What to do about cellulite: The Health at Every Size mentality

I think we should all like our booties.

I didn’t always appreciate mine due to it’s…size, but why shouldn’t we like what we’re workin’ with? We have what we have, after all.

Not too long ago, I was thinking out loud about the appropriateness and stylishness of my workout pant collection. Shorts have never really fit me too well- with the bigger rear and all- I enjoy a good pair of snug workout tights.

So while Dr. P was on the computer, I tried on my collection to see which ones still fit  and which were headed to Goodwill dropoff. I was running a stream of consciousness monologue while test driving each one in the study door mirror- how tight is too tight, babe? What about these old pattern ones- too much?

And then there was one pair left to try on- my Big Birdesque, neon yellow capris. An Active Gearup.com super sale find, despite their absurd color, I couldn’t resist a practically free pair of work out pants.

So I tried them on. I turned around, glanced over my shoulder, and wondered out loud if I was getting some noticeable cellulite.

“You’ve always had that,” Dr. P said, looking up from the computer. “Those dimples. You’ve always had them”.

I gasped and dramatically doubled over in emotional agony. I stared at my derrière, draped in neon yellow spandex. I initially wanted to inquire if I had heard my darling husband incorrectly.

But there it was. Cellulite smiling at me with a big Forrest Gump yellow t-shirt grin. If I popped my hip to the side, it got even worse.

Oh boy.

Regardless of the miles I run, weights I lift, yoga I do or carrots I nibble, like 90% of women, I still had some cellulite. What is a girl to do?

I just laughed. Because I’ve learned to revel in my physicality and not sweat the small stuff.

Viewing our bodies as vessels of life can help us take a step back from the culturally influenced string of self-criticism.

When I was younger, Dr. P’s quip may have ruined my afternoon. Or week. It is hard being a woman. We are put under a microscope, objectified, vilified for normal physical attributes, and the expectation is that we ought to appear flawless to be considered worthy.

But how beneficial is this criticism of our bodies and one another? Worrying about our figures is only beneficial if it propels us toward positive change.

Cellulite, for example, can be decreased to some degree by exercise and eating well, not wearing too tight clothing, and supporting micronutrient needs to promote healthy circulation.

But when our best efforts fail, shouldn’t we continue to focus on healthy behaviors and self-love? We can control what we do, how we react, but we can’t always control the outcome.

And diversity is beautiful.

Dr. P and I were in NYC a couple weeks ago. We stayed in Midtown, just a few blocks from Times Square, attended a Broadway play and bounced around town. While waiting in line for tickets, we noticed the billboard hanging highest and most bodacious in Times Square was one of a large, African American woman in her undies modeling for a Dove or Gap commercial or something.

She had big thighs and voluptuous hips, and every time I saw her that week, I smiled. She was gorgeous, and it gave me hope. There are estimations that 60-80% of our body shapes are genetically determined. We should respect all body types while still encouraging what we can control- our lifestyle.

The 20-40% lifestyle component makes all the difference in terms of our health and vitality. Overweight can be healthy, too, if we are eating well and moving enough. The focus should be on our behaviors, not how much we weigh.

Health at Every Size is a movement that supports focusing on healthy habits instead of the number on the scale. Recognition that we all have our own unique genetic code that determines are bone size, hip width, and propensity for dimples is vital to body acceptance.

Body-acceptance and body-kindness are also magically helpful in meeting our goals.

I had a client who I spent hours with- going through her weight loss history, kitchen cabinets, workout routine, and helped her determine a detailed plan for how to meet her pre-wedding weight loss goals. She was motivated. We were on track as a team and excited about our direction. Until she weighed herself after a couple workouts. The scale had gone up a pound, and she fell apart and lost track of her long term goals. She was focused on an extrinsic measure of her worth- her weight- instead of her daily energy levels and progress.

I explained to her that exercise maximizes glycogen stores. Water attaches to glycogen and this can cause the illusion of, what she viewed as, the bad kind of weight gain. With exercise, over time you may be the same weight, but you will likely lose inches, gain lean body mass, and improve your chance for longevity.

