Are you a Restrained Eater?

Are you a Restrained Eater?

Did you know that there are actually three different major types of eating issues?

There are eating disorders, disordered eating, and then something similar to disordered eating called ‘problematic eating behavior’.

One of the interesting types of problematic eating behavior seems to describe MANY of the people that I talk with in the nutrition world and many of my readers- they are called restrained eaters.

Restrained eaters are eaters who struggle with chronic restrictiveness- either eliminating foods or chronically dieting. 

If you are a yo-yo dieter or find yourself continually in the cycle of losing or gaining weight, you may be a restrained eater.

When restrained eaters are confronted with weight gain, they feel negative emotions which can then cause them to overeat.  They also feel guilt when they eat a food they’ve deemed “bad”.  Restrained eaters also have an obsession with body shape and weight and may use self-judgement as a tool to spur their weight loss goals.

Sound a little familiar?

In the paleo community, we eliminate certain foods for health reasons.  In other forms of dieting we restrict processed foods or calories to help lose weight.

Research shows that these things DO help people lose weight.  But research also shows that restrained eating can actually promote eating disorders.

Approaching weight loss from a perspective of restraint and negativity- the “i’m getting so fat I’ve got to lose weight” mentality, is a moving target.  Nothing will ever be good enough.  And when/if it is, it won’t last, because the way we get there is unsustainable.

Now, I know some people who do make restrained eating a lifelong change and feel great.

But there’s a difference.

These people restrict certain foods not because they are afraid of them (i.e. GRAINS and CARBS), but because they are making other choices that are healthier for them.

They are thinking about what foods they can eat to be as healthy, happy, and energetic as possible. They are approaching restraint from a POSITIVE perspective.

With these people, it’s not about eating as few carbs as humanly possible, it’s about eating how many feel right.

Of course there’s always the disclaimer that our modern world of processed, hyperpalatable foods makes knowing how many carbs are right difficult. And some people struggle with conditions like insulin resistance that make unhealthy carb cravings REAL.

But for most eating all whole, unprocessed food, there’s no reason to be afraid!

Research shows that these positive eaters have higher self-esteem and better long term weight management success.

My friends will tell you that they have an emotional freedom they never had before as well.

It just worries me in this day and age of “keto”, which is basically paleo circa 2011, being masqueraded as the all-powerful life changing, freedom giving lifestyle, that so many of these people are just restrained eaters on another diet.

25 grams of carbs is not right for many women.  It’s just not.  And obsessively tracking and counting them is just the kind of behavior that leads to chronic dieting.

How do we break that cycle?

It’s both easy and hard.

It requires turning to a type of eating called intuitive or mindful that focuses on listening to the body, to what it needs and what it wants, listening to the emotions that so often control us and taking everything in without judgement.

From there, we make food choices.  We don’t count macros.  We just listen and lovingly try to make each meal and food choice about HEALTH and NOT about weight.

That sounds too easy for most restrained eaters.  They want to track, count, weigh, obsess and ruminate.  I’ve been there too.

But the truth is, it sounds too easy because it actually is really, really hard.

A restrained eater is often not as self-aware or in touch with themselves as they think they are.  They don’t know how to navigate health without a map of good and bad foods to guide them.  The vast world of food choices is scary and they are afraid, above all, of gaining weight or staying in one place.

But it does represent a way out.  Still restrained?  Sure.  No one’s recommending you binge on twinkies.  That’s not the point.  A mindful body will rarely ask for twinkies.

But if it does ask for chocolate sometimes or an apple?  Or even *gasp*, a potato?  A mindful eater will eat, without self-judgement.  They will also probably choose more fruits and vegetables and crave less fast food.

Want to give it a try?  I made a program to help you do just this.  It’s called Weight Loss Unlocked and you can find it here.

Either way, I want you to know that I’ve fought this battle and I know how it feels.

I know the pain of those self-judgments and I can tell you I’d rather be the weight I am now, whatever it is, and be this happy and free, than be constantly angry and mean to myself for not being a weight that isn’t right for me.

True diet freedom is never having to be on a diet, even one cleverly disguised as a lifestyle, again.

Do you struggle with restrained eating?  How do you overcome these issues?

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

There is No Such Thing as Keto – Or Any Diet – “Freedom”

There is No Such Thing as Keto – Or Any Diet – “Freedom”

In recent months, there has been a resurgence of diets I had long thought were old, buried news.

