Monthly Archives for April 2014

Archives for April 2014

Do Vitamin Injections Work?

syringe_and_injection_needle_w_18392153I thought I had seen it all – that is, until I moved to Los Angeles.

While enjoying an acia bowl, I noticed something interesting about my smoothie shop. In addition to a wide variety of juices and health food concoctions, they also offer vitamin injections. That’s right, injections.

It turns out, vitamin B-12 injections are actually quite popular in Hollywood. According to believers, the injections boost your metabolism and make you thinner, strengthen your immune system, fight fatigue, help you sleep better and elevate your mood. In fact, many people swear by the benefits and have made the injections part of their routines. Hair cut. Pedicure. Vitamin B-12 injection.

According to doctors, most people get enough vitamin B-12 through their diet. Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. of the Mayo Clinic notes:

Unless you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, vitamin B-12 injections aren’t likely to give you an energy boost… Getting large amounts of vitamin B-12 through vitamin B-12 injections isn’t likely to harm your health. But vitamin B-12 can interfere with the effectiveness of some medications, so if you receive vitamin B-12 injections, be sure to let your doctor know.

Will a vitamin B-12 injection work for you? Is it a smart idea? It’s a conversation best reserved for you and a healthcare professional.

Call me old fashioned, but if you’re hoping to lose weight or increase energy, I’d recommend a healthy lifestyle with nourishing food and plenty of rest.

Men in Tights: Compression Pants Review.


6AM compression pant selfie

I admit that I have a new obsession: Compression pants.

I first noticed them after moving to West Hollywood. The truth is, compression pants are really, really eye-catching – and they don’t leave a whole lot to the imagination. As the name implies, this type of clothing provides varying degrees of compression through a snug and body-contouring fit.

What’s the benefit of compression pants or compression shorts? For athletes, they can prevent chafing and rashes. They can also allegedly ease muscle stiffness and help quicken recovery. They also hold your genitals in place and make your ass look great.

For my review, I opted for a pair of Nike compression pants.

Though it’s hardly a scientifically quantifiable benefit, I couldn’t help but feel a little badass in my compression pants. They’re like superhero tights; I felt like Superman.

Since psychology and how you feel can make a big difference in how you perform, I think there’s probably something to be said for the badass effect.

As someone who often performs high intensity interval training and sprints, the non-chaffing aspect of compression pants is huge. My thighs often become agitated and red from the constant friction in my workout. With compression pants, my workout was wonderfully chafe-free.

I also enjoyed not having my genitals bounce around while racing on the treadmill. The hatches were definitely battened down – and it made for a more enjoyable experience.

Did the pants make a measurable difference in my workout? I’m not sure. But I do know that, at the very least, I felt and looked great. And that counts for something.



Exercise Prevents Wrinkles.

Things-You-Must-Know-BeforeThere are a lot of reasons to exercise. Improved health. Increased brain function. Even better sex.

Now, there’s a new reason to add to the list. According to a study from Ontario’s McMaster University, exercise also reverses the skin’s aging process.

Initially, researchers divided mice into two groups. In the first group, the mice had access to exercise wheels. In the second group, the mice lived a sedentary lifestyle. As expected, the mice in the first group enjoyed healthier hearts, brains, muscles and reproductive organs. But researchers also noticed that, unlike the sedentary mice, the exercising mice kept their fur longer and didn’t even go grey.

Researchers wondered if this might hold true for humans, and thus embarked on a small study of 29 participants, ages 20 – 84. Participants fell into two group. The first group was individuals who completed at least 3 hours of moderate or vigorous activity per week. The second group was composed of mostly sedentary individuals.

To obtain accurate skin samples that weren’t exposed to sunlight, researchers examined the participants’ butts. Sure enough, the active individuals had visibly younger skin. This even held true for participants over age 65; their skin looked like that of an individual in their 20s or 30s.

