What do you think about when you hear the word health? What, or who are you imagining in your mind? Are you envisioning a thin person working out at a gym, with six pack abs, who constantly checks weight, restricts food and obsesses about body image?
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Or do you see someone that maybe doesn’t have time to hit the gym every day and isn’t constantly body shaming, but they have great relationships, a job they enjoy, a happy family and home life, and a sound connection to their personal spirituality?
So many people spend their entire lives fighting their body and food. This type of relationship with your body and food is exhausting, extremely harmful, and can ultimately lead to major health problems down the road.
As an anti-diet dietitian and intuitive eating coach, I work with people to change these dangerous behaviors and attitudes. We work together on eating more intuitively, or in-tune with what their body wants and needs, and I teach that every body size is acceptable and healthy.
The health at every size approach includes four key principals.
- Accept your body size and shape. Instead of constantly fighting your body, realize how amazing human bodies are and appreciate all that your body does to keep you alive.
- Trust yourself with food and physical activity. Learn to trust your internal signals. When you are craving a steak or you feel too tired or sore for the gym, this is your body telling you something.
- Adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Adopting body kindness and rejecting the diet mentality is so empowering and can help you embrace healthy habits in other areas of your life – make plans with friends, volunteer at your place of worship, move in ways that make you feel good, and eat foods that are delicious to you!
- Embrace size and shape diversity Human bodies come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Accept everyone’s uniqueness and be open to learning from their beauty and individuality.
Adopting this health at every size mentality, embracing body kindness, and choosing healthy lifestyle practices is crucial to making a difference in your own health.
Allison Tropf, ISSA-CPT, works as a RD in a community nutrition setting and as a personal trainer at the Westside YMCA. Reach her at (517) 827-9677.