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    8 Ways to Fit in Movement When You Don’t Have Time to Work Out

    When it comes to exercise, we focus on how to get fit. Our New Year’s resolutions are about working out more often, and we set goals to challenge ourselves in miles, reps, or weights. But then real life kicks in, and we realize we don’t have 60 minutes to spare during busy days. Going on a run feels impossible, much less adding in the commute time to get to the gym. The truth is that getting fit isn’t the problem; it’s staying fit. Can you keep up your health goals and find time for yourself, even when your to-do list is overflowing and your schedule is overbooked? The answer: absolutely. Be your own #fitspo with these eight easy hacks to fit in movement, even when you have no time to work out. 
    1. Maximize daily activities
    You don’t have to fit in extra time to work out. Instead, you could move more during the activities you already do. For example, take your dog for a walk or play fetch instead of just letting them out, and take out the recycling in multiple trips to get your step count up. You can also make use of downtime by stretching while watching TV and doing squats or jumping jacks on every commercial break. And if you don’t even have time for walks or watching TV (but what’s life without Bridgerton!?)? Do some calf raises while brushing your teeth, try push-ups before you get in the shower, and dance around the kitchen while cooking. 

    Source: @crystalinmarie

    2. Fit in multiple movement sessions of five minutes or less
    Blocking out an entire 60-minute session might seem impossible when glancing at your daily schedule, but five minutes (or even three)? Now that’s doable. Try to scatter a few different five-minute breaks into your day to get some movement in. For example, fit in five minutes of yoga while your coffee is brewing, try some of these short workout videos in between meetings, and get another 10 minutes in when you wrap up your workday. Without even knowing it, you could easily fit in 45-60 minutes of movement in easier-to-manage increments throughout the day.

    3. Wake up (and go to bed) 20 minutes earlier
    So you swear you don’t have time to work out during the day? Then make more time. Since time is an illusion (no, really), get in control of it by giving yourself more. Even waking up 20 minutes earlier will help you feel like you have a lot more time in your morning and throughout your entire day. But because sleep is just as important for your health, that also means getting to bed 20 minutes earlier too. Turn off Netflix, put away your laptop, and prioritize an earlier bedtime so you’ll feel well-rested and motivated getting up earlier in the morning.

    4. Turn chores into a workout
    Oh, you didn’t think laundry or doing the dishes could also give you envy-worthy biceps or strong glutes? Think again. Some of the most common household chores require some built-in physical activity that can work every part of the body. For example, washing heavy dishes in the sink will work your arms, squatting to pick up the laundry basket of dirty clothes will work your legs, and sweeping can work your obliques. Don’t even get me started on scrubbing the tub, vacuuming the floor, or gardening. And if you do a bunch of chores in a row, it will get your heart rate up to count as cardio. Bonus tip: turn on your favorite playlist and dance around while doing chores for a little extra movement and motivation. Your home has never been cleaner!

    Source: @sassyredlipstick

    5. Get creative with your work setup 
    It’s 2021: of course, you don’t even need to leave your desk to get a good workout in. If you can, consider switching to a standing desk, and if you’re stuck with your old seated desk (boring!), try out a mini exercise bike or treadmill that goes underneath. You could walk or bike miles while you’re scoring promotions, acing presentations, and making $$$. Now that’s multitasking. And if exercise equipment isn’t your thing, switch out your chair for a yoga ball or sit on a wobble cushion to work your core.
    Use technology to your advantage too. Set alarms on your phone or computer every 30-60 minutes to remind you to get up, stretch, and do some jumping jacks. Even 30 seconds of light movement every hour can make a major difference.

    6. Forego conveniences 
    Say goodbye to your front-row parking spot, elevators or escalators, and the shortcut to get home. We’re so used to making everything more comfortable and convenient that we don’t even realize our lifestyle could be so much more active. Many “inconveniences” feel like a hassle because they require physical effort, but physical effort is just a less intentional way to exercise. If your goal is to move more, inconveniences are a good thing. Park in the furthest row, always take the stairs, stand up more during the day, and opt for the furthest bathroom instead of the closest. You’ll get your step count in and will be working muscles you wouldn’t be using otherwise.

    Source: @missenocha

    7. Multitask
    If time is your biggest challenge and exercise doesn’t feel productive enough to prioritize (but what’s more productive than giving your body the tools to feel its best and get more energy?), then accomplish something on your to-do list at the same time. For example, do bicep curls while on conference calls or go on a power walk while talking to your mom or a friend. You can also listen to an online class or audiobook for your book club while working out to accomplish two things at once.

    8. Focus on posture
    If all else fails and you’re sitting at a desk 24/7, you can still be working your muscles and healing your body by simply being mindful of your posture. Proper posture not only prevents injuries later down the road, but sitting up tall with your shoulders back relies on your abs, back, and leg muscles when done correctly. Even Salma Hayek swears by good posture for her physique and, while I call bluff on the fact that she gets that toned without exercise, being mindful of how you sit, stand, and even lay down is can be incredibly effective for the body. 

    How do you fit in movement when you don’t have time for a workout? More

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    My Secrets for Eating Plant-Based, Even When I’m Too Busy to Grocery Shop

    Eating more fruits and veggies doesn’t sound revolutionary, but the only “diet” I’d universally recommend is plant-based, because it isn’t about limiting or labeling foods as “good” and “bad.” Eating plant-based is not a secret weight-loss diet or an unsustainable eating plan. Instead, it’s the simple decision to eat more of the natural foods from the earth that our bodies are meant to eat. But if eating healthy were that easy, everyone would be doing it, right? With overloaded work schedules and a stay-at-home order that took away our normalcy, toilet paper, and portion control, healthy eating has gone out the window for many of us. If a busy lifestyle leaves you ordering pizza most nights of the week since there’s nothing in the fridge, or staying at home has made you go through chocolate chip cookies quicker than you go through a new Netflix series, don’t worry. I’m often too busy to get to the grocery store, can get lazy with cooking or prepping, and love food way too much to give up my favorite meals and snacks. So if I can eat plant-based, so can you. Here are five secrets I live by for getting in all my fruits and veggies, no matter how busy my schedule is or the last time I went to the grocery store.

