Nine Ways To Make Peace With Your Body

Nine Ways To Make Peace With Your Body

There was a time when I was at a really low weight that was harming my health.  I had overtrained and dieted for years and it had caught up with me.  At the same time, I began to notice that I had to work harder and harder to “stay thin”.  I was trapped in a diet and exercise prison and my body was breaking down.  I decided to make a change and focus on self care instead of what the scale reads or what size clothes I own.

Part of my new “self care” plan was to allow myself to gain weight and accept my natural body type.  It turns out I’m naturally curvy and much healthier with additional pounds on my body.

If you are someone that has tried every diet under the sun and nothing has worked, I want you to know that you did not fail.  Dieting failed you.   Science continues to prove that dieting does not work, and it can do you more harm than good.

Instead of blaming yourself, feeling guilty, or searching for yet another diet, I recommend doing something completely different.

Quit dieting for good.  Make peace with your body.  Switch your focus to taking care of yourself and enjoying your life.  Life is too short to waste it on restrictive dieting that doesn’t work and can harm your health.

Making peace with your body may be one of the most challenging and liberating things you will ever do for yourself.  It rarely happens overnight, and it is an ongoing process.  However, the more you focus on self care and less on what the diet industry sells, the more comfortable in your own skin you will become.  I promise.

Here are nine tips to help you say no to dieting and yes to making peace with your body:

  1. Ditch the guilt.  Please don’t blame yourself for the diet industry’s failures and misguided approach to health and fitness.  You are not a failure.  Science is on your side.
  2. Avoid comparison to others.  Just because the latest fad diet or high intensity work out is working for your friend does not mean it is right for you.  We all have different needs and abilities.  No two bodies are alike which is why a canned approach to health and fitness does not work.
  3. Ditch your scale.  If you feel depressed the majority of the time you weigh yourself, the scale IS NOT helping you.  I suggest tossing it in the recycle bin or locking it in a closet.  Taking a sledgehammer to it is another option. 🙂
  4. Listen to your body and your cravings.  Ever crave a salad after eating decadent food for three days?  That’s your body’s way of telling you what you need.  When you let go of guilt and shame and focus on getting your body what it needs, you will seek out eating balanced meals.
  5. Have fun.  Restrictive behavior causes stress and creates a scarcity mentality which can lead to binging.  Allow yourself to enjoy food without worrying about calories.  Being happy and joyful serves your mind and body well.
  6. Healthy bodies come in all sizes.  Over the years I’ve trained people of all sizes and I’ve learned that you should not judge someone’s health by their size.  I’ve had the opportunity to perform numerous health assessments and review enough doctor’s reports to learn that good health really does come in different shapes and sizes.
  7. Take the focus off of weight loss.  A “natural” body weight is normally a weight that you can maintain without restricting yourself from the things you enjoy, or beating yourself to a pulp at the gym.  We all have our own natural weight where our body is most comfortable and can maintain itself.  We also  know when we are overdoing it any area of our lives and if there are things we should cut back on like sugar, alcohol, etc.  Practicing moderation should be about your health, not about numbers on the scale.  When you focus on truly being healthy instead of skinny, weight loss is often times a natural byproduct.
  8. Give yourself room to grow.  Just because we make peace with our bodies does not mean we will always like everything about them and that’s normal.  Being at peace with your body is making the choice to love it and take care of it rather than harm it or manipulate it in pursuit of happiness or acceptance.  I’m way happier at the weight I am now because I am free from the pressures of dieting.
  9. Wear what you like.  You do not have to change your body to wear a swimsuit, tank top, skinny jeans, or any other type of clothing that may seem off limits based on society’s shallow opinions.  Wear what you want and enjoy yourself.

A healthy lifestyle is a total package that has very little to do with what a scale reports.  Healthy living includes things like having healthy relationships, working with purpose, exercising or participating in physical activity you enjoy, having enough energy, eating well and dining with the ones you love, having fun, loving yourself and the people around you, eliminating unnecessary stress, getting good rest, drinking lots of water, getting good check ups at the doctor’s office, growing spiritually and emotionally, and having self-confidence in who you were designed to be.

Here’s to making peace with your body and no longer allowing the fitness and diet industry’s narrow definition of what “healthy” looks like to control our lives and emotions!

Shared with love,

Jennifer

Photo above is by Petar Dopchev on Unsplash

 

Strengthen Your Core With The Lateral Slide

Aloha from the big island of Hawaii!

My awesome hubby is home taking care of the pups while I spend some quality time here with my girlfriends. Moving twice in six months was quite a bit of work so he encouraged me to take some time off for a little rest and relaxation. The beach is a perfect place for that!

I promise he won’t be left out. We are planning a trip for the two of us in the near future. 🙂

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you may have noticed that I never allow the pressures of society to determine whether or not I put on a bathing suit. I recommend that you don’t either. However, I do believe that it’s normal to want to tone the body you’ve been blessed with before you hit the beach. The exercise I share in this video is great way to do that.

First and foremost, this move is a great core stability exercise that can help you maintain good posture and a healthy back. However, it also targets some areas of your body that tend to be exposed more often in the warmer months. There is no such thing as spot reducing, but you can certainly target muscle groups.

Enjoy the video and please remember, the only thing you have to do to get “beach ready” is put on your suit. No exercises are ever required. The best beach body is the one you already rock. 🙂

Have a great week!

