You can’t be your best self if you’re constantly experiencing negative thoughts toward yourself.
When you flip the narrative and reconnect your body and all it does, you break unhealthy habits around food, movement and working out, and overall boost your self-esteem.
Honor Your Body
Body acceptance isn’t loving how your body looks all the time, rather loving it for all that it does for you, respecting what it needs and caring for it.
Honor Your Hunger and Fullness
Everyone needs to eat, and there’s no reason to feel guilty. But breaking the stigmas and obsessions with food can help reduce harmful eating behaviors.
Honor Your Movement
It’s important to move and challenge your body to boost your mental and physical health. But it’s just as important to respect your needs and limits.
Powered by Your Body Week of Events
Join us for a week of celebrating your body.
Honor Your Body
It is very common for people to struggle with their body image and their relationship to their body. Body image is defined as how you see your body. While it is common to think about body image as the way you think you look, it encompasses all of your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, assumptions, value, and judgments of your body. Our body image is formed by our life experiences, the messages we have heard from family, friends, school, and our community, cultural standards and ideals, the media and diet culture.
Body acceptance is defined as being okay with what and how your body currently is. It is also not necessarily loving how it looks all the time or in the moment, but loving it for all that it does for you, respecting what it needs, and caring for it. While noticing flaws that society deems as flaws is ok at times, but noticing your body’s resilience, uniqueness, and how it feels to be grounded in your body is much healthier. Body acceptance involves us reflecting on what has contributed to us disconnecting from our bodies and finding ways to reconnect and make peace with it.
Struggles with body image can look like:
- Basing self-worth mainly on appearances
- Checking your body often (looking in the mirror, measuring your body, and pinching your skin)
- Limiting yourself from engaging in activities (hanging out with friends, going out to eating, dating, or engaging in movement) because you are worried about your body shape/size
- Not listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues
- Spending significant time changing your body (make-up, changing outfits, or time exercising)
- Consistent negative self-talk or thoughts about your body
Moving towards body acceptance can involve:
- Listening to your body’s needs (sleep, movement, hunger and fullness, hygiene, and breaks/rest)
- Cultivating a self-compassionate voice when negative self-talk comes up
- Thinking about your body in ways other than appearance
- Unfollowing or unfriend people on social media that you find yourself comparing to or that triggers negative thoughts and feelings about your body
- Upholding your boundaries
- Limiting or ending interactions with people that fuels body image distress
- Spending less time trying to change your body and spending more time doing the things you enjoy
Body Image and Acceptance Resources
- Eating Disorder Recovery Podcast by Dr. Janean Anderson
- The Body Image Podcast with Corinne Dobbas, MS, RD
- Nutrition Matters Podcast
- Becoming Wise
- On Being with Krista Tippett
- Centre for Appearance Research
- Talking Body with Amy Porterfield
- The Body Grievers Club
- She’s All Fat
- Body Kindness Podcast by Rebecca Scritchfield
- The Body Love Project by Jessi Haggerty
- Dietitians Unplugged with Aaron Flores and Glenys Oysten
- 52 Ways to Love Your Body by Kimber Simpkins
- The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
- Eating in the Light of the Moon by Anita Johnston
- The Body Image Workbook by Thomas F. Cash
- The Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn R. Schiraldi
- Living with your Body & Other Things You Hate by Emily Sandoz & Troy DuFrene
- More Than a Body by Lindsay Kite, PhD & Lexie Kite, PhD
- @paigesmathersrd (Paige Smathers)
- @bodyimage_therapist (Ashlee Bennett)
- @bravespacenutrition (Katherine Metzelaar)
- @thenutritiontea (Shana Minei Spence)
- @drcolleenreichmann (Dr. Colleen Reichmann)
- @nourishingmindnutrition (Victoria & Staff, non-diet RDs)
- @bingeeatinghope (Shannon)
- @gofeedyourself_ (Lauren Newman)
- @the_binge_eating_therapist (Sarah Dosanjh)
Honor Your Hunger and Fullness
To power your body, you must eat. Many of us create all this food rules in our head and that does not empower us. A good way to get out of this mindset is to practice Intuitive Eating.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive Eating is an evidence-based, mind-body health approach comprised of 10 principles. Essentially, it’s a process of honoring health by listening and responding to the direct messages of your body in order to meet your physical and psychological needs. Intuitive Eating is NOT a diet or food plan. There is nothing to count and there is also no pass or fail.
Ditching the Diet Mentality
Challenge diet culture! Our society is fixated on pushing the newest fad diet through social media, TV, magazines but you don’t have to be fixated on following a diet. Diets utilize positive and negative reinforcement keeping you trap without results. Diet culture focuses on what your body looks like not how it feels and needs.
