Do you ever feel like rolling your eyes when you see the words “Self-Care”? Does it make you want to keep scrolling on past every single Pinterest Image that dons its name? Do you suddenly feel like you should be getting massages and lighting candles when you see it? Well I’ve got a few things to say on this – welcome to self care for intuitive eaters & chronic dieters.
I get it. Me too. #seemscliche #overandover #itseverywhere #massagesareawesome #soarecandles
So let’s just all own up to how we may (or may not) feel about the idea of self care and then put it aside for a second, because I’m going to approach this little article with something I honestly believe…
Dictionary.com defines “cliché” as a word or expression that has lost much of it’s force through overexposure. Example: It’s got to get worse before it gets better.”
If you follow the health and wellness world, you can probably make the connection here – every health professional is talking about self care. How it’s the key to success. The key to happiness. The key to running your world, straight up Beyonce-style.
I’m here to let you in on a little secret.
Self-care only seems cliché…we only constantly talk about it…we only based our PRACTICES on it…
…because it’s the true, honest-to-goodness truth.
Without it, your efforts to achieve freedom from diets will seriously, SERIOUSLY suffer. And I mean, wither up and struggle to live
You’re like “WHHHAAAAATT are you talking about Christie”??
I’m like “Juuuustttt keep reading!”
Let’s first take a hot second to define Self-Care
Self Care (n): Regular practices in our lives that reduce stress and enhance or maintain our short and long term health and well being
Pretty vanilla right?
Let’s define it, #MyDietRebellion style.
Self Care for Intuitive Eaters (n): The act of taking righteous care of yourself. Acknowledging that you are a complex person with diverse needs and going out of your way to meet and nurture these needs By doing so…your need to fill these holes with food drastically reduces!
There may be other, more prophetic and scientifically sound definitions out there – but I created this definition because it’s what it all boils down to.
Less stress. More complete person. Better relationship with food
So my friend, because I want to ACTUALLY help you…I (like so many of my other wonderful health at every size dietitians out there) won’t breeze over the idea of self care and all it’s glory. In fact, I am going to sing the Holy Gospel of self care + give you a concrete plan to get started.
Sister, good nutrition and a healthy body goes far-far beyond the food you put into your body. It just does. It always has (diet culture has just drowned it out)
So welcome, my friend. Welcome to this little piece of the interwebs, where I have put together a kick a$$ resource for you: Self Care that Rocks: The Ultimate Quick Start Guide for Fed-Up Chronic Dieters and Hopeful Intuitive Eaters. This little (big) step-by-step guide will help you create a personalized, effective, rockin’ self care plan that is going to help you on your road to losing the diets, respecting your sexy body and feeling better than eva’!!
Let’s dig in.
Self Care for Intuitive Eaters (STEP 1) – What do you value?
You can journal all you want…meditate all you want…spend lots of time with friends all you want… You can do so many things to try and up your “self care” game. However, if you are doing things that feel like work, or if it feels forced, or if they just don’t align what’s IMPORTANT to you…then aren’t you just going against the grain here?
Values, simply put, are the things are most important to you. They are things you hold in high regard and give your life meaning. Values can create a base for how you want your life to look. I highly recommend you become crystal clear on these, because it’s going to change how you care for yourself. Why? Because you can assess your life based on your values. You can see which values are being ignored and start creating specific actions for building them up. It seems super dry – but it’s really going to give you some pretty righteous clarity and specificity moving forward!
Below is a pretty long list of value for you get some ideas. Review it, do a quick internal inventory and then write down what YOUR values are in your journal or on the value worksheet in your downloadable freebie HERE
List of Values
- Emotional stability
- Engages in hobbies
- Friendships (quality)
- Gets enough sleep
- Good, balanced nutrition
- Inner Harmony
- Knowledge advancement
- Meaningful Work
- Practices regular self care
- Self acceptance
- Self compassion
- Service to others
Self Care for Intuitive Eaters (STEP 2): What are your current lifestyle behaviors?
Doing a quick assessment of how you currently handle stress is key. By doing so, you can identify which habits … well… suck…and which habits ROCK. In addition, when you go to create a concrete, specific, actionable plan later, you will be able to easily see these challenges and easily create feel-good goals that align directly with them. Write them in a journal…write them on the action plan included with this article…just write them somewhere! If you have a behavior that isn’t on the list … by all means, add it to your own.
Self-Care for Intuitive Eaters: Negative Behaviors
When creating this list, think about your behaviors in terms of your values. If you value Family – are there any things you do that take away from this value? (such as excessive social media usage or TV, excessive alcohol). Negative behaviors may not always seem to connect directly to your values – but it’s a place to start thinking!
