Health Vs. Weight Focus? How do I shift?!

July 20, 2021

Author: Angela Trotter, M.S., CNS, AFMCP, Clinical Functional Nutritionist

It’s that time of year again, the sun is out and the vacations are booked, and for most women, this is when the focus on body image is at its highest.  It can cause some to go to extremes to achieve that magic number on the scale – dramatically reducing calories, skipping meals, doing intense overextended workouts, and partaking in the next diet fad or boot camp.  In many ways, these attempts can further impair the body’s metabolic and hormonal balancing causing further metabolic and hormonal imbalance down the road.

I think one of the greatest shifts in maintaining long-term health goals is to focus on health, not weight.  I always like to state that weight loss is simply a side effect that occurs once we start to heal the body and address the specific imbalances for each individual – in a healthy, slow, and steady way that better supports long-term change.  For me, this shift happened in my 20s when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition.  I had to re-learn the mantras many of us are sold: “less is more”, “push your body harder”.  Instead, I had to heal my body, which in many ways meant having more food – that is, more food that was full of nutrients that my body needed in order to heal.  This experience not only showed me the importance of nutrition but also the importance of listening to our bodies.  Symptoms are signals.  Learning to trust our bodies and becoming more intuitive to their needs will, in the long run, lead us to improved health measures, improved metabolism, decreased inflammation, and better weight maintenance overall, and ultimately a greater body acceptance. 

Our bodies are incredible with their capacity to heal and flourish, as many of us are in so many ways.  My hope in this season is to shift our focus away from the scale, and more towards leading healthy lives – choosing foods that heal, healing our past pains, healing relationships, and healing from the pressure society has placed on us.  We are enough.  Our bodies are perfect.  With this, it is also okay to step into making slow and steady changes to further support our health.

Below I will provide a few ways we can slowly shift our focus:

  • Shifting away from the idea that diet has to be perfect, all the time.  As a nutritionist I can tell you that I do not eat perfectly 100% of the time. (Yup, I am a human!)  I don’t think anyone needs that kind of pressure.  However, we can shift this to making 1-2 healthier options throughout the weeks. This can include something like:
    • Aiming to get more organic vegetables with your meals
    • Slowly reducing how much sugar we consume on a daily basis
    • Slowly reducing our intake of highly processed foods
    • And from time to time enjoying things that may not fit in these categories – it’s about healthy balance
  • Shifting from focusing on calories-in, calories-out and instead focus on clean, whole foods like grass-fed beef, organic free range poultry, wild caught fish, healthy dietary fats like nuts, seeds, cleaner cooking oils like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, lots of organic vegetables and fruits.

So in this season, I hope we can all listen to our bodies, be kinder to our process, and make a few simple steps towards foods that heal so that we can continue to feel our best because we are more than worth it.

Author: Angela Trotter, M.S., CNS, AFMCP, Clinical Functional Nutritionist

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