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Lifestyles

There's power in doing

Posted January 18

The other day I sat in a room full of women talking about their vulnerabilities and struggles with body image. As one wise woman shared her story of learning to love herself, she said, "There's power in doing. Doing is how we learn."

I thought about this for days afterward; those words hit me hard. The most profound moments of learning in my life have always been when I go out and use my body to do something difficult, meaningful, helpful or scary. For me, the most profound moments of growth haven't been when my head is stuck in a textbook or stewing in my own thoughts. She was right: Clarity, progression and growth in my life have come from doing.

Then it got me thinking about my clients who are so often afraid to do and get out and act. Whether it's getting out and exercising, making improvements with nutrition or working on improving self-talk, so many people struggle to start taking action because we're afraid to make mistakes—or worse, we're afraid to fail.

But here's where it gets interesting: If you never put yourself out there and do, you never really learn. Because we learn by doing.

Mistakes don't indicate there's something wrong with us. How arrogant are we if we think we would never make a mistake? Mistakes merely indicate that there's still room for improvement. Spoiler alert: Ahere will always be room for improvement when it comes to developing a healthy relationship with food and your body.

We shouldn't let our fear of mistakes get in the way of taking action, because in the end, that only makes progressing and learning more difficult.

Instead of thinking about mistakes as a bad thing, think about them as more information to help you learn how to take the very best care of yourself as possible.

If you feel there are many things you still need to work on to be able to take great care of yourself nutritionally, that's OK. Get out and do. Start simple and realistic, and start acting. When (not if) you run into roadblocks, try to remain curious about what's working and what isn't and continue to hone in on the things that work best for you to take great care of yourself.

Here are a few ideas of where you might start doing when it comes to nutrition, exercise and self-care:

  • Eat at least one vegetable with lunch and dinner each day.

  • Take time to put food on a plate at regular and planned meal times during the day.

  • Sit down and mindfully eat your meals/snacks at a table rather than in the car, at your desk or standing up at the counter.

  • Move your body in a way that feels life-enhancing and pleasurable to you on a regular basis.

  • Take a few moments per day to slow your breath, especially when you're feeling stressed.

  • Set aside time and plan a week's worth of meals, make a grocery list, then shop for the foods you need to cook and eat at home more often.

  • Drink more water during your day, especially if you are someone who drinks a lot of soda throughout your day.

  • Keep a journal of your progress learning how to take better care of yourself.

Feel free to alter these suggestions in a way that works for you in your own particular situation. Don't look at the bumps along the way as an indicator that you should stop trying. Instead, learn to look at those bumps and struggles as an invitation to continue to learn, grow and progress toward a healthier, more empowered you.

Paige is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in helping people heal their relationship with food. She hosts Nutrition Matters Podcast and has a private nutrition consulting business based in Salt Lake City.

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