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Many of us are constantly striving to find and maintain positive relationships within our lives and eliminate or minimize the negative relationships. This being said, our bodies and food are two things that are inevitable players in our lives and therefore are two areas where positive relationships are crucial!

We are going to take last week’s exploration of our relationship with food a step further to explore our relationship with our bodies. Phrases like “does this make me look fat?,” “why am I not as muscular as those guys in the magazines, girls will never me attracted to me?,” “my {insert body part here} is gross, I can’t bear to look at myself in the mirror,” and many more phrases following these negative thought processes are commonly thought, said, or experienced by most individuals at some point throughout their lives. Our society is filled with media promoting “the sexy body type” or friends, family, significant others, or acquaintances making mindless comments that stimulate these thought processes. Pressures to look a certain way or have a certain body type riddle our day to day lives. Whether something was said directly or a previous experience has led to these negative thought processes, a toxic environment is created around our relationships with our own bodies. We can continue to find ways to alter our bodies- exercise, fad diets, or even more extreme measures such as surgeries, food restriction, purging/laxative use and more, but ultimately we are still stuck with the body we were born into at our core. Unfortunately or fortunately, we will always have a relationship with our bodies as they will always be a part of our physical beings. Therefore, because we cannot eliminate this relationship within our life time, we may as well make the relationship as positive as possible!

If we were to maintain and allow a negative relationship with our bodies to manifest, they will eventually come back to cause us problems whether they are emotional stresses and depression, illness, deficiencies, and can even hurt our relationships with other individuals.  Many times these negative thought processes overflow into our relationship with food and can lead to many of the repercussions of extreme eating habits discussed in PART 1.  In addition, negative mindset can promote a stressed state in the body that will make your efforts to lose or management weight nearly futile! Therefore, developing and maintaining a positive relationship with our bodies at every stage is crucial in developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, emotional stability, our relationships with others, and improving our overall quality of life. Some tips/things to try and accomplish when pushing toward having a healthy relationship with our bodies include:

  1. Incorporating positive body/self affirmations into your morning and evening routines– Take the time to look in the mirror and say something positive! If you need help with this at first take some time to research positive body affirmations to give you a head start! Some great affirmations to start with include: “I accept and love my body exactly as it is,” “I am beautiful,” and “I am grateful for the body I have been given.” If you don’t believe them right away, keep repeating them daily until they become reality!
  2. Catch yourself when you begin body checking or making negative comments about yourself- anytime you catch yourself having these thoughts or making these comments be mindful and follow them up with a positive affirmation that will eventually replace the negative thought.
  3. Incorporate a healthy eating lifestyle and exercise into your routine-This doesn’t mean take things to the extreme with food or exercise, but ensuring that you incorporate a variety of food and food groups well portioned and balanced throughout the day with a moderate well balanced exercise routine. If you are having trouble determining what balanced and moderated eating and fitness look like, seek help from a Registered Dietitian to come up with a plan for food and work with a trainer to help develop a moderated workout routine.
  4. Where clothes that make you feel beautiful/handsome once in awhile. If we feel good in what we are wearing, we tend to have a better outlook on our own bodies.
  5. Throw the scale away. Weight is not the primary indicator of health. Don’t let the scale control your mindset, rather how you feel in your clothes, how fit you feel when you exercise, and how healthy you feel on a day to day basis. (Note it may take time for these thoughts to not be distorted)
  6. Accept yourself at every step of the process. Whether you need to lose, gain, or maintain weight or you would like to improve your feeling of physical fitness, health, and wellbeing; accept yourself at every step of the process. Don’t be motivated by wanting to look different but rather be motivated by each day’s successes- allow yourself to recognize those successes and evaluate your progress based on your energy levels and ability to function at your best!

These are just a few tips/ideas to strive for when working toward developing a healthy relationship with our bodies. In order to reach and MAINTAIN our desired weight or health goals we need to maintain this positive relationship with our bodies and food otherwise our bodies will respond to the stress of this negative relationship by fighting against the changes we are making every step of the way, like we discussed earlier. Maintaining both these relationships in conjunction, will allow us to reach our health goals and truly improve our overall quality of life.

I understand that these concepts may seem difficult or even impossible to implement at times. I have struggled with this myself and have experienced how difficult it can be to transform these, many times, negative relationships into positive relationships. I still catch myself at times overly focused on food or negative thoughts about my body, but the difference is now I have developed the awareness when this is occurring and make the conscious decision to “pattern redirect” my thoughts to continue improving these relationships. The negativity will likely always be there to some degree, but it is a matter of minimizing its presence and replacing it with a positive mindset.

If you are looking for extra help with your nutrition and health and health goals and need help making a healthy lifestyle as easy and enjoyable as possible, CONTACT US today and SCHEDULE your first appointment toward taking control of your health!

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You are a beautiful/handsome rock star!

Wishing you a week filled with positivity, health, and wellness,

-Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN

Denver’s Dancing Dietitian

A Taste of Health, LLC

“Improving Quality of life one bite at a time”