Reprinted from the Nourishing and Moving Our Bodies issue of Visions Journal, 2023, 19 (1), p. 4
It is my pleasure to be the new Editor-in-Chief for Visions Journal and to lead this issue on nourishing and moving our bodies and the role they play in mental health. Putting together this issue was a challenging but rewarding task because as a young person growing up in the era of social media, I have seen our culture’s obsession with looking a certain way and often times it comes under the guise of “health.” “Looking good” is misconstrued as being the leanest and toned while “eating well” can be diet culture wrapped in a bow. As the editorial board and I cultivated the stories in this issue, we wanted to ensure we teased out those toxic threads that can give way to some harmful rhetorics around “health.“ Instead, we aimed to showcase nourishment and movement in all its diverse forms which includes self-compassion, body inclusivity, intuitive eating and movement for the sake of feeling good.
As a Pakistani-Canadian, food is a big part of my culture and so is sharing food with others. Dawats (read: dinner parties) with friends and family fill up my weekends which allow everyone to come together over food and to connect. Research and personal experiences tell us that social connection is a major booster in mental health1 and there is perhaps no better way to bring people together than over food.
Our Guest Editors, Zarina Giannone and Karen Giesbrecht, so eloquently describe how factors such as income, location and networks influence what we eat and often times what we eat impacts our mental health and vice versa! The same can be said for movement. Physical activity requires more than willpower; it is impacted by our built environments, work schedules, and other responsibilities. And while movement can help boost mental well-being, if someone is facing mental health issues, they may face additional barriers that limit their ability to exercise. As you’ll read in the articles below, there is a close connection between food, movement and mental health and our contributors describe some of these interacting factors as well as lay out strategies and techniques to help boost mental well-being while sharing their personal stories.
So, with the recognition that nourishing and moving our bodies looks different across cultures, communities and bodies, we hope that there is a piece in this issue for everyone to enjoy.
About the author
Bakht Anwar is Visions Editor-in-Chief and Leader of Health Promotion and Education at the Canadian Mental Health Association’s BC Division