Exercise also increases endorphins which helps to improve our moods and energy levels. It strengthens bones, increases metabolic rate, and helps support overall health. Regardless of our size. Let’s focus on activity goals- like running a 5k- over weight goals. This is where true happiness and health begin.

So I wore my yellow pants to the gym. I appreciated my unique physical beauty and physicality.

After all, strength and confidence are what is truly attractive.

Further reading:

Healthy at Every Size website

Benefits of exercise

Bright workout pants

xoxo

Joanna

Food synergy: Why whole foods are better than processed

Egg and veggies

Nutrition is not a vacuum. Just as we are more than a combination of hair and eyes and feelings and job titles, a nut is more than a fat source and some fiber. An apple has calories and anthocyanins, this is true, but it is also made up of a sort of magic that nutrition scientists are yet to understand. Over and over again researchers confirm that there is more benefit to eating whole foods than what can be explained by their constituent parts. Eating whole foods in their original form provides a unique benefit that factories simply can’t duplicate. No matter how good their marketing team is.

Food synergy: Looking at whole foods rather that individual nutrients or relying on processed foods

A few examples of marketing tricks to distract us from just eating real food:

  1. Processed cold cereals  that are “now high in protein”
  2. Anything made from “enriched white flour” which adds back less than 1/4 of the original nutritional value
  3. Fiber bars with added supplemental fiber like chicory root that doesn’t actually have the same effects as dietary fiber
  4. Low carb snacks or diet drinks that are either full of extra fat to make up for being low in sugar or brimming with chemical artificial sweeteners that aren’t inert in biological affects

I’ve work with gastric bypass patients several years after their surgery. It concerns me when we review their meal plan and it continues to consist of protein bars and processed energy shakes. Right after surgery, shakes and bars can be a very simple way to ensure portion control and manage a queasy stomach. Using these highly processed items indefinitely, however, is depriving them of much needed whole food healing powers. Over use of supplements also doesn’t help us learn how to cook or encourage us to find whole food snack options. There is a reason Irma S. Rombauer wrote The Joy of Cooking instead of the less-sought after The Joy of Tearing Open a Cliff Bar– learning how to cook with whole foods is also vital energy for our soul.

I have also counseled athletes and Crossfit goers who seek weight loss and muscle gain. A Crossfit enthusiast is no fool- they are typically educated, knowledgeable about nutrition, and a badass in their own right. It isn’t easy to haul 100 plus pounds straight over head ad infinitum or, more likely, ad exhaustion. A boost in protein using a whey or soy shake after a workout is fine fodder for the muscle-seeking Crossfit dynamo due to their increased protein needs. But I was shocked to discover just how many people are reliant on multiple supplements while still lacking basic cooking skills. What I am not flabbergasted to learn is that supplement overuse seldom helps to shed that nagging layer of fat that hangs on for dear life despite intense workouts and calorie deprivation. What is missing is the little bit of synergistic magic from whole foods.

Nutrition science is still in its infancy. When modern medicine was a toddler in the 18th century, the pseudo-scientific idea of phrenology was all the rage. By now we understand that the shape of our noggins has little to do with our intellectual abilities. This is to say, we can’t always believe everything we hear about nutrition in the news right now. We are still making discoveries and unlearning “facts” that didn’t quite pan out. For example, the Dietary Guidelines now recognizes dietary cholesterol as a more minor offender than previously thought. Oops.

But as far as I’m concerned, one thing we know for certain is the synergy of food provides a certain power processed food could never contain. It is easier on our blood sugar, fights inflammation, protects our brains from free radical damage, keeps our blood vessels flexible and healthy, and is overall useful in decreasing chronic disease risk. By eating foods in their unadulterated form, by snacking on the banana and ounce of nuts over a peanut butter flavored food product, you’ll also be consuming less preservatives, chemicals, and toxins. Our bodies will certainly better respond to our pleas for vitality.

After all, synergy is life.

