By: Angela McNally, Regular Contributor
January: the time of year when your prime focus is on weight-loss, gym-memberships, and “fixing” your body to look “the way you are supposed to.”
Except, just thinking about this makes me anxious. Am I alone here?
Have you ever stopped to think about the concept of resolutions? Each of us starts a new fresh year by making a list, dream board, or announcement to our peers of exactly what we don’t like about ourselves. Why is it that we must highlight our negatives as a strategy to better ourselves? Because I don’t know about you, but a kick in the pants of negative motivation has never worked for me. I think that if shaming ourselves into improving worked, we’d all be rich, thin, and following our dreams. But it doesn’t work that way!
Instead we set these unrealistic goals to look like, eat like, or be like someone we are not. Then a funny thing happens, we fail because we are not someone else.
We are and can only ever be beautifully ourselves.
No diet, workout plan, magic pill, or elimination of a food group as the latest trend will ever transform you into the photo shopped billboard model images that bombard our lives. (Trust me, I’ve tried it all.)
But you know what did work for me? Accepting myself for who I am.
I’m tall, curvy, and I’m a nutritionist who loves to eat all food. I feel my best when I eat my greens, do yoga, meditate, write, and drink lots of water. Although I’ve learned not to shame myself when I skip a workout, eat pizza with girlfriends, or cave to my chocolate cravings.
I love myself for who I am. I strive to be a better, healthier version of myself everyday – the difference is I now accept myself as is and that keeps the pressure to be someone I’m not away.
Here are a few ways you can choose self-love over dieting and still make amazing health improvements in this New Year.
Listen to your body
You know when that “food baby” appears after every cheesy and glutinous carbohydrate you consume? Or that energy crash you feel after a bag of your favorite candy? These symptoms are no accident. It’s your body telling you to slow down on the empty calories and feed it some fuel that counts! Start simple. For a few days try adding in green smoothies, getting vegetables into every meal, and cutting down on the sugar and simple carbs. Your body will thank you with loads of energy, creativity, and a better mood. Without even trying you will feel better about your body, I promise!
Connect the mind to the body through movement and positive thoughts
The mind and the body are not separate beings. They work synonymously. Negative thoughts create stressors in the body that result in sickness, weight gain, and physical pain. The more that happens, the more negatively you think of yourself. It’s a vicious cycle with a simple fix. Show your mind you are investing in yourself by exercising and show your body you are investing in it by “going mentally easy on it.” After every workout I look in the mirror and say to myself “Thank you for working out today. I’m grateful, I love my body and I love you.” May feel weird at first, but it works!
To me this was the single most important factor in changing my life. Not just to do with my health and body image, but my relationship, my finances, and my career. I am truly thankful every time something works out well for me. I say it to myself, I write it down or scream it out loud. When you focus on the things you have cultivated into your life and give thanks, you are rewarded with more. I thank myself for choosing the quinoa salad instead of the grilled cheese. I thank my body after a workout. I’m thankful that I choose self-love over obsessive unhealthy behavior.
Angela McNally is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Self-Love Coach from Toronto, ON. She loves green juice, gourmet food, writing and yoga. Her mission is to eliminate ‘the diet’ and reignite health through self-love in women. Angela is the founder of Eating Pretty Nutrition and is excited to release her coaching website (AngelaMcNally.com) in spring of 2014.
Featured image via und.edu