Although the Autumn equinox doesn’t start until the 23rd, I hope you all had a wonderful summer and spent lots of time outdoors enjoying all the fun and freedom that summer has to offer! I, for one, had a very busy, but enjoyable summer. I completed my 300-hour advanced teacher training program at ISHTA Yoga in July and am now a 500-hour certified yoga teacher! It was an amazing experience where I learned from some of the greatest teachers I have ever encountered and made life-long friends with my fellow trainees who are on their way to greatness themselves. I also traveled to my alma mater, George Mason University, with Maya Orchin and Mike Abbatiello for a brief residency where we had full access to their beautiful studios to rehearse and develop our newest piece which will premiere at the Quartiers Danse festival in Montreal this month. What a wonderful feeling to return to the very place where I my dancing was so nurtured and supported as a working professional dancer coming back to rehearse for a prestigious performance. It felt like coming home. I also took the time to visit with friends I haven’t seen in ages, spend some quality time with friends I was saying goodbye to before they moved away, and visited my parents at their home in Brevard, NC. The incredible beauty and peacefulness of the mountains and forests I was surrounded by lifted my spirits and helped me reconnect to my spirit, something that can easily get lost in the chaos of the city.
As the seasons change, we often feel the desire to makes changes in our dietary choices as well. All summer long we gravitate towards raw, cold foods, like cucumber and watermelon, for their hydrating qualities. They help us feel light and refreshed on those unbearably hot, sticky days. As the seasons begin to shift and the air feels increasingly crisp and cool, pay close attention to your body and what it begins to crave. Whole grains and root vegetables may begin to sound more delicious to you. And now that the air has cooled off, firing up the stove becomes more appealing than it was during the dog days of summer. Cooked foods are easier for the body to digest, helping stabilize and nourish your gut to stay strong and healthy for the cold weather. The best way to eat seasonally is to listen to your body and give it what it needs. What qualities are you looking to instill in yourself this time of year? Do you want to feel more grounded and focused? Look for foods that grow deep in the ground, like sweet potatoes and carrots, root vegetables that will help you feel rooted and strong. If you need help figuring out which foods are in season now, visit your local farmers market and see what’s available now, that will also ensure you’re getting foods at their peak of freshness and potency.
Summer may also be a time when we indulge a bit more in some delicious treats reserved specially for that season (hot dogs, ice cream, beer, etc). I am certainly one who takes advantage of that! I’m surprised I haven’t completely morphed into an ice cream cone at this point. There’s nothing wrong with indulging, it’s a necessary part of enjoying life, but it can sometimes lead to feelings of guilt and force us to then go to the opposite direction and turn to extreme dieting. I see many clients at the start of the fall who say they want to “get back in shape” or “discipline myself to eat right”, and it’s often said with a feeling of annoyance or anger towards themselves, as if they deserve to be punished for enjoying themselves. Instead of turning towards drastic measures, like a juice cleanse or detox, try to look at this experience objectively. Recognize how fun and special your summer was, relish in the fond memories you made while enjoying a juicy cheeseburger at a friend’s Bar-B-Q, getting messy eating s’mores at a beach bonfire, or happily struggling to lick all the ice cream of your cone before it melted away in the sun. Then, make a decision about what your specific goals are for the coming season and be realistic about them. Treat yourself with kindness and don’t make demands of yourself. Allow your body to change and adapt with the seasons and recognize that you can reach the goals you have set for yourself with time and dedication. Maybe there’s a great dress you’re dying to wear at your office holiday party this year. Don’t buy the dress 4 sizes too small and expect to fit into it come December; if the time comes and it doesn’t fit, you’ll end up beating yourself up for not doing enough. Instead, keep an image of the dress in mind, or even print it out so you have a constant visual, and look at it when you’re deciding whether to have another glass of wine at happy hour, or grab that donut in the conference room. Gently reminding yourself of why you’ve committed to eating more mindfully will help reinforce your behavior and help you make more healthful choices. More importantly, focus on how you’d like to feel and use that as your motivation; would you like to have more energy, better sleep or sharper focus? When you start to feel good and more in tune with your body you may decide you don’t even want that dress anymore!
It can be hard to navigate this journey towards a healthier you by yourself, so that’s why I’m here to help! If you’re feeling stuck or confused about how to go about making important changes in your life, or even if you just need some reassurance or additional guidance about that choices you’re already making, contact me for a FREE consultation and we’ll work together to achieve your health goals. If you’re ready to start feeling your best email me today!
Yours in health,
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/blmiers2/6180157078/”>blmiers2</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>