Need a break from your whirring thoughts? Use my quick tip!

A few weeks ago, I attended a work conference in New Orleans, one of my FAVORITE cities. The trip was filled with delicious food, lots o’ work, and tons of sunshine.

NOLA Work trip

Over the course of my work trip, I talked to a lot of new people—at this conference I’m working and in restaurants where I ducked in for a quick meal by myself. And I love it. Know why? Because getting to know new people gets me out of my head. I get to talk to someone I’ve never met before and don’t know anything about. They have a whole separate life from me and when I talk to them, I get to take a little vacation from all of the thoughts swirling around in my brain.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own thoughts and get super worried and stressed about the things going on in our lives (especially if you’re a college student in the thick of finals). But being in our head all of the time—thinking about all the things we have to do, what we’ve done wrong in the past, how we should be better in the future—just worsens our stress and anxiety, AND doesn’t actually help us move forward and be more productive.

So when you meet someone new, or someone you know but just don’t know much about, talk to them a little! This can be anxiety-producing, but I’ve found that all I have to do is ask one question, and the other person takes over and does most of the talking.

Ask stuff like:

  • What was your recent trip to India like? (totally asked that question to a colleague at dinner one night and it was fascinating)
  • How do you like living here?
  • What does your tattoo mean?

People loooove talking about themselves. So it’s a win-win. They get to talk about themselves, and you get to know someone a little better and get out of your own head a bit.

Give this a whirl!

10 easy ways to take care of your mind and body during finals (and other times of extreme stress)

How was your week? Some of what I did this week included: VOTING, watching Lemonade with my friend May (we are changed forever), putting my legs up a wall, making a honey/yogurt/lemon/salt face mask, and rebounding like a queen. And I had a great conversation with the amazing girl behind As We Stumble Along!

Lemonade and legs

I know that many of you are knee-deep in (or about to be) in final exams, final papers, and final projects. Whew, I know how stressful that is. During my final semester of undergrad, I would wake up in the mornings in panic-mode and had to call my Mom to help calm me down. And I would often hit the food hard (i.e. binge eating) just to deal with the stress. By the end of finals, I was relieved, but so exhausted, sick, and disoriented that it took me days to recover, enjoy post-finals life, and take action on other goals (i.e. rocking my summer internship, job hunting, etc.)

And for you post-college folks, I know that y’all experience times of extreme stress at work, in relationships, with your health/body, and trying to balance everything you have to do be an adult. I get it.

It’s easy to let your mental and physical health take a backseat to all of the work you have to do/worry about during stressful times. But I want to give you lots of easy things you can do to support your body and mind while you do all of your work… so that you can be as productive as possible and have the energy to have fun in your life and focus on other goals you want to accomplish.

Here are 10 easy ways to take care of your mind and body during finals/times of extreme stress:

1. Fall asleep to a meditation/hypnosis recording. This is an easy way to relax your brain while you sleep, even if you’re just getting a few hours of sleep per night. Put in your earbuds and just let the words and sounds of these recordings work on you.

2. Eat full meals. Most of us don’t eat enough food, even if we’re not trying to manipulate our body. Our culture just doesn’t support taking time for meals. But when you eat full meals, your anxiety level goes down and your body can work hard for you. You’ll have more energy to do work and feel calm while doing it. So for every meal, try to get in 4-5 foods per meal (ex. breakfast: scrambled egg with cheese, toast, yogurt, fruit–that’s five foods).

3. Do face masks. I could evangelize about these. Face masks (homemade orstore-bought) keep your skin happy and calm while you do other things, like study, do laundry, send emails, or just chill out. P.S. doing them with friends and taking pics is very fun. These are some of my fave homemade masks.

4. Use the Pomodoro technique when doing work. This is a productivity method that involves setting a timer for 25 mins to do work, taking a 5 min break, then doing work for another 25 mins, followed by another 5-min break, and doing this four times total. This WORKS. I’ve been using it all week and have really stayed on task. There are a ton of free online Pomodoro timers out there. I’ve been using this one.

