New York City Nutritionist Celebrates International Women’s Day and #PressforProgress

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate and recognize the achievements of women around the world. And as much as we might feel it’s a two-step forward, one-step back shimmy, collectively we can all work to bridge the gender parity gap which, the UN estimates, is about 200 years from happening around the globe.

200 years?

Yes.

This year’s theme is #PressforProgress, International Women’s Day’s call to motivate and take actions, demanding that organizations and entire communities “think, act, and be gender inclusive.”

So what does this have to do with nutrition, exercise, and choosing a healthy lifestyle?

Everything.

Women are bombarded, daily, with messages that tell us we’re not thin enough, not pretty enough, not successful enough. Simply … not enough. This plague of information (misinformation) can lead to disordered eating and unhealthy lifestyles. Eating disorders are diseases that hide in plain sight, leaving millions of people untreated, undiagnosed, and at risk. According to ANAD, every 62 minutes a person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder.

So today, and every day, I want us to celebrate women. I want to #PressforProgress. I want everyone (every woman and man) to turn off the TV, put away the fashion magazines, and celebrate health and our beautiful bodies – the machines that have been given to us in order to live our lives, not define them.

It’s not so easy, I know. It’s hard to rewire our brains when they’ve been systematically trained to believe the only body that’s beautiful is the Hollywood body. Here are some tips to build a better body image and shed the weight of unrealistic expectations. Here are some tips to love health at every size.

  1. happy.womenBeauty isn’t outside-in, instead inside-out. Beauty is who you are. Think of what brings you joy. Now … do that. A lot. It could be anything from walking your dog, running through rainy puddles with your children to writing code for a new program at work, or teaching calculous at a high school. Those moments, those lifetime goals, those achievements are what make you beautiful.
  2. Be kind …starting with you. Our brains click into sports commentary mode a lot. So what are you saying to yourself? Pay attention to your self-talk and the thousands of messages you send yourself every day. You have to be mindful and intentional to change those negatives to positives. Speak beautiful to you.
  3. Write it down. Write down three things you love about your body. NO BUTS ALLOWED! Keep a love diary. For instance, I love my fingers – the way I can wrap them around my grandchildren’s hands. I love my ears – the way that I can listen to my favorite music and talk radio when I’m getting ready in the morning.  When you start to write down the positives, those messages will start to edge out the negatives, and push you into a positive mindset.
  4. Get moving. Your body was given to you to live, whether that means walking to work, playing baseball in the park with your kids, taking a dance class, or learning how to swim. An active lifestyle doesn’t mean training for marathons, instead it means independence and health. Activity is the key to both physical and mental well-being.
  5. Choose healthy foods. We all love a bag of chips every once in a while. But the better we eat, the better we’ll feel, and by choosing foods that nourish our bodies, we’re choosing health.

So, this month, and every month, celebrate the beauty of women! We are so much more than a photo-shopped image. We are so much more than a number on a scale. We are enough.