    Source: Blue Apron

    1. Get plant-based meals delivered
    Some weeks are just so busy that you don’t have time to plan, prepare, or shop for meals, which makes eating plant-based pretty difficult (Chinese takeout or frozen chicken nuggets are much more tempting). Luckily for the other busy women and health nuts out there, Blue Apron offers health-conscious options like vegetarian, 600 calories or less, etc., so not only can you select meals that you’ll look forward to all day, but you’ll be eating meals that keep you on track with your unique goals. 
    Plus, Blue Apron now offers customizations. What does that mean for your plant-based diet? You can now swap, add, or upgrade proteins on select meals to make them more plant-friendly. So if your roommate or significant other prefers meat, you won’t have to sacrifice your health-focused preferences since you both can get the protein you want (insider tip: look for the “see options” box under the meal’s image after signing up to see if it is customizable).
    New customers: click here to save over $60 on your first 3 boxes!

    Source: Kate Davidson | Colin Price Photography for The Everygirl

    2. Equip your kitchen
    If you’re newly plant-based, you might need some different equipment to make your cooking (and life) a little easier. Having the right tools on hand means a lot more variety in your meals, using the same food and ingredients. For example, try a spiralizer to turn zucchini into noodles, invest in a Nutribullet to quickly DIY a creamy soup out of cauliflower or butternut squash, and a pressure cooker to make dishes out of dried beans and grains (more on that below). 

    Source: Danielle Moss for The Everygirl

    3. Stock up on frozen produce
    Fresh is always best, but for times when you can’t get to the grocery store, stock up on frozen produce. Use frozen produce like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, or butternut squash for stews, stir-fries, and smoothies. Not only is frozen produce often cheaper, but it lasts much longer than the fresher versions, so you can keep it on hand for emergencies (AKA when you’re craving stir fry at 11 p.m.). It’s also frozen at peak freshness, which means it’s packed with as many nutrients as possible. Try frozen fruit for smoothies, riced cauliflower or broccoli florets for side dishes, and pre-made meals for the nights you don’t even have time to cook. If you prefer non-packaged produce, you can also chop up fresh veggies and freeze them yourself (produce like sweet potatoes and broccoli can last a long time in the freezer).

    Source: FOODISM360 | Unsplash

    4. Make dry food your best friend
    Just like stocking up on frozen food can prepare you for busy days, dried whole foods are the secret ingredient to satisfying plant-based meals, without the work of grocery shopping every week. Try stocking up on dried beans (like lentils, black beans, or pinto beans) and whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, or millet). They’ll last forever in your pantry, are cheaper than buying prepared (especially when bought in bulk), and can be made in a pressure cooker to save time.

    Source: Leigh Skomal | Unsplash

    5. Think of adding plants instead of taking away other food groups
    I love plant-based eating because it’s just about what you should add; you don’t have to cut out whole food groups or deprive yourself of foods you love. So when life gets busy (because it will) and you don’t have time to cook, prep, grocery shop, or plan ahead (because you won’t), you don’t need to stress and panic-order Papa John’s. Instead, make yourself some pasta (yes, even if it’s not “plant-based”) and think of what you can add to include more plant-powered nutrients. Maybe it’s blending lentils into the pasta sauce or heating frozen broccoli to eat with it.
    When I do order out (which has been more often than not this year, TBH), I get a pizza with all the veggie toppings and order a side salad to go with it, or load up on avocado rolls and shishito peppers. No matter how busy life gets, what ingredients you have in your kitchen, or even which restaurant you order from, don’t worry about how to stick to one diet or limit certain foods. Instead, get creative with how you can add more plants to any meal.

    What tips and tricks help you eat plant-based?

    This post includes a sponsored mention of Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

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    15 Ways to Eat Healthier This Year Without Going on a Diet

    From rotating diet fads to misconceptions about healthy eating to unrealistic body goals (I’m looking at you, thigh gaps and v-cut abs), numerous factors make eating healthier seem complicated, and maybe even impossible. But I’m here to tell you that healthy eating doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be so overwhelming. PSA: there is no miracle diet. There is no one method or magical list of guidelines to automatically get us all to achieve health goals, get more energy, clear up the skin, and lose weight. For one reason, while one way of eating might cure one person, it could be limiting to another. Plus, dieting is never sustainable. Ditch your diets and try these 15 ways to eat healthier this year that you can stick with for your whole life (and not one of them is to restrict an entire food group):
    1. Have leafy greens with two meals a day
    If you make one change to your diet in 2021, consider eating more leafy greens. From spinach to arugula to watercress to romaine, leafy greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Plus, they’re so easy to sneak into meals, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be eating multiple cups of greens a day. Try adding spinach to your smoothie, putting kale in your pasta dish or any sauce, or ordering a side salad when you’re eating out. If all else fails, try these delicious ways to eat more greens. 

    2. Get healthy food delivered 
    Some weeks are just so busy that you don’t have time to plan, prepare, or shop for meals, making healthy eating difficult (Postmates is much more tempting). Blue Apron offers health-conscious options like vegetarian, carb-conscious, 600 calories or less, etc., so not only can you select meals that you’ll look forward to all day, but you’ll be eating meals that help you achieve health goals. Plus, with 23 weekly recipes and the new feature to customize your meals, there is something for everyone, no matter your tastes or diet preferences. 
    New customers: click here to save over $60 on your first 3 boxes!

    Source: @gabbywhiten

    3. Find plant-based alternatives of your favorite foods
    Listen, if you don’t like salads, don’t eat salads! Forcing yourself into bland meals and boring dishes will lead to binges, excessive cravings, and worst of all, an unsatisfying life. Instead of eating foods you don’t like, get creative with healthier versions of your favorite foods. Try adding in more veggies or making simple swaps like opting for cauliflower pizza crust or chickpea pasta. For recipe ideas, check out these healthy alternatives to your favorite comfort foods and plant-based recipes for every craving.

    4. Make mealtimes sacred
    Healthy eating is not just about what you eat, but how. In a world where meals are often on-the-go, and fast food is on every corner, we forget that food is not just about surviving, or even just about enjoying the taste. Mealtime serves as a reminder to pause, slow down, and enjoy. Consider taking a break from work, turning off the TV, putting your phone away, and making each meal an opportunity to relax and be mindful. Whether you enjoy meals with the people you love or use it as an act of meditation to take a break from the busyness of your day, every meal should be about slowing down and enjoyment.

    5. Load up on good-for-you beverages
    You already know to drink water and avoid sugary beverages like soda or sweetened coffee drinks as much as possible, so now it’s time to hack your hydration and include even more good-for-you beverages (in addition to your reusable bottle of water). For example, tea (like green, white, or hibiscus) has lots of health benefits, thanks to health-boosting components like polyphenols. You can also try sipping on green juice or replacing your typical soda with sparkling water, mint, and lemon. Bottom line: in addition to drinking water throughout the day, get creative with nutrient-rich drinks to sip on to increase health benefits and hydration.

