How to start meditating (some of my best meditating tips!)

If I’m being totally honest, I’m not great at meditating regularly. It’s hard for me to stick to a specific time/place/method. I get lazy, distracted, or annoyed with the whole thing. Can you relate?

We’re always told how amazing meditating is (and it is!), but it’s so easy to fall off track when we decide to “start a meditating practice.” So let’s take some pressure off of ourselves and be easy about meditating so that we can actually experience the benefits (i.e. increased calm, stronger connection to our intuition).

Here are my tips on how to start meditating without dreading it or worrying about whether you fall off track:

1. Just start. If you’re stalling on meditating, lean on this beautiful sutra: Start and the pressure will be off. I wrote about it here!

2. Just show up. This is another mantra that I love. It means that it doesn’t matter how “good” of a meditator you are, whether you’re doing it right, or whether you’ll be able to keep it up. It means that you’ve already succeeded simply by sitting down to meditate. You’ve already won just by doing it, by meditating!

3. Remember: It’s a GOOD sign if your thoughts are all over the place. If you’re meditating and your thoughts just won’t get quiet, that’s actually good. It means that your mind and body are working through and releasing stuff. It means you’re a good meditator, not a bad one.

4. Return to your breath. The goal isn’t for us to have a perfectly quiet meditation (see above). The goal is for us to RETURN to our breath whenever we lose focus and get caught up in our thoughts. When you notice yourself getting caught up in your thoughts, breathe a little deeper and bring your attention back to your breath. Do it as often as you need to while meditating. Meditating is all about the return to the breath.

5. Meditate any time, anywhere. If you have a specific place you like to meditate, that’s great. But you can also meditate in a bathroom stall, on a friend’s couch after everyone has gone to bed, or in a parking lot in your car while stalling before a date. You can meditate anywhere where you can close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few minutes. We don’t have to meditate in the same place at the same time every day. We can do it anywhere and reap the benefits.

6. Form your own meditation practice and own it. Meditating looks different for everyone. A quick Google search will show you that there are tons of ways to meditate. Experiment with different methods, or just close your eyes and breathe deeply right now. You’ll find your meditating groove, and it will probably change as you change. Know that you’re meditating in the right way for you if it’s making you feel a shift of some kind.

If you’d like to explore meditation, take the pressure off of yourself to meditate the “right” way. Use my tips and see where your meditation journey takes you!

How to stop beating yourself up about the past

How often do you travel back in time to situations with family/friends/romantic parnters/yourself that you wish you handled differently? Um probs a lot, right? I do it all. the. time.

It’s easy for our thoughts to dwell in the past and replay our choices and actions that make us feel angry, resentful, guilty, and ashamed. Maybe we hurt someone–intentionally or unintentionally. Maybe we resent an ex boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe we hate ourselves for not voicing our needs. Maybe we’re ashamed of making an easy, comfortable choice instead of getting out of our comfort zone.

But here’s the thing. If we dwell in those feelings of anger, resentment, regret, guilt, and shame, we don’t actually improve as a person and we’re likely to repeat the same actions and choices that made us feel that way in the first place.

When we beat ourselves up over the past, we stay stuck. When we’re in that space, we don’t have the energy to make more positive choices. We just stay in that very low-level energy, making us unavailable to show up for others, ourselves, and the world as our best selves. We may think that we have to beat ourselves up in order to atone for our mistakes. But making positive changes in our lives and becoming a better person so we don’t make those mistakes again actually requires being in a more high-level state.

Here is my process for releasing your past and getting into a high-vibe state so that you can show up for yourself and the world as your best self:

1. ACCEPT. When you accept your past choices and actions, AND how you feel about them, peace begins to set in. When you fight against the past and berate yourself for not choosing differently, you amplify and worsen those feelings of regret, guilt, anger, etc. How do you accept the past? State what happened and how you feel about it–out loud, on paper, in your head. Ex. I hurt my friend by doing x, y, z. I feel really bad and guilty about it, even though it happened a long time ago. Ex. I feel ashamed that I moved back home. I feel stupid, immature, and lame. Ex. I HATE that person for what they did. I am SO angry at them. Take ownership of what happened in your past and how you feel about it; you will feel a lift.

2. Remember what you can control. In any situation, the only thing you’re responsible for is yourself. That means that the only thing you can control is your own actions, beliefs, and thoughts. Don’t worry about what the other person/people involved are thinking or doing. Just focus on making your own actions, beliefs and thoughts more peaceful. You can’t control anyone else involved. This will feel so liberating, giving you more mental space and energy to work on becoming your best self.

3. Believe that everything happens for a reason. Trust that in your life, everything really is working out exactly as it’s supposed to, meaning that you were meant to act however you acted in a particular situation because it’s showing you how to become a better person. Trust that there is a higher power watching over you and helping you learn important lessons.

