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What Body Positive Practitioners Do For Self-Care

Self-care is a challenging topic — and one none of us can seem to clearly define. What is self-care? Is it a manicure and pedicure? Is it a day at the spa? Wine night with a bunch of awesome people? Sleeping in on a Saturday? Is it fancy, time-consuming, and expensive — a luxury — or something far simpler than that? And what is its purpose?

I think a lot about self-care. As someone who finds habit formation triumphantly difficult (I’m a rebel, according to Gretchen Rubin), mastering the little things takes enormous effort. And you know what? That’s okay. So when I think about self-care, I think a lot less about addition and much more about subtraction. I think a lot less about rules — self-care being another thing on the to do-list, or something else to punish myself with — and more about permission

Permission to take a day off. Permission to sleep in. Permission to eat the things I love. Permission to choose a relaxing walk around my neighbourhood over a vigorous workout. Permission to be imperfect. Permission to stand up for myself. Permission to get loud. Permission to buy an exorbitantly priced green juice when I feel my body needs the nutrition; permission to eat ice cream because it tastes so good. This is all self-care to me, because it all begins with "What do I need to feel good today?" and finding a way to get it. 

Intuitive Eating, body positivity, fat positivity, eating disorder recovery, health at every size. What 5 body positive practitioners do for self-care.

I asked other body positive, anti-diet practitioners to share in this topic and offer their view of what self-care is and what they do to show themselves love. 

SOPHIA APOSTOL

SOPHIA APOSTOL is a Toronto-based Confidence Coach who helps curvy ladies to feel confident from the boardroom to the bedroom. She brings 15 years of experience in the academic and corporate sectors to her client relationships. She builds resilience, courage, and authentic confidence by focusing on awareness, learning, growth, and emotional intelligence. Women who live aligned with their values, strengths, and creativity are able to pinpoint what is holding them back and can clearly see how to move forward. Sophia has worked with entrepreneurs, managers & executives, and academics who want fulfillment in both their career and personal lives.

"Here’s my biggest lifehack for self-care....have a list of your Top 10 Go-To’s written on a post-it on your fridge and saved in your phone’s notes app. 

When we’re in need of self care, our brain isn’t working optimally, hence the desire for self care, and can only focus on short-term alleviation of suffering (my default behaviour is numbing & binging with chips and Netflix). 

So, the way around this is to have a no-brain-needed list where I can easily see it. When I feel like I need/want self care, I look at my list and pick from these options: 

    1.    Get outside!!! Get dog leash, get dog, get down to the lake. 

    2.    Make a cup of English Breakfast tea. Sit on balcony. Breathe. 

    3.    Call one of my besties. Receive their love and support. 

    4.    Text one of my besties. Share that I’m feeling sad/angry/tired/etc. Receive their gratuitous heart emojis. 

    5.    Set an intention every morning. Text it to my 2 friends who also share theirs each
morning (accountability partners are everything!). 

    6.    Use one of my meditation apps for guided mindfulness to lower stress & anxiety in 10
minutes. 

    7.    Crank up girl-power pop music and practice my hip shimmies and sexy belly dance arm
movements...the more jiggle the better! 

    8.    Listen to a podcast that makes me laugh, cry, and learn. Current faves: Dear Sugar, The Moth, On Being.

    9.    Go to Body Blitz. ASAP! (This is a women’s only water circuit spa in Toronto, and it’s heavenly) 

    10.    Watch Netflix. Not binge watching for 5 hours, but to relax and enjoy a couple of
episodes."

Find Sophia: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram

TARA MILLER

 

TARA MILLER is a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist and intuitive eating coach, and owner of the Health Hut, a natural beauty and healthy lifestyle shop with locations in Toronto and Muskoka. She helps clients with a number of issues using a non-diet, "all foods fit" approach to nutrition and wellness. 

"For self-care, it seems simple but I absolutely love spending time alone in the evening and going to bed early.  I also enjoy being social, so make it a point not to schedule more than two nights out during the week in order to stay balanced and recharge.  I used to find it hard to say no to things, but when I realized how important feeling good is to my productivity, relationships and well-being, it has gotten much easier.  Nothing beats getting cozy - even it means I have to schedule it in!"

