Stuff to Remember BEFORE You Lose Your Mind on Thanksgiving

 

Next to my birthday, Hanukkah, and the other 402 Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE day of the year. Thanksgiving is what I like to call all-inclusive; everyone is invited everywhere and it's literally the one day a year that people say, "the more, the merrier", and actually mean it. I love community, I love family AND I love when we go around the table and say what we're thankful for and my monologue is always the best one—so people say.

What I love the most about Thanksgiving, particularly in the last 4 years, is being reminded of how far I've come in my relationship with food and my body. It's like I heal from my eating disorder all over again, when I sit down to eat my stuffing, green beans and whatever that yellow stuff is on the other end of the table.

For 16 years, I couldn't imagine not thinking obsessing about food; the calories, the starch, the sugar, the fat... I couldn't think of anything else other than how hard I'd need to work in order to "burn" my food off. In fact, the food guilt started days before Thanksgiving when Yoga teachers, fitness instructors, cashiers at Trader Joe's, Aunt Iris and random women in dressing rooms start talking about eating Thanksgiving dinner like they'll be burned at the stake if they even look at the bread pudding and fig salmon…which is fucking delicious, btw.

So, lucky for you, me, and Whole Foods, I don't have those fears and feelings anymore and I'm here to give some reminders for Thanksgiving day (and EVERY day). Take what works for you and leave the rest, because this is YOUR life.

1. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAVOR YOUR MEAL, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.

2. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ENJOY SECOND SERVINGS, WITHOUT APOLOGY OR GUILT. It is tempting and seemingly socially customary to justify wanting and needing more food. This is not true. When you feel the urge to explain or state aloud that you're helping yourself to seconds, DON'T say anything. Just try it. Notice any tension that comes up for you, take a breath, and literally let the words disappear. #Mmmmbyeeeee.

3.YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO HONOR YOUR FULLNESS, even if that means saying "no, thank you" to dessert or a second helping of food. As long as you're not saying no because you feel guilt, shame or restriction, you must honor your body's cues. It knows what it's doing.

4. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL A LITTLE MORE FULL THAN YOU WERE ANTICIPATING. This is true even if it isn't a holiday. Sometimes we come to the table hungry and leave feeling a little more full than we expected. Sometimes we come to the table and leave, wishing we had more food. It's okay. This is what is known as, Normal Eating. 

5. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO EAT "THANKSGIVING FOOD" ALL YEAR ROUND. One of the reasons people (including me) have or have had experiences with guilt, shame, binge eating, purging, and restricting during the holidays is because we think all this food is only available once a year, so we over-eat out of conscious or subconscious feelings of scarcity. Nothing is scarce. There is always enough. Food is always available to you. It sounds selfish and so "American", but it's true. It just is.

6. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO EAT PUMPKIN PIE...FOR BREAKFAST. 

And lastly...

7. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE AN EATER…AND THAT'S A WONDERFUL THING. Each time we sit down to eat, we agree to be a willing participant on Planet Earth. Agree to be here!

*For more support/reminders just how important Intuitive and Confident Eating is, TUNE INTO OUR FACEBOOK LIVE SHOW!

Grace & Peace,

Erica

Custody of the Heart: A Letter To the Parent Really Missing Their Children on Thanksgiving

photo by Daiga Ellaby

photo by Daiga Ellaby

Dear Mommy or Daddy, 

I could see how painful it was for you to say goodbye to me today, knowing we will not be spending Thanksgiving together this year. I know how much you each care about me, and there are some things I'd like you to know...

I want you to know it's hard for me, too. No matter how old I get, I will always long for my family to be together for the holidays. I will always wish away the separateness. And the anxiety. And the tension.

The hardest part, for me, is knowing how lonely and sad you might feel without me. I don't like when you are sad. Please don't be sad. Promise me that you will call your friends and not spend Thanksgiving alone. I don't want you to be alone.

Maybe I'm too young to know this, but there is a fine line between what will damage you and what will heal you. Please let your Thanksgiving without me be something that will heal you- heal you from the loss of how our Thanksgivings used to be, as a family. Let this Thanksgiving be joyful, one that you can't wait to tell me about, the next time I see you!

