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Dangers of Diet Culture by Cynthia Boyede


We live in a society that places a lot of value on physical beauty. Whether through traditional media like TV, magazines, or radio or through social media, we are constantly fed the lie that thinner is better. If it’s not thinner, than it’s about being perfectly toned and shaped. We are reminded that thinner/more toned means healthier and that translates to worthiness. Even in our close communities and families, those messages are present. Our culture’s obsession with diet, health and fitness makes it difficult to have a caring and respectful relationship with our bodies, food and movement.

A poll conducted in 2014, showed that 87 per cent of Canadian women are dissatisfied with their bodies and 70 per cent of those women are on a diet to lose weight. Diets have been scientifically proven not to work and in fact, they promote disordered eating and put people at risk for developing a full blown eating disorder. Unfortunately, diets are so normalized that we often buy into them without realizing the risk they pose to our mental and physical health. Here are some diet culture red flags to be wary of: clean eating, Keto, cleanses and detoxes.

One in two Canadians know someone who has or has had an eating disorder. That means over 18 million Canadians know of someone with a history of an eating disorder!

As well as being under-reported, eating disorders are often misrepresented, underrepresented or in some cases overlooked. The most popular and widespread image of a person with an eating disorder is an extremely thin, young and financially-privileged white girl/woman who chooses to starve herself. This image perpetuates two dangerous myths about eating disorders:

1.   An eating disorder is a choice: An eating disorder is never a choice. It is in fact a devastating mental illness. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness (15%). Genetic makes up 50-80% of the risk of developing an eating disorder (ie. NOT YOUR FAULT).  

2.   Eating disorders discriminate: Anyone can develop an eating disorder regardless of race, weight, body size, body type, gender, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.

In a society where beauty and thinness are often seen as pathways to health and success, people with eating disorders who do not fit this mold are often prescribed weight-loss or a “make-over” of some sort. Stereotypes like these build a barrier to recovery for a lot of people who have eating disorders because it makes it harder for people who do not fit this mold to detect the eating disorder early.

The good news is there is hope for recovery. A good place to start is recognizing that you struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating and talking to a health professional or a community support organization like Body Brave, about your concerns.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you preoccupied with thoughts about weight, food, calories, carbs, fat, diets, or   exercise?

  2. Do you refuse to eat when you’re hungry?

  3. Are you terrified about gaining weight or being overweight?

  4. Do you feel uncomfortable eating around people?

  5. Do you feel extremely guilty after eating?

  6. Do you vomit after eating?

  7. Do you mostly or only eat diet/clean foods?

  8. Do you particularly avoid certain food groups e.g. carbohydrates, sugars, fat, etc.?

  9. Have you gone on eating binges where you feel like you may be unable to stop?

  10. Our Executive Director, Sonia Seguin says a good question to ask: Is your relationship with food, exercise or your body affecting your quality of life in any way?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is important to reach out. Body Brave offers free group and individual support. We also recommend speaking with a health care provider and checking out our comprehensive list of treatment programs on our website, here.

Check out Body Brave if you’re in the Hamilton Area and would like to be a part of a body inclusive and positive community. We’ll soon be offering online support so stay tuned!

Remember, full recovery is possible!


House of Commons, Canada, Eating Disorders among Girls and Women in Canada: Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, November 2014, 41st Parliament, Second Session,

Ipsos Reid, 2015. Half (50%) of Canadians Have Been Exposed to Eating Disorders, Whether It's Someone They Know or Themselves. (2015). Ipsos Reid. Retrieved 20 September 2018, from:

"The Role Of Genetics In Eating Disorders - F.E.A.S.T.." N. p., 2018. Web. 2 Nov. 2018.

LeBlanc, H. "Eating disorders among girls and women in Canada: Report of the standing committee on the status of women. 41st Parliament." Second Session). Canada: House of Commons. Available from: https://nedic. ca/sites/default/files//Status% 20of% 20Women% 20Report% 20Eating% 20Disorders. pdf [Links] (2014).

Australian Report

"Need For NIED | Nied.Ca." N. p., 2018. Web. 2 Nov. 2018.


Cynthia Boyede is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Body Brave.

Body Brave is an Eating Disorder, Body Image & Disordered Eating Resource & Support Organization in Hamilton, Ontario.

mindful ways to boost your energy by michelle cordeiro, cnp


I've been going through a slump of feeling quite lethargic lately. I always find that this kind of thing sneaks up on me gradually until I eventually realize that I've been purposely planning my day so I can sneak in an afternoon nap. DO YOU FEEL ME!?

And while I LOVE a good nap sesh, what I don't love is having to rely on it to get through my day without snapping like a sleepy child. But when this happens, it's often a good clue that I need to change things up and figure out how to boost my energy levels back up. And this often isn't hard, as just stepping back and looking into my lifestyle is enough to figure out why I've been so tired and what I can do differently.

