Health and Well-being Goals Without the Guilt by Dietitian Laura Clark


It’s wonderful to welcome resident registered dietitian and sports nutritionist at LEC Nutrition, Laura Clark back for her first blog of the year. Don’t miss it.

Laura Clark
How are we feeling about 2018 and the health and well-being goals we may have set ourselves?

Dietary changes are always fraught with baggage! I love the sentence from Vicki’s self care blog post which suggests we curb the guilt, accept that we are human and remember that superwoman is a fictional character.

In the same vein, I’d like to add that a healthy, happy relationship with food is not the same as dietary perfection, detox diets are complete rubbish and when it comes to managing our weight we are our harshest critics.

Unfortunately, the diet industry fuels this self-loathing by setting us up to fail: the negative talk takes over and the disconnection between mind and body expands.

It’s easy to get caught up in all of this, we create stories in our heads which we fully buy into and these form the corner stone of our beliefs. Sometimes we may even sabotage our efforts to be a little healthier if it means the story pans out how we originally wrote it. We pay a lot of attention to these stories and they can significantly influence our mood and behaviour.

We come full circle often, as our moods trigger certain eating habits. The ‘what the heck effect’ is common, as is ‘I knew I wouldn’t lose weight anyway’, I knew I wouldn’t have the will power’ ‘I’m so useless, I don’t deserve to lose weight anyway…’

And there we go undermining our self-trust and self-worth… again.

If this is you and this is how you feel, it would be worthwhile to look into this with someone – a mind-set coach, psychologist or dietitian with additional skills to help you explore this ‘self-talk.’ Find out more about what a dietitian can offer.

Sometimes the stories don’t allow us permission to reflect on the realities of day to day life. Is the juggle over-whelming? Is the to-do list so long you’ve not got time to write it? Are you giving yourself credit for the pressure you are under and how well you are coping? Your food choices might be less than desirable, you know the croissant on the way to work or bar of chocolate at 3pm probably aren’t doing you any favours but you deserve them, right? And besides, you haven’t got time to think about it – isn’t it enough that every other mouth in the family gets fed a healthy dinner, never mind about you?

It breaks my heart that these super amazing women are the ones who cut out carbs, to try and lose weight or restrain themselves to the hilt Monday-Thursday only to collapse in a big heap on Friday night and neck a bottle of wine.

If this is you, you are worthy of the same attention you give to your family – your food choices matter too and in order to be successful with your weight management, you do not have to watch your family eat something entirely different from you…

Stress levels and sleep do play a huge part in our hormonal balance and will influence what your weight does. These things don’t fix easily overnight but an acknowledgement that they form part of the picture is so important to counteract the negative self-talk. As is a more sustainable approach to eating. Every busy parent I know can benefit from carbs – but the right types and portion sizes to support a healthy diet and fat loss. There may be other beliefs our stories validate for us, such as the big question around our metabolism.

Metabolism refers to the amount of energy (calories) we burn. 40-70% of our energy is needed for basic functions that keep us alive. Calories are also burnt to provide energy to digest food. No pill will boost metabolism but eating regularly will support a healthy metabolism. Does your busy schedule allow time for this? Superwoman is still fictional but let’s get her muscles! Crash diets lead to muscle loss which is something it’s good to protect when we’re keen to keep a healthy metabolism. Clearing some of the confusion up can help alter some of those stories in your head.

It feels sometimes that parenthood bad for our health. Our children are at the centre of our world – they come home with stories – often contain a fair amount of self – loathing too. Kids can be mean, blunt and unkind to themselves and well as others. We swoop in to provide a rationale response – whether it be related to fall outs in the playground or difficulties in the classroom. We speak slowly and calmly, we might even stroke their hair or read them a book to make them feel better.

But I would argue we deserve that too. Let 2018 be your opportunity for more of this. Not the latest diet craze or excessive restriction. Pay attention to those stories and the beliefs they reinforce. Are they really true or could you think a little differently? Can you step back, judge less, be inquisitive or talk to yourself in a kinder voice?

Sometimes the key to a healthier, happier you is writing a different story.

Keep up to date with Laura’s siteblogFBTwitter and Instagram.


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