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Holiday Season Digestion
Wellness
Published Wednesday Dec 19, 2018 by Lydia Cardona

5 Techniques to Improve Your Digestion During the Holidays

Food
Nutrition

During the Christmas season, many of us indulge in rich, heavy foods that aren’t always tummy friendly, leaving us feeling quite unwell and unable to enjoy the holidays to the full!



So, to help improve your digestion over the festive period, we’ve put together five simple, but effective tips to get you ready for the new year and feeling healthier than ever!




 

Yogis, rejoice!


Gentle yoga and stretching are not only relaxing and suitable for all levels of flexibility, but also great for improving digestion, easing bloating and helping with constipation. It can relieve tension and give your organs more space to relax. Not only does it have physical health benefits, but the moving meditation of yoga helps mentally too; allowing us to let go of the stresses of the holiday season, such as cooking for the in-laws, that can play havoc on our tummies!



Want to try a yoga position that promotes digestion? Nahid de Belgeonne from Good Vibes recommends the ‘Cat / Cow’ pose, which stretches muscles of the hips, back, and abdomen, whilst stimulating the organs and gastrointestinal tract. Nahid explains:



“Get on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders, knees under hips, begin to breathe in as you lift your breastbone to the front of the room. Have a sense of stretching the skin from the pubis to the throat, and then exhale as you round your spine up towards the ceiling; feel as if you are stretching the skin from the tailbone to the crown of the head. Do this a few times, gently stretching your tummy out.”

 




Book a massage
.

It’s healthy to put time aside to focus on yourself, so ask Santa to bring you a gift card for a professional massage this year! Massages not only feel great, but also improves our internal health. According to several studies, getting an abdominal massage can accelerate your digestion, ease abdominal pain, stop uncomfortable bloating and relieve constipation. Third helping of turkey, anyone?

 



Get a good night’s kip
.

Over the festive season, social calendars are packed and late nights are inevitable, so quality sleep is probably going to be a low priority. Your gut might feel the effects, but there are key sleeping positions that can help improve the gut’s happiness. Sleeping on the left side, for example, helps to prevent heartburn at night and improves digestion, as it encourages food to move along easily from the small intestine to the large.

 



Give acupuncture or acupressure a try.


Acupuncture may not seem like a solution to digestive health issues, but this ancient Chinese method can help to treat many digestive disorders including bacterial infections, heartburn, lactose intolerance, inflammatory conditions and more. It’s recommended that even those who are not phased by tiny needles should do their research on this before booking in a session though, to make sure its suitable for them. 



Want to try it out for yourself at home? The Life Centre shows you how:



“The acupoint Stomach 36 is often used to strengthen weak digestion and improve digestive disorders, ranging from constipation to diarrhea, gas, bloating, vomiting, and nausea. It can also boost the immune system and strengthen overall energy. To locate the acupoint, slightly bend your leg and place four fingers just below the kneecap. Begin with the index finger at the base of the kneecap. The point is where the little finger rests, on the outside aspect of the hard shinbone. Feel around for the tender spot.”

 



Meditate
.

Recent research in MINDBODY’s ‘Wellness Index’ found that downtime takes a backseat for many of us, with the nation getting fewer than nine hours of headspace a week! We can often let daily stresses (especially during the holiday season) build up, meaning that when we’re stressed or anxious our bodies resort to the ‘fight or flight’ response, which results in abdominal discomfort and temporary digestive problems. Finding a bit of time to clear your head could help. 

If you need encouragement, use the easy search filters in the MINDBODY app to find a studio near you offering guided meditation. There are even studios dedicated to meditation, such as Re:Mind and Inhere, which offer visitors a moment of calm in the hustle and bustle of London! 



Meditation doesn’t necessarily mean you must be sat cross-legged in a (yoga) studio though, it’s whatever makes you feel comfortable. This could be cooking, colouring or simply taking a five-minute break to focus on your inward and outward breathing. 

