfully eat a hamburger; it is about the practice, not what you are eating. Mindful eating is allowing ourselves to become non-judgmentally aware our own actions, thoughts, feelings and motivations as our body interacts with food. I find it a powerful tool in creating a healthy relationship with food and my body.
Are you interested in practicing mindfulness eating? Then stop by our Every Body Is Beautiful- Information Table, on Monday, February, 22 between 11am-1pm at the Miller Nichols Library lobby (800 E. 51st, KCMO). In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 21 – 27), we will be facilitating a mindfulness eating of chocolate exercise, as well as other activities to promote an appreciation of our bodies. Don’t miss out!