Ideas to increase whole-foods in our diets:

1.Make your own granola bars

2. Choose a whole grain, oatmeal, or barley hot cereal instead of a processed cold cereal

3. Increase the nutrient density of any salad, soup, or cereal by adding fresh seeds, nuts, bran or wheat germ, or fresh berries

4. Choose to snack on hummus and fresh fruit or veggies over ranch dip and crackers

5. Learn to cook basic and easy meals from scratch

6, Look at ingredient labels- almond butter can be just almonds and sea salt or it can include hydrogenated oils. Choose foods with fewer ingredients- always

7. Toss fresh cut peppers, cucumbers, or a handful of spinach to ready-made meals to add nutrient density

8. Snack on fruit and Greek yogurt instead of Skinny Cows

9.  Cook one ancient grain in bulk every week and include 3/4 cup with meals

10. Make smoothies with fresh greens and frozen fruit

xoxo Joanna

Awesome and healthy, high protein pancakes

I voted today!

This morning at 6:55 am to be precise. Dr. P announced last night that he would be slithering out of bed at 5:45 to make it to the polls when they opened.

I am not an early riser, and I figured Lady and I would just stay in bed until 7:30, my usual time, and hit up the polls after work. No worries, extra time to sleep…

I mean, who wouldn’t want to just keep snugglin’ with this Lady Bird if they could?

Lady Bird

But then the alarm went off. Dr. P slid out, Lady squirmed and barked, and my eyes excitedly popped open.

It’s voting day, baby. I had underestimated my enthusiasm to see this election come to a (successful) close. I couldn’t resist throwing on my beanie, boots and new Chinese Laundry puffy coat and joining my man for our civic duty. Walking up, we took wagers on how long it would take to get through the line. I said an hour, and Dr. P guessed “just around the corner”. Here’s the scene as we approached the local firehouse polling station: Continue reading Awesome and healthy, high protein pancakes

Quick Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Looking for a terrific add-on to your typical lunch options?

I’m obsessed with the one I scarfed down today. It had everything I look for in a quick lunch:

  1. Delicious
  2. Healthy
  3. Fast
  4. Did I say delicious?

I was in between walking the dog, making patient calls, and mentally prepping for my friend’s birthday party tonight when the clock struck noon.

My stomach growled. My dog stared at me.

I’ve barely been to the grocery. We spent last week in New York and the weekend before that in Baltimore. And there was an event almost every night this week…What is a girl to do when there’s no obvious lunch choice?

Luckily, I opened my fridge, and this is what I saw: Red Pepper Sauce ingredients

I can work with this, I thought. There is no ailment a good sauce can’t cure!

And this was certainly no schlep of a sauce- it was delicious! Sometimes we surprise ourselves.

It’s also low sodium and high in protein. Double win.

The tomato and red pepper also packs a good amount of lycopene- a strong antioxidant- so this is one healthy sauce. No need to heat it, either, which means the miconutrient content will be well preserved.

It blended up in a minute, and I poured it over leftover quinoa, precut broccoli, carrot/cabbage slaw, and kimchi that I mixed and quickly heated up on the stove beforehand.

I topped it with slivered almonds and enjoyed while typing patient notes and making my dog insanely jealous.

Yum.

Other ideas for use: Add to pasta, use as salad dressing, use as a dip for crackers or fresh veggies, top baked fish and rice…endless options.

This stuff rocks.

Easy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Prep Time: PT2 M

Total Time: 2 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Easy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 heaping tbsp. Greek or Siggi's yogurt
  • One ginormous or two regular sized store-bought Roasted Red Peppers
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. hot sauce (I used sriacha but use based on preference)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to blender. Press button. Rock on.
  • No need to heat it up! But you can if you like. I ate it raw over hot quinoa, kimchi and veggies, and it BLEW MY MIND.
  • Enjoy!
http://bodaciousrd.com/quick-roasted-red-pepper-sauce/

xoxo

Joanna

Common mistakes in the gym

Sometimes it’s easy to have a solidly good workout, and other times? A bit more challenging.

For example, there are days where I can’t wait, I’m dying to, I’m literally craving cardio and kettlebell swings (yes, I’m really serious!). And there are times I’d rather throw myself down the stairs than haul my tired booty out the door. It’s on these days that I really have to focus.

Because once we make it to the gym, and we’re standing at the double doors, we’ve surpassed all the obstacles and time delays. We owe it to ourselves to truly be present.

