I spend a lot of time looking at before and after photos on Instagram, wishing I looked more like the after than the before. I think that’s something we’re all a little guilty of, especially women considering our standards of beauty are so incredibly high. These standards and our Instagram feeds can take a massive toll on our minds, bodies, and self-esteem to the point that, even if you want to make small healthy changes to get fitter, it almost never seems like enough. I fall into this trap a lot, in fact, I became so obsessive about my weight and body image this summer that I can to take a break from Instagram and recipe testing to take a hard look at my health and make a plan.

Now, I’ve tried multiple diets, tracking macros, intense workouts and I go hard for a few weeks then burnout and end up binging on unhealthy foods and forgoing any sort of workout. This kind of yo-yo is far too common and the reason why so many nutritionists do not recommend a “diet” as we know it. I know the words lifestyle change make so many cringe but I learned that’s what needed to happen. Not just so I could be happy with what I saw in the mirror but so I wouldn’t leave the table after every meal with horrible stomach cramps or feel bloated the entire day.

One of the things I’ve tried and really liked is intermittent fasting, it doesn’t work for everyone but it does for me! I think I like it because I work from home full time (pre-COVID too) and it keeps me from snacking all day. The second is Noom. I’m sure you all have gotten targeted ads for the company that “works with customers across the globe to help them create healthier habits, reduce their risk of chronic health problems, reverse disease, and foster healthier relationships with themselves in the process.” Since building healthy habits was exactly what I was trying to achieve, Noom’s psychological approach seemed worth a try – especially since they offer a free trial! So here are some VERY honest observations of my first few months using the Noom program:

  • The scale won’t always show the progress you make. Noom is very big of weighing yourself every day. I don’t do that because I get discouraged that I’m not shedding the pounds as quickly as others do. Every body is different and my progress has been in how I feel rather than the numbers on the scale (although they are going down!).
  • Their coaches aren’t just bots making you think you’re getting specialized service, they’re real people who want to help you build those habits! When I told my coach that I wasn’t seeing the results I hoped for, she reviewed my food diary and told me that I was eating far too few calories. In fact, I needed to be hitting 1,200 to actually see progress (not the 900 I was eating). I made that change and saw results almost immediately!
  • Don’t live and die by the food diary. I make a huge effort to always track what I eat and I’ve found that on my “cheat” days, it’s even more important to track. It allows me to learn not to feel guilty about indulging but also to not go overboard.
  • DO THE READING. This is my BIGGEST challenge since I’m so busy during the day but the reading they provide is what helps you understand your habits and gives you the tools to change it.
  • I thought that changing my diet would restrict my ability to be creative with food and recipe testing but that wasn’t true at all! Check out some pictures of the delicious meals I’ve made while staying mostly in the green and yellow categories Noom provides.

In addition to this great program I also wanted to highlight some of the amazing influencers who are using their Instagram platforms to spark the flame of body positive so women everywhere know that they are beautiful NO MATTER WHAT SIZE OR SHAPE THEY ARE! So, by all means, follow the incredible high fashion accounts and tap the heart for influencers of all shapes, but remember to follow some accounts that showcase the reality of our bodies too. Check out the list below of some of my favorite lifestyle and food influencers sharing their truths below:

  • Mik Zazon: her quest to “normalize normal bodies” makes me feel better about myself literally every day! One of the favorite parts of my feed.
  • Kylie Lebel • RDN: Kylie is an RDN and frequently shares content around yo-yo dieting and tips for eating healthy without restricting yourself.
  • Stephanie Yeboah: The author of “Fattily Ever After” is constantly spreading happy vibes and self-love with her cheery Instagram feed.
  • Candice Huffine: As a model and designer herself, Candice knows how to speak to “normal” bodies and encourage followers to always be themselves.
  • The Food Medic: Dr Hazel Wallace is all about sifting through the BS of diets and coming at you with truth and healthy lifestyle tips!

So if you take anything from this post take the fact that you are beautiful no matter what. But if you want to take control of your health and feel better inside AND out then give healthy goal and habit-oriented programs like Noom a try instead of the constant yo-yo of fad diets.