CLICK HERE for Some Examples of Negative Self Care Behaviors
- Excessive caffeine intake
- Excessive alcohol intake (more than 1-2 drinks per day)
- Over or undereat
- Excessive money spending
- Too much TV or social media time
- Illegal drug usage
- Angry outbursts
- Engaging in self-destructive relationships
- Withdraw from people
- Other ________
Positive Self-Care Behaviors
Positive self-care behaviors are likely (although not always), to align with your values. If you value fitness, then regular exercise would be considered a positive self-care behavior. If you value wisdom, then regularly reading may be one too. Get it?
CLICK HERE for Some Examples of Postive Self Care Behaviors
- Regular exercise
- Quality sleep daily (6-8 hours)
- Actively seek out ways to reduce stress
- Engage in regular, high quality social time
- Maintain positive relationships
- Engage in positive thinking
- Maintain a balanced, enjoyable, nutritious diet
- Other _______
Self Care for Intuitive Eaters (STEP 3): Assess your areas of wellness
Human beings are multifaceted creatures. We have souls that need nourishing, bodies that need attention, minds that need stimulation. There’s no two ways around it….
If you don’t pay attention to your wellness in all areas of your life…all areas of your life are likely to suffer. We become imbalanced and feel like something might be missing, or wrong, or just not exciting. Blasé, if you will. We may not be playing to our innate creativities and interests or nourishing our souls in way that suit us. No matter what it is…if its not tended to, it can leave you with a feeling of incomplete….a hole in your soul, persay. Just like any open wound, it can cause pain and long lasting effects if not tended to. Sometimes we realize the pain of this imbalance in an obvious way. Other times we don’t, and it becomes a low-lying slow burn of uneasiness that we can’t often pinpoint.
Either way, this imbalance can lead to the use of food for comfort, shelter and abandon.
I’ve seen it time and time again.
People are desperately asking for help solving their eating issues – and I have found that a good solid, honest, HARD look at the balance in your life a vital piece of the puzzle. So enough of that – I hope you realize the importance at this point.
Let’s do a life balance assessment and see where we need some self care. Think bout each area and shade the boxes up to the point where you think you are. 1 – not good. 10 – rockin’ it
Below the chart you will see 7 drop down menus – one for each area. Each menu includes some questions to get you thinking and assessing, so that you can properly score yourself.
1 = This area needs MAJOR ATTENTION
10 = I’m rockin’ this area of my life.
The physical aspect of your wellness has to do with keeping your body in the best health possible so that you can do all you are meant to do.
- Am I participating in regular physical activity that feels good to my body and encourages muscular and cardiac strength?
- Am I participating in any flexibility exercises?
- Am I sleeping enough?
- Do I use illicit drugs, smoke cigarettes or consume too much alcohol on a regular basis?
- Is my diet balanced in nature, getting foods from all foods groups?
- Do I visit the doctor for medical or wellness visits regularly?
This area of wellness focuses on our ability to understand ourselves and the challenges life can bring. The ability to acknowledge feelings of anger, fear, sadness, stress, hope etc and handle them appropriately is the focus.
- Are you able to express my emotions in positive and constructive ways?
- Are you able to bounce back after difficulty and disappointment?
- Are you able to balance your life appropriately?
- Do you consistently speak negatively to and about yourself?
- Are you able to have rational, non-confrontational conversations when necessary?
- Are you able to recognize when stress is taking over your life, and can come up with steps to manage it appropriately?
This is a relatively broad idea, but ultimately is revolves around finding our connection to something that is greater than ourselves or finding the meaning of life. A recently completed large study showed that a group of depressed women were able to achieve mental health and freedom from the disease. Two common factors they had? A regular exercise program…and a spiritual connection that helped them cope. (Fuller-Thomson et. al).
- Do you regularly connect with an entity greater than yourself?
- Do you regularly take time to think about what is truly important to you … and whether or not the current trajectory of your life fits into that model?
- Do you feel as though your life has purpose and meaning?
- Are you able to find a balance between my needs and the needs of those you care about?
- Do you have a practice that enables you to quiet your mind and connect with your inner self?
This area of life is based on the idea that as humans need to be producing something, learning new skills and keeping tabs on our mental acuity. This can lead to sharing gifts with others and more fulfillment. You can develop intellectual wellness through academic pursuits, but also through cultural, artistic or skill-based learning.
- Do you have a skill that you regularly nourish? (like painting, music, writing)
- Do you have role models or people that you look up to for information and learning?
- How do you stay connected to the world around you? Media? Newspapers? Are you consuming that information too much, or not enough?
- Do you seek out opportunities to learn practical skills?
This area of life focuses on your vocation, which is likely what you spend a large amount of your week doing. In addition, your related financial wellness is key for being able to experience freedom in many other areas of life.
