The term “healthy” can feel so relative. In terms of body image, that word can have so many different meanings even societally. In the 1950’s marketers were trying to help women gain weight to access more curves. By the 1990’s the pendulum swung into the other direction as companies were selling fad diets to help people become “ultra skinny.” Today’s body positivity movement is helping our society becoming increasingly more accepting of health, not assuming it all looks one certain way for everybody, yet it still feels a bit like a vague moving target.
Social media can propagate so much misinformation under the guise of education with influencers touting “flat tummy teas” for weight loss which are ultimately just glorified laxatives that are not helpful in the long term. Ultimately, we know that the formula is tried and true - be active and eat a balanced diet. This correlation between our gut helps even our mental stamina as we are accessing nutrition for fueling ourselves, but not being so rigid that we cut off all desire for comfort foods.
So, if you are someone who is striving to eat healthy, how can we identify if our ambition for being our best selves is actually turning detrimental? Ask yourself these questions:
- What is my motivation to eat healthy?
- Is my driving force to look a certain way that society has conditioned me to believe is beautiful or is it for the longevity of my life and building helpful habits that are sustainable long-term?
- Am I being too restrictive and punishing myself when I eat something that is deemed “bad”?
- Do I practice mindful eating and listen to my body when it is full?
- When I speak of my body, do I use positive terms or am I consistently critiquing what I do not like about myself?
There is no right or wrong answer above, but things to ponder on as you increase your awareness of your view of health as it pertains to eating. Be kind to your body, it has taken you this far in life.