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No more miserable diets – some tools for you to achieve your goals and still enjoy life!

Okay, so up to now we have spoken at length about how our relationships with food have been damaged by cultural messaging. Today I want to arm you with a couple of things that you can start to think about so that you can get to work to have a positive impact on the way that you think and act about your health and fitness, and then, in turn achieve what we set out to, be it aesthetically or performance wise, in a healthy and sustainable way. No more crash diets, no more miserable hunger – that’s not how we do things here.


We have covered how diets unfortunately work to teach us that certain foods are good or bad, that if we have something a little more ‘fun’ then we are ‘cheating’ in some way on our diets, even that we should always be on a diet if we don’t look a particular way. This attaches morality to our food and exercise behaviour – unless you stole the food that you are eating, you are NOT a bad person. Read that again – YOUR FOOD CHOICES DO NOT MAKE YOU A GOOD OR A BAD PERSON. Unfortunately, when we tell ourselves that we have been ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for eating or drinking something in particular or missing a workout, whether subconsciously or otherwise, we attach that moral label to ourselves and make ourselves feel some kind of guilt. Food guilt should NEVER be a thing – again, unless you stole it. There should be no moral compass attached to our food choices or because we have particular preferences or cravings for whatever reason. We do not and should not ever feel that we have to earn our food – we need food to live! If you want desert and your instructor at your exercise class the following day jokes about doing extra burpees because of that, then a joke or not, they shouldn’t be in the job that they are in – believe me, I’ve seen it. The same on a Friday, going super hard to make up for our ‘sins’ of the weekend to come. Talking of sins, we all know a company that attaches ‘sins’ to our food choices, I don’t need to elaborate on my feelings about that. So, next time you catch yourself using language around food that perhaps implies morality, perhaps ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘treat’, ‘on (or off) the wagon’ just notice and think about what you could replace that with or simply think about why, really, that food is good or bad.


Food can be a fabulous way to fuel our bodies, to celebrate, to enjoy social occasions and to nourish our health alongside working to enjoy all of the things that we love in a healthy way – that’s what I’m here for. There are, of course, more optimal foods for specific goals but that doesn’t mean that other foods are ‘bad’ – they are positive for us in other ways, mental health, social health or otherwise. I wish, and the same goes for with exercise, that we could all achieve a position whereby we focus on what food and exercise makes our bodies FEEL great and we all capitalise on and run with that with our nutrition and physical activity choices.


I would implore you that next time, if you notice a friend has lost weight, that you do not compliment the weight loss directly. She may look fabulous, I’m sure she does, but complimenting weight loss has a big impact on our relationship with our mindset around weight loss goals. Perhaps we could get rid of the notion of commenting on women’s bodies at all – after all, there are far more interesting things about us strong ladies! Your friend might end up feeling like utter rubbish about herself if she were to put that weight back on, making her feel like a bad person. Is she any more or less of a person because of what she weighs? Absolutely not. So, are you any more or less of a person because of what you weigh? Also no. So why do you tell yourself that you are?


This is just one of the reasons why I will never ask to use a ‘before’ and ‘after’ picture transformation of my clients – it implies that the ‘before’ picture was somehow less than the after. There also is no after when we are constantly changing, constantly navigating through life and learning what works for us in any given moment and working to be as healthy as we can in the circumstances of any given day.


I have made no secret of the fact that I have had my own food relationship issues and perhaps when I lost weight people thought I looked great and I received all the compliments about my ‘abs’ and the rest – the reality is I was unhealthy and felt awful. Weight loss isn’t always a positive thing. Perhaps we could compliment how your friend made you feel great that day and thank her for that, compliment her on how strong she is or how hard she works at the gym or in life.


Now I’m not here to say that we shouldn’t learn about what makes our individual bodies ‘tick’ physically, the nutrition and exercise habits that make us healthy and work to implement those even if that doesn’t include donuts every night, that we should never do a workout if we aren’t feeling it and never step on the scales again, many of my clients still weight themselves, but always alongside other markers of progress – there are, however, better ways in which to implement these things over what society has taught us up to now.


So something that is going to help you to kickstart this journey to a healthier mindset around food and exercise is understanding that body fat, for the most part, is not synonymous to health. Actually, dieting cycles that are restrictive have a severe impact on our physical health, adding hugely to our bodies’ stress as negatively impacting our mental health.


Perhaps this week we can make an effort to focus on other markers of progress besides your weight and what you look like – are you consistently exercising and feeling energised and strong? Do you sleep better? Can you do things with your children that you couldn’t previously? Do you include more nutrient dense foods within your nutrition as a whole?


So, it’s time to move the needle and get to work on a couple of things that little by little are going to start to help you achieve your goals in a happy and sustainable feeling way this time, not one that feels miserable, hungry or unhealthy in body or in mind. Let’s start with the couple of tactics that we have spoken about today. In the next blog we’ll perhaps chat about a couple more to level up even further. Let’s get practicing!


Any questions or even if you just fancy a chat about this stuff, I simply LOVE to hear from you guys. You know where I am, just an email or message away.


Peace and love for now, A x

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