As part of the study, researchers also had sedentary participants over the age of 65 exercise for three months. At the beginning and end of the three month period, skin samples were taken from the buttocks and examined microscopically. According to the researchers, the skin looked remarkably younger by the end of the three months.

Obviously, the study was very small and more research is needed. And, of course, the real benefits of exercise aren’t just skin deep. But in an image-focused world, this new study is bound to get people paying attention – and possibly even to the gym. And that’s a good thing.



Answered: Best Exercises to Increase Size of Butt?

Hi Davey,

I’m 18 years old and like my butt, but I feel like it could be bigger. Do you have any fitness tips for increasing the size of my butt?



Photo credit: @dattwinandree

Hey Hassan,

Like any muscles, your glutes (a.k.a. butt muscles) will only grow if your current musculature isn’t enough to get the job done. Your body is a very efficient machine and, as such, it doesn’t want to waste the energy required to build and maintain new muscle unless it’s absolutely necessary.

How do you tell your body to build new muscle? Through a strategy called progressive overload.

The idea is pretty simple. Over time, continually increase the amount of resistance you use. As you work against more and more resistance, your body will continually increase the size of the muscles being worked (assuming you’re getting adequate rest and nutrition). This is progressive overload and it will increase the size of any muscle.

There are plenty of exercises that target the glutes specifically. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Squats. When it comes to glute exercises, squats are king. Though there are a number of ways to perform squats, using a barbell is my favorite. That’s because you’re able to use more weight; when using dumbbells, you’ll likely be limited by grip strength. When doing squats, lift heavy and make use of the aforementioned progressive overload strategy. If you’ve never seen a proper squat, watch this video.
  2. Deadlifts. Another great barbell exercise to incorporate is the deadlift. Though deadlifts work muscles across your entire body, they’re especially beneficial in building up your glutes. Like any exercise, form is extremely important so check out this instructional video.
  3. Lunges. Last but not least, lunges are another great glute exercise. Though they’re often performed with dumbbells (see this video for an example), you can also a barbell for heavier weights.

If you’d like to exercise recreationally, I’d recommend picking up a sport like hockey. In fact, they don’t call it a hockey butt for nothin’.


Can Body Fat Be Too Low?

When it comes to body fat, how low is too low?

When it comes to body fat, how low is too low?

Targeting a lower body fat percentage is a common workout goal. And it’s a great goal to have.

But in the same way that too much of a good thing isn’t good, too little of a bad thing isn’t great either. And the truth is, body fat isn’t entirely bad. It serves many important functions including insulation and serving as an energy source. Your body needs some fat to function properly.

Though these numbers can very slightly from source to source, the following are general guidelines on body fat percentages:

  • Essential fat: 10% – 13% for women, 2% – 5% for men
  • Athletes: 14% – 20% for women, 6% – 13% for men
  • Fitness: 21% – 24% for women, 14% – 17% for men
  • Average: 25% – 31% for women, 18% – 24% for men
  • Obese: 32+% for women, 25+% for men

If you drop below these ranges, you’ll likely experience chronic fatigue, slow workout recovery, nutritional deficiencies, increased risk of infection and so on. For women, low levels of body fat (less than 13% – 17%) result in irregular menstruation. In fact, low body fat levels can even result in infertility.

Believe it or not, some individuals actually have zero percent body fat. It’s a rare and potentially dangerous medical condition in which the body is unable to gain weight. The condition was popularized by Lizzie Velásquez who, because of her striking appearance and the resulting bullying, has given motivation speeches and even a Ted Talk.

While reducing your body fat percentage can be an effective goal, it’s important to be target healthy ranges – and to not take things to an extreme. Having too little fat can be a sign of an eating disorder. In these instances, it’s important to get professional help.



The Gym Intimidates Me: Advice.

Dear Davey,

I really want to go to the gym… but the idea of going scares me. I don’t think I’m comfortable enough to go, even though I really need to lose some weight and get into shape.

Do you have any advice?


