The Derrière or The Face?

In the summer of 2016 I wrote a blog post on my decision to completely give up sugar, entitled “Sugar The Sweet Poison of All.”  With the exception of fruit and my Sugar Polish I was pretty much committed. I thought I had found one of the most elusive secrets of life. Well as the ole saying goes, “When you get older, you have to be ready to trade your ass for your face” ~ a comment made by French actress Catherine Deneuve, turns out to be quite true.

Seems there’s a flip side to every dang thang, including giving up sugar! Geez Louise, can a woman get a break?  Apparently not! What I hadn’t anticipated was the amount of weight I would loose and the impact this would have.  When I began removing sugar from my diet, I was at a comfortable weight and was not looking to loose weight, just maintain where I was. But as the weeks and months rolled by the pounds began to shed.

Initially I didn’t think much of it, but seven months later I came to realize, the lack of sugar has caused a slimness in my face that made me understand why Hollywood types resort to Botox. It’s to plump things up. At a certain age in a woman’s life, the decision to try to attain a weight too low for her, will cause a sacrifice of a pleasing plumpness, particularly in the face. This plumpness offers a more youthful appearance. As per usual, Mother Nature knows best.  She (your female reproductive system) has women gaining weight at this stage for a number of reasons.

Many women experience an increase and or a redistribution of weight once they begin menopause. At this phase in a woman’s life she needs to have a certain amount of fat on her bones, literally.  This not only to look good, but because this fat is filled with estrogen, replacing the estrogen that is no longer being produced by ovulation. This new fat is literally protecting our bones, providing a cushion for the increased fragility of bones at this chapter of womanhood.

I had gained a considerable amount of weight when I first started menopause, but then rapidly lost it due to stress; which is the worse way to loose weight. It’s not a good look. The lack of sugar did not help matters. That is why when I arrived in Dubai one of the first things I told my hosts, was that I wanted to gain weight. And they fed me well!!! It’s also easier to gain weight on vacation because we’re not as busy and less likely to skip meals.

When I spoke with my massage therapist, Ajah Wolfe, who is also a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist about this loss of weight, he shared that not only does sugar have a warming affect on the body, but it naturally plumps things up. The warming affect is what causes all kinds of inflammation. I hadn’t given up fruits and never will, but I had given up most every other kind of sweet including most fruit juices. The great thing about fruit is that it is comprised of both sugar and fiber.  The fiber assists with the natural breakdown and processing of the sugar.

In the case of refined sugar, there is no fiber so the sugar goes directly into the blood stream causing a number of negative side affects. Ajah shared that sugar damages the spleen and causes dampness and phlegm in the body– dampness obstructs natural flood of energy, of blood (the elixir of life) and of circulation. Other serious dampness related maladies include muddy thoughts that lead to depression and insanity, edema, and diabetics problems are associated with dampness accumulation. Cataracts, is an accumulation of phlegm on the eyes. Chinese Medicine is deep and I won’t go further with this but hopefully you get the picture.

So I asked him then what is the answer if eating sugar is bad and not eating sugar is not good either. He replied that things change and that is the problem with Western Medicine, it just lumps things in large categories, without the nuances being considered. In Chinese Medicine, the whole person is taken into account with a realization that we are constantly changing and so remedies adjustment and change. A remedy that is working for you may only be good for only a few weeks or few months, not indefinitely. In the end you get to decide whether to allow your derrière to grow, which allows that natural plumpness, which has its own kind of beauty, or to work off all that fat and lose face. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying not to work out, just no extremes, everything in moderation, more strength building and stretching, less aerobics. That’s a note to self.  And you can never say, I didn’t tell you. I just wish someone had warned me.


Touch, Heal and Love Yourself

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I have been thinking about the touch of love. For many women (and men) Valentines season can be a painful reminder of being without that loving touch. Even for those who have a spouse or partner, being touched in a meaningful way can be an element lacking in the relationship. Because there’s the unfortunate truth that there are many who do not  know how to touch others, or how to receive being touched or how to lovingly touch themselves. So often the hunger for touch is ignored or even buried. This very essential need can and should be addressed and we are responsible for taking care of ourselves, our needs.

Being touched is one of the most affirming and healing aspects of this physical world. A cruel study revealed that babies who are not touched (other than to be fed and bathed) simply died. The power and radiance that comes from our hands is far greater than most of us realize. The great news is that there are plenty of wonderful options to address our needs as humans to be touched and I’m here to share some of them with you. And let me assure you I wouldn’t ask you to do anything I haven’t done myself.  I practice these rituals of self care on a regular basis and I’ve had every healing arts modality that I’ve listed below.  Each one leaves you feeling the magnificence of how we could all feel daily, if we lived in a world that put spirit above dollars. Welcome to healing.

First up, Touch Yourself  ~ The easiest and most accessible way to be touched is to use our own hands. Ever notice that as soon as you hurt yourself, the first thing you do is reflectively place your hand on that area? We do this because even though we may not be consciously aware of it, we intuitively know that our hands are healing tools. I suggest that you search your heart and mind to find out if you are in need of being touched and if so, allow yourself to address this need. Here are just some of my suggestions.

Tap In ~We can show ourselves some love by caressing our own bodies. Any time  you are unable to be with a lover and your needs arise, be your own lover! That’s right!  Who better than you can know what you truly want and need? Well actually a healing arts professional might be able to better assess your true needs;  that information is a little further down the page. In the meantime, since you’re always with you, this is the least time consuming option, you won’t have to travel anywhere to be with yourself, you are already there. And since it’s likely that you won’t charge yourself anything, this is the least expensive way to receive that loving and healing touch.  It can be difficult to make this decision if you haven’t been practicing self care on a regular basis.  But remember there is a part of you that longs to be taken care of.  Make the commitment, explore and enjoy.

