Gimme Some (Science About) Sugar: Effects of Too Much Sugar

Gimme Some (Science About) Sugar: Effects of Too Much Sugar

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Welcome back to The Gimme Some (Science About) Sugar series. In post 1 we covered the basics about how our bodies process sugar and how excess sugar can lead to weight gain. However, there are many other effects of a sugar surplus in the body, so let’s dive in!

What does too much sugar do to your body?

Insulin Resistance Might Develop 

Remember that insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar by allowing our cells to absorb glucose. Insulin resistance develops when there is excess glucose in the bloodstream on a regular basis, reducing our cells ability to respond to insulin and absorb glucose.

As a result, our pancreas begins to produce more insulin so our cells will be able to allow glucose in. Our blood sugar levels will stay in a healthy range as long as the body produces enough insulin and our cells respond to it.

It is when the pancreas no longer produces enough insulin or our cells continue to be less responsive to insulin, that we can become insulin resistant and at risk of developing prediabetes (when our blood glucose levels are above the normal range but not in the diabetic range*).

Although insulin resistance and weight gain get the most attention when it comes to discussing the risks of excess glucose in the blood, there are other effects that are equally important to discuss. There are 3 that we will focus on for the sake of time.

Big spikes in glucose can cause Inflammtion

The body senses a lot of glucose in the bloodstream and it starts to believe something might be wrong. Our bodies then respond to this threat by triggering inflammation. But why is this inflammation harmful? An article by Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine put it best, “Inflammation also antagonizes the action of insulin, the hormone that stimulates muscle and liver to absorb glucose from the blood. And obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, in turn, increase the risk for heart disease.”

High levels of glucose in the blood cause a process called glycation.

Dr. Casey Means of Levels described glycation perfectly in a recent podcast saying, “glycation means glucose starts sticking to things in the body such as blood vessels or proteins.” When sugar sticks to things it starts to cause dysfunction and things in the body will work less efficiently. Dr. Means used the example of the wrinkling of our skin due to glycation of collagen. In other words, consistent large spikes in glucose (above what is healthy*) can accelerate the aging process by glycating the collagen in our skin.

Oxidative stress can occur.

When we dump a lot of glucose into our system, we strain the energy producing pathways in our bodies. This can lead to the production of free radicals in the body that cause damage to our cells, organs, and much more.

Steps you can take to prevent insulin resistance and damaging effects of sugar surplus include:

  • Eating the Well Balanced Way 
  • Exercise regularly
    • Moderate activity for at least 30 minutes – 1 hour, 5 times a week is great. Adding in more difficult activities like weight lifting, cycling, or endurance training 2-3 times per week is even better
  • Maintain a healthy weight
    • The number on the scale does NOT define you, but staying within a healthy range that is unique to your body can definitely help prevent insulin resistance and other health risks

If you are interested in learning more about the science of sugar, watch our free workshop on how to fit sugar in a well balanced diet: Watch the workshop!

The Gimme Some (Science About) Sugar Series


*According to the American Diabetes Association, the normal range for blood glucose 1-2 hours after a meal for individuals without prediabetes or diabetes is 140 mg/dL. For those with diabetes it is 180 mg/dL or higher. Fasting blood glucose for healthy individuals should be below 100 mg/dL, in prediabetes the range is 100-125 mg/dL, and in diabetes it is 126 mg/dL or higher.

Gimme Some (Science About) Sugar: What Happens When We Eat Sugar?

Gimme Some (Science About) Sugar: What Happens When We Eat Sugar?

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What does science say about sugar? Is it really that bad?

Sugar. It’s famous for its sweetness and shamed for its health effects. But why is that? Most of us know sugar can be “bad” without really knowing why. 

Over the course of this series of blog posts, we will cover:

  • how the body processes sugar and if sugar causes weight gain
  • insulin and insulin resistance
  • what excess sugar does to the body
  • ways to optimize your blood sugar and insulin levels
  • different types of carbs and natural vs. processed sugars

Let’s start with the basics.