Motivation-quotesHey Kris,

Last year, I wrote a popular blog post inspired by a conversation with an overweight gym-goer. She was new to the gym and felt like everyone was judging her. “Women like me don’t belong in places like this,” she told me. The truth is, she does belong at the gym. We all do. And rather than judge her negatively, I suspect most people feel quite the opposite:

Most gym goers would be quick to recognize her bravery. And they’re probably impressed by her willingness to make a positive change in her life. Rather than a “look at her” mindset, I bet most people would think “good for her” – if they’re going to think anything at all. In reality, most people are too engrossed in their own workout and their own iPod playlist to really give any of it much thought.

I’m not the smartest or wisest person in the world. In my short life, I haven’t learned much. But if there’s anything I know, it’s this: The magic rarely happens inside your comfort zone.

In order to experience the scope of what this world has to offer, it requires stepping outside the normal. It requires deviating from what we did yesterday – and the day before. Sometimes it means doing things that scare us or that make us nervous. REAL life starts at the edge of your comfort zone.

This holds true for going to the gym – and many other aspects in life. The feeling of nervousness that you get when stepping into the unknown is an evolution of yourself. It’s the feeling of expansion as you learn, try and discover new experiences. It’s the feeling of growth.

If you’re nervous to go to the gym, then that’s great! It’s all the more reason to go. It means you’ve got a lot of growing to do – and that you’re about to expand your life into a whole new dimension.


Not Motivated to Workout? Blame Your Genes.

fitness-and-weight-loss-motivation-for-menAll of us understand the importance of exercise. And yet, the motivation to workout varies dramatically from individual to individual and from gym bunny to couch potato. Can these discrepancies be explained entirely by environmental factors, or is there something else at play – like genetics?

Last year, an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition set out to answer that question. In the study, researchers examined daily physical activity and sedentary behavior over a large group of fraternal and identical twins. After crunching the data, researchers determined that up to half of the variance in physical activity was explained by genetic factors. In other words, innate biological processes might be driving some of our daily physical activity.

But this research shouldn’t serve as an excuse for inactivity. For one, more research is needed and there’s a lot we still don’t understand. Second, blaming your mom or your dad for bad genes won’t get you anywhere.

Even if you lack motivation and/or are predisposed to a more sedentary lifestyle, your fate hasn’t been sealed. Sure, additional structure and support can help – but you still have the power to make decisions for yourself and to work towards fitness goals. Don’t make excuses; understand your challenges, implement solutions and make results.

Lost 40 Pounds In One Month…

Dear Davey,

I’ve struggled with obesity since childhood. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve been paying more attention to my body.

In the last month, I’ve managed to lose 40 pounds by not eating. I know that you need to eat to survive, but I want to continue getting results. What advice do you have?


Smaller_Plate_Wont_Help_Your_Diet_Research_ShowsHey Jason,

Thanks for the email.

I have to say, you are playing a very dangerous game – and, it’s one that you’ll inevitably lose without a dramatic change in your habits and the guidance of professional help.

Despite all the science that demonstrates otherwise, many people resort to starvation as a weight loss technique. As you’ve discovered, it does yield initial results; if you stop eating, you’ll lose weight. But the problems with this approach are many.

For one, you’re slowing your metabolism. Your metabolism determines how many calories your body burns on a daily basis. Because your body is starving (generally 1,000 calories or less per day), it will do everything it can to reduce its calorie consumption. Eventually, you’ll need to start eating again – and, when you do, your metabolism will lag. With a reduced daily calorie burn, all those extra calories from food will be packed on as fat. The resulting weight gain, in many instances, exceeds the initial weight loss.

No to mention the dramatic impact of nutritional deficiencies.

We also know that diet AND exercise are required for best results. By just practicing one or the other, you’re selling yourself short. Though diet alone can result in weight loss, exercise is required to ensure that the lost weight is mostly fat and not muscle. It takes a lot of energy to maintain muscles – and our bodies are very efficient machines. If you’re not using your muscles during periods of calorie restriction and weight loss, you’ll be quick to lose them.

