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Body Confidence

It’s important to choose a relationship with food that will not only benefit you physically, but also positively impact your emotional and mental health. This article will cover how to Improve your relationship with food by incorporating Body Confidence and Intuitive Eating principles.  Sometimes this topic can be the missing link for true optimal health and wellbeing. 


What is Body Confidence?

Body confidence is how a person feels about the way they look.  When we have body confidence we accept, and are happy with, how we look and what our bodies can do. 

For some, thinking about food and making food choices adds a lot of stress to everyday life.  It can prevent one from feeling healthy, energetic, worthy, or even lovable.




7 Easy ways to improve your body confidence:


  • Change your negative thoughts into empowering thoughts.

  • Focus on the amazing things your body does for you.

  • You are not just a body but a person - list 10 things you like about yourself. 

  • Focus on health and wellness goals instead of the scale.

  • Surround yourself with positive influences

  • Unfollow social media that makes you feel “less than”

  • Pursue goals for you - not for anyone else.

  • Take care of YOU – encourage and treat yourself like your own best friend.


The first step in this process is identifying the limiting beliefs that keep you stuck and that are keeping you from being your best self.  Next replace those negative thoughts with empowering beliefs about healthy weight and body confidence.  Actually, re-write them and truly practice saying out loud.  If this is challenging to do on your own, find a dietitian or psychologist that can help you. What are the negative beliefs that are sabotaging your right to be happy and enjoy life?


“You’re been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”       —Louise Hay


Going Further with Subconscious Emotions:  TAPPING

There are emotional memories that can subconsciously influence your thoughts, eating habits, and even the way of approaching life.  These negative emotions can be “set free” through a technique called: Tapping, also known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).  Tapping is a powerful holistic healing technique that has been proven to effectively resolve a range of issues, including stress, anxiety, chronic pain, addiction, weight control, and limiting beliefs, just to name a few.  The body is equipped with an energy system that travels along pathways known as meridians. Tapping on these meridian endpoints helps to stimulate this system, and when verbally or mentally addressing the root causes of distress, the areas of blocked energy are able to release and flow naturally.  The basic Tapping technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand - a fear, a worry, a bad memory, an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you. While maintaining your mental focus on this issue, you use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times on each of the 9 specific meridian points of the body.  It is a bit like acupressure, acupuncture, or hypnosis.  You can try this technique at our Stronger Studio.


What is Intuitive Eating:

Intuitive Eating helps create a healthy relationship with food.  It’s transitioning from an attitude of negativity and restriction to one of kindness and care for your body.  The goal is to shift away from using external cues (weight, looks, dietary restrictions) and toward relying on internal cues (hunger, fullness, satisfaction, emotion, energy).

Practicing mindfulness helps you become more aware of the physical sensations that arise from within your body in order to get both your physical & mental health needs met.  Intuitive Eating also helps to remove thought barriers like negative rules or untrue beliefs that get in the way of body awareness.

“People are tired of feeling at war with their own bodies,” says Evelyn Tribole, RDN, who, with Elyse Resch, RDN, coauthored the book Intuitive Eating.


Some of the main concepts of Intuitive Eating:

·      Respect and be kind to your body.

·      Honor hunger and fullness cues - listen to your body.

·      Discover satisfaction – eat joyfully.

·      Take a gentler approach to health and nutrition.

~ Allowances for less healthy foods for example.

·      Address your emotions and stress without using food.

 

 

How does Body Confidence and Intuitive Eating effect our Stress Response System?

Negativity and lack of body confidence can mess with our healthy metabolism.  There is a strong psychosocial component that plays a part in achieving healthy weight and overall optimal health.  When we don’t address the stress in our lives it will indirectly sabotage our healthy weight and wellness efforts.

When a person’s chronic stress response creates an overproduction of a hormone called cortisol, According to Today’s Dietitian; Vol. 11 No. 11 studies have linked elevated cortisol to:


·       Increased appetite

·       Sugar cravings

·       Added abdominal fat & weight gain

·       Sleep issues

·       Brain fog, anxiety, & depression

·       Insulin resistance

·       Immune suppression & inflammation


This same stress response happens when you experience common negative emotions like anger, fear, and guilt.  So, if you’re eating something and it causes you to feel guilt then cortisol increases and..... even if you’re exercising and eating healthier food, stress can disrupt your weight loss efforts.  Integrating Body Confidence and Intuitive Eating by treating yourself with kindness and compassion can help you get rid of negative emotions and guilt associated with food.  Other ways to tackle negative emotions and in turn reduce cortisol levels include the use of yoga, meditation, breathing, mindfulness, or tapping and emotional freedom techniques. 

 

I find that as we get older our Stress Response System is a BIGGER player for healthy weight than when we were younger.  Sometimes we spend too much time on perfecting our diet and neglect the stress that is creating havoc on our hormones. 

 

Do you need to shift by:

1). Ramping up self-care

2). Find permission to aim for reasonable nutrition instead of perfect nutrition

3). Understand what parts of wellness and nutrition will have the most impact for you specifically?

4). Today - begin by choosing to execute one of the "7 ways" listed above.

 

Jen Sletten RD, MA

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