How to make peace with weight gain? Part 1

How to make peace with weight gain? Part 1

How to make peace with weight gain? Part 1

 

A lot of my clients are in the midst of developmental milestones with their physiology. They are Mum’s navigating changes to their post-baby bodies or women going through perimenopause or menopause and they are struggling to make peace with weight gain.

This creates new vulnerabilities for body image distress and eating issues for women.

Young or middle aged, for many, the focus on appearance and youth intensifies as their bodies age and progress through the natural stages that include weight gain, greying hair, and wrinkled skin.

The good news is, there is another way to live.  And that way is found when you stop fighting the size your body wants to be and you start working with your body.

 

make peace with weight

 

If you’re new to the non-diet approach, intuitive eating and body image healing here’s 5 tips to help you make peace with your weight that little bit easier.

 

This is how you can make peace with your weight?

 

1. Understand that weight gain for women in their 40’s and 50’s is normal and healthy.

As much as we hate the “middle age spread”, it is thanks to hormonal changes that we go through during peri/menopause.

Essentially we have a drop in oestrogen which causes an increase in central adiposity (stomach fat), insulin sensitivity and a slower metabolism.

Dietitian Jessi Haggerty explains this here>>

“When your ovaries no longer produce oestrogen, the body’s adipose tissue (fat tissue) takes over to produce and regulate oestrogen in the body. An increase in body fat is our bodies’ way of adapting in order to regulate oestrogen production as we age. Since oestrogen depletion is the main cause of many of the negative side effects associated with menopause, increased regulation of this hormone can help mitigate many of these undesirable symptoms”.

Research shows it is natural for women to gain anywhere from three to six (plus) kilograms during menopause no matter how good our diets are.

Instead of obsessing about losing the weight, we can think about it like this – as a moderate weight gain that is associated with longer life. check out the research below:

People who live in a larger body as defined by their Body Max Index (BMI) — tend to live longer than their normal-weight counterparts, according to a new Danish study.

 

2. Accept that your body will never be perfect (and that perfect doesn’t exist).

The first thing I want to say about this is – Victoria’s Secret models get photoshopped…full stop.

Honestly, how many YEARS have you wasted trying to lose weight and wishing your body looked differently? Where did all that body hate get you?

At some point, you need to decide that your body is okay. You may not like it or love it right now, but it is what it is – your home. Your one and ONLY body.

No amount of hating it is going to change it. No amount of dieting is going to change it long-term or leave you potentially without eating issues and health issues connected to yo-yo’ing weight loss and gain.

 

However, this does not mean you stop working towards being healthy. This is not about giving up!

What it does mean is you will stop punishing and hating body and yourself for not conforming to your (and societies) unrealistic views of what your body “should” look like. And instead, you begin learning to accept and surrender to the body you inherited.

When you start being kind and respectful towards yourself, eating healthier and moving more does become easier.

I inherited big saggy boobs and a double chin. My sister and I always joke around about having “the family chins”. No matter how thin I get, I always have two or three chins! I’ll never have a nice jawline.

I have more than one stomach roll when I sit down (which is normal) and cellulite all over on my thighs. I spent two decades hating my body, when that time, energy and money could have been put to much better use.

At some point, I realised that hating my body was ruining my life and getting me nowhere. When I finally accepted my natural shape, looking after my body with intuitive eating and regular enjoyable movement became so much easier.

It also gave me back my sanity, mental health, social life, and better relationships.

My body isn’t perfect but it’s healthy and strong.

 

3. Understand that Set Point Weight Theory is real.

The research on this is clear.

There are genetic, biological, environmental, social and other non-diet related factors that determine a person’s unique ‘set point range’. The weight a person naturally tends to be without restricting food and over exercising.

And that weight will, of course, be different for everyone.

For example, height is mostly determined by genetic factors – some environmental factors may influence it a little, but for the most part, it is what it is.

Some people are shorter than average while others are taller than average. People generally accept that we can’t change our height, it’s just the way we were born.

 

make peace with weight

 

Think of all of the thousands of different dog breeds that have different body shapes, lifespans and health risks.

Each one has evolved to use food differently for different specialities at surviving; some for staying warm, some for running fast, and some for being strong.

Dogs are meant to be different shapes, sizes and consequently, their weight will be different.

We don’t expect all dogs to weigh the same, but our modern society has brainwashed us into believing all bodies should be the same size – one size fits – thin. Stop and think critically, how realistic is that?

When you look at your great grandmother, grandmother, mother and siblings, what kind of body did or do they have?

For the most part, most people will have similar body shapes and sizes, or similar features such as bigger breasts and rounder tummies.

Also know that the research tells us weight is also influenced by socio-economic factors, trauma, social support or the lack thereof, and freedom from racism, violence, sexism, poverty, weight stigma, and so on.

Perhaps your set point weight range is higher than average, higher than you’d like it to be, or higher than others (your doctor, family, the media, etc.) have said it ‘should’ be…then what?

This is where we can return to the example of height, and remind ourselves of the idea that ‘it is what it is’.