You mentioned that you’re paying more attention to your body. That’s important. But don’t just pay attention to how your body looks; pay attention to what your body is telling you. If your body is hungry or weak or tired, then listen to these crucial messages – and act on them. Feed your body with the foods it really craves, like a delicious, colorful salad or some lean meats and vegetables. As you fuel your body with nourishing foods, pay attention to how your body feels.

I’d also suggest giving yourself the gift of professional help. It is absolutely worth your time, money and effort to work with a nutritionist, weight loss specialist or healthcare professional. After all, you only get one body. Let’s keep it in a good, working condition.


Are Sprouted Grains Healthier?

sprouted grainsWhen it comes to healthy food crazes, it’s not always easy to separate fact from fiction. In recent years, sprouted grains have become increasingly popular – but do sprouted grains represent an actual nutrition advantage over traditional grains? Or is it just marketing hype?

First things first, sprouted grains are seeds that have just started to grow – but that have yet to develop into an actual plant. For this very brief period, the outer bran layer splits open and a young shoot may just be visible. Some sprouted grains can be added directly to foods like salads, while still others are baked into breads, cereals, etc.

Because some of the grain’s starch is used for sprouting, there’s a slightly higher percentage of other nutrients in sprouted grains. However, these differences are relatively small.

There’s also some preliminary evidence that sprouting a grain will improve its bioavailability. That’s just a fancy way to say that some of those nutrients – including minerals like iron and zinc – may be more easily absorbed after sprouting. As such, sprouted grains may be more beneficial especially for developing countries wherein iron and zinc deficiencies are more common.

In addition, some individuals report improved digestion with sprouted grains versus traditional grains. Sprouted beans, for example, may result in less gas or bloating.

The bottom line: Sprouted grains are whole grains. And all of us are better off eating whole grains instead of the refined grains found in white bread, most pastas, etc. But rather than buy into the benefits or hype of just one ingredient, we need to examine the nutritional properties of foods as a whole. I could make a sprouted grain cake… but, sadly, it’s still a cake.

Study: Exercise For Better Sexlife.

gay_kiss_by_joseljl-d6tm8peThere are a lot of reasons to exercise. And a healthier sex life is certainly among them.

Researchers at Harvard examined 31,742 men ages 53 to 90. Physically active men, according to the researchers, had a 30% lower risk of erectile dysfunction (ED). And the more you exercise, the more that risk goes down.

It makes sense. A leading cause of ED are clogged arteries that steal blood and oxygen away from your organs and tissues. By engaging in regular exercise, you enjoy the benefits of a healthier heart and cardiovascular system. This keeps the blood flowing… to all areas of your body.

But the sex-related benefits of exercise don’t end there.

A lack of physical activity and increased TV viewing has been linked to decreasing semen quality. Not to mention, if you workout regularly, you’re more able to handle the physical challenges of sex. No one wants to stop because they’re too tired, sore or winded.

With people often struggling to find the motivation to hit the gym, the promise of improved or better sex can be the kick-in-the-butt that some of us need.

The bottom line: Exercise for your health, heart and… for better sex.

5 Worst Nutrition Tips EVER!

badideaThe only thing more astonishing than the amount of misinformation about nutrition the willingness of people to follow it. Over the years, there’s been no shortage of terrible nutrition advice – and these are some of the biggest offenders.

