Tag: gratitude

A Long-Winded Note on –  Ending Anxiety around the Holidays, My Relationship with Food & Fitness, and Finding Acceptance

A Long-Winded Note on – Ending Anxiety around the Holidays, My Relationship with Food & Fitness, and Finding Acceptance

I don’t know about you, but family holidays always seem to spark my anxiety around food, which if you think about it, this seems counterintuitive to the point of Thanksgiving in the first place.  I can’t pinpoint exactly when and where this anxiety around food during the holidays started, but if I had to guess, I’d say back in high school during my, where we were just beginning to be introduced to social media and the “diet culture”.  Leading up to and following the holidays, you’d see “shedding for the holidays”, or “stay skinny this thanksgiving”, or “how to shed 10 pounds before and after the holidays”. It’s everywhere and nearly impossible to avoid. It’s no wonder high-schoolers’ (and probably even middle schoolers’) get roped into this mindset so early. They’re still young, impressionable, and heavily influenced by social media. I’m sure I’m not alone here, regardless of whether you’ve had an on and off relationship with food. This frame of thinking is basically engraved into everyone at one point or another.

Each year, I make it an effort to enjoy the time with my family and be PRESENT rather than feeling overwhelmed by thoughts around food, working out, looking good in my holiday outfit, and so on. Some years are successful and some years I find myself still consumed by these thoughts. The difference between past years and now is that I’m in a much better place mentally. Being a food blogger, it’s easy to feel consumed by food all the time. Constantly thinking about your next meal whether it’s for lunch that day or what you’ll be eating for breakfast on the weekend. Finding that balance between feeling controlled by food vs. just cooking and photographing out of pure joy/passion can be difficult, but it IS possible. I think the biggest challenge for me was eating to feel satiated. As I’ve discussed in the past, I’ve tried so many different diet and health-food trends, hoping that one would be the right fit for me. Unfortunately, none of them left me feeling satisfied and only had me craving more since I wasn’t getting the RIGHT food and nourishment for what my body needed.

I’d try to mimic the pretty food I saw on Instagram, which sometimes meant giant smoothie bowls loaded with fruit, almond butter, and granola. Sure, this tasted REALLY good and it was super filling at the time (I still think it should be enjoyed every now and then, the difference being that I’m now AWARE of how these ingredients will affect my cravings. I can still make a smoothie bowl, but the ingredients I choose to use may be different than what I would throw in, in the past). But was it really giving me the proper nutrition that I needed? Even after starting my morning with giant smoothie bowls, I couldn’t stop eating at night. None of it made sense to me. It wasn’t until recently where I started to really think about each plate at every meal. Was I getting proper protein, healthy fats, veggies, superfoods, fiber, etc? How much FRUIT (and additional sugar) was I consuming throughout the day? Was I eating enough calories? Did I need to adjust based on my workouts?

What I found was that a) I was running A LOT. Being a runner my whole life, I was used to logging a lot of miles and I “used” to be able to eat a lot of food to replenish. However, just like anything else that you do day in and day out, it can get mundane and your body starts to adapt. And b) though I was running anywhere from 5-8 miles about 4-5 times a week, I wasn’t burning as many calories as I used to. Yet I came home STARVING all the time and would likely overeat because that’s what I thought my hunger signs were telling me.

Fast forward to January 2017, post 200hr yoga teacher training. After 17 intensive days of pure yoga and little to no running, my body changed, but in a good way. I hadn’t seen results like this in SO LONG. I LOVED yoga and sadly, running became something I started to resent because it usually meant me hammering miles (and breaking down my body) to make up for all of the food I would consume. It became a vicious cycle and this small realization opened up a new way of looking at fitness. At the end of the day, I think that running is still a great way of getting some cardio in, but I’m not as tied to it as I used to be. Honestly, I probably run 1x a week now, if that. I’ve finally found a workout routine that makes me feel amazing, challenges my body (and mind), and the best part, I actually LOOK FORWARD to it! I share this bit because I feel for me, my relationship to fitness and food go hand-in-hand. The second I started to embrace working out as something that made me feel good, instead of looking at it as a way to punish my body, more positive thoughts around food started to fall in place.

