Still Trying to Get into Those Skinny Jeans

That pair of jeans you keep in the back of your closet. The ones you wore confidently as a thinner version of yourself. Jeans that have been stuffed into a storage box for ten years. You hold onto them waiting for the skinny you to come back. You know you still have them. I did until today. Today marked the end of “someday they’ll fit again.”

I choose not to live that way. I love my body today, not what it was ten years ago. Ten years ago I was at the height of my eating disorder. Anorexia had it’s hold on me. I subsisted on slim fast shakes, power bars, coffee, vodka sodas and light beer. I’d skip dinner to save my calories for the alcohol. That’s how I fit into those size 4 jeans. By not eating.

Today I eat to nourish my body. No more depriving to fit into a skewed vision of myself. My body is not a size 4. And I’m embracing that. Everyday I repeat the mantra “My body is healthy. I love my body right now.” The simplicity of this statement helps me. By making it a daily mantra I’m reminded of the person I am right now, keeping me in the present.

What is it that we’re truly holding onto by saving those jeans for someday? I say it’s false information about ourselves. Not remembering what we sacrificed to fit into a smaller pant size. I know what healthy feels like now and I’m able to distinguish between my twenty year old self and today. There is an episode of Sex and the City where Miranda fits back into her skinny jeans. She was cheered for and championed for the great accomplishment. But in reality the show explains the only reason she lost the weight was due to not having enough time to eat proper meals.


How to Let Go of the Skinny Jeans

1. Live in the present. Keeping clothes from years before holds us back from living now and moving our lives forward.

2. Psychology studies show that focusing on our appearance consumes valuable cognitive resources, impairing our ability to perform complex mental tasks. Thinking about someday fitting into our too-small clothes steals brain power away from other tasks.

3. Love your NOW body. Say it. “I love my body right now!”

4. Release the bad energy. Keeping my skinny jeans was a constant reminder of my eating disorder and the destructive behavior. They were tainted with the memory of my disease. You may have similar negative feelings associated with your old clothes. Letting go of the clothes aids in releasing the negativity.

5. Are you feeling unattractive? Take a photo and send it to your friends. Better yet, post it up on Instagram. All the gorgeous compliments will come rolling in and you’ll feel fabulous!

Let’s love ourselves right now. Not after we loose 5 pounds.
Now go donate those clothes!


Resources:

Mirror Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at It for a Year by Kjerstin Gruys

 

Festive Fizzy Drinks: Alcohol Alternatives

Star Fruit Fizz

When I began my Bikram yoga practice, I gave up alcohol. The yoga room is 105 degrees and requires hydration. There is no way around it. You either come to class hydrated or suffer. One time I practiced after drinking 1 glass of wine the night before. My head was spinning and I thought I was going to suffocate most of the class. I choose hydration.

I also choose health over a little drink that can set me back. My fitness level has always been important to me, but for many years I wasn’t willing to commit a hundred percent. I’d give into the peer pressure, drink the glass of wine and suffer the consequences. My alcohol tolerances fall way below the average and my body takes twice as long to recover. When my friends could put back four or five beers, I’d black out after my third and spend the next day nursing my upset stomach and throbbing head. College got the best of me. I spent many nights in the ER with excruciating stomach pain triggered by alcohol and the stress I was attempting to manage with intoxication.

Unfortunately it would be six more years until I gave up the stuff completely. My yoga practice became more important than any cocktail. I enjoy being in control of my body and I don’t miss the social aspect of drinking either. The majority of my friends are not big drinkers and alcohol becomes less the focus as I get older.

In terms of health and alcohol’s reaction in the body, it’s no surprise that the few possible health benefits are vastly outweighed by the negative effects. According to Sarah Ballantyne of thePaleoMom.com, alcohol increases leaky gut by feeding the bad bacteria in our gut, causing more damage to an already sensitive system. This explains my frequent hospital visits in college. I was literally feeding my disease, causing immense damage to my digestive tract each night I binged on vodka tonics. When alcohol enters your system, your liver’s primary goal is to detoxify the alcohol first, ignoring it’s other functions. Alcohol can inhibit the breakdown of nutrients and impair their absorption.

Festive, fun drinks are still a part of my life. I toast with fancy sparkling waters flavored with a splash of fruit juice or squeeze of citrus. I put together some fabulous combinations. Ring in the New Year with a glass of bubbly that will have you feeling your best on the first day of the year.

Cheers!

Star Fruit Clementine Fizz
Star Fruit Clementine Fizz

Starfruit Clementine Fizz
Makes 2 servings.

1 starfuit – sliced
2 clementines
18 oz sparkling water – chilled 

►Juice the clementines and add 1 oz to each glass. Place two slices of star fruit at bottom of glasses. Fill with 9 oz of sparkling water and slide a star fruit slice onto the glass.

Blackberry Persimmon Spritzer
Blackberry Persimmon Spritzer
Blackberry Persimmon Spritzer
Blackberry Persimmon Spritzer

Makes 2 servings.

