February 4, 2019
Last week Monday we had the first part in this blog post on nutrition from qualified nutritionist Nikki Haggett, if you didn’t read part one here it is and now on to the second and final part…so much good advice here,
6. Meal planning can be an act of self care – sometimes in the rush to move away from diet culture’s brand of meal plans, and in the spirit of learning to eat more intuitively (see point 5 above), we can be too quick to throw out the time-honoured approach of planning our meals for the week. What does this look like when its not about weight loss or controlling the amount that we eat? It’s about making sure we have enough of the foods that we like to eat to nourish our bodies. It’s about flexibility so we can go out for a meal spontaneously with a friend, but also knowing that we have something on hand to eat when we are tired and are short on time. It can save us money and can also mean that we are not stressing about what we are going to have for dinner! Most importantly, it keeps us from reaching hangry stage and wanting to eat “all the things” – in other words, when done from this place, it becomes an act of self care, not self control.
7. Engage in joyful movement– as members of TFTR you are likely already sold on the many benefits of engaging with a form of physical exercise that you enjoy (rather than for its potential to shrink our bodies). A study published in December also found that women who were exercising for weight loss reasons may be more likely to eat less intuitively and more for emotional reasons (than in response to physical needs), when compared to those who exercised for non-weight related reasons (i.e. why you are choosing to exercise may have an impact on your relationship with food!).
8. Work on developing body neutrality – I’m sure you have heard all about body positivity and more power to all the women out there who can reach a place of truly loving and celebrating their bodies. However, often this can seem out of reach. I prefer the concept of “body neutrality”, which is to accept the body you have and feel neutral about it (i.e. neither in love with it, punishing it, or constantly trying to change it). It’s about ultimately thinking less about our bodies, and more about living a richer, more meaningful life through our relationships, careers, and broader interests (see also point 10 below).
9. Practice self compassion – You might be wondering what this one has to do with food and your body but bear with me here! There is a growing body of research that shows that an ability to practice self compassion can lead to a better relationship with how we eat and improved body image. Self compassion means having a mindful awareness of yourself, which involves being kind to yourself, and realising during difficult times that you are only human and not alone in your experiences. Note that self compassion here shouldn’t be confused with self indulgence (which is usually missing that element of mindfulness). If you want to find out more about how to practice self compassion I recommend Kristin Neff’s website which has loads of free resources.
10. Move towards your values – In all the years we waste dieting, tracking calories, doing endless bargains with ourselves over “if I eat this then I will……go for longer run tomorrow/skip lunch/start the diet on Monday etc. etc., it takes up SO MUCH HEADSPACE. When you look at the research for overcoming eating disorders, one of the common threads for supporting a successful transition from negative eating patterns is moving towards living more in line with our values. The more we fill our lives up with a positive relationship with ourselves, friends, family, hobbies, a meaningful career etc. the less space there is left for the “food stuff” and It fades more into the background. In my experience this approach can be helpful on a broader level for anyone who has spent too much of their life on the dieting merry-go-round.
I will be exploring some of the above themes as part of the nutrition support I am providing for Julie’s Stop Dieting Start Living programme, which starts on 11th February. While Julie coaches you on living a bigger life away from the diets, I will be on hand to answer your nutrition questions and help you with how the heck to nourish your body if you aren’t aiming for weight loss! I will be doing a weekly webinar, along with providing helpful tips and resources. Are you curious about developing a different approach to food for 2019?
A massive Thank You to Nikki for writing this comprehensive two part blog. this is great common sense, but also evidence based advice which is what we need in this world filled with myths and marketing shite. We would love to have you come work with us closer for a few weeks on all of this.
Come and join a wonderful community of women who just get it, and are focussed on living their healthiest happiest lives.
We have tried to make this programnme as affordable as possible, with a 3 month payment plan.
We start on Monday.