5. Rebound/dance and jump around. Rebounding refers to jumping on a mini trampoline (pic above). It’s a form of exercise that gets the lymphatic system moving. The lymphatic system carries nutrients to the cells while carrying away waste. If you don’t move the body, the lymph nodes get stuck and tension and waste just sit in your body. So if you have one, take a short study/work break and jump on a mini trampoline while listening to music. Or have a quick dance party that involves a bit of jumping. This movement will refresh your body, rid it of waste, and make you feel more creative.

6. Take a walk with a friend. In grad school, one of my friends and I would work separately at our desks for a period of time, then take a walk outside. Then we’d go back to work for a while, and take another walk together. This was so nice because it motivated us to be hyper-focused on our work, then lighten things up by laughing and being outside, which refreshed us when we got back to our desks. Try this with one of your friends!

7. Drink lots of water. Our bodies pee out cortisol, the stress hormone. We need cortisol to be alert and do things, but when we have an excess of cortisol, our anxiety level really goes up. So when we drink water, we release stress from our bodies and calm down. I carried a Klean Kanteen with me all through college. I also drink a glass of water when I wake up in the morning, as our cortisol level is high in the mornings.

8. Use a mantra. Y’all know how much I love mantras. Here’s the one I used ALL THE TIME in college: Everything always gets done. It always brought me comfort.

9. Put your legs against the wall. This is a fun and gentle stretch for the hamstrings. Lie on your back with your butt touching a wall. Extend your legs vertically and prop them against the wall. Lie there and just chill out for 3-4 mins. Pic above.

10. Hide in the bathroom and meditate. I did this all the time in grad school. Before going into class or when I felt overwhelmed, I would go into a bathroom stall, sit on the toilet (or just stand), close my eyes and breath deeply for 2-4 mins. This helped me get space from my whirring thoughts so I could think clearly. It made me feel calm, strong, and protected. Definitely do this between classes, before taking an exam, before going into a meeting, etc.

Whew, there you go! These tips will keep you calm and healthy so that you can do your best work possible and have energy to enjoy your life AND keep accomplishing goals that are important to you.

How to stop being crazy around food, Part 2 (fyi, this is a little radical)

Just got back from a super fun weekend with my bff in D.C.! As expected, we consumed fancy beverages, yummy food, and beautiful scenery. Also we went to the Congressional cemetery, where I was weirdly obsessive about finding John Philip Sousa’s grave. And I started the weekend with a sweaty, post-yoga hair pic.

DC with Ame

Last week, I revealed my philosophy on food (and a vulnerable excerpt from one of my college journals). Here’s my food philosophy again:

Eat exactly what you want, whenever you want, without judgment.

Here’s how to begin to put this practice into place in your life:

  • Make sure that you’re actually eating enough food. I JUST learned this from my nutritionist this week. In order to get clear cues from your body about what you want to eat, you have to make sure you’re giving your body enough food in the first place. Our work-work-work-work-work (ha, Rihanna) doesn’t always support the time we need to have full meals and snacks, but this is an important step in listening to your body. PLUS, when you’re not eating enough food (even if it’s not weight-loss driven), thoughts about food and your body, and your anxiety level, really ramp up. Try to eat 4-5 foods per meal.
  • View all food as equal. Stop viewing some foods as good/healthy and some foods as bad/unhealthy. When deciding what to eat, eat what you want to eat, and acknowledge the nutrients that your chosen foods actually give you. For example, for my evening snack, sometimes I want an apple with almond butter. Sometimes I want ice cream. Instead of choosing the apple and almond butter because our culture deems it “healthier” than ice cream, I think about all of the nutrients in BOTH options. Ex. The apple/almond butter has protein, fiber, and Vitamin C. The ice cream has calcium, phosphorous, Vitamin B-12, and protein. Both options offer nutrients. Keep foods neutral; not good or bad. Then choose the one you want. When you view food as neutral and not good/bad, the compulsion to overeat or binge really drops off, and you’ll just feel more relaxed around food in general.
  • Trust that your body knows what it’s doing. Our bodies are way smarter than our brains when it comes to telling us what they need. It’s easy to think that if you let yourself eat anything you want, you’ll inhale junk food all the time. No. Our bodies crave whole foods and a lot of different kinds. If you did inhale junk food all the time, eventually your body wouldn’t crave it; it would tell you it’s ready for something else. Also, if you binged or overate and feel uncomfortable, trust that your body will reset itself. If you stress out and hook in to those feelings of shame/self-loathing that often accompany binge eating/overeating, you’re just setting yourself up for another binge. But when you just acknowledge that you binged/overate and trust that your body knows what to do with that food, your body will actually relax and get you back to feeling good and normal. Our bodies are crazy smart. Believe that.

