What’s better for our health may not be a food, but rather a shift in mood. And very often, it’s the shift in our relationship with our body. Read below for some better advice from fellow dietitian and author of Body Kindness Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN on body kindness, self care and how we can achieve our better health goals.
Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, EP-C author of Body Kindness and Creator of Spiral Up Club
1) What does “Body Kindness” mean?
Body Kindness means creating a better life by being good to yourself. No one can tell you what Body Kindness is to you because it can change in different situations. Some days it can mean skipping exercise because the body needs rest. While it can also mean following through with a work out because of a benefit like stress relief
2) How can it help us reach out better health goals?
Body Kindness is framed as self care and compassion rather than judgement and shame. We improve health and habits better with this type of approach because it fuels us with desire to take care of ourselves. Body Kindness allows us to feel better about ourselves, regardless of our appearance.
3) Why is “diet” a bad word?
When I hear people argue that diet means someone’s way of eating, technically yes because we learned that in nutrition school. However, when I’m talking about diet I mean the cultural view of diet, so the restriction or fad diet you do to reach a weight, appearance, or “standard of beauty.” Participating in our diet culture means we exclude people who will always look “other than the ideal,” no matter what they do to care for themselves. But appearance is not just personal choices. There are many factors such as genetics, socioeconomic factors, and environment that can impact weight and shape. The fact is we can’t tell anything about a person’s health just by looking at them. Judging people (weight stigma) has been shown in research to not be associated with improved health but rather, potentially shorten life. But most people don’t know this. Just like most people don’t know that research shows the more you diet, the more your body mass index is likely higher to climb. The good news is, you can improve your health and life even if you don’t lose weight by practicing body kindness and self care.
4) As a mom, what are 2-3 things you say / do to instill body kindness early on?
My girls are 3 and 5, the first time I heard the word “fat,” I took a deep breath, smiled, and taught them that all bodies are good and fat is not bad. Imagine if everyone held the belief that fat is not bad. It’s very powerful.
I engage with positive eating experiences around my kids. For example, we cook together and they love to bake. So we bake together and use butter, sugar, and other foods that diet culture says are “bad.” They’re learning that pleasure and joy are an essential part of eating.
5) Can we practice Body Kindness and read magazines or have social media accounts? (ha ha, but seriously…)
Lol, I guess you could, but I don’t recommend it. I would ask people, how is participating in social media helpful? And then make changes to how you engage: unfollow certain accounts, limit time, etc. I’d definitely unfollow accounts that make you feel bad even if their intention is to inspire you. It may not be their intention to influence you negatively but thats their impact, and impact is what matters.
6) If you were a food, what would you be and why?
What a fun question! I’m having trouble answering because there are so many foods I like. I can find many reasons to pick dozens of foods. But, if I had to narrow it down to one, I’d pick ice cream because I have many happy childhood memories of enjoying ice cream and I feel like its a food most people associate with good times and so I’d like to be associated with a food that makes people smile.
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