What is body trust and why is it so important in our journey with food and body image? Body trust is essentially having a sense that our bodies and the signals they send us can be trusted. This is something that is much harder than it sounds for those of us who struggle with our relationship with food and our body. Why you ask? Because diet culture actually teaches us the exact opposite! Let’s think about what messages we get from diets for a moment. The biggest message we get from dieting is that our bodies are not good enough the way they are.
Second to that, diet culture teaches us that we have to follow some sort of food plan. The message that we tend to take in from that is that we can’t be trusted to listen to our own bodies when it comes to what we eat. This includes not being able to trust our own body signals of hunger and fullness. Also, we learn that we cannot trust our innate preferences with food. Do you like macaroni and cheese? How about pizza? Nope can’t eat those because they are “unhealthy” better like kale and brussell sprouts instead. Third, diet culture teaches us that punishing ourselves with over exercising is necessary and that anything outside of extreme “hardcore” forms of workouts are not acceptable and won’t get us the “results” we desire.
All of this essentially boils down to those who choose to diet learning that their bodies can’t be trusted, and often the bigger, even more distressing message that people take from their years dieting is that their bodies have failed them, and that there is something wrong with them and their bodies because they can’t seem to lose weight and keep it off like they would like. Yet many of us don’t stop to question these messages and continue to believe them for years and years of our lives if not indefinitely.
How does this play into our efforts to stop dieting for good? Well, if we can’t trust our own body, we are going to be a lot more likely to go back to dieting the minute stumbling blocks come up on our path to intuitive eating. This also means listening to hunger and fullness and looking outside of food and weight and the underlying cause of all health concerns becomes much harder. That said, learning to trust our bodies again is no small task when we have spent years seeing it as the enemy and a thing we have to fight against. So if you are in this struggle, please know trusting your body may be hard but it’s not impossible and seek help if you need. Asking for help is hard but it is so incredibly worth it.
Questions about body trust or anything else food/body related? Feel free to get in touch!