These tips will get you started on your path to feeling much more peaceful around food and your body! And email me at sarah@thehappycollegegirl.com if you want customized help around this topic.

How to stop being crazy around food, Part I (and an excerpt from one of my college journals)

Time for another blog post from yours truly! Here’s a bit of what yours truly did this week: took a sick day while dogsitting, ate the best pizza outside on a bench, attended a work conference in my hometown, went to a big ol’ cousins party, and looked at beautiful flowers.

Flower dogsitting collage

As you know, binge eating was a big part of my life as a college student. I wanted to lose weight so badly that I would restrict my food intake during the day and then at night or on the weekends RIP into all the food I could get my hands on.

One time in college I went on a “sugar cleanse” (dear God). I was not allowed to eat any processed sugar. A lot of natural sugars, like bread and most fruits, were off limits, too. The cleanse was supposed to support brain function and hormone health, but we all know why I really did it: to lose weight!

One weekend during the cleanse my body was starving for sugar. I couldn’t take another minute depriving myself of sugar (um, I just wanted a f*cking sandwich on normal bread)…so I binged like crazy. I went so crazy that on Sunday night, I was eating spoonfuls of powdered sugar from a gingerbread house kit that my mom sent me for the holidays. When I finally put the spoon down and realized what I had done, dread and self-loathing set in.

Here’s what I wrote in my journal that night:
I want to hide, to sleep, to be alone and cry. I feel stupid and weak. Failure keeps coming up. Everyone seems to have it together. Why can’t I stop myself from eating and eating and eating? F*CK! I totally relapsed and feel horrible. I do NOT want to go to class tomorrow.

I wish I could say that after that night, I decided to find a more peaceful way to relate to food. But it took many similar binge eating moments to do that. And I STILL struggle with my relationship to food, though things are much, much better.

All of this chaos I’ve experienced around food has helped me form my personal food philosophy, which I’m going to share with you tonight:

Eat exactly what you want, whenever you want, without judgment.

Let that marinate with you for a bit. Let the words work on you. Imagine what life would be like if you lived by that philosophy. What thoughts and emotions come up for you when you read those words?

I’ll be back next week with a full explanation of what my food philosophy means, and how I practice it in my life.

7 ways to return to peace after a food binge (and get back to getting things done)

Just got back from an awesome yoga class. Here’s my post-yoga look:

Binge eating is a sensitive topic for me. It was MAJOR part of my college years. It’s how I relieved stress and overwhelm, and what I did after restricting my food intake in the name of weight loss. I would eat a ton of food to the point of feeling so sick and bloated that I couldn’t focus on my schoolwork, which just stressed me out even more.

If you binge eat, know that you’re okay and nothing is wrong with you. And you can reach out to me here.

Alright, what exactly is binge eating?

Health coach and emotional eating expert Isabel Foxen Duke defines binge eating like this: Eating we do in reaction to deprivation around food (or a perceived threat of future deprivation). 

Today, I’m writing about what to do immediately after a binge, as in the few minutes after we put the food down and the reality that we’ve just binged sets in. In those moments, we often recoil in horror as we assess the empty food cartons, half-empty bags of chips or gallons of ice cream, and the half-eaten loaf of banana-chocolate chip bread. Unfortunately, the post-binge horror, shame, and embarrassment that we inflect upon ourselves is counterproductive. If we wallow in those feelings, we hit the food again, and often harder than before…and spend even more time away from our work, goals, etc.

