Sticks and stones can break our bones... but words matter, folks.
I tend to cringe when I hear people talk about "cheat" days or eating "clean" or eating a "naughty" treat. For starters, labelling foods as "good" or "bad", "clean" or "naughty", causes so much unnecessary anxiety for people.
Imagine being hungry at an event where none of the food fit within the parameters of what you've defined as "good" food. Never mind the guilt that eating a "naughty" cookie has the potential to cause, when really, it's just a damn cookie.
Let's also talk about the ways we criticise ourselves, our bodies, and the bodies of others.
What if we changed our vocabulary so that the way we speak about our bodies, and the food we put in it, is gentle, compassionate, and body positive?
Think about shifting away from judgmental speak - whether it's directed inwards towards yourself, or out into the world; whether the words you use are about your body or about the food you fuel it with.
Here are 10 ways you can change the way you speak to be more body positive!
What if, rather than saying, "I'm so naughty" instead you said, "I'm so HUMAN?" or "I'm so excited about eating that!"
What if, rather than saying, "you look like you've lost weight!" as a compliment, instead you said, "you look so healthy/ happy/ beautiful!"
What if, rather than saying, "I don't deserve that..." instead you said, "I'm going to enjoy that!"
What if, rather than saying, "I wish [insert body part] wasn't so [insert criticism]" instead you said, "I'm so thankful that [insert body part] helps me [insert activity you love]!"
What if, rather than saying, "I only eat clean food" instead you said, "I love to eat delicious food!"
What if, rather than saying, "when I [look a certain way] I'm going to be happy, instead you said, "[these are things that] make me happy right now!"
What if, rather than saying, "I can't wait until my cheat day!" instead you said, "I'm going to mindfully enjoy my favourite foods."
What if, rather than saying, "I wish I hadn't eaten that..." instead you said, "woah, I mis-read my craving / fullness cues."
What if, rather than saying, "I'm not going to eat [insert food group]" instead you said, "I want to learn more about how [insert food group] affects me and my overall health."
What if, rather than saying, "I'm worried about you" instead you said, "Do you need my support?"
How have you been working to change your self-talk to become more body positive?
Three Ways I Achieved A Healthy Relationship With Food
5 Ways To Handle A Bad Body Day
A Mindful Eating Exercise
First posted September 21, 2017. Last updated August 21, 2019.
Such a wonderful post. Everything here is so true, why do we always have to beat ourselves up over every little thing. I especially love the last one, offering your support rather than just saying you are worried, I am definitely not forgetting that one.
Love this to the point piece. Very much my own body philosophy too. Even at the age of almost 54 and, things are heading south. My body works, it's been through a lot and I wouldn't diss it for the world! We are wonderful creatures and it is my wish that we all realised it more. This piece will help. Bravo, missus. Shared on Pinterest, Flipboard, FB and Twitter! xx
Thanks for your kind words, Kellie, and for sharing!
This is a fantastic resource, even when some of us try so hard to avoid negative wording, I'm aware sometimes it comes back in without thinking it about it. This is useful toolkit i"ll be referring to from now on!
Thanks Ceri! It takes a lot of practice and awareness to really change the way we use words, but it's so important!