Health and Food (at any size)

According to the dictionary, self-care can be defined as “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

When you look at any media concerning health, you will probably notice that almost all the pictures have a size 0 model and the topic is mostly food related. Does this mean we have to be a size 0 to be healthy? NO! 

Health has nothing to do with your weight and food is just a small part of the big picture…

The weight and food thing..

Unfortunately there are a lot of big companies making a lot of money telling us that you need to go on a diet, eat low sugar and low fat. There are loads of diet books that all claim to be THE way to lose weight. I wish there would be a ban on these companies.

Let me explain, our bodies are beautiful machines working in symbiosis with the food we eat. 

Our Nervous System is a highway sending messages back and forward from the brain and the gut, telling us we are thirsty (fluids to help the body get rid of toxins and more), hungry (we need fuel to keep the body moving) and many more amazing things. Did you know that around 85% of serotonin (the happy hormone) is made in the gut, not in the brain… !

When you decide to go on a diet this means you will either starve your body, or take out some nutrition that your body needs to function, but more importantly, you will distress your body causing it to go into the fight-flight or freeze response. The Sympathetic Nervous Systems is a beautiful built in system that helps us to react in a dangerous situation. Restricting certain nutrients can trigger this system into believing it is in a perilous situation.  

When we are in this part of the nervous system everything else shuts down to get us in safety. 

This is a beautiful example of how amazing your body is. But going on a diet isn’t really a dangerous situation, is it?  

By the distress we cause in the body from the diet it will cause a similar chain reaction of stress errors in the communication between the nervous system, brain and gut, and this can lead to depression, bowel distress, fatigue, eating disorders, allergies, joint pain, and many more reactions. Besides this, when you stop your diet you can trigger a safety reaction from the body to store even more food (fuel) for the next time you diet and this can lead you to gaining more weight than you had before you started the diet.  This is what they call the yoyo effect. 

So what if you don’t have a pound extra, but you are a sporty size 0, does this mean you’re healthy? Not necessarily.. Like I mentioned before, weight has nothing to do with health. You might be someone who took food to the “next level” and has developed a “fear” of certain foods or fats for example. 

Food and our mind can be a dangerous thing, it might start with wanting to lose a pound, escalating into a strict food regime, not allowing yourself to eat certain foods, which leads to stress, which leads us back to the nervous system..

Food and weight might also be a way of feeling in control when you don’t know how to express your emotions, or the opposite, emotional binge eating followed by guilt which both leads us to the gut-brain communication via the nervous system.. 

So Food and weight is not a measurement of health, even if you eat “clean” and never eat any fat, carbs or sugar.. 

What does good health mean? 

Health is feeding your whole body and mind – your machine. 

This is more than just food.. many internal and external situations can affect your health, such as:

  • How is your mindset? 
  • Your personal situation? 
  • Are you in a stressful personal or living environment? 
  • How is your job situation? Stressful? Or maybe you don’t have a job. 
  • How is your childhood experience and environment?  

These are just a few things that can have a big impact on your health.

What can you do about becoming healthier? 

Some things we cannot change, but some things we can. Focus on the things you can change. Are there any changes you could do to make your work or private life a bit more peaceful? 

Selfcare

Maybe find some way of self-care that feels useful to you, a hobby, walking in nature, taking a bath, writing in a journal, dancing, yoga or anything else that might calm your body and mind. 

Movement

It doesn’t have to be a sport or gym, it could be as easy as gardening, cleaning, taking a trip around your block. 

Food 

Easy said – our body needs fats, carbs, proteins, minerals and vitamins. The body needs REAL food!

Avoid pre-packed, E-numbers, low sugar, ready made mixes.. This will distress the body, filling it up with toxins which all our energy and nervous system will react to..

Try going to a farmers market where there is usually a greater opportunity to buy real food with all its natural goodness.  Experiment with unfamiliar or new foods, perhaps try one new thing (meat, fish, poultry, veggies, fruit) every week. 

Too expensive you say? nope! Here’s a secret… with real food, you will have a satisfied feeling for longer, craving less food, your health will go up causing a clear less toxic body and mind which can lead to more positivity which can lead to change in other areas in your life. 

Self-care is being healthy, food is being healthy, movement is being healthy, letting your body and mind  thrive as it should in the best environment you can make for yourself. 

 

-Nicole, The School of Self-Care