4. Find the lessons and the good. Think about the people and situations that really rev up those emotions, and find one or two things that you’ve learned from them. Why do you think you were meant to experience that? What can you take with you that will help you in the future? Maybe you learned the importance of voicing your needs. Maybe you learned how to communicate with friends better. Maybe you learned that everybody deserves to be spoken to with respect. Just find one thing–even something small–that has helped you become more of your best self.

5. Be willing to forgive. Forgiveness is the key to inner peace and freedom. When you forgive someone or something, all you’re doing is going into a state of neutrality about them. You don’t have to like them at all. You’ve just released the emotions towards them. They are neutral to you. And all it takes to forgive is to just be willing, even slightly. The next time your thoughts take you back to a past situation or person, I invite you to take a deep breath in and out, then say aloud or in your head, “I am willing to forgive.” Then drop the thought and move on. Keep doing that and you will take big steps toward forgiveness and your inner peace and freedom.

I know how paralyzing it is to be stuck in the past, constantly regretting choices and actions. It really is possible to release the guilt, anger, resentment, and shame you might feel about certain situations and people.

Just lean on my process and trust that you’re being guided.

What to do when you start comparing your life to other people’s lives

Writing to you after another whirlwind of a weekend. This one included lots o’ time with cousins and relatives, water balloons, tons of food, telling my brother what FOMO means, and one of Bethenny’s cocktails!

Okay I literally JUST forced myself off of Facebook because I was going into serious comparison mode. So many of my friends and family are married, adulting hard, popping up in yoga handstands, and living their dreams. All of this is wonderful, and I know all of it is available for me (and you!) too, but just a few minutes ago, I was feeling super lazy, immature, stupid, and stuck.

It’s SO easy to compare our lives to other people’s lives (um, hi social media). It’s also really easy to feel inferior to others and feel like we’re really missing out or that we’re doing something wrong in our lives currently.

But you know what comparing really does? It sucks the life out of us! When we feel inferior, we’re not motivated or excited to enjoy or make any changes in our own lives. So we just stay the same and/or miss out on all of the great things already in our lives. Then nothing EVER changes.

The next time you’re comparing yourself and your life to those of others, use my tips below!

  • Remember that you’re human and you’re so not the only one who compares and feels inferior. It’s totally human to compare and feel bad about our lives sometimes. Those are totally real things. You’re normal. When you remember that it’s totally real and human to compare and feel bad, you shine light on those feelings of inferiority and they dissipate a bit.
  • Think about yourself one year ago. Write down everything that went WELL over the past year. This tip comes from Chris Guillebeau who does an Annual Review as a goal setting exercise. Write down everything about the past year that went WELL. This will make you feel more positive about your life and make you realize that you have major power to make changes and accomplish goals. Take it one step further: Write down the things that have moved you forward. These are the things that can be perceived as bad or painful, but that actually taught you lessons (big or small) and made you a smarter, stronger, more peaceful person.

A few things from my list of what went well/what moved me forward over the past year:
1. Created The Happy College Girl Summit, a 10-day online event of interviews about topics that college girls care about, during a time when I was experiencing very intense anxiety.
2. Contacted someone about writing for their organization–even though I was very scared and anxious–began freelancing for them, and eventually got a full time job with them!
3. Learned that heartbreak is painful and can last a long time, but you can still accomplish goals and make life sweet during that time…and of course, it teaches you a lot.
4. Traveled to SPAIN to spend time with sweet and wonderful friends.
5. Saw Madonna for the THIRD time.

Ahhh, I just reread my list and I already feel lighter, more excited about my life, and more motivated to create goals for myself. These tips will help you experience the same. Don’t sit in inferiority, even though that’s such a real and raw feeling. Realize the stuff you’ve already done and experienced in the past year. You’ll feel better and ready to create the changes that you want in your life!

How To Reconnect To Yourself After Being Out Of Your Regular Routine

Whew, I’m sitting here at my laptop listening to Michelle Branch and recovering from a very busy week and weekend. A few things I did: went to a baseball game, made cupcakes for my bff at 1am, and made said cupcakes into a#drakeoncake.

Cupcakes collage

My week has been so exhausting because I’ve been out of my regular routine. I’ve been going out a lot more than I usually do on weeknights (ahem, dating whatttt), which totally threw off my evening, bedtime, and morning routines. Of course, the reasons why my routine has been thrown off are good and fun, but still a little anxiety-producing. When I’m out of my routine, especially several days in a row, here’s what happens: my hunger cues are dulled and hard to hear, I get really tired, I can’t focus as well on my work, and my thoughts are so scatterbrained.

It’s pretty easy to get thrown off of our regular routines, especially since summer is here and we get more invitations to go out, go on vacation, etc. And it’s awesome to do things and go out. But all of that action impacts us physically and emotionally, which then affects our ability to slay at work, enjoy relationships, experience calm, and enjoy our lives.