I wanted to share some gym mistakes I see often. They drive me bonkers, because I know they derail us from our goals.

dropping the kettlebell

Bringing our cell phone on the floor. We have so many distractions in our life. There is always something buzzing, ringing, chiming, flashing pretty pictures…The gym is a place where you should be focused on you. It is a great time to meditate on the day’s concerns, how your body is responding to your stressful lifestyle, or how you are physically feeling overall. Whoever is calling can wait.

Wearing clothes we aren’t comfortable in. This is important for a couple reasons. First, we need to be focused on our form and routine, and wearing something a bit too tight, too flashy or anything that makes us feel self-conscious may drag our attention away from our workout. Also, some exercises may require bending, squatting, fast movements, or flexibility, and being able to work through each movement comfortably is pivotal.

Resting for more than a few minutes between sets. If you heart rate is very, very high (and you will know if it is), then it is just fine to wait until it comes back down a bit before jumping into your next set or cardio session. And research shows resting for a few minutes can be beneficial, but when you feel solid to begin again, please do. I know the gym can be a social outlet for many, but standing around for too long can derail the progress toward your fitness goals. Higher intensity, better results. Using your weight lifting workout as a cardio session by decreasing the time in between sets.

hands on bar

Doing exercises too fast. I noticed there was a whole row of people on the abdominal crunch machines the other day. All of them were racing toward the imaginary finish line. 1,3,5,7,11… I doubt they realized they weren’t really making any strength gains. When it comes to lifting, slow and steady wins the race. It can be pointless or even dangerous to lift too quickly, and by slowing down and working through the entire range of motion, you are giving your muscles a chance to increase endurance and fully activate maximum muscle fibers to fatigue. Translation? Greater gains.

Doing exercises with too little weight. I see this too, too much. Especially in the women’s weight room.  Our bodies are made to adapt to what we ask of them.  In order to increase our tone or muscle mass, we need to challenge ourselves. By lifting weight that we can easily rep for greater than 20 reps, we are only wasting our time. Lifting 5 lbs 15 times is better than staying home and watching television, but if you put the effort into going to the gym, why not maximize your time? We are all busy, and none of us like wasting our efforts. Muscle mass has high energy requirements, and the more you have, the more calories you burn. Pick up heavier weights, increase your strength, increase your metabolic rate, lose weight.

Doing exercises with too much weight. This is typically a man’s issue, and my concern here relates to poor form. Imagine a bicep curl with a heavy dumbbell, and the lifter is swinging his entire body to reach the top of the movement. This action utilizes much more than the bicep muscle it was meant to isolate, and the momentum is assisting far too much. This decreases gains as well as puts the lifter at risk for damaging connective tissue and smaller, weaker muscles (such as your shoulder girdle) that are not meant to accommodate such a heavy load. It is important to lift the proper weight. Put down the 300 lb dumbbell.

Never leaving the cardio room. In the perfect world, cardio workout outs would target fat tissue. For me, because I am pear-shaped, I would ideally like an hour on the elliptical to focus its fat-burning capacity on or around my lower half. Unfortunately, cardio burns indiscriminately. We can’t target areas of our body just as we cannot target one type of tissue. By only sticking to the treadmill and avoiding the weights, we are burning muscle tissue which will inevitably slow down our metabolism. While we sleep, our muscle mass burns 25% more calories for us. Do cardio, but don’t skip on the weights, burn more calories.

girl doing crunches

Practicing poor form. I’ve had three ACL surgeries, so it really concerns me when I see someone performing an incorrect lunge or squat. We only have one body, and we need to take care of it. Take time to learn how to protect your joints, tendons, and ligaments by asking the personal trainer at your gym how to properly perform your exercises. Hire them for a day, and you might even make a new friend.

Not warming up or stretching. Our cardiovascular and pulmonary systems need a moment to catch up with what we are asking of them, and our muscles need to increase blood flow to decrease the risk of injury. Warming up may protect us from injury as well as make our workout more effective. Some professionals say we don’t need to stretch or warm up, and I am sure we have all gone without from time to time. But if you start stretching, doing yoga or Pilates, and giving your body a bit more room to breathe, you will notice the difference. I have found using a foam roller to push out excess lactic acid improves performance and decreases aches and pains as well. If we are asking our bodies to sit for hours at work, jog, lift, hunch over a desk…take care of it. Stretch it out, take a mindful breath.