    Source: @kayla_seah

    6. Eat fruit with breakfast
    Your mom used to give you orange slices and bananas with your Cheerios when you were a kid, but do you still keep up with your fruit intake? Maybe you’re good at adding veggies to your diet and forget about fruit, maybe you grab a breakfast sandwich from a coffee shop in the a.m., or maybe you’ve heard the myth that fruit isn’t good for you. The truth is that fruits are full of antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. They come from the earth; our bodies are meant to eat them. Whether your breakfast of choice is an omelet, avocado toast, or a bowl of Cheerios (old habits die hard), consider eating some berries or grapefruit on the side. 

    7. Add herbs to every meal
    Another easy way to sneak in fresh produce (are you sensing a theme here?) is adding herbs to every meal. While herbs are typically considered a garnish, they’re actually leafy greens packed with nutrients and a variety of health benefits. Plus, they make everything taste more delicious. Try putting basil leafs on homemade pizzas, adding cilantro to stir-fries and sushi rolls, or chopping parsley into salads. Bonus points for starting your own herb garden at home.

    8. Listen to hunger cues
    So long, intermittent fasting trends and outdated “three meals a day” rules! 2021 is about ditching rules about when we should or shouldn’t eat food (and how much we’re supposed to eat). Instead of forcing yourself to eat three meals a day or five small meals a day (or whatever the latest trend is), simply eat when you’re hungry. Give yourself nourishing meals and focus on feeding your body with enough energy to get through the day, whatever that looks like to you. Likewise, rather than eating a portion that someone else recommends (whether it’s your mom, a restaurant, or the recommendations on the box), eat until you’re satisfied and not overstuffed. Find the amount, time, and method of eating that works best for your body and lifestyle. 

    Source: @laurenireland

    9. Sprinkle seeds on everything
    If you haven’t been utilizing the seed food group, you are seriously missing out. Seeds like chia, flaxseed, and pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses, containing a wide variety of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals like calcium, zinc, and magnesium. I sprinkle ground flaxseed on basically anything (yes, even dishes like pasta and salads), but you can also try adding chia seeds to your smoothie, snacking on roasted pumpkin seeds, and sprinkling sesame seeds on stir-fries. 

    10. Include more water-rich foods in your diet
    Drinking water is so 2020 (but like, also crucially important, so please keep that up); you can eat your water too. Eating foods that are high in water content is the secret to long-term, lasting hydration (and a lit-from-within glow). Call in some backup for your water bottle by loading up on plants like tomatoes, cucumber, romaine lettuce, and berries, which are all high in water. Watermelon is one of the most hydrating foods you can eat (no surprise where it gets its name), with a water content of 92 percent. Water-rich foods will be hydrating your body like good ol’ H2O, but will also add in the extra nutrients that come from fruits and veggies. 

    11. Try one new vegetable every week
    You probably have the same grocery list that you know, love, and revert to every single week when you head to your local Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. While having a go-to list is necessary for us busy girls (and my other lazy girls out there), it doesn’t always set you up for the most inventive meals. This year, challenge yourself to try one different veggie that you’ve never tried before. Maybe you saw a delicious butternut squash recipe and have never cooked butternut squash, maybe you see beets at the grocery store and Google how to prepare them, or maybe you come across a new leafy green at the farmer’s market that you’ve never tried. Trying (or cooking) something new will not only make your meals more exciting, but a bigger variety of foods means a bigger variety of nutrients. Plus, you might like something so much, it ends up on your go-to grocery list. 

    12. Fill the majority of your plate with foods from the earth
    Instead of the 80/20 rule or following a plant-only diet, think about eating “plant-foward.” While that title definitely sounds a little hokey (and excessive), the idea is that you can emphasize and celebrate nutritious foods, but you don’t have to be limited to them. Instead of measuring, tracking, or limiting, simply make sure that the majority of your plate comes from the earth (instead of going through a factory), whether that looks like fruits, vegetables, whole grains (like oats, rice, and quinoa), or nuts and seeds. You’ll load up on the foods that will make you feel good, without restricting yourself from the foods that you enjoy. 

    Source: @loveandlemons

    13. Add more fiber to your diet
    While fiber is not the sexiest macronutrient (protein and healthy fats get all the attention!), it is one of the most important. And yet, only about 5 percent of the country’s population meets daily fiber recommendations. Fiber is the part of foods that the body can’t break down, so it passes through your entire digestive system and helps keep it healthy. But fiber has other benefits than just gut health and regularity (though those would be good enough). You can find fiber in most fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and seeds, but click here for the most common foods that are high in fiber. 

    14. Eat the rainbow
    No, I’m not talking about Skittles. You learned in middle school science class that plants get their colors from antioxidants, so it only makes sense to eat all the colors to provide your body with all the antioxidants, right? Incorporating reds (tomatoes, apples, red pepper), blues (blueberries, blackberries, blue potatoes), oranges (sweet potato, butternut squash, tangerines), greens (leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, zucchini), yellows (spaghetti squash, bananas, corn) and purples (purple cabbage, eggplant, grapes) is the easiest (and prettiest) way to ensure you’re getting an abundance of phytonutrients and the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. As an easy hack, try to add at least three different colors to each meal or think about grocery shopping by including each color of the rainbow.

    15. Let yourself enjoy foods you love
    You may think that deprivation helps you avoid “bad” foods, but in reality, deprivation is causing a lack mentality, meaning you’re more likely to binge said food when you do eat it, or more importantly, not truly enjoy your life. This isn’t just a warm and fuzzy body positivity tip; it’s a physical health hack that will help your body feel its best. When we remove “good” and “bad” labels around foods, we can listen to what the body really wants. We start craving the foods that help us live, while mindfully enjoying the foods we never want to live without.

    This post includes a sponsored mention of Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

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    The 15 Best Books for Your New Year’s Resolutions

    Even though New Year’s resolutions look a little different this year, it’s still the season for self-invention. The beginning of January means making new promises to ourselves, letting go of the past year, and, most importantly, reflecting on what we want out of the year ahead. And the best way to keep resolutions (instead of letting them trickle out by January 28 like most years)? Go all-in by indulging in a good book that offers concrete advice to reach your goals and become your best self. So to help you make resolutions that will stick (because we all deserve a win in 2021), we’ve rounded up the best books that will give you a much-needed dose of inspiration, optimism, and motivation. Whether your 2021 resolution looks more like running a marathon or just getting off the couch every once in a while (no judgment), these books will help you get there. 

