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Health

Things I’m Loving-Spring Edition!

Hello lovelies!

Here in Nashville, the temperatures have finally started to rise! This past weekend was blissful, with bright blue skies and upper seventy degree temperatures. There’s something truly beautiful about the way the Spring can bring on inspiration. Coming out of the dark cocoon of winter, I think we all feel a little revitalized and motivated when the sunshine comes back. I’ve been wanting to clean out my closet, organize our home, spend less time on the computer and more time outside, and revamp and clean up my diet and fitness routine.  I wanted to make a post with some things I’ve been enjoying for adding some pep into things for Springtime! Feel free to play along and let me know what you’ve been loving lately.

Essential Oils: I have been loving putting essential oils not only in my diffuser, but into my water. My current favorite is to simply put 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil in a big glass of cool water. I do this in the morning, and sometimes in the afternoon too for a refreshing pick me up! I also enjoy Grapefruit or Wild Orange EO in my water too. I love the idea of cutting up fruit to flavor water, but when you don’t have time for that (I rarely even think to do it) or want to change it up, essential oils provide the same kind of idea.

Trying new recipes: Until lately, I have never been too into meal planning. For some reason, it stressed me out to search for recipes and plan out the week. In efforts to streamline our weekly routine and grocery shopping, I decided to put a bit more effort into it. It’s still a little loose, but I’ve actually found that I really enjoy it! I’ve been loving searching for new recipes throughout the week and writing them down on my meal planner. It’s also exciting to get out of the same old standard recipes and do something fresh and fun. Bonus: I’m not usually wandering around the grocery store half-planning meals in my head and buying a bunch of stuff we end up not using. I’m still working on this, so if you have any recipes you love please let me know so I can try them out! Here are a couple we’ve tried out lately and loved:

Honey Balsamic Chicken Tenders

Avocado Chocolate Pudding (MAKE THIS.)

Limiting time on social media: I want to do a whole post on this, but Andrew and I spent last week refraining from social media. It did wonders for us. You really don’t realize how much time you waste perusing on Facebook over and over. I definitely believe there’s a balance and a reason social media exists, but I do think our society is so addicted in general. It was hard to do at first but left room for things like reading, writing, meal planning, music practice, etc. It also made me feel less stressed out, for some reason. I think it’s because I felt like I had so much extra time to get things done. Also, I stopped looking at my phone before bed. I know this is a terrible habit anyway, but I didn’t really think it was affecting me too much. Wrong. Since I stopped looking at my phone in bed, I have gotten better sleep and fallen asleep faster. And, I’ve woken up feeling much more alert! Give it a try for a week or so and see how you feel.

Try out a new fitness endeavor: The spring is a great time to go revamp your fitness routine right before summer. I’m super excited about this four week program one of my favorite bloggers put up today (it’s free!): Buff Bride Workout Plan (this is for wedding season, but totally open for anyone else too who is up to doing it and wants a change of pace for the next four weeks). Another great program is Fit By First . I love this one. It’s 30 days and you get a new workout each day, along with nutrition advice and coaching videos. It’s super fun! Of course you don’t have to do either of these programs, but let me know if you try them out!

Read: I’ve been reading more lately. I think there’s something so refreshing about stepping away from the computer or phone and taking out a real book with paper and ink. I’ve loved spending time on my lunch breaks reading instead of playing on my phone. Also, I’ve been reading things that have been so nourishing to my mind and spirit, which is important. I just finished Kristin Cavallari’s book Balancing In Heels, and it’s honestly so great! It definitely gave me lots of inspiration on healthy living, and I even tried out a couple of her recipes (they’re awesome). I definitely recommend it!

New scents: I love candles so much! Andrew and I went this past week and got some new scents to freshen up our home for Spring. I love having the back porch open with a little breeze and a lovely smelling candle going. It makes me feel so cozy and happy! My favorite one right now is at Target: Island Moonlight Candle Tin. I also love those Burt’s Bees candle melt away things (descriptive?). We recently got a lantern with an Edison bulb that plugs into the wall where you put the melt away on top. I got the Almond scent so now my house smells like cookies or something all the time. It’s pretty great.

I hope you guys enjoyed this little random post with some things I’ve been loving lately! Feel free to comment and let me know what you’ve been excited about and loving for Spring too!

-Caitlin

Health

Intuitive Eating: What is It? National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2016

To kick off National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2016, I wanted to write a post on the concept of Intuitive Eating and how I have started to learn to navigate those waters. I hope you enjoy. Know that I am sending you love, light, and prayers wherever you are on your journey to freedom with food <3.

