Tag: health

Adulting: Tips for Easing Back in After a Holiday

blue hair and a buffalo

Adulting can be so hard sometimes, AMIRITE?  Don’t worry Lovelies, you can do this! Whether you are trying to get yourself out of bed and back to work after a long holiday weekend or perhaps an even longer vacation break, there are a few simple things that you can do right now to make your reintegration to Responsible Adult Life a breeze.

Here are my Top 5 Tips for Easing Back in After a Holiday:

  1. Re-Hydrate!  Top of the list for getting your body back on point. Spending fun times with friends and family almost always revolves around food & drinks. You probably ate a lot more than you normally do and probably ate and/or drank things that you don’t normally indulge in. Good!  Life’s short, it’s OK to splurge and have fun!  Now it’s time to give your body some extra-love by flushing out all of the extra junk from your system.  Drink LOTS of fresh clean water and give yourself a time-out from soda & alcohol for at least a week.
  2. Rest!  Whatever your age, your body needs sleep to recharge and regenerate fresh new cells.  It needs even more after you’ve been partying it up, and more still if you’ve been hopping in and out of different time zones. For your first 2-3 days back after a holiday, give your body the opportunity to readjust by going to bed early, taking 10-15 minute naps during the day, and saying a polite but firm “No thank you” to social engagements.
  3. Move Your Body (Gently)!  Your body will greatly benefit from getting back into a regular exercise routine sooner rather than later.  It’s important here to ease into it instead of going hard your first 2-3 days back to avoid injury and setting yourself back for weeks or more.  Keep your exercises incredibly simple and short for your first 3 days back with 30 minutes or less of walking, yoga, and weightlifting each day. 
  4. Eat Clean!  Don’t make the mistake of trying to starve yourself or otherwise deprive yourself of good food just because you may have gained a few pounds during your holiday.  That kind of punishment is not even remotely healthy for your body, mind, or spirit.  Honey, you earned those pounds (or more likely, ounces) and the good memories with loved ones are totally worth it!  Treat yourself to fresh fruits, veggies, and clean protein, but take a break from fast foods and sugar-packed desserts & baked goods for at least a week.
  5. Share Your Stories!  You had a great time, right? Share your fun stories, recommendations and favorite moments with your family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, or boss if appropriate and let them experience life through your eyes. Savor the great memories you created, and record them in a journal, photo album, or video montage to look back on. 

MPPHOTO_HR_WM_048

If you would like a free 10 minute gentle workout video from my private membership class The Cocoon, leave me your email here: 

 

Body-Positive Fitness, My Top 5 Tips, & Why I Created The Cocoon

the blessings butterfly - brave

For the past couple of years, I have been wanting- no, longing to- create a series of fitness videos for people living in bigger bodies, with a crazy twist: I don’t want you to lose a bunch of weight (unless that is something YOU want for yourself).  Instead, I wanted to simply love, support, and encourage people just like me to love the body that they are already living in, and provide them with some easy action-steps to help guide them to a healthier lifestyle.

 

 

I had this radical notion that I could begin to deeply, truly LOVE myself exactly as I am instead of constantly feeling shitty about the way I look & thinking that “If I just lose this extra weight, I’ll be happier”.   NOPE!  Life is too short, and I decided that I don’t want to waste any more time trying to get my body to look like it did when I was wearing size single-digit before treating myself like the beautiful, strong, wonderful and valuable woman that I already am. Talk about a game-changer!  It’s what led me to create my very own body-positive holistic health & wellness program for bigger bodies, The Cocoon – Empowered Transformation.

 

 

The truth is, and trust me when I tell you that the bazillion dollar health & fitness industry doesn’t want me to tell you this: You can achieve good health and still live in a plus-size body.  I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t take good care of yourself; no, I’m saying that you don’t have to fit into standards set by the beauty industry in order to be healthy, beautiful, and utterly amazing.  YES!  You can adopt a healthier lifestyle AND you can start loving the body you have right now.   What a crazy concept, hey?  Here are my five top tips to get you started:

 

 