  1. Don’t eat egg yolks. Why this advice sucks: It’s no secret that eggs are high in cholesterol and that most of the cholesterol is contained in the yolk. But dietary cholesterol tends to have a fairly low impact on the cholesterol levels in blood. Some people with high cholesterol diets have low blood cholesterol and some people with low cholesterol diets have high blood cholesterol. Beyond cholesterol, the yolks are packed with other important nutrients that are essential for your diet. Unless you have high blood cholesterol, eating the egg yolk is a actually nutritional benefit.
  2. Eliminate fat. Why this advice sucks: Decades ago, reduced fat diets and low-fat foods became extremely popular. Unfortunately, much of the low-fat hype and low-fat foods have survived through present day. In reality, fat doesn’t make you fat. Consuming more calories than you burn results in weight gain. Our bodies need healthy, essential fats – like those found in avocados and nuts and extra virgin olive oil. While fats are very calorie dense and should be consumed in moderation, opting for low-fat foods won’t do much to help the cause. In addition, many reduced fat foods are loaded up with sodium or sugar to help replace the favor. And that’s definitely not a good thing.
  3. Don’t eat carbs. Why this advice sucks: Carbohydrates, as it turns out, are crucially important to proper bodily function. Instead of reducing or eliminating all carbohydrates, it’s much wiser to eliminate simple carbs (i.e., sugar, candy, white rice, white bread, etc.) in favor of complex carbs (i.e., brown rice, whole wheat bread, etc.). By eliminating carbohydrates entirely, you won’t have the energy to power through your workout or any other physical activity. In addition, a lack of blood sugar from a low-carb diet can severely slow and limit brain function. Opt for complex carbs.
  4. Don’t eat after 7PM. Why this advice sucks: Science just doesn’t back this claim up. Studies have found that what you eat – and how much of it – is far more important in determining weight gain than meal timing. There’s nothing wrong with eating late at night. If you are eating late at night, pay special attention to what you’re eating. It’s not a green light to mindlessly snack on a bag of chips. Instead, continue to make smart nutritional choices all hours of the day.
  5. Detox your body regularly. Why this advice sucks: Detox diets are a marketing gimmick, plain and simple. Your liver and kidneys detoxify your body naturally. This isn’t accomplished by a packaged juice product that’s devoid of the essential nutrients your body needs. Not only are detox diets unhealthy and counterproductive, but they’re also downright miserable.

What’s the worst piece of nutrition advice that you’ve ever heard? Let me know in the comments below!


Is A Raw Diet Healthier?

rawdietI get a lot of questions about raw diets – and if they’re a health alternative or simply over-hyped.

As with most things in the health and fitness world, the answer isn’t cut and dry or black and white. If you’re looking for a simple yes or no, you won’t find it.

It’s accurate to say that there are aspects of a raw diet that are very healthy. Most raw diets are heavily plant-based – and most of us aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables. Diets that include plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables are associated with a number of health benefits.

Raw diets also eliminate most processed foods. As such, raw diets tend to have lower amounts of sugar, sodium and trans fats.

It’s also true that some foods are healthier when eaten raw. Heat can destroy some nutrients and reduce the benefits of certain foods. For example, the benefits of extra virgin olive oil are greatly reduced once it’s heated beyond 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, by eating raw foods, you never have to worry about charring meats – and the carcinogens created by that process.

However, not all foods are healthier when consumed raw.

David Katz, M.D., who is director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, notes:

Raw food advocacy ignores the fact that some foods are more nutritious when cooked. The nutrient lycopene makes tomatoes red. It is a potent carotenoid antioxidant, long thought to reduce prostate cancer risk, although that effect per se is in doubt. Lycopene is fat-soluble, and much more “bioavailable” – that is to say, available for absorption and making contributions to our health – when tomatoes are heated in combination with an oil. Tomato sauces with olive oil are ideal, and raise blood lycopene levels far more effectively than eating raw tomatoes.

There’s another reason we cook food. To kill harmful bacteria and thus prevent us from getting sick. Uncooked and unpasteurized foods are more prone to illness; as such, raw diets aren’t recommended for young children, pregnant individuals or the elderly. If you have a weak immune system or chronic illness, then a raw diet probably isn’t a good fit.

