Body Positive Gift Ideas

Last year about this time, I talked about holiday stress. 

Holidays are totally stressful. So, why add to the stress by trying to diet? Am I right? 

As an avid reader, I'm assuming this year you've quit dieting. BUT... you've still got holiday shopping to do. 

Being the generous person I am, I have compiled a list for your friends. Or, you can send it to your family as a wish list. ; )

Here are some body positive gift ideas for the ladies you love:

PRE-ORDER Shine Theory Button

NOTE: This item is no longer available for pre-order. Details on a second run for early 2017 coming soon. Back by popular demand! I don't shine if you don't shine! Sport this this glittery round button and tell the world that you want to work alongside other women, never against them.

1. Shine Theory Button

Shine theory posits that women should hold each other up instead of cutting each other down. "I don't shine if you don't shine" is the refrain. 

Supporting that special lady in your life is a pretty dope present. I've mentioned before how it can be pretty body positive. 

So, tell your friend you've got their back with a shiny sticker or button. 


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2. Period Panties

Here's something I haven't talked about before! 

Periods. Are you uncomfortable yet? 

"Western" women are "lucky." There's relatively less shame about periods than in some countries in the world. 

Dealing with your period, however, can be literally painful sometimes and harming to your body. Do you know what they put in a lot of menstrual products? I don't. Nobody does. It's scary.

A major source of self-hatred for women is their period. We're ashamed. We feel ugly.  

So, why not have something soft and silky? I'll admit I haven't tried it yet. But, I'm hoping I get a pair soon. 


3 Ways Wanderlust Made Me Love My Body

I recently attended my first Wanderlust Festival at Stratton. I laughed, I cried, I meditated. I listened to brilliant minds speak. I rode up 4,000 feet, over the most green, beautiful mountains I have ever seen. I shared hugs, tears, and glow sticks and danced my booty off.


3. Leggings

My love of leggings is undeniable. I even wrote an article for Wanderlust where I talk about how leggings=body love. 

My favorite feature of leggings is the elastic waist. When I'm trying to honor my hunger and my fullness, I don't want a tight button stopping me too soon. Sometimes, I feel like high-waisted jeans are the corsettes of the 21st century.Well, besides that weird thing Kim Kardashian was selling for a while. 

 A lot of companies have caught on to the leggings trend so I trust that you know where to look. 

I recommend Athleta as they have straight and plus sizes. 


4. Angry Chick Music

Sorry for the weird 90s reference. Does anybody say "chick" anymore? 

Feeling revolutionary is what helps me to stay positive about my body. I often have the courage to love my body in the face of what the patriarchy wants and any ex-boyfriend. 

Obviously Beyonce had a good year for music and she woke up like this. Nicki Minaj can remind you to love that fat ass. Fiona Apple will help you conquer your ex. No Doubt has "had it up to here." Le Tigre and Sleater Kinney will help you rise up and fight the power. 

I made a Spotify playlist for some of the ones I like. The mixtape is the punk-rock flower. Maybe you can send your own recommended playlist with your holiday e-card?


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5. A t-shirt to remind them they don't need to diet. 

A great t-shirt is a political act. 

Thwart the retail industrial complex by buying something from alternative sources. 

Etsy has a bunch of great resources. But, my friend, Christy Harrison, made some cool schwag. You can also check out her super cool and informative podcast, Food Psych. 

6. A FREE coaching consultation with yours truly. 

2017 is sure to be a tough year ahead. Wouldn't it be nice to have the body stuff out of sight and out of mind? That way you super smart ladies can focus on what really matters to you this year: each other. : )

Reasons why you don't NEED to go to the gym on Black Friday

Two weeks ago, I talked about how I got "tricked"into buying a gym membership during the holidays.

I"ve also talked about motivation for going to the gym. If your goal is weight loss, you're just not likely to go. That's behavioral psychology, bitches.

Hey, the holidays can be a great time to hit the gym. It's an awesome way to get away if you're having a frustrating time. It's something to do when you're feeling lonely or stir-crazy. Exercise also releases endorphins. It's literally a way to feel better if you're angry about how your Aunt burned the Brussels sprouts.

BUT........Thanksgiving is  just one of those times when it's too easy for trainers to talk about "burning off" your food. It's just a hot mess of "fat talk" and "preventing weight gain."

In case you are feeling anxious about the Black Friday gym rush, here are some reasons that you can take a break. 

1. Gyms make money off you not going. 

In 2014, All Things Considered revealed how gyms need the people who don't go to subsidize people who do. For example, Planet Fitness has 6500 members, but if all 6500 of those members actually showed up, they would likely be breaking fire code. 

If you're not likely to go anyway, subsidize your self-care, not the diet industry. 

2. Built-in breaks are good for you. 

My old swim coach used to say that you could ramp up your training for up to 12 weeks. After that, however, you might be hurting yourself rather than helping. 

