What is one mistake you made as you were trying to get healthy and fit?
One of the first mistakes I made when pursuing health was focusing on the number on the scale.
Being fixated on the number on the scale diverted my attention away from other powerful markers of health, including how I felt, my energy levels, how I was sleeping, and my mental and emotional health.
Because I gave the power to a number, small fluctuations resulted in unnecessary stress and anxiety, and food and fitness becomes tools for manipulating a number instead of nourishing the body. So, I would restrict food, or force myself to workout extra because of what the scale said.
The truth is, bodies fluctuate. And that’s normal.
Our bodies are always adapting to changing environments, both those that occur outside and inside of us, and they weren’t designed to exist in a specific state forever.
Lasting happiness doesn’t come from what your body is, it comes from what your body does. Long-term happiness, what brings us joy, comes from all the things our body can do, and what we experience in life. It has nothing to do with existing at an exact specific weight we think we should be.
Can You Share How You Overcame Your Negative Body Image?
Over the years, I felt guilt and shame for eating something I thought was “bad”, skipping a workout, or having “too much” cellulite on my body. Instead of being driven by what was going to nourish me and serve my mind body and spirit—I took actions that will help rid me of that guilt and shame.
The root of shame and guilt comes out of a belief that there are “good” and “bad” behaviors when it comes to health behaviors, and how your body “should” look.
Stopping the cycle starts with understanding that food is not a moral compass.
While you may find certain foods work best for you, food is not inherently “good” or “bad,” and your self-worth as a human being has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to eat a specific way, or do a workout as prescribed.
Yes of course, there are foods that are more nourishing for your body than others. But this does not mean you have done something wrong, or need to be punished for eating a food.
Giving food morality means giving the power to the food. And when food has the power, interactions with food are accompanied by fear, anxiety, and judgement, which makes it virtually impossible to have any sort of balance or consistency when pursuing health.
What healthy habits have made the biggest improvement in your health?
Pursue health from a place of self-love and using an individualized approach.
I now know that I am entirely worthy and enough without any change, and recognize that health is a journey that is dependent on physical, mental, and emotional health.
Perfection is not a requirement of health.
What is your advice to someone who is just beginning their journey to take back their health?
Don’t focus on what diet culture is telling you you should be, look, or eat. This will do nothing but put you on the “on” again “off” again wagon ride. Sustainable health starts with using an individualized approach. Focus on the things that serve your body.
Isn’t she AMAZING? We hope you’ll come out and meet Noelle in person at the upcoming Take Back Your Health Conference!
Noelle Tarr is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP™), certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association®, and a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA®) Certified Personal Trainer.
Photos courtesy of Noelle Tarr