3 ways to build resilience in a world full of fads and fitspo

WIRL-366.jpgThey have a dream, to live in a world where diets don’t exist. Alicia and Bree, qualified nutrition gurus (dietitians) and the co-founders of Wellness In Real Life (WIRL if you will) aim to help women improve their relationship with food and themselves!

It might seem unusual for 2 dietitians to never prescribe a diet again, but in a world that wants you to constantly think you are not enough, WIRL are fighting back (and they think you should too). Today on the blog, TDP guest contributors Alicia and Bree share 3 ways to build resilience amongst the fads and fitspo! #youareenough #whoruntheworld…girls.

Have you ever been on a diet? Have you ever thought- if I lose those last/first 5kgs, I’ll be so much happier? Do you look in the mirror and instantly start picking out your lumps and bumps? Do you scroll through Instagram and find yourself thinking; my body is gross, I need to stop eating so much sh*t?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we want you to stop there. Imagine talking to someone you really care about- your mum/daughter/best-friend like that. Feels icky doesn’t it? But why do we justify it being ok to speak to ourselves like that? Well, the reality is, we live in a world that wants you to constantly think you are not enough.  It’s pretty astonishing how enormous the diet and weight loss industry has become- a giant
money making empire in Australia, worth $6.6 billion (and counting)! We, as fully qualified health professionals truly believe that dieting is the new smoking. It’s crazy to think that in the early 70’s, smoking was glamorised by celebs, sensationalised by the media and promoted by health professionals! Sound familiar? So here are our tips on how to start fighting back:

1. Practice self-compassion
Self-compassion is the art of giving ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend. This kindness includes acknowledging the way we talk to ourselves and how we view our bodies. But how do I practice this you ask? Well acknowledgement is the first step, then comes a shift from focusing on all of things we don’t have or wish we had, towards all of the positive things we do have in our lives. There is science that shows if we do something as simple as keep a gratitude diary (writing 3 thing down that we are grateful for each day), after 30 days, we can literally start to re-wire the neural pathways in our brain to think more positively!

2. Take any focus off weight
A healthy body comes in SO many different shapes & sizes, which is dependent on SO many factors out of our control- our genes, our family history, our race, our life experiences and so so much more! Yet, we are constantly bombarded with messages telling us the opposite!  There’s actually a huge amount of growing science that says instead of focusing on changing the shape and size of our body (our weight) as a goal of health, that if we focus on practicing healthy behaviours (like eating a wide variety of nourishing foods, meditating, spending time with family/friends, getting enough sleep and moving our bodies in ways we love), we are much more likely to stick to it and be healthier, regardless of the shape and size of our body!

3. Lift food rules
Food plays a role in our physical health- sure, but food is also engrained in our culture- think of celebratory cakes, family lunch, market trips, friend’s BBQ and the chats around
Grandma’s kitchen bench! We don’t just eat food for the sake of nutrients, we eat foods for STACKS of reasons! Despite this, for decades, we have been told that foods are good and bad based on the nutrients they provide. “Go on a diet”, “eat more good/clean foods” and “don’t eat those bad/naughty foods”. However, when we cut out [said naughty] foods, our bodies have this innate physiological response to fixate on them. We can thank our hunter-gatherer ancestors for this. They ate almost anything they could get their hands on, as food was scarce! So if we cut foods out, our bodies essentially think we’re starving and prompt you to search for the food! If we do end up ‘caving’ to this [said naughty] food fixation we tend to feel guilty or ‘out of control’ afterwards. When really, it’s just our natural body reaction! By treating foods this way, we’re not setting ourselves up to succeed. Dieting and labeling foods can have quite serious unintended consequences on both our physical and mental health.

If not dieting/labeling foods then what? Well, there is some quite compelling science to
suggest that someone who choses a way of eating that is highly varied and based around the 5 core food groups, regardless of whether they have any ‘extra’ foods (what we once may have labelled as bad/naughty), enjoys a much lower risk of chronic disease than people who don’t. The message here is actually about including MORE variety in our diet rather than cutting foods out!

Our final words: Be kind to yourself! You are enough! Variety is the spice of life!

Who is Wellness In Real Life?
Wellness in Real Life (WIRL, if you will) is a social enterprise and brainchild of co-founders, Alicia and Bree – two imaginative, balanced and mindful wellness nuts, each with a Bachelor Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics under their belt and over 10 years of combined experience working in the field.  Through their own personal and professional journey’s, they have realised a true passion for loving, celebrating and wholeheartedly enjoying food. It makes them genuinely devastated to observe the huge amount of pressure, pain and unrealistic expectations people put on themselves and food. Knowing that body image is one of the biggest issues for young Aussies.

They know that diets don’t work nor does having the goal posts set so narrow. So they have a dream…. to live in a world where diets don’t exist. WIRL aims to help women improve their relationship with food and themselves- currently through community and corporate workshops and in the near future an online tool so watch this space!!

For more visit: wellnessirl.com.au or find then on Instagram @wellness.in.real.life and Facebook @wellnessirl

Alicia and Bree

Ana Khan

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