To avoid a second binge and to restore our minds and bodies to a peaceful state, here’s what you do:

1. ACCEPT and be okay with the fact that you just binged. Say to yourself, “Okay, I just binged. It is okay. I am still safe. I just binged and now I feel hopeless, fat, in pain, etc. That is how I feel.” Just accept that those feelings are with you. Let them hang out for a bit.

2. Breathe. Amidst all of the food wrappers and crumbs. Take 3-5 deep breaths. Try this technique.

3. Sip on a glass of water. No, I’m not talking about warm lemon water with cayenne so that you can detox immediately in a desperate and ill-advised attempt to lose weight fast. Just fill a glass with water. Sit down and drink it. Hydrate your body.

4. Shave your legs. I know the last thing you want to do after a binge is see yourself naked. But when I take a shower and make a point to shave my legs really well, I feel clean and a little sexy and summery. Not in a bingeing mood, that’s for sure.

5. Say really sweet things to yourself. I say (in my mind and out loud), “I love you. You’re doing great. You’re okay. I’m so proud of you. Everything will be okay. You’re doing the best you can, Sarah ol’ girl” (a la Helga Pataki). Say that stuff to yourself. It really does make you feel better.

6. Promise yourself that you will keep going and fighting. It’s so easy to wallow in self-hatred and hopelessness after a binge. But that mindset just sets you up to binge again. Make a promise to yourself that you WILL overcome bingeing, that you will never give up on yourself, and that you WILL have a peaceful relationship with food and your body.

7. Do something with people. Post-binge feelings are smothered by positive social interaction. After binges, I’ve gone to the pool with a friend, gone shopping, met for coffee, ran errands, etc. Make a date with one or more people who make you feel happy and relaxed. Study together. This not only gets you out of the house (isolation increases the likelihood that we’ll binge), but it also takes your mind off of your body and food. My friends, and most of them don’t realize this, have pulled me out of my darkest post-binge feelings.

Take this list seriously. If none of this resonates with you, generate your own list of small, manageable actions that you can take SECONDS after a binge so that you avoid another binge, feel peaceful, and get back to being productive!

How to make progress on projects and goals even when you’re really scared and confused

First of all, I can’t get enough of this song–probs because it was on an excellent episode of Broad City.

Second of all, how was your weekend? My brother was in town from Atlanta and it was great. We spent time with our cousins, watched basketball, and ate Easter candy. He also tolerated being put into many-a-headlock by me. That’s just what little sisters do.

Easter Candy
Third of all, I want to teach you how to make progress, take action, and be productive on your projects and goals even when you’re scared and confused.

When I finished grad school, I freaked out. I woke up every morning sick to my stomach. So many questions raced through my brain. What job should I get? Should I move? If so, where? Should I get a quick job now to make money? Or should I focus on getting a “real” job? Do I even want a “real” job? What do I really want? But is there even time to think about what I really want? Should I freelance for a while? But will that even pay enough for me to live on? Do my family and friends think I’m stupid, lazy, and spoiled?

These questions haunted me all day, every day. I was anxious all the time and never knew what to do with myself or how to structure my days. All I wanted to do was watch Gilmore Girls in bed.

But, as we all know, ignoring work for too long just makes us more anxious. So one morning, I decided to make a list of super simple things I could do to have a productive day and feel calm and strong. This is what my list looked like (no joke, I pulled out my journal from that time):

Things to do to keep me moving forward (literally what I called this list)
1. Make bed
2. Make breakfast and eat in dining room
3. Take walk
4. Figure out and test drive directions to restaurant when my family visits
5. Schedule meeting about x,y,z with Professor X
6. Clean bathroom
7. Email that woman I freelanced for last semester. Ask if she needs help.
8. Spend 20 mins updating LinkedIn account
9. Read email thread with cousins about Europe itinerary
10. Look at how much I have in bank accounts
11. Make cookies for party

See how simple and finite these things are? I had no idea what kind of job to get, whether I should move, etc., and I was so scared all the time. But instead of just staying in that place of indecision and confusion, I took very small actions forward. I put myself in forward motion, even though I was unsure of what I wanted the end result to be.

