nutrition

be nice(er) to yourself

as my nutrition philosophy has evolved in the past couple of years, I’ve found myself naturally incorporating a more holistic approach into my practice. I’ll admit I’m a little wary about the term “holistic” – I feel like it’s been thrown around a lot in the wellness world to legitimize titles that lack actual credentials (“holistic nutritionist” or “holist health coach” come to mind) and it drives me crazy. But I can’t deny that the actual definition of holistic, or the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms, is something I’m behind 100%. It’s like taking the person off the piece of paper, medical chart, set of lab values or arbitrary anthropometric measurements and instead taking into account that they are a human being with human feelings and experiences, and very likely someone’s mom, grandfather, sister, son, etc. That makes a huge difference, and I like that more and more healthcare practitioners have this type of mindset (and get really frustrated with the ones who don’t). So call me a holistic dietitian, if you will.

what a photo bomb ❤

these days it’s very rare for me not ask patients about their stress levels, sleep, exercise habits and relationships (with food and humans) because when it comes to overall health, these are just as important as nutrition. And they all affect each other. In fact, one phrase I’ve found myself repeating the most lately is a very simple, “be nice to yourself!” The first time I said this to a patient I myself was taken aback a bit as it just popped out. The patient was about “mom age” (so, around the age of my mom, or mid-60s), and beating herself up over not looking a certain way, choosing to eat XX for dinner the night before, etc. After I said it, I almost thought she was going to look at me like, “ok yeah sure, what do you know” or “how about we stick to nutrition here?” Instead, she visibly relaxed and agreed with me, and we spent most of the session talking about how she can do just that – be nicer to herself. It sounds so simple, but it’s something so many of us (myself included) can do better.

this doesn’t have to mean calling in sick to work and escaping to a luxurious beachfront resort for an extended vacation, buying yourself a crazy expensive handbag or getting a massage every other day. Being nicer to yourself can be way more simple (and affordable) by learning to recognize negative self-talk and redirect to a more positive mindset. Kind of like this:

  • instead of punishing yourself about a “bad” food choice by restricting the next meal or meals, try to remove labels from foods – there is no “good” or “bad”. Have what sounds good to you and know you’re nourishing your body with a variety of foods
  • instead of forcing yourself through an intense workout if something hurts or you’re super tired because of the “calorie burn,” think about how powerful rest can be for both the muscles and the brain, and how different exercise feels when you enjoy it
  • instead of comparing yourself to women on television/in the movies, on social media or magazines and feeling badly for not looking just like them, drop the comparison game – it won’t get you anywhere and can be an endless cycle of “she wore it better.” Plus, who knows if those people are truly happy or not, and isn’t that way more important?
  • instead of automatically saying yes to a date you know will go nowhere, another project at work or another engagement party for someone you sort of know, don’t. Know it’s ok to say no and make plans with yourself. This could be a solo dinner, netflix and a glass of wine or an early bedtime. Whatever YOU want
  • instead of following social media accounts that can trigger any and all negative thoughts and behaviors, unfollow them! If they don’t serve you in a positive way, they’re not useful

maybe this sounds too simple, but it can be surprisingly hard to break out of habitually negative thoughts and behaviors. It takes a little bit of work and some time, but asking the question “how can I be nicer to myself” in certain situations is a great way to start.

sometimes that means snuggling in your most comfy spot

think about how much brain space and time that could be freed up to focus on what is truly useful to you in a positive way.  I know I’ve personally found it hard to be present for the things that matter in life when I spend too much time beating myself up over the shit that doesn’t. So let’s all be nicer to ourselves. We totally deserve it.

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