Being the month of longer days, hotter weather, and trips to the beach, it makes sense that July is National Ice Cream Month. Nothing is better than a nice scoop (or two) of everyone’s favorite summertime treat after a long day under the sun.
The International Dairy Foods Association reported that the average American eats roughly four gallons of ice cream yearly.
So, why is it that such a delicious treat that’s perfect for the summer and beloved by millions of Americans coincides with the time of year infamous for body shaming?
The pattern is always the same: as cold days give way to warm ones, the conversation slowly shifts into new workout trends and diets to chase the elusive summer body. While understandable in moderation, fixating on these goals can be counterproductive to one’s overall health.
A fixation with diet culture strategies can unintentionally lead to disordered eating or personal body shaming. Although this seems hard, it’s not impossible to embrace your health goals and indulge in flavorful frozen desserts. Here are some reminders and tips to help guide your relationship with sweet treats this summer.
- Food does not have a moral value. There is no “good” and “bad” food; it simply gives us the energy to make it through the day. Here’s a fun fact: A Japanese study even linked ice cream to improved alertness and reduced mental irritability.
- Don’t tie the food you enjoy to your self-worth. Indulging in desserts does not make you a bad person — period. What you choose to eat does not permit others to judge who you are as a person, nor does it allow them to affect how you deserve to be treated.
- It’s all about balance. While desserts aren’t praised for their nutritional values, it doesn’t mean that they have the power to alter your overall health. As long as you eat balanced meals throughout the day, a scoop of ice cream will not be the culprit of any significant health concerns.
- Practice choosing food from a place of power. When you stop restricting what you eat and start actively deciding what you eat, you will be less susceptible to the food cravings that lead to binge cycles. Listening to your body is crucial in healing your relationship with food.
- Make food choices with compassion. Food is not only meant to be a form of sustenance; it’s also a place of enjoyment. It is essential to reframe desserts as a way we show self-love and connect with others.
National Ice Cream Month only happens once a year, so allow yourself to enjoy one of the best desserts without feeling guilt or shame. You deserve it!
Photo Courtesy Courtney Cook