3 Ways You Can Promote Healthy Body Image To Your Kids

Let’s face it, the number of us concerned with our body image has never been higher than it is now. Many of us blame the increase in weight and body image issues on the media while others blame the diet and fitness industries.

While I typically like to discuss which workouts are most efficient and fun to fit into daily life, I am also a life coach and believe that seeing yourself in a positive light is crucial to a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle. It is also important to promote body positivity with your kids, and that can be difficult to do if you’re struggling with embracing it yourself.

We live in a society that sells image over substance nine times out of ten, and it is often commonplace to use shaming, exploitative, and manipulative advertising tactics as a form of motivation. If you always feel bad enough about yourself, then you’re more likely to buy that miracle pill, cream, or service to look your best.

Children are also subjected to negative messages and unfortunately have started showing signs of negative body image issues as early as the age of 5.

According to a survey conducted by GirlGuiding UK in 2013, one in five primary school-age girls admitted they have been on a diet.  87% of girls aged 11-21 think that women are judged more on their appearance than their ability. At a time when children should be developing their interests in school, culture, and how they view the world, they are instead discouraged from cultivating a healthy view of themselves.

Although it may seem improbable in the current beauty-obsessed culture, we live in to encourage children to love themselves unconditionally; I say it is not impossible.

I am not suggesting that these three tips will eradicate all body image issues.   But in utilizing them, you can begin to take control of your household.

Three ways you can promote healthy body image to your kids

1. Evaluate your relationship with body image, weight, and food. Do you assign moral value to food? Do you have a healthy attitude towards your body? Children learn by example, and studies show that children who grow up with parents who make derogatory statements about their diet and weight have a drastically increased risk of sharing that same mindset. One of the most efficient ways to instill an attitude of self-acceptance in your child is to have one yourself. Adopt an attitude toward your body that you want your child to replicate.

2. Encourage your child to know his or her strengths and what makes them unique and extraordinary. Start conversations about their world and ask their opinion on subjects that don’t involve appearances. Teach your children to value strengths beyond looks, such as kindness, mindfulness, and knowledge. You owe it to your kids to show them that there is more to life than meets the eye.

3. Stop criticizing, envying, and judging other people based on their bodies, looks, beliefs, or diets. Kids already view hundreds of nasty “trolling” comments plastered all over social media on a daily basis. They don’t need more of that at home. We live in a society where complete strangers tear each other apart with rude, unsolicited comments regarding physical appearances.

These observations are not only horribly cruel, but they serve no purpose.

Lead by example when it comes to making statements about others. As the saying goes, “Admiring someone else’s beauty shouldn’t diminish your own.”

Choose to talk positively and substantially about others and your children will take notice.

While it often appears as though the unattainable beauty standard is here to stay, an exciting shift is taking place.

In 2015, social media users fought for body type acceptance through campaigns, such as #EffYourBeautyStandards and the Body Positivity movement.

People want to see more diversity in the media they consume.

And an important step is — for everyone — to show that beauty is about more than our weight and outer appearances.

This post originally appeared on RowdyRoddy.com

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The “Set Point” Weight Range

I want to talk about the “set point”  weight range theory and what this means for you, my diet obsessed friend.

In my experience, when I finally decided — despite my profession — that I was going to start listening to my body and not my inner voices, things began to change for my body composition.

I’m a small person.  I’m 5 foot 1 to be exact (though many have tried to challenge this – the measuring tape holds the truth!).

For me, many years of my body dissatisfaction came from things about my body that despite how thin I disciplined myself to get, never changed.

As a result, I spent most of my life trying to fit a mold that was physically impossible for my body.

I could get myself down to a lower weight, but try as I might, if I didn’t engage in restrictive eating – regardless of my fitness level – my weight would continue to creep back up to this particular number.

Always.

What I didn’t understand back then (besides literally everything about my need to control food and health) was that my body longed to be where it would return.  Like clockwork.

If you know anything about going against a tide, it’s that you will go down without a fight.  And, eventually, if you don’t turn your ass around, you will be defeated.

Your weight is like this too.

The “set point” weight range

What is the set-point theory?