Self Care ~ My favorite and easiest touching ritual is bathing. No, not showering, but getting in a tub of deliciously warm water. After relaxing in this elixir of life, begin washing your body sans a wash clothe. Instead of using a clothe, use just soap and your naked hands. There will be some tender parts of your anatomy that will delight in the feel your hands.

Be mindful, be intentional and truly be present to what you are doing. Feel the beauty of your hands on your body. After bathing the body, an exfoliation treatment can awaken the skin, making the body feel more alive, more radiant as exfoliation stimulates your lymph system. Follow up the exfoliation with a soothing cream. When you apply the cream focus 100% of your mind on what you’re doing. Imagine how lovingly you would apply that cream or butter to a baby you love and then baby yourself in the same way.  If the thought of a baby caring for a baby doesn’t inspire you, then touch yourself the way you’d want a lover to touch you, and enjoy it. Have your favorite music playing, a delightful fragrances burning and scrumptious chocolates and divine wine at the ready. You’re going to fall in love you!!!

Sexual Healing ~ My other suggestion for self-care is for you to offer sexual pleasure to yourself. Some women and men know how to please themselves and others may have no clue. If you know how to please yourself, during this Valentine’s season take this opportunity to go there. It may be the release you truly need, ahhhh… But if you have no clue on how to sexually please yourself, remember we’re in the information age… research! Consider taking a class. There are wonderful, insightful, and fun classes being taught at places like Babeland here in NY. If you’d rather more privacy, seek a highly praised book on this topic. One of my favorites books on this matter is by famed African American Gynecologist, Hilda Hutcherson, entitled, “What Your Mother Never Told You About S-e-x.” You might consider watching a how-to video or a steamy, foreign film. Call up your sexiest friend and ask him or her for some tips on this subject. They will be delighted to share with you and excited you’re finally getting your glow on. You can do this. Decide to find a way to stimulate yourself. Perhaps dancing gets you in the mood. Whatever it is that gets you going, get going.

Healing Hands ~ As a one who has studied Chinese Medicine for a bit, is a certified yoga instructor and Reiki practitioner, I truly believe in the power of the healing arts. Being touched by a professional who respects and loves their work does not fall under the banner of being sensual.  Nevertheless, the senses are subtly engaged by the relaxing music, the burning incense, or the essentials oils being applied. I highly recommend booking an appointment for one of the healing arts as a means of being touched. It’s a curative and sacred touch, but that might be just what the doctor ordered. The benefits are just amazing and you’ll want to thank me when it’s all said and done. So let me tell you now, you’re welcome!  Don’t worry if you’re unable to book on February14th, that’s probably one of the  busiest days for spas and not the best day for you to receive the attentiveness you deserve. Since everyday is a good day to love yourself, book your treatment for a the day or two after or as soon as you are able. Just do it!

 Healing Arts Options

Massage – There’s nothing like a good massage to renew you and make your feel relaxed, restored, renewed from head to toes.

Acupuncture – Is one of the oldest and best healing practices available in our modern times. This ancient healing modality is my first option after massage when something ails me. But having it just for a tune up is also very calming and healing. Two of my favorite acupuncturists are Elizabeth Healy and Bishara Wilson.

Manicure and pedicure – With added on services like a leg massage or chair massage, your mani-pedi might just do the trick. Even hand massages at a good nail spa can offer great relaxation. They are just wonderful.

Reiki – A Japanese form of hands on healing that will allow you to relax so deeply. You will feel submerged into a world of peace and calm. Please feel free to contact me to book this service.

Cranial Sacral Massage (head massage) OMG, talk about relaxing, you’ll be in heaven wondering when it’s over, why you have to come back to earth. Cranial Sacral Massage

Facial –I truly enjoy the way a facial feels and beautiful glow after the treatment. The fragrant botanicals used for facials, naturally heightens the entire experience. My two favs skin specialist are Skin by Mamie McDonald and Tres Belle Spa.

Reflexology (foot massage) – When booking spa appointments, many people forego this wonderful healing service. But all of our body’s organs have a region in the feet that are readily accessed via reflexology, making it a worth-while investment.

Thai Massage – There are so many types of massage therapies, but a Thai massage is like a having someone do yoga for you, using your body. As the massage therapist moves your limbs in graceful, stretching and circular ways, you wonder how you can do this more often.

Ayurveda – Hailing from India, Ayurveda is the oldest holistic healing therapy in the world. There are many different Ayurveda therapies. My favorite spa for Ayurveda treatments here on the east coast is the Kripalu Yoga Retreat located in the Berkshires. Kripalu specializes in Ayurveda and their treatments are simply, divine.

Yoga – Take a restorative yoga class.  In restorative yoga it’s all about relaxation.  It’s for beginners or those who just want a chill yoga class. There’s no competition, you don’t need fashion savvy yoga clothing.  All you need to bring is a willingness to go within. There’s a small, intimate class taught by Dianne Scott at the Joy of Living Yoga, right around the corner from Khamit Kinks on Bond Street.

How Do I Love Myself ~ So there you have it, more than a few ways to show yourself the love you deserve and may want from another. As the great Buddhist Monk Thích Nhât Hanh reminds us “we must truly love ourselves in order to be able to love another.”  Check out this beautiful video by Thich Nhat Hanh called How Do I Love Myself.

Happy Valentine’s Day Beautiful Ones!