Breath in the fresh air! Spend some time walking outside and take deep breaths. Feel the strength of your body carrying you as you walk. Notice each imperfect leaf, flower, cloud, bird and the beauty that is there. Maybe if you are lucky you will see a deer or fox. Yesterday walking we found a little turtle!
Stop each negative thought in its tracks. Persistence is needed for this one! Thoughts that put us down do nothing to motivate lasting change. Trust your body has a wisdom and your weight will fluctuate throughout life. Trust that healthy food choices and interactions and thoughts will be the best path to reach a stable weight that works well for your body.
Feeling beautiful is an inside job. We can change our external appearance many times and still miss the experience of feeling beautiful. It is internal work to learn to love ourselves and feel good in our skin and bones and muscles as we move through life. Losing weight in and of itself does not create the internal work. We can practice feeling beautiful so that we carry a strong core inside of gratitude for our body at any size.
Do something nourishing. Work with your hands, create something, do something for a friend. Put on clothing you deeply like. Some days I love a dress when I feel unsure about my body and taking a little risk with my outfit to boost my mood or a pair of relaxed jeans and t-shirt that just feels comfortable. Part of why I love thrift store shopping is so that I can experiment with my style in a fun way without a big investment. If I pay $1 for a shirt and it only work with one season in my life, I can easily let it go. How do you love your body at any weight? I would love to hear!
How do you love your body at any weight? I would love to hear!
Classes start up for me next week which means I have a super long to-do list of everything I want to finish before then and everything I need to finish in order to be ready to teach successfully.
Finish all my taxes so I don’t have to worry during the semester, stock up on essentials like shampoo and laundry detergent so I don’t have to shop so often during the semester, clean my home leaving just what I use on a day to day basis so I don’t have to waste time sorting through things I don’t need during the semester, see friends one last time before things get busy in case it is a little bit before I have time again, and the list continues. For school create my syllabi, upload content to the online platform, double check lectures and assignments are in order, attend faculty meetings….
I was stuck in indecision about what to do first. I would start a project…jump to the next…jump to the next…feeling frazzled with nervous excitement.
Today I’m experimenting with returning to my priorities.
My health (this includes eating good food, getting exercise, and getting enough sleep)
My friends and family
My to do list has morphed. (1) cook dinner and sit down to eat, (2) see if I can finish prepping for taxes while watching one of my favorite movies Mona Lisa Smile, (3) Cut veggies and cook food for my husband to take to work tomorrow, (4) stop by a friend’s house for just a few minutes to say hi and check in, (5) read a book for fun for 30 minutes, (6) plan for my to do list tomorrow which will focus on prepping the class that I think will take the most work.
We’ll see how it goesJ but I feel calmer and ready to act with more focus.
With the New Year you may feel pressure to start a new diet program. This isn’t good or bad in and of itself.
Sometimes we think making diet changes is an all or nothing process – we are either all in to the new program or we are all out – definitely out.
We miss the middle ground (I was reminded of the importance of this idea this week by a lovely woman).
Notice…do you feel that you have to follow an eating and fitness program very intensely, completely, perfectly?
Is the only opposite choice you see to avoid dieting all together feeling out of control.
Do you see just two choices – your weight increasing or your weight decreasing? Only weight gain and weight loss?
The middle ground – weight maintenance – is scary because we may wonder if we will be at this weight forever.
However, I think there are times when weight maintenance is a realistic and loving goal. It doesn’t mean we won’t lose weight down the road when we are physically, mentally, emotional, spiritually ready. It just means we are taking a pause from the intense pull of either weight gain or weight loss.
Taking a pause, whether it is a day, month, or even a year from weight gain or loss gives the body and mind an opportunity to relax and reassess the present and future needs. For just a moment we let go of the stressful thoughts “I must lose this weight and get under control” or “What the heck I ate the cake, might as well eat the whole thing”.
This can open completely different opportunities for nutrition, fitness and weight self-care choices moving into the future.
There is something comforting to me about putting on thick body cream or this hair mask in my hair. I think “this is too much, too luxurious” as I lather in the cream. Later or the next day I notice “wow my skin is so soft or my hair feels so silky. This is really nice. This feels good.” And I take a deep breath and smile.
When I’m doubting if my level of self-care is too much, recently I have been think of this simple example of putting on a thick body cream or a hair mask and how soft my skin or hair feels the next day. How it feels like too much as the time, but I settle into it and it feels good.
It has been useful for me to counter the thought “This is too much” I don’t deserve to be this kind or this luxurious do I?”
Self-care can be applied to every area of our life throughout each day.
I was running out in the cold snowy woods this morning and deciding how long to run, how fast to run, how far into the woods to travel. I asked myself “What feels like putting on thick body cream?” (feeling slightly silly asking such a weird question of myself?) What feels like too much self-care? Amazingly the simple example provided some guidance and permission to make a kind choice.
