By Leisa Blanche, Naturopath and director of Gisborne Health Essentials
At the end of a day trip to Echuca, my husband stated that we should get ice cream because ‘that’s what everyone was doing’. To which I replied, ‘I love and honour my body too much to do that’, and was thinking in my head, ‘phew, thank god I just had the strength to state that out loud so now I really WON’T have that ice cream…woohoo’, as I knew I’d regret it later if I did! Now I confess, ice cream isn’t my favourite ever food, which made it a tad easier. But, how often do we find ourselves in this situation? And what would have been your answer?
A rather hot topic right now, I recently posted on my love of the sloppy, mushy belly feels and I know Kel and Lou have discussed theirs too, but yep, it’s that time of the year where we shed our winter fat (not necessarily all our belly fat) that we’ve stored for extra warmth and refresh the body. Traditionally, that would be with some form of healthy detoxing and renewal so the body comes out of stagnant winter with more energy, enthusiasm, and vigour. It’s time to select the foods and lifestyle that support us and support a love of life.
This year, more than most, we need to hit ‘refresh’ on so many levels. As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, higher cortisol (the hormone created as a response to stress) can mean we have not only put on more weight, it also doesn’t want the body to lose it. So, in this blog, we are going to chat about having a genuine and stable self-worth based upon validating, affirming, and valuing ourselves as we are - belly and all - and therefore being able to choose a lifestyle that fully supports our health and wellbeing.
When it comes to healthy eating, many of us have been conditioned to believe the next magic solution or ‘hack’ is just around the corner. But health is complex and dynamic, and extreme manipulation of our diet or lifestyle rarely gives the long-term results people are seeking. It can sometimes lead to unnecessary restriction and anxieties, which are caused by a complex range of issues, from psychological and societal, to genetic. And with social media, we’re constantly pushed to make our lives seem more interesting, more glamourous, and more enviable. It’s easy to lose a sense of perspective. These extremes point to a lack of harmony or homeostasis and often see us tipping the other way as soon as the strictness is removed. While it’s tempting to play with various diets, ultimately the changes have to come from within. As part of a detox or normalising process, they can be healthy or helpful to restore the balance if we already have a good sense of self-worth, are committed, and really on a program that makes us feel fantastic at the same time.
So, how should we go about it then?
First and foremost, a ‘diet’ should never be so restrictive that you are spending time hungry, dissatisfied, and generally feeling like you are missing out. Even a gentle detox should feel energising and clearing. Where we often go wrong is in cutting out nutrients, forgetting the importance of protein for satiety, forgetting the importance of allowing the detoxification from all elimination channels – through the kidneys and bladder, bowels, lungs, skin, and liver - or trying to push the body when it’s just not ready for it. Your sleep must be optimal, your stress and anxiety managed, your exercise balanced, and you need to have enough time to take your body’s processes seriously and respond accordingly. If you need help in any of these areas other than exercise, we are here for you! Kelly and Louise, and their brilliant team, are here to help you love and honour your body through exercise.
The more willing you are to let go of the idea of what you had in your mind as ‘right’ and embrace what actually is, the easier you can deal with and change the health of your body. Weight and detoxing doesn’t have to mean serious or unnecessary stress. Everything you do is your choice and you do what you have the energy to do. Instead of trying to fit in to the mould, start listening to your gut and your heart. You can teach the cells of your body to work in a very easy, energising, and natural way with the seasons and cycles, and your daily routine. You can achieve any results that align with the ‘genuine you’ and select the food and lifestyle that is right just for YOU. That is, an individual program that honours you and your needs. Now, that is genuine love for your body and genuine love for where you are at, right now. So, how do you think the body will respond? Damn well is the answer! Because it is feeling loved, listened to, and honoured, and isn’t that what we all want? Remember, the body isn’t separate to the brain.
So, love your body and become friends with it now and you never know, it may very well surprise you come summer time! And p.s., there is no right answer to the ice cream question – it doesn’t matter, you’ve got your back and you’ll honour and nurture your beautiful body in whichever way works for you.