New Year. New Moi.

2015

image courtesy of specialevents.com

On the off-chance that anyone will bother reading this (or, find it remotely interesting, for that matter)…behold, my Resolutions for 2015:

  1. I will integrate a 30-minute yoga practice into my regular routine, starting with once per week, then gradually increasing to every day.
  2. I will divorce my tendency to restrict calories and, instead, eat balanced portions of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.
  3. I will put a small sum of money aside each month in order to afford an adventure abroad by the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016.
  4. I will learn how to play a musical instrument or explore a potential new hobby that I’ve wanted to try but have never made time for.
  5. I will curb my sarcastic tongue, compulsive need for control, superiority complex and judgmental attitude in my dealings with others.
  6. I will root excessive anxiety, stress or fear of the future out of my life, and focus on counting my blessings instead of uncertainties.
  7. I will make a conscious effort to form new friendships in my area, as well as reconnect with old friends, with whom I’ve lost touch.
  8. I will pursue professional writing opportunities, learn how to become marketable in this industry and, of course, network my ass off.
  9. I will participate in the Whole-30 nutrition program at least once, which will be an extraordinary feat, considering my love for wine.
  10. I will get back into the habit of regularly posting on this [sniff…sniff…all-too-often neglected] blog, at a minimum of twice per week.
  11. I will become more sensitive and respectful toward my significant other’s needs, and flex my “romantic muscles” more frequently.
  12. I will practice open communication with loved ones, demonstrate vulnerability and accept help, instead of  relying solely on myself.
  13. I will read 5-10 classic novels from Time Magazine’s 100 All-Time Best Literary Works list, even if this makes me sound pretentious.
  14. I will continue my current exercise regimen of 5 days per week–1 hour per day, focusing on a balance of cardio and strength training.
  15. I will regularly attend a local Bible study and set aside between 10-15 minutes on a daily basis for spiritual “quiet time” and meditation.

Got any Resolutions of your own? Discuss…

On Turning Your Body Image from Naughty to Nice

The holidays are a challenging time of year for me.

I won’t even bother pretending otherwise.

So, with Christmas just 2 days around the corner, that telltale anxiety has begun creeping up on me.

In T-48 hours, the festivities will commence. I’ll be plied with cut-out cookies, green bean casserole (whose appearance at the buffet table always makes me wonder: why is this even a thing???), and every sugary beverage imaginable. I’ll spend Christmas dinner inwardly squirming because there’s no socially acceptable reason to escape “family time” for a stress-relieving workout.

And — most cringe-worthy of all — I’ll nod and *fake* smile as the table conversation invariably shifts to, “I reeeeeeally shouldn’t eat this, but…”

Don’t give me wrong though, I still love the holidays.

No, seriously. I do.

I’m a sucker for seasonal traditions. I can flawlessly quote Elf, and I know the lyrics to every musical sequence in White Christmas (that’s right…not just the title song!). I’m always convinced reindeer can fly upon watching the “Santa Tracker” with my younger cousins. In fact, I’m even listening to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” while typing this post.

Yep. There’s no denying it. Christmas is magical.

Too bad the magic often takes a backseat to my “holiday weight”-centric neurosis.

Negative body image seems grossly intensified during this time of year, and I sure wish Santa would fill my stocking with manuals on getting through the season, unscathed by those pesky insecurities. All gift-wrapped and foolproof because I am on the Nice List, don’tcha know.

Right. If only.

Instead, I’m left to my own devices when faced with excessive eating, thoughtless comments, and degrading voices inside my head. And — if you’re anything like me — you’ve likely experienced the exact same struggle.

But, since we’ve established the Big Guy won’t be bringing any “Body Image Survival Guides” on his sleigh anytime soon, I’ll leave you with this:

3 strategies, which have empowered me to sidestep feelings of inadequacy, so I can actually enjoy the festivities. Maybe you’ll find them helpful, as well. Just sayin’…

  1. If you want a cookie, have a cookie! Depriving yourself  is counterproductive and will frequently lead to a binge. Instead of suppressing a sweet tooth or restricting your regular intake to compensate for said sweet tooth, only to lose control and devour the whole damn cookie jar when nobody’s looking, allow yourself some wiggle room. Don’t overindulge, but listen to those internal hunger cues. If your body is craving chocolate chip goodness, for instance, feed the urge.  Eat 1 cookie. Taste it. Savor it. Then, walk away from the remaining dozen. Sweet tooth satisfied. Anxiety alleviated.
  2. Enough already with “good” vs. “bad” foods! There are no bad foods (unless they’re loaded with artificial preservatives…then, they can’t really be considered food). Only bad eating habits. Example: I might avoid green bean casserole, but my sister loves that shit. Therefore, green bean casserole is neither “good” nor “bad.” Regardless of our individual taste buds, it’s still just food. How food is consumed, though, can be detrimental. Whether you’re obsessively counting calories or mindlessly munching until nausea ensues, you fall into the disordered eating category.  So, eliminate those labels. If you like something, just eat it.
  3. You can be social while staying in shape! Rather than sneaking away from the crowd to sweat off Christmas dinner, turn exercise into a family bonding activity. Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood together, while enjoying holiday lights. Organize a backyard touch football scrimmage. Even play Wii Sports with your cousins (that’s what I do!). By all means, get moving! Just don’t let fitness take precedence over relationships. Strike a healthy balance. Instead of turning your desire for physical exertion into a covert mission, invite others to join in the action.

Oh, and (because…randomness) here’s a picture of some cookies.

Christmas cookies Yes, I baked them. I also — gasp! — ate them.

Guiltlessly.

If I can, anyone can.

You’re welcome (and Merry Christmas!).