It’s back-to-school season and all of this hoopla can bring up a lot for anyone who struggles with body image issues or the comparison game. That holds true whether you are gearing up to go back-to-school yourself, you have children getting ready to start a new school year, or you are just a human being existing in our culture. The energy in the air can feel very similar to New Years, with high expectations for big changes and total transformations.
This year, everything is going to be different.
Pressure to go out and get a hot new first-day-of-school outfit or show up to work after your two-week vacation a few pounds lighter is high. So how can we avoid feeling like we need to measure up? Here are my three tips on getting through the fall season without falling into the comparison trap:
1. Surround yourself with peers who support your anti-dieting, no-body-shame, comparison-free way of life: The people we surround ourselves with can make or break so many of our personal goals, and moving away from body shame and comparison is no different. If your group of friends has a reputation of starting the new school year off by focusing on post-summer weight-loss goals or bragging about their lavish summer vacations in a way that definitely isn’t all-in-good-fun but rather feels like a competition, start thinking about how that affects you. Making new friends is hard, but if the people around you make your life feel empty, then having them as friends is actually going to be harder in the long run than seeking out individuals who support you and help you feel your best.
2. Don’t fall into the post-summer-body-
3. Make sure you’re absorbing as much anti-diet, mindfulness, and Health at Every Size messaging as possible: Having go-to HAES resources is essential for surviving through any kind of diet-culture experience, but moments like the new school year may mean it’s time to double-down on body-positive support. Have a book like Jes Baker’s Landwhale or Virgie Tovar’s just released You Have the Right to Remain Fat handy, tune-in to HAES informed podcasts like Christy Harrison’s Food Psych or Rebecca Scritchfield’s Body Kindness, and keep your social media feeds filled with body diversity and weight-inclusive accounts.
The Anti-Diet Plan signature mindfulness-based course is going online! We’ll be launching this fall exclusively to my email list subscribers and social media followers. Stay tuned for more exciting news on this new program–and don’t forget to sign-up for The Anti-Diet Plan FREE 30-day introductory course for a taste of program.
Alexis Conason is a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of overeating disorders, body image dissatisfaction, psychological issues related to bariatric surgery, and sexual issues. She is the founder of The Anti-Diet Plan (sign up for her free 30 day course). Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.