Summer of Self-love ~
by Dr. Hillary Roland
As summer begins to lurk in the not so distance future I see advertisements across women focused media begin to focus their energies on getting ready for bikini season. In a recent study they found that among the 31 issues of the five US-based women’s magazines examined, there were 39 articles related to weight loss with 14 identified weight loss topics. The most prevalent article topics covered were exercising/workouts followed by dieting. The most common product advertised was weight loss pills, fat burners and hunger reduction strategies were also frequently advertised. Americans spend over 40 billion dollars on weight loss per year. This obsession with skinny is making women sick. 1 in 5 women will struggle with an eating disorder. It is not just women but our children are being significantly affected as well. Bullying about body size is the most common form of bullying and 42% of 1st – 3rd graders want to be thinner. We can only turn this around if we find a way to model for a children a different way of valuing our bodies.
I have done it, all the women I know have done it. The relentless negative self-talk… the standing in front of mirror… I hate my thighs, if only I could loose some weight, my skin is awful, I wish my belly was flatter, etc. I am tired of watching my sisters go through this daily anguish and I know there is another way. Many women coming into my office struggling with weight and their appearance and while I do not want to dismiss their concerns I also want them to see what I see. I want each of them to see the strong, powerful, lovely woman sitting in front of me. We must stop focusing on the numbers on the scale or on our pants, start focusing on how we feel. And we must change how we feel before we change the numbers the scale if we want deep and real transformation. The path to self-love can be complicated but here are some steps:
1. Focus on health and feeling healthy
Forget about the perfect body and stop obsessing over cellulite or rolls, instead focus on the way you feel at work or doing other activities you love. If you focus on the way being healthy feels you’ll find a deeper sense of motivation to stay on track and you will start to lose tolerance for the way unhealthy choices make you feel. You can also reframe the way you approach diet and exercise as something you do to take care of yourself rather then a way you punish yourself for unhealthy choices. Exercise for stress management or because you love to be outdoors. Feed your body with nourishing food so you feel good when you are out doing activities that you love to do.
2. Treat yourself with kindness.
Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend. Compliment your image in the mirror. These jeans make my butt look amazing! My hair is looking so shiny today! You can be your own cheerleader, celebrate your achievements and do not judge yourself for what you can’t do yet. You’re the boss. Be a kind supportive leader for yourself rather then a demeaning condescending jerk. Do not join in with your friends when they trash talk their bodies, instead compliment them and compliment yourself, change the direction of the conversation or walk away.
3. Be grateful and be positive.
No matter what it looks like this is the body that is allowing you to experience this life. This is the vehicle with which you get to witness incredible views, beautiful sunsets, side splitting laughter, exhilarating moments and all that life has to over. Be thankful for its ability to bring you to all of these moments.
Do not look at pictures of perfect bodies wishing to be one of them, if you need inspiration find pictures of you at your best and use that as motivation. Work on releasing negative thoughts and emotions and instead make lists of your achievements. Focusing on what is working creates more of that; do not waste your energy on the negative talk. Be grateful for all of the small steps together they allow us to move great distances.
If you have negative self-talk that will not let up despite your best efforts, flower essences can be a powerful tool to help change thought patterns and stuck energy. Contact one of our providers if you are interested in utilizing this kind of support.
Once you are committed to coming from a place of self-love and positive thinking and you want to feel healthier, stronger and at more capable of experiencing all that life has to offer.
Consider these tips as you work towards that healthier and stronger you:
1. Avoid foods that destroy metabolism.
Refined sugar, carbohydrates and refined oils. These foods all change the way your body processes calories and move energy from your diet directly in to storage. They can increase inflammation and pain in the body and lead to blood sugar crashes and fatigue. Refined sugars can be hidden in names like corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, juice concentrate, maltodextrin and dehydrated cane juice. Look for it in salad dressings, granola bars, and other health products. If you need something sweet try stevia, coconut sugar, raw honey or maple syrup but even these should be used sparingly.
Refined flours in bread and pasta turn instantly into sugar in your digestive tract so you can re-read the issues in the bullet point above. Instead use sprouted whole grains that are high in fiber and less inflammatory.
Vegetable oils such as canola, soy or corn oil can slow down fat loss and increase inflammation that causes you to hold on to excess pounds. Coconut oil and grass-fed butter are high quality fats that can be used for energy and speed fat loss.
2. Calorie counting is time consuming and cumbersome and studies have shown that it doesn’t actually aid in weight loss. Therefore, what to do?
Eat smaller portion sizes. Most American’s portions are way too large. Eat 1/3-2/3 of what you would normally eat at a meal.
Eat a high protein, high fiber snack and three reasonably sized meals or two small snacks and two larger meals.
3. Include more high fiber foods. Shoot for at least 30 grams a day.
Soluble fiber will make you feel fuller, longer, keeping your blood sugar more stable, help your body eliminate toxins, and feed a healthy microbiome.
Soluble fiber is commonly found in pears, apples, sweet potatoes, oats, barley, and legumes.
4. Chew your food! The slower and more mindful we eat, the sooner we realize we’re full.
Don’t eat in front of the television or on the go, this is a recipe for over-eating.
5. Drink more water.
The brain doesn’t differentiate well between hunger and thirst. Drink enough water until your urine is clear or at least straw yellow.
6. Don’t eat after 7 pm.
If you’re still hungry at bedtime, try these smart snacks: celery with almond butter, turkey breast with cheese, a handful of pumpkin seeds. These foods are high in tryptophan and amino acid that can help us feel sleepy.
Taking a longer break between meals to rest our digestion can facilitate weight loss. Its helpful to have your last meal several hours before you go to bed. In some cases waiting until late morning to eat breakfast is helpful as well.
7. Drink green tea.
Studies have shown that this increases metabolism, which makes it easier to burn more calories.
If it interrupts your sleep, drink decaf.
8. Include more fruits and vegetables, preferably organic.
Studies show that consuming 7-9 cups of vegetable day decreases all causes of mortality and lowers your risk of diabetes, obesity and cancer.
These super foods are high in antioxidants, fiber and nutrients, so your body will not only burn more calories, but you’ll consume less in a 24 hour period, since they’ll make you feel full.
Have some vegetable with each meal.
9. Consider food allergies and/or intolerances.
These cause inflammation, which begets the body to store more calories as fat as a protective mechanism.
11. Try ½-1 teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar before meals.
A 2005 study in the European Journal of Nutrition showed that subjects that consumed apple cider vinegar with food had greater rates of satiety, as well as improved glucose and insulin levels.
12. Exercise! Move your body at least three times a week.
Many studies show that exercise above all is improves our health more then any other diet or lifestyle change.
Interval or burst training is the most effective at promoting fat loss. One study comparing steady cardio on a stationary bicycle for 45 min vs 15 minutes of interval training on the same bikes showed that those participants doing intervals lost 3-9x as much weight in 1/3 the time.
Resistance training or weight lifting also improves weight loss. Increasing muscle mass raised the basal metabolic rate so that you burn more calories when you aren’t exercising. It also improves insulin sensitivity and thyroid function, both of which are essential for decreasing fat storage and improving metabolism.
If you are doing all of these things and still struggling to feel good in your body there may be a hormonal imbalance in your way. Adrenal fatigue, poor thyroid function, low testosterone, excess estrogen and inflammation can all interfere with your ability to burn fat. Let us know if you would like to get your levels tested and we can help you remove any road blocks getting in the way of feeling wonderful in your body.
May 2019 be the summer of self-love!