Which is an unexpected way to work in a culture filled with food voices, opinions, suggestions and diet gurus. It’s unheard of when much of the mainstream food culture teaches us all to be very weary of food.
We have consciously made a choice to swim against this stream. People need to know there is more to talk about than gluten, cleansing and protein when it comes to addressing food and body worries, dissatisfaction and discomfort. It’s not that food doesn’t matter. It is that there is far more to talk about.
Our primary interest is relationship with food and body, particularly because we live in a society filled with weight bias. We don’t believe we can separate disordered eating from the context of bias. We know the pursuit of health is often under the guise of weight loss. We also know that new plan after new plan does not address body shame. Not even a little bit.
To begin to heal, we have to identify the ways a focus on getting food right has stood in place of talking about the roles shame and trauma play in our ability to nourish ourselves. Healthy food talk at exactly the wrong time from a well-intentioned health care provider can be just the thing to reinforce fixing rather than healing. There is so much more to get curious about, investigate and hold space for. Being an eater and living in a body that the world deems unworthy is a challenging proposition for many. It’s complicated, layered and deep.
Unfortunately, this narrative doesn’t surface in many of the settings where it is relevant, such as the doctor’s office or with a personal trainer. The cultural message to “push through” and be disciplined seems like it could get us somewhere. But it doesn’t—not sustainably. It’s time to acknowledge that this just doesn’t work out the way we have collectively hoped it would.
So if we aren’t going to tell people what to eat, what do we talk about?
- The space between what we feel and what we would like to feel, and what gets in the way. We talk about healing.
- The cycle of self-loathing and fixing that keeps us busy with the improvement of our bodies but distant from our own wise voice.
- We talk about rebuilding trust with ourselves, including our body. We pay attention to eating, hunger, body signals, and thoughts that indicate our body is working with us, with all of its wisdom.
- We talk of hungers that aren’t for food. And what it means to have an appetite.
- We talk about relationship with food—neutralizing, legalizing, and making peace with our identity as an eater. We talk about pleasure and satisfaction.
- We talk about shame. We talk about trauma. We talk about grief.
- We discuss what is needed to live in a world with weight bias, body blame and prejudice. We name the complications that come with living in a body that is considered “different” or other, simply because it doesn’t fit the cultural ideal of white, thin, athletic, strong, cis-gendered, or proportioned just so.
- We talk about the gift that coping with food can be. How it has served you. And where else there is to go.
- Sometimes, we don’t talk at all. We find what feels safe. We hold space.
Body Trust® work is counter-cultural. It is swimming upstream when everyone else is going with the flow. We are right here with you. Trying different instead of harder. Listening deeply, learning and unlearning.
“Body Trust is counter-cultural. It is swimming upstream when everyone else is going with the flow.”