According to research conducted by MIT Medical:

The set-point theory originally developed in 1982 by Bennett and Gurin to explain why repeated dieting is unsuccessful in producing long-term change in body weight or shape. Going on a weight-loss diet is an attempt to overpower the set point, and the set point is a seemingly tireless opponent to the dieter.

The takeaway from this theory is that our bodies cannot differentiate between dieting and starvation when it comes to defending our fat stores.

When we attempt to control our weight through restrictive dieting, our bodies will want to continue to stay within a “set-point” weight range.

If you don’t believe this to be true, just look at the controversy surrounding past participants from TV’s The Biggest Loser.  The majority of the participanthave not only failed to maintain their weight loss but, in many cases, they weigh even more now.

When we allow ourselves to eat intuitively, our weight tends to stay within its “set point” weight range naturally.

Knowing our body’s range helps us understand what our bodies truly need.

I finally learned that after years of attempting to control my weight  — and after obtaining professional certifications to help others manage theirs —  most of us are fighting against the weight range our bodies want to be.

The truth is this:  When we struggle we tend to engage in the restrictive and controlling behaviors that ultimately set us up for failure.  

What about people who think this theory is BS?

People will argue until the end of time that being a larger size is detrimental to overall health.  While there are correlations between weight and certain chronic conditions, there is no solid proof of causation.  

In fact, studies have shown, people considered “obese” by the medical community have the same mortality rate as people within a “normal” weight range when they eat fruits and vegetables, don’t smoke, perform regular physical activity, and have moderate alcohol consumption.

Conversations about body acceptance are crucial to people’s relationship with food.

Mental health, not thinness,  is a critical component for optimal physical health.

And let’s be clear, being thin does not equate optimal mental or physical health.

Trust me; I have worked with many thin fitness professionals who have more health issues than the heaviest client I have had.

The bottom line is (and common sense, as well as credible studies, have shown) we cannot shame and hate ourselves into loving our bodies.

I know you are afraid of giving up “control.”

But, you don’t have much control anyway.  Sorry, but you have been brainwashed into thinking you do.

And diets don’t work.  

Deep down, you know this.  

Want to know what does work?

Learning to accept your body and having genuine respect for all that it does for you.

That’s what I’m here to help you do.

If you would like to know more about the “set point weight range” you can listen to this fantastic TED Talk by Sandra Aamodt here.

Want to work with me?  Feel free to email me — I would love to hear from you!

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5 Healthy Living Habits To Start Today

As a wellness solutions coach, I often hear people express discouragement when they decide to start a wellness journey.  I call this “stuck in the big picture frame of mind.”  And when people are stuck here,  the first things they should do is take a step back and think about actions they wish to change toward their overall success.  So, today I’ve compiled a list of 5 healthy living habits you can start today.  Ease in, start with these tips and be on your way to healthy habits in no time.

  1. Drink more water.  Hydration plays such an important part in our overall health.  The average person drinks far less than the daily recommended amount.  Dehydration is a serious issue, and it has many side effects including headaches, insomnia, constipation, and poor concentration.  I try to drink two liters of water per day.  If you’re not sure how much water your body requires, you can use this calculation:
    [Weight (lbs) x 0.5 = ounces required per day*]  ex.  A 150lb individual would need 75 ounces of water or just over 2 liters.  *Add 12 ounces for every 30 minutes of physical activity you perform (ACSM).
  2. Add vegetables and fruit to every single meal and make them part of one of your daily snacks.  Have you tried a Pink Lady Apple?  FYI, they are amazing with nut butter!
  3. Laugh out loud.  Sometimes we all take life a little too damn seriously, right?  Did you know, when you laugh, you stimulate your heart, lungs, and muscles?  It also helps regulate your body’s response to environmental and outside stressors.  My go-to video when I just need to laugh my ass off has been the same for years.  You can watch it here.  Also, you’re welcome.
  4. Add chia and flax seeds to your diet. I recommend using both (ground) chia and flax seeds as part of your lifestyle.  Why? Because they both contain omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acids (ALAs) which aid in reduced inflammation, reduced sugar cravings, functional digestion, and deliver essential micronutrients your body needs.
  5. Start resistance training and lifting weights.  I think now more than ever people are starting to understand the importance and benefits of weight-bearing exercise -, especially women!  Resistance training helps increase your strength and flexibility, which will contribute to protecting your joints from injury.  Weight-bearing exercise helps to strengthen bones and aids in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis.  Super important stuff.

