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Is Weight the Be All and End All for Health?

How much does weight have to do with health?

It's actually only one part of the whole. There are many aspects to health that matter more than weight. It's important to focus on those on the way to creating better health.

There are health risks associated with obesity. However that's not what I'm talking about in this blog. I want to talk about the problems associated with trying to live up to impossible beauty standards and the danger of diet culture. 

In my late twenties I was unhappy with my weight so I hired a personal trainer and embarked on a plan to lose weight. The amount doesn't even matter now when I think about it. After six months I managed to lose a bunch of weight. I was getting compliments on how I looked. Finally I was able to wear clothes that made me feel sexy. I could go to auditions without feeling self conscious.

But I was miserable! I was obsessed about every calorie on my plate. I thought about food all the time. Talk about torture!

When I embarked on my weight loss journey I forgot to do the inner work. Forgiveness and self compassion work should have also been a part of my journey. Coming from a pretty traumatic childhood, I had a lot going on underneath the surface I never dealt with. Instead I made it all about calories and the number on the scale. Even when it came to the foods I was eating, it was never about making healthy choices as a way of loving my body and myself. I had mindset of feeling deprived and missing out on my favourite foods to have bland healthy food.

This is a really dangerous mindset around food. Because it means literally using willpower to overcome eating habits. Willpower only goes so far. That's why so many people yo-yo diet and binge. What's missing is a better understanding about food. Which foods nourish, which foods rob the body of nourishment. For example- many people love sugar. Sugar has been found to be more additive than cocaine. 

How many people know that sugar deprives their body of essential nutrients in the digestion process? I bet you not many. How many people know that sugar feeds cancer cells? Because most people don't understand how certain foods work in their body, it's really easy to justify consuming them and not changing one's behaviour.

When I understood what sugar does in my body it became so easy to avoid it. I went from eating dessert and processed foods everyday to saving vegan desserts for truly special occasions. Instead of an everyday event I have a vegan dessert maybe once a month. In the meantime I make amazing, delicious, satisfying plant based meals for myself every single day.

A New Way

It's great if someone wants to get healthier. Weight loss can definitely be a part of the equation. However the bigger part is creating lasting habits that are connected to health and focused on self love.  If you're embarking on a health journey 'why' do you want to start? Is it because you want more energy? To feel better? Maybe you have a goal to do something physical like run a marathon.

Next it's important to acknowledge where you are currently and what you may not like about it. An example could be that maybe you don't have as much energy as you'd like. For that reason you're wanting to change your daily nutrition and lifestyle habits. This is great! It's good to feel good.

The next step is identifying the foods that aren't helping you to feel good. Let's face it chips, ice cream and soda pop may taste great, sending your dopamine levels to the moon, but when it comes to nutrition they have very little value. My work with clients is always about increasing nutrient density. I prefer to work with a whole foods plant based diet and superfoods to address the nutrient density piece. Along with that we also want to help support better gut health. I've found in all my clients that once that's done, the cravings for junk food and empty calories go away.

The FUN Part

Usually after 3 or 4 days your taste buds adjust to a whole foods plant based diet. Your energy gets better. This is when most people start working out or find more joy in movement. I don't tell anyone what they should do for exercise. My question always is- what do you want to do? What will you enjoy doing? It can be as simple as going for daily walks or as intense as doing Crossfit. It's totally up to you.

Over time though as you focus on better eating and lifestyle habits your body will find its own balance. For many people they will lose weight. As the inflammation in their body goes down they'll naturally release weight. But the bigger benefits from this shift in diet and lifestyle comes in the form of having more energy, better mood, better sleep and a greater zest for life. 

It may be possible for someone to still be carrying a few extra pounds. But what's really important is how they FEEL. Is weight the be all and end all when it comes to health? NO. It's time to end the unhealthy obsession with the number on the scale. When someone is eating whole plant foods, moving their body, sleeping and feeling great the number on the scale isn't as important as them feeling great. 

I hope if you embark on a health journey you focus on things other than the scale. Like how do you want to nourish your body? Are there recipes and foods you want to try? How can you move in celebration of the life you've been gifted? How can you LOVE yourself more? If you focus on answering those questions then HEALTH will always be yours.

If you're looking for guidance on your path to health contact me for a FREE initial consult.



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