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self-love tips MINDBODY
Wellness
Published Friday Jan 04, 2019 by Erica Arvanitis

What I’ve Learned About Loving Myself

Personal Growth
Meditation

These days, we live in a world where self-love is literally everywhere. It’s all over your Instagram feed. It’s in your workplace when chatting with coworkers. It’s present at your yoga practice and most importantly; it’s within you. 

Is self-love a face mask at the end of a stressful day? A soothing bath to wash away the insecurity you felt on that first date? Or maybe it’s heading into a therapy session ready to discuss your triggers. Self-love takes on many forms. It can be all of those things—or it could be none of them. But what all these activities have in common is care. The act of self-love is proving to yourself that you’re worth the effort and time that goes into your rituals, whatever they may be. 

Finding self-love hasn’t always been smooth for me. I spent the majority of my life feeling like I wasn’t good enough, allowing my insecurities and anxiety to swallow me whole. My journey to self-love is still constantly evolving. I have days where I wake up feeling so free, so content with myself, so real. Other days, I wake up shrouded with self-doubt and swarming with insecurities. But now, it’s all in how I handle that anxiety throughout my day, and that’s where self-love comes in. 

Whether you’re searching for a way to turn down the volume of that overly-critical voice in your head or want to start 2019 on an authentic note, here are some of the go-to lessons I’ve learned about navigating self-love. 


Go at your own pace. 

Around this time of year especially—oh hey 2019—there is an overwhelming pressure to quickly change ourselves for the better. In years past, I’ve found myself directing energy to what others were doing—like committing to be more fit with a new gym membership—and it caused me to compare their goals with mine. They were always doing more, and I wasn’t doing enough. 

2019 is the year of breaking that pattern! The more you focus on what others are doing, the less attention you give yourself. And here’s a little piece of advice: whatever you are doing is enough. Whether it’s taking five minutes out of your day to go for a walk outside and meditate, signing up for weekly classes at your favorite yoga studio, or making the choice to start therapy, these decisions are yours and no one else’s. You don’t have to accomplish anything according to any timeline, so give yourself permission to move at your own pace. 


Embrace your vulnerability. 

What if your “weaknesses” were actually your strengths? For me, I had been living most of my life thinking that my sensitive nature was “too much.” A burden for the people around me. It wasn’t until I made a choice to start therapy almost three years ago that I was introduced to the idea that vulnerability is my superpower. It’s how I express myself and connect with others, so why would I hide it? Instead, I leaned into it. The world needs more of us softies, let’s show them how compassion is done. 


Create healthy boundaries. 

Just like self-love isn’t always a walk in the park, setting boundaries can be challenging, too. Establishing healthy boundaries is a way to make space for your authenticity to shine—and it’s at the core of self-love. For me, setting boundaries always seemed like a negative thing until I started actively doing it. It’s not fun to put them in place, and you need to get honest with yourself as to why you left those doors open for so long. But in the end, it’s worth the growth. Remember that bringing these boundaries into your life is about you. You have all you need to experience your authentic self, so start trusting the lines you’re creating. 


Make mistakes, often. 

We all fear the dreaded “F” word–failure. This whole “self-love” train feels smooth when things are going well—you’re in a healthy relationship, you just got a promotion, etc.—but when we mess up, it’s not so easy. 

It’s a revolutionary act to not only make mistakes, but to talk about them. How will I learn if I don’t delve into why I made that decision? Failure is the fire that fuels my growth; it teaches me how to turn right instead of left, and where I should shift my focus for the future. That’s why self-love is something I consistently practice. 

It’s not an accomplishment, a gold star, or something you finish. I’ll be learning how to love myself all my life. It’s essential to keep pushing, keep working at this ritual of self-love for the moments when I’m anxious, worried, or things don’t go as planned. This healthy habit acts as the roots of my inner self, helping me to steer clear of negative self-talk when times are tough.


Creating a safe space for your authentic self to flourish takes time, effort, and investment. Whether it’s something small like leaving a party early, or a big decision like setting a boundary with someone close to you, make the art of self-love part of your daily practice and remember that you are worthy of loving yourself fully

 

If you want to learn more about self-love and navigating mental health, follow Erica’s journey at @anxietyerica or read her blog!
 