Find Tara: Facebook, Instagram

CHRISTINA FRANGIONE

 

CHRISTINA FRANGIONE is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Dietitian Nutritionist, who is currently pursuing her Master's degree in nutrition. She is the voice behind When Not All Foods Fit, a blog dedicated to helping people who struggle with disordered eating or negative relationships with food/their bodies AND who also need specialized diets for allergies, intolerances, chronic illnesses, co-occuring disorders, or religious or ethical beliefs.

"Self-care can be relaxing, enjoyable, and rejuvenating. It can also be challenging, painful, and anxiety provoking. Some days, my self-care might be watching a sitcom, painting my nails, or going to a yoga class. Other days, my self-care might be making an uncomfortable phone call, trying to identify why I reacted a certain way, or telling myself “it’s okay” over and over until I believe it. Self-care is so necessary both when you’re clearly in need of some extra support, and when you have a handle on your mental health. "

Find Christina: Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest

EMILY FONNESBECK

EMILY FONNESBECK is a Registered Dietitian and Certified LEAP Therapist who takes an individualized, non-diet approach to client work and avoids fear-based information. She gives guidance to those seeking help with eating disorders or disordered eating, digestive concerns, food sensitivities, diabetes care, heart disease, pregnancy/infertility nutrition, sports nutrition and athletic performance, vegetarian diets, general nutrition information and more.  

"As a working mom of 3, I've found that self-care doesn't just happen.  That's particularly true now that we have a new toddler living with us who is still adjusting to a new language, new country and a new family.  The best way I take care of myself, hands down, is asking for help and not holding myself to the impossible standard of doing everything on my own.  As a recovering perfectionist that's not super easy for me.  But I really benefit from delegating responsibilities to my kids (which is good for them too), accepting my husband's support in household tasks and childcare, triaging to-do lists and even letting go of stuff that isn't necessary (like a clean house some weeks).  We all have to be team players to make it work.  The best part is that I then can find time each week to do things that mean the most to me like playing with my kids, spending time with my husband and writing.  Lastly, I find it so helpful to schedule time for things that I know build physical and mental resiliency for me like exercise, meal planning, scripture reading and sleep. " 

Find Emily: Instagram, Facebook 

JENNA FREE

JENNA FREE is an Intuitive Eating Counsellor and Body Image Coach at You Ain't Your Weight. After years of modelling and obsessing over food and weight, she discovered intuitive eating and self-love -- two tools that "turned her world upside down." She helps women ditch the diet, stop obsessing over food and learn to love their bodies once and for all.

"Practicing self care means more than bubble baths and massages (although those things are amazing). For me a huge part of my self care now is listening to my body, which I rarely did when I was dieting. Honouring my hunger is a huge piece of this. I don't deny myself food anymore, I have learned to always trust my body. Our bodies are so much smarter than us!”

Find Jenna: Instagram, Facebook

How you define self-care? What challenges do you face in practicing some form of self-care? What would you need in order to show yourself love? 

5 Ways to Rebel Against Diet Culture

Hey everyone! Today I'd like to present a special guest to SB Nutrition. Jenny Eden is the founder and owner of Jenny Eden Coaching, a coaching practice devoted to helping men, women, and teens create a healthier and sustainable relationship with food and body image. She is an Eating Psychology Coach, a mindful eating instructor, and health and wellness blogger. She specializes in unique binge eating cessation techniques and mindful eating practices. 

Jenny, take it away!

Body positive | body image | intuitive eating | emotional eating | mindfulness | feminist | anti-diet project | resolutions | eating psychology | binge eating. Tired of cleanses, detoxes, and diets? Check out these 5 tips to rebel against diet culture.

 

It’s January 2nd.  You’re picking up the last of the confetti off of the floor and recycling the empty champagne bottles, all the while contemplating how you will plan to detox from Aunt Edna’s Christmas cookies.  You will ruminate about how, despite telling yourself this year would be different, you found yourself diving deep into chocolate advent houses, entire gingerbread houses, and 15 yule log cakes.  

“It’s ok!”  you tell yourself. “I’ve got Google and an entire Sunday to figure out which diet I’ll pick this time to drop those 5 extra pounds,” pounds that crept on despite your special X-mas themed soulcycle class, and 2 parties that you avoided just in hopes of maintaining your weight this year.