I am speaking specifically of ketosis and of fasting. In ketosis, the goal is to eat so few carbohydrates that the body produces ketones as an alternative fuel source. In fasting, you simply stop eating.

Both of these dietary practices are aimed at reducing insulin and blood sugar levels as much as possible. This is supposed to predispose the body to “fat burning mode.”

These methods appear to actually be helpful to some people. There can be substantial health benefits to both ketosis and fasting for certain groups of the population. People who have very high body fat percentages and are insulin resistant may benefit—at least in terms of their body fat percentages–from fasting. Ketosis may also benefit people who have dysregulated insulin levels, but it also has the unique benefit of being able to help people with certain kinds of cancers and neurological conditions. I do not deny the potential potency of either of these diets, given the right clinical needs and application.

(You can read more about the physiology of ketosis in this post here.)

But I would here like to address the concept of freedom.

I have recently heard people call bboth fasting and ketosis “freedom.” You can read a post about it and fasting, here, or a whole book on ketosis and freedom, called Keto Freedom, here.

I do not mean to detract from the worthiness of each of these people and what potential they have to offer many people. But I do wish to shed some light on this whole “freedom” thing.

Two ways to define freedom

There are, so far as I can best tell from my philosophical training, two primary ways to define freedom. One is as freedom from something; the other is as freedom to do something.

Freedom from something is what we find most common in discourse about restrictive diets.

In talk about ketosis, fasting, and other kinds of dietary (including paleo) freedom, advocates walk around talking about how great their freedom is. People are sometimes confused. The word “freedom” is very appealing. Yet what kind of freedom are the gurus talking about? When pressed, they typically that their diets enable them to achieve freedom from some symptom. (Sometimes they say the diets provide freedom from negative body image or disordered eating, which while not impossible is also kind of ludicrous.)

Ketosis is “freedom from blood sugar swings.” Intermittent fasting is “freedom from obesity.” Paleo is “freedom from gut distress” or etc.

These are all important points. It is great to finally be liberated from health concerns that have dogged you your entire life. I know this quite well, as I have suffered from many chronic symptoms such as generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, acne, PCOS, and migraines throughout the course of my life.

But this concept of freedom is actually not the most popular one. It’s not the one that makes immediate sense to people.

The most popular idea of freedom is the one in which we have degrees of freedom with which to act. For example, most people intuitively understand that people in the USA have more freedom than people in North Korea. People who are not incarcerated have more freedom than those who are. People who have so much money they don’t have to work are more free than those chained to minimum wage 9-5 jobs. This is because they have more options and abilities due to their circumstances. They are more free. 

If we analyze diets in terms of this kind of freedom, we come up with a spectrum. On one end – the most free end – people eat whatever they want, whenever they want. On the other far end are highly restrictive diets, ones that require a lot of control and very few options.

I would argue that  there is almost nothing less free than ceasing to eat for several days or periods at a time, as is what people do when they fast.

Perhaps worse, and more importantly, there is almost nothing less free than ketosis. There is almost nothing less free than having to pee on a stick to determine if your diet is “pure” enough.

Any time you go on a diet, and deliberately restrict the kinds of food you can eat, you limit your freedom.

If you give yourself a rule that you cannot break, you limit your freedom.

If you give yourself a set of acceptable foods and feel guilty if you eat outside of it, you limit your freedom.

If you struggle at all with your body image, your self love, your sense of self worth, or your love and forgiveness for yourself as a result of the diet you’re on, you limit your freedom.

Yes, I believe there are psychologically healthy ways to limit the food groups you eat. Yes, I think focusing on whole, natural foods is probably best for health. Yes, I do think certain health conditions such as leukemia and neurodegenerative disease (both possibly helped by ketosis) can call for severe measures. Yes, I do think weight loss is an acceptable goal given that it is done well on both physical and psychological levels (as I attempt to do here).

But I do not think we should ever make the mistake of calling a diet freedom – unless of course we are very clear from the outset that it is freedom from, not freedom for. To call a diet “freedom” is to do psychological health and real honest-to-god freedom a serious disservice.

If you seek any of these things:

Self love

Body acceptance

Overcoming an obsession with food

Overcoming cravings

Eating intuitively

Eating guilt-free

Then I would never recommend a set of diet rules – and again, especially one where you can’t eat for days or one where you have to pee on a stick —  to help you.