Erica Arvanitis MINDBODY
Written by
Erica Arvanitis
Copywriter
About the author
A copywriter by day, Erica spends her free time mastering the art of puzzles while forcing her 10-year-old Chow mix to wear sweaters. With experience in PR, social media, marketing, and copywriting, Erica lives and breathes the written word. Warning: don’t test her on Friends trivia - she will win every time.
intuitive eating tips
Wellness
Published Tuesday Oct 22, 2019 by Connie Weissmuller

5 Things You Might Not Know About Intuitive Eating

Nutrition
Food
Expert Advice

Intuitive eating is an approach to eating that has nothing to do with diets, “lifestyle changes,” cleanses, or anything of the sort. It is a powerful way of giving trust and peace back to your body and mind, likely after a time of giving that trust up to external means of control such as using apps to count calories and steps, or intentionally trying to manipulate your body size. 

Intuitive eating, in its truest sense, is supportive of one’s mental, emotional, and physical health. However, as diet and wellness culture have co-opted the term, there has been some misinformation that actually isn’t in line with intuitive eating at all. As a Registered Dietitian and nutrition expert, I’m here to hopefully clear up some blurry lines and share with you some ways to get accurate information about intuitive eating.

If you see someone promoting intuitive eating as a means for intentional weight loss—run!

Here’s the thing; intuitive eating isn’t used for weight loss. Weight change may be an outcome of intuitive eating, but we have no idea whether that means an increase, decrease, or no change in weight. If someone is promoting intuitive eating as an explicit weight loss, slim down, or detox strategythat’s a red flag.

This is why many intuitive eating informed dietitians, counselors, and therapists suggest ditching the scale. The scale doesn’t tell you how well you are eating intuitively, and it certainly doesn’t give you helpful information regarding your health. At the end of the day, intuitive eating helps you move towards a healthy weight that is right for you. That’s also called your set point weight. It’s different for everyone. Intuitive eating is the nutrition paradigm supported by the larger paradigm of Health At Every Size, which respects body diversity, challenges scientific and cultural assumptions related to body size, and encourages finding joy in moving one’s body. There’s so much nuance, which is why there is value in working with a professional well-versed in intuitive eating and Health At Every Size

1
If you see someone promoting intuitive eating as a means for intentional weight loss—run!

Here’s the thing; intuitive eating isn’t used for weight loss. Weight change may be an outcome of intuitive eating, but we have no idea whether that means an increase, decrease, or no change in weight. If someone is promoting intuitive eating as an explicit weight loss, slim down, or detox strategythat’s a red flag.

This is why many intuitive eating informed dietitians, counselors, and therapists suggest ditching the scale. The scale doesn’t tell you how well you are eating intuitively, and it certainly doesn’t give you helpful information regarding your health. At the end of the day, intuitive eating helps you move towards a healthy weight that is right for you. That’s also called your set point weight. It’s different for everyone. Intuitive eating is the nutrition paradigm supported by the larger paradigm of Health At Every Size, which respects body diversity, challenges scientific and cultural assumptions related to body size, and encourages finding joy in moving one’s body. There’s so much nuance, which is why there is value in working with a professional well-versed in intuitive eating and Health At Every Size

It’s not just the hunger and fullness diet; there is so much nuance!

Often times, intuitive eating gets the most attention from “honoring hunger and fullness,” which is a huge part of intuitive eating, however; it’s not that simple. There are plenty of instances I can think of within myself, or with my clients in eating disorder and chronic dieting recovery, where you simply don’t get appropriate hunger and fullness cues.

Your body sends amazing signals when it needs nourishment, yet the culture we live in tells us that those innate signals can't be trusted. This can lead to diminished hunger and fullness cues from dieting, skipping meals, or following the bogus rule of no eating after 7 pm. This is where working with a professional to gain back appropriate cues is helpful. 

Sometimes we have to eat when we aren't hungry just for the simple reason that we need energy and nourishment. This can be uncomfortable. For example, before exams and presentations, while I was in school, I had no appetite, but I knew that my brain needed fuel. I practiced the gentle nutrition piece of intuitive eating and ate anyways to perform my best academically. This is just one example where it’s not merely honoring hunger and fullness. 

3
It’s not just the hunger and fullness diet; there is so much nuance!

Often times, intuitive eating gets the most attention from “honoring hunger and fullness,” which is a huge part of intuitive eating, however; it’s not that simple. There are plenty of instances I can think of within myself, or with my clients in eating disorder and chronic dieting recovery, where you simply don’t get appropriate hunger and fullness cues.