Notice that my list doesn’t just include job-related actions. It includes other things I needed to get done and responsibilities I had to fulfill at the time (cleaning, getting directions, finalizing travel plans). Doing those things made me feel productive in the moment and took my mind off of my anxiety. And my list includes things that helped my body and mind feel relaxed and strong. All of these things helped me feel more empowered and confident, which gave me more momentum to keep taking action instead of getting paralyzed by fear.

If you’re grappling with big projects and questions–maybe a big research paper, grad school applications, a job or internship search, figuring out where and if to move–I want you to take out a piece of paper and write a list of 5-10 small things you can do to move forward. What are small actions you can take to be productive and calm down? Maybe you can make a list of potential companies to work/intern for. Maybe you can freewrite about your research topic for 10 mins. Maybe you can make an appointment with your professor to get your questions addressed. Maybe you can take a walk with a friend today.

Doing small things every day to move you forward really will help you accomplish and get clarity on your goals. Keep them simple. Cross them off as you do them. Be very proud of yourself. Trust that as you take action, you’re getting closer and closer to finding answers to all of your questions and uncertainties.

Comment below and tell me 3 simple things you’re going to do TODAY to move forward!

How to make peace with your body (we gonna get naked)

Last week was Easter. I got a little festive by dyeing eggs, running a 5K Bunny Hop with my fam, and making an angel food cake for Easter dessert. Oh and my bff got into law school…whaaatttt!

Happy Easter

Remember that post I wrote on how to handle those days when you hate the way you look in your clothes? I’m still working on that stuff–feeling happy and peaceful about my body the way it is right now. This week has been particularly hard because I tried on an old summer dress that is now too tight…which really ramped up my body image fears. If you feel me on this, you are not alone.

Recently, my bomb-ass therapist recommended that I do this really cool body image exercise. I’ve been doing it for the past week and a half and have gotten RESULTS.

Here’s what you do:
1. Take off all or most of your clothes.
2. Stand in front of a full-length mirror (a shorter mirror is totally fine)
3. Focus on each of your body parts, one at a time, starting with your face, then your neck, shoulders, etc. Touch your body as you go.
4. Say one thing OUT LOUD that you’re grateful for about each of your body parts. Ex. When you touch your stomach, you might say (again, do this out loud), “I am grateful for my stomach because it always digests my food and resets itself.” Or when you touch your hips, you might say, “I am grateful for my hips because they are a mark of my womanhood. They make me feel truly womanly.”
5. When you’ve gone through all of your body parts–face, neck, shoulders, arms, breasts, stomach, hips, legs, feet, butt–you’re done!
P.S. If you can’t find the alone time/space to do this exercise, do it in the shower. Whisper what you’re grateful for to yourself.

Why this exercise works:

  • It makes you focus on the present moment. Remember, all of your peace and safety lie in the present moment–not the past or future. This exercise makes you be present for a few solid minutes. I always feel quieter and calmer after I do this.
  • It shifts your attention from how your body looks and how well it holds up to society’s beauty standards (which are fake and impossible anyway) to everything that your body does for you right now. Ex. “I am grateful for my arms because they allow me to hug and touch my loved ones.” When you do this enough times, you begin to feel confident and proud about your body.
  • It reminds you of what really matters to you and what you really want in your life. When I do this exercise, most of the things I’m grateful for include my family, the ability to move and do yoga, experience pleasure, and connect with my intuition. Well, those are things I try to experience in my life every day. So of course I’m grateful for my body because it helps me make those things part of my life. When you focus on what your body helps you do/experience, you get insight into your own values and priorities. When you know more about what’s important to you, you’ll be able to make decisions with more ease and power.

Yes, it can be super confronting and uncomfortable to look at yourself naked in a mirror. But I want you to try this exercise. It will begin to turn down the volume of your obsessive body image thoughts. You’ll feel calmer about your body and just want to treat it well instead of hating on it all of the time. Feel me?