Nutritional deficiencies can also become problematic. Protein and calcium, for example, are commonly deficient in raw diets. While it’s possible to get a balanced diet while eating raw, the reality is most people are ill-equipped or lacking the time and effort to formulate a proper nutrition plan.

For most of us, it makes more sense to incorporate those aspects of raw dieting that are healthy and sustainable rather than following the diet fully and completely.

But what do you think? Have you ever tried a raw diet?

Fitness Is Like A Boyfriend…

jessieFitness, in many ways, is like having a boyfriend.

Both fitness and relationships are matters of priorities. If you want your relationship to work, then you need to make an investment of time, energy and effort. In the same way, you’ll only see results on the gym if it’s a priority in your life. None of us have time to work out; we make time to work out. And sometimes, that means making sacrifices and not doing some of the other things we might want to do – like watching Game of Thrones.

When someone said that there are no shortcuts to any place worth going, he or she may have had relationships in mind. In many ways, arriving at a fruitful relationship isn’t something that happens overnight. It can be a long journey. Similarly, there are no shortcuts or quick fixes at the gym – despite all the marketing gimmicks you might see along the way. It’s about exercise, nutrition and building a healthier relationship with your body.

You can’t cheat on a relationship and expect it to work. Being deceptive poisons a relationship and builds a wall between you and your partner. When it comes to fitness, cheating comes in many forms. It can be skipping workouts, not using a full range of motion in your exercises or not following a proper nutrition plan. When you cheat on fitness, don’t expect it to work. It builds a widening gap between you and the results you want.

Sure, the gym won’t hold your hand or kiss you goodnight…. But just like a relationship, the gym can change your life. It can help shape your character and teach you that you’re far stronger – both physically and emotionally – than you ever thought possible. Creating the body you’ve always wanted can inspire you and others and it helps enable you to live your best life.

Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables… Or Die!

happy-fruit-and-vegetable-face-rosemary-calvertWhen your mom told you to eat your fruits and vegetables, you probably didn’t realize it’s a matter of life and death. And according to a new study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, it is. Sort of.

For the study, researchers examined 65,000 English adults at least 35 years of age. For an average of 7.7 years, the dietary habits and health status were monitored for each participant. Variables that could affect the outcome – like age, sex, BMI, alcohol intake, physical activity, smoking, etc. – were all taken into account and controlled.

The findings were striking.

According to researchers, individuals who ate seven or more servings of produce were 42% less likely to die from any cause during the study. Specifically, these individuals were 25% less likely to die from cancer and 31% less likely to die from heart disease when compared to people who ate fewer fruits and vegetables. Moreover, the decrease in mortality risk was linked more strongly with vegetables than with fruits.

Eating healthy – and getting your servings of fruit and vegetables – isn’t just about looking good in a bathing suit. It’s also about living a long and healthy life. After all, you can’t wear a bathing suit… if you’re dead.


How Much Should You Be Able to Bench Press?

Bench-Press“How much can you lift, bro?”

We’ve all heard that question. And we’ve all rolled our eyes when it’s asked. Regardless (and for better or worse), the bench press has become the gold standard in comparing levels of physical fitness.

Go to the gym. Enlist the help of a spotter. Add a comfortable amount of resistance to the bench press. Perform one repetition. With a rest in between, keep adding additional resistance until you reach your limit. When you can’t lift anymore, that’s your one rep max. And when someone asks you how much you can lift, you’ll have your answer.

But how much should you be able to lift?

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 11.56.40 AMAccording to data, an untrained 165-pound man can bench press 119 pounds. See chart (at right) for additional data points.

You’ll quickly discover that most untrained or novice exercisers aren’t able to bench press their own bodyweight. Though it’s not necessarily the best measure of physical strength, the ability to press one’s own bodyweight is a common goal for exercisers. Though it doesn’t have a direct implication, it’s a bragging right to which many men and women aspire.