    Sallie Krawcheck
    Own It: The Power of Women at Work

    This bestseller is basically the #1 career playbook for 2021. No matter your industry or where you’re at in your career, “Own It” is a powerful manual for a new set of rules to achieve professional success. Read if: your resolutions are career-focused.

    Mallika Chopra
    Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy

    Because sometimes resolutions aren’t about changing your life; they’re about changing your mindset. Use this book as your go-to for finding purpose, joy, gratitude, and balance. Read if: you’re done thinking about what your life could be, and instead want to appreciate where you are now.

    Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life

    Never feel like you have enough energy or time to accomplish all you want? Maybe your to-do list feels impossible to finish, or you give up on goals because you don’t have the time. Drawing on practical advice from the latest in business, psychology, and economics, this book proves you can accomplish everything you want. Read if: you feel like you’re always lacking time or energy.

    Laura Thomas, PhD
    Just Eat It: How Intuitive Eating Can Help You Get Your Shit Together Around Food

    Whether your nutrition resolution is to stop eating late-night pizza (right, like that’s going to happen!) or to get rid of outdated food rules, intuitive eating is the way to finally eat nourishing foods and achieve food freedom. “Just Eat It” is a life-changing read about trusting your appetite, listening to your body, and ditching diet culture once and for all. Read if: you’re sick of struggling with your relationship with food.

    Michelle Obama

    Because we would be remiss if we didn’t include our queen, Michelle Obama, on any list of life-changing books. “Becoming” is the inspirational memoir you’ve been looking for to motivate you to chase your dreams. Read if: you want to focus on New Year’s resolutions, but self-help books aren’t typically your thing.

    Barbara L. Fredrickson, PhD
    Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection

    This isn’t your average relationship book. Whether or not your resolutions have to do with your love life, Fredrickson argues that love is the secret to improving our physical and mental health. Oh, and FYI, she also argues that love is not about a romantic relationship (though it can be!). It’s about connection between all people, including strangers, coworkers, friends, and family members, so this book is for anyone (regardless of relationship status). Read if: you’re looking for a new perspective to change your health.

    BJ Fogg, PhD
    Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything

    No matter how big your resolutions or goals are, the secret to achieving them is in small changes. Fogg breaks down how exactly to achieve anything you want by starting small. For example, try two push-ups a day instead of aiming for a 60-minute workout, or take a deep breath whenever you get in your car instead of starting with a full meditation practice. Read if: you have some lofty resolutions you’re not sure how to achieve.

    Maxie McCoy
    You’re Not Lost: An Inspired Action Plan for Finding Your Own Way

    With step-by-step advice, thoughtful exercises, and real-life stories from McCoy and other inspirational women, “You’re Not Lost” is an inspiring action plan to get the life you want (and deserve!). Read if: 2020 made you feel lost, hopeless, or confused in any area of your life.

    James Clear
    Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

    No matter your 2021 resolutions, “Atomic Habits” offers a proven framework for changing your life by forming good habits, breaking bad ones, and mastering small behaviors that lead to massive transformation. Learn how to overcome a lack of motivation or willpower, get back on track when you fall off course, and design your schedule for success. Read if: your New Year’s resolutions typically don’t last past January.

    Ann Shoket
    The Big Life

    Sometimes just a few key changes can help you achieve everything you want in your career, finances, love life, and overall wellbeing. Or, at least, that’s what trailblazing editor-in-chief of Seventeen, Ann Shoket, argues in her self-help book and memoir packed with actionable guidance to living your best life. Read if: your resolution is to find more meaning in your life.

    Lalah Delia
    Vibrate Higher Daily: Live Your Power

    Looking for inspiration to tap into your inner power and become your best self? Instagram superstar, Lalah Deliah, put her self-help wisdom into this comprehensive book that teaches us that we have control over situations and our emotions. “Vibrating Higher Daily” helps you make intentional day-to-day choices that lift you out of mindsets, habits, and lifestyles that don’t serve you. Read if: you’re over physical resolutions and ready to transform your soul instead.

    Dan Harris
    10% Happier

    Dan Harris experienced a nationally televised panic attack that acted as a wake-up call to prioritize mental health and make some major changes in his life. Follow Harris on his quest for happiness as he explores spiritual practices, studies scientific research, and explains his own experiences to help you get 10 percent happier (and maybe a lot more). Read if: anxiety or stress levels are affecting your life.

    Gabrielle Bernstein
    Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life beyond Your Wildest Dreams

    Filled with tangible tools like the “Choose Again Method” for reframing negative thoughts and boosting your mood, “Super Attractor” is a more spiritual approach with essential tips to live in alignment with the universe to create the life that you want. Forget resolutions–start attracting the life you want right now. Read if: your resolutions include getting more in touch with yourself. More

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    12 Hacks to Hold Yourself Accountable with Your Resolutions

    It’s that time of year again: we’re putting away Christmas decorations, coming back from holiday break, and setting New Year’s resolutions. But will 2021 be any different than 2020, 2019, or any other resolutions of New Years’ past? If you’ve never even remembered your goals by the end of most years (much less reached them), you’re not alone. According to U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of resolutions fail (depressing, right?).So what does it take to be in the 20 percent that succeeds? We all say #newyearnewme every January 1st, so how do we make sure that 2021 will really be “our year;” the year where we become happier, achieve our healthiest body, and get that dream career? The answer: change your approach. Here are 12 hacks to keep you accountable and help you be in the 20 percent of resolutions that succeed. Look out, 2022! 

    1. Get in the right mindset
    You probably already have your 2021 resolutions, but do you know why you set those resolutions? The first step to holding yourself accountable is to put meaning behind the goals you set. For example, “going to the gym every day” or “getting a raise” are fine resolutions, but you need to look at the bigger picture goal as well. Why do you want to go to the gym every day? Is it to be stronger, feel more confident, or live longer? What about getting a raise: do you want to be more financially independent or feel valued by your company? If you’re not looking at the “why” goal, the surface-level goal will never feel motivating enough to last until 2022. 
    Bottom line: set your resolutions, but make sure you’re also reminding yourself why you care about achieving them in the first place. Take some time to reflect or journal about why accomplishing this goal is important to you and how it will make a difference in your life. Months from now, when the newness of resolutions wears off, you won’t be thinking, “I have to wake up at 7 a.m. to exercise.” You’ll be thinking, “I want to wake up at 7 a.m. to exercise because it makes me feel so much happier and healthier throughout the day.” 