When you do work, anxiety shuts the f*ck up. Here’s how.

I’m writing to you while wearing my favorite shirt ever. Check it:

Get off my jock tankOkay we’re all noticing the influx of songs/images/quotes/internet slang about WORK, right? Doing hard work, getting focused, and reaping the rewards. This message is all over the place (often coming from women–what what! But that’s a post for another day). I love pop culture’s emphasis on “work” because focusing on our work helps silence and ease our anxiety.

During my grad school years, I went through an epic, sh*t storm of a breakup. I broke up with him, I freaked out, we got back together, I freaked out AGAIN, then he broke up with me. It was awful. And it was during the summer, so my workload was light and I only had a part time job. I had a LOT of time on my hands and spent most of it in my head, rehashing the relationship and torturing myself with my thoughts. Looking back, if I had just gotten another job, volunteered somewhere, worked on a creative project, or spent more time with people, my grief process would’ve been a lot smoother and faster.

When we experience something stressful, it’s easy to dwell in feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and fear, and to let those feelings take over. It’s important to process those feelings. But too much thinking and processing just amplifies our feelings and prevents us from moving on. I’m still working on this btw.

When we “work,” when we focus on our schoolwork, blogging, our jobs, volunteering, training for a 5K, planning a trip, our brains shift from thinking about our stress/anxiety to the task at hand. Our work forces us to be in the moment instead of in our heads. It gives us a tangible goal. It often involves being around others. ALL of these things lead to a major decrease in our anxiety level. Our thoughts get quiet…which leads to a more relaxed body and mind…which leads to more clarity about what our next step should be regarding the stress and anxiety that’s getting us down.

Here are some ways that you can get to WORK and ease your anxiety:

You ready to work? Then leave a comment and tell me one work thing you’re going to do!

How to not freak out when you have anxious thoughts (aka why I stopped watching tv on my laptop all night long)

First things first. Baked donuts are delicious. I made some a few Friday nights ago. Here’s the pic and the recipe:

Baked donuts

Okay on to today’s content. During basically the entirety of last summer and fall, I couldn’t go to sleep without my laptop on and a Gilmore Girls DVD playing (I kick it old school; don’t Netflix my Girls). My anxiety was sky high. For a good eight months, I cried every single day. Thoughts about my past and future choices tortured me constantly, and they got particularly loud at night.

Just to get some peace at night, I turned to TV. I watched DVD after DVD of Gilmore Girls on my laptop as I was falling asleep. It distracted me from all of the scary thoughts racing through my brain. Most of the time I left the show playing the entire night. I would wake up the next morning to the voice of Sam Phillips.

While this was helpful in soothing me to sleep (the Gilmores have gotten me though some really tough times), as soon as the show ended, when I finally turned off my laptop, or when I woke up in the morning, my anxiety hit me hard. My thoughts raced back into my brain and took hold of me, often tighter than before.

But when I experimented with going to sleep without my laptop–when I just read a book and lay in silence until I fell asleep–my anxiety actually decreased. I felt more connected to myself and thus more calm and peaceful. Yes, anxious thoughts did enter my brain, but I became less afraid of them. I just let them hang out with me without hooking into them and freaking out.

So here’s how you can learn not to freak out when you have anxious/scary thoughts:

  • It’s okay to cope with your anxious/scary thoughts with distractions like watching tv all night.
  • But when you constantly avoid your thoughts, your thoughts don’t actually go away; they return…and often stronger than before…which makes you want to distract yourself even more. And then nothing really gets resolved. You never get true peace from your thoughts.
  • Your thoughts are less scary than you think. You don’t have to avoid them with such fear and dread.
  • You can acknowledge your thoughts by just letting them pass through your brain–accepting that they’re there–without reacting to them. Ex. “Right now, I’m worried about finding a job. My chest is tight. I feel uncomfortable. But this is just a feeling. This will pass. Freaking out will move me further away from finding a job. But it’s okay that I’m worried. I’m just going to let this worry hang out with me and I’m not going to fight it. When I don’t fight against this thought, it will decrease and I will feel ease.”
  • When you don’t totally numb out from your thoughts, you connect more to your intuition, which will give you guidance and clarity.

