I had the same routine every year for years, when spring was around. I would frantically "prepare" for the summer by signing up for intensive fitness classes and nutrition programs to achieve my body goals – the perfect "summer body."
It has always been a kind of intensive interval crash course paired with a healthy lifestyle nutrition program. Also my diet colleagues were on the same page. We were more active on MyFitnessPal than on Facebook.
But the counting of calories became more and more exhausting ̵
About five years ago, everything changed.
As a registered dietitian, I pay close attention to the conversations that others in my office have about diet and weight loss and healthy eating. I heard more and more of intuitive eating and saw more evidence that a weight-loss diet was not an effective solution for many people. I've learned, as SELF reported, that people who follow a diet for weight loss often regain weight (and sometimes even more than they initially lost). I also noticed that my patients who wanted to lose weight were lost in ways of thinking that were punishing and exhausting – being good meant sticking to a set of norms and being "bad" meant " to cheat ". or "fail" to follow these incredibly high standards.
Intuitive eating on the other hand, is the exact opposite of diets. There are no external rules that need to be followed – no time of day to stop eating, no foods that are "bad" or forbidden. The only guidelines required for intuitive eating are those that come from within you, your own body, your mind, and your emotions. Intuitive eating means making peace with food and caring for yourself in a complex and comprehensive way.
It was about this time that I decided to take Evelyn Tribole's training as an intuitive dietician for nutritional assistants, which fundamentally changed my dietary practice. Tribole is the author of the groundbreaking book on Intuitive Eating that triggered this movement within the dietetics community. Through Triboles course I learned something about the concept of joyful movement. That's the idea that training should not be a lousy task, but something to be pleased with because it makes you feel good. In her book Body Kindness registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield writes: "The most beneficial exercise is the one you consistently perform." And in my experience and what I have observed with my patients, only you do something consistently if you really enjoy it. There is no wonder that we should all do. The key is to focus on which movement lifts you and which pulls you down. This all brings me back My main problem with this "summer body" goal is that our body is not good enough as it is. Think about it: The average dress size in America (19459004) (19459027)] is a 16th A 16. Not a 2, not a 4, not even a 6. But so many women (and men) with whom I work, are afraid to enter a beach in a swimsuit in their present body convinced that the skin in which they are located is not good enough as it is. The truth is, the $ 70 billion diet industry y is making a profit by selling you the idea that you are just a supplement, fitness program, or diet plan from your ideal self.
These days, when my patients seek help to reach their body goals, I urge them to dig deeper. Who benefits from your quest for the "perfect body"? I ask. What would happen if you decide to shift your focus from changing your body to changing your body feeling ? (That's, as I'll admit first, hard and does not happen overnight.) Perhaps the most liberating question I ask patients is what a balanced diet would look like if we put the weight loss in the background for the time being. This gives them the opportunity to decide what it means for them to take care of themselves of them . Not influenced by outside.
The bottom line is that when it's summer and you have a body, you have a summer body. Instead of working on changing your body this summer, I now help my clients focus on themselves from the inside out with these seven strategies:
1. Learn to listen to your body.
Most of my patients use external rules to determine when / what / how much they should eat because they do not trust themselves. The Hunger Scale is a good guide to help you start eating when you are hungry, and to stop when you feel well fed. For those unfamiliar with this concept, it's a scale that rates your hunger / fullness on a scale of 1 to 10: 1 means starving, 5 means neither hungry nor full, and 10 means you're sick feel. I always recommend my patients to start eating when they are about 3 or 4 years old, and to stop when they are 6 or 7 years old. 19659027] eat only if you are hungry and must stop at exactly the point where you feel comfortable. There will be times when you go over or under, and that's fine!
. 2 Remember that eating is a form of pleasure.
People often think that they should always and exclusively consider food as "fuel" or "nutrition," but that is not the case. It is important to remember that food is also a source of pleasure. The trick, however, is to find your unique balance between eating as enjoyment and eating as energy. For example, if you just ate "funny food," you probably would not feel good physically. And if you focus only on "nutritious" foods, you will probably feel emotionally deprived. Spend time finding a balance that works for you, and for love of God, do not worry about what others are doing. Your wellness path does not have to be the same as your friends, family, social media community, and so on.
. 3 If the intuitive food feels too overwhelming, consider the MyPlate method as a transitional tool.
While I have not said any external rules, this is a really helpful tool, especially for people just starting to say goodbye to diet and diet eating rules for intuitive eating. For people who need a little more guidance to prepare nutritious and satisfying meals, I recommend using the MyPlate Method . This means that you are making half of your plate from non starchy vegetables, a quarter protein and a quarter carbohydrates. It is important not to turn this into a diet or an alpha and omega. There will be meals (or days) that vegetables will not get on your plate, and that's fine.
. 4 Know that sometimes you only need outside help.
And if you are not able to let go of the eating rules or feel particularly worried about eating and drinking, you should contact a registered dietitian who can help you or refer you to another practitioner.
. 5 Focus on joyous movement.
Rather than looking at fitness as a means to control body shape, think about all the other amazing benefits you get from exercising. I find that a joyous move increases my mood, makes my bowel movements more regular, less hurts my back / neck and shoulders, and helps keep me metabolically healthy. Joyful exercise can include gardening, cycling, hiking and climbing – basically anything that gets you upset, it also increases your heart rate and / or trains your muscles.
. 6 Sleep well.
Wellness is not just about healthy nutrition and exercise. Sleep, too, plays a crucial role. Many of my patients are busy professionals or students, and they often sacrifice sleep to "get the job done". The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between the ages of 26 and 64 receive 7 to 9 hours of sleep per person per night. Do you achieve this goal? Some of the Foundation's tips for improving sleep are keeping to a schedule (including weekends), creating a bedtime ritual, turning off the electronics at bedtime, and checking the bedroom temperature.
. 7 Do not forget that healthy food also affects your mental and social health.
Recently, I wrote this article for SELF on how healthy eating affects mental and social health. For example, if you skip a beach trip with friends because you are unhappy with your body (or can not control the menu), it can lead to social isolation. It sounds extreme, but I see it all the time. For many people, it can be very helpful to meet with a licensed therapist who guides you on the path to peace, self-compassion and acceptance.
Although I regard myself as a curvy gyrus, I still have to acknowledge that I benefit from thin privileges. Fat discrimination is real and living in a body that some consider "socially responsible" makes many of these concepts easier said than done. At the end of the day, your body is your affair and you have the right to do what is best for you. I ask you just one summer – this summer – think about what it would be like to consider your body perfectly acceptable.
Jessica Jones, RDN, CDE, is a registered nutritionist who helps people improve their health healing their relationship with food. She is also co-founder of Food Heaven, an online resource for delicious and nutritious life. To sign up for a virtual nutritional coaching with Jessica, visit Jessica Jones Nutrition .