It’s that time of the year again... When glasses are overflowing and Christmas nibbles can add up. I hated the Holiday Season for most of my adult life. Okay, I hated the Holidays for twenty years to be exact. Yes I enjoyed exchanging gifts and spending time with family and friends, and of course, having time off of school or work... But Holiday parties were my worst nightmare. I was already overweight, uncomfortable in my clothes, and used to unbuttoning my jeans after meals all the time (not that this is any excuse, but back in the day- stretchy denim did not exist!).
I yearned to 'look good' and 'feel good' when reconnecting with friends and fam’ at Holiday gatherings. Throughout my twenties, I dreamt of wearing a skin-tight mini dress for New Years Eve, but lacked the courage to do so, due to my low self-esteem and awful body image. This coupled with over indulging/eating/drinking/smoking through the months of November and December- made for a fifteen-twenty pounds heavier version of me by the New Year. Sigh. Okay, the above is a visit into my past. Now I’m older and wiser. Now I know no matter how much I weigh, if I want to wear the dress, I will wear the dress, and I will rock it! It’s all about confidence and loving yourself where you at, right NOW.
Even though I over indulged for most of my life, the past three years have been completely different for me, partly due to the fact that for three years in a row 2010-2013, I did a series of intensive fasting through the month of October each year. The first year I fasted for two weeks, then twenty-one days, and the final year I almost made it to thirty days, but ended on the twenty-eighth evening. During these fasts, I ate clean foods, just a lot less than normal. This left my stomach so small, that there was no way I could eat how I used to afterwards.
There is irony though. I lost a lot of weight- real quick through fasting, and I do not recommend long term intensive fasting unless you have a divine guidance to do so, plus proper guidelines for correct health and nutrition while on your fast.
I did have divine guidance to fast, so I do not regret it. It was a very spiritual pursuit I followed with my fasts, which you can read about at one of my other blogs Confessions of a Spiritual Apprentice.
Okay, all of this said- I weighed between 175/185 lbs when I started these trinity of fasts. I lost so much weight during each fast, I went down to 150lbs, three years in a row, then gained it all back- three years in a row... It is only in this past sixteen months that I have found a balanced lifestyle that I can sustain, and that sustains me and my bodyweight. My intensive fasting left me with loose skin that I thought I might only be dealing with after the age of sixty, not forty. This has been my physics project; to re-enliven the elastin and collagen in my skin, and love my body just the way it is. Ahhh- there is hope. Read my blog entitled A Vegetarian on Gelatin. Taking gelatin in my protein drinks after working out has certainly helped to rejuvenate my skin tone. If you are seeking more tools to enhance your beautiful body, check out my video entitled Love the Skin you're In.
Ten Tips for a Comfortable and Confident You
Check out my Top Ten Tips below for feeling good in your body this Thanksgiving- and beyond.
Really, these are great guidelines for any body, any time of the year! Lets go-
First and foremost....
Pause and give thanks- to your beautiful body for its vital health, and for the blessing of abundance you will share in the form of food and company this Holiday Season <3
(1) Work out/ do yoga/ go hiking/ get your heart rate up/ break a sweat- and do not eat too much at all the day of Thanksgiving. If anything, have your after workout protein and avoid eating too much bread and thick filling appetizers before the feast! Knowing you will be lounging for about six hours over the day, do yourself a favor and get out for some exercise before hand. Your will be soooooo friggin happy you did so, and it will help your body digest all of the lovely yummies you will enjoy later.
(2) Don’t ‘dis’ your workout routine. You are not too busy to workout. Yes this is a Jedi mind trick. And, you are welcome. This IS your routine. Move your schedule around so you can get ‘you’ in. Ask friends and family to help organize plans for the day so you can get your sweat on. If classes are stopped at your local gym due to a Holiday schedule, or you have to skip because Aunt Mimi is coming to town- you better get out your favorite ‘at home’ workout dvd, or go for a long challenging uphill hike/run, or get out that jump-rope and do some drills and crunches.
(3) I’m gonna tell you straight. Get your gut in order! Go now and purchase ‘acidophilus’ or some kind of probiotic (from any local drug store- I recommend Natures Bounty Probiotic or Trader Joes Acidophilus) and start taking them NOW (take twice or three times as much as the bottle says- every day through the new year.. and get into the habit of taking probiotics regularly. This will aid in a clearer skin complexion, a boosted immune system, and wooopie... A regular bowel movement- Hallelujah! After years of being constipated, and thinking it was ‘normal’ not to have a BM for a couple days at a time... Now I live to poop! Hehe :) There is nothing worse than attending the Thanksgiving meal and feeling like you are already bloated due to constipation or because of eating too much the day before. Get regular with your BM’s and make room for a flowing digestive tract.
(4) Chew your food for better digestion. It doesn’t matter if everyone around you is digging in and inhaling their food. What matters is that you are enjoying the flavors of your meal and chewing so much that the food you eat begins to break down in your mouth before even getting to your stomach and intestines. This will help you digest better and faster overall, and it will help to avoid bloating and gas- from above and below!
(5) Don’t eat until you feel full. If you have to unbutton your pants half way through your meal, or at the end of it- you’ve gone too far. Don’t eat until you feel full. Period. Eat until you feel satisfied.
(6) Eat a half-sized meal at the dinner table. You can always go back for more. It is better to have a little of everything, rather than a lot of everything. This way you can try dishes out to see if you like what someone may have brought for the dinner before you commit to a serving of ‘mustard seed sweet potatoes', for instance. Even if it’s all the same old hits this Thanksgiving- do yourself a favor and start with smaller portions. Savor and enjoy each bite, knowing you can always go back for more a little later.
(7) Let yourself digest ‘part one’. Most of us will indeed have seconds this Thanksgiving... Let yourself take your time. Do not feel rushed by your sever. Often folks who ‘host’ are in high gear, readily wanting to dish out all the delights on offer, and rush you to eat more before you are ready to. YOU set the pace. If they really feel the need to clear the table before you’ve treated yourself to part two, so be it. Just get a clean plate and start fresh later, rather than stuffing in more food before you’ve had a chance to digest a bit. You will be happy you did so.
(8) If you don’t like it, don’t eat it. Why do we feel like we have to eat something just because someone we know made it? If you don’t dig the heavily larded toenail-apple pie your Uncle brought, or the fish-juice potatoes your Aunt Maude made, gracefully leave it on your plate so you can enjoy something else in its place later.
(9) Enjoy your pie! Okay, after the toenail metaphor, this might be hard to stomach- haha-. I say, if you are gonna go for it, go for it! Have either a full slice of pie, or two/three slim mini-sized pieces if you want to try all of them!
(10) Get your fam’ and friends to join you for a after dinner walk, either before or after pie time. Even if its only for a couple of blocks, see it as an opportunity to stretch your legs and get some fresh air.. Perhaps catch up with that long lost family member you’ve always been curious about! An after dinner walk helps foster a better digestion.
Okay Beautiful Bodies, I am sending you love and light this Thanksgiving.. And for all of our over seas friends, may you enjoy a blessed and cozy end of November. Remember, you can use any of these guidelines, any time of the year.