Maybe you can relate? And if so, ask yourself these questions:


This is an important one, and something that took me way too long to realize about myself: I'm an introvert.

What I didn't realize (especially in my early 20's) is that being introverted doesn't mean that you don't like being around people, or that you're not a social human. The distinction comes from where you get your energy from:

Do you feel refreshed and energized from socializing or spending a day surrounded by people?


Does time spent by yourself leave you feeling renewed and back to normal.

For me, it's the latter.

Figure out where your energy comes from (I'm sure there's an online quiz for this if Buzzfeed’s your thing), and use that to your advantage. I no longer feel guilty about planning nights alone or  telling my friends that I need to recharge for the day. They get it, and yours will too. Because there's no point in further depleting your energy by showing up to something when you're only really half there and half wishing you were at home with your dog.

Own your introvert/extrovert label. Go out and eat up all the energy from those around you if that's what you need to do OR stay home and go for a solo run. Which brings me to the next question...


Sometimes I get copious amounts of energy from a nice long trail run, and other times it completely wipes me out. Finding what movement you gain energy from is a valuable tool to use towards boosting yourself up. And this movement will often change from day to day, even moment to moment, so exploring all the different ways to move and seeing where you end up is a great tool.

Sometimes a quick walk in the sunshine works wonders, sometimes you need to sweat everything out in a class, sometimes you want gooey yin yoga stretches to reset...explore, journal about it and be open to changing up your movement routine. Aside from keeping it fresh and interesting, this can also help you to gain insight into what really gets your energy levels up, or what absolutely drains you.

In Hamilton? My favourite energy boosting movements right now are:

  • Runs in the Bruce Trail: I recommend starting on the trail at Main and Wilson, running a good out and back using the trail markers and then finishing up at Fairweather Brewery, just East of the trail's start (trail runs and beer are a match made in heaven, I swear by it).

  • R&B Pilates at SousBas: I will never stop recommending this class, because it GIVES ME THE MOST ENERGY. EVER. Which is sometimes problematic when it ends at 9pm but I love it all the same.

  • Yoga in the Park: In Fine Feather Yoga Studio does a PWYC yoga class in Gage park on Sundays during the summer and it's the best community feels. 10am on a Sunday in the park is where to be!

Find what moves you (literally and figuratively) and go do it. Walk, run, jump, swim, bike, wiggle, whatever!


Follow up question: what foods make you feel bleh? It's nice to think about the foods we eat not in terms of 'good' or 'bad' but rather little acts of self lovin'. Like: "I love myself so I'm going to make sure to find Muskoka Mocha ice cream at the Parry Sound grocery store this weekend", or "I love myself so I'm going to eat more than just Roma Pizza today". Ya know? Food choices that are based on how the food makes your body feel and your mind feel is a great way to gain energy.

And the goods news is that the foods your body needs are often the foods you crave. Thinking mindfully about your cravings rather than labelling them as a weakness or lack of self control can help to bring this into light. Maybe you finish a sweaty workout and are craving a big bag of chips? Your body is probably looking for electrolytes to replenish the salt that you've lost through your sweat, so go for something salty! Craving sugar after you run? You've probably burned through your glycogen stores and need sugars and carbs to replenish what you've lost in energy.

Properly fuelling your body with foods that give you what you need can be the difference between feeling wiped out or energized after meals.

P.S. If anyone knows where I can find Muskoka Mocha closer to Hamilton PLEASE advise.

Michelle is an RMMTT student and Holistic Nutritionist (CNP) with a focus on digestive health and learning to love the body you're in through intuitive eating and self love over dieting, always. 

Michelle currently sees clients at Inland Island Wellness Centre. Contact her for more info on her practice or to book an appointment.
// @movewithguts

shifting body perspective: strong is not a look by michelle cordeiro, cnp


I don't know how I could write about anything other than tidbits from the past weekend of Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training. So many lessons. So many feels. This is becoming a common theme with this training month to month I tell ya. 

Something that has stuck with me since, was Jo Gale's message of STRONG IS NOT A LOOK because well, you know, it's not. 

Last week I wrote a post about the damage that restricting certain foods in your diet can do, and I was so moved by the response. Many of you reached out and expressed your support of the message by sharing your own struggles with food. It was really heartwarming to hear how much that post resonated with you, because that means we're slowly starting to shift our minds on what it really means to feel and be well. Let's get rid of the before and after picture #fitspo stuff, and instead make room for more compassion to others AND to ourselves. 

Because we all have our issues with body image or food anxiety to some degree, don't we? So let's speak up about it! 

