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The Fat Girl’s Guide to Unleashing Your Inner Superhero
Posted by Angela in Health + Beauty
super gurrl by JamieBates

We've all been there: Saturday morning's long, impatient to-do list competes with the more compelling siren song of a warm blanket and a good book. Or a jam-packed day at the office - complete with a two-hour lunch delay to solve the latest crisis - burns this morning's stockpile of energy down to embers. Or on the one day you get to sleep in, the kids decide to wake an hour and a half early to place an order for Mickey Mouse pancakes. While everyone faces days that test their endurance, the extra weight (and sometimes the negative self-talk) that fat girls carry in addition to our everyday burdens can make it tough to find an energy boost when we need it. Next time life demands a Superwoman setting, try refueling your energy reserves with one of these techniques.

Move it or lose it

It doesn't take a physicist to grasp that whole "a body at rest stays at rest" law of motion deal. The more we sit without doing something active, the more inclined we are to. . .  sit without doing something active. So get up, already (this is one of those times when I need to take my own advice). Push back from the cube desk every 30 minutes and walk a lap around the office, fill your water bottle, etc. Set an egg timer and clean like crazy for exactly 10 minutes. Do five of anything resembling a jumping jack. Walk for just five minutes, then assess if you want to continue moving. For many people, the simple act of getting the blood flowing and the heart beating a little faster is all it takes to shake off the afternoon drag.

What's your cup o’ tea?

When faced with an early morning or tough afternoon, many of us automatically reach for the caffeine boost of coffee or soda. Next time, consider swapping that Diet Coke for a cup of tea, which can provide energizing benefits without dehydrating you or posing caffeine’s risk of addiction. Popular choices include rooibos tea (antioxidant-rich and said to help soothe headaches and muscle aches, as well as improving digestion) and teas made with spearmint (light, refreshing taste and benefits said to include improved digestion and a limiting of excess hair growth on women – bonus!). Check out TeaBenefits.com for ideas about the tea that best suits your health and mood.

DIY mantra

Stuart Smalley had "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." My best friend posts song lyrics or Bible verses on Facebook when she needs to pick herself up or focus. As ridiculous as it sounds, my own "daily affirmation" came from a fortune cookie I received last summer: "You are capable, competent, creative, careful. Prove it." (I figured if a cookie takes the time to call you out in no uncertain terms, it's probably wise to listen.)

Having a mantra doesn't have to be boring, trite or sound like a corporate mission statement -- it's simply about identifying what drives you. What's the motivating force behind your job, your activities, your relationships or your choices? Are you working toward a family? A home? Better health? An established industry name? If you can connect to the root idea of what makes a task important, you may be able to find the reserves to push through it with gusto.



Make like Gumby

Back in November, Tee published the (awesome) Fat Girl's Guide to Stretching and we learned how easy -- and energizing -- it could be to incorporate basic stretches into our daily routine. All those expert tips and sage advice? Still true! the important thing to add is that regardless of your lifestyle, whether you're a stay-at-home mom, a student, a high-profile corporate exec, or working two jobs to pay rent, simple stretches are a take-anywhere, try-anywhere cure for flagging energy in just a few minutes. You don't need equipment and you don't need total privacy (which is more than we can say for the next tip) or intensive training, because moves as simple as neck stretches and shoulder rolls provide big benefits and can be done right from your desk.

Gimme an 'O!'

We're no longer in the Victorian age, ladies, so I'm just going to say it: orgasms are good for us. Whether achieved solo or with a partner, the release of endorphins orgasms provide is similar to that of a runner's high, and the benefits include everything from reduced stress levels to pain management to curbed appetites. Not bad for something that feels great, right?

It may seem counter-intuitive to recommend an activity that provides such deep relaxation (and frequently, sleepiness), but a clear mind and a 20-minute power nap will often do wonders for both attitude and productivity. Plus, not every burst of energy is physical; feeling empowered and energized can just as easily be a mental strategy. How much more confidence and enthusiasm do you project when you feel good about yourself and your body? And what better way to connect with your body's innate awesomeness than through some, shall we say, quality time and a toe curler (or two)? I rest my case -- and ask that you not try this in the office.

It's essential

Aromatherapy evokes or enhances different moods through scent, either in the form of candles or essential oils. Small amounts of the concentrated oils can be sniffed from a vial or jar, applied to pressure points like the temples, feet, or wrists, or heated in a diffuser to fill a room with fragrance. To revitalize and energize, consider scents like tea tree, mint, basil, lime, cedar, rosewood, ginger and frankincense. Oils and candles are available at retailers like Bath & Body Works, as well as smaller, niche stores and online vendors. Check out AromaWeb for more information.

Pump up the jams

Over dinner last month, my 50-something friend Iris confided the secret of her recent weight loss and sudden take-no-prisoners approach to life: Quite simply, she got a new attitude. “It’s Patti LaBelle,” she said with a grin. “I get on my treadmill and as soon as ‘New Attitude’ comes on, I’m ready to rock!”

Whether your own musical magic trick is an “anthem song” like Iris’s, or just a tune that takes you to a particularly confident, empowered time and place, music is a powerful tool – so make it work for you when you need it most. Flood your headphones with the iPod mix of songs that always gets your blood pumping (mine always includes “Hazy Shade of Winter” by The Bangles). Or choose a song with lyrics that speak to your mood and blast it while you work, cook, drive, fold laundry, or just sing at the top of your lungs.

Judge if you will, but all it takes is the opening pulse of Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” to remind me of the 4 a.m. lakefront reality check/pep talk delivered by a dear friend last summer. In a moment of flagging confidence and confusion about the future, he helped me cut through my fears and self sabotage as Gaga wailed and waves crashed in the background. A year later, I still play that song when I need a reminder that Mike was right and everything’s “gonna be okay. . . (just dance)."

Regis, I'd like to phone a friend

If you've read this far, you may have noticed that I frequently mention my friends when I write--they're my extended (and surrogate) family and, often, my inspiration. Our friends are able to see the amazing qualities we possess but can't always acknowledge in ourselves. So it stands to reason that these are the same people who may have a motivating trick or two up their sleeves when we're feeling drained. Reaching out to a friend via phone, text or e-mail takes only moments, but the belly laugh or the calibration with your truest self that s/he provides may be what you need to feel rejuvenated.

How do you stay energized? Where do you turn for an energy boost when you most need it? Tell us in comments.