So to keep yourself calm, happy, and able to have as much fun as possible in your life, you have to connect back to yourself. Here are several ways to do that:

  • Eat every 4-5 hours. FACT: When we’re hungry, our anxiety level increases. If you’re on a date that goes long, out with friends, on a day trip, etc., make sure you eat, even if you don’t feel super hungry. Put something in your stomach every 4-5 hours to keep your emotions and thoughts steady and easy.
  • Drink lots o’ water. FACT: You pee out cortisol, the stress hormone. It’s easy for cortisol to build up in our body when we’re with people who stimulate us or are enjoying an action-packed day. So wherever you go, make sure you drink water a lot.
  • Do self-care when you get home. Turn on some music and veg. Do aleg drain. Take a hot shower. Read. Do a face mask. Paint your nails. Gently stretch your body. Take a walk. Listen to a podcast. Giving yourself attention will calm you down and slow down those whirring thoughts.
  • SLEEP. When you return from your activities, prioritize sleep. Sleep will make you feel like yourself again. Your body will regenerate its cells and life just feels easier when you’re well rested.
  • Be with your peeps. If you’ve been out with new people or in new surroundings, it’s so comforting to be with people who you feel totally yourself around and who make you feel safe and cozy. Hang with your fam. Have a phone date with a friend. Be with people who you can just bewith.
  • Pick one tangible task and do it. Sometimes when we’re busy having fun and being out of our routine, we put off work tasks or stuff we have to do at home (um, totally me this week). So when you get home, pick one task, set a timer, and do it. Maybe you write a blog post, research something for 20 mins, pay your bills, wash your sheets. Pick something tangible and measurable, and do it. Being productive makes you feel calm and powerful.
  • Say NO. If your body and mind need a little more time to calm down and recharge, then turn down an invite. Be honest and tell people that you need some time for yourself, then tell them when you’re free, or tell them that you’ll contact them when you’re free. Alerting your boundaries to others is a very sacred act.

I want you to have so much fun this summer (and always). And in order to do that, you have to take care of yourself!

Do you get upset if you miss a work out? Here 3 ways to help!

During the summer before my senior year of college, I was obsessed with going to a particular yoga class several times per week. This class was taught by one of my favorite instructors, and I loved the way the class made my mind and my body feel. But I became “attached to” and obsessed with this class because I used it to lose weight and dictate my self worth.

One day I was set to go to class (and very anal about leaving exactly on time, 11:20) when my mom called and asked for my help with something. She was in a bind and I begrudgingly agreed to help, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to make it to yoga. I was pissed. Later that day, I went to my bff’s birthday party and I felt so gross and uncomfortable in my clothes. I kept replaying thoughts in the back of my head that told me if I had just gone to that yoga class, I would look and feel thin and attractive. It was such an exhausting way to spend my summer, to make how I look and felt contingent upon whether I made it to my yoga class. If I made it to class, I felt confident, healthy, and thin. If I missed a day, I felt disgusting, fat, and lazy.

If your sense of well-being, self worth, and confidence is contingent upon whether you do your work out for the day/week, then I want you to know that all that kind of thinking does is make you exhausted, anxious, and less able to take care of your body long-term.

Below are my 3 tips for helping you RELAX about working out/moving your body so that your sense of self-worth, well-being and confidence stays in tact and doesn’t rest on whether you’ve worked out for the day.

  1. View your self-worth, well-being, and confidence as untouchable. If you view these things as contingent upon how you look or whether you worked out for the day, you will always lose. Looks change, bodies change, and schedules change. If you let these things dictate how good you feel about yourself, then you’ll drive yourself crazy. Begin to see yourself as inherently worthy and confident—regardless of how your body looks and whether you worked out today. This is the truth—you are inherently worthy no matter what.
  2. Do what you can, when you can. This mantra comes from my #girlboss hero Bethenny Frankel. If you couldn’t make it to your noon yoga class, then find a few mins in your day to take a walk, jump on a trampoline, do some planks during work breaks. On days when you’re a little out of your normal workout routine, make your goal to do what you can when you can. This really takes the pressure off.
  3. Trust that your body knows what its doing. Your body wants to move, work out, and be physical. But that can come in many different forms. If you miss a yoga class or can’t make time for your regular run, trust that your body will tell you what it needs next. Maybe your body doesn’t need an intense workout that day. Maybe your body wants to go to that night yoga class instead of your usual day class. Trust in the wisdom of your body and trust that your body will figure out what it needs and tell you.

When you use one (or all!) of these tips, you’ll begin to relax about working out, and thus able to relax and move your body in a way that only adds to your well being, self-worth, and confidence.

Comforting words from Eleanor Roosevelt and what I was doing this time last year…

It’s funny how my Memorial Day weekend 2016 was so peaceful and fun, when that time last year—Memorial Day weekend of 2015, I could barely get out of bed.

