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Lighten Up! Valentine's Day

The BUT I LOVE ME! edition!

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Lighten Up: A Holiday Series on the Intersection of Diet Culture, Family and Food

Diet Culture brings fear and dysfunction to the house long before our families show up. In this series, a therapist and an elementary school nutritionist will offer tips and tools to enlighten us, so we can, "Lighten Up" without *actually* setting things on fire. We can't make the world safer, but we can #reclaimourtime when it's time to celebrate with food...and family.

On this edition of Lighten Up!, we talk about loving ourselves, which is neither as trite nor as easy as it sounds.

“I love myself i think I'm grand when I go to the movies I hold my hand I wrap my arms around my waist when I get fresh I SLAP my face! I’m a nut!”

Do you know this song? Coach MK learned it from Deanne Graves in junior high! In 1991!!! Back then, self-love made you a nut. The cultural conversation around this concept has shifted massively in the ensuing 20 years, to the point of NOT loving yourself being a source of shame. We are still trapped between the right answer and the true answer, “I love myself” being the ‘right’ answer and, “I am perpetually frustrated by my body” on the other. We aren’t sure that weight loss and cosmetic procedures like facelifts can be acts of self-love, and we have shows like The Biggest Loser and Botched to prove it.

Which makes Valentine’s Day REALLY tough. Quitter’s Day is a thing now, a shame-laden mid-January marketing pitch to keep sales momentum from New Year’s going strong into a month centered around a holiday celebrating romantic love….another type of love we aren’t comfortable having for ourselves….and we are NOT going to talk about that on this podcast because I may melt. Seriously, I’m all for people doing whatever solo I JUST DO NOT WANT TO KNOW!!!!!! That’s why we hired Coach Sarah, tell her about your vibrator!

Note from Coach Sarah: [no comment].

"It would appear there has been a positive shift in how we talk about body image," writes Moya Lothia McLean for Vice, "with emphasis placed on the non-aesthetic benefits of exercise, such as increased cognitive functioning, how it can alleviate depressive symptoms, the improvement it has on cardiovascular health and so on. But the associations of exercise with fat loss and a specific body type are still there too, under a new guise." OH YEAH, we feel that - running is ALL ABOUT SELF LOVE and self care, right? Well, maybe, but when its overt or covert purpose is to change your body, that connection becomes somewhat tenuous.

We know we can’t really love other people until we truly love ourselves, but how do we do THAT exactly? We are calling in THE BIG GUNS! Dalia and Jummy talk with us about what it took for them to really love themselves and WHY this is such an uphill battle for us. It's hard work, y'all, and if you don't feel the love, we promise you you are not broken or behind. Once again, we recommend BATHING in Dalia's self-love playlist on Spotify for a sonorous display of what it means to love on YOU.

Dalia Kinsey is The School Nutrition Dietitian utilizing a background in public health and school nutrition in preventative health care. Her writing on New Year's Resolutions was recently featured on Medium, and she has a podcast series going on this month about cultivating positivity and health at every size. Jummy Olawale is a Gottman Method Therapist; she helps couples rebuild healthy, shame-free relationships by re-framing difficult conversations. I’m hoping that today’s roundtable discussion can help us recognize the messages we are REALLY sending everyone around us so we can lead the way in helping them develop healthy relationships with food...and with us.

MK Fleming is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLC and Sarah Axelrod leads Fitness Protection's #CoachedandLoved Community. Try our accessible, affordable monthly running plans at!

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