Recovering From Post Holiday Weight + Inflammation

There’s nothing wrong with a little fluctuation during a holiday or vacation. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t indulge when celebrating with our family and friends. Over the holidays I gained 4 pounds, which may not seem a lot to you but, on my barely 5’2 petite frame, I felt it. Along with the little weight gain was temporary inflammation, breakouts, water retention, bloat, and brain fog. I have zero regrets for any of the food or drinks I consumed. It’s life, you guys. Getting back on track doesn’t have to be drastic or difficult.

Here are my tips on getting back on track and how I lost the 4 pounds:

Photographer:  Soda Fountain Photo

Photographer: Soda Fountain Photo

  1. MOVE YOUR BODY

    A lot of the holidays are eating, traveling, more drinking, eating, sitting, more eating, more drinking and more sitting. Balance it out with some physical activity that you enjoy. Don’t waste your energy, money, or time on a workout you don’t like. This is NOT a punishment for the food you ate. Take your favorite group fitness class and ask a friend to join you. Take a walk outside for some fresh air or walk around your favorite museum. I love a good sweat session that combines cardio and weights like a Barry’s Bootcamp class or CorePower Yoga’s Yoga Sculpt.

  2. THERMOJET INFRARED BODY WRAP

    I booked an appointment at Leah Chavie Skincare for a 45 minute Thermojet Infrared Body Wrap Session. During the treatment, flexible wide silicone wraps are used for targeting specific areas of the body: arms, waist, hips, and legs. BENEFITS: soothe tight muscles and joints, aids in detoxification (you’ll sweat your butt off), aids in lymphatic drainage, cellulite reduction over time, improves circulation, and infrared reduces inflammation in the body. I prefer an Infrared Body Wrap over a steam room or sauna because I can lay down for a nap while breathing in room temperature air. A treat for my Chicagoans: Leah is offering my readers Thermojet Infrared Body Wrap for $75 until the end of Febuary (2/28/19). Mention CARLA JIAN when you call to book your appointment.

    SIDE NOTE: When you book your wrap at Leah’s, go ahead and treat yourself to one of her infamous facials. If you’ve watched my Instagram stories you know how much I LOVE Leah and it’s not a basic facial. She has changed the texture of my skin and has lightened my old acne scars. Mention CARLA JIAN for 30% off your FIRST facial.

    Follow Leah on Instagram for her latest and greatest on skincare.

  3. RESET YOUR DIGESTION

    The following day(s) after a great holiday feast I give my digestive system a break with Intermittent Fasting. My sweet spot is 14-15 hours. I start my morning with water, on a good day - warm water with, apple cider vinegar, and lemon, then Four Sigmatic Coffee with inulin fiber. I usually have breakfast around 10am and have my last meal by 7pm. Research Intermittent Fasting on your own to see what method works best for your lifestyle. For me, even 1 day of IF decreases a lot of the bloat. I prefer to IF 3-5 days a week and find that it increases my energy and clears my thinking.

  4. EAT MORE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS

    Some of my favorite inflammation fighting foods are turmeric, celery, dark leafy greens, ginger, green tea, salmon, bone broth, blueberries, and flaxseed to name a few. Basically colorful foods that are high in omega-3s, fiber, good fats, antioxidants, and lean protein.

  5. WATER

    HYDRATE! When consuming holiday cocktails and foods those salty/savory dishes are unfortunately high in sugar or sodium, which make you want them more, so the last thing you’re reaching for is water. Not enough water = dehydration. Dehydration signals are similar to hunger, so it may cause you to eat more when you’re really just thirsty. I prefer to drink my body weight (in ounces) because I sweat a lot from working out. So if you’re an active 125 pound person, aim close to 125 ounces.

  6. PROBIOTIC

    If you aren’t on a regular probiotic, get on one. Probiotics help balance the good bacteria in your digestive system. When my gut is out of whack I end up having acne breakouts and crazy bloating. Probiotics really help with my healthy glow and ease my digestion. Speak with your doctor to decide what probiotic is best for you.

  7. EAT MORE PLANT BASED

    Add more vegetables in to your meals. Enjoy them raw or cooked. The earth harvests what our bodies need so eat what’s in season, preferably organic or organic frozen veggies.

  8. AVOID FOODS THAT CAUSE INFLAMMATION

    It’s pretty clear what foods made me feel puffy, cause acne, and brain fog. I avoid those for at least a week. Having these foods cause havoc in my system so I’m okay with giving them up for a bit.

Notice how this is NOT about restriction or deprivation. I didn’t go on a juice cleanse or diet. It’s just about mindful eating and listening to your body. Your body is meant to feel amazing. Be good to it.

Hope these simple tips help you to get back on track! Let me know how these work for you.

Happy New Year!

Carla Jian

Chocolate Covered Everything

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Confession....I am a chocoholic.  I eat chocolate every day.  Yup.  EVERY DAY.  I use to eat milk chocolate...then switched to dark chocolate because of all the health claims.  As I got older, my body couldn't handle all the added sugar.  So when I educated myself more on the benefits of dark chocolate, I made a commitment to stick to eating more 100% cacao.

There are countless benefits of cacao.  It's been known to aid in cardiovascular health, enhance mood, and is high in antioxidants.  For me, eating pure cacao curbs my craving for the not so healthy chocolate.  We say we "need" chocolate when in actuality, we are deficient in magnesium.  Cacao is rich in magnesium so when consumed you'll be able to manage your need to overeat that chocolate bar or cake.  Here are my 3 cacao staples I consume almost daily to avoid high sugar in chocolate, and keep my chocolate rages under control:

  1. Pascha Organic's 100% Cacao Chocolate Chips have replaced my chocolate bar addiction.  I add these to trail mixes, yogurt, and homemade date balls.  They are free of gluten, soy, dairy, nuts, and added sweetener.  The extreme bitterness takes some getting use to.  I recommend trying the lower percentage cacao chocolates before you get up to 100%.  For a sweet treat, I'll stuff cashew or almond butter in a pitted date, and then add the cacao chips.  The natural sweetness of the date really compliment the bitter cacao.
  2. Speaking of dates...RX Bar's Chocolate Sea Salt are my protein bar of choice when I'm on the go.  With 3 egg whites in each bar, the 12g of protein definitely beat your typical chocolate protein bar.  The other ingredients include dates, nuts, and cacao.  These are delicious, and even my toddler loves them!
  3. Navitas Oganics Cacao Powder are featured in every chocolate flavored smoothie I blend.  Their organic cacao powder is packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, and magnesium.  Side note: cacao is not the same as cocoa.  

If you are addicted to chocolate, try replacing it with some of these.  And ladies, when it's that time of the month and all you want is chocolate covered everything, give these a try to avoid the sugar rush crash turned into guilt thinking "OMG I ate handfuls of chocolate in one sitting".  You don't have to give up your decadent restaurant desserts entirely.  It's all about balance.  On special occasions, I will indulge in only the very best chocolate desserts at my favorite restaurants.  Once in a while I like to treat myself to Vosges Chocolates or explore Whole Foods for one of many organic fair trade chocolate bar brands.  I've noticed when I practiced eating chocolate in a more mindful way, I stopped having guilt or a horrible sugar rush.  So enjoy your healthiest chocolate most days, and have the other delicios chocolate only a few (or less) days.  Now be happy that you can have your chocolate and eat it too!

With love and chocolate,

Carla