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. There are different sugars present in our foods. When we refer to sugar in this series, we are talking about: 

  • Fructose and Glucose – the sugar found in fruits, vegetables, honey, but also in food products like syrups made with a combination of fructose and glucose
  • Sucrose (aka table sugar) –  occurs naturally in sugar beet, sugar cane, and fruits
  • Lactose – a sugar found in milk and dairy products

These sugars are made up of only one or two sugar units (compared to 10 or more units in other carbohydrates). This is why they are sometimes called simple sugars or simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are made of many sugar units and take longer to digest than simple sugars.

What happens in your body when you eat sugar?

When we eat simple sugars, our body breaks the sugar units apart fairly quickly and they can get used immediately upon digestion.

Your body will notice the influx of sugar in your blood and produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts as a key unlocking the door to our cells allowing the sugar in. Cells will use the sugar for energy. Once your cells have enough fuel any excess sugar will be stored in your muscles, liver, or tissues. 

Do we need sugar?

Our bodies need glucose (blood sugar) for fuel, but it doesn’t have to come from simple sugars. We can turn other carbohydrates into glucose. We need about 130 grams of carbohydrates a day to support brain health and give our bodies enough glucose for fuel.

What happens in your body when you eat too much sugar?

Too much (or too little) sugar in the bloodstream will trigger reactions in the body that will help restore a healthy blood sugar level. When sugar is over-abundant in the blood and your cells no longer need it for energy, your body will allow more sugar to be used up by muscles, send some to the liver for storage, and will temporarily prevent any breakdown of previously stored energy. If there is still extra sugar in the blood after that happens, our bodies can store the sugar as fat.

Will eating sugar cause weight gain?

If we consistently eat foods or meals that cause excess sugar to circulate in our blood, we increase our fat stores. However, this does NOT mean that eating sugar guarantees you will increase your fat stores. It does mean that eating and drinking an overabundance of foods high in simple sugars (donuts, white bread, candy, sugary cereal, sodas) can lead to a flood of sugar, causing our bodies to store the glucose in muscles, liver, or as fat.

It is only when we consume too much sugar too often that we can begin to gain weight and start to experience negative effects. However, there are ways to optimize your blood sugar levels that prevent weight gain (more on this later).

Over the next few posts we will cover more effects of excess sugar in the blood, insulin and insulin resistance, tips for optimizing your blood sugar, and breakdown the different types of carbs. Stay tuned for more sweet stuff!

Water: How much should you drink every day and why?

Water: How much should you drink every day and why?

What role does water play in the body?

It helps perform chemical reactions and maintain important structures in our cells. Water in the body helps regulate temperature, keep joints lubricated, nourish the brain and spinal cord, and is an integral part of our metabolism.

Why is water so important?

Since the body relies on water for many vital processes, without enough to go around all systems must work a bit harder to do their normal job.

If the human body is made up of 55-65% water, why do we need to drink water every day?

We lose 60-100 ounces of water every day through normal processes like sweating, urinating, and even breathing. If we don’t replace these losses we can see negative consequences like decreased focus or cognitive function, mood fluctuations, headaches, dry skin, and constipation.

What are the benefits of drinking water?

Just like a car runs better with adequate oil and gas, your body runs best with adequate water and calories. Drinking water is not a magic bullet for health, but it is an important and often overlooked requirement for a high functioning mind and body. Drinking enough water promotes healthy digestion, supports mental focus, can aid in weight loss, prevents headaches, lubricates joints, and keeps skin moist.

How much water do I need to drink?

It depends on many factors such as your age, gender, activity level, and overall health. Adequate intake levels for water have been determined for generally, healthy people and are based on age and gender.

  • For women, the amount of total water is about 11.5 cups per day.
  • For men about 15.5 cups.

