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Five Holiday Health Tips

The Holiday Season has already started, and it’s wonderful. For whatever reason, this year I’ve been excited about Christmas way too early. I say that because I usually start feeling Christmas vibes well into December. This year? Like November 1st. I know. I’m going to be that annoying person, kinda. I blame this on my husband because he loves feeling festive and decorating, but I wasn’t (maybe am still not) that chick who gets stoked on #festive. Besides holiday drinks at coffee shops, because it requires no effort from me and I still get in on those Christmas vibes. Times.Have.Changed. I have a two year old who gets excited about a new color of play dough, and so naturally I want to create a mystical Christmas land for her. I’m realizing now that I should have spent the last 5 years practicing and slowly acquiring Christmas vibey stuff, but I haven’t because I’m a Grinch in recovery.

Okay that was quite the ramble… Hi! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful weekend of family, good food, and outdoors mixed in. Its always around this time of year, I can’t help but think what people are going to say around the dinner table or at the dinner party about food and body image. So I wanted to start this holiday season off by sharing some helpful tips for maintaining a healthy mindset through the holidays. So, lets just jump in before another ramble hits…

  1. Enjoy it. RELISH in the amazing time of year where suddenly everyone wants to be surrounded by a group of people, friends..family..whoever (or it is whomever?… Ross? #friendsreference) This is a great opportunity for you to enjoy lovely food and conversation. So truly savor the bites, and also practice some good habits of intuitive eating. Many times we feel we HAVE to finish every bite of mashed potatoes, steak, cheesecake, cookie… whatever.. Because we don’t want it to be over. I get it. However, you’ll be more satisfied with the food and your relationship with food if you stop when your body signals you to. Know that you can taste that lovely taste again, and you don’t need to finish it just because its there. Even skipping those last few bites can make a big difference. Sometimes we over do it though, and thats okay.  Ask yourself, “does my body really need and want that last bit, or can I be satisfied where I am now?”

  2. Snacking Before Events. Okay, we all know that sometimes there are so many holiday parties that we need to attend, and we don’t have control over whats going to be served. That’s okay. Having a protein snack before you head to a party can help you curb those hunger cravings. Ever heard the term “Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry?” Well, don’t show up to a meal starving! Whether its a dinner party or typical home cooked meal, aim to feel the itch to eat, but not ravenous. Make sense? Having a little something beforehand  can help curb those cravings and keep from diving straight into the dessert pile. Its easier to make those decisions when our brain isn’t craving immediate energy for a pick me up.

  3. Throw it out. Alright, I’m about to piss off a lot of people. People that hate wasting food. You go to the cookie exchange and you end up coming home with 4 dozen cookies for your family. Or, you made a lovely dessert for your party and have plenty of leftovers. Whatever it might be, we tend to collect candy, food, and drinks and we feel the guilty that we need to finish it and not throw it out. I get this mindset. I don’t like being wasteful, but I also know that I can do my health a bit of a favor by not having 5 brownies a day for 2 months straight. So, I typically give us a day or two extra to enjoy the lovely thing, and then I pitch it. This way I’m keeping a healthy balance. If you hate throwing your food away, I’m sure there is someone who could take it off your hands!

  4. Plan your workouts. We’re all busy, and we tend to skip the things that we deem low priority during these months. More often than not that “thing” becomes the exercise. Its okay if we skip more workouts this month than normal because we have an event or are tired and need a night at home. However, keeping a few times a week to have some time to increase those endorphins and get some physical activity in isn’t just good for weight maintenance. Its good for your mind and stress. I tend to take more classes during these months because I can show up and have someone tell me what to do. I take a spin class because it kicks my butt. We have Daily Burn which is always great. Sworkit is an awesome app for body weight exercises of all sorts, and you can pick the duration of time! Also, this time of year there are so many promotions focused around wellness so you might even be able to score some discounted classes!

  5. Let it go. Sorry, had to throw in that Frozen reference because its winter and Christmas. Anyway, so everything didn’t go as planned. Maybe you even gained a little weight. Point is.. don’t feel bad about it. Just pick up where you left off. Or, if you don’t know where to start. Read my blog post on getting started here.This isn’t a time to get down on ourselves. Maybe we’ve learned a thing or two along the way. Maybe we realize in social situations we feel pressure to eat a lot because… we’ve always been that way. Or maybe we feel weird reaching for the salad because… we’ve never done that. Not hitting our goals can give us a great insight into some pretty pivotal realizations. It can help up realize our relationship with food, how we interact with food in social situations or in a response to stress. The point is.. its okay. Let’s just learn, keep going, and let it goooooooo!