    2. Set smaller goals that are easy to reach
    Trust me, “losing weight,” “running a marathon,” or “reading 100 books” are far off goals that will leave you disappointed and unmotivated, no matter what. Instead, break down big resolutions into smaller, more specific goals throughout each week. On Sundays, think about what you want to achieve just that week: fit in four workouts, run three miles instead of your usual two, lift 10 extra pounds, or add greens to two meals a day. By the time the week is over, you’ll feel accomplished, proud of yourself, and more motivated to set harder goals for the next week. If week-by-week is not your thing, start in small increments to get to where you want. For example, start with two push-ups a day. Once push-ups feel like a habit, increase a couple more reps or exercises each day until you get to your fitness goal.

    3. Prepare what you need in advance
    If you prefer morning workouts, lay out all your clothes next to your bed, untie your sneakers, and fill up a water bottle. If you work out in the afternoon, change into your workout clothes first thing in the morning so you’ll be ready to go whenever you can fit it in. Having everything ready will not only make it easier to work out, but will put you in the mindset that this workout will happen. Preparation works for nutrition goals, too: meal prep makes it much less likely for you to resort to takeout after a busy workday or snack on unhealthy choices like chips and cookies. Likewise, if you want to have a better morning routine, lay out your clothes, fill up a bottle of water, set out your skincare lineup, and get out the meditation pillow. Bottom line: set yourself up for success to reach your resolutions by preparing in advance. 

    Source: @kateogata

    4. Get a buddy
    Do you have a friend, significant other, roommate, or work wife who also wants to stick to their resolutions? Make them your accountability buddy and motivate each other by exchanging healthy recipes, sending motivational quotes, and checking in to see how the other is feeling or keeping up with their goal. You don’t have to have the same resolutions to motivate each other, but it certainly helps if you plan to hop on a Zoom yoga class with a friend or set up weekly meetings with your work wife to see how your career resolutions are coming along. You’ll be much more motivated feeling like you’re in this together.

    5. Schedule resolutions into your calendar
    When appointments, meetings, or tasks are on your calendar, you know they’re going to get done. And you’ll probably show up on time, be fully prepared, and never skip. Just because a workout, meal prep session, or personal budget check-in are not work meetings does not mean you shouldn’t prioritize them as such. Honor your resolutions like you would any other appointment on your schedule. For example, either sign up for an online workout class in advance (the cancellation fee in itself will be enough to hold you accountable) or put “going on a jog” in your calendar. Not only will scheduling resolutions make it more likely you’ll do them, but you’re also more likely to prioritize them. Treat a workout, check-in, reading session, meditation time, grocery shopping, etc., like you would anything else on your calendar: show up on time, be prepared, and don’t cancel.
    6. Set up your environment for success
    Maybe you are what you eat, but you are where you live too. Surround yourself with motivating images and rearrange your home environment to help you with your resolutions. If mantras are your thing, come up with your own, write it down, and post it on your mirror, computer screen, and fridge. Start a vision board filled with motivating images like a picture of yourself from when you felt healthy and happy, or a magazine cut-out of someone achieving your goal (like crow pose or running a 5k). You can also post healthy recipes or pictures of women you admire. Visually seeing your goals as often as possible will keep you motivated. Beyond vision boards and mantras, make sure your home is setting you up for success. Keep your blender in an accessible spot, display healthier cookbooks on the shelves, leave your yoga mat out, and turn your bedroom into a relaxing oasis if you want to get more sleep this year. 
    7. Journal your progress
    Journaling creates a space for mindfulness, thoughtfulness, and purpose, and can help you achieve all of your goals (powerful stuff, right?). Use a blank notebook for morning pages, record your daily goals in your planner (shoutout to The Everygirl planners at Target!!), or use the Notes app on your phone. Not only will journaling about your resolutions keep you motivated, but knowing you’re tracking your progress will hold you accountable. It’s a lot less tempting to skip the workout or order takeout when you know that you’ll be writing about it later. More importantly, journaling will keep the resolution in the front of your mind, so you’ll prioritize it.

    Source: @devyn.p.miller

    8. Have a plan B
    So you slept through your alarm and missed your morning workout? Or you’re extra hungry and aren’t in the mood for your usual smoothie? Have an easy and flexible backup plan, so that you don’t completely give up when your plan doesn’t work out. Going on a 30-minute walk after dinner or doing a yoga YouTube video before hopping in the shower are great ways to fit in movement and keep you feeling motivated. Likewise, have a few different healthy meal options so that when you’re not in the mood for your typical go-to’s, you don’t opt for fast food takeout. Having a backup for when your plan falls through is crucial to staying on track.
    9. Fit resolutions into your routine
    Your resolutions can be lofty, but they have to fit into your life. For example, if you hate salad, don’t force yourself to eat salads. If you want to get fit but can’t run a mile to save your life, don’t try to run five miles. Instead, find healthy foods you like and exercises that are fun or make you feel good. Learning how to enjoy achieving your goals will help them stick. Experiment with healthy recipes like plant-based versions of your favorite foods, and test out workouts to find one that you’ll not only enjoy, but will look forward to.
    Also, don’t vow to wake up at 6 a.m. for meditation and a workout if your alarm clock typically rings five minutes before you have to be on Slack. Start with a meditation while your coffee brews, some calf raises while brushing your teeth, and going on a walk while you’re on a conference call. There are dozens of ways to fit your resolutions into your likes and routines, and those ways are the key to reaching goals by 2022.

    10. Read, listen to, or watch something positive
    I love Real Housewives as much as the next girl, but let’s be real: bingeing it every night before bed and on my lunch break certainly does not help with motivation (been there, done that). Instead, take a break from your usual Netflix binges to listen to a motivating podcast, read a chapter from a self-improvement book before bed, or (if reality shows really are your cup of tea) stream a show like Queer Eye that will inspire you to be your best self. Filling your time with inspiration and motivation will make you excited to reach your goals. Don’t worry, there will always be time for Real Housewives or The Bachelor, but remember that nutrition isn’t just what you eat; it’s what you read, watch, and listen to as well. 