These estimates, however, include fluids consumed from both foods and beverages, including water. If eating a healthy diet you typically get about 20% of the water you need from the food you eat. Taking that into account, in order to help replenish normal water loss:

  • women need to drink about 9 cups of FLUIDS per day
  • men need to drink about 12.5 cups of FLUIDS per day

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you’ll require more water. Individuals with certain health conditions, such as congestive heart failure or renal disease, also have different fluid needs. The same is true for those with serious infections or diarrhea.

How do I know I’m getting enough water?

A quick and easy way to check if you are getting enough water overall is to take a peek at the color of your urine. If you are consuming enough, the urine color will be a pale yellow color. If it is a dark yellow or amber color, you may need to increase the amount you consume.


What else counts toward fluid/water intake?

It was once thought that coffee and tea shouldn’t count toward hydration goals. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks do make you urinate more, but overall, they’re hydrating because of their water content. Milk is a very hydrating drink. Juices, sodas, and other sweetened drinks are also hydrating but contribute sugar and calories you may not want. Water is usually the best choice for hydration because it doesn’t have extra calories.

Does bubbly water count toward water intake?

Bubbly water is mostly a healthy way to shake up the monotony of plain water. It shouldn’t completely replace plain water so don’t drink it exclusively. Try alternating it with regular water. Keep in mind, not all sparkling waters are created equal. Club soda, tonic water, and some flavored varieties can contain added sodium, sugar, and artificial sweeteners. For this reason, be sure to know what’s in your favorite sparkling water. Read the labels.

What foods are high in water?

Foods with a 90-100% water content, include:

  • Drinks – water, sparkling water and fat-free milk.
  • Fruits – cantaloupe, strawberries and watermelon.
  • Vegetables – lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach and cooked squash.

Foods with a 70-89% water content, include:

  • Fruits – bananas, grapes, oranges, pears and pineapples.
  • Vegetables – such as carrots, cooked broccoli and avocados.
  • Dairy products – yogurt, cottage cheese and ricotta cheese.
Things to Know Before You Go (#2)

Things to Know Before You Go (#2)

As the holiday season revs up, we often look forward to our favorite festive foods. However, sometimes those delicious dishes can wreak havoc on our digestive system. Not to mention that the lack of regularity in our schedules, routines, and eating habits during this time of year can lead to irregularity in our bowel movements. However, holiday cheer doesn’t mean you have to feel bloated, constipated, or crampy! That’s why I (Bella)  teamed up with our friend Dr. Norah from Functional Pyhzio to come up with some ways to help you beat the bloat (and more) this holiday season.

What we put in our bodies influences what comes out of our bodies. Here are some things to add to your stool tool box: 

  • Stay hydrated – If constipation is a main complaint, you might not be drinking enough water throughout the day. Dehydration means our intestines don’t have enough water  and can lead to dry, lumpy, hard stools. 
    • Try and aim for at least 8 glasses of water per day to combat constipation
    • Set a reminder on your phone if you often forget about water throughout the day 
    • A great “hack” is to drink at least one glass of water as soon as you wake up (or at least before coffee) to start of the day the hydrated way 
  • Add more fiber – There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and slows digestion, allowing us to absorb more nutrients. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water, adding to fecal bulk and softening stool, making it easier and less straining on our bowels when we go number 2. Typically the rule of thumb is that insoluble fiber is great for constipation and irregularity and soluble fiber is good for both diarrhea and constipation. 
    • Sources of soluble fiber: oats, apples, beans, bran, and barely
    • Sources of insoluble fiber: wheat bran, beans, whole-wheat flour, potatoes, cauliflower, and many other veggies
    • Adding nuts and seeds (especially chia and flax seeds) on top of yogurt, oatmeal, salads, or to smoothies can be an easy way to sneak more fiber into each meal
  • Keep movin’ – Physical activity is a great way to support your digestive system and keep you regular. Our intestines have natural movements that move stool through our bodies. However, exercise can be the push our bowels need if things start to slow down. 
    • A short activity that’s about 15 minutes long may be all that you need to get those bowels moving 
    • Consistent exercise promotes consistency in our bowel movements 
  • Ditch the irritating foods – If you find your stools to be looser than normal, then you may be consuming food or drinks that irritate your insides. 
    • Caffeine, alcohol, sugar alcohols (sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol), spicy, and fried or fatty foods are common culprits
    • However, everyone is unique and may have foods that are personally triggering. Try and keep a record of what you eat and drink if you are having loose stools regularly

