Three key ways to embrace food freedom to improve body image, as recounted by eating disorder recovery TikTok advocate @elizabethsnazz.

What does food freedom have to do with body image, and how can you embrace it?

Food is supposed to bring us both nourishment and joy. If you constantly restrict what you eat, food can’t serve either of these purposes in your human experience! Our relationships with food shouldn’t have to feel like they’re all or nothing, and that’s a big part of food freedom.

We can find “good” and “bad” parts of almost any healthy food or habit. So while restriction or an obsession with “clean” eating can feel like a sure bet for your health, it’s worth reconsidering the tradeoffs.

Heavy restriction of what you eat can feel like a helpful behavior, but it’s often counterproductive to health goals. It can keep you focused on nitpicking your body image, too.

So how can you embrace food freedom principles for both health and body image? Find 3 steps and a printable infosheet, below.

1. Check your food worry.

One easy way to bring food freedom into your life? Remember that foods are not “good” or “bad” unless you are allergic to them or they are rotten. Instead of tying your worth to food (which causes worry), try to focus on how food tastes good, makes you feel good, or is culturally relevant to you.

2. Stop the restriction cycle.

Let the guilt and shame settle. Hunger is your friend. It’s a helpful signal just like your sense of thirst or need to sleep.

Restriction often results in a cycle of dieting, bingeing, and purging. Bingeing is a biological survival response to restriction.

3. Trust your set point.

Need more evidence that food freedom is a valid approach to body image struggles? Look up HAES (Health At Every Size) studies, which show that weight loss is not necessary for health.

So if weight isn’t a valid measure of health, how can you know when you’re at a healthy weight? By trusting your “set point.”

What exactly does it mean to trust your set point? It means keeping in mind: when you learn to honor your hunger and fullness cues, your body stays at the healthiest shape for you.