Click here to watch me talk about why I made a body-positive health & wellness program  (contains adult language)

the blessings butterfly
Photo courtesy of Michael Powell Photography
  1. Develop a more positive mindset.  Instead of constantly tearing yourself down, criticizing, and comparing, retrain your brain to shift the focus on to what is good about you, and on what you are doing right.  Find the positive spin.  Speak to yourself with love and kindness daily, and especially in times of great stress and challenge.  Talk to and about yourself as you would your best friend. Believe in yourself!
  2.  Move your body every day.  Be intentional about creating more movement for your body every day.  Do at least 10 minutes of physical activity each and every day.  1, 2 or 3 times a week, add in some fun physical activity for 20, 30, or 60 minutes.  Build up slowly, and try different things to see what you enjoy the most.
  3. Food is not optional, so make it great.  Whether you choose to eat as a carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore, the food we eat should nourish our bodies and delight our taste buds.  Always opt for organic, non-GMO certified foods whenever possible.  Choose the freshest fruits & veggies you can find.  Cut way back on sugar, but not on healthy fats.  Cook your own meals whenever possible and develop some mad skills!
  4. Hydrate!  There are so many benefits to your body from drinking plenty of water each day. Improved organ function, fresher breath, eliminating toxins, reducing headaches, clearer, more supple skin, and more.  Start with drinking a glass in the morning before you get out of bed and aim to drink 8 more throughout the day.  If you don’t already love the taste of fresh pure water, infuse it with fruit or herbs. Drink up, Buttercup!
  5. Throw out that damn scale.  Seriously, just ditch it.  Don’t be owned by a number whether it is on a scale, a pair of jeans, a bank account or a birthday cake.  You are WAY more valuable than any of those.  In fact, you are priceless. (See Tip #1!)

 

 

Comments, Questions, or want to Join My Email List?

 

 

 

Can Certain Foods Help Reduce Pain?

It’s no big secret that the foods we consume regularly will have an effect on our overall health. And while it’s true that some foods are obviously not helpful in supporting our bodies, there is just a LOT of information out there on the interwebs, bookshelves, and tv talk show circuit that is conflicting and confusing.  Vegan. Paleo. Zone. Gluten-Free. Anti-Inflammatory. Mediterranean. Juicing.  The Latest Magical Cleanse…

Cue my emotional response:  *$@#!  It’s overwhelming, just give me a blanket and a damn cookie!

So what if I just want to make some healthier food choices, and I’m not in a place where I want to completely change my entire diet and lifestyle? What should I do?

  • #1- Reduce the amount of refined sugar you consume.  Sugar tastes sweet, obviously, but it is anything but sweet to your body. Eaten in excess, it feeds inflammation in the joints and wreaks havoc on intestinal health. If you’re not ready to eliminate sugar from your diet completely, just start with small, manageable steps. Be truly loving to yourself. Don’t replace it with chemical sweeteners, they’re just shit. Consider switching to coconut sugar or agave as a sweetener instead of white cane sugar.

How about if I just want to find some foods that I like to eat and can easily incorporate into my weekly menu?  Are there certain foods that can help me to relieve pain?

YES, and hallelujah!  Here are a few basics that I’ve found that can actually help reduce inflammation in the body:

  • Green Veggies! Crank up your daily intake of fresh vegetables.  I love having a green smoothie for breakfast (oh heyyyy, Kale, meet my friend Apple!) or adding some spinach to a tasty egg scramble or quiche.  Salads make an easy lunch or side dish at dinner. There are maybe a million tasty ways to prepare all the green goodness in the produce aisle! Always opt for fresh, organic, non-GMO  whenever possible.
  • Olive Oil!  Ditch the processed vegetable oils and make the switch to cooking with Olive Oil.  Go for pure, Extra-Virgin olive oil. It tastes amazing and is very versatile.  You can use it in stir-fry and to saute, in baking and as a base for salad dressing. It’s even good enough on its own just to drizzle over veggies.
  • Red Fruits!  Red grapes have a compound called resveratrol, and Cherries, Raspberries, and Strawberries have something called anthocyanins.  These anti-inflammatory properties are awesome and tasty. SCIENCE.  Again, you want to go for fresh, organic, non-GMO whole fruits whenever possible.
  • Herbs & Spices!  There are a few fairly common herbs and spices that have been used in Eastern medicine for like thousands of years, and I’m so glad that they are becoming more mainstream here in the West.  BONUS: They’re delicious!  Using fresh herbs like Thyme and Sage are great for flavoring savory dishes and soups.  Spices like Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove can be added to coffee, tea, and smoothies.  Turmeric (Curcumin) is that magical yellow spice that makes curries pop.
  • Green Tea!  OMG, I love this stuff. I didn’t used to like it at all- thought I was drinking hot wet grass, yuck!  But it turns out that I wasn’t doing it right and was letting it steep too long, which causes the brew to turn bitter.  I rarely drink coffee anymore because I was experiencing acid reflux and a weakened bladder (TMI? Sorry)- but I do know that small amounts of caffeine are helpful in relieving pain.  Now I enjoy my hot cuppa and am exploring a whole new world of the magic that is Tea.
  • Pineapple!  I am obsessed with Pineapple. So obsessed, actually, that I made this sweet infographic, ha! why-i-love-pineapple(1)Seriously, I have to control how much of it is in my house!  I love the sweet, exotic taste, and the juice is so refreshing.  When I get a sore throat or start to feel a cold coming on, I just love a big cold glass of pineapple juice. When I do have cocktails, my go-to drink is a Vodka & Pineapple.