The marketing about “getting that better body next year” is upon us. A bunch of shirtless men and sports bra women are about to take over social media and tell you they have a secret to getting Brazilian butts and Usher abs. Prepare yourself. Don’t look them in the eye (errrr nipple? Ab? Chesticle?). Whatever. just know that the best way to health is to ask for help, and ask a trusted source to guide you. More on that later. For now? Just focus on what you can do today… tonight..right now to help yourself take a few healthy steps. Maybe its just drinking more water? Maybe its adding some carrots to your lunch? Doesn’t have to be crazy or drastic. Until next time, peeps!

 

 

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The Truth About “Body After Baby”

So, I’ve been avoiding this subject for a while. Partially because I hate it a ton. I hate any sort of expectations given to a woman about her body, how it looks, etc. I deal with many people with disordered eating behaviors. I deal with many people that have a lot of shame about their body due to all sorts of external and internal pressures. So when it comes to “getting your body back” type things. I want to scream and punch and kick and puke.

 

I was honestly very nervous about what pregnancy was going to do to my body. What if I didn’t like it? What if I never looked the same? People would tell me to “enjoy your body while you can” or “you’re so lucky you haven’t had kids yet, it just ruins your body.” Super encouraging. The fact people would tell me that my future self would hate my body was so sad.  I was nervous of disliking my body after pregnancy. Because, that’s what happens right? You hate your body? I kept telling myself to ignore those type of comments; because loving your body is more than just the way you look or a jean size. I told myself this over and over.

I was asked by someone 1 week out of my delivering my child if I fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans. WTF? I hadn’t slept in a week, but that wasn’t important. What was important was if i could squeeze my oh so swollen, post-partum belly and… hurting lady parts… into jeans. I didn’t even want to look at a pair of jeans for like…8 weeks. Gross. I was asked 4 weeks out if I was at my pre pregnancy weight. Again, haven’t slept in 400 years, but let me hop on a scale and tell you my true dignity and how I’m doing, my weight. I remember shrugging my shoulders and saying “uhhh yeah I don’t really know and I’m not really paying attention to that.”

The first bit was weird. My stomach looked weird because you know, I just birthed a human. It was weird having my stomach and abs be every which way. It was also weird to have boobs for the first time in my life, but, like, a good weird. Obviously. Now they are gone after I stopped breastfeeding. Rats.

I didn’t step on a scale for probably like…. 3-4 months? I told myself not to. I asked myself, what will you gain? Are you active? Eating well? Happy? Yes? Okay, so maybe that weight is different than it was before, that’s just fine. If I’m making healthy choices most of the time, then the scale doesn’t matter.

So when did I get back to my pre pregnancy weight? I don’t know. Honestly, I really focused on not putting that pressure on myself. I am a dietitian, wouldn’t I be pushing others to get back to that weight ASAP? No, I wanted to be the opposite. I wanted to lead by example that your body did some crazy $#!& and pushed out a baby. That’s insane. My body is incredible that it did that.

I was mindful about eating nutritious foods, and I also ate a lot of ice cream. I lived off coffee.

 

There are some changes I’ve had since my body:

  1. My abs. I had some diastasis, and my abs are a little more separated than they used to be. But get this, they still work. That’s all that matters.

  2. The loose skin. I was nervous about this. Some women get left with more than others. I have some. Loose skin is there. Does it bother me? Some days it does. However, I’m a mom. It’s a badge of honor. Again, I’m working out, eating well, and happy. So I’m going to hang those bad thoughts at the door.

  3. I’m able to push myself more. Seriously, this is something I’ve really enjoyed. I push myself more. I will finish a run harder, run when I’m not feeling like it, and go the extra mile when I work out. I think this is because as a mom you learn to push through so much physically, mentally,  and emotionally when you have a baby. So I’ve channelled that same push towards exercise. I get that first time back or first time ever that trying to work out is the LITERAL worst. What’s gunna happen? Will I die? Will I pee my pants a little? Will I make it through it?

  4. I’m a different kind of great. My body has changed. It’s not the same. It’s not worse though. I’m not a worse off person because certain things are different. In fact, having to grow to love your body regardless of what it does during any change will vastly impact your happiness. I have to love my body no matter what, because it’s a part of me and sometimes you have to fight to love yourself.

I learned a lot about how hard it is as a mom to find the motivation to eat and prepare balanced meals. So if you’d like to see a day-in-the life with me and what I ate just after baby or even now. I’d be happy to share. Spoiler alert, likely wine is involved ;).

I’d love to hear what you have to say, whether you have had babies, thinking about babies, or what you’ve heard about pregnancy and your body.