I had lost my full-time job, was just beginning The Happy College Girl, and was the most anxious and confused I’ve ever been in my life. I was faced with many decisions about what job to get next, whether I should focus on The Happy College Girl full time, and when/where/if I should move to another city. I was mulling over all of the pros, cons, and what-ifs 24/7. I would commit to a decision one day, only to reconsider and go with the complete opposite decision a few hours later. It was so tortuous because I never knew what was guiding my decisions—my intuition or anxiety.

During that exact weekend, I was sleeping in the basement (it was much cooler than my bedroom), bawling, and watching reality tv that wasn’t even entertaining. My dad had to coax me out of my cocoon of sleeping bags, promising me that getting out of bed would make me feel a little better. Whew, it was such a dark time.

This year is much different. Thanks to a serious commitment to mental health, a new job, being courageous with The Happy College Girl, and some personal-life details hammered out, I feel much more peaceful and confident. And over Memorial Day weekend this year, I’ve been happy to wake up, get out of bed, and be in the world.

I’m sharing this with you because if you’re going through a dark time, I want you to know that there is hope. I know this to be true because Eleanor Roosevelt said so:

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

This is my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quote (I have many of her quotes plastered all over my desk). She reminds us to just keep going because things really do get better. No matter how down, dark, anxious, and depressed we feel, there is hope. You really do get closer to finding clarity and calm, and accomplishing your goals with every passing day—even if all you’ve managed to do that day is get out of bed (like me last year). You get a little stronger and smarter every day. Just trust that, okay? The new day is fresh, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Even if thoughts and decisions and deadlines loom over you and torture you all day, please trust that you are moving in the right direction and things will get better soon. Just hang on to those words.

So, if you are in the thick of something dark and all-consuming, or if a part of your life is just nagging you and giving you a bit of grief, lean on Eleanor:

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

You can lean on me too.

How to accomplish your summer goals/To Do list with peace and ease

I’m just got back from a trip to Spain and oh how I miss it! My flight home was weepy, as I deeply missed my friends and the magic of Spain, but I had an empty seat next to me, so I got to stretch out and watch lots of Audrey Hepburn movies. Not too shabs.

Coming home from Spain

Now that we’re entering the end of May, I think that most of us are thinking about summer. While summer is filled with wonderful things, it also makes us a little anxious because we tend to set a lot of goals and create a big list of things to get done. But we often don’t know where to start and get overwhelmed by everything we want to do. Our goals/To Do list gets so big and scary that we don’t take action on anything…which just makes us feel worse.

When I was in college (and after college), I stressed out a lot during the summer. I was usually trying to do well in a job or internship while figuring out what job/internship I should get next, establish a meditation and workout routine and actually stick to it, plan my birthday amidst a ton of family events, set goals for the fall semester, find ways to make extra cash, and more. Sometimes I would get so overwhelmed by everything I had and wanted to do that it was really hard to even START doing any of these things. And by the end of the summer, I felt lazy, stupid, and like a baby, which of course didn’t make me want to take action on any of my fall goals/To Do list items.

But this summer,  I want you to do and experience everything you want. And here’s how you’re going to do it:

When the time is on you, start and the pressure will be off. 

This is a sutra (an ancient rule/guideline) from a really cool yogi named Yogi Bhajan, who created the 5 Sutras of the Aquarian Age.

I love this sutra because it’s such a gentle reminder that all we have to do to relieve the overwhelm of our summer To Do list/goals is to just START doing stuff. As soon as we get into action, even just a little, we will feel better. We’ll feel calmer because we’re actually being productive and doing work. We’ll also realize that once we take action on something, it’s not as scary as we thought, which gives us confidence to keep going. Plus, as we start on our goals/tasks, we’ll get clarity about which ones are really important and necessary right now, and which ones aren’t. As Marie Forleo says, clarity comes from engagement, not thought.

Here’s how to put this sutra into action in your life:
1. Write out everything you have to/want to do this summer.
2. Pick a task.
3. Set a timer for 20 mins and do it. Also try the Pomodoro technique for extra productivity.
4. Trust that when you START, you will be guided and protected. You don’t need to worry about how things will turn out or what will happen in the future. You’ve STARTED, which is all you have to do. You’ll be guided from there.
4. Repeat all summer!

When the time is on you, start and the pressure will be off. 

Want to meditate this summer? Do a little research on meditation, set a timer, and do it. Then do it again. Need to find an internship for the fall? START by revising your resume, researching opportunities, and conducting informational interviews. Want to start dating? START by setting up an online profile, having a friend set you up, etc. Ready to clean out your room? START by doing a little at a time. These are all just examples of how you can START on your goals/To Do list, feel calm, and get a boost of confidence to keep you going!

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.