Do you want to get to the root cause of your health issues, heal from the inside out, and incorporate self-love? What if you were to start openly talking about your struggles and work through old patterns and resentments? What if you started eating nutrient-dense real food, let go of calorie restriction, along with all the obsessive and restrictive habits around food? What would your life and body look like? We wanted to know too, so we asked the founder, Chelsea Gross of Nutrition with Chelsea, to share her healthy tips with us.

There’s such a mind-body connection with food what do you see as the root cause of this connection with most of your clients?

What I’ve observed is 9 times out of 10, our issues with food have nothing to do with food. The way we feel around food in our bodies and with our weight is deeply ingrained in us, usually from a very early age. Food becomes so much more. It becomes emotional and our weight gets tied up in our self-worth, confidence, and even love. This makes our relationship with food much more complicated than people give it credit for. This is one reason why we spend so many years dieting, but never actually get to where we want to be.

Since most of us have dieted…a lot, and spent a lot of time and energy trying to lose weight and change our bodies, we get stuck in a cycle that doesn’t serve us. This cycle is very difficult to break out of until we become aware of the root issues of why we began dieting, controlling food, or trying to change our bodies in the first place.

What I see most often is women think their issue is just food or just weight problems. But it’s actually something else in their life that is out of balance or doesn’t feel stable or fulfilling and food is just a distraction from it all. So you have to figure out what’s out of balance for you because everyone is different. This might be translating for you as a way to get attention, love, praise, worth, being included, accepted, good enough, be in control, or so many other things. So it’s digging in coming to the realization that changing your body is not a foundational way to solve those deeper things. You can approach these issues in a different way which are much more in alignment with yourself and don’t involve obsession, punishment, guilt or shame.

Another thing is understanding what you really want because it’s never JUST a smaller body, or to eat cleaner, it’s something so much more. You can create this image in a way that isn’t going to fluctuate, and will actually make you feel good about yourself, not just now, not just when you reach your goal, but ongoing. It’s looking at your body, and yourself as a whole person and consider what really makes you feel good, worthy, lovable, strong, and shifting your focus in this direction as much as possible. Once you do this and get clear and confident in who you are and what you really want, food obsession will begin to balance out too.

Wow! It sounds like finding your true self is the key to the root causes of so many issues. What is the first step to changing our perception of food as “comforting” when we are so bombarded with social media?

The food is comforting! And that’s OK. There’s so much shame around food being anything but “fuel” but that’s just silly, we’re not robots. You can still view food as comforting. It can feel good to celebrate with food and you can look forward to food, however, comfort needs to be coming in from other aspects of your life, so it’s a balance. The goal is for things not to be so black and white. I like to help people exist in the grey zone – so they can handle all of life’s twists and turns and release the idea they have to be perfect because perfection doesn’t exist.

As far as social media, we have got to create a boundary! I’m a fan of doing a social media cleanse and unfollowing anyone who doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. Especially if you’re on a journey towards building back a more positive relationship with food, you’ve got to stop viewing content from people who talk about weight loss, dieting, controlling food, along with too much fitness or workout routines. Too much noise and opinions from others will block your own intuition; so we need a quieter space to actually listen to our own bodies and create choices and decisions around food which makes us feel good. We don’t have to do it just because someone else is doing it!

So many things to consider for a healthy relationship with food and self. What’s your definition of self-love…what are we missing?

For me, self-love is not looking in the mirror and thinking you are perfect, with a perfect body and look, without flaws. It’s letting down the fight. It’s acceptance. No longer punishing, hating, challenging or working against. If you’ve been at war with your body for years, which so many women have, the idea of finding self-love is going to be intimidating and seem impossible. The first step, get to know yourself, try to be a little nicer, more compassionate, and forgiving. You’ve probably been through a lot! Self-love is working with your body and allowing it to discover the new you, not forcing it or pushing it.

Acceptance and getting to know yourself is a big step to self-love. What are your five favorite foods?

I enjoy dates, figs, persimmons, salmon and cookie dough as some of my favorites.

These foods are amazing! What do you see when you look in the mirror…

I have been through SO much. So I see someone who is really strong. I’ve been through eating disorders, chronic pain, and Lyme disease. I took everything I went through, that really beat me down and built myself back up and now help others to do the same. My motto is that things don’t happen to us, they happen for us, and I think about this every single day. Without understanding and believing this motto, I would have given up a long time ago. But I know all my pain and struggles were worth it, so I could become the woman I am today and have the level of compassion to inspire and support others. I want everyone to know they are not alone and it can always get better.

Good for you and your clients! What advice would you give to young women starting a career?

I would have to say, put your blinders on to what everyone around you is doing and realize that your voice is meant to be heard. It’s a disservice to play small and stay stuck because other people need you! On a logistical note, there are going to be many many failures and disappointments along the way. I recommend keeping a log or list of the little victories, as you build your career, so you have proof and affirmation to keep going, even when you don’t want to!

Great advice! What about mom, what’s the best advice she gave you…

I learned from her to always write thank-you notes :).

Gratitude is always a good piece of advice. What’s your favorite read?

Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss

I’ll have to check this one out! Thank you so much for your time, Chelsea. It was such great insight from a woman who knows first hand how to find a healthy balance, for health and self-love. For more on Chelsea Gross visit her website or follow her on Instagram.

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