You cannot change your genetic makeup or your natural set point weight range. Therefore, being at peace with your weight involves full acceptance of your body as it is—height, weight, shape, and all!

 

4. Stay off the scale and focus on healthy behaviours, not weight. 

If there was someone in your life that made you feel terrible about yourself 90% of the time, a typical response would be to set your boundaries with that person and stop seeing them.

Therefore, one of your first steps to making peace with your weight, is to recognise if you have a toxic relationship with your scale?

Your weight will continue to matter more than it needs to until you stop getting on the scale. It will also keep you stuck in a cycle of dieting, obsessing about food (which often means you eat more, not less) and hating your body.

Instead, focus on how your clothes fit and feel, and if they are starting to feel a bit tight, the best thing you can do is buy yourself a couple of new pieces of clothing that fit your now body. Check out the op shops for second-hand pieces.

When you feel pretty. You feel confident.

It’s also remarkable how well-fitting clothes can actually make you appear thinner without losing a pound.

When I stopped intentioanlly trying to lose weight and started focusing on being healthy instead, I ended up stabilising my weight, naturally, and easily.

 

toxic relationship with your scale

 

5. Know that everyone (who matters) loves you as you are.

Hey, I get it. This can sound just as cliched as someone saying to a single person, there’s plenty of fish in the sea…

However, when you get to a point in your relationship with your body and you’re at peace with your weight, you really do not care what other people think. You’re doing this for yourself.

In saying that, one of the many things I learnt in my eating and body image recovery, is that people don’t demand a perfect body from you. They love you for you.

Fat, thin, curvy or athletic. Your smile, your warmth, your dedication, your creativity, your humour, your love…you.

In all honesty, it’s what’s on the inside that matters the most. You don’t love your best friend because she’s a “good” weight, you love her for who she is.

Now, none of this will come easy. We live in a thin is best world (apparently). We can’t escape that, but we can become resilient to it.

At the end, when our bodies are changing, it’s time to hold on and not put yourself under additional stress.

Just as in previous changes: puberty, pregnancy, etc., things will settle down.

Any time you’re tempted to start another diet, I suggest to my clients to write a list of the pros and cons to starting another diet.

Think honestly about the way you would need to eat, move and live in order to achieve and maintain your ideal weight?

What would the likely outcome be?

How long would that outcome last for?

Would you be happy and healthy physically, mentally and emotionally?

 

I’m not against weight loss.

However, if you want to make peace with your weight, your body and food, any weight loss should be an added bonus through changing health behaviours you can sustain. Not by being stuck in a rinse and repeat cycle of dieting, eventual bingeing and body dissatisfaction.

If you feel chronically unhappy with your body and weight, this is very similar to spending your life driving around in your car with the hand brake on. It is physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually draining and damaging.

Have faith that there is another world out there waiting for you on the other side of diets and weight loss obsession.

The more you can be patient, and take the long view, the more you’ll be rewarded in the end. This all takes time. Time for you to learn how to be at ease in your body and to get to know what she can and can’t do (yet).

Nothing stays the same, ever, whether we want it to or not. Especially our bodies.

If you want more help to make peace with food and your weight, and do it right, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. 

 

make peace with weight

A strategy that will help you to stop saying, “I hate my body”.

A strategy that will help you to stop saying, “I hate my body”.

Women’s body image is so low in Australia that a survey revealed that seven out of 10 women have an “I hate my body” moment every single week. To prove just how damaging these beliefs can be, take a look at one of the most well-known eating disorder studies in the world. The effects of Western body image ideals on adolescent girls from Fiji were researched.

Before 1995, the Nadroga Province of Fiji had no access to television. Furthermore, traditional Fijian values showed a preference for women’s bodies to be thick, strong and a hearty appetite was encouraged. Slim women were seen as week.

Eating disorders were practically unheard of, with only one reported case of anorexia and moreover, dieting for weight loss was non-existent – until TV came along.

Within three years of television being broadcast from the USA, UK and NZ, 74% of teenage girls surveyed said they felt too fat or too big, and 15% reported self-induced vomiting in order to control their weight.

This study is a perfect snapshot of how damaging diet culture and the thin/beauty ideal can really be. These images had the power to cause so much pain in just three years, and in just one media format.

 

Fijian eating disorders study

 

I hate my body 

 

Given the many years or decades you have been exposed to diet culture and the media, is it any wonder that you feel the way you do about your body?

You are not the problem. Your body is not the problem. The problem is our thin obsessed culture. Moreover, you were not born hating your body. The Fijian girls didn’t hate their bodies until the image of the “ideal” body came along.

Even if it feels like a distant memory, there was a time when your body was not the enemy. Hating your body is something that you learn and it can be something that is unlearned.

And it starts by ditching diet culture.

How to stop hating your body

One practical way you can ditch diet culture (and stop hating your body) is to go on a social media detox.

I recently went on a social media break for a week. I completely stayed off all of my accounts and it made a massive difference in my mood and energy. I noticed I felt much more relaxed and I was also more productive and slept better. Probably because I wasn’t scrolling through Facebook in bed before I turned the lights off.

