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A Body-Positive Guide To Staying Healthy During The Pandemic

by Addison Herron-Wheeler

No, we’re not here to tell you to put down the cake and hop on the treadmill, and we’re tired of the media, and social media, sending the message that fat is evil and we all must stay teeny-tiny during quarantine. Everyone has a different healthy journey, and we’re here to tell you there’s no wrong way to do it—unless you’re body-shaming yourself or others. 

Almost everyone has some sort of struggle with food and body positivity, whether it is worrying that we eat too much, too little, or not in the right way. And being on lockdown with new and changing routines is not doing much for the little monster that lives inside of us telling us we are too much or not enough. Plus, we’re sick of all the fatphobic quarantine jokes.

So, we spoke with Isabel Foxen Duke, a body-positive food specialist whose goal isn’t to make you lose weight and keep it off. Her goal is to help women and nonbinary individuals stop “feeling crazy around food,” whatever that means to them. Here are some of her tips on how to survive quarantine and stay healthy, happy, and empowered. 

Throw out that scale.

“I practice a philosophy called Health at Every Size which basically encourages people to pursue healthy behaviors without using weight as a proxy for health. So, instead of trying to become thin to become healthy and doing that by whatever means necessary, this gets rid of the idea that if we are thin enough, we are healthy. People do really unhealthy things to reach a certain weight that are not in line with nutrition or genetics.”

Put down that phone. 

“One thing you can do is actually edit out the content that you’re consuming that is fatphobic or encourages dieting and diet mentality. We live in a world where so much of what we’re exposed to when it comes to fat phobia is not in our control, especially outside of quarantine. But, so much of the fat phobia we are being exposed to now is media-related. While we certainly don’t have full control over the media we consume, we do have control over whether or not we’re following diet professionals or fatphobic influencers. 

“I didn’t invent this, but I like to say, the only kind of diet you should be going on is a media diet. Take some inventory of the media you consume and decide what your goals are. Is the media helping you reach those goals? If not, get rid of it.” 

Don’t diet. 

“I would make the argument that dieting isn’t really healthy, quarantine or not. Diets rarely work out for people long-term and are usually pretty unhealthy under any circumstances. Focus instead on things like seeing if you can get high-quality sleep, trying to move your body, and trying to insert vegetables and other nourishing foods into your life. These are things we can all try and do as best we can. Also, be really compassionate with yourself, and try and meet yourself where you are and do what we can.”

Reach out if you need help. 

“I want to encourage people, if you’re struggling with diet-binge cycling, diet mentality, or just generally ‘feeling crazy around food,’ you can get support for this; you are not alone in this. You can check out my video series, ‘Stop Fighting Food,’ to get more of my perspective on these issues. We need less self-flagellation as a way of achieving health and more compassionate, gentle, self-love to health and recovery from harmful food behaviors.” 

Top photo via Unsplash / Fernand De Canne

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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