½ cup frozen blackberries
1 persimmon – sliced
18 oz sparkling water – chilled

►Muddle ¼ cup berries in each glass. Place three slices of persimmon in each and add 9 oz of sparkling water.

Pear Pomegranate Ginger Sparklers
Pear Pomegranate Ginger Sparklers
Pear Pomegranate Ginger Sparklers
Pear Pomegranate Ginger Sparklers

Makes 2 servings.

½ pear – thinly sliced
1 tbsp pomegranate seeds
1 tsp fresh ginger – grated
½ cup Gingerade Kombucha – I use GTs organic brand
18 oz sparkling water – chilled

►Place 3 pear slices, ½ tbsp pomegranate seeds, 1/2 tsp ginger and ¼ cup Gingerade Kombucha in each glass. Then fill each with 9 oz of sparkling water.

Resources:
The WHYs behind the Autoimmune Protocol: Alcohol by Sarah Ballantyne
http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/11/the-whys-behind-the-autoimmune-protocol-alcohol.html

Alcohol, fat loss, and your liver, by Diane Sanfilippo.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wy6sX1lkq4I&list=UUWAb83pi_eVEzDIWkZuQHcQ

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism No. 22 PH 346 October 1993
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa22.htm

4 Tips for a Guilt-Free Holiday (Eat the Pie!)

Photo by sheckys.com
Photo by sheckys.com

It’s Thanksgiving week. Let the overeating begin! Are you already worried about the excess food you’ll consume and how you’ll burn off those extra calories? I am. Or at least that’s my old brain talking. In the past I would strategically prepare for the big meal. Practically starve myself the week before and work out like crazy to burn as many calories as possible. Then wake up early Thanksgiving morning to work out for an hour and get in a walk post meal. After all that, I’d still beat myself up for eating that extra piece of pie. This year that old me is gone. No more holiday food guilt.

This year I faced my eating disorder and vowed to get healthy. I have a new perspective focused on eating to live. The days of overindulging are over. Having to recover from a meal is not how I want to live my life. I gave up alcohol years ago for that same reason. Food is intended to nourish, not make us feel guilty. Over-exercising and restricting before a big meal leads to disastrous results. It gives me permission to eat all 12 desserts. And then I have a legitimate sugar handover for three days. All that pie isn’t worth the crappy feeling and strain on my body.

Don’t get me wrong though, I still LOVE food. Portion size is my main concern. I can still have the dessert if I keep the servings in check. I want to be free to eat what I want without the burden of extra exercise hanging over me. This year the destructive thoughts will be replaced with acceptance. I’m doing my best to keep guilt out of the equation, which turns food from a fun, delicious thing that nourishes me into a big, bad monster.

Why we Eat More on Holidays

All we think about during the holidays is how we don’t want to gain weight. We’re fixated on food and trying to exhibit our best willpower efforts. “I can only have 1 cookie at the party!” Or trying to compromise with ourselves. “Tomorrow I’ll take two spinning classes and do yoga to burn off the sweet potato casserole and pecan pie.” We also starve ourselves before the big meal and overeat as a result. Since food is top of mind, we can’t help but obsess and all that obsessing leads to overeating. If food is on your brain then it’s on your plate. It’s called the Resist-Binge Cycle.


Guilt-Free Guide

1. Go in with a Plan

Write down a set of reasonable rules for yourself. Position your seat farthest from the buffet table, serve tiny portions of all foods and then determine what foods are worth seconds, have an extra serving of mashed potatoes and eat less dessert, etc. I know I can’t sit next to the dessert table since it will taunt me until I give in and eat three slices of each. So I have to sit as far from it as possible. I also have to limit myself to one plate of dessert. One plate and it’s over. My sweet tooth is screaming “NO!!!” right now. But it has to be done.

2. Practice Saying “No, thanks”

This one always gets me. I hate saying “no.” I’m a people pleaser by nature so when I’m offered an extra helping of turkey that my grandmother cooked for six hours, how can I say no? But then my health suffers.

I have to remind myself that I’m the one who has to live with the consequences of eating the extra slice that’s going to put me over the edge. It’s not possible to please everyone at the holidays. Saying no takes a lot of practice. Have a line ready to go so you don’t have to think about it. Begin by thanking the person that offers so they know you appreciate them and then go in for the rejection. “Thank you, it was really delicious but I”m just too full.” Bob Burg has a great insight on this. He advises that your response should to be in line with your values and come from a place of kindness. A kind “no, thank you” goes a long way.

3. Focus on the People, not the Food

When it comes down to it, the food is a far off second. Thanksgiving is about speeding time with loved ones. Forget the food. You could make turkey and dressing any night of the week but your grandmother is only sitting next to you twice a year. Instead of stuffing my face with more pie, I’ll catch up with my cousins and play games with my nephew.

4. Eat the Foods you Love

Remember the Restrict-Binge Cycle. Depriving yourself only makes it worse. Eat the damn dessert and enjoy it. My life is better with chocolate pie once a year than never at all.