Since I will be with my "other side" of the family, and because divorce is so tricky and complicated, I know I might overhear some things about you that aren't nice. But I want you to know that I know the truth. I know the truth about who you are and where I come from. I am so grateful for you.

I know you want me to have a good time and not feel bad, so I'll do just that. I will eat and play and giggle and get into trouble with my cousins. I will look at the finished turkey and remember how you like to take polaroids of your finished, cooked-to-perfection turkeys, because you feel so proud when its done. I will remember how you write the year on the polaroid: "Thanksgiving Turkey, '92". It'll be a little secret I can have a laugh about. Thank you for doing things that make me think if you when I'm not with you. 

I really, REALLY want you to know that while you may not have custody of my physical company today, you have custody of my heart. I mean, you helped to create it. And it's so strong, strong enough to know that there are many kinds of families. Unique in their own way. BOY! Are we unique! (And a little whacky.)

We will get through this, because Thanksgiving is both just another day AND everyday. And this is what our family is meant to look like. I mean, after all, birds have to fly, fish have to swim, Cookie Monster's gotta eat whatever the hell he eats and you have to share your time with me. It's really that simple. 

Most importantly, I want you to remember that, deep down, we're still a family. I am deeply loved and wanted and looked after. This, I know for sure. 

Happy Thanksgiving, I love you!

 

A note from Erica:

I do remember. I remember the look on each of my parents' face when it was time for one to take custody of me over a long weekend or a holiday. My heart ached for the parent that would be without me and I wanted to always make sure they would be okay. 

ivorced or separated parents, my heart goes out to you, this holiday season, as many of you share custody, where a piece of paper determines where your child will spend their time. 

Please know two things:

1. You are the EXACT parent you are meant to be today

2. Your children are okay. And if they're not, they will be...

May Grace & Peace be with you and your unique & dynamic family <3

7 Things to Remember About Food on Thanksgiving

pumpkin
pumpkin

Next to my birthday, Hanukkah, and the other 402 Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE day of the year. Thanksgiving is what I like to call all-inclusive; everyone is invited everywhere and it's literally the one day a year that people say, "the more, the merrier", and actually mean it. I love community, I love family AND I love when we go around the table and say what we're thankful for and my monologue is always the best one—so people say.

What I love the most about Thanksgiving, particularly in the last 4 years, is being reminded of how far I've come in my relationship with food and my body. It's like I heal from my eating disorder all over again, when I sit down to eat my stuffing, green beans and whatever that yellow stuff is on the other end of the table.

For 16 years, I couldn't imagine not thinking obsessing about food; the calories, the starch, the sugar, the fat... I couldn't think of anything else other than how hard I'd need to work in order to "burn" my food off. In fact, the food guilt started days before Thanksgiving when Yoga teachers, fitness instructors, cashiers at Trader Joe's, Aunt Iris and random women in dressing rooms start talking about eating Thanksgiving dinner like they'll be burned at the stake if they even look at the bread pudding and fig salmon…which is fucking delicious, btw.

So, lucky for you, me, and Whole Foods, I don't have those fears and feelings anymore and I'm here to give some reminders for Thanksgiving day (and EVERY day). Take what works for you and leave the rest, because this is YOUR life.

1. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAVOR YOUR MEAL, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.

running
running

2. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ENJOY SECOND SERVINGS, WITHOUT APOLOGY OR GUILT. It is tempting and seemingly socially customary to justify wanting and needing more food. This is not true. When you feel the urge to explain or state aloud that you're helping yourself to seconds, DON'T say anything. Just try it. Notice any tension that comes up for you, take a breath, and literally let the words disappear. #Mmmmbyeeeee.

