{Thrive} Setting Intentions for Health & Self Love

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“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha

When I first graduated from graduate school and became a dietitian I was armed and motivated to teach people how to count calories, diet and omit foods from their diet. I learned, quite quickly that this approach simply exacerbated negative emotions and self-talk. Though my own journey and my work with clients I have found that the foundation of a healthy lifestyle is less about your food choices and more about self-love.

As a gymnast, I did not always have the healthiest relationship with food and I was taught to be critical of my body at a very young age. It took a lot of patience, compassion and practice to overcome these behaviors but, when I realized that I was worthy of my love… it all shifted in a very positive way.

My clients often come to me in the hopes that I will prescribe a diet that will help them lose weight. This is never the case. Instead, we discuss their relationship with food and, well, themselves. I teach them to differentiate between eating to nourish their bodies versus their emotions. This takes a good deal of self-reflection which can be both uncomfortable and empowering.

Feeding your emotions usually amplifies negative emotions.

Think through this for a second:

…you are anxious, angry, bored, etc. Instead of sitting with that emotion you head to the kitchen. Sure, whatever food you grab will feel gratifying in the moment but gratification quickly turns to guilt and feelings of failure and then we pile onto that a hefty dose of negative self talk. Ugh. Not fun.

We would never treat our dearest loved ones as terribly as we tend to treat ourselves.

Instead, consider this. When you nourish your body with whole, healthy foods you are sending a message of love. This is not to say your emotions should be ignored. That is not the case at all. But, you can continue to promote the message of self love by nourishing your emotions in a more appropriate way. Maybe you meditate, call a friend, take a relaxing bath or even go for a walk–all of which will leave you feeling empowered and cared for.

Although this is easy to understand-it is not easy to practice.  Practicing self love takes time, commitment, and compassion. You have to let go of the idea that perfection exists and accept all that you are–including your beautiful flaws.

{Self-Love in 5 Steps}

1. Reflect: You can’t initiate a change without understand what you are changing.

  • Journal your emotions and your triggers instead of your food
  • Ask yourself daily, what it is you need to be happy.  It may be something as simple as 10 minutes of quiet time.
  • Find a mantra that speaks to you. The above picture is a collage of words two word mantras you gave us when we asked you the question to write a two word letter to your younger self. Pretty amazing. Give it a try.

2. Abandon Negative Experiences and Talk.

  •  Throw out, burn and/or incinerate your scale. Free yourself from the self-deprecating act of weighing yourself and instead, focus on how your feel to gauge wellness.
  • Ditch guilt-provoking words like “bad”, “fattening” and “treat”
  • Replace the words “I am on a diet” with “I am striving to making healthy, nourishing choices”

3. Practice gratitude towards foods.

  • Appreciate and taste every bite you take, whether you are munching on carrots or cake.
  • Appreciate the people you are sharing your meal with or the simple fact that you have food to eat.
  • Give thanks.
    •  Thank you kale for nourishing my body and giving me energy.
    • Thank your cookie for the delicious satisfaction you provide as I savor each bite.
    • Thank you to the farmer who nurtured and grew the food on my plate.
    • Thank you to the person who cooked this meal with love.

4. Treat yourself as well as you treat your loved ones.

  • Love on yourself, especially when you are feeling low.
  • Have a dialogue with yourself that is similar to the advice you would give to a loved one feeling the same way.
  • Practice your Mantra
    • My favorite is “I truly love and respect myself”

5. Repeat.

  • Change takes time and patience. Be compassionate and have realistic expectations. You may stray…often…so gently remind yourself of your intentions often.
  • Share this with someone you love!

 

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

With Love,

Katie

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8 thoughts on “{Thrive} Setting Intentions for Health & Self Love

  1. Katie you have such a beautiful spirit and personality and I can tell you that just by reading your blog posts! I get good vibes just sitting here taking it all in! I think the “treat yourself as you would treat your loved ones” rings so true to me as a busy mom with two small boys. I wouldn’t let them skip meals, a shower, or their favorite TV show. So why should I?! Strange example but you get it 🙂

    1. Thank you! I have found myself and a deeper meaning to many things as i work to overcome my own struggles. It means a lot to know that my voice is shining through.

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  3. This is such an amazing post! I used to think food was the cause of everything: weight gain, weight loss, happiness…but you nail it in this post when you say that dieting alone is unlikely to lead to any sustainable weight loss. If we’re genuinely over weight (different to losing a few vanity pounds) then we likely eat for a reason other than hunger: to avoid sadness; loneliness; feelings of lack of worth. Rather than forcing ourselves to eat less, if we address these feelings and learn to love ourselves more then the causes of our eating will disappear. And we don’t develop an unhealthy, restrictive approach to food in the process – winner!

    1. I 100% agree. Thanks for the comment! There is a lot of self-reflection and self-compassion that needs to take place in order to truly make a change!

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