With the AMAZING news of Instagram’s psuedo-science ban this week (read more here), I think it’s a really great time to bring to light some of the other health myths and misguided habits that I commonly see in women as they launch themselves into a new ‘healthy lifestyle’ regime.

It’s important to note that I am truly writing this to you from a place of love, and from a place of experience (including personal experience). I too have been enticed by the shiny-new-prettiness of a ‘lose weight quickly’ program that promised to CHANGE MY LIFE!!

But what if I told you, that everything you need to know about creating great, sustainable health habits for life is already ingrained in you. That if you turned off the social media, that if you turned off the morning television shows, that if you stopped reading the glossy magazines - and that if your trusted your instinct, you’d realise that you do already have the skills and the knowledge to create an amazing lifestyle for yourself.

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This brings me to the first trap many women find themselves in, and that’s getting their nutrition advice on social media. Do you ever notice that the only nutrition advice I ever give out is guided by the Australian Dietary Guidelines? The simple fact is, that’s all I’m allowed to talk to you about. And that’s all I want to talk to you about - I don’t want to add to the confusion that’s out there! It takes four years and a university degree to become a qualified dietitian - and they are the only professionals we should be trusting with our nutrition advice. If someone on social media or a personal trainer is asking you to eat in a way that is not sustainable and not conducive to positive family life, then you probably need to ask yourself if it’s really worth it?

Theresa Prior Westmeadows

Following on from that is the barrage of social media posts that we are about to start seeing in the lead up to Halloween, and then Christmas - and that’s the idea that food must be earned through exercise. That you must ‘run 5km’ in order to ‘earn’ a glass of wine with your family at the Christmas table. NO!! Don’t get me wrong here, if weight loss is your goal (in order to feel more comfortable, have more energy and to improve your overall health), then of course you need to take into consideration that energy out needs to be slightly more than energy in. However, we shouldn’t EVER have to ‘earn’ food - nutrition should be seen as the big picture, and that enjoyable occasions with enjoyable food is all part of the balance.

Movement and exercise is another big one that I see women equating with improved health. But going too hard too soon leads straight to burn out and injury. You only have one body to live in, so you should treat her with the respect she deserves! Start a new exercise program slowly - when I first started at the gym after having my eldest (in 2010), I only went one day per week and did a slow walk around the block on the other days. Motherhood is a physically demanding job - you need to ensure that you leave enough energy in the tank for what’s most important to you. Risking injury for the sole purpose of fitting back into your pre-baby jeans is just simply not worth it.

If you only take one thing away from this article, it’s that you are ALLOWED to treat yourself and your body with respect. That you don’t have to buy into the social expectations of what health ‘looks like’. Health is a bigger picture than the aesthetics of your body - it’s social, emotional, physical and mental health.

If you want more information, I do have a FREE 10-step guide to help you regain control of your health in a loving, sustainable way. Click here to get your copy.

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