Lydia Cardona
Written by
Lydia Cardona
PR and Content Specialist, EMEA Marketing
About the author
A self-confessed exercise and sports junkie, Lydia made the transition from fashion to wellness, handling media relations in the U.K. In her spare time, you'll most likely find her hitting up a MINDBODY studio, shopping for houseplants, or walking the family Pomchi.
intuitive eating tips
Wellness
Published Tuesday Oct 22, 2019 by Connie Weissmuller

5 Things You Might Not Know About Intuitive Eating

Nutrition
Food
Expert Advice

Intuitive eating is an approach to eating that has nothing to do with diets, “lifestyle changes,” cleanses, or anything of the sort. It is a powerful way of giving trust and peace back to your body and mind, likely after a time of giving that trust up to external means of control such as using apps to count calories and steps, or intentionally trying to manipulate your body size. 

Intuitive eating, in its truest sense, is supportive of one’s mental, emotional, and physical health. However, as diet and wellness culture have co-opted the term, there has been some misinformation that actually isn’t in line with intuitive eating at all. As a Registered Dietitian and nutrition expert, I’m here to hopefully clear up some blurry lines and share with you some ways to get accurate information about intuitive eating.

If you see someone promoting intuitive eating as a means for intentional weight loss—run!

Here’s the thing; intuitive eating isn’t used for weight loss. Weight change may be an outcome of intuitive eating, but we have no idea whether that means an increase, decrease, or no change in weight. If someone is promoting intuitive eating as an explicit weight loss, slim down, or detox strategythat’s a red flag.

This is why many intuitive eating informed dietitians, counselors, and therapists suggest ditching the scale. The scale doesn’t tell you how well you are eating intuitively, and it certainly doesn’t give you helpful information regarding your health. At the end of the day, intuitive eating helps you move towards a healthy weight that is right for you. That’s also called your set point weight. It’s different for everyone. Intuitive eating is the nutrition paradigm supported by the larger paradigm of Health At Every Size, which respects body diversity, challenges scientific and cultural assumptions related to body size, and encourages finding joy in moving one’s body. There’s so much nuance, which is why there is value in working with a professional well-versed in intuitive eating and Health At Every Size

1
If you see someone promoting intuitive eating as a means for intentional weight loss—run!

Here’s the thing; intuitive eating isn’t used for weight loss. Weight change may be an outcome of intuitive eating, but we have no idea whether that means an increase, decrease, or no change in weight. If someone is promoting intuitive eating as an explicit weight loss, slim down, or detox strategythat’s a red flag.

This is why many intuitive eating informed dietitians, counselors, and therapists suggest ditching the scale. The scale doesn’t tell you how well you are eating intuitively, and it certainly doesn’t give you helpful information regarding your health. At the end of the day, intuitive eating helps you move towards a healthy weight that is right for you. That’s also called your set point weight. It’s different for everyone. Intuitive eating is the nutrition paradigm supported by the larger paradigm of Health At Every Size, which respects body diversity, challenges scientific and cultural assumptions related to body size, and encourages finding joy in moving one’s body. There’s so much nuance, which is why there is value in working with a professional well-versed in intuitive eating and Health At Every Size

It’s not just the hunger and fullness diet; there is so much nuance!

Often times, intuitive eating gets the most attention from “honoring hunger and fullness,” which is a huge part of intuitive eating, however; it’s not that simple. There are plenty of instances I can think of within myself, or with my clients in eating disorder and chronic dieting recovery, where you simply don’t get appropriate hunger and fullness cues.

Your body sends amazing signals when it needs nourishment, yet the culture we live in tells us that those innate signals can't be trusted. This can lead to diminished hunger and fullness cues from dieting, skipping meals, or following the bogus rule of no eating after 7 pm. This is where working with a professional to gain back appropriate cues is helpful. 

Sometimes we have to eat when we aren't hungry just for the simple reason that we need energy and nourishment. This can be uncomfortable. For example, before exams and presentations, while I was in school, I had no appetite, but I knew that my brain needed fuel. I practiced the gentle nutrition piece of intuitive eating and ate anyways to perform my best academically. This is just one example where it’s not merely honoring hunger and fullness. 

3
It’s not just the hunger and fullness diet; there is so much nuance!

Often times, intuitive eating gets the most attention from “honoring hunger and fullness,” which is a huge part of intuitive eating, however; it’s not that simple. There are plenty of instances I can think of within myself, or with my clients in eating disorder and chronic dieting recovery, where you simply don’t get appropriate hunger and fullness cues.

