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    I’m Plus-Size—Here’s Everything That Goes Through My Head While Having Sex

    Whenever I think about my identity, one of the characteristics that always pop up first is “plus-size.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing—I’m used to describing myself as such when looking for clothes, posting on Instagram, or talking about body positivity. I’m so used to being a plus-size woman, it’s become engrained in my daily routines and conversations. The only time I do cringe about being plus-size? When I’m talking about having sex.Society has come pretty far in terms of the body positivity movement, which, believe me, I’m grateful for. Women are more empowered, fat bodies are being normalized, the fashion industry is finally catching up with extended sizing options and plus-size clothing lines. But when it comes to sex, I feel like those “taboo” lights start flashing in everyone’s heads and the conversation becomes a minefield of sidestepping judgmental comments and potential hurt feelings. Sex can already be a tricky topic to navigate, but add in a body type deemed “less-than-desirable?” Yeah, it’s a recipe for discomfort.
    But despite it being uncomfortable to talk about, it still needs to be. I’m not going to get up on my soapbox and demand that all conversations about sex need to include fat bodies (hello, I’m an introvert), but sometimes I feel like a second-class citizen whenever I bring up my own experiences. Could that be completely based on my own self-confidence and body image issues? Absolutely. But that’s probably just more reason I need to do it more often. If there’s anything going to therapy for five years has taught me, it’s exposure therapy rarely fails. The more I talk about my own sexual experiences, the more comfortable I’ll be, the more confidence I’ll have, and, hopefully, the better the sex will be. And what better way to do it than to share my unfiltered thoughts?

    First things first: I’m not comfortable with my body, but what does my partner think of it?
    With all the guys I’ve dated, I’m usually one of the biggest women they’ve had sex with. (Not that I’ve collected data on this—God, could you imagine?! He’s mid-thrust, and I’m like, “So, have you slept with anyone else who’s fat?” Real nice.) So, I’m automatically going to compare myself to the other women my partners have slept with.
    I have big thighs, flabby arms, and I carry a lot of weight in my belly. (I also have a fairly big butt, but that’s never really been a concern.) Usually, when I match with a guy on a dating app (as many of my experiences go), I post several photos of my entire body. And unfortunately, this is a direct response to an evening where I did meet up for a date with a guy and he left after half an hour because I looked different than my photos and he just “wasn’t attracted to me.” So after that charming memory, you bet I make sure I look identical to my photos. But even with that insurance of “OK, he knows what I look like and he finds me attractive,” I still never know what my partner’s initial reaction will be when we start having sex. Or how he’ll navigate my body.

    For the love of God, don’t make me get on top
    I am aware of my weight 24/7: putting on clothes, going on planes, sitting down at a restaurant, etc. So, why would having sex be any different? As much as I’d like to, I can’t just shut off my brain and lose myself to the throes of passion. (Kudos to anyone who can do that though—tips are welcome!) Sex is so not like romantic comedies where everything is easy and passionate and women have freakish pretzel bodies that can bend into every trendy position. I also worry about hurting my partner. Simply because I am a bigger woman with a bigger body, I want to be considerate of my partner and how comfortable they are in certain positions.
    Another thing romantic comedies forget to mention? Stamina. My preferred exercise is walking, sometimes swimming. Executing a perfect reverse cowgirl is not a form of cardio that my core can easily withstand. So, I dread the times when my partner asks me to get on top. Marathon breathing techniques and worrying about my knees don’t exactly inspire lust in me. I’d much rather be in a position that I know works for me and lets me get out of my head and enjoy the experience.

    Bring on the vibe
    Listen, I’m happy for everyone who can orgasm without the aid of vibrators or toys—I’m just not one of them. Being a bigger woman, there’s simply more of me, which means more skin and body to navigate when I’m having sex. I have what is called a FUPA (fat upper pubic area), or “panniculus,” if you want the medical term for it. I’ve come to terms with my FUPA (Queen Bey has one, so we’re basically the same person), and being with my body all the time, I’ve figured out how to work with it and work around it when I’m engaging in a little self-love. But if my partner isn’t as familiar with my body (hello, one night stand), then I see it as my job to focus on my pleasure. And that means bringing out my trusty vibrator.
    I’m not exaggerating when I say vibrators are responsible for 90 percent of my orgasms. (If I could take a quick commercial break to share a PSA, it’d be this: people, regardless of your size, body type, sexual orientation, or dating status, get yourself a vibrator and thank me later.) Because I have a little extra fat around my clitoris and vulva, it’s not as easy for my partner to find. So while I make sure to communicate openly during sex, using a B.O.B. (battery-operated boyfriend) is super helpful as an aid for ensuring plenty of orgasms. And in all my sexual experiences, I’ve never had a partner complain when I bring out my vibrator. More often than not, it’s a total turn-on.

    Time to talk
    I wouldn’t call myself particularly dominant in the bedroom (just let me be a delicate maiden in a Regency romance, thank you very much!), but I do think it’s important to talk while having sex. Having an open dialogue about what feels good, where to touch, what turns me on, etc. is the clearest way to build intimacy and grow my confidence. Even if I’m having sex with a partner I’m familiar with, I’m still the teensiest bit nervous every time. Communicating, even if it’s just joking about how a position isn’t working (anyone else fall off the bed while on top of their partner? Nope? Just me?) can break the tension, get me out of my head, and make me more comfortable.