    Source: @twentysomethingplus

    11. Look for one small victory every day 
    The key to resolution success is not to look at what you have yet to accomplish. Instead, the key is to focus on what you’ve already done. Looking at how far you’ve come (even if it is just baby steps) will boost confidence and motivation to inspire you to keep going. Every single day, look for a victory you made towards your final end goal. It could be doing an extra 10 crunches, having a smoothie for breakfast instead of getting an Egg McMuffin, or going on a walk during your lunch break instead of bingeing Hulu. Taking steps towards your final goal (no matter how small) will feel much more motivating than a distant goal that’s out of reach. Let each small step be its own victory, and get excited for whatever victories you’ll accomplish tomorrow. You’ll reach your end goal in no time–2022 will be so impressed.

    12. Be flexible and trust your gut
    Remember those aforementioned “why” goals? Maybe your resolution is to work out more, but the reason for that is to feel more confident, or perhaps you want a raise, but you want a raise because you want to take a step in your career. The secret to achieving your resolutions (instead of forgetting about them by February) is to focus on the “why goals” and be flexible with resolutions. From now until 2022, there will times when you’re too tired to work out, need to take a mental health day from work, or want to enjoy a glass of wine and an entire Dominos pizza on a Friday night. And those times don’t mean you’re failing at your resolutions; they mean you’re listening to what your body needs.
    Reality check: if you’re not flexible with your resolutions, you’ll never be able to keep them. To hold yourself accountable, stay focused on the overarching goals like feeling more confident, progressing in your career, or treating your body well. It will help you stay motivated to keep your goals, but most importantly, you’ll be listening to your body instead of external expectations. Even resolutions need balance, not perfection.

    How are you holding yourself accountable with your resolutions this year? More

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    6 Things to Stop Doing in 2021 (and 6 to Start)

    I get a new notebook entirely to plan out my goals every year. It’s my bliss to set, track, reflect on, and plan dozens of goals the few days before a new year. Dec. 31 is for partying for some; for me, it’s about sitting down with a notebook, at least five variations of my favorite pen, and a whole lot of time to myself.But in 2021? I didn’t even order a new notebook until Jan. 2, let alone set a single goal. 
    2021 already looks different than any year we’ve probably ever experienced. Setting goals when you don’t know what the rest of the month will look like, let alone the year, feels like an impossible task. So, we’re calling 2021 the year of anti-resolutions. Big, lofty goals like “eat healthier” and “get a promotion” and “run a marathon” simply aren’t it. 
    But if you’re like me, you’re craving the joy and motivation of a new goal. You’re dying to have something to look forward to. So instead of those big goals, we’re sharing simple, easy, and attainable swaps you can make in your daily life. What can you leave behind in 2020 and bring into this year instead? 

    1. Mindless scrolling
    Social media isn’t the devil; I’d be the last person to say that. But when you’re trying to watch The Bachelor with your friend or sitting at the dinner table eating or taking a restful break during the workday, your phone doesn’t also need to be in hand. Being present in those small moments of your day will make you appreciate them even more.

    2. Overworking
    Stop spending your precious evening “getting ahead” on the next day’s work, emailing clients, or catching up on what you couldn’t finish earlier in the day. I’m not saying you have to abandon your to-do list, but you also aren’t helping your clients, your company, or yourself by burning yourself out week after week. Set a time to stop working every night, set an alarm, and do what you can to stick to it. 

    3. Foods that make you feel “blah”
    And I’m not just talking about stereotypical “junk food.” If eating Brussels sprouts makes you feel blah as much as a bag of potato chips, say goodbye! This will take time, and no, it doesn’t have to include an elimination diet, Whole30, or something else that will make you want to throw in the towel a few days in. Instead, make mindful shifts in your diet as you notice foods that simply don’t work with you, or that you just don’t really love. (For me, I’m giving up the idea of falling in love with quinoa “eventually.” It won’t happen, and I’m not wasting time or money on a freaking grain any longer.) 

    4. Overthinking
    Imagine how much of your time, energy, and focus is spent on overthinking. Playing out scenarios in your head before they happen, reading into situations, going off of feelings instead of facts—it’s doing nothing for you and is a waste of time. 

    5. Not setting or following boundaries
    In 2021, we’re kissing those moments of wondering how we got roped into doing something goodbye. Whether it was working late when you really were looking forward to at-home date night, seeing people even if you didn’t feel safe, talking about your dating life to extended family whose business is nothing of the sort, and simply doing or saying anything you just don’t really want to, setting a boundary and following it will be your saving grace.

    6. Exercising because you “need to”
    Exercise shouldn’t be a punishment or an item to tick-off your to-do list, and I stand by that if it is, you’re not doing the kind of exercise that you actually enjoy. Viewing exercise and movement as a form of caring and loving yourself will propel your fitness journey far more than following a plan because you ate too much over the holidays or had a “cheat meal” (go ahead and also ditch the idea of “cheat meals” in 2021, please). 

    1. Enjoying food in the moment
    2020 made me realize that I enjoy food so much more when I’m sharing it with friends or family. I enjoy takeout on my living room floor when I’m sharing it with my best friends way more than when I pick it up after a long, stressful day because I “deserve it.” Savor those food-related gatherings and view them as more than just eating a meal. When you’re with friends, pizza isn’t just pizza; it’s a memory. Focus on these moments and make a point to add them to your calendar. 

    2. Attentively listening and validating
    After a year full of struggles for everyone, being able to effectively listen and validate people when they’re sharing something vulnerable is a strong trait. Instead of zoning out on your phone or thinking of how you’ll respond before they’ve even finished a sentence, take a moment to think about what they’re saying, see how you can share that you understand what they’re going through, and then move onto your response. You’ll notice a shift in your friendships, and it’s exactly what you’d expect and hope from others too. 

    3. Love
    This might seem really straightforward, but it doesn’t have to be only about loving your partner. How can you show more love to your mind, your body, your intellect? What about your career? How can you show love to your friends and family? How can you love yourself spirituality? Showing love is only one way of showing gratitude toward every aspect of your life, and we all know the impacts of cultivating gratitude. 

    4. Tailored, actionable goals
    Telling yourself you’ll “eat healthier this year” is not a goal; it’s basically an empty promise. It’s amazing if you want to eat healthier, but if you actually want to feel like you accomplished something, not get off track easily, or make a habit, you must create highly-tailored action-steps you can take to truly make that goal. Maybe it’s eat a vegetable with every meal for a week. Maybe it’s to finally use up the bag of spinach you bought. Perhaps you’ll research and find a new supplement or daily vitamin to add to your routine. This can be done for every area of your life and basically any goal you can think of, and it’s the true, sure-fire way to actually reach those big goals you have. 

