January 31, 2023

Healing Your Relationship With Food and Your Body

Rachel Wilkins

Bio: Rachel Wilkins is a senior at Oregon State University studying psychology and user experience research. They are a psychology intern at Thaddeus Resource Center, specifically working at AGAPE House. In Rachel's free time, they enjoy creative writing, ax throwing, and spending time with their cat, Hermes.

It's been a long day. You get home from work, kick off your shoes, and make your way to the kitchen in hopes of finding something to cure your exhaustion. It starts with a bowl of pasta, but without realizing, an entire pizza and half a tub of ice cream is gone. You step back, a bit in shock of what a simple comfort meal turned into. Instead of feeling satisfied, you feel disgusted and a bit ashamed.

Eating disorders and disordered eating are thought processes that our minds are locked into. They can cause feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, and self-loathing. While getting professional help should always be the first option you look into, there may be waitlists or factors outside of your control that prevent you from getting those services. Here are a few steps that you can take today that can help with shifting the harmful thought processes to something more accepting.  

Get Connected
If every time you go on social media, you do not see people who look like you, ask yourself why. Society praises people for being thin, even if that image was reached with unhealthy methods. Go out of your comfort zone and like images and videos of people who look like you. Having representation online decreases the disconnect you might feel when comparing yourself to someone else. These creators might post content about the type of clothes they wear and the struggles they may have encountered because of their appearance. Hearing stories that sound similar to yours create a sense of community, even if it is with people you have never met.  

Get Rid of Clothes that Don't Fit
Clothing and the way we style ourselves reinforces the thoughts we have. Often, when clothes do not fit, there is the lingering thought of keeping them so if one day you lose weight, they will be there for you. As tempting as this might be, the drawbacks greatly outweigh the benefits. The eating habits which negatively impact your life will only be reinforced by those items, therefore, it is important to choose clothes that fits us correctly, regardless of the size.  Who you are as a person should not be determined by the size of clothing you choose.

Get Thinking
One of the most beneficial things you can do when you are uncomfortable about a certain behavior or habit is to look inwards. Ask yourself: how does your eating patterns affect you? Take a journal and write down specific situations that cause you to turn to risky eating habits and the emotions that arise before, during, and after. Are the situations avoidable? If not, what other self-care methods could you use instead of the harmful eating habits?  

Healing your relationship with food and in the long run, your body, is not a simple thing. While there will continue to be people who push for quick weight-loss diets or fat burning workouts, know that these options are usually not suitable for long-lasting benefits. Taking small steps, whether that be enjoying a new outfit or finding solidarity with friends, are key on the path to recovery.

1. Kronberg, Sondra. “How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Food.” National Eating Disorders Association Blog, 23 Apr. 2021,  https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/how-have-healthy-relationship-food.  
2. “Eating Disorders: Recovery.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, 1 Oct. 2011,  https://www.apa.org/topics/eating-disorders/recovery.

Writer: Rachel Wilkins
Editor: Elena Kao
Reader: Erica Pon