In my early 20's I started to have some pretty concerning digestive issues that lead me to cut out certain foods from my diet that were doing harm to my body. But even just cutting out those foods, I still felt awful, and would often skip meals in order to ensure that I could get through a shift at work, or a hangout with friends without having to deal with any stomach pain until I was home. 

And I'm the kind of person who gets real hangry when I'm hungry, so it sucked for both me and those around me... 

And as a result of this restriction and elimination I started to lose weight in a very unhealthy way. I felt awful in my body: crampy, bloated and had such little energy to do anything I wanted to. Yet, on the outside, I was told I looked great, fit and thin. Because for some misguided reason, weight loss is almost always seen as a good thing, to be celebrated, to praise someone for. 

And you know what that's saying to that person? That they look great NOW. That before, prior to this weight loss, they didn't look as great. It tells that person that whatever they're doing to lose weight, no matter if it's restricting their food intake, working out excessively or obsessing over their body, they should stick to it, because it's working. 

I had a coworker ask me what my secret was, and when I half-joked that I had cut out most foods from my diet, he told me to stick to it... WHAT!? 


How your body looks does NOT define how you show up. It does not define how many elevator squats you can do at R&B pilates, or how long you can hold plank. It does not define how or when or where you choose to move (or not move) your body or how you TREAT other people, what you mean to other people or how important you are to this beauty planet we're all a part of. 

We are so much more than something as trivial as our looks, which is sometimes clouded by things like the world of social media. So this is a call to stand up and be okay with kindly asking others to shift their observations from the mere shape of your flesh to more important things. It is so inconsequential to who you ARE, so let's shift that focus to what really matters when talking about others and when talking about ourselves. 

I'm gonna end with this quote from Rupi Kaur, because she is SPOT ON with her words: 

“I want to apologize to all the women I have called beautiful
before I’ve called them intelligent or brave
I am sorry I made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on I will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because I don’t think you’re beautiful
but because I need you to know
you are more than that” 


Michelle is an RMMTT student and Holistic Nutritionist (CNP) with a focus on digestive health and learning to love the body you're in through intuition and self love over dieting, always. 

Michelle currently sees clients at Inland Island Wellness Centre. Contact her for more info on her practice or to book an appointment.
// @movewithguts

RMMTT musings: if hip openers make you cry, you're not alone by michelle cordeiro, cnp


Last weekend I met for the Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training and had a h.e.a.v.y experience. We all did. The weekend before we all did a whole bunch of hip opening work, we all had some pretty intense personal experiences in the week that followed, and then talked it out (read: collectively cried for 45 minutes). It was a lot. And I struggled with it for many reasons but the main one being that I hate crying in front of others. I do it, but I hate it.  

And I'm working on that. 

I have a beautiful writer of a friend who recently put out a blog post called "The Things I'm Not Sorry For Anymore" and it really struck me (so go read it and marvel over the beauty that is her writing because I can't do it justice). A significant part that has hung on from both her blog and the overall wealth of wisdom that she gifts me, has been to stop apologizing for my emotions.  

And it's so haaarrrddd for me to do, and for many of us to do. It's hard because we often associate our own vulnerability as weakness when it's so intensely the opposite. Vulnerability IS strength. But even knowing this, it takes time to reframe the mind and allow ourselves to let our emotions run fluid.  

Here's a little excerpt: 

"I am learning to not be sorry for having deep emotion. I am not sorry that my tears make you uncomfortable or that my past experiences have made me intolerant to ignorance or that I find your joke offensive." YEP. 

So when I heard that hip opening exercises, like Robin's Hips Don't Lie video, can bring up a lot of emotions, I was curious. But I did the video when she first released it a few months ago expecting a big emotional moment... and felt nothing but sore hips the next day. Okay sure, no big deal, love the DOMS. 

And then two weekends ago we met for the Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training and opened up dem hips for almost 6 hours. Did I feel the emotional side of movement? No. Not at all. Still nothing. 

A week later we met again and the majority of the women in the group had gone through a huge emotional release after our last session... and I sat there feeling cheated out of the full experience. I wanted it! I wanted to experience this deep connection between movement and my emotions other that the obvious feelings of joy that normally follow a good sweat sesh. 

I thought "maybe I'm doing it wrong", "maybe I'm not the ball of emotions I thought I was", "maybe I don't hold anything in my hips".... 

And then it hit me. Hard.  

Robin took us through a guided meditation to deal with all the 'stuff' we were individually/collectively dealing with, and I LOST IT. I have never experienced such a full on emotional overload like that before. There was no warning, no build up, just a bunch of stuff came barreling out all at once and I hated it. I fought against it the entire time, tried to calm myself down, refused to lean into it or let it flow, and felt big shame for showing such extreme emotion even in such a safe space. 

