Thinking that weightloss or diets will make you happier

Hello,

So I thought it was time to share a more personal post about how I’ve been feeling. The past 2 weeks I’ve been on antibiotics, something I don’t willingly take. Infact taking anti biotics is something I try to avoid at all costs and try alternative methods and pills first, however this time when I got sick and had 2 different bacteria in my lungs I had no other option but to take antibiotics and I’m thankful for them because they do work…. they kill the bacteria, however they also kill the good gut bacteria. And even if I take probiotics it can take 6-12 months before all the good but bacteria is replenished.

Having good gut bacteria is so important as it can impact so much such as your energy levels, hunger and cravings, mood, sleep, you can end up with Candida infection etc and I’ve noticed that each time I take anti biotics it impacts my mental health negatively as well as it messes up my stomach and I feel more tired and unmotivated.  But the worst is how it makes me think and feel so negative…. I feel tired, unmotivated , get negative and depressive thoughts, feel negative about myself and my body. This is something i notice each time i have had to take antibiotics which is one of the main reasons i try to avoid them, because i know they end up affecting my mental health negatively.

These past 2 weeks i have been extremely bloated, had stomach pain and nausea and just had very bad body image. Usually bloating and water retention is nothing that bothers me because i know it happens and nothing i can really control. Sometimes bloating lasts 2 days, other times a whole week but it always goes away and i don’t let it control my thoughts or my day. But now when i was feeling generally low and negative the bloating got to me alot more and i began thinking, Maybe i should go on a diet… am i eating too much? Do i need to lose fat.

Of course i was quickly able to realise just how destructive and ridiculous those thoughts were. I am at a healthy weight, BMI and fat percent and nothing needs to change about that. But also the past 1,5 year my weight has stayed the same meaning that i am eating enough to maintain my healthy weight as well as all my blood results showing a healthy amount of all vitamins and minerals so nothing about my diet needs to change. But just for a short moment i thought weightloss and a diet would make me feel better about myself…. when in reality, i know it is just hormones and antibiotics affecting my thoughts and feelings. Luckily i could realise how irrational and ridiculous those thoughts were that going on a diet or eating less wouldn’t make me feel better about myself or make me feel happier.

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And i can say, i have now been off anti biotics for a few days and taking a high dose (but still a healthy dose !) of pro biotics and i am already feeling more like myself again. More energetic, my appetite is more like usual and the negative thinking and feeling isn’t as bad as it was a few days ago.

I am lucky that i can think one step further than just “how i feel right now”, and instead analyze why i am feeling that way. I could have just decided right there and then that i should diet and lose weight because i “felt bad in my body”…. but when you think one step further you begin to question why you think you need to lose weight. Would it really make you happier, would it really make you healthier?

So many people think that weightloss and a diet will make them happier, but if the problem is in your head then weightloss won’t do anything but make you lighter and may even make your mental health worse. Of course for those who are overweight and medically need to lose weight then it’s another thing, but if you are normal weight and think that weightloss will make you happier then you need to question why you think that way.

So why am i sharing this post? I could have kept these thoughts to myself and not tell anyone, but i am sharing them to show that i am only human. I may be body positive and 95% happy in my body, but there are times like this when i feel negative about and in my body and think about going on a diet or losing weight… and for just a few moments thinking that weightloss or being skinny would make me happy. But i am also very good at questioning why and thinking one step further and asking myself why i think that way and what is the real reasoning behind those thoughts and most often it is tiredness, hormones or stress and when i am feeling very tired and run down and my body feels heavy, slow and bloated. But then the best thing to do is sleep, drink lots of water, eat lots of nourishing food, try to destress and get out for walks in nature and then i am soon back to my normal thoughts and feel good in my body again!

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usually it is not your body or the way your body that looks that is the problem but the way you feel and what is going on in your head. Take a moment to ask yourself, are you stressed, anxious, tired, nervous? Have you eaten enough, slept enough, exercised? Have you drunk enough water and had time to relax? Have you taken your medication and pills? If you are feeling negative about your body try go out for a walk or listen to some good music or do something you love and just “use” your body.  Often if you are feeling tired, heavy and slow it can cause negative body image thoughts or feelings, and then it can be helpful to try to just use your body a little more, try to find energy even if it’s just a 20 minute walk it can be helpful in appreciating your body or sometimes just stretching can be helpful to feel less ‘tight’.