I would recommend instead doing the hard, psychological work of sitting down with a friend, a therapist, or a pen and paper and digging deep into your heart. I would recommend discovering and deconstructing the demons that haunt you. I would recommend learning to embrace body fat as a natural part of what it means to be a human being – of what it means to be an animal – of what it means to be you, in your skin, nourishing your body the best way you know how.

Ketosis and fasting may be many things. They may even liberate you from serious health conditions. But if we want to have an honest discussion about what these kinds of diets can do for us, we need to stop calling them “freedom.” They are pretty much anything but.

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

One Thing All Women With PCOS Need

One Thing All Women With PCOS Need

If you’ve done any searching on my website you have probably learned a lot about your PCOS and how to try to heal its many underlying causes and symptoms.

You may have even purchased my helpful e-book, PCOS Unlocked (find it here).

But I have a fear for you, my readers, that I feel its important to point out.

You need a doctor.

Here me out, because I know that in the natural health world, it’s pretty common practice to think you’ve got all the tools at your fingertips, that food is your medicine, and you don’t need anything else.

That given time, your body will heal itself.

Maybe.

I don’t mean to be pessimistic, of course.  I DO believe that food is medicine and that there is much that can be done for PCOS with nutrition and lifestyle alone.

But that doesn’t mean that those who follow those nutritional rules to the letter will succeed in eliminating the condition.

And MOST importantly, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be followed by a medical professional.

This has been on my mind lately with the diagnosis of endometrial cancer in a friend.

She did everything right, watched her diet, did her exercise, went off birth control pills.

But her periods didn’t normalize and she didn’t see a doctor and eventually, because she was not ovulating, the lining of her uterus became too thick, turned into complex hyperplasia with atypia and eventually developed into early stage cancer.

It’s rare, it’s absolutely uncommon in a woman her age, but according to many doctors, it’s becoming more and more common.

Endometrial cancer used to be considered a cancer of older women, something that would occur during menopause.

But more and more women with PCOS are suffering from it.

There is no ideal situation here.  It sucks any way you look at it.

Because what she should have done is gone to her doctor when she didn’t menstruate and the doctor would have prescribed a progesterone pill to induce her to menstruate.

There’s potential issues with those progesterone pills, sure, just like with anything prescribed.

But.

It would have prevented cancer.

So I’m asking you ladies, you know who you are, the ones who are sick of ill-informed doctors and being told to go on birth control.  

The ones who are tired of being judged for their weight.  

The ones who are sick of the old advice to just lose “10%”.  

The ones who are looking to natural health to fill the void of medicine.

I’m asking you to please keep them both.

Do the natural thing, absolutely.

But don’t neglect those important screenings- vaginal ultrasounds and sometimes, endometrial biopsies, that are vital to knowing the state of one’s health.

No matter what we do with our diet, some of us are just going to be facing a higher wall than others and we have to be cautious and careful in that climb.

Here’s some of the things that make that wall so high:

  • Having to eat conventional meat with antibiotics and hormones.  If you can afford to do so, we recommend meat from Butcher Box (find more info here), or any grass-fed, pastured meat because it is healthier.  At the very least, go organic if you can.
  • BPA in the environment, the water, and basically everywhere.  You can cut some of the BPA you take in by using BPA free products like these, but you can never eliminate it all.
  • Being more prone to craving sweets and sugar, even though they are much worse for your health when you have insulin issues and having hyperinsulinemia, which most women with PCOS do, in which you produce excessive insulin in relation to the food you eat.  There are several supplements that can increase insulin sensitivity like L-carnitine (find more information here), inositol (find it here), and others, but none can fully solve the underlying problem. 
  • Being overweight and inflamed or being normal weight and inflamed.  Carrying excess weight in the stomach produces inflammation, no way around it, and that inflammation harms the whole body.
  • Having poor gut health, bowel irregularities, or digestive illness.  Here’s my post about having a healthy gut.

That means trying our best, but also listening to the advice of a good doctor.  It’s a TEAM effort.

My friend found a wonderful OBGYN who is super knowledgeable and informed, but there are great reproductive endocrinologists and even primary care providers out there.

By all means, shop around!  Find a doctor that stays up to date on PCOS research, that specializes in PCOS, or at least one who recognizes the important role diet plays in insulin sensitivity.