Tips for Rejecting the Diet Mentality:
- Do something TODAY that you’ve been wanting to do. Don’t save that thing for when you change your body shape/size.
- Think about your favorite foods and repeat over and over “there are no good or bad foods”. Make sure you eat at least one of those favorite meals or snacks this week.
- Don’t weigh yourself today, all week, all month, or all year. The scale doesn’t define health.
- Unfollow anyone that posts unrealistic, unhelpful “health” messages on social media. You don’t need to get stuck in the comparison trap.
- Realize you are so much more than your body weight or body shape/size. List your values and what makes you special and what makes you YOU!
Making Peace with Food
Food is food. There is no such thing as bad food or good food. Food doesn’t not hold any morality value. Food doesn’t make you healthy or unhealthy. You are allowed to eat whatever you want whenever you want.
5 Steps to Make Peace with Food
- List what food sounds good to you
- Mark the food you let yourself eat and the one you have a tendency to restrict
- Eat one of those restricted food
- Note your feeling: Do you like it as much as you though you will? Do you want to eat more? If so, continue to eat it!
- Continue to add new food to your list and eliminate restrictions
Honoring Your Hunger & Fullness
How often do you listen to your body cues? Your body will tell you what you need. A good way to understand yourself is to use the Hunger-Fullness Scale.
- Painfully Hungry — Dizzy, nauseated, physically ill
- Extremely Hungry — Ravenous, gnawing emptiness in stomach, headache, moody, anxiety
- Very Hungry — Stomach growling, low energy, some urgency
- Hungry — Ready to eat, stomach slightly empty feeling, not much urgency
- Neutral — Neither hungry nor full
- Mild Fullness — Some early sensations of fullness, can still eat, not yet satisfied
- Comfortably Full — Feeling content and satisfied
- A Little Too Full — Slightly uncomfortable
- Very Full — Really uncomfortable, feel stuffed, some belly distention
- Painfully Full — Physically ill, nauseated
Desired Level: Aim to stay between level 3 and 7
Tips for Honoring Hunger & Fullness:
- Take time to reflect on your physical sensations the next time you're hungry, thirsty, or full. Ask yourself: “Is my thinking clear or cloudy? Am I gnawing at things? Is my stomach rumbling or gurgling? Do I feel weak?”
- Get to know your hunger. We don’t want to get to the ravenous state so think of it like: “what am I in the mood for? ____ sounds good.” vs. “I need to eat now or I will pass out.” You don’t want to be in a state of urgency.
- Try to stop eating when you are lightly or comfortably full. Once you are full, your thoughts about food typically decrease. Get to the point where you are comfortably full & satisfied and feel like you can eat again in 3-4 hours.
Honor Your Movement
Intuitive movement is listening to your body and its internal cues to determine what type of movement, how long, and the intensity you’d like to engage in, or whether your body is in need of rest rather than physical activity. It’s moving our bodies in ways that feel good to us and take into consideration your body’s limitations. This also includes having the intention to enjoy and respect our bodies while engaging in movement, not to change or punish it. Intuitive movement looks different for everyone and is based on your physical abilities, likes and dislikes, time demands, and values. Working towards moving your body intuitively means getting to know yourself and your body better. The next time you move — or even before you move — connect with yourself and your body. Ask yourself: “What is my body feeling right now? Does it need rest or water? Is there any pain? Do I like this? Do I need to slow down or speed up?”
Explore Different Options
Some people enjoy going to the gym, but you don’t have to. Maybe enjoyable movement is dancing around your home, cleaning, going for a walk or bike ride, stretching, swimming, or a class. Think about movement you already know you enjoy, and stop doing the movements that you don’t. Explore different options for movement. Get creative with it!
Aim for flexibility
It can be helpful to schedule in times to engage in movement with our busy schedules. But our schedules inevitably change sometimes or we are not feeling what we planned for. Allow yourself to go with the ebbs and flows of daily life. Maybe you need to cancel your scheduled movement, or rearrange the time, or swap your yoga session to a walk with a friend. Flexibility is also thinking about movement outside of the gym and running. Walking around the mall or an amusement park, cleaning the house, and playing with your kids, siblings, or family.
Rest your Body
Our bodies need rest in order to heal and recover. Incorporate rest days into your movement schedule. It is important to allow yourself to not engage in movement when you are sick, injured, overworked, or exhausted.
Empower Your Body
USU provides a variety of services to support you and keep your body going from body acceptance, intuitive eating, healthy movement and combatting eating disorders.
- Counseling and Psycological Services
- Campus Recreation
- Student Health and Wellness Center
- Disability Resouce Center
- Inclusion Center
- Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences Department
- Social Work Department
- Employee Wellness
- Honors College
- Graduate Senator