Your body sends amazing signals when it needs nourishment, yet the culture we live in tells us that those innate signals can't be trusted. This can lead to diminished hunger and fullness cues from dieting, skipping meals, or following the bogus rule of no eating after 7 pm. This is where working with a professional to gain back appropriate cues is helpful. 

Sometimes we have to eat when we aren't hungry just for the simple reason that we need energy and nourishment. This can be uncomfortable. For example, before exams and presentations, while I was in school, I had no appetite, but I knew that my brain needed fuel. I practiced the gentle nutrition piece of intuitive eating and ate anyways to perform my best academically. This is just one example where it’s not merely honoring hunger and fullness. 

It’s not just about eating donuts all day.

Another common misconception is that intuitive eating is all about fun food all the time. The truth is that yes, in order to make peace with all foods, there’s often a “honeymoon” phase, if you will, with certain foods that have been off-limits. Those foods are typically deemed “bad” in our culture, so that’s why you might see more photos of those on Instagram to normalize them. After that honeymoon phase, all foods are fair game, and there’s eventually a great balance in the diet of fuel food and fun foods. Fun foods, like donuts, get old after a while when there are no restrictions (mental or physical) around them, so that’s why intuitive eaters have no moral dilemma when presented with a donut. They eat it, or they don’t because they know that donuts are fair game whenever the craving hits. 

4
It’s not just about eating donuts all day.

Another common misconception is that intuitive eating is all about fun food all the time. The truth is that yes, in order to make peace with all foods, there’s often a “honeymoon” phase, if you will, with certain foods that have been off-limits. Those foods are typically deemed “bad” in our culture, so that’s why you might see more photos of those on Instagram to normalize them. After that honeymoon phase, all foods are fair game, and there’s eventually a great balance in the diet of fuel food and fun foods. Fun foods, like donuts, get old after a while when there are no restrictions (mental or physical) around them, so that’s why intuitive eaters have no moral dilemma when presented with a donut. They eat it, or they don’t because they know that donuts are fair game whenever the craving hits. 

It’s a process, and it takes time.

The last big misconception is the notion that you can become an intuitive eater overnight. Tapping back into your body’s innate intuitive nature takes time. Just learning to re-trust my fullness cues took me what I think was about half a year. Finding joy and peace in moving my body took so much longer after years of using exercise as punishment or to manipulate my body shape and size. It takes time to release the mental rules and rigidity around eating. It takes time for your body shape and size to fall at the range that’s right for you. It takes time to appreciate size diversity and maybe even grieve the loss of the body you had when dieting or restricting. This process can take years, and it’s imperative to give yourself a whole lot of self-compassion and grace, because you are surrounded by a culture that tells you dieting is the norm. It’s hard to swim upstream, but I promise you, it’s a lot more peaceful than living in diet culture. 

Feel free to follow and reach out to me on Instagram at @constancelyeating or if you would like to work with me in-person in Denver, or virtually, check out Nourished With Hannah to learn more about Hannah and me! 
 

5
It’s a process, and it takes time.

The last big misconception is the notion that you can become an intuitive eater overnight. Tapping back into your body’s innate intuitive nature takes time. Just learning to re-trust my fullness cues took me what I think was about half a year. Finding joy and peace in moving my body took so much longer after years of using exercise as punishment or to manipulate my body shape and size. It takes time to release the mental rules and rigidity around eating. It takes time for your body shape and size to fall at the range that’s right for you. It takes time to appreciate size diversity and maybe even grieve the loss of the body you had when dieting or restricting. This process can take years, and it’s imperative to give yourself a whole lot of self-compassion and grace, because you are surrounded by a culture that tells you dieting is the norm. It’s hard to swim upstream, but I promise you, it’s a lot more peaceful than living in diet culture. 

Feel free to follow and reach out to me on Instagram at @constancelyeating or if you would like to work with me in-person in Denver, or virtually, check out Nourished With Hannah to learn more about Hannah and me! 
 

Connie Weissmuller MINDBODY
Written by
Connie Weissmuller
Registered Dietitian
About the author
A registered dietitian who loves helping people achieve food and body freedom, Connie specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, intuitive eating, and body image from a Health At Every Size lens. Working with clients to overcome food and body struggles, she is all about giving you the tools you need to find what healthy means to you.