Find a doctor you are comfortable with, who doesn’t think all supplements and nutrition advice is quack science, and who supports your goals.

But find a doctor.

And see them regularly.

And face your PCOS head on.

The last thing you want to do is bury your head in the sand by eating paleo and thinking everything will just work itself out.

That may happen, but please, don’t take the risk.

Have you learned this valuable lesson?  I’d love to hear your stories.  

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

The Fight with Food Stops Now

The Fight with Food Stops Now

Today I want to talk to you about a very sensitive and challenging issue.

It’s an issue I see constantly.  I get emails daily from women who struggle with this stuff.

And it SUCKS.

I see too many women in my life constantly battling with food and their weight.

Is that you?

If it is, I want to talk to you!

I want to talk to those of you who are constantly searching for the perfect diet, and constantly falling off the perfect diet.

Are you constantly swinging between “this time I’ve got it,” and “what the hell is wrong with me that I can’t stop eating peanut butter out of the jar?”

Are you always judging yourself based on what you ate that day or whether or not your skinny jeans fit?

Do you generally let food and weight concerns rule your world — the ups and downs of the diet-binge cycle dictating your “good” or “bad” days.

I’ve lived this stuff.

I’ve lived a life that revolved around the food I put in my mouth, the exact quantity and macronutrient profile.

I’ve lived a life of food obsession and poor self-esteem.

Isabel Foxen Duke, my friend and founder of Stop Fighting Food, calls this “feeling crazy around food.” 

Isabel is one of the most well-respected pros in the emotional eating world, contributing some very new ideas about how we can change our thought-patterns around food and weight, and finally break out of the exhausting diet-binge cycling behaviors that too many women find themselves trapped in — behaviors like, sneak-eating ice cream in the middle of the night; yo-yo dieting; emotional eating, and emotional eating’s painful cousin:binge-eating.

Many of my readers have worked with Isabel and her programs and have found her to be uniquely supportive and able to help them understand what is going on in their minds, and get back on the right track.

She’s got a wonderful, witty perspective that will keep you laughing and she drops truth bombs like nobodies business.

Isabel’s offering a free video training series this month, (Find it here) covering some of her most important concepts in changing women’s relationship with food on an emotional and psychological level.

If this is a topic that speaks to you, I highly recommend you sign up to get her free vids.

You don’t have to live your life clinging desperately to diets, only to end up with your fingers in a jar of Nutella at the end of the day.

You don’t have to live the rest of your life feeling bat-shit crazy around food.

Here’s the link again to sign up for this free training.

 

Let us know how you try to fight feeling crazy around food!

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

5 Paleo for Women Approved New Year’s Resolutions

5 Paleo for Women Approved New Year’s Resolutions

Woah, 2017. I can’t believe you are almost here!

At the writing of this blog post I’m pondering the making of new years resolutions.  Are they healthy?  Are they harmful?  Are they something in between?

I’ve gone back and forth, but concluded that, like them or not, new year’s resolutions are a part of our culture, exciting and important motivators that can give someone the push they need to make valuable and lasting changes. 

I’m not into crash dieting (or “diets” of any kind really) and I’m not into resolutions that end up making people feel worse about themselves when they fail to live up to unreasonable standards.

But health IS important, and focusing on feeling better and doing better in the new year is something admirable, after all.

So here’s my list of 5 Paleo for Women Approved New Years Resolutions!

#1 Cook More

Cooking is something I usually despise doing and avoid if I can help it.  But it gets old eating canned salmon all the time.

As the new year begins, take some time to plan a daily schedule.

If you’re a detailed list maker, you’ll love it and if you’re not, you might feel caged in, but sketching out your time might show you ways you can be more efficient and leave room for home cooked meals.

Try buying books with meal and shopping plans already inside for you.  Practical Paleo (find it here) is one of my favorites, because it contains meal plans for every possible variation of paleo.

There are other great books too.  Stick with ones that focus on easy recipes that can be made quickly like Well Fed Weeknights (find it here).  Or try books that utilize less dishes for easier cleanup like One Pot Paleo or Paleo Slow Cooker.

Cooking more will mean eating more veggies, one of the biggest indicators of a healthy lifestyle, and will cut down on the amount of rancid oil, sugar and Omega 6 you eat, making you feel healthier, improving skin and cardiovascular health, and probably helping you lose some weight.