Nutrition isn’t the only way you can manage your symptoms. Oftentimes things like toileting posture and muscle tension/relaxation are overlooked.  That’s why we love these suggestions from Dr. Norah’s recent blog post

  • “Toileting posture – when you’re sitting on the toilet (pee or poop) it’s important that you can fully relax and that you are comfortable. 
    • Place your feet on a step stool (the squatty potty is the best) to your knees are higher than hips
    • Lean forward 
    • Check out THIS post to learn more  
  • Abdominal Massage – self abdominal massage can help with digestion as well as improving constipation or bloating
    • Gently massage abdomen in small circles, starting at the right lower abdomen and working along the large intestine in a clockwise fashion 
    • Learn more abdominal massage techniques HERE
  • Pelvic Floor Relaxation – When the pelvic floor muscles can’t relax it makes it much harder to go. 
    • To work on pelvic floor muscle relaxation lay on your back with your feet together and knees comfortably out to the side
    • Take a deep breath in and imagine your lungs are in your pelvis. Feel your hips and pelvic floor relaxing as you breathe in and out.” 

Don’t let diarrhea, constipation, or belly discomfort get you down this holiday season. Next time your symptoms start to act up, try out these simple techniques so you can be jolly all season (and year) long.

Gift Guide for Health Gains in the New Year

Gift Guide for Health Gains in the New Year

Shopping for presents for friends and family can be a dreaded task during a busy
holiday season. We’ve made it easy for you this year by creating a gift guide (or wish
list) for you with must-have items that make a healthy lifestyle convenient.

Crate and Barrel Veggie Ricer: This is a simple yet helpful kitchen item. It allows you to
make fluffy rice out of your favorite veggies. Freshly riced cauliflower is less soggy
than the store-bought frozen cauliflower rice and makes a great base for numerous

Brimma Water Bottle: Drinking enough water throughout the day can get boring. The
Brimma water bottle allows you to add natural flavor to your water by infusing
fruits, herbs, or veggies of your choice. Some great combinations are cucumber and
lemon, pineapple and strawberry, blueberry and apple, or mint.

Food Chopper: This portable food chopper makes food prep easier and faster. It takes
away the hassle of cutting food and makes cooking more efficient, liberating your hands
from the dreaded task of chopping or mincing.

Vegetable Spiralizer: Spice up your pasta night by swapping the spaghetti with veggie
noodles. This fun little machine turns plain ole veggies into noodles within seconds! It’s
a helpful tool for adding more veggies to your diet while making food prep quick and

Prepdeck: Meal planning and prep is often the biggest obstacle to eating healthier. The
Prepdeck helps you plan and prep meals with an organized station including over 45
tools and features including 15 containers stored in the unit, a cutting board, grater,
zester, slicer, juicer, garlic crusher, peeler, julienne peeler, green stripper, and a bottle
opener! Who wouldn’t want this?!

Meal Planning That Works: If you or your loved one gets excited about making life in the kitchen easier, smoother, and more efficient – this course is one to not miss. Become a pro and have all the tools and cheatsheets at your disposal for making healthier, tastier, homemade meals happen. Give it as a gift or grab it for yourself! Black Friday Sale: Take 70% off with code: HOLIDAY2021

Healthy For The Holidays

Healthy For The Holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching which means it’s time for all things food, family, and friends. These seasonal festivities can be both cheerful and stressful. Whether you’re looking forward to a full house and a full belly or slightly dreading it, understandably, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day our health sometimes gets put on the back burner. But the holidays don’t have to be hard on your health. That’s why the greatest gift you can give yourself this holiday season is to do it the Well Balanced way. Here’s how: 

Walk it off:

  • It’s all about regulating and controlling insulin. Elevated levels of insulin can have a major impact on your metabolic health. Studies have shown that simply going for a walk (or movement of any kind) after a meal helps regulate blood sugar and reduce the overall increase in insulin. Encourage your friends and family to get on their feet after any feast!

