When it comes to food and healthy diets you may be surprised to hear ‘self worth’ rather than ‘low fat’ or ‘low calorie’ is actually the key to long term health. We all know that fruit and vegetables are healthy and processed foods are not – so why do we overindulge in the very things that cause us harm? The answer is linked to low levels of self esteem and self worth.
When we learn to love ourselves and respect our bodies we are more inclined to take better care of ourselves with good nutrition and sensible exercise. When we let food control us however, every time we are low or distressed there is a tendency to turn to food for comfort. We have all done it at some point. Bad day at work, falling out with your friends or breaking up with your partner can all trigger food binges as we try to use sugar and fat to plug the emotional gap that has been created. Chocolate and ice cream may produce short term gratification, but the results of that tub of Ben & Jerry’s will sit firmly on your thighs and give you yet another reason to feel low again.
Think about the times you have caught a glimpse of yourself in a mirror or your reflection in a shop front and followed that up with a negative thought about how you look. When you berate yourself for gaining weight or not fitting into an outfit you are sending negative messages to your body that you are failing and letting yourself down. Physically speaking you produce more of the hormone cortisol when you are critical of your appearance and in a stressed state. Studies show that high cortisol levels make it very hard to lose weight and can even lead you to gain weight. Think carefully about how you speak to yourself – if you would not say it to a friend, then do not say it to yourself. Practice self love, self worth and self appreciation and your health will thank you for it.