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I am Louise O'Driscoll, founder of Natural Balance. I am a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, helping people find their way to a healthy and happy relationship with food and body.

Feeling that post holiday bulge.....and it's fine!

By louiseodriscoll, Sep 3 2014 08:47PM

Apologies for my lengthy absence - I have been on holiday and due to technical issues, couldn't blog from the devices I had at my disposal! I had a great holiday, six weeks with my husband and children, enjoying the sunshine and each others' company (most of the time!)

The other thing I very much enjoyed was relaxing my usual exercise schedule and being less mindful with regard to food than I try to be in 'normal' life. I do this once or twice a year, usually at Christmas and the summer, and find it a different means of getting in touch with my body in a way. So I spent relaxing couple of weeks on the UK coast, and then two weeks in France, during which time I ate copious amounts of delicious baguette not an awful lot of vegetables and drank alcohol daily. It was lovely and I certainly believe my body benefits from such complete rest, but by the end of it I feel sluggish and flabby and definitely less strong and fit than before I went - and I am craving the food that I know makes me feel fresh and energised. It makes me remember what really works well and that too much beige food, however enjoyable to taste, really doesn't result in feeling fantastic.

A big breakthrough for me though, is not really minding about the changes in my body - typically after a holiday like this, I hate the way I feel and look, I am driven by the need to change it back to how it was before the holiday, but it seems, after years of gradually working towards it, I can observe the changes the holiday life has wrought in my body - the rounder curve of my tummy and hips, the squeeze of flesh at the side of my sports bra now I've put it back on after about a month - and think 'that's ok, I'm fine'. I know it will change when I get back to my usual routine, which I also enjoy - even though it can be a somewhat painful process on the exercise front! I am going to enjoy the process of feeling my fitness return, of the taste of great, nutrient dense food and also some chocolate along the way!

So my own continued work on body image is finally getting me where I want to be. Being fit and strong and able to do the physical things I want to is the most important thing to me now, not so much how I look, and that feels like a great place to be. I am back at the gym and have a renewed enthusiasm for eating the most nourishing and delicious food I can (watch out for some new recipes!). Life is a flow and our bodies follow that. Mindful eating is a practice, not a perfect and taking your eye off the ball for a while - whether as part of a holiday or because other things in life need prioritising more - isn't the end of the world, so if you have done this, try not to beat yourself up or hate your reflection - you really are fine just as you are. Love your body as it is, and now that the 'relaxed' period is over, focus on how you can best care for it with movement you enjoy and food that nourishes you best. Love it as it is and it will love you back!

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