Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Gratitude: Why I Love My Thick Thighs

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m asking readers to reflect on the following two questions: “What is your favorite part of your body?” and “What is your least favorite part of your body?” Now, let’s assess our answers and what they mean to us, starting with a little bit of my personal story. Today, I will share what has been my greatest insecurity through the years…

If I had to answer the first question myself, I would probably say my hair. I love that I’ve never dyed it and that it falls straight no matter what I do to it (even though that’s annoying when I want it curled…ahem, wedding day hair disaster…it was one thick, knotted and stringy mess by the end of the night). I love that my hair is the exact same as my mother’s and father’s and that the combination of my espresso locks and deep brown eyes has caused strangers to ask if I’m related to one of my older brothers (who yes, could very well be my twin if not for the five-year age difference).

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If I had to answer the second question…well…that one’s even easier. Since I was little, I’ve always had thick thighs. Other little girls’ shorts would hang loosely around their spindly legs while mine would sometimes cling awkwardly or bunch up at the crotch. My inner thighs are no strangers to chafing.

I vividly remember sitting beside a friend in elementary school one day. She looked from her lap to mine and said “look how much bigger your legs are than mine.” I blushed. Another time, I was in a swimming pool during the evening. The underwater lights cast shadows to the pool’s floor. A friend commented that she was told she has “perfect legs” because there were several diamond-shaped gaps between them when pressed against one another. I looked to see if my legs had the same gaps….nope. No gaps. Thigh to thigh, I had Just one single inverted triangle shape from hips to toes.

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As I got older, I noticed that I didn’t feel comfortable wearing skirts as short as my peers. If anything hit above mid-thigh, I felt I looked bulky. I craved the long, lean look that so many other girls seemed to have. I wondered how come I couldn’t get that same look, no matter how hard I tried especially since I wasn’t overweight. I was athletic. It seemed my days in high school playing field hockey didn’t help my cause. Even my dad would comment at how my legs transformed during pre-season (in field hockey you’re basically in a squat position for the majority of the game…go figure). Dance team practice would kick off right after hockey season ended. I would pull tight black spandex pants up my legs and groan.

In spite of my insecurities, I never let my legs get me down for too long. I have always been proud of my athleticism and there is little I can do to change the fact that genetically, my body prefers to store fat down south rather than in my stomach. The thickness of my thighs has threatened to be my undoing, but I have been quite decisive that I will never let them make me too self-conscious. In fact, my husband even likes them. ūüôā

Who cares if I’ve had a few stretch marks on my inner thighs since middle school? So what if I have a tad bit of cellulite at the very tops of them (even at my very leanest body fat levels)? My body is healthy and strong. For THAT, I give thanks. For THAT, I applaud my legs. They have carried me through several marathons, the deserts of Arizona, the ocean depths of the Bahamas, and nine different sports. How on earth could I despise them? They have given me everything. They have given me freedom and energy to engage with the world around me. Their strength may even be what cushioned and protected me from more severe injury during a potentially life-threatening accident.

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In moments when insecurities have crept in, I’ve noticed that I’m not as caring and considerate of others as I want to be. The times in life when I let myself get hung up about my appearance were also the times that I wasn’t very selfless or giving. I don’t know about you, but that’s the opposite of how I want to live. I want to strive to always love others with openness and unbridled affection.

Can you take something you DON’T love about yourself and see it as a benefit? How do you take your “deficit” and see the positives in it? Ultimately, our greatest strength can also leave blind spots and what we perceive as our greatest weakness can also be viewed from a different, more positive light.

During this upcoming holiday season, I challenge you to adopt an attitude of gratitude. If you do this, then you will be more prepared to give to others. By loving ourselves first, we are primed and ready to have a giving heart. Isn’t that what the holiday season – and life at large – is all about?

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

wellnesswinz blue sea

 

“Pass the gravy!”

I’m here to tell you the exact opposite of what every other article about healthy eating is now saying. I’m not going to tell you to avoid certain foods, to add low-fat alternatives to your traditional dishes, or even to avoid going back for seconds. That’s right, I’m going to suggest that this Thanksgiving you pass the gravy, pile on the stuffing and request a second slice¬†of pie – if you’re hungry for it!