For those of you feeling even more adventurous, here are a few more tips you can fit into your daily routine:

Are you interested in learning more about how nutritional therapy can improve your life?  I have helped individuals find complementary solutions for a range of conditions with great results!

 

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How’s it going this Monday morning?  I heard some of the eastern coast of America got hit pretty badly with snow this past weekend!  I have to say, as much as I dislike the weather here in Scotland, I am pleased not to be surrounded by freezing temperatures and snow.   I grew up in northern New Hampshire, and lived most of my life in New England and New York, so, I know how frustrating (and also how fun?) snow storms can be!

The other day I was re-watching, “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and I came across an episode when Titus used the word, snowbesity to describe a person who you can’t tell if they are fat or not because they are wearing a winter jacket.

 

 

While my first thought was, “that is a funny word”, my second thought was, “who cares if somebody is overweight or not?”  And my third thought was about how there never seems to be a time that isn’t the “right” time to start convincing people that they need to change their bodies.  In the winter, it’s all about getting ready for spring break.  In the spring, it’s all about maintaining the now ultra-offensive term, “bikini body” for the summer.  In the autumn, it’s all about getting into that “little black dress” for the holidays.  Over the holidays, it’s all about changing for the new year and starting a clean slate — this is the year you’ll get your body back!

“Skinny bitch.” “Fat bitch.”  “You’re unhealthy.”  “You shouldn’t wear that.” “Dad bod.”

It seems like society is more judgmental than ever.  It’s on both sides of the coin and it’s got to stop.

We never get a break from feeling like we’ve got to change.  That we’ve got to look better.  The cycle seems like it will never end either.  However, changes are taking place and while the shift is still evolving and it’s momentum is growing, the body positivity movement is a real thing, and you can be a champion for its cause too.

I struggle with loving my body.  I struggle with keeping my weight off.  I struggle with taking compliments.  I also have made the, “when I’m thinner, I will _” statements.  I do all of this, and I am a personal trainer and nutritional therapist.  Nobody is immune when it comes to feeling insecure or uncomfortable in their body.

I, for one, am so tired of all the body shaming and all the superficial bullshit.  I think most of us are.  So, this week I want to share a  TED Talk from an influential person working to bring greater understanding of what makes us feel uncomfortable in our skin and how we can all be more patient and loving to ourselves and our bodies regardless of size.

The TED Talk I chose for today is from fashion model; Ashley Graham called, “Plus-size? More Like My Size.”   In this talk, she discusses why she believes there is more than one body type and that we all possess a wonderfully unique and diverse physique that shouldn’t be defined by anybody but ourselves.

Preach, girl.  Preach.  Enjoy, you guys!

[Tweet “Body Confidence Talks #SelfLove #BodyPositivity @AshleyGraham via @BeetsPerMinute”]

Do you believe the size current is shifting?  Isn’t Ashley amazing?

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Happy Friday! This week has been super stressful, but I was able to accomplish things way ahead of schedule so let’s pop champagne for that! (Unless you don’t drink in which case have some chocolate?)

This week’s posts were all about addressing some of the areas we can let negativity dictate our lives without even knowing it. Whether is’s giving yourself ultimatums, taking criticisms personally, or the inability to accept compliments — we have got to be better aware and to shift the way we talk to ourselves.

Today I want to share a video with you that is one of my absolute favourites. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the London-based psychologist, Marisa Peer, but if you’re not, you should be. This video is a talk she gave at AwesomeFest called, “The Biggest Disease Affecting Humanity: I Am Not Enough” and it is brilliant. If you have ever asked yourself the question, “Am I enough?” this talk is for you.

[Tweet “If you have ever asked yourself this question, “Am I enough?” You need to see this. #SelfImprovement #IAmEnough via @BeetsPerMinute”]

I wanted to close off the week with this inspirational video.

And something for you to print out and put on your mirror/desk/computer/wherever.

Iamenough

You’re welcome.

Have a great weekend!

How was your week? 

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