    5. Learning a new skill
    With an indefinite amount of time left spent stuck at home, we could all stand to find something productive to pour our time into that isn’t work, exercise and heath, or endless hours of Netflix. The key to this goal is choosing something and sticking to it rather than deciding you want to take on five new skills and learning a bit about each one and never actually mastering it. Need some ideas? Here are over 20 hobbies you can start right now. 

    6. Rest
    You might think that because we spent the majority of 2020 at home that we’re all super well-rested and ready to take on 2021. Quite the contrary! 2020 was inundated with stress, worry, uncertainty, more stress, so much anger, confusion, seriously more stress—it’s no surprise that many of us feel incredibly spiritless going into this new year. In 2021, shift your focus from these “unprecedented times” and instead on processing all of those negative emotions and how you can properly receive a little relief and rest. Tip #1: journal it out, baby.  More

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    8 Habits I’ve Tried for Better Periods (and Which Ones Actually Worked)

    The relationship with my reproductive system has been more like a horror movie than a warm and fuzzy rom-com: full of mystery, a little depressing, and unnecessarily bloody. It sounds like the beginning of a Judy Bloom novel, but my period has never been my friend. Over half of my life has been spent with monthly intense mood swings, severe bloating, and cramping so bad I would have to go home from school. As a preteen and a newly appointed “woman,” I tried doubling up on Advil, spending hours under the heating pad, and eventually was prescribed painkillers by my gyno (i know, right? Yikes!). Enter: 25-year-old Josie. I’m a little more confident, self-assured, and mature (kind of) than the 12-year-old girl who cried thinking about having to go to ballet class on her period. I no longer have to go home from school (I mean, work) during my time of the month, but I’m still so uncomfortable that I spend every minute I’m not in bed, wishing I was (and no amount of Advil or dark chocolate squares will change that). After an endless cycle (pun intended) of pain, PMS, and heavy bleeding, I’m tired of feeling like my body is more my enemy than my friend.
    But also since I was 12 years old, I’ve taken courses and wrote theses on ancient forms of medicine, I attended nutrition school, and I became a certified health coach. I have made diet and lifestyle changes that have made me feel happy, vibrant, and energetic like I never have before. I know way more about my body and believe that any symptoms (yes, even PMS or heavy bleeding) are the body’s way of communicating that something is up, rather than “just the way my body is.” In my 13 years as a menstruating woman (major *cringe* at that terminology), I have tried quite a lot to help ease my period symptoms. Here are eight of the most noteworthy habits and whether or not they actually helped.

    Source: @josie.santi

    1. Eating more nourishing foods
    Traditionally, my period was my personal excuse to eat all of the pasta and gallons of ice cream in sight. I’ve always had intense cravings that I would give in to, but more importantly, I felt so uncomfortable during that week that food became a form of comfort. However, as I learned about the role that food plays in the way the body feels, I started questioning my “eat-hard, bleed-hard” mentality (are the graphic visuals starting to get gross?). Instead, I cut out gluten (something I knew I had a sensitivity to, thanks to tests done by my doctor), loaded up on fruits and veggies, and prioritized iron-rich foods like beans and dark, leafy greens.
    I even started treating myself to a plant-based meal delivery service during my period week so that I was eating extra clean (and so I didn’t have to get off the couch to cook or wash dirty dishes if I didn’t want to). When I started craving something heavier or sweeter on my period, I listened to it instead of suppressing it, knowing my body knows what it needs. But instead of pasta or mac n’ cheese, I made a warming rice dish, and instead of bingeing an entire tub of Ben & Jerry’s, I had a few squares of dark chocolate to satisfy me.
    The results: Changing my diet has been one of the biggest and most drastic changes. While it hasn’t been a miracle cure-all, I feel lighter and happier on my period since eating differently. Most impressively, ever since I started eating for extra nutrients instead of using my time of the month as a free-for-all, my period has gotten slightly shorter and more manageable. 

    Source: @josie.santi

    2. Cycle Syncing
    Cycle syncing is exactly what it sounds like: syncing your lifestyle, exercise, and diet around your cycle. Some people call it an ancient wellness technique, and some call it a bio-hack. The idea of cycle syncing is that your hormones are different during each phase, and therefore, your needs, emotions, and energy levels are too. Think about it: the moon has four phases, the seasons have four phases, and we as women have four phases.
    I tried cycle syncing the 2020 way: by downloading an app. MyFlo helps track your cycle so you can know what to expect, but it also gives you suggestions based on where you’re at in your cycle for everything from foods to eat to how to work to what type of exercise you should do. According to MyFlo and cycle syncing in general, the hormones (and the 28-day cycle they’re on) tell us everything from whether we should go out or stay in, eat raw foods or cooked foods (and what kind), or what kind of sex we’re in the mood for.
    The result: My biggest takeaway from this experience has been feeling more in tune with my body and to stop resisting what my body needs. For example, through past periods, I’ve forced myself to wake up early for my usual a.m. HIIT class, even though I felt exhausted, or I made myself meet up with friends when all I wanted to do was lay in bed and watch Real Housewives reruns. Cycle syncing helped me realize I was not being lazy, and my period wasn’t destroying my health goals. Instead, my body just needed different things at different times. 

    3. Gentle exercise
    Back to that early a.m. HIIT nonsense: I realized the intense exercise that I typically crave makes me feel bad if I try to push through it on my period. I feel incapable, unmotivated, and exhausted. Sure, I was always glad I did it afterward, but I swear it made cramps worse throughout the day, and I just didn’t feel good doing it, as I knew exercise was supposed to feel. So instead? I stopped forcing myself to do anything and instead opted for slow, gentle movement like stretching, yoga flow, or a little pilates if I felt like getting really crazy. 
    The results: Admittedly, it still feels difficult to move my body at all some days, even if it is gently and slowly. I try not to force myself to do anything if I’m not in the mood, but I know that if I do get off the couch and go through a yoga flow or even do a few slow ab exercises, my cramps actually feel better and I immediately get more energy. Opting for gentle exercise was an important lesson that “perfection” isn’t always better. I grew up with the mentality that most of us did where the goal of health was “perfection:” a clean diet, never skipping a workout, and no room for mistakes. Instead, I’ve learned that the goal of health is not perfection; it’s balance. And yes, sometimes balance means five minutes of yoga or stretching that’s basically just laying on the floor. 