Doing the same workout over and over. If you can go through a lifting session and not feel delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) 24 to 48 hours after, it is likely that you are not properly training. Sticking to the same old routine for longer than 3 months allows your body to adjust to your demands, and you will not see the results you were hoping for. Try something new. Incorporate at least one exercise for all major muscle groups.  It could be as simple as switching up your weights and repetitions or using dumbbells instead of machines for a change. Whatever you do, try new exercises to keep your muscles guessing, and you will be surprised by the results.

Happy lifting!

xoxo

Joanna

Finding our balance

Finding balance in our lives can be as difficult as finding a handsome, smart, successful, emotionally healthy guy on a Match.com first date.

We think we have him, his messages were nice, he picked us up in a clean car, he chose a good restaurant, and then he says something like, “Just so you know, my wife won’t be allowed to work so I hope that is ok with you” while separating his food by color and eating a pea at a time.

Handsome, yes? Emotionally healthy? Fail.

We usually need a few tries to find Mr. Right, and finding life balance can be equally as tricky- we think we have found a schedule that works, a mindfulness practice that brings us calmness, and have carved out time for friends and health on a weekly basis. But that lasted a couple weeks before we “got busy” or distracted or our work schedule ran away with us or happy hour sounded more appealing than gym time or insert reason here:________________.

Continue reading Finding our balance

Catastrophic Carb Confusion: Part 1

I just got back from a 10 day, blow-your-mind fantastic trip to Israel. First, go. Please, go. It was magical. Second, they had the most delicious looking/smelling/tasting breads.

sesame-bread

Among a gazillion other amazingly tasty food stuffs. But their carb game was on point.

bread

sesame-roll

Are we hungry yet?

Or are we avoiding carbs this week?

Let’s talk about this because Catastrophic Carb Confusion (CCC) is rampant. So many of my patients are ultra-confused- what should we eat? And what should we merely snap pictures of and admire from afar? Continue reading Catastrophic Carb Confusion: Part 1

Food for (behavior changing) thought

What is the secret ingredient to a long + happy life? Good genes help. And good jeans help. But honestly? Quality friendships provide the biggest boost.

According to the Mayo Clinic, having people we can count on can:

  • Intensify belonging and purpose
  • Promote happiness and decrease stress
  • Improve self-confidence and self-efficacy
  • Help us better deal with bad events
  • Encourage change or helps us avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits

In Okinowa, the community with the most people over 100 worldwide, they keep small circles of friends- typically 4 or 5- that they have committed to for life. Continue reading Food for (behavior changing) thought

Wendy’s to remove antibiotic laden chickens from menu

I’m sure you guys have heard this oft-quoted, catchy Hippocrates saying: “Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”.

It seems that sometime before Google search, an animal agriculture executive must have sat down at the end of a hard day, had a few drinks and tried to recite this saying to his colleagues.

“I think it’s…let thy medicine be in thy food!” he likely exclaimed.

This folly would be more acceptable than the reality which is that there is now a TON of medicine deliberately dumped into our grub- about 70% of the antibiotics in the U.S. are pumped into our farm animals each year. This practice has increased 16% from 2009 to 2012.

With 99.9% of chickens sold in the U.S raised on factory farms, many of us are unknowingly consuming large amounts of antibiotics through the meat we eat. In order for big animal agriculture to change their junkie habits, wholesale buyers of these products must demand better quality meat.

Luckily, one wholesale market- fast food – is catching the winds of change.

Continue reading Wendy’s to remove antibiotic laden chickens from menu

8 ways to improve our diet…today

Hiii! Happy hump day! Wednesday, guys!

Which means we’re another day closer to the Suicide Squad release. Yes! This weekend also happens to be my 32nd birthday- how’d that happen?

To ensure another 32+ years of health for all of us, I wanted to share some quick tips on how to promptly improve our diets. This is a visual I put together for a lunch and learn talk with my Aunt’s company. I’ll let it speak for itself.

8-ways-to-improve-diet-today

Continue reading 8 ways to improve our diet…today

Nutrition for mental health, weight loss, and chronic disease