Don’t be like a turkey and overstuff yourself: 

  • There are lots of meals to be had this time of year, but make sure you give your body time to digest in between. If we eat too much too frequently, we often end up eating more than we need and feel overstuffed. It is also important to slow down and savor the food you’re eating to prevent rushing through a meal. The more mindful we are of the food we’re eating, the more we can enjoy it.

Don’t be like Santa and eat all the cookies:

  • Portion control is your best friend when it comes to those holiday dishes. But just because you want to stay healthy doesn’t mean you can’t have a Christmas cookie. Remember it’s about moderation. A great way to reduce your portions is to opt for a smaller plate. This will allow you to eat the foods you enjoy while making sure your portions are reasonable. And when it comes to the sweets remember that one is fun! Whether it be one cookie, one slice, or even one bite, it’s important you enjoy all the treats within reason.

Gift yourself with personal time: 

  • Self-love is the best love! Don’t forget to love yourself this holiday season. Taking a moment to check in with yourself, whether it’s a 10 minute walk or reading a few pages of a book, will help you remember to take time each day to prioritize yourself. 

Deck the Halls with Hydration

  • This time of year is filled with festive beverages, which means water sometimes gets forgotten. It is important to remember to hydrate all day and have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage to avoid dehydration. Following up a glass of wine or cocktail with a glass of H2O is an easy way to space out your spirits and meet your water needs.

Don’t skip out on sleep 

  • It’s easy for our sleeping schedules to get thrown off by all the holiday cheer. However, getting a consistent 6-8 hours of sleep per night during the holiday season will allow you to feel energized for wrapping, cooking, and attending events. Studies have proven that sleep is often the missing key for achieving weight loss or health goals, making it extra important for you to sleep like a Christmas baby the next few months. 
Mindful Eating – What is it and why is it important?

Mindful Eating – What is it and why is it important?

Imagine sitting down at your team meeting conference table at 8:30 am. You smell a lovely free buffet-style breakfast and can’t wait to dig in. Now you are told to get your breakfast plate together and sit back down but don’t start eating yet. This is how my (Lucy’s) first experience with mindful eating began. It was an interactive demonstration that our former director graciously coordinated for the Nutrition team.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting in front of my hot oatmeal thinking “okay lady, my oats are getting cold…” We were told to close our eyes and assess how hungry we feel on a scale of 1-10… and the oats got colder. Then, we were instructed to look at the food and smell it. Decide what we liked about the food on our plate (or bowl in my case). Now I’m thinking “I don’t care! I just want to eat.” Finally, she gave us permission to eat our first bite. Only one bite then set the utensil down to notice the taste, texture, temperature, etc. 

All the while, we were sitting in the dark and not allowed to speak to our neighbors or have any distractions. We continued at this glacier pace of eating for the next 15 minutes – in dark silence. After about 7 minutes I got on my iPhone under the table and posted on Facebook that clearly, mindful eating was a new form of torture that I would not recommend.

For a bit of background, up to this point in my life, most of my meals were eaten while on the way to school or work, sitting at my desk, in front of the TV, or while socializing with my friends or family. So the idea of getting quiet and tuning into my hunger was completely foreign to me!

Fast forward several years, many books, and self-exploration later, I’ve come a long way. Since then, I have adopted my own mindful eating habits that are much less involved than the demonstration and can be done more easily in everyday life.

What is Mindful Eating?