Your body sends amazing signals when it needs nourishment, yet the culture we live in tells us that those innate signals can't be trusted. This can lead to diminished hunger and fullness cues from dieting, skipping meals, or following the bogus rule of no eating after 7 pm. This is where working with a professional to gain back appropriate cues is helpful. 

Sometimes we have to eat when we aren't hungry just for the simple reason that we need energy and nourishment. This can be uncomfortable. For example, before exams and presentations, while I was in school, I had no appetite, but I knew that my brain needed fuel. I practiced the gentle nutrition piece of intuitive eating and ate anyways to perform my best academically. This is just one example where it’s not merely honoring hunger and fullness. 

It’s not just about eating donuts all day.

Another common misconception is that intuitive eating is all about fun food all the time. The truth is that yes, in order to make peace with all foods, there’s often a “honeymoon” phase, if you will, with certain foods that have been off-limits. Those foods are typically deemed “bad” in our culture, so that’s why you might see more photos of those on Instagram to normalize them. After that honeymoon phase, all foods are fair game, and there’s eventually a great balance in the diet of fuel food and fun foods. Fun foods, like donuts, get old after a while when there are no restrictions (mental or physical) around them, so that’s why intuitive eaters have no moral dilemma when presented with a donut. They eat it, or they don’t because they know that donuts are fair game whenever the craving hits. 

4
It’s not just about eating donuts all day.

Another common misconception is that intuitive eating is all about fun food all the time. The truth is that yes, in order to make peace with all foods, there’s often a “honeymoon” phase, if you will, with certain foods that have been off-limits. Those foods are typically deemed “bad” in our culture, so that’s why you might see more photos of those on Instagram to normalize them. After that honeymoon phase, all foods are fair game, and there’s eventually a great balance in the diet of fuel food and fun foods. Fun foods, like donuts, get old after a while when there are no restrictions (mental or physical) around them, so that’s why intuitive eaters have no moral dilemma when presented with a donut. They eat it, or they don’t because they know that donuts are fair game whenever the craving hits. 

It’s a process, and it takes time.

The last big misconception is the notion that you can become an intuitive eater overnight. Tapping back into your body’s innate intuitive nature takes time. Just learning to re-trust my fullness cues took me what I think was about half a year. Finding joy and peace in moving my body took so much longer after years of using exercise as punishment or to manipulate my body shape and size. It takes time to release the mental rules and rigidity around eating. It takes time for your body shape and size to fall at the range that’s right for you. It takes time to appreciate size diversity and maybe even grieve the loss of the body you had when dieting or restricting. This process can take years, and it’s imperative to give yourself a whole lot of self-compassion and grace, because you are surrounded by a culture that tells you dieting is the norm. It’s hard to swim upstream, but I promise you, it’s a lot more peaceful than living in diet culture. 

Feel free to follow and reach out to me on Instagram at @constancelyeating or if you would like to work with me in-person in Denver, or virtually, check out Nourished With Hannah to learn more about Hannah and me! 
 

5
It’s a process, and it takes time.

The last big misconception is the notion that you can become an intuitive eater overnight. Tapping back into your body’s innate intuitive nature takes time. Just learning to re-trust my fullness cues took me what I think was about half a year. Finding joy and peace in moving my body took so much longer after years of using exercise as punishment or to manipulate my body shape and size. It takes time to release the mental rules and rigidity around eating. It takes time for your body shape and size to fall at the range that’s right for you. It takes time to appreciate size diversity and maybe even grieve the loss of the body you had when dieting or restricting. This process can take years, and it’s imperative to give yourself a whole lot of self-compassion and grace, because you are surrounded by a culture that tells you dieting is the norm. It’s hard to swim upstream, but I promise you, it’s a lot more peaceful than living in diet culture. 

Feel free to follow and reach out to me on Instagram at @constancelyeating or if you would like to work with me in-person in Denver, or virtually, check out Nourished With Hannah to learn more about Hannah and me! 
 

Connie Weissmuller MINDBODY
Written by
Connie Weissmuller
Registered Dietitian
About the author
A registered dietitian who loves helping people achieve food and body freedom, Connie specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, intuitive eating, and body image from a Health At Every Size lens. Working with clients to overcome food and body struggles, she is all about giving you the tools you need to find what healthy means to you.