Weight Loss: Is your body "summer ready"?
It has begun… Magazines, blogs, adverts about getting into shape for your summer body. But health isn't only a summer activity. And you shouldn't only be eating for the appearance of your body. Along with the "beach body" marketing comes an onslaught of absurd fad diets and expensive programs for weight loss and detoxes that ultimately lead to long-term weight gain…not to mention lower self-esteem, anxiety and an obsession with food. This summer, try eating for your body, instead of that bikini and implement these practices to eat for a healthier body through respect and kindness to your body.
Listen to your body
Have you ever noticed how small children intuitively know what and how much to eat? We were all born with this capability, but somewhere as we grow up, we sometimes forget to listen to the cues our body gives us about feeling hungry or full. Or we deliberately stop listening. Our inner voices get drowned by so many conflicting messages around food: 'no carbs, no gluten, no red meat no fruit'…the list is long.
It is possible to listen to your body. Start asking yourself whether you are hungry before eating. Pay attention to how you feel after you have eaten. Stop when you are satisfied. Enjoy food, savour each bite and eat slowly. Don't put food into good or bad groups - nutrition is seldom black or white!
Don't be too restrictive
Many people will read an article claiming that the only way to lose fat and be healthy is to avoid a certain food or a certain food group entirely-and sadly, a lot of people follow this advice without questioning its value in their own life. I've been guilty of this myself. After all, we're just trying to do "what's best for our bodies." But instead of not eating something just because we read about it in an article, how about we let our bodies decide? Learn which foods makes you feel great and which foods makes you feel not-so-great. Eat more of the things that have a positive impact and minimize those that don't.
Stop badmouthing your body
If you hate your body, or at least parts of it, do you think that you will treat it well? It is time to stop body shaming and shift from negative to positive. Focus on all the wonderful things your body does for you. And return the favour!
Focus on the here and now
Start treating your body as you like it now, instead of waiting for that perfect number on the scale. Try things like a new pair of sunglasses, a new lipstick, a new hairstyle or hydrating your skin with lotion. You deserve to treat your body with warmness and compassion TODAY!
Get active for Weight Loss!
Get active because you love your body, not because you want to lose weight. Exercise is a great stress reliever and boosts your feel-good hormones and confidence! Get outside or choose an activity you love! Start to be active for you, not the scale!
Don't weigh yourself every day
Health cannot be measured by your scale. Sure, it is good to get on your scale once every few weeks, but not daily. Your weight fluctuates with up to 1.8 kg in a day and is influenced by many things like water retention, hormones and undigested food in the GI tract. If you are working towards some weight loss, give your body time and rather eat for health than eat for the scale.
One step at a time
This all-or-nothing attitude may work for a week or two, but soon chances are that you'll crash and burn and be right back where you started. That's why it's important to practice one small thing at a time instead of trying to make a mad-dash for the finish line. Identify one or 2 bad habit and place your focus on that, instead of trying to change too much at once.
Weight Loss Conclusion
Yip, summer is around the corner, but there is no need to follow fads or look for quick fixes to feel good and confident in your skin. Be realistic, focus on health, healthy habits and feeling good. And a beautiful, healthy body will follow!
Written by Claudine Ryan, Registered Dietitian (SA)