I often work with my Bloom clients on how to recognize the root of their diet motivation. Why do they want to diet? Why do they want to change their body?
One way to do this is to try and target who they would be without all the noise in their life. Who would they be without the pressure of the media, society, images, Instagram, peers, friends, family, etc.?
We conduct an exercise in guided visualization in which I instruct them to think deeply and patiently about each question and statement.
The visualization starts with a simple question:
If you lived on an island alone, who would you be?
Who would you be in your body? Who would you be around food?
This island is remote and there is no one else around. There is no one to see your body. There are no mirrors.
How do you feel about your body in this moment, on this island alone?
Are you thinking about what your body looks like?
Are you fully clothed? Wearing a bathing suit? Wearing nothing? How are you most comfortable in your body, on this island alone?
On this island, you’re also tasked with surviving. This may involve building a shelter, foraging for food and escaping from predators.
In what order does your body’s appearance fall in your list of priorities for living on this island alone?
What other areas of living take precedence? Why are they more or less important than your body’s appearance, on this island alone?
How do you want to nourish your body, on this island alone? What foods would you find satisfying on the island? What foods do you think your body would naturally crave in order to sustain living on the island?
What foods might you miss because they are unavailable on the island? What foods would you be okay with never having again?
On this island alone, how important is health? Exercise? Well-being? Peace of mind? Does your style of eating change based on these priorities?
On this island, if you were able to invite one or two people to join you, who could you invite that would NOT significantly alter this state of being, in your body, on this island? Who would you welcome in which you would feel it is unnecessary to change anything?
As you’re preparing to leave the island, think about what part of this experience you want to take back with you. How will you incorporate this into your everyday life?
I would love to hear your reactions and thoughts to this exercise. Feel free to answer any of the questions above in the comments below!
If this exercise really resonated with you, then I invite you to take a look at my online, course on body image, Break the Mold: Building Body Positivity, where we dive even deeper into the complexity of body image and food relationships.