    Source: Felicia Lasala for The Eveygirl

    4. Natural supplements
    Various gynecologists and doctors have put me on double doses of Advil, those aforementioned prescription painkillers, or birth control pills (more on that below) to help with period pain, but instead of over-emphasizing ibuprofen or numbing the pain, I’ve learned that nourishing my body as a way to fix the root cause helps me more, rather than patching up the symptoms. I have tried a combination of Chinese herbs, vitamins and minerals, and all-natural mixtures that are said to help menstruation.
    Some of the most noteworthy supplements I’ve tried over the past few years are raspberry leaf tea (recommended by Berrion Berry), to help strengthen the uterus; Love Wellness’ #Mood Pills to help with PMS; and magnesium citrate, which my doctor recommended I take every night, with an extra dose while on my period.
    The result: I feel a huge difference in my pain levels and heaviness when I am consistent with supplements. What I love the most about natural supplements like raspberry leaf tea or magnesium citrate is that they simultaneously nourish the body and provide a multitude of health benefits to help the body heal, rather than covering up symptoms like a painkiller. Don’t get me wrong: my Advil bottle is still with me at all times from days 1-7 of my cycle, but I’m also incorporating plant-based supplements that have helped me need Advil less. 

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    5. Chugging caffeine
    LOL, as if you couldn’t already tell from the overall tone of the article, chugging caffeine was one that did not work very well. But it came with good intentions: my period makes me lethargic and tired, so my go-to response to counteract those symptoms for years was to chug extra coffee just to get through the day. There were even some days where I thought I could not go to work without caffeine because I felt so tired and “out of it” that a coffee-less Josie would have been dead to the world. I also had this idea that coffee was the hero, helping my body feel its best, while my period was the antagonist sabotaging all of my goals.
    The results: While it certainly helped my Starbucks reward points, depending on coffee did not help my period. In fact, I felt even more pain whenever I had too much coffee. What did help? Cutting out caffeine before and during my period. My doctor suggested that caffeine can interfere with hormones, so after trying a few weeks without it, I did notice a major difference in period pain. Now, I get energy from nutritious foods (see #1) that are actually giving my body fuel, and I let my body rest when it needs because guess what: it’s literally releasing an egg and shedding lining–now that deserves some serious R&R. 

    Source: @josie.santi

    6. Seed Cycling
    Seed cycling is a practice of rotating between four different types of seeds (pumpkin, flax, sesame, and sunflower) according to the phases of your menstrual cycle. It’s claimed to balance hormones by regulating the hormone estrogen in the first half of your menstrual cycle and the hormone progesterone in the second half, based on the different seeds’ effects on the body. Many women are deficient in the essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals found in these seeds that can support their periods, but it might also help balance hormones in general. While this is an ancient practice, there is some fascinating science that might back it up. For example, the phytoestrogens (like in flax seeds) have a similar structure to the primary female sex hormone and might have similar effects as estrogen to the body. 
    The results: Full disclosure, I am new to trying this one, so I think I need a little bit more time to figure out if it works or now. Also, I am still on oral birth control (see below), so I don’t technically even have a “cycle” to accurately sync with. I’ll be getting off soon and will dive fully into seed cycling (for the betterment of womanhood, of course), so I’ll report back when I have more ground to do so.
    But what I like so much about this one, even if I can’t feel any effects just yet, is that it reminds me that my “cycle” consists of more than just my period days. The reproductive system is always working, whether you’re bleeding or not, and what you do on the days you’re not on your period can affect the days you are on your period. As always, be your own guinea pig, talk to your doctor, but most importantly, remember that your reproductive health requires your care and attention 24/7.

    7. Oral birth control 
    First, a disclosure: between the NuvaRing, shots, IUDs, the patch, and pills, picking a method of birth control is as confusing as deciding what to get at a breakfast buffet (if I fill up on scrambled eggs and hash browns, will I regret not getting pancakes!?). Whether you opt for hormonal birth control to ease period symptoms or for actual birth control (or both, which is most often the case), the method that’s best for you is extremely personal. What’s right for your best friend, or even your doctor, may not be right for you.
    Whether you prefer hormonal birth control or a hormone-free method, research all your options, identify the root cause of any symptoms, and talk to your doctor about what’s best for you. For me, I have been on oral birth control for almost 10 years. As a teenager, my gynecologist put me on birth control to help ease period pain since nothing else was working.
    The result: What I have personally liked the most about oral birth control is that I know when my period is coming. I’ve worked it around vacations or life events, which has been a #blessing that I didn’t even have to deal with tampons and cramps when I did not want to. But when my period does come, I still have all the same symptoms, plus occasional random breakthrough bleeding. I also feel like it’s putting a patch on the problem instead of identifying the root cause. Bottom line: oral B.C. has helped in some ways but has not in others. I give it a 4/10 for me, but what is so cool about being a woman, and a human in general, is that we all have different bodies, and those bodies react to everything in different ways. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. 

    Source: @josie.santi

    8. Listening to my body (and intuition)
    The biggest change started with a lesson from my therapist (shout out to Dr. Kelly!). She told me that there is pain, and then there is suffering. Pain is the physical experience that you feel, and suffering is the meaning that you put on that pain. Sure, I was feeling intense pain while other friends didn’t feel anything at all, but I was causing myself to suffer by turning my body into the enemy and asking, “why me!?” (boy, am I dramatic). 
    Since then, I’ve gotten older, wiser (kinda), and more in tune with my body. I’ve learned that symptoms are not inconvenient, and cravings are not to be suppressed. The body knows what it needs and knows if something is wrong; we just have to listen to it. I stopped googling, “how do I get rid of cramps?” and started listening to what my body needed more of. I got a stool test to see what was going on in my gut and felt a strong intuition that it related to my period symptoms, so I worked to heal my body and trusted that my reproductive systems would follow suit. 
    The results: When I saw my body as something that always had my best interest in mind and knew that listening to it would help me be healthy, I stopped seeing my body as the enemy and my period as the antagonist. Instead, I started to appreciate what my body was going through (I mean, fostering an environment to grow a freaking human being? That’s pretty badass). I looked at any symptoms or pain as my body’s way of telling me something is not right, whether that means diet, stress, or something else going on internally. The pain has lessened with the help of those aforementioned diet and lifestyle changes, but the biggest change was that I stopped suffering because I listened to my body and trusted my intuition. Is it just me, or is this movie starting to sound a little bit more like a rom-com?

    Please consult a doctor before beginning any treatments. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. More