    Remember, they are there because they want to be
    I’m not going to lie and claim that I can shut off all the negative self-talk my brain seems hell-bent on sending me during sex. But at the end of the day, I know that my partner is with me in that bed (or on that couch, or in that shower) because he is attracted to me and he wants to share this experience with me. Sex should be fun and sensual and pleasurable—let it be!
    This isn’t an “I’ve overcome my body image issues and have great sex” statement though. I still have unsatisfactory sex all the time, and when I do, I’m quick to blame myself and my body. But over time, I’ve learned that I can’t let those thoughts rule me. Otherwise, I could be preventing myself from having some really great, hot, steamy sex in my future. I’m talking Bridgerton Season 1 Episode 6 sex. (You’re welcome!) More

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    How I Manage My Gym Acne With Only One Product

    Gym Acne: 1. Me: 0. Well, at least for a while. This past summer, I developed a daily habit of working out an hour or more a day. My newfound workout routine not only came with a renewed sense of energy after months of staying inside, but also with a battle with body acne that populated on my back, shoulders, and chest. I started using a body wash formulated with the acne-fighting hero ingredient, salicylic acid—though it didn’t deliver the results I wanted. In mid-July, Versed’s launch of the Back-Up Plan Acne-Control Body Mist immediately caught my eye. Since the first week of August, I have been using this mist daily after I shower, and it has delivered promising results: all the body acne that has developed around my chest and shoulders is gone, and only a few troublesome pimples on my back still remain. 

    With a few sprays on the body and a wait time of 30 seconds for it to dry, it’s a fast, convenient treatment to target that troubling acne at any time. As it says on the bottle, you can use the mist 2-3 times a day, which for me is usually in the morning, before a workout, and after a shower. If you’re worried about the mist clinging to your shirt, though, not to worry! I use it all the time before getting dressed in the morning and it never clings to my clothes. Thanks to Versed’s body mist, I guess you could say that my gym acne and I are neck-in-neck in this battle at the moment. 

    As a self-proclaimed Gen Z “skin enthusiast” who is always learning about skincare ingredients and their benefits, I decided to also consult experts on the mist’s three hero ingredients—salicylic acid, witch hazel, and tea tree oil—to understand why this mist has the incredible ability of clearing away body acne. 

    Salicylic Acid, Witch Hazel, and Tea Tree Oil: An Acne-Fighting Trio

    Salicylic Acid
    One of the hero ingredients of this acne-fighting body mist is the one and only salicylic acid. According to board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Lisa Chipps of Moy, Fincher, Chipps Facial Plastics & Dermatology in Beverly Hills, salicylic acid has numerous benefits when it comes to clearing away acne. “Salicylic acid has long been a staple ingredient in acne treatment regimens,” Dr. Chipps said. “Salicylic acid is an oil-soluble beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that penetrates into the pores and helps to break down excess keratin. It gently exfoliates the skin, and it has some antimicrobial effects to kill acne-causing bacteria. It can also be anti-inflammatory.”
    While salicylic acid has the ability to mitigate acne, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Fifth Avenue Aesthetics, Dr. Marie Hayag, advised those with sensitive and dry skin to tread lightly when using a product with salicylic acid. “[It] is suitable for various skin types, but it can be drying. Those with very dry skin should make sure to stay moisturized throughout the day. People with oily, acne-prone skin would be the most compatible with salicylic acid as a treatment,” she said.

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    Witch Hazel
    Contrary to what its name suggests, there is nothing spooky about witch hazel. In fact, it’s known to eliminate the skin of its impurities and for its calming abilities. “Witch hazel is a mild astringent, so it can be used to remove excess keratin and bacteria from the skin. It has been suggested to have anti-inflammatory properties that can calm redness and inflammation associated with acne,” Dr. Chipps said.
    Like salicylic acid, it can also trigger a reaction in sensitive skin types, which means sensitive skin types need to beware before diving right in with witch hazel (so maybe it is actually a little spooky). “People with acne blemishes and oily skin can use witch hazel. Because the tannins in it can be sensitizing, people with very sensitive, irritated skin should be cautious and do a patch test before using witch hazel. Additionally, witch hazel can be drying, so make sure to moisturize well when using it,” Dr. Hayag said.   

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    Tea Tree Oil  
    The oil that is derived from tea tree leaves is another acne-fighting ingredient that can alleviate irritated skin and fight off germs that cause acne. “Tea tree oil’s benefits come from its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties,” said Dr. Hayag. “It contains numerous compounds that kill certain types of viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Most importantly, it’s been shown to be effective in killing P.acnes, the bacteria that causes acne.” She said that tea tree oil can help many acne-sufferers, but it may cause an adverse reaction with sensitive skin types because it has notes of fragrance.

