With the new year in full swing and putting the holiday season behind us, many of us are feeling a bit guilty about overindulging during the holidays and may make resolutions about weight loss, physical fitness, or new lifestyle habits. The issue with “resolutions” is that often times we make them unattainable and don’t set realistic goals to keep ourselves on track, making it easy to fall off the wagon and never get back on. I personally have never believed in New Year’s resolutions (despite my husband every year telling me I need to make one) because of this common trend where you set yourself up for failure. Instead I like to think about the entire year as an opportunity to continually better myself, educating and moving in a positive direction at my own pace to keep myself on track, and never feel frustrated, let down or that I have failed to achieve my goal or resolution. I am an extremely competitive person (as is my husband), and I don’t enjoy failure (who does?!), so the thought of making a bold resolution that I may not be successful in obtaining always seemed unappealing to me. That is why I love this month’s theme of LOVING YOUR BODY and working towards improving your mental, physical and spiritual health and well being in whatever ways that may seem appropriate and fitting for you.
As a physical therapist, yoga instructor and movement enthusiast, my first recommendation is naturally going to be to incorporate some form of exercise DAILY! Numerous studies continue to prove the immense benefits of exercise for mental, physical and cardiovascular health as well as stress levels, hormone balance and much more. BUT the time, intensity, frequency and type of exercise all play a huge role, as well as your current level of physical fitness. Don’t jump right into a routine that involves heavy weight lifting or high intensity or long duration cardio when you haven’t picked up a 5lb weight or ran more than a mile in months. This is a recipe for injury; you need to work yourself into a program while building strength and endurance. I personally am a fan of short bursts of movement that produce immense benefits such as using a vibration plate or jumping on the trampoline, both of which stimulate lymphatic circulation for detoxification of tissues and get your heart rate up faster than running in a short period of time. This is great for those who work long hours and can only find a few minutes a day to get that movement in.
Too much exercise, or too much of the same type of exercise or repetitive movement, can also be damaging to the body and tissues. Another way to love your body is to ensure you are giving it proper rest and recovery. Performing stretching and yoga myofascial movements can help release tension built up in tissues caused by dehydration associated with decreased water intake and/or lack of movement to an area that would stimulate synovial fluid lubrication. It is important to release tissues by performing movements, utilizing tools and instruments such as foam rollers and myofascial release balls, or visiting your massage, physical or stretch therapist.
Most importantly in regards to exercise and loving your body is to get in touch with your CORE. Lack of deep core integration when performing typical larger movement type exercises can cause you to feel slow, sluggish, bloated and disconnected from your mind and body. Learn to love your true deeper, inner self by tapping into the greatest conduit of renewable energy that is our true center: our FIRE, our 3rd chakra the solar plexus, our Core! LYT Yoga practice teaches us the importance of our core at every class, so join me on Wednesday evenings at Roper PT Yoga Studio, or sign up for online memberships at MYWINPT.com for a new class each week to practice as many times as you wish at your own free time!
Here are some other non-exercise homeopathic tips to loving your body: Wild rose flower is a wonderful essence when you are feeling stressed and need a hand to motivate and encourage positive changes. Devil’s claw can also be helpful when you are lacking self-awareness and self esteem. Brittany Ducham explains in her book, “So often we take in messages about our diet, body image, health and confidence level from the world around us. Our bodies become a battleground, and we never learn who we really are without gaze or opinions of others. Devil’s claw allows you to engage with your true nature, to anchor into yourself, practice mindfulness and intuitive eating, and decipher which habits and qualities empower you.”
Essential oils can also be a powerful tool for weight loss if that is your goal. Lime can be used in culinary recipes and diffuser blends. Grapefruit oil as part of a topical blend can be massaged onto the abdomen and studies have found grapefruit essential oil weight loss contributed to reduced waist circumferences and composition changes, boosting self-image for the women who participated. Cinnamon also helps with glycemic control and proper pancreatic function. Peppermint has been studied for its ability to improve athletic performance and endurance and its effects on appetite and caloric intake. Cardamon is known for its gastroprotective effects, especially against stomach ulcers. Cumin is used to help fight inflammation and Diabetes. Lastly, black pepper oil has been used via inhalation to help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal for people as they quit smoking, which can potentially be utilized for those seeking weight loss control as well.
However you choose to love your body in the upcoming months is up to you, as long as you take some steps in the positive direction, because you only get one body! So take care, and Happy New Year!
Your Physical Therapist,
Ducham, Brittany. Radical Remedies. Boulder: Roost Books, 2021.
Zielinski, Eric. Essential Oils for Diabetes and Remedies Guide. Natural Living Family, 2021.
This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.