The run was lovely, the sunshine was bright, and breathing the fresh air felt amazing!
Is there an example of self-care in your life that can serve as a touch stone like my body cream/hair mask example is doing for me to bring more self-care into each moment in any situation?
To remind you to increase the level of self-care beyond what feels comfortable or normal to create a new level of self-care that you deserve and can tolerate.
Listen closely to many diet and eating plan and you will hear the message your body is not okay until you do….this and this and this. In fact, your body will only be okay if you eat this way, if you exercise this often, if you follow these steps. But under all the recommended changes is the statement “You are not okay and we can help”.
We believe this when we say things like I fell off the wagon, I used to have it under control, I can’t believe I ended up here…We are basically saying “I’m not okay like this, I’m not okay any more”.
As hard as it is to believe sometimes, this is a lie. We are always okay just the way we are. In fact if changes are actually needed, it will happen more naturally when we know first that we are okay.
Right now I weigh more than I have at many points in my life. And I actually love my body most of the time. This surprises me often when I’m like whoa my life is more full today at the weight I thought was unacceptable.
Healthy changes are more lasting when they come from a place of extreme and genuine complete extravagant overwhelming satisfaction and love for ourselves exactly how we are. How to put this kind of self-love into words? I’m at a loss.
It is only by letting my body get a little bigger and practicing loving myself here that I have found this incredible freedom in exactly the body I have without a need to make changes motivated by changing my body (at least most of the time).
You might not need to gain weight to experience this, but if you are already at a higher weight than you like, this insane level of self-kindness and love is a great skill to develop, nurture, cultivate
We can be motivated to make changes out of extreme love. For me that means taking more time with food, creating a sacred eating area, listening to my needs, slowing down in my life, loving more deeply, letting go of things I don’t love…If my body changes I will love it then too, just how it is.
What a great awakening and gift found in a small amount of weight gain.
Oh my, oh my. When I’m feeling fat these are the grounding techniques I return to again and again. Oh so many years I counted calories, planned meals obsessively, exercised hours and hours because doing so provided a brilliant distraction to avoid relationships, have a reason why my life wasn’t the way I wanted, “When I am thin then I will have a relationship, friendship, perfect job, and everyone will like me” or to provide specific action when I was sure I was worthless “If I lose this weight my life will have meaning and I will be worthwhile.” “If I’m not sure I’m okay today, I can check the scale”.
Here are a few things I have learned and found helpful on this crazy journey with food and weight.
Maybe these techniques will also be helpful for you too!
Eat mindfully and slowly. Not only does our body physically digest food differently when we are breathing, calm, and relaxed, but we also notice what we are eating and generally feel more satisfied after the meal. Eat at least one meal each day sitting at the table without distractions.
Eat as high quality food as you can afford. Nourishing food is the ultimate self-care. What we eat literally creates the body that we have providing needed fuel and building blocks. Learn about sources of your food and eat as close to the source as possible.
Eat lots of foods high in nutrients such as vegetables, fruits, and whole foods (grains, nuts, seeds, high quality meat and dairy). Drink plenty of water. Notice how you feel after eating a meal high in nutrients versus a meal high is empty calories without many nutrients.
Take time to plan meals that are nourishing on all levels. This is completely unique to each person and a very individual process. What food sounds good? What food makes your body feel good? Ideally most food choices do both!
Eat a larger breakfast, medium lunch, and smaller dinner. We need fuel during each day regardless of how much we ate last night. Generally, when we skip breakfast or lunch meals, we are more likely to be overweight or gain weight over time.
Eat enough food. When we severely restrict our intake we set ourselves up for a binge, loss of muscle mass, and a large weight gain when we fall off the restrictive diet plan. Be gentle with your body. Especially if you have spent years and years on the restrictive eating and overeating cycle.
Only eat when you are hungry and stop when you are not hungry. Our body sends signals when we need food. We make portion size complicated and often separate portion size from what our body needs, but ultimately our body sends signals telling us to eat and how much to eat.
Find movement you enjoy and that makes your body feel good. Our body feels better when moving. Gaining muscle especially can increase metabolic rate.
Learn about intuitive eating. Watch a child eat. Begin to develop trust that you and your body are trust worthy to make food choices. (This is a skill I can help you withJ!)
Add meditation to your morning. Sit with your cup of coffee and be still or walk outside and breath. Each moment you remember during the day center yourself and be present.
Tell the truth! Tell the truth about what you need, want, love, who you want to be, changes that are needed in your life, people that make you better, things to get rid of, mental thoughts to let go of, and whatever you need to tell the truth to yourself about. If the truths are scary, therapeutic and professional support can be a life saver. Not always, but often severe or even mild food struggles are a coping mechanism to prevent us from observing a painful truth. With support, most truths can be told.
I would love to hear your comments and thoughts and how I can help you on your food and eating journey!