I hope you will enjoy adding some of the above foods into your weekly menus!  Cheers to your improved health and wellness.

Want to stock your pantry with some healthier choices? Here’s a few to try:

 

Emotional Eating & Your Inner Superhero

Friends, emotional eating (from feeling fearful, sad, angry, or whatever overwhelming thing we are feeling) is something that can be managed and overcome when we learn how to access the tools we need.

It definitely takes practice and lots of support to “retrain our brain” but it is TOTALLY doable!  I’ve been actively at work on my own emotional issues and how I can respond to stress differently than I did for so many years. It’s a powerful process, not always easy- but the healing that has taken place and the strategies I’ve gained are worth the effort.

I’ve learned that one of the strongest tools that we have is our own voice. The words that we say to ourselves have incredible power! That’s why I believe so firmly in the power of positive self-talk and affirmations.  Our self-talk, both internal and external, should be coming from a place of love, and strength, and joy.  That’s the starting point for truly learning to love ourselves well.

The problem that we face is that for too long, we have let ourselves be bossed around by an entirely different kind of voice.  Too often the voice that we have been responding to is one that is demanding, critical, harsh, mean, and pardon my French but, kind of an asshole.  And the thing is that when all you keep hearing is negative, you become so familiar with it that you will keep recreating patterns in your life that support that negativity, until you choose to make some changes.

Why should the negative voices have all the say in what we do, think, believe?  While we can certainly recognize that the negative and critical inner commentary going on within us does have a purpose [typically it is drawing attention to an area where we feel vulnerable] the truth is that we DO NOT have to let that be our only guiding voice. We CAN learn to choose a more positive way, a more gentle way, and ultimately a more loving, fulfilling way.

The next time you are stepping out of your comfort zone, you can bet that the negative self-talk will start to pipe up and get your attention. When it does, try saying this (out loud if you have to!): “Thank you for your input. I’m OK, and now I’m going to try things differently.”  In doing this, you get to remove the power from Captain Negative Bossypants and return it to where it belongs, with your Fabulous Inner Superhero.  YOU get to be in charge, not your emotions. You can then proceed to address the stressful situation in a calm, peaceful, thoughtful and positive way.

An absolute expert in the area of “retraining your brain” and dealing with your critical inner dialogue is Nicole Lewis-Keeber, MSW, LCSW.  She’s such a gifted coach in this area and she has some excellent resources for you as well.  I hope you will check out her website Nicole Lewis-Keeber.com and especially look into her “Retrain Your Brain: 7 Strategies to Fire Your Inner Critic” which she is currently offering as a free download!  Yes- FREE.  And just FYI, I am not an affiliate, but I am lucky enough to be her cousin.

Okay loves, on to a more loving and positive way!


You can get my affirmations eBooks, The Blessings Butterfly and The Blessings Butterfly Companion Guide from Amazon for your Kindle today.

 

#FridayFeels Brave

It’s been the kind of week where I am questioning my every decision one minute to pushing my own limits the next. Question. Push. Question. Push. Mild panic. Deeper questions, push back harder. I have a message to share, and it equally emboldens me and terrifies me.

It’s the driving force behind my new health and wellness project, The Cocoon – Empowered Transformation, and the reason I have been videoing myself doing a series of workouts- even though I don’t have a model’s face, a trainer’s body, and a studio to produce high-quality videos. 

It’s just me, my message, and occasional photobombs from my cats. (Apparently they love it when I practice yoga.)

My message to myself, to other women, and ultimately to girls growing up in a world where enormous pressure to look a specific way in order to be valued is this: Bravely love yourself, exactly as you are.

  
In this photo, I was 30 lbs heavier than my “goal weight”. Even though at that point I had already dropped 50 lbs, I still didn’t feel “good enough”. What kind of nonsense is that?  What kind of pressure do we put on ourselves to look a certain way, and what kinds of horrible things do we say to ourselves when we don’t measure up? It’s crazy. It HAS to stop.

