Here's Why I Stopped Talking About Nutrition (As an NTP)

why i stopped talking about nutrition.png

Over the past week or so during my trip to Colorado, i’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my business, my brand, and my message. (These are the things I think about on “vacation” - ha!)

I also realize that a majority of you found me through my previous blog posts or courses on Nutrition, which is why I felt like it was time to explain the real reason I stepped away from anything nutrition-related in my business.

As some of you may know, I struggled with anorexia and exercise addiction for many years prior to becoming an NTP. My food obsession took many different forms over the course of time - starting with low-calorie/deprivation, then to low-carb, then to high-fat, then to paleo. These “healthy” (yet still restrictive) ways of eating helped me feel much better than my previously malnourished counterpart, which led me to a career in Nutrition, to help others use food as a means of healing.

Looking back now though, i’m not 100% sure if my desire to work in the field of Nutrition was actually because I loved nutrition, or if because I SO wanted to hold onto my food obsession, even as I became healthier.

If i’ve learned anything in the past 2 years, it’s that once something no longer feels in right to me, I have to stop, immediately, or it eats at my soul. (Sounds dramatic, but it’s true)

So when I found myself constantly telling women what they should be eating “gluten free!” “avoid dairy” “avoid processed foods and stay away from sugar!” I started to feel completely out of alignment (and seriously icky). 

The messages that I was telling other women to do to find health, were the exact reason that I was STILL unhealthy.

YES. I am an NTP and I STILL have health issues. And no, going on an elimination diet, or avoiding nightshades, or eating more fat or more carbs or taking out caffeine or supplementing with collagen and ashwaganda didn’t fix me. Trust me, i’ve tried.

Yes, i’m an NTP and I STILL have health issues.

What IS healthier for me? Having absolutely no restrictions on the food that I eat. Eating as much as I want, and sometimes more than I want. Eating gluten for breakfast, even though I know it’s not the “cleanest” option, and grabbing a sandwich at the airport because fast food is healthier for me than starving.

I’ve stepped away from talking about nutrition, because if i’m being honest, I thought that nutrition was THE WAY to perfect health. The way to success. The way to happiness. And as it turns out, focusing on nutrition accomplished none of those things.

Want to know what DID lead to success, happiness and improved health?

NOT caring so much about what I put in my mouth. Pursuing my passions. Prioritizing fun over exercise. Sharing my REAL life with people.

I SO badly wanted to blame my almost-lifelong battle with fatigue on the fact that I had leaky gut or some sort of obscure food sensitivity - but the truth is that my fatigue was being caused by years of hard work and obsession that were not in alignment with what REALLY sets my soul on fire.

How do I know? Because once I started my own business, moved to where I wanted to live, and followed my dreams of traveling the world, I haven’t felt fatigued. Not once. (Ok except that one time we stayed up until 4am in Paris, but….#worthit)

And just because I don’t talk about nutrition in the same, “mainstream” way anymore doesn’t mean that I will never talk about it again....

...But i’ve also come to accept the fact that maybe my nutrition “message” may not be mainstream, popular, or even helpful to most people - and that’s ok - because my message is not for everybody. I am not for everybody. And neither are you.

My nutrition “message” is not for everybody. I am not for everybody, and neither are you.

And I know there are a TON of women out there who feel exactly the same way that I do right now, that have tried every gut healing protocol and elimination diet, and that STILL don’t have energy, or get their period, or enjoy life because they are too concerned about what’s going in their mouth.

So for now, i’m over it. (Maybe forever, maybe not).

I am going to continue to focus on the things that light me up and energize me: talking about online business building, social media, minimalism, and travel. And when it comes to nutrition, i’m not using any labels. I’m going to eat what I want, when I want it, even though that scares the shit out of me.

Because i’ve learned that things that scare the shit out of you, usually have the best outcome.

Tell me: what is the "healthiest" thing for you?

XO,

Amie

How To Get Six Pack Abs - Rebelle Nutrition

sixpack.jpg

It is very unnatural for most women to have six pack abs while maintaining a healthy relationship with food and exercise.

This is because women generally need a body fat percentage of at least 20% in order to remain fertile and have regular menstrual cycles. This is in comparison to men, who can get as low as 6% body fat and still remain in the "healthy" category.