#2 Lose Weight

Speaking of losing weight…

I might catch some flack here.  You see, I believe strongly in body positivity and the body positive movement.  That means I do hold firm to a belief in health at every size.

However, I also believe that weight loss can be a valuable goal for certain people. 

Excessive adipose tissue does produce inflammatory responses in the body and does contribute to a range of health issues.  And whether we like it or not, it IS something that we need to consider in our modern world of convenience foods and obesity related illness. 

If you’ve become out of sync with your body, feel you need to lose excessive body weight (and remember that doesn’t mean you need to be stick thin!) the only real difficulty is finding a way to do it gently, positively, and with as little guilt and shame as possible.

That’s where my weight loss program, Weight Loss Unlocked comes in.

It’s designed to help you lose weight efficiently but mindfully, learning to listen to the natural signals of your body, rather than the mean girl in your head. 

It can help you follow those New Years Resolutions without the fad dieting that normally goes with it.  I’d suggest pairing it with a great paleo cookbook with meal plans like the ones I mentioned above.

Find Weight Loss Unlocked Here

#3 Focus on Self-Love

While most people choose to lose weight at the beginning of the new year, it’s just as important to choose to love.

We often become our worst enemies and meanest critics, beating ourselves up and tearing ourselves down. 

Disordered eating, low self-confidence, so many things stem from not loving ourselves. 

To give and recieve love in the new year, we’ve got to start with healing our own hearts.

There are many, many people out there happy to help you do it.

To discover the sexy, confident woman you really are, try reading my book Sexy By Nature.

If you’ve strugged with disordered eating and are ready to take control of negative thinking, try my friend Kayla’s program Starting the Path to Recovery and Discovery here.  Try reading When Food is Love (find it here), a classic for any emotional eater.

If you’re shy, perhaps try pushing yourself to do something that sounds fun but makes you a bit nervous- go out dancing or join friends at a party. 

And if you’re always out to avoid being alone at home, perhaps try a night in of reflective thinking and journaling (Let it Out is a great resource) and sit with some of those emotions. 

You’ll gain self-awareness and balance which we all could use in the new year!

#4  Breathe More

Breathing is something we do far too often without really thinking about it.

Most of us don’t even use the full capacity of our lungs, but only a tiny portion of them. 

And breathe, just like food, is so important to life itself, and quality of life. 

Improper breathing can do damage to the body just as poor food choices can.

Proper breathing, taking deep, long breaths, and long, smooth exhalations, can also be a form of meditation that has been shown to reduce stress, calm the nervous system and relax the mind. 

It’s an imperative especially for those with anxiety, and may help anyone with stress-flaring conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, autoimmune conditions, and more. 

With the new year, I’m vowing to remember to breathe in positivity and breathe out negativity.  I hope you’ll do the same.

#5 Let Go

And as I work to breathe out negativity, I’m going to be trying my best to let go of anger, expectations, and arbitrary standards I place on myself and others. 

2016 was a hard year for many and it’s easy to pick out the bad things that happened and let them stew and boil within us.

We can focus on that negativity, that anger, and let it fester. 

Or we can consciously make the choice to let it go. 

I don’t have a 3 step program to help you do that (though I’m sure one probably exists!) but I think we should try it nonetheless.

Let’s focus our hearts and minds on the good in 2017 and work for peace, justice, and positivity in the new year.

I will.  I hope you will too. 


What are your new year’s resolutions?

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

5 Things I always do before holiday meals

5 Things I always do before holiday meals

As much as I always loved the holidays growing up, I also always dreaded them.

I knew that along with all my favorite things — like the hugs and the carols and the twinkle lights — there would also be my greatest demons: the apple pies, the peppermint fudge, and the oatmeal raisin cookies.

(Here, by the way, are my absolute  favorite paleo dessert cookbooks: Every Last Crumb: Paleo Bread and Beyond and The Paleo Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook.)

Holidays meant feasts. 

For my relatives this was a great thing. They loved nothing more than sitting and delighting in each other’s company and good, hearty food.

But for me it was hell – because I was in a sea of temptations. I would always start out good. But then over time my willpower would wear down. I would have one nibble. And then another. And another.

And soon enough perhaps a whole dessert tray would be gone. I would have eaten a few pounds of sweets.

And absolutely hated myself for it.

Nowadays, however, I am so happy and relieved to report that this is no longer a problem. 

Might you happen to need a little – or a lot – of help making that shift yourself?

