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Love Your Body

Love Your Body

In the Body Zone, part two of her Wellbeing Programme, eminent Naturopath Rumana Zahn ND talks about creating peak health.
To feel good means looking after ourselves inside and out no matter what size or shape we are. There’s something unique about the way we reflect health and confidence, or maybe even a lack of it, it seems our whole being communicates this. If you dislike your body on a daily basis that’s what it will feedback to you and to others. To me it is shear torture to tell yourself (and everyone else) that you want to be healthier, slimmer, happier, or anything else in that matter and not do anything about it. But what does it mean to create this ‘ideal’ self that you could love?
Firstly there is no ideal, no matter what media has programmed into us. The ideal is in your mind. There is something very attractive about a person who is just happy to be themselves and who exudes a healthy glow. Embrace your individuality. It’s worth spending time rediscovering and understanding what you think about your body and exploring this in detail. Define aspects you like and those you wish to change.
In part one I discussed defining what it is you want to achieve, to set clear intentions and realistic goals. This may well be to lose weight, get fitter or deal with a health symptom. Be as specific as you can write them down, for example, I want to lose 4kg or to stop getting bloated after every meal, or change direction.
I see many patients who want to lose weight and it can be a complex process for some. There can be emotional blocks that may be in the way. Sometimes just starting to like yourself can make a dramatic change.
“Our body gives us feedback constantly, we can choose to listen or not”
I’m a huge advocate of tuning in to your body’s feedback system and getting really skilled at interpreting the signals it gives you. I mean the real fine signals which most of us miss. This is so valuable that my clients are often amazed how much they learn in the first few days alone. This is all down to the simple principles of cause and effect. Observing what it is you do and then to monitor the outcome. It’s what science is all about, so you become your own researcher. One of my patients going through menopause realised how hot she suddenly got when she ate any sugary foods, including excess of fruit.
Once you know what you want to change you can start to put your plan together.  It will also require you to change habits. If you’re working hard and trying to be healthy but seem to be rushing around all day then find habits that work in your flow. For example find shops, restaurants around where you work that serve nourishing food or prepare your lunch the night before. I know it sounds so simple but oftentimes when we’re rushing we don’t have time to think.
  • Create a food programme you love 
Your food programme will be foundational to creating health. Create a food programme that you love. Start by looking at what foods will provide health and which ones to avoid. A simple recommendation would be to do moderate protein, vegetables, limited carbohydrates (grains) and refined sugars and moderate fruit. Try not having a carbohydrate breakfast, this means no cereal. If you struggle with giving up sugar then switch to alternative natural sugars like fruit sugars, honey, pure maple or agave syrup. Avoiding certain foods does not mean not enjoying, there are so many new recipes and different types of foods available to us.
If you are using food medicinally to treat a condition then this is a whole different ball game, a general health programme differs much more from using a food programme therapeutically.  It is important to work with a therapist if you are trying to achieve the latter.
  • Support your digestion 
We can be on the best possible diet but if your digestive system is struggling then you may not be getting the most from your food. Your gut needs to be working efficiently to break down and absorb food well. I take a look at this in depth in my Six Ways to Wellbeing Programme. I have to stress we all need to do this and certainly if you’ve ever taken courses of antibiotics or any other medications during your life it is pretty essential.
  • Help the body clean up and look younger 
Whilst our internal organs manage well in cleaning up the numerous chemicals and pesticides we take in from food, water and air we could do with a little help in supporting them. Scientists are discovering that fasting can have amazing therapeutic benefits on the body and switch on the anti-aging gene. One study on mice found that it increased life expectancy by a significant 40%! 
  • Get moving 
Our body needs movement; walking, dancing, cycling, running or yoga or any sport particularly ones you enjoy doing. You’re more likely to be successful at doing one you like than trying to push yourself into something you don’t want to do. My training instructor told me to commit to 20-30 minutes on the mat every day and do the exercises I really enjoy doing. It revolutionised my daily practice!  Now I don’t like to miss a single day.
“You can easily put things into place to change if you really want to 
Finally, putting all of this into place involves being proactive and responsible. We are often told habits are very hard to break and to make all these changes isn’t easy. This is a limited way to think. You can easily put things into place to change if you really want to. What we need is the intention to do it. If you don’t have the intention nor the will it becomes very hard to change. Here is a great exercise to help you begin this process.

Changing Habits
Work through the following
  • Why do I want to change?
  • What am I currently having/doing that is destructive or poor habit?
  • I enjoy it because…
  • My triggers are…
  • What would get in the way of me changing?
  • What can I do instead that will help with the following aspects of this habit?
i.e. emotionally, physiologically, behaviourally, socially
  • Who can help me?
  • Rate out of 10 how much I really want to change

About Rumana Zahn ND 
Rumana has teamed up with Planet Organic to help share her findings on how to achieve the best possible health you can. With over 25 years of experience Rumana is an expert in the field of natural medicine, runs clinics in the UK and speaks worldwide.
Rumana enjoys living a healthy vibrant life, practices yoga and meditation and loves argentine tango and singing.