So, I will dig deep and pull on my big girl panties and bravely love myself- exactly as I am. I will be vulnerable and real and I will cheer you on and walk beside you as you learn to bravely love yourself, too. 
 

The Ninth Blessing: Fun!

246872_231868250164084_5065734_n

Blessing #9: I am Fun

Close your eyes and think of your most fun-loving friend. Who comes to mind, and what about that person makes them so much fun to be around?

What’s fun for me may not be as much fun for you, and vice versa- but so what? Fun comes in all shapes and sizes, and there are a million billion gazillion different ways to have fun!

Let’s be honest- life can be pretty hard. To balance things out, we want to cut loose a little when we can. We actually need to take a break from things that are stressful and experience an endorphin-releasing shift for our physical, mental and emotional well-being!

Everyone wants to experience some FUN, no matter what their temperament.

We all want to find our own weird little tribe of like-minded souls that loves to do the things we love- Dancing, Wine Tasting, Bitcoin Meetups, Extreme Sports, Knitting, LARPing, Binge-watching TV (House of Cards, anyone?) Golf, Running, Birding, whatever… I say as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, then do what makes you happy.

For me, I’m going to keep this post short and get out from behind my writing desk today so I can get ready for a hot date with my (awesome, amazing, wonderful and gorgeous!!) boyfriend. We’ve had a long-standing “Food Truck Date Night” pretty much every Wednesday night since we started dating nearly 2.5 years ago, and it’s one of our favorite nights of the week. Nothing fancy about it, just so much FUN!

I’ll leave you with this challenge: pick just one thing from your “bucket list” of fun activities that you’ve always wanted to try, and make the commitment to yourself to do it. Today, put it on your calendar and find a way to make it so.  You won’t regret it!

126

For additional resources, or to purchase my ebook The Blessings Butterfly please check out my Resources page.

Come on over to our cocoon on Facebook and share your thoughts!

 

 

The Fifth Blessing: Health & Wholeness

Blessing #5: I am Healthy and I am Whole

Are you ready for a radical thought? Living in good health and feeling whole & complete in your own body is absolutely possible, no matter where you are at right now.

It’s true!

Haven’t you met people who, despite any apparent physical challenges, are quite comfortable and at ease in their body? Men and women who have a seemingly endless supply of positive energy, a magnetic personality, and a commanding presence when they enter a room?  I know I have.  They have incredible, inspiring stories of overcoming physical and/or mental challenges and have mastered the ability to persevere and live in their victory, day after day.

Conversely, I’ve also known plenty of people who, despite looking “perfect” on the outside, are pretty miserable to be around because they are so deeply unhappy. And others who are so bitter about their physical appearance or body challenges that they’ve grown overly critical, closed-off, negative, even self-destructive. It breaks my heart!

Most of us seem to live somewhere in-between, don’t we? Maybe your health goal is about trying to achieve and maintain a certain weight, or maybe it’s about battling a disease. No matter the individual goals, one thing we all want is to just be happy.

 I want to suggest that being happy begins with loving the body you have right now.

Radical, I know. But true. And absolutely do-able!

By making changes to our mindset and integrating positive messages to ourselves every day, we can begin to stop hating our bodies. We learn to stop treating the body we live in like an enemy to battle. We learn to work with our physicality, whatever it may look it. We stop abusing, and start healing. We start becoming allies with our whole & complete self, and learn to live in peace and harmony with our authentic, amazing, incredible self.

Today, right here and right now, is the perfect time to start making positive changes. Take a deep breath, release, and then say it with me:

“I AM HEALTHY & I AM WHOLE. MY BODY IS HEALTHY. MY MIND IS HEALTHY. MY EMOTIONAL SELF IS HEALTHY. I AM WHOLE & COMPLETE. I CHOOSE TO TAKE GOOD CARE OF MYSELF EVERY DAY. I CHOOSE TO MOVE MY BODY TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY, BECAUSE IT FEELS GOOD! I LIKE TO EAT, SO I CHOOSE NOURISHING MEALS THAT SATISFY ME. I ENJOY RESTING AND I GIVE MYSELF PLENTY OF SLEEP. I AM COMPLETELY IN CHARGE OF MY OWN HEALTH AND PERSONAL CARE. I AM HEALTHY & I AM WHOLE.”

For additional resources, please check out my Resources page.

Come on over to our cocoon on Facebook and share your thoughts!