I haven’t always been a health and nutrition advocate. In fact, I’d argue being the exact opposite of a health conscious person is what got me here in the first place. Whose up for a story??
Close to 9 years ago I got married. Saw my wedding pictures and was genuinely so upset, depressed and to be completely honest disgusted with what I saw looking back at me. In hindsight I am so happy I did not have that perception of myself until after my wedding, or I truly don’t think I would have wanted to be the focal point that day.
I saw my pictures on a Sunday. Monday I joined a gym. Wednesday my “healthy” eating began. 10 months later I was down 50 pounds. But what I gained over the next several years was so much more valuable than anything I lost in that first one.
I didn’t use any magical system promising to help me shed unwanted pounds, I didn’t need any wraps, colour coordinated containers or to count points or ‘exchange’ my food. This is the part that continuously baffles people. They want to know how I did it. And I always respond the same way, I made life changes.
Look, losing 50 pounds in 10 months is on average 5 pounds a month, which most people paying for a program are not going to be happy with. We live in a culture so obsessed with results, and results now that anything less than 10-15 pounds that so many programs promise is seen as failure. But, the long term outcome of losing 10-15 pounds a month is firstly, usually it’s gained right back. But what’s even worse than just gaining back the physical pounds, is the emotional weight. Self doubt. Low confidence.We carry with us this feeling that we cannot control ourselves, so something must be fundamentally wrong with us. There is no longer a feeling of pride, appreciation or respect for ourselves. And the viscous cycle begins.
I talk a lot about the emotions and body imagine with people when discussion diets and health, because the two sides are so unbelievably connected and as a culture we do not connect them in a healthy way.
At the core of my health journey was an appreciation for myself, for the strength I was building through activity, the respect I was now showing my body by providing it with the nutrients, respect and love that it deserved.
Yes, I have formal education in nutrition..but you don’t need a formal education to understand you should love and respect yourself. We all know we should do this, but we have been so far removed from the concept of loving what we are right now, in this exact moment without any changes the thought of actually doing it seems so daunting.
The past decade hasn’t been smooth sailing; after after children I struggled to find that place of “I love myself today!” mentality I had nurtured for the years before. But I eventually got back to that place.
Do not confuse my words. Loving and respecting who and where you are right now in your life – health and otherwise, does not mean you cannot also want to improve, grow or strive to be better. I would argue loving and respecting yourself is key to improving and growing as a person. It’s all in how we approach it. Truly believing you are perfectly good as is can allow you to freely move forward in becoming a stronger and healthier person. You can love the future version you have of yourself, whether that’s more successful in your career, fitter, stronger, happier… but still love the current version just as much.
In my practice, I really promote a healthy relationship with food. Building that confidence that you know what give your body; build the understanding that in order to truly power through as your best version you need to be fuelling your body with the best foods. The connection between what we are putting into our bodies and what we think about our bodies goes far beyond the mirror and scale. I promote more than just a meal plan hoping to get you back to your pre-baby weight, your high school weight, your whatever weight. I say we need to view weight loss as a byproduct of overall health. An added bonus to the big picture. Before we even begin to think about physical weight loss as a goal, we need to work on gaining. Gaining a healthy attitude towards food, gaining the knowledge and confidence to nourish our bodies, gaining the sense of pride, appreciation and love we have lost.
Have you ever had a great day, where your day was full of physical movement and wholesome, nutrition foods and you looked back at the end of the day with excitement and happiness and thought, hell yeah!? Exactly.