To that end, Here are 5 helpful things I always do before the holidays:

1. Absolutely nothing different

That’s right. Nothing.

There plenty of diet and health gurus out there who will tell you that the key to “getting through the holidays” is to fast.

I tried this for several years. I kept thinking that if I starved myself before big meals, then I wouldn’t feel so guilty if I overate a little bit.

Here’s why this doesn’t work:

When you fast, two things happen to you. One is physical, and one is psychological.

Physically, your body sends you a lot of hunger signals. When you don’t eat — and especially as a woman — your body really, really wants you to eat.

Psychologically, you begin to develop feelings of deprivation. You are hungry but you can’t eat. You feel deprived. And then you may, like me and like millions of other women, start to obsess over all the things you can’t have. The cookies, the candies, the tarts, the fruit cakes….they start to haunt you.

These two things mean that, by the time the cookie trays come out, your brain and body both are super eager to eat. It will be nearly impossible to eat “normally.”

This is not your fault. It is a biological fact. 

So don’t let yourself fall into this trap. Don’t let the gurus trick you. I change absolutely nothing about my eating in the days leading up to holiday parties or feasts. This has radically improved my ability to have peace of mind and enjoy them.

2. Eat whatever macronutrient ratio I want

Many diet gurus will tell you that it’s imperative to eat low carb before big feasts. The point is to maximize insulin sensitivity.

For  one thing – managing insulin sensitivity is a matter of nourishing one’s gut  health over a long-term period.

(Get my favorite fermented treats delivered to you by amazon on this page.)

For  another, a short-term low-carb fix isn’t going to necessarily make any impactful changes.

And finally, even if there is any slight  different in insulin sensitivity for a meal, it really won’t make a difference in the long run. I find it much more physically and psychologically healthy to just always focus on eating well most of the time. It’s not worth the 20% change in insulin sensitivity for a meal or a few days (if it even happens). It is much better for me too eat a whole range of macronutrients all of the time, and focus on their quality rather than on their quantity. 

3. Forbid pinching and mirror nitpicking

We may all be a lot of things, but one thing none of us are is objective.

Your perception of your physique is highly influenced by your psychological context. If you’re feeling guilty, you’ll probably pinch your hips and think “wow, I’m definitely thicker than I was yesterday.” You’ll think this is real. 

But there is a very good chance you will be wrong. 

I positively forbid myself from doing anything of the sort. I attempt to do this in my every day life, of course. But I do get more serious about it over the holidays are special occasions.

You cannot be objective about your body. (The scale won’t be objective either.)

So just let it go. I promise your body will still be there when you get back. 😉

4. Go to the gym, or not

I exercise on a reasonably regular basis. Usually this entails dancing, but I do lift weights from time to time. All of these things are good and important and healthy. They support healthy insulin resistance, healthy brain function, and healthy bones, lungs, and hearts.

I work out during the holidays if I feel like it.

If I don’t, I don’t.

Exercise is a part of a long-term plan in life that can wax and wane based on your needs for flexibility.

Sure, you might be in a “calorie deficit” if you work out on Christmas morning… but who the hell wants to work out on Christmas morning?

It’s fine if you don’t. The world won’t end.

Nothing will happen to me, or to you, in the long run if we let ourselves be flexible over the holidays.

5. Remind myself that love and relationships are the most important things

Something that’s very interesting to me about body image and food issues is how selfish they are.

This is not to say that they aren’t very real and very important things that need to be dealt with.

But they are also very much within ourselves, within our own hearts.

Throughout my entire life, I try to remind myself that the quality of my life, my goodness in the world, and my relationships are the most important things.

My self-respect and love most certainly matters… so much… but it is much easier for me to love and embrace my body when I think about it as the vehicle in which I have the capacity to love, rather than the idol that I need to worship and prevent from being judged.

During the holidays, when I focus on loving, supporting, hugging, and laughing with the people around me, I don’t have issues around food. I don’t worry about how much eggnog I drink. Instead, I feel loving and warm.

 

So this is it! I hope it helps. 🙂 What do you do during the holidays to make it through feeling safe and warm?

If you’re looking for some extra emotional support over the holidays, check out two of my favorite body image and love books: Why Weight and When Food is Love, both by Geneen Roth.

If you’re looking for a self-loving way to maintain a healthy weight after the holidays, check out my guide designed to help you do just that: Weight Loss Unlocked.

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