Maybe a part of you hesitates….and wishes you could just focus your time and energy on all your other 2017 goals like finishing that novel, or finally planning that trip to Greece.  “Nah," you reason, “those things won’t even be fulfilling if I’m not thin enough to thoroughly enjoy it.”

And the cycle begins again….

Does this sound familiar?  It should because countless millions of women (and men) experience a version of this every January.  

Cycles are inherent to life:  The earth rotates around the sun, there is a full moon every month, leaves fall every autumn, and we will eat great cake every birthday (if we’re lucky).  But there are some cycles that leave much to be desired.  A vicious cycle perhaps?  A dieting cycle?  A cycle of binge, remorse, restrict, repeat?  Those kinds of cycles are detrimental to our health and our psyches and leave us primed to experience deja vu every January 2nd.

Wouldn’t it be freeing if we could do it differently this year?  To find an alternate (yet possibly rocky, circuitous and emotional) path that offers something more than weight loss - but a sense of deep freedom, acceptance and peace?   It is possible and the 6 techniques I will share below will help you rethink your aggressive weight loss goal in lieu of something a bit kinder, more respectful towards your body, and perhaps above all else compassionate and health promoting.  After all, isn’t that what it is all about?  Health, happiness, and feeling our absolute best in the bodies we actually have right now?

Let me know what you think of these strategies below!

1. Go on a magazine, reality show, and TV access hiatus. 

Much of our feelings of unworthiness and pressure to acquire the perfect body at all costs painfully come from our media consumption that promulgates the message that we need to somehow be fixed and are not worthy enough the way we are.  Try taking a 2 week break from all of these types of media outlets and tune in more with your own wisdom.


2. Find an exercise routine that truly speaks to you. 

Find exercise that you look forward to and makes you feel strong and capable in your skin.  Don’t opt-in for the latest gym trend just because your sister’s friend’s cousin lost 15 pounds that way.  Do it because it speaks to YOU and works with your lifestyle and own body mechanics.

3. Learn a little bit about mindful and intuitive eating.  

Join the slow movement and find out how it can serve you emotionally, physically, and psychologically by having you tune inward and trust your own body versus trusting dietary experts to tell you what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat.  You can start by joining my free 7-day mindful eating basics email course.

4. Embrace your femininity. 

Explore your sensuality and sexuality.  This is often hard for the chronic dieter to do this because they don’t accept or even allow themselves feel sensuality unless they are a certain size.  Try to be comfortable being uncomfortable with this one.  Get the end result at the beginning.  Do a gratefulness body scan, dance, put on a dress that makes your feel amazing right this minute - not in 3 months when you might lose the 10 pounds.  A seed can be planted from this place and blossom, eschewing the perceived notion that you need to lose weight in the first place.  How do I know this works?  Because this was one of the very ways I healed my own body image - by embodying my skin and embracing sensuality no matter what size I was.  

5. Find projects, people, and hobbies that fuel your soul and provide meaning and purpose. 

When I was a chronic dieter, I was actually a really really boring person because weight loss was all I did or could think about.  When would I exercise? What would I eat?  How much?  When could I get to the scale again to weigh in?  When I finally let go of that obsessive, all-consuming dieting mentality, I finally had the time and confidence to start my own business, which is flourishing and giving me so much passion and meaning in my life.  

The truth is, dieting took over my life to the detriment of everyone else in it, including my kids and my husband.  I now see how it was not worth it to jettison everything in my life for this one dream of being a particular weight to prove my worthiness to the world.  And to be honest, I actually found my relationship with food tremendously healed from finding my passion as well, because it gave me a clear focus other than food.  

What 2017 goals and hobbies and passions can you explore this year?
 

If any of the above resonates with you, find like-minded people to explore the anti-diet culture with and immerse yourself around those people to help bring you more along that path.  It doesn’t have to be another deja vu dieting year.  Here are some resources to gently guide you there: 

HAES

 

Jenny Eden Coaching

Food psych podcast

Weightless

The Body Positive

The Center for Mindful Eating

 

Thank you so much to Sarah Berneche for the opportunity to guest post on your wonderful blog!  Here’s to a healthy and happy New Year to you all!