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April Challenge: Love Yourself

04.01.14

Lifestyle

What if someone told you that for one month you had to love yourself unconditionally, no ifs, ands or butts about it?

Would that make you uncomfortable? Do you think you could rise to the challenge? Well, I’m challenging you to do it. Starting now. The month of April is going to be all about loving yourself, loving your decisions, making choices that scare you, taking care of your body and nourishing it with goodness, loving and accepting the exercise goals you choose for yourself, and doing the things you always dream of doing but put off until “next week” or “next month” or, you know, “SOMEDAY.”

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Today = your someday. It’s goin’ down!!!

There are a few things that spurred this sudden desire to declare April the month of self-love on TBV. Let me tell you in list form, because you know I love a good list:

Why Self-Love Matters to Me:

A) I have been realizing lately (in reading the amazing book Happy Belly) that, although I am a pretty darn positive and confident person, I put myself down a lot more than I need to. It stems from my stomach and indigestion problems and the fact that I have to be so rigid about what I eat if I want to feel good. Instead of practicing self-love after a meal that upsets my stomach, I beat myself up over it and tell myself it’s all my fault and I didn’t have enough self control. In reality, it’s those moments where I need to be showing myself the most love and listening to what my body is telling me. And when you practice self-love versus all of the negative “OMG I can’t believe I just ate that what the eff was I thinking?!” you have way more of a chance to be in tune with your body and develop a happy, healthy relationship with food.

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B) While training for my half marathon I pushed myself to the brink, every single day, loving the running high and the endorphins swimming through my bod. I was also swimming, doing yoga, walking several miles a day, and taking Equinox classes like a maniac. I hurt my ankle a few weeks ago and continued to push and push until I reached the point where I had to stop training. Huge bummer, right? If I had been practicing the utmost self-love, I would have listened to my throbbing ankle and forfeited my long runs until it started to heal. This month for me is going to be about listening to my body to get back to the healthiest state possible. I will not push myself on days that I am tired, and I will continue to practice yoga, run and swim in a healthy (and not obsessive!!!) manner.

C) You all know I place a huge emphasis on my health, and because of that I eat a super clean, oil-free, salt-free, wheat-free, refined sugar-free diet. And because of all of that restriction (even though I do it happily!) I sometimes get too hungry or too run down while I am out and about, so when I finally am able to sit down and eat a meal I have a tendency to overindulge. Even overindulging on vegetables, fruits, healthy granolas, dried fruits, raw chocolate etc. is just as damaging to the stomach, digestion, and the mind as overeating on something unhealthy. If I take care of myself, eat when I am hungry, listen to my body to know how much to eat, and maintain my clean diet, I should have no problems. Time to listen to my bod and not my overactive mind!

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D) I have a lot of changes going on in my life right now. Huge things are happening, great things, but they are pulling me in all sorts of directions. I need to stay extra focused, breathe, and take it easy on myself while I figure out all of the life adjustments that need to take place to accommodate the changes. My go-to super-fast-paced kick-butt-in-the-gym and eat-the-cleanest-EVER is going to do me more harm than good… I need to take it easy on myself, and practice what I preach! This means journaling, relaxing bubble baths, massages, unwinding and more yin yoga (deep stretching) classes.

E) Holding myself accountable by engaging in a challenge like this with all of you is way more fun than doing it on my own. I also know that I am much more likely to succeed if I have a platform to come back to—we can all do this!

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If you love yourself and your body every single day, you are more likely to feed it in the most healthy and nourishing way possible. It will foster a loving, trusting and sound relationship between the body and mind.

Do you normally exist in a restrict-binge-restrict-binge cycle? This is the month to work on that. Tell yourself that this is worth it. You are worth it.

Do you push yourself at the gym until you’re completely dead and your limbs are shaking like jello? Or do you slack off and tell yourself you can go to the gym tomorrow? Find a healthy medium – you are worth it.

Are you putting off making a big life decision because you’re afraid of change? This is the month to make your dreams your reality. You know what I’m going to say here, but… YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Challenge Rules:

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Tag me in your photos, too! The photos can be anything from a healthy meal, a sweaty gym selfie, a relaxing bubble bath, a productive to-do list, a new pair of running shoes, your yoga mat, a photo of a food journal, the list goes on and on… it just has to be related to health, making positive changes, and loving yourself. Include a little story (or you can email me if you aren’t comfortable posting on social media!) about why this challenge is important to you, and I will choose a winner each week to feature. I cannot wait to see what you all come up with!

As act #1 of self-love I have decided to do a one-day juice cleanse this Sunday, which for me is huge because I would normally commit to a three or five day cleanse when it comes to detoxes. I know all I need is a little recharge to help me kick this cold in the butt, and on Monday I will be back to my regular ways. A one-day cleanse is what my body is calling for right now, so by all means I am going to listen to it.

And, as act #2 of self-love, I had this heavenly bowl of oatmeal this morning! I used to be afraid to eat oatmeal because I thought it would be too heavy and would bother my stomach more than a simple green smoothie for breakfast, but through listening to my body, being kind and patient with it, and trying out new recipes I have learned that gluten-free oats are a great meal option for me, as long as I stick to about 1 cup oats once fully cooked.

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Gooey Flax Seed Oatmeal

Ingredients:

½ cup gluten-free steel cut oats

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal or flaxseeds

½ cup blueberries

¼ cup mulberries (I use the brand Navitas naturals)

½ sliced banana

1 tablespoon raw local honey (or agave, maple or liquid stevia)

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Directions:

1. Boil the oats in water until the water is fully soaked through. While you wait, slice your bananas and get everything else ready.

2. Once the oats are boiled, stir in flaxseed and raw honey.

3. Top with toppings, and enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:

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