It’s more than just slowing down. Eating mindfully is about awareness and intention. It calls for deliberate engagement on our part. It is making thoughtful decisions on what we gather, shop for, and select. The absence of mindful eating is eating with distraction, on autopilot, or letting your environment be the sole influence for your food choices. When we learn how to be mindful eaters, it allows us to make meaningful, clear choices about the food we’re eating and why.

What are the Core Principles of Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating can be a challenging topic for a lot of people, mainly because they are unsure of exactly what mindful eating means. The core principles of mindful eating are simple:

  • Bring awareness to nourishing properties of food through the process of food preparation and consumption
  • Select enjoyable and nutritious foods
  • Acknowledge food preferences non-judgmentally and give permission to enjoy fun foods
  • Recognize and honor physical hunger and satiety cues
  • Use wisdom to guide eating decisions

Mindless Eating

You can’t talk about mindful eating without discussing mindLESS eating. Mindless eating involves looking at environmental cues and triggers around eating and recognizing that you are often eating on autopilot. Without awareness and intention, your choices can easily be influenced by the outside world. This happens a lot when you are…

  • eating on the run (in the car)
  • eating while distracted (TV, phone, computer)
  • eating from large plates and/or buffet style
  • alcohol consumption and eating

Mindful eating involves making adjustments to avoid these triggers that may compel us to eat an unbalanced diet, eat too much, or both.

How do you practice mindful eating?

Here are Well Balanced Nutrition’s favorite tips for overcoming mindless eating using tools and adjustments you can make in your daily life.

  • Sit and savor your food – try not to eat standing up or at the counter. Make a true effort to sit at the table while eating.
  • Eat off of a plate [not out of the bag] – this will help you recognize and enjoy the food you’re eating by seeing what food is truly in front of you.
  • Do your best to avoid electronics when eating – focus on your meal by putting away the cell phone or TV – at least for a few minutes.
  • Eat from smaller plates or start with smaller portions. You can always refill after a mindful check-in with yourself.
  • Stock your environment with Well Balanced choices that you’re excited to eat.

How to become a more mindful eater? 

It takes time and practice. Let us guide you on that journey with individual sessions. We’ll share strategies, help you take action, and keep you moving forward. Book a clarity call to get started today.

Wellness Resources to get you through COVID-19

Wellness Resources to get you through COVID-19

Who would have thought we’d be here? Suffering as a nation. Hunkering down for the safety of one another. Trying to stay connected while social distancing. Working, teaching, and schooling from home.  Praying for the essential workers who are on the front lines and keeping the world going to the best of their ability.

During this crazy time, Well Balanced Nutrition is here to support healthy habits, provide clarity around food choices, and help you overcome stress eating. We know that change is tough. Adjusting to your new normal at home may be challenging. That’s why we are here to support our communities in Durham and Clemmons, North Carolina. We have the wellness tools and strategies that will help bring a bit of balance back to your life, help you feel comfortable and in control around food, and manage the stress and anxiety that this situation brings.

How can I keep my food safe during COVID19?

The Nutrition Source from Harvard Health has the low down on food safety. This article provides the answers to your questions including how long does coronavirus live on surfaces?

Food safety, nutrition, and wellness during COVID-19 | The Nutrition Source

Try These Strategies for Managing Emotional Eating

We asked and we heard you say that being so close to your kitchen all day long is hard. The fun snacks are calling your name and the stress can lead you down a slippery slope of emotional eating. Here are some strategies you will find helpful as you try to manage those urges. Remember to be kind to yourself! We are all human and Well Balanced eating is not fail-proof. (Start here. If you are new to Well Balanced Nutrition or just need a refresher, start here with What the Heck is Well Balanced eating?)

Keep Moving to Manage Stress

If you need a reminder of why it is so important to keep moving and stay active at home, remember that walking can:

  • Be an effective antidepressant in mild to moderate cases of depression
  • Protect an aging brain against memory loss and dementia
  • Support Vitamin D levels
  • Boost your circulation and increase oxygen supply to the brain

And that’s just to name a few reasons why walking is like a miracle drug.

