Body Image and Comfort Foods

One thing that I have noticed since moving back to the states is that my body image has gotten a lot worse than when I lived in Sweden. I am not sure why, but I feel way more self conscious now than I did when I lived abroad. I was doing a little deep thinking, shocking, I know.. haha, and I think this is due to a variety of factors.

1. Europe and the U.S. are just different.
2. There are so many American advertisements for diets, healthy food, low cal food, etc that they didn’t have in Sweden.
3. Celebrity culture is more apparent in the U.S.
4. Thanks to the media, we have become accustomed to extreme standards of beauty. In Sweden, I just never saw or heard the media talk about beauty/thinness the way they do in the U.S.
5. TV, billboards, magazines, etc.. make it so that we see ‘beautiful people’ all the time, making exceptional good looks seem normal and attainable. In Sweden, there are hardly any billboards. They have normal-sized people on t.v. However, they do have celebrity magazine but not near as many as we have.
6. Most Swedes seem so lighthearted on the subject of health. It is just a natural way of living and not thought excessively about. And this rubbed off on me when I lived there. In the states, it seems that the women are very health conscious or they don’t care at all, there is nothing in between.
7. Europeans eat what they want to eat. They don’t just eat a salad because it’s good for their health, they eat a salad because it tastes good.

Of course, this is just a few of the reasons that I have come up with. I, honestly, have no idea why my body image has become lower since I moved back from Sweden. I felt like I was much more confident with myself in Sweden, and I did not compare myself to other people around me like I have found myself doing recently. Maybe because I have nothing to do yet and we don’t know any one in Charlotte so I have more time for ‘deep thinking?’ I am not sure…. Such an odd and touching subject so onto more fun things!

I have been craving some major comfort foods today. All I have been wanting are warm, filling meals. I think this is mostly due to the fact that we had a fabulous 80 degree weekend in Charlotte and today it has been cloudy and chilly. For breakfast this morning, I couldn’t break my oat habit since it was cold outside so oatmeal it was, again. I enjoy muesli in the summer but I haven’t seen any that sound appealing in the grocery stores yet! I will keep looking! Just my normal, satisfying, reliable oatmeal.

1/2 cup oats, 1 tsp brown sugar, cinnamon, 1/2 banana, some soy milk and a small spoonful of barney butter. Delish and kept me going for 5 hours.


After breakfast, I headed out to the laundry mat, fun stuff.. not really, so I won’t bore you guys with any details. After 4 loads of laundry, I headed out to do a much needed grocery shop. We were out of all of the essentials but I forgot to take a photo of my groceries, oops! When I got back from the grocery store, I was absolutely starving! So, I threw a quick salad of romaine, spinach and tomatoes to munch on while I decided what I wanted for lunch.


All I kept going back to was warm, comfort foods! Haha, for some weird reason.. All I wanted for lunch was mashed potatoes. I went with the craving and boiled 1/4 of a sweet potato, then added half of an apple. After they were soft, I made some faux mashed potatoes by mashing the 1/4 of a sweet potato with a fork. I decided to be a little crazy today and try out a new wrap with the faux mashed potatoes! I used my usual Flat Out, then added a thin layer of pumpkin butter, the faux mashed sweet potatoes, and to top it all off… half of the apple. I sprinkled some cinnamon on top and voila! It turned out amazing and soothed my comfort foods craving for the day. *The photo didn’t turn out to great but I assure you that it was a tasty wrap!!* Haha.. looking back on this post, my breakfast and lunch look oddly orange!


After lunch, I felt the need to run! This has never happened to me before. It was just like the sudden want to go hit the pavement came over me. So, I put on my running shoes and just ran around some neighborhood by our apartment complex for about 30 minutes. After my run, I still wanted to keep moving so I went to the gym for a short strength training session and I read the new Self magazine on the elliptical. I just got back from my amazing sweat session and I am definitely contemplating my afternoon snack… I stocked up on my Mighty Maple (I was out for over a week!! How did I live without it? lol) today so I am definitely thinking a banana w/some peanut butter! πŸ™‚

Are there certain triggers that make you question your body image?


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14 responses to “Body Image and Comfort Foods

  1. I feel the same way !!! We definitely a culture of DIET and not a culture of HEALTH. That being said, I do tend to get down on myself when I’m less busy, so once you hit your stride in the new city, I bet you’ll feel more confident πŸ™‚
    Another thing that can set me into body-consciousness is being around people who dress to flaunt their bodies, rather than dressing simply and comfortably. I notice a LOT of people here dressing to show off; not sure if that’s different in Sweden too!

  2. Great insight in comparing Europe and the US.

  3. That wrap looks fabulous! Really interesting to hear the differences between US and Europe as well.

  4. I love your list of comparisons!! The whole European way of life is so much more laid back than here!

    That wrap is genius!! Sweet potato, pumpkin, apples, cinnamon, what’s not to love?! Way to go with the run!

  5. How DID you live without Mighty Maple for that long!? I need some at least once a day πŸ˜‰

    I 100% agree with your thoughts on body image. I’ve never been to Europe, but I know that the US is a country that emphasizes thinness and weight loss CONSTANTLY. It really is ridiculous the amount of commercials, celebrity bodies, gossip mags, and TV that focus on being thin! It’s everywhere you turn! And it’s sad, because, unless you’ve been outside the country, it’s all you know to strive for unless you teach yourself otherwise. Healthy isn’t encouraged, weight loss is. And that’s not how it should be at all! We grow up thinking thin = beautiful, so we have to literally change our mindset that health = beautiful, feeling good = beautiful, doing things good for yourself and your body = beautiful.

    I really liked this post πŸ™‚

  6. Pingback: Melty Deliciousness « Balance My Cake

  7. That is really insightful! That wrap looks delicious.

  8. peanutbutterandjuli

    Great post. Such wonderful insights. I wish Americans could be that way!

  9. This was a great post. You have such interesting posts! I think it depends on what part of Sweden you are living in. In a big city like Stockholm the mentality is quite different. Then again, I’ve been rubbing shoulders with the fashion industry for far too long so I really couldn’t give you an unbiased opinion but I do know that there is a high level of girls (and boys) with eating disorders and severe self image problems in our country. The past couple of years the number of organisations trying to help people with self-esteem/self-image issues has grown and there’s commercials about it on tv all the time. There’s actually one running right now that states all these facts about young adults, and something about how one girl in every school class has a depression and two girls in every school class have an eating disorder (or the other way around, not entirely sure so don’t hold it against me!) It’s scary and I’ve unfortunately been all too aware of this problem for way too long.

    Unfortunately we are bombarded with magazine articles about loosing weight, pressure to have a perfect body for the summer and in a big city like stockholm there are billboards everywhere with thin girls. I guess they’re trying to get better at it and I know Dove are running a campaign about “real beauty” so that’s good. I just hope it improves all over the world. Nothing is ever going to change if the size zero ideal continues to be promoted EVERYWHERE.

    Thanks again for a great post, as you know (and can see) this is a subject that I care a lot about.

    • innerwellness

      I can definitely see how Stockholm is way different than little ol’ Borlange. But, the difference is that in the U.S. it is seriously everywhere that you turn. In Sweden.. I, personally, just didn’t see that. It is just so sad how the emphasis on being thin is just everywhere you go in the states.

      I am glad that you enjoyed my post πŸ™‚

  10. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on body image. I am constantly questioning my body image.

  11. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on body image. I am constantly questioning my body image.

  12. I love the list about Sweden vs. American body image.

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