Social media can be quite toxic if we’re not mindful of what we’re digesting on a day-in-day-out basis. Most people only post what I call their “highlight reel”. Photos where they’re out having fun, looking amazing, surrounded by friends. Seeing enough of these photos can play on our natural human insecurities.

There’s some great research being done right now on how exposure to social media can affect our mental health. This constant exposure to everyone’s highlights makes us feel inadequate and consequently, many people go to extreme measures to keep up. This can obviously have very damaging effects on our physical and mental health.

So, try doing a social media detox for even just a couple of days and see how it changes your perspective of your body. 

If you ditch diet culture and you’ll get your health, sanity and life back!

If this is something that you need help with, take a look at my private one-on-one food and body image coaching program called Stop Punishing Start Nourishing.

Don’t Be Afraid To Go Up A Dress Size.

Don’t Be Afraid To Go Up A Dress Size.

To the woman refusing to buy clothes until she loses weight. Trust me, I get it. However, squeezing into poorly fitting, uncomfortable, pre-baby clothing does nothing for your confidence and makes you feel horrible about your body every time you get dressed. Waiting on weight loss is delaying what you deserve right now – wearing clothes that you feel confident and comfortable in. No matter your size.

 

Going up a dress size

 

I encourage all of my clients to dress for their “right now body” and don’t be afraid to go up a dress size or two to ensure the clothes fit your body well. At the end of the day, it’s just a number and it doesn’t necessarily mean you will stay that number forever.

What’s important is how the clothing looks and makes you FEEL — not what the label says. Tip: Cut the tags out if you must, so you’re not reminded of the size. Also bear in mind that sizing varies dramatically from store to store and even within the same store. So don’t take sizing to heart.

If you are struggling with body changes right now, GO SLOW and know that going up a size doesn’t hurt as much as you think it does. When I struggled with this, I honestly had forgotten about it by the next day. So you can do this and move on.

There is also NO shame in going up a size or two. You will be amazed by the difference in the way you feel and look in jeans and tops that actually fit you properly. Well fitting clothing can hide the bits you’re not as confident with.

 

going up a dress size

 

How to go up a dress size

 

Take an honest inventory of the clothes that don’t fit properly and don’t make you feel fantastic, and maybe start giving them away. You don’t need to give your entire wardrobe away.

Make a list of everything you think you need for a new, feel-good-in-my-body wardrobe. It might just be a couple of pairs of pants and a couple of new tops. Allow yourself to experience the self confidence boost that well fitting clothing provides.

This also helps you to accept & honour your body, versus forcing it to potentially, one day, fit into a pair of old jeans. 

 

Real size inspiration

 

A big part of having body confidence and embracing your more curvaceous physique is to learn how to dress to flatter your body.

Fashion blogging has boomed in recent years, and now there are a plethora of fashion bloggers of all shapes and sizes floating around the Internet. Find a blogger who has a similar body type and size as you, and start following them for tips.

And remember, going up a dress size does NOT mean you have given up on looking after your body. The reverse is true.

It simply means is you are wearing clothes that fit you properly and will best flatter your ‘right now body’.

If this is something that you’re struggling with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

 

kelly renee eating behaviour coach

How to love my body

How to love my body

Body hate and negative body image is a global epidemic affecting women (and to lesser degree men). Research shows women have on average 13 negative things to say about themselves each day. With this in mind, I have quickly listed 10 ways I learnt how to love my body.

How to love my body

 

 

The quest for the “ideal” body has become normal for many women. The cost of this social issue is it continues to churn out generations of women who believe they are not good enough, unless they look like the impossibly “thin ideal:.

Overcoming body hate and negative body image is a huge part of what I do, because this is where it all often starts.

Dissatisfied with your body or weight – start dieting – diet fails – leads to binge eating – more body hate/guilt and the cycle continues.

I teach women how to reclaim their bodies and offer ways to help women love or the very least accept their bodies.

 

How to love my body 10 ways:

1. Affirm that your body is acceptable just the way it is.

2. Think of your body as a tool. Create an inventory of all the things you can do with it.

3. Walk with your head high with pride and confidence in yourself as a person, not a size.

4. Create a list of people you admire who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world. Was their appearance important to their success and accomplishments?

5. Don’t let your size keep you from doing things you enjoy.

6. Replace the time you spend criticizing your appearance with more positive, satisfying pursuits.

7. Let your inner beauty and individuality shine.

8. Think back to a time in your life when you liked and enjoyed your body. Get in touch with those feelings now.

9. Be your body’s ally and advocate, not its enemy.

10. Beauty is not just skin-deep. It is a reflection of your whole self. Love and enjoy the person inside.

If you’ve been saying negative things about yourself and your body, it can take quite some time and commitment to turn that habit around, but it’s a practice worth committing to. You don’t have to go through it alone. Asking for the support you need is a gift that you get to give yourself. If you need some guidance and support with overcoming body image issues with someone that has walked in your shoes, I can help you.

 

kelly renee eating behaviour coach