Also, check out these online workouts: Gym closed? Here are some free or discounted workouts to do at home

Manage All The Feels with Meditation

Meditation is a great way to feel all the feels, release some of the anxiety and find your center again. Several companies have shared free resources to help you continue or start a mindfulness and meditation practice during COVID.

Boost Immunity with Fruits and Vegetables

Running out of fresh Fruits and Veggies? How do you maintain a colorful diet full of produce when you are trying to avoid multiple trips to the store? One solution is to have your produce delivered! Below are several options or you may have a local farm near you that has a delivery box.

When you use up your fresh produce, don’t feel bad about eating frozen and canned produce. Both are healthy options. Read why below…

If you buy more fresh produce (and other food items) than you can eat, make them last by sticking them in the freezer. Here is a resource to help you know what foods you can freeze and how.

Keep Meals Interesting

Working with an extra tight budget now? Check out Struggle Meals. You’ll find super budget-friendly dishes in these free cooking episodes. Not too mention, he is so fun to watch!!

What are some healthy pantry foods?

Check out our healthy pantry staple checklist HERE.

Here are 4 more resources to help you cook from pantry staples.

How can I stay/be healthy through COVID-19?

Still feeling overwhelmed? We understand. This is hard. If what you really need is someone to walk you through these wellness strategies and take it one baby step at a time, we can help you feel more Well Balanced and supported through our virtual nutrition coaching services. Reach out today for an appointment.

5 Ways to Love and Respect Your Body

5 Ways to Love and Respect Your Body

“I love you Binky, but I don’t have to like you right now.” -How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days

How can I love and respect my body when I want it to be different?

Some days we feel fabulous in our body. Strong, vibrant, attractive and healthy. While the other days, we feel weak, bloated, unattractive and overall dissatisfied in our skin. It’s normal to go through these phases.

On the days that we feel the latter, which may be most days, we can work on improving our relationship with our body – even when we wish it would be different – by choosing love and respect.

Here are 5 ways to love and respect your body:

  1. Gratitude – being grateful for our bodies may sound hard to do when you aren’t feeling good about yourself, but it’s a powerful mindset shift. When you choose to focus on the good things your body can do for you it can pull you out of the dumps. Try saying or writing this… “I choose to be grateful for my legs that allow me to walk or run.” “I choose to be thankful that my body was able to bring babies into the world.” “I choose to be grateful that my body allows me to lift my kids up, play basketball, do yoga, walk and play with my dog, etc.”
  2. Stop comparing – “Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they’ll never be you.” Instead of comparing yourself to friends or what you see on social media, compare yourself to the person you were 1 year ago or 5 years ago. Have you become wiser, stronger, healthier or happier? Celebrate that progress! Take pride in any areas that you have grown. If you can’t find something to celebrate, explore what seems to be throwing you off course and be sure to pay close attention to #5.
  3. Be respectful with your words and actions – When your friend is having a bad body image day – would you tear her down further or lift her up and try to show her that she is beautiful? If your son was feeling less than his peers, would you bully him about it or remind him of his strengths? We would never treat our loved ones the way we can treat ourselves sometimes. Take a step back and ask yourself, would I say or do this to someone else? Learn to be your own friend.
  4. Shift the momentum – Sometimes, one feeling or event can trigger us into a downward spiral of shame, blame, and defeat. When you catch yourself in that downward motion, stop the momentum and take a single small step in the opposite direction. Say something nice to yourself, choose a balanced meal, or mindfully indulge a craving, move your body, get out and socialize, journal or call a friend. It usually just takes one step to shift your momentum. That one step will make it easier to take the next step up and so on.
  5. Know the difference between perfectionism and healthy striving – Brene Brown taught me this life-altering lesson that is so profound for me. I think this concept sums up how we can love and respect our bodies, even when we might want to change something about them. It’s about avoiding perfectionism, and embracing our flaws while striving for improvement. You see, perfectionism is always wanting to avoid all flaws and imperfections. It’s wanting and expecting the unattainable. It’s the thought: “I won’t love myself until I lose 50lbs, have a booty like Beyonce, abs like a bodybuilder and be able to swing around on a pole like JLo at a halftime show. 🤪” Unless you have the money and time to spend uprooting your life to spend hours in the gym and on plastic surgery, for most of us that’s not likely to happen. On the contrary, healthy striving is setting stretch goals that might be challenging but can realistically be met with some effort. When you are striving for a healthier self, it looks and sounds more like this: “I love myself, flaws and all. Nobody is perfect. I want to feel good and be strong. I know that today I can challenge myself to be a bit better than I was yesterday. I know that mistakes are normal (they don’t indicate that I’m unworthy) and growth is possible.”