Yes, there are some exceptions to this - some women have a more muscular build, or a naturally low body fat level that allows for their abdominal muscles to be visible.

Unfortunately, the heroin-chic look of the 90’s morphed into the equally unattainable “strong is the new skinny” and “fitspiration” trend plastered all over social media today.

Achieving visible abs as a woman is basically the gold standard of fitness.

How do I know?

I too, once achieved this gold standard, and would receive raving comments about my “six pack abs” every time I wore a bathing suit.

People assumed I possessed tons of core strength and wanted to know my “secret”. They assumed I took incredible care of my body and made comments of envy, like “I want your abs!” because, you know, strong IS the new skinny...right?

I would smile and say thank you, a little flattered and a little embarrassed. Mostly though, I just felt like a big phony. I often imagined the response I would get if I answered those envious questions with the truth.

What would people say if I told them that my "secret" to getting six-pack abs was running 6 miles a day on less than 1,000 calories? Or drinking diet coke to suppress my hunger? Or stuffing myself with fibrous vegetables until my stomach hurt so that I wouldn’t have room for the food I actually wanted?

No one wanted to hear that. They wanted to hear about the green juice, and the farm fresh produce, and how “amazing” it felt to be so healthy.

Except I wasn’t healthy. I actually felt like shit; but the constant positive reinforcement I received made it nearly impossible for me to regain true health.

I liked feeling powerful; I had found the one thing that I was awesome at. I harbored this secret out of shame, but also because I wouldn’t dare suggest anyone bring the same pain onto themselves that I had.

Hopefully at this point you know that i’m not ever going to tell you how to get six-pack abs. If that is legitimately what you are looking for, this article is not for you.

In my opinion, any fitness article that says that doing “x” will give you a six-pack is straight up lying. So instead, here are some truths:

- Having a six-pack is not necessarily a sign of health.
- Having a six-pack is not necessarily a sign of strength.
- Having a six-pack is not necessarily a sign of happiness, or joy, or ambition, or literally anything else besides having a low body fat percentage and/ or the genetics for it.

And while i’m telling the truth, here are some more.

- When I stopped running excessively and started eating (a lot) more, my six-pack became (much) less visible.
- Despite this, my core strength has increased significantly
- I generally have good energy, sleep well, and don’t get hangry
- I know that I am infinitely healthier, despite the fact that random people don’t comment on my abs or ask me for my fitness routine.

This is not to say that I think there is anything inherently wrong with wanting ripped abs, or whatever aesthetic goal it is that you want.

However in my experience, most people (myself included) believe that achieving six-pack abs will result in things like increased health, success, confidence and love. I believe this is also the message that most health and fitness brands, products, and “fitspo” portray. These messages are lies.

Behind (almost) every fitness model is someone who has overtrained and under-eaten for months to prepare for that photoshoot. They probably missed social events, and even missed out on friendships and relationships to pursue their aesthetic goals. They are also spray-tanned, flexed, and photoshopped to perfection. They are not real life.

Behind every pair of six-pack abs may be an ugly, unglamorous truth about what happens when the pursuit of “health” is taken too far. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having this look, and to each their own, but we MUST remove the "health halo" around women who achieve it, and understand that this is not a realistic or healthy "goal" for most women.


Tell me - do you aspire to have six-pack abs? Or do you find these images to be unrealistic and unattainable?

The Fantasy of Perfection

leanness fantasy.jpg

The 'leanness fantasy' is sold to us on a daily basis and makes us believe that our lives would be so much better if we could just lose the last 10 pounds. Don't believe me? Look at the model in the picture above. How many of you had the following thoughts (subconscious or not):

"I want to look like that. She must have the best life. I bet she has 5 hot European lovers and drinks green juice all day while making a career being an Instagram model". (Okay maybe not your thoughts exactly, but you know what I mean ;) )

We often believe this fantasy without even questioning it, and manipulating our bodies to look a certain way is what we feel like we must do. But why?

"I need to lose 10 pounds"
"I need to drop 3 % body fat"
"I need to get a bikini body for summer"

These are comments I hear on a daily basis. Last year alone, diet products were a 63 billion dollar industry, so to say that we are bombarded with the goal of leanness would be an understatement. If nothing else, my hope is that this post makes you ask yourself why next time you put your life on hold until your goal of leanness is reached.