3.YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO HONOR YOUR FULLNESS, even if that means saying "no, thank you" to dessert or a second helping of food. As long as you're not saying no because you feel guilt, shame or restriction, you must honor your body's cues. It knows what it's doing.

meat
meat
4. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL A LITTLE MORE FULL THAN YOU WERE ANTICIPATING. This is true even if it isn't a holiday. Sometimes we come to the table hungry and leave feeling a little more full than we expected. Sometimes we come to the table and leave, wishing we had more food. It's okay. This is what is known as, Normal Eating.
5. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO EAT "THANKSGIVING FOOD" ALL YEAR ROUND. One of the reasons people (including me) have or have had experiences with guilt, shame, binge eating, purging, and restricting during the holidays is because we think all this food is only available once a year, so we over-eat out of conscious or subconscious feelings of scarcity. Nothing is scarce. There is always enough. Food is always available to you. It sounds selfish and so "American", but it's true. It just is.
cookies
cookies

6. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO EAT PUMPKIN PIE...FOR BREAKFAST.

And lastly...

7. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE AN EATER…AND THAT'S A WONDERFUL THING. Each time we sit down to eat, we agree to be a willing participant on Planet Earth. Agree to be here!

*For more support/reminders just how important Intuitive and Confident Eating is, TUNE INTO OUR FACEBOOK LIVE SHOW!

Grace & Peace,

Erica

Vacationing Solo: What's in My Purse?

IMG_0318   Even though I love the holiday season, and I mean, I REALLY love it, the actual holidays themselves bring about a lot of loneliness for me; being a Jewish, single, only child, I've always felt a bit jealous of my friends "going home" for the holidays. It's like the little baby Erica in me just wants to go around asking people, can I come, too? Can I be with your family? I'm really fun to be around. But I'm not that little girl, anymore. I can make my own family vacation as a family of one...and this year, that's exactly what I'm doing! I'm going to Austin!

I've never been to Austin, or Texas for that matter, but I've heard nothing but amazing things. I'm flying into San Antonio, where my friend (who lives there) and I were going to drive to Austin together, and stay for the week. Unfortunately, her schedule has changed, so I'll be making the drive to Austin solo. (This is a good time to recall my blog about honoring commitments, even when people cancel, ESPECIALLY when the commitment is to yourself.)

I'm really stepping outside my comfort zone here, friends. I've never rented a car, driven long distance in a foreign state, stayed in a stranger's home (airbnb) or wandered around a strange city alone. Btw, my Mother is freaking out about this--begging me to text her, like, every 10 minutes. I'll text her every 5 mins and see how long she lasts, before she tells me to stop. I mean, I don't want her to worry ;-)

So...long, fluffy story short, I'm feeling excited, yet anxious and nervous. As independent as I am, I feel like this is the night before the 1st day of Kindergarten. I don't know what to expect. Will the kids at the San Antonio car rental place be nice to me? Will my airbnb host be friendly? Warm? Nurturing? Is she supposed to be? It's Texas. Does she have a gun? You'd think I'm leaving the country for 3 months, instead of leaving the state for 4 days. Get it together, Jacobs.

Are you with me? For those of you who are thinking of embarking on a solo journey, at some point, (and by solo journey, I mean, living your life each day) I wanna show you the things I pack in my purse to keep me sane, calm, present, grateful and joyful, wherever I am...

(according to the fda, i can't tell you, here on the blog, the brand of essential oils i personally use. but what i can do is send you a follow up email, letting you know my personal recommendation. just ask here!)

IMG_0357

IMG_0315

IMG_0359

IMG_0313

IMG_0307


 

At the end of the day, the idea of traipsing around Downtown Austin, eating amazing food, doing Yoga, taking amazing, "Instagram-worthy" pics (hey, just being honest), meeting my future husband a lot of nice people, and enjoying Thanksgiving, wherever I end up, sounds like holiday heaven to me...as long as I don't leave my purse behind.

Happy Thanksgiving week, friends!

http___signatures.mylivesignature.com_54493_178_4A64499E2FC34D4923809CAE67892E32

 

It's Not About the Ketchup...But It Is

photo-38 "Use this ketchup sparingly. That's all you're getting." "That's too much ketchup". "Take that away from her." "You need to watch what you eat." "You're not even hungry." "You're looking a little 'heavy'." "You can't have that, it's fattening." "Enough with the Ketchup, already."