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    The Bottom Line 
    I honestly would never trade this body mist for anything when it comes to treating my body acne. It’s lightweight, affordable (at a price of $15), and packed with acne-fighting ingredients that are designed to calm the skin and eliminate the bacteria that cause acne. Paying attention to skincare product ingredients and their functions make all the difference when searching for that perfect product that can tend to your skin concerns. If I kept trying products that appeared to be “good” and failed to read their ingredient lists, then perhaps I still would be on the gym acne struggle bus. Thanks to Versed’s body mist and its powerhouse ingredients, I never have to go to battle with gym acne ever again. More

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    How to Motivate Yourself to Work Out In The Morning

    In my experience, there are two types of people: those who wake up early, and those who do not, under any circumstance, wake up early. For most of my life, I was the latter.If you too are someone who abuses the snooze button and has 15 alarms set every morning, the last thing on Earth you probably want to wake up for is a workout. When you’re snug as a bug wrapped up in your sheets with the shades drawn, getting out to move your body can sound laughable. But as a morning workout convert, I’m here to tell you that getting in the habit of waking up early to exercise is possible—and it’s even possible to enjoy it.
    Since I started working out in the morning, my mind feels clearer throughout the day, I’m less stressed all overall, and quite frankly, I feel like I have my shit together just a little bit more than I used to. I know that 2021 is the year of the anti-resolution, but if you make one change this year, becoming a morning workout person can be one of the most transformative things you can do. Want to start? Here’s how:

    1. Find a workout that holds you accountable
    In our former lives, the #1 way I would hold myself accountable to exercise in the morning was by signing up for fitness classes that I couldn’t cancel last minute. And while that isn’t exactly possible right now, we found the next best thing: Obé fitness.
    If you thought that getting a boutique-workout feel while at home was impossible, we’re here to tell you you’re wrong. My saving grace throughout quarantine? Obé’s live class schedule. From my living room, I can participate in classes with a live instructor and trick myself into feeling the exact same that I used to when I’d wake up and run to a live barre or yoga class. At the beginning of every week, I look at Obé’s live class calendar, then write down which ones I want to participate in and add them to my Google Calendar. Rather than pulling up a YouTube video I can pause or convince myself to skip, the live classes require physically being ready and on time to start a class, both of which are huge motivators when debating hitting “snooze” one more time.
    The best part? They’re actually fun and something I look forward to doing every single morning. After a few weeks, you’ll also get a feel for which instructors and classes you love and want to keep doing. For example, if I see Michelle B. is teaching a morning sculpt class, I know I don’t want to miss it under any circumstances—exactly how I used to feel at my boutique fitness classes.

    2. Set yourself up for success the night before
    As small of a deal as pulling a pair of leggings and a T-shirt out of your closet sounds, having them in a pile along with a sports bra and some socks can completely change your mindset when you’re having an internal debate of whether or not to actually get out of bed. Having your workout gear ready to go eliminates any groggy fuss and can streamline any hiccups when you’re trying to get yourself prepared to actually exercise. If I’m taking a class in the morning, I also love laying out my yoga mat where I’ll be taking the class and putting a bottle of water next to it too. Not only does it hold me accountable (there’s no walk of shame quite like putting my yoga mat away after oversleeping), but it puts me in a no-excuses mindset before I fall asleep the night before.

    3. Make your workouts something you love
    Hate running with all your heart? Don’t run. It’s easy to fall into a habit of doing exercises that are trendy or promise quick results, but if they’re not something you love or that give you satisfaction when you’re done, you’re less likely to keep up with them—let alone wake up early to do them.
    One of the things I used to struggle with was spending money to take classes I might end up hating. Most boutique fitness single-class passes are astronomical, so I would buy a month’s pass just to try it out and might end up hating it and not wanting to keep up with it after all. That’s one of my favorite things about Obé’s classes: from HIIT workouts to dance classes to barre, you can try everything they offer without risking losing a ton of money for a workout you hate. Take some time to figure out which ones you love and that leave you feeling your best, and then keep up with it. It’s natural to dread working out occasionally, but a workout of choice shouldn’t be something you despise.

    4. Write down your workouts
    Just like you might write down a meeting or date, at the beginning of the week, take the time to write down the times you want to work out, along with what kind of workouts you want to do. I find that seeing all of my workouts planned out for the week not only takes out the guesswork of trying to figure out what I’ll do last-minute but actually makes me look forward to them more. If I’m doing a hard class one day, I’ll make sure the following day is something I can recover with, “Yes, I’m doing HIIT this morning, but tomorrow morning I’m doing a relaxing yoga flow.” It’s a small, simple way to hold yourself accountable—there’s nothing like checking that workout off your to-do list before your workday even begins.

    5. Take note of how you feel afterward
    It’s true what they say: you rarely ever regret a workout. The way both my body and mind feel after a morning workout are what keep me wanting to do it day after day. Not only do I not need to worry about when I’ll fit in a workout during or after my workday, I feel more energized and less stressed all day long, and when all I want to do is go back to sleep in the morning, I remind myself of this. It isn’t easy to get into the habit of waking up earlier than you need to every day, but nothing is a better motivator than a guaranteed day of less stress and a clearer mind.

    What motivates you to work out in the morning? Let us know in the comments below!

    This post includes a sponsored mention of obé, 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
    Becoming

    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