P.S. This exercise is not intended to be a substitute for anything a medial professional has prescribed you. It is recommended that you consult a physician prior to starting a new exercise routine. 🙂

Why And How To Avoid Tempting Fad Diets

 

How to avoid fad diets

It’s January, it’s a new year, and almost every magazine or health related email you open this month will have advice on what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

It can be really tempting to try the latest fad diet that the fitness and/or diet industry is promoting.  It’s a normal human response to be intrigued by all the marketing that these industries roll out in January… especially if you’ve gained a few pounds over the holidays.

While I completely understand the desire to want to lose weight quickly, research continues to  show us that restrictive dieting is not very effective long term and can potentially do you more harm than good.

Some of the reasons diets fail you are:

  • They slow down your metabolism
  • They cause you to store fat, not burn it
  • They’re unsustainable for most people’s lifestyle
  • They are a means to manipulate bodies to become a size they were never designed to be
  • When you stop starving yourself and go back to normal calorie-consumption, you WILL gain weight
  • Lack of energy due to being hungry
  • Some diets ask you to eliminate entire food groups and key nutrients
  • They can cause binge eating due to a scarcity mentality
  • They can cause stress which is known to cause belly fat due to hormonal changes in the body

There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose unwanted weight.  I recently lost a few pounds after recovering from a broken foot.  What’s important to remember is that long term, sustainable, weight loss happens when you focus more on health and less on the size of your jeans.

Healthy weight loss is not about counting calories just to reach a number on a scale.  It’s about feeling good, having plenty of energy, feeding your brain properly, creating balance in your life, being happy,  and allowing your body to settle into it’s own natural and healthy weight.   Things like eating the appropriate amount of food, cutting back on the foods and or liquids that you know are excessive,  avoiding overly processed foods, and meal planning are all considered healthy eating, not starvation diets or skipping meals entirely.

HERE ARE Seven TIPS THAT WILL HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT DIETING

1) Eat enough food.  It absolutely amazes me that there are still diets out on the market today that recommend dangerously low calorie meal plans when the science says otherwise.  Your body will get really good at storing what it doesn’t get enough of.  For example, if you eliminate fat from your diet, your body will not want to burn fat. It will want to store fat.  Sound nutritional research tells us that you need to eat fat in order to burn fat.  I am a firm believer that the low fat and low carb craze has contributed heavily to the weight issues in the United States.

Instead of restricting what you eat, you’ll find more success when you focus on a balanced diet that is centered around whole foods.   A balanced diet includes carbohydrates, proteins, fruits & vegetables, healthy fats, and water.  Any diet that cuts one of these important nutrients out should be avoided.

2) Exercise.  One of the most effective ways to lose weight for good is a combination of eating well AND regular exercise.  However, there are many other reasons we should all be exercising regularly besides a desire to lose weight.  Research shows that exercise can help with depression, lower the risk for heart disease and cancer, reduce the risk of diabetes, and even grow new brain cells.  Exercise is an excellent anti-aging tool!

3) Eat in.    Cook at home as often as you can and bring your lunch.  When I make our food, I get to choose how much butter, oil, salt, and sugar I add.  Sometimes I add more than the recipe calls for and sometimes I cut it back.  I can also make substitutions that I think are healthier for us like swapping out more refined grains for whole grains, adding more veggies, and choosing oils that I believe are better than others.

4) Cut back on liquid calories. Try substituting alcohol, sodas, and other higher calorie drinks with water. Try adding lemon or cucumber for some variation.

If cutting out liquid calories sounds extreme, take a more moderate approach and cut down to half or even a quarter of what you usually drink. You can always go back to your normal consumption if you want to.  This is about figuring out what works for you personally.

5) Get plenty of rest.  Substantial medical evidence is telling us that a lack of sleep affects hormones which are linked to an increase in appetite. Your body becomes less satisfied and you are tempted to eat more food than you may actually need.  Sleep deprivation can also affect your hormones in such a way that your metabolism will literally slow down.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

6) Tell guilt to take a hike.  First off, guilt should never be associated with food ever.  When I go into a restaurant I order what I want and I do not feel guilty about my choices.  Guilty thoughts that attempt to beat us up usually come from a desire to be perfect.  And, even though most of us know that perfection is impossible, much of the”professional” advertising we see focuses on displaying perfection as a form of happiness or acceptance.  Thank goodness for social media!  Live raw video helps to remind us that nobody is perfect and to give ourselves a break.

7)  Be yourself.  It’s really important that you know what’s most important to you.  Not everyone wants to be or was designed to look like the models on the cover of fitness magazines.  If challenging yourself to reach an elite athlete status is fun for you and you can achieve it in a healthy way, then by all means go for it!  However, if you know in your heart you’d just like to live a long healthy life, fit in your clothes, and have the stamina to do the activities you enjoy without a whole lot of restrictions in your life, then general health and fitness is for you so please don’t beat yourself up because you’re not “doing whatever it takes” to try to look like a fitness model.  Perfection is overrated and impossible to achieve.  Even fitness models don’t look like their photos all of the time.

Instead of dieting, I recommend you pick as many things from above that you can realistically implement without stressing yourself out and then stay consistent.  Diet and exercise are very personal which is why a canned approach rarely works.  We all have different lives, different goals, and different needs. 🙂

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!

Shared with love,

Jennifer