I can still feel my Mother, my Father, my Grandmothers (both of them) and a couple of aunts peering over my shoulder as I tap the bottle. To be honest, it didn't matter how much or how little ketchup I put on my plate...it was always too much and it was always ridiculed. But then again, everything was too much; too much cheese, too much challah, too much pasta, too much brisket, too many slices of French Toast, too much sauce. I was born into a family that, for the most part, don't trust themselves with food. Therefore, I was not to be trusted around food, either. Friends, it's not like I flipped the ketchup bottle upside down, opened my mouth and squeezed. I mean, JEEZ!

On each and every diet I've been on, ketchup was always the first thing to go. Brand new bottles of ketchup tossed into the trash, to ensure I wouldn't "cheat." It was a horrible time, those eight years; knowing in my mind I had to be on a diet until I could gain 'control' over my portions and knowing in my soul, that I was to be trusted with food. That I was to be trusted at least with my ketchup. That I'm okay. That I'm indeed a normal eater.

When I was in the very early stages of recovering from my eating disorder and adopting the Intuitive Eating Principles, ketchup was the first thing I invited back into my fridge. It sounds nuts, but it was a glorious moment. By buying something as simple as ketchup --a food I love as much as I hate the beach-- I was saying to myself (and maybe eventually to my family), that I'm allowed to have ketchup, that I am allowed to pour however much I think will satisfy me. And sometimes I will pour a little more than I expected and sometimes I'll need to use a little at a time, throughout a meal. That's normal.

All this to say, it was is wonderful learning how to trust myself with food. And to me, the hardest part of giving up dieting, being okay with my body and my food choices, was then being able to eat with confidence around my family and the people in my life who had LOTS to say about my food, my body, etc. ESPECIALLY during holidays. I'm the only grandchild to have grow up 3,000 miles away from the rest of the family (on both sides). And as excited as I was (and always am) to visit my family in New York for the holidays, I'd often feel a wave of panic and anxiety over them having not seen me in a year; What do I look like to them? Have I gained weight? Will they still make comments about my food? Will they still pull my Mother aside and express concern about my weight...even though I'm a grown ass woman? This is arguably one of the most challenging components of recovering from disordered eating, in my opinion.

So, what is your 'ketchup'? How do I navigate this component of Intuitive Eating? How can you navigate it? Here are a couple things to keep in mind as the holidays approach:

  • NO ONE KNOWS WHAT/HOW MUCH YOU SHOULD BE EATING. Part of having an unhealthy relationship with food is the tendency to allow others to decide/put their two cents in to which foods are healthiest for you. No one knows how much food your body requires or is hungry for. And NO ONE knows what kinds of foods will truly satisfy you. Only you can know this.
  • EVERY COMMENT MADE ABOUT YOUR FOOD HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. Therapists, Hippy-Dippy Healers and Spiritual Chiropractors will be the first to tell you that when someone passes judgement on you (and in this case, your food and body), they are actually projecting their own insecurities on you. When someone, whether it's a family member, a stranger and everyone in between, expresses concern for your plate, it means they have immense concern about theirs. I know this, because I've done it myself. ;-)
  • (ALMOST) EVERYONE IS IN THE DARK ABOUT FOOD AND BODY. If the amount of misinformation and untrue statements that the diet industry puts out into the world were water...California would not be in a drought. (That means there's a lot of it. Misinformation. Not water.) Anyway, unfortunately our society, in a lot of ways, is structured on a "do this, don't do that", "eat this, DON'T eat that" mentality. So your only job this holiday season (and, well, every season) is to really listen in to what foods are truly going to satisfy your physical hunger, your taste buds and the eating experience as a whole. Your body will tell you when it's time to eat and when it's had enough.
  • YOU ARE ENTITLED TO ENJOY YOUR 'KETCHUP'. That's all. And if anyone has a comment about your food or makes a face at your pile of mashed potatoes at the family dinner table, you tell them that some chick who's blog you read on the internet says it's okay for me to eat this. That'll shut 'em up!

http___signatures.mylivesignature.com_54493_178_4A64499E2FC34D4923809CAE67892E32

Just a little clip from my favorite show <3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3AMRHXMfjs