Happy ThanksgivingLove, Wellnesswinz

Yes, it’s true that the Caloric Control Council has reported that the average American will consume 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving (yikes, that’s over a pound of body fat!); however, unless you have a medical condition, I want to encourage you to eat joyfully and without giving thought to the calories. If you let yourself eat until you’re full and satisfied, and allow yourself to savor the taste of those once-a-year, mama-made-it, oh-so-good foods, you have no reason to feel guilty and you don’t have to worry about hurting your figure. Plus, you won’t even come close to that 4,500 calorie mark. Here’s why:

We are born with the innate ability to regulate caloric consumption for our needs. At six weeks old a baby can already do this! Many adults block or tune out their body’s internal cues and over time, lose touch with them. This can lead to eating when you’re not hungry and obviously, can cause problematic weight gain over time. This does not need to be the case! You CAN trust your body to do its job.

WW Thanksgiving 11Mmm, pass the gravy!

You can also take a deep breath and embrace foods that aren’t in the “good” or healthy category. Our society has wrongfully named some foods “bad” and some foods “good.” Human Kinetics published a book for fitness and nutrition professionals called Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals.¬†It helped ME calm down about eating “perfectly” so I think it can help YOU too! Here’s an excerpt that refers to non-restrained eating (also called attuned or internally regulated eating):

“Non-restrained eating is flexible, with room for eating all types of food, regardless of whether they are nutritionally ideal or not. To meet health needs, balanced intakes are important. Still, within the context of an overall balanced intake, all food fits. Indeed, including foods considered unhealthful in a healthful eating plan can foster satisfaction to ensure a healthful¬†eating pattern over the long haul.”¬†

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Did you hear that?! Eating unhealthy foods in balance with more nutritious ones can mean that you adhere to a healthful eating pattern that is sustainable! This is considered normal eating and it’s amazing how few people in our culture know what normal eating is. Even health magazines promote forms of disordered eating (withholding food when you’re hungry, dieting, under eating, etc.) even though, as¬†Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals¬†points out, “research shows that 92-95% of all dieters will regain lost weight within 5 years.”

French women have long been envied for their bodies and ability to enjoy wine, bread and other delicacies without gaining weight. They rarely, if ever, resort to dieting. While studying at The University of Virginia I remember learning about a study that analyzed French and American women’s brains when dessert was put in front of them. The areas of the French women’s brains that lit up, in response to the delicious dessert, were areas associated with pleasure. In stark contrast, the American women’s brains showed fear. It’s somewhat sad and scary that American women are this psychologically vulnerable. Are you afraid to enjoy yourself too? I have been scared before. I experienced a few years of being very conflicted about how much and what to eat. It took a lot of time to figure my way out of that dark, self-doubting season. Mostly, I had to learn to trust myself again. Are you willing to embark on a journey to do the same?

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Give thanks and savor the delicious food! 

Even if you do go overboard and enter into that post-turkey food coma and even if you feel like you have undo the top button of your pants after the Thanksgiving feast, you’re not likely to be at a normal level of hunger the following day. If you listen to your needs, your body will keep things in balance. Plus, don’t we all want to enjoy eating with our loved ones over the holiday?

It helps to remember the real purpose of gathering for Thanksgiving. A¬†beautiful line¬†from the best-selling novel turned film,¬†The Hundred-Foot Journey¬†by Richard C. Morais,¬†can help remind us that gathering around the table to break bread on Thanksgiving is about keeping tradition and love alive: “Food is memories.”

I encourage all of you WellnessWinz women to set fear, eating rules and guilt to the side this year. Listen to your body and you’ll be just fine! Give thanks for THAT! We are equipped with an internal system that is far more intelligent than we give it credit for.

Thank you for starting this WellnessWinz journey with me. This year I will raise my glass and give thanks for each and every one of you. I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

WW Thanksgiving 2“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” – Emily Bronte

References:

Hudnall, M., & Kratina, K. (2005). Disordered Eating: An Overview. In Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals (1st ed., p. 73). Champaign: Human Kinetics.

http://www.caloriecontrol.org/articles-and-video/feature-articles/stuff-the-bird-not-yourself

http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20410200,00.html

http://www.naturalblaze.com/2014/02/12-lessons-about-eating-we-can-learn.html