Your “dream body”—the word “dream” suggests aspiration, motivation, and ambition; A dream is something pleasurable, which brings joy. Yet why does the idea of one’s “dream body” conjure up so much negativity? Self-improvement is a positive thing, and is something we work on throughout our lives. Yet all too often, we lose touch with reality, aiming for immediate perfection that simply cannot be achieved. We become so wrapped up in aesthetic goals that we emphasize the wrong things, neglecting what truly matters. We fail to acknowledge the progress we have made, and instead concentrate on what we have not done—or in this case, what we do not look like. We dread the onset of gorgeous, warm weather because of something so silly as how we look. How can we fix this? How can we healthily achieve our dream bodies for summer, and most importantly, year round? Should the goal really be to look good in a bikini, or should being healthy, happy, and confident be the goal? Can we have both? Of course. But it requires a shift in focus.
Firstly, we need to think about the idea of the “dream body” more holistically. A dream body would function the way it should, not fight against you—it would feel revitalized in the morning, maintain a healthy weight without struggle, and feel strong and capable, allowing us to do the things we love. A dream body would be energetic, vibrant, and effortlessly beautiful because it is healthy (Notice no mention here of six-pack abs or a thigh gap). Secondly, we need to stop focusing on outward appearance, and instead focus on health. Why? Well first of all, what’s the point in looking the way you want to look, but feeling like crap? And secondly, internal health precedes and creates vibrant external self. Our bodies are programmed to be healthy and resilient—we simply need to give them what is necessary to make this happen every day: nourishment (good food), activity (exercise and movement), and stress-management (quality sleep and time to unwind, relax, and rejuvenate). It’s that simple.
Give your body what it needs to be healthy, and you will achieve your dream body. Let your outward appearance be a reflection of inward health and vitality by keeping the following in mind:
1) Get rid of the idea of “diet” as a short-term, restrictive plan. Instead, think of it as its true definition: the way you eat… or even better, my favorite: “habitual nourishment.”
2) Eat a variety of real wholesome food, not just edible “products.” The less man-manipulated a food, the more nutrition present. The more nutrition your body gets, the better it can function (more on that in Part II!)
3) Listen to your body. When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re not, don’t. Your body knows what you need.
4) Learn the difference between hunger and cravings. True hunger is a sign from your body that it needs fuel. Cravings are specific—you need a certain food and you need it now.
5) Focus on quality over quantity. Stop restricting the amount of food you eat; instead, think of food as your means of nourishing your body.
6) Return to the tradition of meal-time: Sit down to eat actual meals, prepared by someone who put time and effort into creating that meal, and focus on enjoying your food and your company!
7) Banish negativity and restriction. Think of what you are giving to your body instead of thinking about what you’re taking away. And remember to treat yourself once in a while and enjoy it!
8) Move, often. Be active simply because it benefits you as a person—not just physically, but also emotionally, spiritually, and even socially!
Is it wrong to have aesthetic goals? Absolutely not. But focusing only on the end result, without emphasis on the journey to get there isn’t only less than healthy, but it isn’t very fun, nor successful most of the time. Your “dream body” will never be your dream body unless you feel great in it. So instead of obsessing over a number on the scale or certain dress size, let’s turn the focus to creating the right internal environments, and let our bodies be an outward, vibrant manifestation of our health. Instead of depriving ourselves to reach a desired physical appearance, let’s instead give positive attention to nourishing our bodies and giving them what they need! Instead of hating our bodies, nitpicking our physical imperfections, and punishing ourselves, let’s pay more attention to our strengths, work on our weaknesses, and love our bodies for all they do—regardless of how they may or may not look. The rest—whatever physical goal you have for yourself-- will take care of itself once the internal stuff is worked out. I promise.
Meet the author: Kim Jordan is a health educator, nutritionist, and co-owner of Hippie Healing, currently completing her Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) certification. Sharing her passions for real food, functional fitness, and natural products, Kim aims to prove to others that we are meant to thrive, and that the lifestyle we choose to lead is the foundation to achieving our full potential. Her goal is to help others uncover the root causes of their health challenges, and use food as a tool to become their happiest, healthiest selves. She sees clients one-on-one, and teaches nutrition workshops throughout the area. For more information, visit http://www.eatingtothrive.net/ and follow her on Instagram @kim.jordan.
If you’re interested in more personalized nutrition guidance, contact Kim at KJordan.firstname.lastname@example.org