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

 

Should You Weigh Yourself? Or Ditch The Scale For Good?

Should you weigh yourself? Or ditch the scale for good?

Scales are an interesting object.  They have no heart beat but can have a tremendous amount of power over people.  These intimidating devices can cause so much anxiety that Facebook will not even approve ads that include pictures of scales due to “the negative feelings that the image can cause.”  Scales rarely tell the whole story and can send you on an unnecessary roller coaster of emotions.

There was a time when I was obsessed with my weight and weighed myself daily.  I was really thin, however I wasn’t very healthy mentally or physically. My philosophy was the lower the number and the smaller the pants size, the better.  I’ll be the first to admit that my quest had very little to do with my health and a lot more to do with caring about what others thought about my body.

Fast forward to now and I rarely weigh myself these days.  I no longer measure my self worth based on a number on a scale.  I’ve learned to look at a scale as a tool that provides information.  It has lost it’s power over me.

Hopefully, the scale is not something you struggle with. But if you are someone who does and are tired of it, you may be wondering how I have become so comfortable weighing myself. Let me share some secrets with you.

Ditch the daily weigh ins. I have nothing against weighing yourself periodically, but this day and night weighing in can drive you insane.  Weight fluctuates for many reasons. If you are someone who looks at those numbers as simply data and do not get emotional about it, I see no issue with weighing yourself regularly.   Even if the scale has no emotional power over you I still recommend limiting your weigh ins to once per week, or even monthly, and would totally avoid Mondays.

However, if you get all worked up or even depressed, then I suggest you toss your scale into the recycle bin or whatever is the best way to dispose of one these days.  We haven’t owned a scale for years.

Your weight is very personal.   Most people have a natural set point or weight that our body feels comfortable.  Your natural set point is usually a weight that you are able to sustain long-term without feeling deprived or compromising your health.  There are no two bodies that are the same so your set point is going to be very personal.  Avoid focusing on only numbers and pay attention to things like: how your clothes fit, the results of your most recent physical, your energy levels, and your ability to function on a daily basis.

Embrace your body type.   It’s way more peaceful and fun to be satisfied with a weight you can realistically maintain than suffer the emotional roller coaster that is attached to chronic dieting and constantly weighing yourself.  Avoid comparing yourself to others. Some are long and lanky, some are curvy. Some build bulk and some do not. I am not suggesting you accept being unhealthy or uncomfortable. My desire for you is that you achieve your personal best–not what the media tells you is best for you.

My weight would be considered heavy or overweight by many of the decision makers in Hollywood. But walking down the street, I am considered slender. Once I stopped comparing myself to the models in the magazines and focused on self care, I stopped obsessing about my weight.

Remember–there is only one you! You are uniquely designed.  Don’t let anyone set your goals for you—not the media, the medical community, your friends, or your family! When you are living your own life, you can achieve anything!

Blessings to you and yours,
Jennifer

 

The Desire To Be Healthy Versus The Desire To Be Thin

 

Social media is an interesting platform.  I use it because I think it’s a great way to interact with my family, friends, clients, and the people and/or businesses I like to follow.  In general, it’s a great way to connect with people.

However, wherever there are people, toxic behavior can pop up.  I personally believe that there is more good than bad on Social Media but unfortunately there are some real trolls that hide behind their computers.

I recently saw an example of this when I stumbled upon a video regarding health and weight that made my blood boil. Total disclaimer, I have no idea if this nasty and judgmental person is a fitness professional or simply a shallow minded fitness nut operating on outdated information.  I didn’t watch the entire video because I could only stomach watching the first few minutes before I had to shut it off.  Yes, it was that awful.

Normally, I do my best to ignore nasty people and move on.  This time I couldn’t.  This human being was stepping on my turf and based on what I did hear, this person is NO expert.  I have spent years coaching people, taking classes, and studying fitness and health in order to help people stay fit for life.  I felt morally obligated to address what I believe to be a completely misguided point of view.

Basically, this person was claiming that size is always related to your health and if you have some extra padding in certain places you are unhealthy and at risk of heart disease.  This individual had no problem hurling all kinds of other ridiculous insults that in his mind he thinks should help and motivate people.  Really??

This type of thinking and flat out assumption is one of the main reasons I take issue with the marketing and theories that a portion of the fitness industry is promoting.  Usually, the desire to be thin has very little to do with health.  The intellectually honest side of my industry knows this,  and we are preaching a totally different message these days.

Over the years I’ve trained people of all sizes and I’ve learned that it is never a good idea to 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 there are larger people in great health.  I personally know curvy women that run marathons and look amazing in skin tight clothing.  I also work with men who are fit and strong with larger builds.  Sure, there are people that need to lose weight for health reasons (some of it serious) and I help coach them throughout their weight loss journey with compassion and common sense.

However, I’ve also seen a lot of damage done to people’s bodies due to yo-yo dieting and overtraining in their attempt to achieve a certain size.  Eating disorders are very real and they are usually camouflaged under the guise of “eating healthy.”

Not everyone was designed to be thin, or tall, or look super ripped.  Healthy bodies really do come in all shapes and sizes.  We have a choice and it’s pretty simple.  We can focus on taking care of ourselves and enjoying our life, or we can allow a very powerful industry and some incredibly judgmental people to bully us into trying to force our bodies to become something they are not.

Years ago, I was at a very low weight that was not healthy for me so I decided I was going to stop focusing on being thin and focus on self care instead.  I weigh more now and I’m way healthier.  However, during the time I was underweight, some people would observe my body size and assume I was healthy based on my looks.  My own personal experience is a perfect example that there is so much more to being healthy than a height and weight chart.

I recommend that you focus on self care and then put on your blinders.  Turn off the diet messages that are tempting you to restrict yourself just to fit into society’s narrow view of what a healthy body should look like.

Sometimes the best way to avoid the shallow people in this world is to turn off the chatter and ignore them altogether.

Make it your best week yet!

Shared with love,

Jennifer Ledford