I started craving foods that would truly nourish my body. I started understanding the science behind food & fitness. I became interested in the research. I invested time into listening to podcasts and reading; anything from body positivity, to spirituality, to nutritionists that covered everything from paleo, to plant-based, to keto, to grain-free / gluten-free, and everything in between. I started looking at everything with an open mind, ditched the “food labels”, and began to understand how different lifestyles worked for different people. I found it significantly helpful to understand the science & research behind all of these “health trends” so that I could pull bits of each to find what works well for me. It’s funny too because I’ve always been into following different health trends out there, but what happened, was that I would get too consumed by that particular one and closed off to the idea that maybe that lifestyle wasn’t the best for ME, even though it appeared that so and so on Instagram seemed to be incredibly happy following that lifestyle. 

My point to all of this is that this whole “wellness” thing is a journey. It’s trial and error. It’s accepting that we’re ALL different and have different needs. It means being open minded and accepting that health trends come and go for a reason. At the end of the day, it always seems to come back to eating wholesome, unprocessed food and finding a healthy, balanced workout routine that makes you feel good from the inside, out. Though I’ve found a more “balanced” way of living, this doesn’t mean that I’m throwing all concepts of healthy eating out the door when it comes to the holidays. If I REALLY want that dessert full of butter, I’ll eat it. BUT, I know that after I go for that, my body feels like shit. And I truly hate feeling like SHIT. This is the same reason why I choose to rarely drink alcohol. It makes me feel awful and for me, it’s not worth getting drunk to feel like crap the entire next day. Personally, it comes down to this: do I REALLY want that dessert or is it knowing that I’m allowing myself the option to grab it, that makes me deny it all together?

Here’s the other thing. I feel JUST as satisfied making my own dessert that I know tastes just as good, if not better, and is full of real ingredients and no refined sugars. Sometimes I get asked the question, “do you REALLY think that healthy dessert of yours tastes just as good as this store-bought cheesecake?” and my answer is always yes. This type of question used to drive me crazy. Why can’t others just accept that I actually enjoy healthy food? At the end of the day, you’re not going to please everyone. You need to do what makes you feel good. I still have balance and a healthy relationship with food, even if I still choose to go for my healthier dessert option. The difference in all of this is where my head and mental state is at. I can honestly say I’m truly in a better place. Not every day is perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than where it used to be. It’s all about progress, not perfection!

I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving!

I’m absolutely so grateful for all of you!

My Morning Routine + Why I Cherish it So Much

My Morning Routine + Why I Cherish it So Much

One topic I’ve been meaning to post about for a while has been my morning routine. I know this is something I’ve talked about it in the past, whether it be on the blog or on instagram, but I definitely want to reiterate WHY I cherish my morning routine as much as I do. Mornings for me are the most important part of my day. I find that starting my morning out on the most positive note possible truly sets the tone for how the rest of my day will look. My motivation, my productivity, my happiness, my dedication and so on, all depend on how the first hour or two of my day goes. This may not be true for everyone, but I’ve witnessed it first hand for myself.

 

A few things you want to AVOID in setting the tone for your perfect morning routine are…

 

1) Not getting enough sleep.

Sleep is SO important for me. I need at least 7 hours to be a functional human. I find that if I go one or two nights with a poor sleep, my lack of fitness motivation and self-control around food cravings are the first clear signs that I’ve been deprived of sleep. I instantly procrastinate my workout (which is clearly also a sign from my body telling me that sleep would be more beneficial than working out at the moment). I also find that I lose most of the self-control I have around shoving my face with highly sweet or salty foods. If that’s the case, I crave something sweet in the morning, which in turn spikes my blood sugar levels, which then leads me to crash before lunch-time, which then continues to put me in this spiral of craving sweet or super salty “junk” food for the rest of the day. THIS is why sleep is KEY. Sleep gives me you the energy to be the BEST version of yourself.

2) Starting the morning with negative thoughts.

