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How happy are you with your body? Do you often feel self-conscious because of your body? Have you tried losing weight with little to no results?

You are not alone. According to, approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape, and 58% of college-aged girls feel pressured to be a certain weight. Much of this has to do with the ideal body image portrayed by the media. We are not taught to love our bodies as they are, to be grateful for everything our bodies do for us on a daily basis. Instead, we look to ideals set in place by someone outside of ourselves and criticize every part of our bodies that does not fit into that mold.

As a fitness model and instructor, I learned very quickly how little I appreciated my body. It took an injury for me to sit with the reality of how I felt about myself and my body. I was at 12% body fat. I was the fittest I had ever been, able to clean and jerk 5 lbs. more than my body weight. I had just booked a job with a celebrity fitness coach. And I was still trying to “perfect” my body, nitpicking every ounce of myself. Of course, that was a reflection of what was going on inside far more than outside.

Dana James, a nutritionist and author, talks about the complexity of weight loss. See, it’s not just calories in and calories out. You might have opened up to this possibility after reading my blog about emotional eating. Dana James suggests a new formula regarding weight loss:

Change in Body Fat = Food + Movement + Hormones + Sleep + Gut Microbiome + Inflammation + Medication + Unexpressed Emotions + Genes (1)

I am so happy to have read this. Finally, someone else in this field is getting down to the truth of the matter. Food and movement are probably most familiar to you. And don’t forget about genetics. You don’t have control over that part. You have a body type. Your job is to love yourself fully and completely, knowing you are perfect as you are. Then you can make adjustments to suit your life in a healthy way. The rest of the equation is under your control.

So here are a few things you can do other than working out and dieting to get your weight back on track and reclaim your vitality:

  1. Meditate and Practice Self-Care: Unexpressed emotions are my top priority when working with clients. This is the easiest place to get stuck because they are not measurable. And sometimes, we have been suppressing for so long, it’s difficult to identify if and when we are suppressing an emotion. Interestingly, “when researchers looked at obese patients that were scheduled for bariatric surgery, they discovered that 75 percent of them had experienced at least one adverse childhood experience, known as an ACE. ACEs cover emotional neglect, emotional abuse, divorce, sexual abuse, physical violence, and a family member going to jail,” (1). This is a main reason I talk about self-care. Maintaining a connection to ourselves helps us know when and what we need. You might need to sit down and journal. You might need to take time to sit by the ocean. You might need an extra meditation session. If there is something stuck inside you, it may also keep the weight stuck because it is a subconscious protective barrier. Feel free to ask for help when you need it.
  2. Get Quality Sleep: Sleep hygiene is an integral part of your life. Many people skip this step, and it has an effect on your hormones as well as your food intake. Many cravings that lead to added calories can be avoided by getting enough sleep. However, the effects on your hormones is more significant. According to a publication on MedScape regarding sleep deprivation’s impact on hormones, “the release of hormones by the pituitary — the "master" endocrine organ that controls the secretion of other hormones from the peripheral endocrine glands — is markedly influenced by sleep,” (2). Sleep deprivation especially affects the stress hormone cortisol. The same publication notes “elevations of evening cortisol levels in chronic sleep loss are likely to promote the development of insulin resistance, a risk factor for obesity and diabetes.” If you believe sleep deprivation or insomnia are impacting your life, contact us or another professional to help establish a sleep hygiene routine.
  3. Restore Gut Health: The vast majority of the bacterial species that make up our microbiome live in our digestive systems. Research over the past several decades has revealed evidence that there’s an inextricable link between a person’s microbiota, digestion, body weight and metabolism, which are all affected by diet (3). It works the other way as well. Your gut health impacts how you absorb nutrients into your body and how you utilize and store fat. To promote healthy gut, start by drinking bone broth daily. This helps to heal the gut as well as decrease inflammation in the body. Eat lots of fresh produce, preferably organic. These are full of phytonutrients, and the more variety, the better. Eat healthy fats like avocado and extra virgin olive oil. You may also want to start using a probiotic. Eliminating processed foods, simple carbs like bread and pasta, and vegetable oils will also help. Working with a health professional might be best if you have been experiencing bloating and other digestive issues for some time. Give us a call if you are ready to get started.

Be well. Be happy. Be you.


Calliope Tsoukalas Nutrition Counselor/Health & Fitness Writer

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