The ‘leanness fantasy’ reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite entrepreneurs, Dale Partridge.

“Stop waiting for Friday, for Summer, for someone to fall in love with you, or for the dream job. The lie that success is at the next place, next idea, next opportunity, or even the next person. Until you give up the idea that success is somewhere else, it will never be where you are”

This idea really resonates with me so much not only in the work that I do with clients, but personally (Just replace 'success' with whatever you think is waiting for you once you achieve 'blank' aesthetic goal).

For many years, I was working to achieve and maintain a specific number on the scale. I told myself once I got there, then I would have amazing confidence, figure out what I wanted to do for a career, and have an amazing social life.

Did any of that happen?

Not at all. Of course, I did reach the arbitrary number on the scale I aimed for, but in order to get there, I had zero energy to do anything other than watch Real Housewives. Not exactly the goal I pictured in my mind. Also, if I wanted to stay at this weight (which was completely unnatural for my body) it would mean spending hours in the gym and passing up all opportunities to go out to eat or drink, socialize, etc.

I encourage anyone who has this ‘leanness fantasy’ to really ask yourself why you want whatever aesthetic goal you so desperately desire. This is something I often do with my clients. I simply ask “why” over and over again until we reach a conclusion (or they get annoyed with me :)) Our conversations often go like this:

Me: your adrenals are shot, you need to incorporate more rest, relaxation, and less intense work outs
client: I can’t do that! I don’t want to gain weight!
Me: (that is unlikely, but...) why?
Client: I don’t want to get fat!
Me: (again, not going to happen simply from resting, but...) why?
(at this point they usually start getting frustrated with me, like, “duh? no one wants to gain weight?”)
Client: I don’t know, I just don’t!

Clearly we didn’t come to any real conclusion here, but I think it is so important to continue to ask yourself WHY you have certain goals for yourself. Do you really want six-pack abs because it will make you 'healthier'? Or because society has conditioned us into believing that is what's beautiful?

Realistically, most of us are not elite athletes or training for something that would require us to be certain body fat percentage. Yes, we want to be metabolically healthy, but research shows that this is not something that can be judged based on outward appearance or body fat percentage. (In my years as a personal trainer, some of my most metabolically unhealthy clients had very low body fat percentages - see resources below).

So why does it matter if we put on a few pounds if it means we are healing our bodies? IF this happens, it is usually temporary, and if it is not, it often is a sign that your body needed a few extra pounds to function properly (often the case with active women).

At this point I think it is important to really look at what ‘gaining a few pounds’ means to you. Are you afraid of it because of how the media portrays weight gain? Are you afraid of becoming ‘fat’ because somehow our society has labeled it the worst thing a person can be? Are you afraid you boyfriend, spouse, friends won’t love you anymore? Are you afraid of being viewed as ‘lazy’?

Once we can get to the root of WHY it scares us to gain weight, or stop working out so hard, or resting, we can dissect these feelings and begin to question their legitimacy.

Lets troubleshoot:

Think being fat is the worst thing a person can be?
REALLY? Worse than being hateful, pessimistic, or rude?

Afraid of gaining a few pounds and people noticing your weight gain?
I guarantee people are too concerned with themselves to notice, and if they do, so what? They would also notice if you got a hair cut, or a tan. Change your perception about what ‘weight’ means to you and your whole outlook will change.

Afraid your boyfriend won’t love you anymore?
Get a new one. You deserve better.

Afraid of being viewed as ‘lazy'?
If this is you, you are probably very Type A, perfectionist and always on the go. Am I right? A lazy day once in a while is completely normal and necessary. Plus, your loved ones will probably be thrilled that you want to hang out and go to brunch on Sunday rather than to the gym.

Oh and my favorite...
Afraid of putting on a few pounds for ‘health’ reasons?
I challenge you to do some research about what it means to be metabolically healthy, and how society skews our perception. Leanness does not necessarily equal health, just as being overweight does not necessarily equal unhealthy.

Resources:
Health At Every Size

and some of my favorite bloggers that preach this same message:

Isabel Foxen Duke
Summer Innanen
Maddy Moon

To bring this all full circle back around to the Dale Partridge quote, I think this 'leanness fantasy' is often another way for us to put off our dreams or goals (at least it was for me).