But (but but!) when it was all over I did appreciate how beautiful it was to experience such extreme emotions from movement. During and after moving my body I've felt pure joy, frustration, strength, weakness, but never an uncontrollable sadness like I did on Saturday. Old shit coming to the surface that was held up in my damn hips. It was a wild realization.  

I get it. Yoga, pilates and other movement practices are holistic practices, affecting more than just the physical body. I know that moving can make me feel joyous and relaxed and accomplished, so having this alternative (and delayed!) experience was crazy.  


Because we're sometimes/usually/always sitting. Our society is so often sitting at a desk, sitting in front of a computer, sitting watching TV or sitting in transit that we often don't allow ourselves to properly stretch out our hips. So when we hold tension in this area, similar to how we can hold tension in our neck and shoulders, it's hard for this tension to be released.  

And this is where a proper movement practice can benefit much more than just the physical body. Much much more. Stretch that stuff out. Squat deep, stand tall, create big, wide knee circles and move your hips in ways that feel really good, sticky, and beneficial. Stuff might come up right then and there, it might come up an hour later, or (if you're like me) it might come up 7 days later when you really don't want it to. Ah, life.  

Curious? Give this 30 minute HIPS DON'T LIE video, created by Robin, a try. It was my first introduction into hip strengthening and mobility work. And then when it's hard, frustrating and sticky, do it again and again. It does get easier, promise.  


surround yourself with great ones by michelle cordeiro, cnp


I don't remember where I first read this, but I stumbled upon an article by someone I admire asking readers to think about the 5 people they spend the most time with on a day-to-day basis. The idea behind this has really stayed with me over the past few years and I urge you to think through this too. What I've found since taking this to heart has been kind of amazing . . .

The idea is that by looking at the 5 people you spend the most time with, you're better able to dive deeper into how they are benefiting or hindering your growth in many ways (and I think it's okay to be a little selfish here). 

Initially, I found this concept to be tricky to put into action. I felt as though I had to judge those around me, or categorize others onto some weird naughty or nice list, which is very much NOT me ... but of course it doesn't have to be like that. 

When I very honestly took a step back and thought about my top 5, it wasn't that I felt superior to anyone. Looking at my relationships with these people, it wasn't that I had outgrown anyone either - it was actually that we had just outgrown each other. 

Maybe we once held the same values and interests, but now we were moving in different directions, and this is okay! This happens! We go through so many changes in our lives - whether it's going to university, moving to a new city, having kids, going through a breakup - so it only makes sense that our inner circles shift too. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to cut anyone out of your life. Maybe it means you take a step back, give yourself some space, and become more selective with how you spend your time, who you spend it with, and base this on what YOU need in the present moment. 

If you find yourself becoming someone you dislike when you're with a certain crowd or individual, it's okay to let those situations go, and it's okay to spend less time with them. Maybe every interaction with a certain person or group leaves you feeling exhausted as you try to work through another superficial problem they're dealing with. Maybe you find yourself refraining from sharing your ideas with them in fear of being laughed at, held back or ridiculed. Maybe you feel as though you give them your whole self and receive little credit or appreciation in return. Once you think about it, these patterns become easier to see. 

So what happened when I looked inward at where I wanted to grow? 

I started to feel less guilty about saying no to hangouts or saying no to doing things that I was no longer interested in. I started focusing more on aspects of my own life that I loved and doing more of those things. What I also found was that I was very organically drawn to certain people. I was more open to new friendships, new relationships and I became so. much. happier. It became increasingly important to me to carve out time to nurture the relationships that felt right, and through that I was able to find the support and love that I needed at that time to move forward. 

By being 'selfish' in this, I was also able to be more present and to bring more value into the relationships that deserved my attention. This was important. My life became more authentic, more purposeful, and it made me into a better version of myself. This was evident in both my own life and the lives of others. 

This shift took a long time to take effect. Looking back, I found it became easier as I cared less (and I'm trying to continue to care less and less still) about what others thought, released what didn't thrill me, and opened myself up to what did. This is where the growth happens! The magic! The change! The good stuff! 

Think about what motivates you, what excites you, what THRILLS you. Let yourself be open to making new connections and forming a community of support around yourself that is authentic to you, and is what you need right here, right now. Need inspiration? Find someone in your community that inspires you and reach out to them! Buy them a coffee, pick their brain and see what you can learn. This has become a really valuable tool for me. Don't be shy - if they say no to sharing their wisdom they're probably not the kind of person you want to learn from anyways. 

But if you find someone who challenges your opinions, makes you think more introspectively and pushes you while giving you the support you need in the process; grab hold of them so freaking tightly! And even more so; give it right back to them. Be that person of support for them. Love up on them so intensely that it helps them flourish in the same way you do when you're with them. 

We're all better humans when we're honest, and we all grow when we support each other. These are my Friday musings.