It’s easy to get caught up in the world of social media and think, because that gorgeous Instagram account (obviously you’re referring to @bodymindfull) always posts healthy, nourishing, beautiful homemade food, and is MEGA positive all day every day (especially after she’s had her coffee) that it’s an exact representation of life. But let me tell you, its not! Instagram in particular is a fantastic platform to showcase beautifully captured, creative and inspiring (if you so wish) photos, so I, like many others am selective with what I post.
I’m not saying that it’s all fake, by any means – but what I am saying is to remember to keep things in perspective. Just because I’m not posting that photo of me and my bestie’s on a Wednesday night, watching the bachelor and scoffing on pizza, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Life happens, and that old “if it’s not on social media, did it even happen?” jig, can negatively impact how we perceive living a healthy life to mean.
As a Nutritionist, I’m often asked about balance. How can you balance being healthy with your lifestyle? How can you be healthy when you’re so busy? How do those insta-mums look so fabulous all the time, have children and still get time in for their workouts and making foods scratch? It’s all about perspective.
So in the spirit of ‘keeping it real’ with you all, I’ve decided to share my two key mantras with you. It’s something to remember when your scrolling through your feed and spying on perfect photos.
Its OK to indulge
Being healthy is more than just drinking green smoothies, matcha lattes and eating sprouted bread and power bowls. You have to find what works for you – and as long your aiming to get your Recommended Daily Intakes (RDI’s) of the five food groups each day, then you’re on the right track. When we become obsessed with the abundance of visually spectacular, healthy food and beverage photos that we see every day on any of the social media platforms, we become too focused on comparing our lifestyle and diets to others. If you feel like eating that cake at morning tea, that pizza when you eat out, or the cocktail on a Sunday afternoon – go for it! Don’t punish yourself mentally afterwards and restrict your food intake for the next two days – chances are you will end up binge eating at some stage because of it. Our food choices are linked to our state of mind – psychologically and biologically.
Our brains are incredibly powerful and when you get stressed and get anxious over anything, including food – our brain sends electro-chemical responses throughout the body and what results are biological responses that can manifest in poorer digestion and increased blood pressure and heart rate to name a few. These responses can inadvertently morph into lifelong, dysfunctional habits around your food choices. Eating a diet rich in whole, fresh, and unprocessed foods reduces your risk of developing many chronic conditions and so making sensible food choices now ensures you live a healthy, happy and long life. Just remember, you’re human and life happens, and when you next make the decision to eat that slice of lemon cheesecake, be present at every bite and really enjoy it. The benefits of doing so in the longer term are far greater than your ability to restrict the rest of the days food and then binge eat tomorrow!
Practice Self love
This one may seem like it’s a given, however we tend to be more forgiving on others than ourselves. Why is that? Do you think yourself unworthy of kindness or is it just that you think it’s all a bunch of hippy loving hoo-haa to really be kind to yourself? I’m not talking about taking yourself to the movies, or having a long bath – even though I wholeheartedly believe in treating yourself often. In this instance, I am talking about the internal chatter of our minds that we unconsciously do so well, we don’t realise it can be a precursor to more unhealthy behaviours around self image and food choices. Let me give you an example of the self talk I sometimes have to be mindful of;
“Ergh, my thighs are so annoying, I wish I had tiny thighs so I could live in skinny jeans and feel fabulous all the time…”
What has it stemmed from? It’s a societal construct that I’m bombarded with every day through not only social media, but at department stores, in magazines, on television – you name it. I have unconsciously morphed my views into what I believe thighs should look like, based on this. When that happens, I remember to practice self love and kindness. You know what? My thighs are FABULOUS! They are strong, they get me through half marathons, team sports and carry my body through life, day in and day out. Kindness to yourself is not arrogance and it’s not being pompous – it’s a crucial step in learning to love yourself enough to realise that you don’t need to compare yourself to others. We are all different, beautiful and fabulous in our own right, and we all bring our own unique experience to every situation!
If you find it especially hard to be kind to yourself, you could try meditation! There is more and more evidence emerging that supports practices like mindful meditation, yoga and breath related movement in helping to alter our brain chemistry when it is practiced regularly.
So there you have it… I hope these two mantras, that help keep me sane and help me to stay consistently healthy and happy – do the same for you. Share the love!
Do you have practices/mantras that you swear by, that you would love to share? Go ahead – I would love to hear about them!