Anyway, i felt the need to share these thoughts with you to show that i am human and we all have bad days or negative body image thoughts but it is important to not let them control you. To ask yourself what really matters and if weightloss really will make you happy or healthier. Also note, if the answer is yes, that weightloss will make you happier and healthier and be a positive factor in your life… then go for it. Weightloss doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but you have to have the right reasons for it. I.e if you are BMI 18 and you think you are “too fat” and think you need to lose 5kg, then no… that is not weightloss for the right reasons.

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**Also, i think i have written a post about taking medication as a vegan, but i can write one again if you want. Because no, medications aren’t vegan or cruelty free, but it doesn’t make you any less of a vegan just because you need to take medications.

When you feel bad about your body – bad body image days 

No matter how body positive you may be i believe everyone has bad body image days. Often these days and feelings aren’t even about your body, instead maybe you feel tired, stressed, anxious, nervous or just feel more bloated than normal and not “like yourself”.

So the problem usually isn’t your body but that you have certain feelings or emotions.

How to cope on those days? 

First off remember that you are more than your body.  And your body is just a way for you to live life and do the things you want. The important thing is that your body is healthy and functions the way it should. And how it looks really doesn’t matter so much in comparison.

On bad body image days it’s important to take care of your body and treat it properly, not resort to destructive behaviours.  It’s even more important to feed yourself nourishing food, drink enough water, rest and be kind to yourself.

Try to think positive thoughts about yourself. Even if you may feel strange in your body or not how you look at this moment in time, try to think back to when you did feel good in your body and remember that these feelings and days will pass. And if you are bloated or retaining water that will also pass! Try to say kind  and positive things about yourself and your body! Thinking negative thoughts won’t help at all!
Also try to say kind things about YOU. What are you good at, What are your talents and positive things about yourself as a person. Because you are so much more than your body and taking focus a way from your body and appearance can be very helpful to remind you that you are more than the way you look!

Try to wear comfortable clothes and make yourself feel good. Take a long shower, moisturize, wash your hair, wear comfy clothes whether that means dressing up and doing your hair and putting on lipstick to “fake it till you make it” or whether that means wearing loose clothes and a hair in a bun, do what makes you feel best! I personally dress up and do the “fake it till you make it” when I have bad body image days. And surprisingly, just straightening my hair and putting on lipstick can make a huge difference to how I feel!

Get some fresh air and exercise.  Just moving your body whether it’s walking, yoga, going to the gym, running, stretching etc it can make you feel thankful for your body and what it can do rather than focusing on appearance and how your body looks. But also getting some fresh air and getting out into nature, doing something other than thinking about your body will help you get your mind on other things and hopefully feel better. Also your be surprised at how much a walk can help you think differently and more positively! So put on some good music or a podcast and go for a walk!

Also take some time to be thankful for your body. I hate doing the whole “people have jt worse so you should be happy/cant feel sad” thing. But think about people the people who are in wheel chairs or who cant move their body or are missing limbs or are sick and in hospital…. they’d do anything to have a functioning body with scars and cellulite and bloating, anything to have a body that works/is healthy. So be thankful for your body and try to forget your appearance for a while.

For some, looking in the mirror and thinking positive thoughts is helpful, for others they avoid mirrors and reflective items until they feel better, So do what works best for you. I personally avoid mirrors and turn my back to the mirrors when I’m at the gym on these days!

And lastly, try figure out why you feel this way. Is it stress? Anxiety? Tiredness? Need to eat more? Nervousness? Figuring out why you feel the way you do can help to limit these bad body image days!

These feelings will pass. Be kind to yourself, Take care of your body and don’t resort to destructive behaviours!

Learning self love & body love

Learning to love yourself, it is a process easier said than done.

Also it is a process which takes a long time to achieve and for some it is an ongoing process.

