7 Ways To Improve How You Feel About Your Body This Summer

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After what feels like an eternity locked indoors over the last year and a half, this long-awaited Summer offers us a fresh start like none other, and I’m sure you’re eager to re-emerge looking and feeling your best. Here are seven ways to improve how you think and feel about your body.

1. Stop being a perfectionist

Ever find yourself fixating on the number on your scales, labelling or judging yourself, even yearning for a model’s physique? Perfectionist thinking can increase dissatisfaction with our bodies as we strive for an unrealistic ideal. It’s important not to overly scrutinise your body, compare yourself to others, or fixate on achieving a ‘perfect’ body. Instead try focusing on what you find attractive about yourself to improve self-acceptance, and letting go of the idea that everything will be better if you had a certain body shape or size.

2. Notice your anxiety triggers

We all have opinions, positive and negative, about our bodies, which can affect our self-esteem levels. There’s a link between our perception of our appearance and how we feel about ourselves. Anxiety around our body image can be triggered by a variety of factors: eating ‘forbidden’ foods, comparing ourselves to others, comments about our weight, so it’s helpful to notice what triggers your own negative thinking so that you can practice mindfulness when this happens.

A helpful way to dissolve this anxiety and build more resilience in dealing with it in future is to take a deep breath, sit with and accept your negative thoughts for what they are, allowing yourself to feel compassion towards your body, and breathe out.

3. Do a spring clean of your social media feeds

As you sit there endlessly scrolling through Instagram, ever wondered what it is doing to your own body image and self esteem? What about the dopamine rush of posting your own pictures? Research conducted by Dove showed it takes an average of 124 likes to feel ‘liked’ or accepted on Instagram, reinforcing the unhealthy power of the platform to validate ourselves externally.

Perhaps it’s time to filter your feed like you filter your pictures: be mindful of who you’re following and ask yourself how those accounts make you feel about your body. Do they reinforce any negative or unrealistic beauty standards? Does seeing their content make you feel better or worse about yourself? And why are you choosing to post an image of yourself online – are you seeking external validation?

One of the best ways to build a positive relationship with yourself is through connecting with your physical body.

4. Practice reframing

Reframing is a technique to express our thoughts differently, which consequently allows us to feel and behave differently, too. Self-help expert Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”, and reframing the perceptions you hold about your body image can help you address your hang ups and see things in a different way. Instead of “I look awful” for example, try thinking “I’m not happy with the way I look today, and that’s okay.”

5. Connect with your body

One of the best ways to build a positive relationship with yourself is through connecting with your physical body. Positive sensual experiences to achieve this might look different for each of us: yoga, floating in water (be it bath, ocean or floating tank), going for a walk, massage, sexual activity, and tai-chi are all ways to get in touch with how your body feels.

6. Practice pleasure without guilt

Try to think about food as a source of pleasure rather than purely about nutrition or calorific value. Craving an ice cream rather than a green smoothie? Can’t wait to make a booking at a restaurant you’ve been waiting to visit? Allow yourself to give in to that treat that you’ll really enjoy for no reason other than you enjoy it.

7. Commit to self-care

Invest in yourself with non-food rewards by scheduling regular moments that are gratifying. These activities could be small, like taking time out to read, wearing your favorite perfume, buying yourself flowers or getting a facial, but large in their impact on how you feel about yourself. The more you make this commitment to self-care, the more it will normalise self-acceptance and prime you for feeling good about yourself.

As a nutritional therapist I am passionate about helping people live more happily in their bodies. Click below to book a COMPLIMENTARY 30-MINUTE CALL with me to explore ways to improve your body confidence and help you feel your best.

 

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Top 10 tips to boost your immune system

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Here are my top 10 tips to boost your immune system and safeguard a healthy and happy you until the summer.

Eat a balanced diet

Although this may sound typical of any other healthy eating advice, it’s so important that it requires repetition!

Eat a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, quality animal protein, seeds, nuts and good fats.

Increase your consumption of dark green leafy vegetables as there is evidence that it increases your immune defenses.

Avoid processed food as it tires your body and is packed with additives.

Juicing your vegetables is a great way of meeting your daily nutritional requirements while boosting your immunity through the intake of vitamins and minerals.

Eat the rainbow

Your body needs plenty of vitamin A, C, D, and E as well as selenium, zinc and omega 3s. Choose colorful vegetables and fruits to bring you loads of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that are essential for the proper functioning of your immune system.

Diet rich in natural prebiotic foods

80% of your immunity is in your gut flora. If you strengthen your gut flora you’ll automatically strengthen your immunity.

You can boost your immune system by feeding the friendly bacteria in your gut. Great food sources include artichokes, asparagus, dark green leafy vegetables, garlic, leeks, legumes, onions…

Eat probiotic foods or take a probiotic supplement

Probiotics are natural sources of friendly bacteria and they should be part of your everyday diet. They are found in kefir, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchee, kombucha tea, pickles and other fermented foods.

Avoid antibiotics if possible. They kill off the good bacteria in your gut.

If you do need to take antibiotics, make sure you take a good probiotic supplement afterward to replenish the friendly bacteria in your gut.