I hope these suggestions help you love and respect your body even on the days it’s hard. I also hope it helps you understand the concept of radical acceptance of every step along your journey AND a realistic desire for growth and improvement.

How to stick to a diet?

How to stick to a diet?

Why is it so hard to stick to a diet and not cheat? Many fad diets that claim to work are not sustainable for the long-term. They come with many rules and restrictions that often backfire. Most do not stick with a diet for long even if they see initial results. Have you been on a diet, come close to your goal, and then found yourself going backward?

Help! I keep cheating on my diet.

You are not alone. This is a very common phenomenon for dieters. They are really diligent about following the rules of their diet, but then something happens. They get invited out to eat, they have a stressful day, or they succumb to the temptation of the sweets sitting out on the counter. Then they feel awful, defeated, and like they have to start back at square one.

Finish Line Mentality

Even those who see great results from dieting can struggle to keep things going in the long term. Going on a diet can sometimes feel a bit like a race. You have an end goal in mind and you make changes to reach that goal, but the changes never become habits. At Well-Balanced Nutrition, we call this the finish line mentality.

A few years ago, I had the wonderful experience of participating in Toastmasters. My mentor in the group encouraged me to earn the competent communicator title which required that I give 10 speeches. It was quite exciting. I was time planning, practicing, and presenting a new speech nearly every month. I felt more confident and competent by the end of that year. Then I stopped going to Toastmasters… Luckily for me, I still enjoy practicing and doing public speaking events; however, I stopped gaining new skills and feeling as confident as I did while attending the meetings. This is an example of reaching the “finish line.”

It’s not you, it’s the diet.

Going on diet-after-diet can start to feel like a wild roller coaster ride. At times it’s fun and exciting, but more often it leaves us feeling frustrated and defeated. I bet you could ask a friend or coworker and they would explain this has happened to them too.

Maybe, you thought this time is different and you were not just going on a diet but making a lifestyle, yet you fell off the wagon anyway. Whenever someone takes on a new way of eating we remind people that wellness is an ongoing journey. Making small, attainable changes that can turn into long-term habits is the best approach to reaching your health and wellness goals and that requires continued effort and growth.

 What to do instead of dieting?

Not surprisingly, we recommend the Well-Balanced Way. This includes a few steps you can start today!

  1. First, assess if you are falling victim to the diet mentality. It promises big results if you just keep your willpower strong. Unfortunately, will power is not a great source to rely on.
  2. Second, it is important to make the decision to ditch the diet approach and go another way. It may seem silly, but stating it out loud and/or writing down your goal is a very important step in the journey.
  3. Third, focus on your habits and your unique nutrition needs. Healthy habits are the things you do routinely that honor and serve every aspect of your health and well-being.

Food for thought:

A diet is not like an antibiotic. You do not go on a diet for a period of time to cure yourself of “fatness.” Instead, make the changes and choices that are going to serve you over the long-term and that honor your body.

Lucy Hayhurst

Ask yourself:

  • Who do I need to become in order to achieve this goal?
  • What resources do I need?
  • Who will be on my team?

Would you like a nutrition coach to help empower, educate, and encourage you? We are here to help.