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!).

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For the First Time in Forever: Frozen-Inspired Holiday Decorating

I grew up in Orlando, which means that an obsession with all things Disney has practically been written into my genetic code. As such, the holidays never fail to bring out the “Disnerd” in me.

During this most glorious of seasons, my family can be found celebrating Christmas “around the world” at EPCOT, decorating our oh-so-traditional Mickey Mouse-themed tree, and — most recently — watching Frozen while sipping hot cocoa.

(Side Note: I make the best hot cocoa EVER. Here’s my secret formula: 1 c. rice milk and 2 tbsp. Nutella, melted over medium-heat for 5 minutes. And don’t skimp on that Nutella; it’s the clincher here. Besides, a little holiday indulgence never hurt anyone, right?!)

Wait. What were we talking about? My affinity for Christmas beverages took me off on a tangent.

Oh, right. Disney. My other affinity.

So, the Frozen fanaticism has hit me hard. Guilty as charged. My twin sister and I even refer to ourselves as Anna and Elsa. (But, as the oldest by 1 whole minute…I’m obviously Elsa.) Wanna see our Arendelle-couture Halloween costumes? Sure you do!

Anna Halloween Costume

Elsa Halloween Costume

Nope. The cold never bothered us anyway.  But enough with all these tangents. There is a point to this post, I promise.

Now that Halloween is over and the holidays have officially begun (Hey…Starbucks says so. Those red cups are back, people!), ’tis the season to start crafting.  And, in typical “Disnerd” fashion, no DIY project in my house would be complete without a nod to the Happiest Place on Earth.

So, $20 and 2 hours wandering around Hobby Hobby later, I set to work recreating some Elsa ice-magic.  The finished product — a Frozen-inspired Christmas wreath.

So, while this isn’t related to health and fitness, it turned out so cute that I just had to share!

All it took was faith, trust, pixie dust, and the following tutorial:

  •  What You’ll Need:
  1. 16-inch metal wreath form
  2. 3-foot rope of silver garland
  3. 3-foot rope of icicle beads
  4. 6 lavender snowflake ornaments
  5. 1 pkg. assorted-size blue ball ornaments
  6. 4 teardrop pearl branches
  7. hot glue gun & glue sticks
  8. wire cutters or scissors
  9. wreath door hanger
  • Time to Make It:
  1. Glue one end of the garland rope to the top center of the wreath form and wrap the garland tightly around the wreath until the other end reaches the point where you started, then glue it down.
  2. Glue one end of the icicle bead rope to the top center of the wreath form and loosely drape the beads around the wreath until the other end reaches the point where you started, then glue it down.
  3. If you have any extra garland left over, cut several 3-inch strands and glue them, at one end, around the wreath, so they stick out  in a random yet artful arrangement.
  4. Remove the loop hangers from the snowflake ornaments, then glue them onto the wreath in whatever pattern you choose. (I opted for symmetry here, but feel free to get creative!)
  5. Remove the loop hangers from the ball ornaments, then glue them onto the wreath, between the snowflakes in whatever pattern you choose. (I placed them in clusters of varying numbers/sizes.)
  6. Cut the teardrop pearl strands off the main branch and glue them, at one end, around the wreath, so they stick out in a random yet artful arrangement. (I paired each pearl strand with a garland strand.)
  7. Allow the hot glue to dry completely, approximately 10 minutes, then hang this fabulously Frozen-ified creation outside your door for the neighbors to ogle at with envy!

And, just in case you were wondering, the finished product should look something like this…

Frozen inspired Christmas wreath