Since this was over a decade ago, the best source I could find to corroborate this was Bodybuilders do what they call a "deloading week." This actually enhances their performance. 

Maybe Thanksgiving & Christmas could be your "deloading" weeks. 

3. Health is not just about EXERCISE.

Arianna Huffington wrote a whole book about this. In her book Thrive (and on other places on the internet) she explains the importance of rest. She points out that Americans leave "175 million vacation days unused." She writes, "61 percent of Americans confess to working while on vacation."

Not only are Americans not taking their vacation, but they're also working on vacation. And vacations are good for you. 

Sleep and rest and love and family are good for you, too. So, if your gym routine is getting in the way of those healthy pieces of your life, it's okay to skip it. 

4. Diet and exercise are not preventing weight gain in the long run. 

People often talk about spiraling out of control whenever they're off their normal "routine." 

Weight gain after periods of "routine" might be a signal that you are restricting too much. There's actually more correlation between dieting and weight gain than dieting and weight loss. 

5. If you're not restricting, set point theory will protect you from ballooning. 

Genetics play a big role in determining your weight.  You might have noticed that your weight doesn't fluctuate too much even when you diet. I know I've gained and lost the same pounds over and over again.

I've talked about set point theory a lot.

But if you still don't believe me, listen to this scientist explain it

Set point theory means that your body has a certain weight it wants to be at. If you eat extra stuffing, your set point will keep your body at homeostasis within a certain range. 

6. Gaining a little weight might keep you warm in the winter. 

If you're into seasonal foods, why not be into seasonal weight gain? Our ancestors  wanted a little extra to keep them warm during cold winter cave nights. Winter foods tend to be heavier. They tend to be more "caloric" and lower in fiber. You might even find yourself craving something with extra fat when it's a really cold day. 

If you were a caveman living in Scandinavia, you'd be hella grateful for that extra turkey fat. Maybe you can save a little money on not buying cashmere this year. 


 I can't emphasize this enough. Your weight is not an indicator of health

So what if you're not getting swipes to the right because you gained a free sweater's worth of weight? That person doesn't understand economics and they're shallow. 

So, put on your sweater, skip the guilt, and skip the gym if you want to. 

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

It's not necessarily weight gain


You know when you've just eaten something and you feel like you've transformed from a human being into a manatee. And not a calming manatee.

It seems like you have a little food baby inside you that is quickly taking over your cells a la Prometheus. And here's the sentence that comes out of your mouth:

"Ugh. I'm fat."

Being uncomfortably full does not mean you've ruined your life, that you're having an alien baby or that you are slowly turning into a large sea mammal. Although that might be pretty cute. Before I found intuitive eating, this uncomfortable feeling of being really, really, really full was synonymous with guilt. But it doesn't have to be.

Here's what it could be instead: 

1. Feeling too full doesn't necessarily mean that you ate "too many" calories. 

Sometimes, you eat rice, drink too much water and the rice expands in your stomach. Sometimes, you're digging into a large helping of Brussels Sprouts and the fiber makes you bloated and gassy. Sometimes, you eat something spicy and the water you drink to wash it down fills you up.Sometimes, if you're voraciously hungry for Grandma's famous holiday recipe and you eat it all without chewing, your stomach reacts badly because it has to do the extra digestion that your mouth and saliva were supposed to do. 

This is why many ayurvedics  recommend that you drink water prior to eating or drink small sips instead of gulping it down. Rice expands in water, fiber fills you up and gulping down a drink instead of chewing your food can cause a back-up in your stomach. According to webMD, soluble fiber increases digestive flora in your intestines which creates more gas in your tummy, too.

If you've filled up on water or fiber, chances are you didn't eat "too many" calories as most fibrous foods and water actually don't have a lot of calories.

2.  Your body likes homeostasis AKA staying the same. 

The main reason people say diets don't work is due to set point theory. This is the idea that your body has a genetic blueprint for what is a healthy weight range for you. That means if you start to fall below that number, you body slows down its metabolism and works really hard to maintain the weight that your DNA is telling it to maintain. Ergo, you keep eating less but you "hit a plateau" in terms of weight loss. 

Really, restriction is what sets you up for weight gain because it slows down your metabolism thinking your body believes it's caught in a famine. So, as long as you're eating regularly leading up to a big meal, your body will likely do the same set-point thing it does to protect you from weight loss and speed up metabolism to accommodate that extra food. 

3. Maybe you needed more food. 

The Ancel-Keys study showed how restricting food can actually lead to a binge. If all you ate in a day was an egg and lite salad, you might be starving by 6 PM. If you go to dinner hungry, you will probably leave super full. 

Eating more at night is really just your body getting its daily calorie intake. Holiday shopping or house cleaning or just being in the hustle and bustle of living your life can distract you from your body's natural hunger signals so you might have some extra calories to make up for when it's time to hit the feast.

