When I first published anything on my blog about COVID-19, I had no idea how serious this was going to get. I knew it was important to share about our immune health, but I called it a panic, as if this would all blow over soon and we’d be fine.
That was March 11. A week later, everything in my city shut down. My partner’s restaurant closed, all my workshops were canceled, going to the grocery store became a game of strategy to figure out when the shelves would be restocked and the crowds would be at a minimum.
Now a month into quarantine, it’s wild how things have changed even since that first week, how much ALL of our lives have been affected, in big and small ways. I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are all safe and healthy, despite the collective fear and anxiety most of us feel about the future.
Anxiety is often the intolerance of uncertainty, and man, there’s a lot to be uncertain about. Like I said in another post, this situation is impacting our most basic needs. But the silver lining? We’re all in this together. We’re not all in the same position in this situation, but we are having a collective experience and that hopefully makes you feel a little less alone.
Especially if you do live alone right now, it can be difficult to not feel totally isolated. So to feel some connection, we turn, of course, to social networks.
But what happens if the thing that satisfies your social needs also triggers destructive habits and negative thinking?
Diet culture is alive and well in this pandemic
That’s what I’m seeing online right now. There’s a lot of problematic, fatphobic rhetoric about the “Quarantine 15.” People spreading the fear of gaining weight while in quarantine shows diet culture is alive and well and ensuring being thin is still a priority in a global health crisis, one in which a lot of us are turning to food for pleasure because our access to pleasurable things is so limited right now.
I think this is all a desperate grasp at some semblance of control right now, and I have compassion for people stuck in this state of mind because I’ve been there, so I totally understand why it’s happening and that this feeling of being trapped is stirring up a lot of emotions and harmful thought patterns (which many people don’t realize are harmful). I get it.
But rather than perpetuating diet culture by sharing those memes, or exposing yourself to them (do yourself a favor and UNFOLLOW!), now is a good time to explore the relationship between food and our body, weight, fitness, etc. Do you feel simply inconvenienced, or are you in a state of fear about your body and the food you’re eating?
Journal prompts to explore COVID-19 triggers
You might be getting a big ass reality check right now with all of that. And that’s going to bring some discomfort—change is never easy. I encourage you to face those emotions and get curious about them instead of trying to distract yourself from it.
Every weekend on Instagram I post a series of journal questions to help you go deeper into your relationship with food and “wellness.” You can start there, or consider some of the more COVID-19 specific questions below:
- What has come up for you regarding food or fitness during quarantine?
- Are you surprised by any of the feelings that have surfaced? Where did you learn to feel this way?
- When an uncomfortable feeling arises—what are you feeling? Name the emotion. What do you need right now? (Sometimes it’s food, that’s okay.)
- What expectations did you have for your body, diet, or physical activity before quarantine? Where did they come from? Have you adjusted them to fit this new reality?
- What are you clinging to? When you think about letting this go, what feelings arise?
- What are you learning about your relationship to food and your body?
- What do you want to feel?
- What food is your body craving right now? What type of movement is your body craving, if at all? Are you listening to these messages and going with the flow or following a predetermined routine? Why?
- What are your thoughts about rest? What does it mean to you?
You can also look back into older blog posts I’ve written for some guidance:
- Is Emotional Eating Bad?
- Doing Self-Care the ‘Right’ Way
- When the Pursuit of Wellness Damages Your Wellbeing
You’re also welcome to join my free Facebook group — Diets Are Canceled! Body Image Support Group — for a safe place to talk about what’s coming up for you right now.
I know things are difficult, but YOU’VE GOT THIS! You can handle more than you give yourself credit for, and will get through this even stronger.
Need more support?
Starting Wednesday, April 22, I’m hosting weekly Body Confidence Meetups — small community gatherings to provide space for those whose body image is being impacted by COVID-19 quarantine. This live coaching series offers virtual support to help you challenge diet culture and boost confidence in yourself and your body.