So how much weight should you be able to bench press? There’s no short answer. It depends on your weight, fitness level, goals and a variety of other factors. Though the chart will provide some very guidelines, know that each person is different. And that all of us are at different points on our fitness journey.

The bottom line: If you’re not satisfied with your current level of strength, set a goal and work towards it.

Forgive Yourself and Lose Weight.

Love-Yourself-FirstToday’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Your relationship with your body is one of the most important relationships that you’ll ever have. And I’m going to share the number-one thing you can do to honor that relationship and create permanent, lasting results.

Forgive yourself.

Yes… this might sound simple, but if you’re like so many on a weight-loss journey, you can be relentless when it comes to self-criticism and contempt for yourself and your body. When you let go of the guilt and shame about how you look or how you’ve treated your body, you enter a world of love and positivity that helps you create the healthy body you want and deserve.

A self-forgiving state of mind helps you more easily release negative judgments of yourself. You’re then less likely to act on those feelings by hurting yourself and your body. You’ll naturally want to take better care of your body. You see, when you learn to love yourself unconditionally and forgive yourself more readily, you’re likely to eat healthier foods, give your body the movement it needs, and talk to yourself with greater compassion.

On the other hand, when your body is filled with the poisonous energies of self-contempt (and I know you have experienced times like this), you’re more likely to turn to food for comfort or self-punishment. The negative feelings can quickly lead to a very old and familiar sense of being out of control or a victim.

As you begin to develop the habit of self-forgiveness you will notice significant changes in your physical health and in your ability to no longer rely on food for comfort. And when you feel that love for yourself and your body, you might, for example, be less likely to skip Zumba class in order to head right home after work and watch TV.

So, how do you forgive yourself?

It takes patience and persistence. Here are three heart-based exercises to help you open to the healing power of self-forgiveness, love yourself more and bring peace to your mind.

1. Be Willing to Forgive Yourself

Self-forgiveness starts with a willingness to release guilt, shame and self-hatred. Open the space for this healing energy to enter your mind and body by setting the intention to do so.

Simply say to yourself right now: “I want to forgive myself.”

Additionally, write these words down on paper several times:

“I want to forgive myself. I want to love myself fully and treat myself with loving kindness.”

This may seem like a very simple process. It is. Don’t equate simple with ineffective. A sincere and deliberate intention to stop berating yourself, and to forgive yourself when you do, helps you take charge of your life, feel less like a victim, and stop the cycle of emotional eating.

2. Wrap Negative Thoughts in Love

We all fall into old patterns. So the next time you slip back into less than healthy eating or exercise habits and berate yourself with unkind words, turn to your heart for comfort.

For example, instead of dwelling on those negative thoughts and feelings, remind yourself you can stop. Take a deep breath. Then, focus your attention on your heart and at the same time think of a beautiful memory or someone you love. I learned this exercise from the Institute of HeartMath and it helps you feel calm very quickly. Then, say this affirmation to yourself or out loud while keeping your attention on your heart:

“I release these thoughts and feelings (or shame and guilt, etc.) into the arms of Love and I open to loving and forgiving myself.”

Directing your attention to your heart infuses your words with calming, heart-based energy. It is as if you are wrapping your self-contempt in a blanket of love.

3. Connect to Your Heart, Literally

Become quiet. Place your hand on your heart. Feel your heart beat. Now, while keeping your hand on your heart, say to yourself:

“I totally and completely love and accept myself with all my problems and all my limitations.”

Feel into this process. Repeat several times daily.

This exercise helps you connect with the loving energy of your heart. Your heart doesn’t judge you for overeating or for talking harshly to yourself. It simply keeps beating on. Feel that beautiful, consistent heartbeat and know that you are loved by the pure energy within it.

Practice the above steps faithfully and you’ll begin to create a lightness of spirit within you.

Be patient and have faith. Over time you’ll notice that the love you give to yourself on the inside will be reflected in the ways you care for yourself and look and feel on the outside.

Will you practice self-forgiveness?