For a lot of men and women, being happy with their body doesn't come easy. Unfortunately due to social media tends, what we perceive as being "perfect" is so far from the truth. This one especially hits home for me. In my younger years, struggling with body image, I continually punished myself by starving myself of the nutrients my body needed through dieting through restricted calorie consumption and pushing my body through excessive exercising. Thankfully from the knowledge gained throughout my degree and the relationship I've developed with myself, I learned the value of food and in fueling and repairing my body with exactly what it needs. I am proud to say that I don’t believe in scales anymore and haven’t weighed myself in over a year!
The truth is, most diets are fads. While initially you lose weight, the result is often eventually putting it all back on. The worst thing they create is a lack of essential nutrients and a loss of the pleasurable aspect that food provides. After all, ALL food provides nutrients in some way and truth is, that chocolate bar after a long day isn’t going to damage you long term. However, the diet deprivation will. Once that judgment of food is gone, there is no longer fear in eating something that you perceive as being “bad” but instead learn to eat it in moderation. There must be a shift in the attitude towards food, and instead of depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy, instead, learn ways in which you have self-control and respect for yourself in learning moderation. This can be done by changing your behaviors based on thinking long-term for your health – for example, instead of cutting sugar out of your diet 100% for 30 days, think about cutting 60% over your lifetime.
Don’t always trust what you read online. Instead, focus on what your body has responded to well in the past. What I have learned from naturopathy thus far is that everyone is unique with what foods suit their shape. Listen to your body. Eat what you know will fuel you and don't eat for the sake of eating. Everyone requires different macro ratios than other, hence why for me a keto or paleolithic diet just doesn’t cut it! Carbohydrates are a must for me.
To finish with: Be balanced. Live high and live low. Don’t be so hard on yourself and enjoy food!
Jade is a final year naturopathy Student at Southern School of Natural Therapies. She is seeing patients from the student clinic at their Fitzroy campus.