Do you eat with enjoyment, find satisfaction with food and radiate positive vibes about your body? Or are you tortured with food, endlessly trying to limit your intake, only to be seduced by a Sprinkles cupcake? Take this quiz to find out how healthy your relationship with food and body image is.
When you look in the mirror do you:
A. Examine closely for new bulges, dimples or folds
B. Promise to limit desserts and wine
C. Think, “Hey! I’m looking pretty good!”
Someone compliments your appearance. You reply:
A. Thanks, but I’d look better if I lost 10 pounds
B. So, do you! Have you lost weight?
Your pantry consists of
A. Sandwich thins, fat free dressing, fat free yogurt and 100 calorie packs
B. Mostly fruits, vegetables and lean protein
C. A variety of all foods, including treats
Your 20 year high school reunion is approaching. Do you:
A. Promise to go to the 30th reunion when you lose weight
B. Choose the healthiest option and increase exercising
C. Pull out your yearbook to reacquaint yourself with names and faces
In the bookstore you gravitate to:
A. The latest book on weight loss
B. Cooking Light
C. Your favorite fiction
How You Score
For every “a” answer, give yourself 1 point. For every “b” answer, 2 points. For every “c” answer, 3 points. Add up your points and match your total score to one of the three following categories.
You may be struggling with low body image. This is characterized by persistent negative thoughts about your body and weight. Regardless of your weight, whether low, normal or high, you are never satisfied and always seeking to improve. There’s always some area that needs toning or firming. Your eating habits tend to be all or none. Either you’re eating low calorie, low fat foods or gulping chips and queso, enchiladas, rice and beans. Mondays begin with new vows to diet.
This pattern of dieting and overeating is detrimental not only to your metabolism but just as importantly, your sense of well being. If you’re not eating “good” you tell yourself you’re a loser and lack will power. If you’re eating “good” you’re on top of the world. In truth being “good” or “bad” has nothing to do with food intake! Additionally categorizing foods only further perpetuates the cycle of dieting and overeating.
Learning to eat a balance of all foods without judgment and guilt is the first step to breaking this pattern. Once “bad” foods are incorporated into your diet, overeating tends to subside. As eating becomes normalized, weight loss may actually occur.
You value health and it shows! You eat a balance of foods and practice moderation. Be careful, however, to not label foods. An occasional burger or cookie helps to prevents deprivation which prevents overeating. Nothing is fattening or unhealthy unless eaten in excess consistently! Also be careful when complimenting someone about weight loss. If that person regains, she may feel awkward and self conscious when she sees you again. Weight comments, even weight loss, places emphasis on appearance and isn’t a person more than their appearance?
You have a positive body image and a peaceful relationship with food. You recognize your body is your vehicle for life and appreciate all that it does for you. You’re able to accept the natural changes your body undergoes as it ages. Your food intake consists of a variety of foods, all of which you enjoy without guilt. You listen to your body signals about when to eat and when to stop.
Eating out is fun because you order what you like and are able to stop eating when comfortably full. You feel good about yourself and for who you are. Congratulations on modeling normal eating!
Pam Chin-Lai, MS, RD, LD, CEDRD specializes in the nutritional rehabilitation of eating disorders in children, adolescents and adults.