Years ago, when I had my eating disorder, I sat in therapy sessions and listened to professionals tell me that I was learning how to practice “intuitive eating”. Honestly, I thought these people were crazy. An eating disorder is often accompanied by denial, which I certainly had, but I also just didn’t understand what this term meant and how it was possible to attain it. Haven’t heard the term before? Here’s the official definition (Wikipedia):

Intuitive eating is a nutrition philosophy based on the premise that becoming more attuned to the body’s natural hunger signals is a more effective way to attain a healthy weight, rather than keeping track of the amounts of energy and fats in foods.

Three (ish?) years later, I’ve found myself having the “a-ha” moment.

I finally get it. I have finally learned what it’s like to find freedom in food, exercise, and healthy living. I know what it’s like to have food be used primarily as energy to fuel my body in an efficient way, while still leaving room to sprinkle in the fun things. It’s a beautiful thing, and I am so thankful for those therapy sessions many moons ago because they were planting seeds in me that have just now blossomed. I will have moments at random times where I think “Oh, so THAT’s what they meant. That’s how they wanted me to feel! That’s what they wanted me to learn.”  And now, I feel that it is my responsibility to share what I can on this subject.

With an eating disorder there are many pieces to the puzzle which I could probably write a few thousand posts on. This post specifically focuses on what Intuitive Eating has looked like for me and the freedom I have found from it. Even if you don’t have the definition of an eating disorder, our society is sick when it comes to this subject and often we are practicing disordered eating without even realizing it. Here is a list of what I define Intuitive Eating as and how it has been applied in my life and given me freedom with food:

-Intuitive eating is being able to eat when I am hungry, stop when I am full and feel satisfied. Instead of wanting to eat more and more, I am content when I have eaten enough to give me the energy that I need. I used to want to keep eating and eating despite feeling uncomfortably full. These days, I rarely eat to the point of discomfort. I don’t want to, so I don’t. It didn’t used to be that simple.

-Intuitive eating is feeling like I don’t need to cut out anything or ban it from my diet. While I try to eat healthy most of the time and include plenty of fresh produce, protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats into my diet, there isn’t one thing that I’ve banned from my diet (there are things I don’t eat, of course, but those are just things I don’t like. Nothing is illegal). When you practice intuitive eating, you acknowledge that all food is legal, and you are in control of what enters your body. “Banning” or labeling foods as “BAD” can be destructive and lead to feelings of guilt and shame, which should never be associated with food.

-Intuitive eating is having your own “hunger clock” in your body and listening to it. There are days I am hungry every two hours, and there are days when I eat a bigger breakfast than normal and only need a light lunch. There are days I want a giant salad for my meal and other days I crave chicken and sweet potato. Our bodies are SMART, you just have to listen to them! I used to make myself only eat at certain time increments, which led to me being overly hungry, cranky, tired, and under-fueled. Once you learn to be in tune with your body’s natural clock, everything runs more efficiently.

-Intuitive eating is not feeling guilty after enjoying a couple slices of pizza and some ice cream with friends on a Friday night. Our society is SO bent out of shape over these types of things and magazines read headlines like “WORK OFF THAT SLICE OF PIZZA AND WINGS!” after the Super Bowl. Gosh, this makes my blood boil. Exercise and food is meant to nourish and fuel our body so we can thrive, BUT food is also a part of celebrations, holidays, and fun things! While it shouldn’t be the focal point of any of these things, deprivation tactics or trying to “make up” for what you ate is so pointless, depleting, and shameful to your body. Food CAN be fun. Intuitive eating practices show that you can enjoy these foods in moderation, and then move on with your life. And, NO GUILT is associated with this practice! Practice positive self-talk for both yourself and your peers.

You have to start with listening. Ask yourself the questions…are you hungry? Are you full? Are you satisfied? Are you feeling dessert tonight, or are you wanting to pass? How do you feel after you eat a particularly balanced meal? Why are you feeling guilty? It takes time to develop this practice. As I’ve said, it’s taken me years to start to really get a handle on it. I’m not a registered dietician or doctor, so I can’t coach anyone on how to go through this, but I do know it’s important to start asking yourself the hard questions. I’m thankful to have entered into freedom with food and I hope it is something our society learns to do as well. It isn’t easy, and I’m not perfect at it. I definitely have moments and days of weakness. But overall, I have learned and know that I feel my best when I focus on nourishing my body, not depriving it.

I could say so much more on this subject but I wanted to at least scratch the surface. My point in writing this is about learning to be in tune to your body’s signals and give yourself compassion, grace, and kindness.

“Eating healthy and exercising is your way of loving yourself enough to take care of your body.”

Know that you are beautiful, loved, and cherished always and forever no matter where you are<3

~Caitlin