Let me tell you from experience, once arrived at the magical aesthetic destination you set for yourself (IF you ever even get there) it still won’t be enough. The perception is that when our bodies reach perfection, we will be gifted with self- confidence and happiness that we assume comes with having a low body fat percentage. The truth is, once you reach your ‘goal’, you will still be the exact same person that you’ve always been. Until we focus on improving self-confidence, happiness, a great social life, or whatever your REAL goal is, changing your body is not going to do that for you.

So why do we look to change our bodies when what we really want is joy, fun, health, confidence, (insert fantasy here)?

Physical change is concrete; we know if we diet, restrict calories, and work out harder, the weight will come off. Confidence and self worth on the other hand, are much harder to measure and impossible to fake.

The moral of the story is, don’t wait until you achieve XYZ to do the things you want to do, wear the clothes you want to wear, or be the confident person you think is waiting on the other side of leanness.

 

6 Signs your Diet is Failing You

Nutrition is a relatively new science, so it is no wonder there are contradicting reports on almost a weekly basis about what is considered ‘healthy’.

Low carb! Low Fat! High Carb! Fasting! Ketogenic! Unicorn Tears!

This ever-changing advice can get extremely confusing and take us further away from our intuition around food.  You may even find yourself completely stressed out before each meal, trying to choose the ‘healthiest’ option based on which articles you read that week. Or maybe you have ever found yourself eating a certain way based on what is 'trendy' or worked well for someone else who seems to be the epitome of health, but you still aren't feeling your best. For this reason, I have created a list of questions to ask yourself when trying to determine if the 'diet' you currently have is working for you or not:

 

     1. Are you satisfied?

If you find yourself craving sweets, need dessert after every meal, or feel hungry again shortly after eating, your meals may not have the proper macronutrient ratio to keep you satisfied. As a general rule, aim for 40% carbs, 30% fats, and 30% protein at each meal. (Consisting of real food sources of course :)) For example, a meal containing a piece of steak, sweet potato, and salad with olive oil will likely leave you much more satisfied than a bowl of cereal.

 

     2. Do you have balanced energy throughout the day?

If you do, great! (Assuming you aren't constantly consuming sugar and/or caffeine). However, if you experience a lot of energy spikes and crashes during the day (especially right after meals) this is a huge indicator that your diet needs a bit of tweaking. I talked extensively about this in my last blood sugar post. 

 

      3. Do you feel deprived or have intense cravings?

Did you know that certain cravings can mean different things? For example, a chocolate craving can signal a magnesium deficiency, a craving for salt can signal stressed out adrenals, and constant sugar cravings can be indicative of a candida or yeast overgrowth. Our bodies are smart and have ways of asking for what they want! Instead of feeling like a slave to your cravings, addressing the underlying vitamin/mineral deficiency can often be a simple fix.

 

      4. Are you always thinking about food?

One classic sign of under-eating is constantly thinking about food and planning your next meal. If you feel like you are unable to concentrate at work or carry on normal day to day activities without thinking about food, it may be time to increase your caloric and nutrient intake.

  

      5.   Is your weight stable?

Weighing yourself is totally unnecessary! However, looking at the way your clothes fit can be a good indicator of whether your weight is stable (despite normal fluctuations). If you find yourself consistently reducing your food intake and continue to gain weight, this can be a sign of a slowed metabolism* that can be reversed through increasing amounts of nutrient dense proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Think of your metabolism like a fire; the more wood you add, the bigger the flame becomes. Similarly, the more food you eat, the faster your metabolic rate becomes.

*This can also indicate hypothyroidism; however if you have been a 'yo-yo' dieter for many years, it is more likely that your metabolic rate has slowed in response to a caloric deficit.

 

     6. Do you have any chronic health concerns?

This could be anything from Anemia, IBS, dry skin, acne, endocrine problems, insomnia, fatigue, arthritis, thyroid disorders, digestive disorders, anxiety, depression, eczema and the list goes on and on. If you are suffering from any of these problems, it is extremely likely that your body is in a state of imbalance. Underlying problems like food sensitivities, mineral deficiencies and insufficient digestion are all underlying causes that must be addressed if you want to find the root cause of your symptoms.

 

Does your current diet leave you feeling famished?