TRIGGER WARNING: discussion and mention of both clinical and non-clinically diagnosed eating and body image disorders is present in this piece.
There were 79 participants in this conversation.
PART 1: Our relationships with our bodies.
The GREAT news is that over 50% of participants reported a generally positive or extremely positive relationship with their bodies.
A further 11.4% noted that they are actively working on improving this relationship.
Many responses admitted to having overcome negative ‘body messaging’ (10.2%), and the impact of the body positive movement in general in this area was a recurring trend.
Roughly 28% reported having a mostly negative or extremely negative relationship with their bodies. A number of these responses were related to self-reports of conditions such as Body Dismorphic Disorder, Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, Orthorexia and Binge Eating Disorder.
21.57% of responses elected a ‘neutral’ response to this question, with many citing that they move in between positive and negative, some days they feel great about their bodies, and some days they don’t feel so great about them.
PART 2: Our relationships with food.
This area was explored under the ‘relationships’ umbrella because I wanted to explore if the two relationships were linked. The theory that there may be a connection between the two relationships is largely based on my own personal experiences and change in my relationships to both food and my body over time.
Roughly 39% of responses reported having a generally positive relationship with food or a great relationship with food. People who elected to elaborate on either of these responses spoke about food using terms such as ‘nourish’, ‘nurture’, ‘fuel’, ‘enjoyment’, ‘moderation’ and a reported absence of guilt when it came to enjoying a wide variety of foods.
Roughly 35% of responses reported having some issues with food. Many of the people who elected to elaborate on this selection mention overcoming conditioning regarding food, such as ‘good’ foods vs ‘bad’ foods, or dietary restriction. There were some overcoming clinically diagnosed eating disorders, or disordered eating of some form. A common theme was emotional eating, and in a majority of the elaborated comments classed themselves as ‘a work in progress’.
Roughly 13% considered their relationship with food as ‘poor’, and 13% felt they generally didn’t have an issue with food.
Roughly 10% of people mentioned they were working to improve their food relationships.
PART 3: BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
91% of participants reported that they would like to have a more positive relationship with their body.
85% of participants reported that they would like to have a more positive relationship with food.
91% of people who responded to having a negative (‘mostly negative’ or ‘extremely negative’) relationship with their body ALSO reported having either some issues with food or a poor relationship with food.
80% who reported having a positive (‘mostly’ or ‘extremely’) relationship with food reported having either a generally positive or great relationship with food.
Function over form: a commonality in those responses that discussed an improving relationship with their bodies discussed a shift in focus from what their body looks like to how their body performs for them and how it feels.
9% of people reported experiencing or overcoming issues with food restriction.
13% reported having experienced Disordered eating of some form.
15% noted that emotional eating was an area of concern for them when it came to food.
11.5% commented that they were working to ‘unlearn’ perceptions of foods being ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and that this has impacted their relationship with food.
10.2% discussed working to overcome bad body messaging which had impacted their relationship with their body.
Thankyou for all of you who contributed to this Conversation, stay tuned for the next part in the Series!