Reduce your sugar intake

About 20 teaspoons of sugar (equivalent to two sodas) are enough to impair your body’s immune responses. Sugar reduces your vitamin C absorption and decreases by 50% the ability of your white blood cells to absorb bacteria for up to 5 hours afterward.

Add spice and herbs

Garlic, ginger, pepper, turmeric and all herbs have tons of antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. They are natural immunity booster and should be part of your diet.

Take vitamin D

Studies show that vitamin D helps maintain a strong immune system. You may consider getting your GP to check your blood vitamin D levels to ensure your levels are healthy before we embark into the winter season. As sun, the best source of vitamin D, can be difficult to find in the UK, a daily supplement provides a convenient way to keep your nutritional levels balance.

Workout and reduce your stress levels

Stress, both physical and emotional, weakens your body’s immune response. It is scientifically proven the right amount of exercise (roughly 30mins/day) can dramatically reduce one’s stress levels.

However, It’s important to note that although exercise helps the body to cope with stress, excessive exercise can actually be harmful to your body, in particular to your immune system. Just remember to always listen to your body’s needs before your personal wants.

Sleep minimum 7 hrs a day

Sleep deprivation weakens your body. Make sure you get plenty of sleep so your body can recharge and your cells have time to repair.

Drink plenty of water

We cannot stress this enough, hydration is key to the proper functioning of our bodies. Water flushes out toxins and helps produce lymph, which carries white blood cells responsible for immunity.

An easy way to increase water intake is through a range of herbal, non caffeinated teas.

Our top 3 healthy treats for kids

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Healthy treats are made of unrefined sugars, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, fibers, and proteins.  They contain whole foods with nutrients that release energy over a longer period of time. Unlike the processed store bought treats that are most often overly processed and packed with sugar, unhealthy fats and additives. They give you a short lift, followed by a drop that makes you tired. Don’t eat empty!  We will save you time, energy and the disappointment of seeing your children refuse a treat you’ve spent hours making because they think it looks strange or tastes “weird”.


Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT TARTS

DELICIOUSLY ELLA

Although the preparation time was a bit long for the kids, Deliciously Ella’s tarts scored really well in terms of taste. Avocado as an ingredient to create a creamy texture turned them off at first because it was definitely out of their comfort zone. Then eventually they warmed up to it and actually finished all the tarts.


Ingredients

Makes one large tart or 12 small ones

For the filling:

  • 2 cups of hazelnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1 avocado
  • 2-3 tablespoons of raw cacao
  • 1/2 a cup of pure maple syrup

For the tart:

  • 2 cups of ground almond flour
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup

To make the filling place the nuts in a food processor and allow them to blend into a nut butter, this should take about 5-10 minutes depending on the strength of your processor. Then add the remaining ingredients and blend again until a smooth, creamy chocolate paste forms.

Place the filling to one side and begin the pastry. Place the almonds and pecans into the food processor and blend until a sticky flour forms, it’s just more than a flour but not as sticky as a nut butter, this should take a couple of minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients for another minute.

Grease one single baking tin or ten littles ones with coconut oil and fill it with the pastry mixture, using a spatula to compress the mixture so that it’s nice and thin. Then bake in a 190C oven for about 10-12 minutes, until it becomes golden brown. Remove it and allow it to cool, it will become harder during this time.


Salted Caramel Fondant

SALTED CARAMEL FONDANT

LIVIA’S KITCHEN

A pure moment of indulgence. The children loved those “chocolate fondants” with a gooey middle. They scored really high overall and the preparation time was okay for the kids. They loved them and wished the recipe had provided more than 6 fondants.


Ingredients

Makes 6

For the filling:

  • 2 cups of hazelnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1 avocado
  • 2-3 tablespoons of raw cacao
  • 1/2 a cup of pure maple syrup

For the tart:

  • 2 cups of ground almond flour
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
PREP TIME: 20 Mins + 20 mins setting time
COOK TIME: 25 mins
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 20 mins

To make the filling place the nuts in a food processor and allow them to blend into a nut butter, this should take about 5-10 minutes depending on the strength of your processor. Then add the remaining ingredients and blend again until a smooth, creamy chocolate paste forms.

Place the filling to one side and begin the pastry. Place the almonds and pecans into the food processor and blend until a sticky flour forms, it’s just more than a flour but not as sticky as a nut butter, this should take a couple of minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients for another minute.

Grease one single baking tin or ten littles ones with coconut oil and fill it with the pastry mixture, using a spatula to compress the mixture so that it’s nice and thin. Then bake in a 190C oven for about 10-12 minutes, until it becomes golden brown. Remove it and allow it to cool, it will become harder during this time.

 


POST-WORKOUT BALLS

MADELEINE SHAW

These energy balls disappeared very quickly. My youngest chid enjoyed them as an afternoon snacks while my eldest ate them as “breakfast on the go”. These energy balls are not the most indulgent looking treats yet a great easy, complete snack that you can use at anytime of the day to get some energy back with a touch of sweetness.

Post-Workout Energy Balls

Ingredients

Makes 8-10 balls
  • 50g peanut butter
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 100g dates, stoned and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp raw protein powder
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp vanilla powder or extract
Put everything into food processor, and blend for 3-4 minutes until thoroughly mixed. Roll the mixture into balls and pop them in the freezer for 20 minutes, then transfer to the fridge.

These will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks

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