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Want to Be Body Kind? Think SANE

In a mad world full of the pressure of other people’s opinions I suggest you think SANE to bebodykind.

Last week we were encouraged to #bebodykind. What a fantastic focus for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s never been more relevant in my opinion, as we try to stand steady and sane against the constant push of popular opinion. Opinions that tell us what is beautiful, desirable, valuable and worthy. 

For instance, Summer is coming, and with it all the articles and images screaming the necesssity to GET YOUR BODY BEACH READY. But, do you really have to lose weight, hit the gym, slim down or tone up before you can reveal an extra inch of flesh in public?

When you think about it, trying to mould yourself to fit into a prescribed box is more than unfair, unjust or ridiculous. It can be physically damaging, mentally challenging, and STRESSFUL as hell.

A focus on mental health and self-image is definitely worthy of a week of attention.

But what if you do want to change? 

One of the oddest things about being a Nutritional Therapist, is that people always think I’m going to ‘tell them off’ for what they’ve chosen to eat. I wonder if it’s the same for dentists. Do people expect to be scolded for their brushing technique as part of a conversation with a random dentist?

It seems our relationship with food is tricky. It’s such a common response to feel that whatever you are doing, it’s not enough. That your food choices could and should be ‘better’.

All of this disappointment and doubt without even identifying what ‘eating better’ might mean for you.

What if you want to stop wasting time worrying and to simply feel more comfortable in your own skin? How can you achieve your goals of feeling fitter, feeling more confident, being less stressed, or simply being able to get to the end of the day without feeling exhausted? How can you do this and still be kind to your body?

In my experience, what gets put on your plate will make a difference, but your mental approach plays a huge part too.

So what might it look like to be body kind, particularly when you have a desire for change?

I think the best place to start is by thinking SANE.

S is for SUPPORT

SUPPORT: Who makes you feel like a rockstar?

Who do you know who makes you feel like a rockstar? Who listens to you, hears your concerns, but still helps you glow with energy, confidence and drive? Invite them closer to you, now.

There’s another type of support to add to the mix. Support from a change maker – such as a nutritionist, personal trainer, or life coach. This type of trusted support helps you set your focus, identify the obstacles, and give you the best tools to reach your goals.

 A is for ACCEPT

ACCEPT: Yep…I’m PERFECTLY flawed!

When self-doubt creeps in, don’t ignore it – address it. Respond to harsh self-criticism with something more COMPASSIONATE. Talk to yourself like a trusted friend and refuse to believe your unrealistic, negative inner monologue‘ – Amy Morin

Many ideas for change are driven by an emotional desire to shed something negative. In fact it’s common to extend kindness to others, and save the harshness for ourselves. But just imagine how you might flourish, when a glance at your image was met with a kind thought and not a sea of self-doubt.

N is for NOURISH

NOURISH: What do you need to be satisfied?

Do you ever eat on autopilot? Grab whatever is quick and gobble it down? Eat when you’re not hungry, just because it’s mealtime? Eat foods that make you feel rubbish? Feel you eat poorly and fill the gap with a supplement? Does just reading this make you feel disappointed in yourself? Well, enough!

I believe nourishment comes when you find some small positive connection between the foods you pick, the way you choose to eat, and how you feel afterwards. It’s not about self-judgement, or foods being ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but more about realising, that until you’re shown otherwise, you’re doing the best you can.

E is for ENJOY

ENJOY: Is laughter the best medicine?

Head thrown back, eyes shining brightly, chuckling and laughing. It’s infectious isn’t it?

Life is a kaleidoscope of interactions, challenges, feelings and thoughts. Sometimes there’s effortless flow, other times you need to work harder, and it’s a bit of an uphill struggle. Changing health is no different, but there is one thing that relaxes the body, builds the immune system, reduces depression, assists weight loss AND puts a spring in your step… laughing.

So if there’s a moment of laughter to be had, then join in and grab it with both lungs.

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