Summer often gets us thinking about our bodies, mainly how we look and how we feel as we prepare for sweltering holidays and outdoor sporting activities. It’s all about body image but let’s face it: sometimes body talk, including self-talk, can be quite negative from one extreme to the other.
While lots of progress has been made about body size and shape and the thin is in movement doesn’t have as much of a hold on society as it once did, the embrace excess fat (sometimes to the degree of obesity) movement, in the name of body positivity, is gaining steam.
Make no mistake about it, I am all for embracing your body, thunder thighs, love handles and all. I do mine, even if begrudgingly. The truth is, we are all genetically different, but we are all physiological beings. And to stay healthy, we need to take care of our body. We only have one. That’s all.
Easier said than done, right! I should know as I still find it challenging to get it right all the time, but what I have learned over the years about taking care of me is first of all, not to believe the hype on either extreme. Next, it is a fact that obsessing does more harm than good, and finally getting it right all the time is impossible.
They key is to finding a healthy balance that works for you but realising that there are some key elements that we each have to consider in making the best well-being choices:
—Food and Drink! We need it to live, no arguments there. But it is only one part of the story, albeit a big part. To this end, several UIO podcast guests talk about the importance of getting the best diet for you—particularly during the teen years. In Your Body Inside Out, personal trainer Judit Ressinka offers endless advice on making lifestyle changes that will serve you now and later.
She advises against gimmicks and yo yo dieting and talks about the importance of taking care of your body for the purpose of living life now to the fullest while setting up for the best possible future, too.
Although there is something to be said about the avocado, for example, its healthy benefits and all, Judit points out much to my relief that there is nothing wrong with a good burger or a slice of pizza either, as long as they have the right ingredients. That is key—all ingredients aren’t equal. And every food is not for everybody. Find out what serves you and enjoy it.
–Next up is Movement. We need it as well, but movement is not as transparent as food and drink. Personal trainer Laura Miles, guest in Your Body Image Inside Out, says that even when negative body image doesn’t manifest itself through eating habits, it tends to crop up in a number of other ways, such as negative self-talk and lethargy.
As such, Laura, who was an obese teenager, says that there is a big difference in truly embracing your body and accepting unhealthiness. In a recent conversation with her, she reiterated the importance of keeping a healthy balance including diet and exercise and just moving around, as well as getting the right amount of sleep, which leads to a third key element for taking care of your body.
–Of course, Sleep is something we know we need, even if we don’t get enough. I don’t know about you but I am always talking about catching up on my sleep but according to some experts sleep is not something you can catch up on, rather it is something that you manage as best as you can from day-to-day for a number of reasons.
The key one, according to Nicola Morgan, guest in Your Online Wellbeing Inside Out is that sleep informs our health. In short, the brain needs sleep to function.
So, eating according to your health, keeping it moving and managing your z’s will keep you feeling truly body positive whatever shape or size. No need for believing the hype, obsessing to your own detriment or trying to be picture perfect. Just be healthy. That’s all!