- What areas of your finances need immediate attention? Long term?
- Does your financial future seems robust.
- Do you have enough money to accomplish the things that are important to you?
- Are you free of excessive worry and anxiety about money?
- Is your career one that makes you feel fulfilled? If not – how can you start the process of achieving a more fulfilling career?
- How can you make the best of a work situation that you can’t change?
Fun & Recreation
This area of life focuses on exactly this – fun. As described by Mirriam Webster, fun is “something that is amusing or enjoyable.” Humans need to “let loose” and enjoy themselves – without it, stress can mount.
- Do you regularly take time to do leisurely, enjoyable and adventurous activities?
- Do you know what kind of activities bring you renewal?
- Do you allow time for relaxing?
Social & Relationships
Social and relationship wellness focuses on maintaining a wide range of supportive relationships, and being able to resolve interpersonal conflict appropriately.
- Do you feel supported in your current relationships?
- Do your friendships nourish and sustain you?
- In your dating or sexual relationships, do you seek out those that are respectful and loving?
- Do you participate in social activities that allow for forming new relationships?
- Are you satisfied with the role you play in your family?
Self Care for Intuitive Eaters (STEP 4): Look at the Big Picture
Okay – whew. That might have felt like a lot to go through – but I want to say KUDOS. We all have are stories. Therefore, doing a true, deep self care assessment can sometimes be tough. You are being asked to think about things that might not be a normal part of your day. In fact, sometimes it can be stressful to finally face some of these issues – so take note of those things and be gentle with yourself in the process.
Now that you have established your values and your current lifestyle behaviors, as well as identified areas of your life that are out of whack, I want you to think about what you have learned. Taking a step back and looking at the big picture is so important. Are your values as you expected? Did the assessment of your areas of wellness surprise you?
Are you getting a general sense of where you might need to practice some self care yet?
Step 5: Create Your Personalized Self Care Plan
The time has come to start taking some action. Now that you have taken a better look at yourself, start setting some goals that are going to aligning with your values, changing behaviors and driving up those assessment scores.
Here are a few tips for setting effective (SMART) goals
- Make them (S)pecific.
- Ensure any goal you write says exactly what you want to do. For example: “Take a step aerobics class” is more specific than “Exercise more”
- Make them (M)easurable
- Put numbers on your goal. For example: “Take a step aerobics class two times a week”
- Ensure they are (A)ttainable
- Don’t set goals that just aren’t possible for you. For example: “Take a step aerobics class seven times per week”
- Make sure your goal is (R)elevent
- If you want to improve your mindfulness, setting a goal to join a crafting club just doesn’t align. Make sure that your goals are going to ultimately INCREASE your wellness scores. Try to goal set in areas of your life that you’ve established need some attention.
- Make your goals time bound.
- Add a time frame to the goal, to give it an end date for re-evaluation. For example: “Take a step aerobics class 2 days a week for the next month.”
I would highly suggest writing these goals down and putting them somewhere you will see them. Keep them on the forefront of your mind!
You can write them in your own journal, or download this RIGHTEOUS Self Care Plan Workbook I put together for ya! Below is a look at the goal setting page of this book.
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve just created your personalized actionable self-care plan!
One last tip –> As we all know, life and it’s circumstances are ever changing – as will your self-care needs. I highly suggest revisiting this worksheet at LEAST once a month, to assess how you are doing, whether or not you’ve achieved your goals and pivoting direction to new goals if needed.
As you dip your toes into the waters of intuitive eating, it is important to remember why we are looking all this seemingly “non food related” stuff. So very many of us lean on food as source of comfort. And don’t get me wrong – food for comfort isn’t bad! It’s when it comes your ONLY source of comfort, or it is constantly masking a bigger problem, that it really becomes an issue.
Human beings are complex, holistic, multi-faceted creatures…if we are missing a piece of ourselves, we will seek to fill that hole. If you’re reading this blog – it’s very possible you fill that hole with food.
So congratulations on making it through this article – taking on your self-care is big deal. Time to stop ignoring it.
And soon after that…you’re relationship with food will follow.
Are ya’ ready to take this info to the next level? CLICK the nifty image below to download your FREE printable Self Care that Rocks: The Ultimate Quick Start Guide for Fed-Up Chronic Dieters and Hopeful Intuitive Eaters. I created this epic freebie as a STEP BY STEP framework for building a self care plan that’s gonna help you ditch the emotional eating and bring balance back into your life + there’s a SPECIAL BONUS in there – a 14 Day Self Care Challenge to help kickstart this integral piece of your transition into successful intuitive eating. (PS for a sneak peak, scroll down past my picture)
Until next time, fellow diet rebels!