Does a healthy body image mean you don’t eat healthy?

Sometimes wanting to eat well and look after yourself can be associated with an unhealthy body image.  Like a person that is conscious and careful about what they eat must be unhappy with the way they look and want to change it.  But does it really mean that?  I don’t think so.

Casting my mind back to my early twenties, I think I used to have a slightly unhealthy body image, not in the extremes but I always wanted my thighs to be skinnier (who doesn’t??). I have quite short legs and I always thought if I could make my thighs skinnier then my short chunky legs wouldn’t be quite as out of proportion to the rest of me.  I avoided exercise like spin classes, lifting heavy weights in pump class, and doing too many lunges and squats, all things that I knew could make my short muscly legs look even thicker.  I stuck to lots of running which I found did the best job.  I ate very well, lots of fruits and vegetables, did regular juice cleanses, drank lots of fresh juices, no processed sugars, no dairy, no caffeine.

Fast forward a few years to my mid thirties and I find myself walking the two blocks from my house to the beach in just my swimmers.  I felt my bum wobbling, saw my thighs jiggling with each step I took, and I was completely ok with it.  It is something I would NEVER have done a few years ago as I was so self conscious of my thighs (which is retrospect, there was nothing wrong with, you wouldn’t mistake them for Miranda Kerr’s, but they were fine all the same).

So now my body image is healthier, does that mean my desire to look after myself has waned?  Now that I have waved the white flag at my body, does that mean I have thrown it all in and I eat chocolate every afternoon, drink beer every night and eat more from the shelf than the vegetable crisper?  Not at all.  I still want to the best thing for my body, I want to live a happier, healthier, more robust life full of energy and vibrancy.  I want to have that healthy glow, clear white eyes and feel vitality to get out there and enjoy my life.  Eating well is not tantamount to unhealthy body image, it is the best way to treat your body with the respect it deserves!

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