So where do you start? How do you go from hating yourself, despising looking in the mirror and just seeing all your flaws. How do you go from comparing yourself to everyone else, wishing you looked like someone else and constantly bringing yourself down, to loving yourself, being happy in your own body and knowing you are perfect just the way you are? It may seem impossible,but it isn’t, it just takes time and a change of mindset.

My first advice is to ALWAYS change the negative thoughts. If you get negative thoughts about your body or you begin comparing yourself to others or you begin thinking negatively about yourself or your capabilities etc change them.

Such as instead of thinking, “i am a failure” think, i am doing the best i can and i can only get better. Instead of thinking, “everyone else is prettier than me”, think i am pretty just the way i am and everyone else is pretty just the way they are as well, we are different and unique. Instead of thinking, “i am fat and useless” think, fat is not a bad or negative word, everyone has fat and i am not worthless, i am good at many things such as X,Y,Z.

Of course it is easier said than done and at first it can seem fake, but let it be…. in time it will feel real and you will believe the thoughts and positive thoughts. Sometimes you just got to fake it till you make it.

Body love and self love comes from practise. We live in a society where we are constantly told we need to change our appearance or look a certain way to be loved or approved, so it is not so strange that so many deal with negative thoughts about their appearance or lack body love and self love. But with time you can learn to become more confident and happy in yourself, after all…. it is YOU who has to live with your body and you can’t go around hating yourself, that takes energy and makes you bitter and makes life so much more harder than it actually is!

My second advice is to everyday look in the mirror and say 3-5 positive things about yourself. It may feel incredibly strange at first and you might feel narcissistic but it is a good way of giving yourself a confidence boost. It doesn’t have to be appearance based, it can be about your talents or other things you are good at. Just to give yourself a confidence boost and to be kind to yourself. And do the same thing in the evening. Or if you don’t want to do it infront of a mirror, you can always try writing them down.

Also, making a list of all your positive traits, why you love yourself or why you should love yourself and be kind to yourself. You can then look at that list when you are feeling down or beginning to think negative thoughts.

Believe in compliments when you get them. If someone compliments you, don’t just whift them away, instead say thank you and believe in them!

Taking care of your body. It is hard to love a body which you are breaking down and not taking care of. If you nourish your body properly, drink enough water, sleep enough, spend time with others who lift you up, exercise… all of those things can make it easier to love yourself when you feel that your body is functioning and it is a healthy body.

Spend time with people who are positive and don’t hate themselves or comment on other people’s bodies. It can be extremely hard to work on loving yourself or your body when you are surrounded by people who constantly complain about their own body or constantly comment on other peoples bodies… so try to limit those people from your life for your own well being!!

Delete accounts which you find triggering or who give off the wrong message or signals. Don’t like at tv programs or magazines which may influence you negatively…. of course you need to learn to deal with triggers, but you don’t necessarily have to force yourself to look at them or see them everyday, instead if you can get rid of potential triggers do it!

Wear outfits that make you feel confident and happy in yourself. Take care of your hair and skin. It may sound superficial, but the days you feel confident and happy in your appearance it is alot easier to love yourself and that doesn’t mean changing your body, but just taking care of it.

But ALSO  remember to love yourself even on the days you are bloated, feel tired, sluggish or just strange. Those days happen and bloating is normal for everyone, so learning to accept those days and live life anyway is a major step to self love. When you don’t let bloating control your day or your emotions then you are a huge step forward in your self love journey!

Accept the things you may not like about yourself. Somethings you can change, such as some personal charateristics you might dislike about yourself and you can change them, or even certain things you dislike about your body you can change, however that shouldn’t control you either. Sometimes you just need to accept certain things and just know that they are part of you and instead of hating them you might as well begin to accept them (because let’s be honest… some things are harder to love about yourself, so the least you can do is just be ok with them and not hate yourself about them!).

Self love is a journey and a process and it takes time, but small steps everyday and one day you will realise you are happy in your own body, happy with yourself  and you don’t feel the need to change for yourself or anyone else. You accept the bad body image days, you know there will be low mental days but you are ok with them and you can live life anyway and you feel confident and ok with yourself more often than not!!

Don’t give up on self love, keep working towards it!

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