4. Overeating once may not lead to permanent weight gain.

I'll admit that the perfectionist inside of me really struggled with writing that last sentence. I was totally there with you, dear reader. I think the question that used to pop into my head was, "What if it does, though?" I have been scare-mongered for years by women's magazines about how the 1-2 pounds that I gain during Christmas will slowly add up over the years.

In fact, your weight fluctuates for lots of reasons on a daily, weekly, monthly and even quarterly basis that may not be even related to the quantity of food you consumed. Your body might simply be doing the work of surviving, adding and subtracting water and other fluids and particles. 

In the past few years, I've practiced intuitive eating and my weight has felt more stable than ever. I can't say for certain because I don't weigh myself much any more. When I do, I find it hasn't changed much. It definitely helps that I don't check very often. ; )

So enjoy the bacon-wrapped dates and jump into the pool of holiday feasts without worrying about turning into a manatee. 


What if we just didn't worry so much about "being healthy" (part 2)

What if we just didn't worry so much about "being healthy"? 

So, let's say you've been reading this blog for a while and you're just NOT convinced. 

You think diets work. You can always run more. You shouldn't listen to your body because it will betray you. Your shame helps you eat better now. This blog post is for you. 

Let's say a highly regimented diet and exercise routine is what it takes to be healthy and live a long life, but everything else about life still held true. For today, I'm setting aside facts and figures because I want to appeal to you on a human level. 

People always say, "life is what happens while you're busy making plans." Well life is what happens when you're busy meal planning, reading ingredient lists, counting calories, binging on "bad foods" anyway, and spending time feeling guilty and paying penance at the gym. 

I want you to think about how much of your life you spend thinking about, planning and working on your "body project." Now think about all the other crap you have to do in your life that you're not particularly thrilled about but have to do anyway. For example, you might work 40+ hours a week. You might have to buy groceries, clean out your car, do your taxes, get stuck in traffic, or track down your package at some ridiculously far away pickup location because most postal services don't understand geography.

Now, I want you to think about all the things in your life that you wish you had more time for. For me, it's my family, sunshine, yoga, writing more and creating more for this business. 

And the simple question is: what do you want to be doing with your life? 

There are already so many things that can take you away from enjoying your precious time on this planet. My guess is that you won't be on your deathbed wishing you just hit the gym one more time every week.

It's more likely that you'll wish you skipped your run to spend the morning talking with your grandfather. You might wish you weren't trying out being "gluten-free" when your Italian aunt finally gave her secret recipe for her famous spaghetti bolognese. You'll probably wish you stayed out late on New Year's Eve with your friends in your 20s instead of heading in early to do 2,015 crossfit push-up jumping jack snatches upside down. 

Maybe it's because A Christmas Carol was such a big part of my childhood, but I feel like Scrooge took some time during the holidays to assess how he wanted to live his life. And, this holiday season, I'm recommending the same for you

Sometimes eating doesn't have to be about being healthy. Sometimes it's just about pleasure and being present with your loved ones. Drinking wine, eating stuffing, roasting ham, baking cookies are not about health. But maybe that's not the most important thing all the time. 

Be present this year for the holidays. Choose what YOU want to do in your life instead of dieting. 

(sarah jenks thinks so too... )






One Way to Get Rid of Holiday Stress (part 1)

It's December. 

You're probably worried about a lot of things like what gifts you're going to get your in-laws or how you're going to sneak out of work early on Christmas Eve (Sure, at first taking the job at Marley and Scrooge Inc sounded like a good idea but you didn't think they'd be this curmudgeonly #christmascaroljoke).'s also a time when the diet industry is trying to convince you to maintain or lose weight during the holidays. So, today, I'm going to remind you of something that I've mentioned again and again.  

Worrying about food is not worth THE STRESS. 

When I decided to quit trying to pursue being vegan what I realized is that trying so hard to be perfect around food was creating a lot of stress for me.

I had a tough time menu-planning. I felt guilty for imposing when I was a guest. I was eyeing the melted cheese the whole time. I felt watched at the grocery store like somebody would see me buying something with a non-vegan ingredient like whey enzymes. I beat myself up trying to cook from scratch, berating myself for not buying groceries or for eating ice cream. I was trying sooooo hard to be perfect but I never could do it. 

That's A LOT of STRESS! 

And while I cared for fluffy animals, the primary reason I was trying to be vegan was health.

Here's the research: stress is bad for you.

According the to Mayo Clinic, "stress that's left unchecked can contribute to health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease... and diabetes." So while the jury is still out on whether or not eating coconut oil is good for you, worrying is definitely bad for you. 

My advice for this holiday season: whether or not you decide to go for the cookies or the cheese plate, please skip the worry. 

If you still don't believe me, stay tuned for next week. Enter your email below to receive an update when the post loads. 

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