So, it’s okay to use all-night tv binges (or other coping mechanisms) to cope with your anxious thoughts when you experience them. I just want you to remember that totally avoiding your thoughts will rev them up. If you want to feel more peace and ease, then begin acknowledging your thoughts. Let them hang out with you without hooking into them, and see what happens!

For the days when you HATE how you look in your clothes

I’m writing to you from the airport on my way to another work trip. What uppppp.

Okay this week has been really frustrating. I’ve done tons and tons of body image and eating disorder work to feel more peaceful around food and my body. Yet this week, I’ve been scrutinizing my body and food a lot–hating how I look in skirts, being nervous to take pics with friends because people will think I’m fat, rethinking all of the chai lattes I drink because they’re sugary and make my thighs big (NOT because they disrupt my sleep and drain my bank account).

God.

I’ve worked so hard to love my body and listen to what it wants to eat, yet I STILL have these moments/days/weeks of wanting to change my body so I look sexier, healthier, less lazy, etc. Jeez!

Can you relate to this? When you’re trying to feel peaceful towards your body and food but still hate the way you look in clothes and want to change how your body looks?

It’s okay. I am with you. And I’ve created some bomb-ass tools to help us move through these moments, regain peace with food and our bodies, and move on with life. Here we go!

1. Check yo’self. First, get clear on the thoughts and behaviors you have around food and your body. Are you checking what your body looks like in every mirror available? Restricting your food in ANY way? Choosing meals at restaurants based on the calories printed on the menu? Researching cleanses? Weighing yourself? Worried about what others think of your body? Thinking that once you’re thinner, you’ll get the guy, get the job, finally be happy?

2. Know this: Our world is cray, not you. It’s not your fault that you have these intrusive, constant thoughts about perfecting your body, which has resulted in some disordered eating. Our world supports that kind of thinking…because the diet and health industry make bank on it. We live in a world obsessed with sex, perfection, beauty, and exclusivity. You’re surrounded by images and conversations that promote weight loss and glorify thinness. So the world has contributed MAJORLY to your warped perception of your body, and therefore a warped (to whatever extent) relationship with food. This is not your fault. We’re being conditioned to think and act in certain ways.

3. Move your bod. This week, the week when my body/food fears fired up, I was not very active. So my negative thoughts became louder. And I had more time to hear them because I wasn’t busy moving my body. So go to a yoga class, take a walk with a friend, go for a rawlk (run/walk) and pretend you’re Beyonce, have a dance party (dance parties are medicine). Get your sweat on and get out of your head.

4. Wear clothes that fit. It’s so tempting to squeeze into our smaller clothes because it gives us hope and makes us feel special. But I’ve done that so many times and every single time, I’ve felt uncomfortable and fat. My too-small clothes were a constant reminder that I couldn’t fit into them, so my body thoughts became even louder…which led to behaviors that worsened my relationship with my body and food.

5. Saturate yourself with body positive media. You aren’t alone in feeling crazy around food and your body. In fact, there’s a whole movement to help you regain peace with this. Read Maddy Moon’s e-books here and here. Listen to The Wellness Wonderland Podcast and the Food Psych podcast. Also readWild Sister Magazine for sure.

6. Get to work. Whatever kind of job you have, immerse yourself in it. Or immerse yourself in a home or personal project that has nothing to do with food or your body. You’ll be distracted and productive–a combination that really quiets those negative thoughts.

7. Masturbate. I’m serious. It’s such a good stress reliever. It requires you to be very focused on the present moment, which is always where peace is found. And it reminds you that your body can bring you happiness and pleasure.

I KNOW how frustrating it is to have these body and food thoughts, to hate how you look in clothes and feel desperate to achieve the body you think will make you happy, and to just want some peace. These tools will help you with ALL of that. I got your back.