I’ll be honest, waking up at 5:30am when it’s still pitch black out is not always fun, but waking up in the dark AND immediately having negative thoughts about the day is not going to make things any better. To be honest, what gets me out of bed in the morning is my delicious latte that I’ve been having on repeat. Especially on a chillier, fall or winter morning, waking up to warm, delicious (caffeinated) beverage can do just the trick! Give yourself something to be excited about when waking up! Shocker: for me it’s a yummy breakfast and morning beverage!

3) Rushing.

So long as you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep (ps this may mean you need to get into bed earlier! I usually turn off the lights around 9/9:15!), I’d recommend waking up early enough to allow yourself time and enjoy the moment. Again, rushed mornings, mean stressful mornings. And starting your day out stressed is certainly not going to help you take on the day. Is that netflix episode REALLY worth an extra hour of sleep?? (ps I definitely need to take my own advice on this one. Even if I’m still going to bed early, I know that watching TV before bed is a BIG no). Also, have you ever heard of the Circadian Rhythm?? It’s the 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings (i.e. HUMANS) that are affected by things like temperature, sunrise/sunset, etc.

So now for things you CAN incorporate into your morning routine to make it that much better…

 

*Also as a disclaimer, I’m certainly not saying you NEED to incorporate all of the below in your morning routine. That’s just not always realistic, even for those who do have plenty of time in the AM! My suggestion is to just try out a few different ones every now and then and eventually you may find 1 or 2 that stick.

 

1) Oil Pulling – LOVE this ayurvedic practice.

Just started it earlier this month and truly feel and see noticeable results. You want to do this FIRST thing in the morning (before even drinking most fluids). It’s suggested coconut oil is the best for this. Use about 1 TBSP and swish around for about 5-10 minutes (or more if you can!) This is a great practice to incorporate since you can easily multi-task, such as prepping your coffee or breakfast for the day!

2) Get yourself a good skincare (and oral) routine!

Super simple, but ditching the chemical/toxic skincare products can truly leave a long-lasting impact. Why? Because we should care JUST as much about the products we put ON our skin, as the products that we consume daily. Our skin absorbs whatever you’re applying on it and can be just as unhealthy, if not more so than eating something comparably toxic. Think about it…our skin is the LARGEST organ on our body. Treat it well and you will feel so much better! A few non-toxic skincare lines I’ve been loving recently include Cocokind Skincare and Frank & Whit. PS this also includes toothpaste! I recommend Toms or Dr. Bronners!

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3) Make yourself a delicious, warm morning beverage.

I love having a warm drink in the morning (usually something slightly caffeinated) that makes getting out of bed easier and a little more exciting, especially during the colder months! I usually choose to go with a latte & 2 espresso shots, bulletproof coffee, or a bulletproof matcha latte. Matcha or other various teas are awesome as well and a great option for those who have ditched coffee! Or if you’ve quit all caffeine – turmeric or superfood lattes and elixirs make for a great, yummy, and nourishing treat!

4) Gratitude Journaling.

This takes all of 3 minutes – I promise you and makes such an impact. Simply journal a few things a day you’re grateful for. Can be ANYTHING. Grateful for good health, grateful for your yoga practice, or even your new job! Next, write a few goals. I like to include very attainable and then DREAM goals. This is all about MANIFESTING and believing you have all the power to write your own destiny.

5) Practice 10 minutes of light yoga.

This is such a great way to get the spinal fluid moving with some nice, easy back bends and twists. Twists are great for detoxifying the body and help to loosen up the spine after sleeping horizontally all night. I also find it’s a great way to kickstart the metabolism and gain a little energy for the day.

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6) Eat a nourishing breakfast full of healthy fats, protein, leafy greens (if possible), fiber, and some hearty carbs!

7) Put on music that’s light and upbeat! I LOVE doing this in the morning. It totally helps to wake me up and puts me in a great mood!

Hopefully this has given you some new ideas to help take your morning routine from a 5 to a 10! It doesn’t have to be everything, just take baby steps to find what works best for YOU! Comment below and share what your morning routine looks like! I’d love to hear!

 


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