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March 20, 2009
In Pursuit of a Healthy Weight: One Woman's Green Mountain Experience
Today's post comes from Beverly Dame of Lyndonville, Vermont. After staying at Green Mountain at Fox Run for a week, she wrote a letter to friends and family to explain her experience with our program. We're sharing parts of it here to give women an idea the kind of changes that they can expect when they begin to make themselves a priority. Thanks for sharing, Beverly!
It has been almost a week since I came home from my week at Green Mountain at Fox Run. It was such a wonderful experience (life-changing, paradigm-shifting, revelatory) that I want to write about it. Women come from all over the country and the world to stay at Green Mountain. Honolulu, Hawaii; Chicago, Illinois; Alexandria, Virginia; Kingston, Ontario; Montreal, Quebec; northern Georgia; Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York; New Haven and New Canaan, Connecticut; and Croatia all had women there. Young women in their 20s and women like me in their 60s and in between. All had been dealing with food and body issues for most of their lives. Some like me were staying for one week; many for two and a few lucky ones for a month or more. What we came for was a comprehensive way of dealing with the size and shape of our bodies. Notice, I’m avoiding the use of the word “weight.”
At Green Mountain it is about mindfulness: being aware and in the moment as we confront choices about food, exercise and responses to all the stresses of daily life. The week combined classes and discussion groups with exercise opportunities. Women who are in their first week have “required” classes including: fitness soul search: the return to intrinsic movement; are you ready for change? Introduction to the behavior component and to mindfulness; the principles of mindful eating; redefining healthy eating; and understanding the emotions that lead you to eat.
I was most impressed by the time and attention the program and staff devoted to sending each one of us home with the materials and support to put all we learned into daily practice. Including the idea that as far as exercise and mindful eating goes, “Something is better than nothing,” and “there will be days.”
We identified the energizing people in our lives and the energy-drainers and talked about how to deal with them. I came up with strategies for dealing with dreaded cocktail parties. I paid for an extra session with the fitness director. We put together a weekly plan combining weight training and cardio.
I also came away with human support. There were six of us of about the same age who formed a group that I loosely dub the “Green Mountain Girls.” Sorry Ethan Allen. We’re emailing each other with support and understanding. Staff encourage us to stay in touch with questions. I’m to check in with my fitness guru at the end of the week after we return from France. She also gave me hints and suggestions for working out while traveling even if the hotel doesn’t have a gym.
Before going I would weigh myself every day; how demoralizing, depressing and defeatist. I’m working on unlearning that habit. Told myself this morning that I could get on the scale but why? I’ve been exercising every day, working on eating more slowly, and having a balanced snack in the afternoon to keep from getting too hungry. And I did well at two eating out occasions this week. All of that is really more important for my long-term health and success than a number on a scale.
How is Beverly doing today, about one month after returning home from Green Mountain?
"I'm trying to stay off the scale. Hard, hard, hard. I know there's a lot of psychological baggage going on with wanting to weigh myself every day.
I think the hardest thing to is being in charge of my eating. I do the cooking and have been trying new healthful things (actually had bison burgers last night) but I can feel that my speed of eating has increased. Need to start putting down that fork or spoon between bites.
And my husband and I need to set a time for an evening meal. He's a chaotic eater and I'm a dieter. Not a match made in Green Mountain heaven. Of course, tonight there is a business dinner which always is a challenge.
The one thing that is much better is that I've stopped beating up on myself for my size and weight. Actually, I'm finding out that there is more to life.
March 18, 2009
On Meghan McCain, Tyra Banks & Hope
Have you been following the Meghan McCain body size debate over the last week? If you've somehow missed it, Lesley at Fatshionista has a good review of what's gone on.
My take on it has to do with dismay, gratification and optimism.
- I'm appalled that a woman dissed Ms. McCain about her body size. Guess I shouldn't be. But I like to think that women are leading the way away from size prejudice, and it's just disturbing to see my belief so publicly challenged.
- I'm pleased Ms. McCain had a prominent, beautiful woman like Tyra Banks as a model for fighting size disparagement. Let's face it, if Tyra weren't beautiful, she wouldn't have as much clout in this issue. But that gets into another subject.
- I'm hopeful these kinds of attacks are becoming more recognized as wrong -- or at the least, politically incorrect. My hope stems from the fact that we've seen what began as a small number of voices over 30 years ago snowball into the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement, which is gaining significant momentum.
The basic tenets of HAES are the future of self-care, which is ideally what healthy weight is all about. The tenets -- eating intuitively, moving our bodies regularly in order to feel well, taking care of ourselves in other basic ways, and accepting the bodies that result -- are, in a way, about optimizing our genetic destiny. And accepting we are all different.
Hope, optimism, destiny. They're all good words to help us keep on keepin' on.
What words describe your feelings about the state of size acceptance?
March 16, 2009
Treat Yourself to the Right Bra
While many women wear a compression or "short top" bra for physical activity, the bra experts at Intimacy recommend a medium to high impact bra with seams, shape and cup-depth like the La Breeza Sports bra for most physical activities and sports. Many fuller-busted women tend to try to wear minimizer or compression bras that may not offer enough support, especially for higher impact activities. Consult this primer on choosing a sports bra from the Women's Sports Medicine Center.
Make sure the back band is snug. The back band should provide 90% of a bra’s support while the straps should only provide 10 percent.
Check out Intimacy's Top 10 Bra Mistakes. It may surprise you to learn that you're wearing the wrong cup size.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly: Don't blame yourself for an ill-fitting bra. "The truth is that every woman blames her own body for the fit problems she has," writes Susan Nethero at Intimacy. A bra should be tailored to your body, not the other way around. Don't let embarrassment self-blame or stop you from finding the right bra.
Other bra resources:
Photo by tracyhunter on flickr.
February 23, 2009
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
On A Weight Lifted, we often blog about women who struggle with body image, binge eating, emotional eating, and unhealthy dieting - all issues which relate to more serious and sometime life-threatening eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we -as a society - could prevent more people from undergoing the same difficulties?
The aim of NEDAwareness Week is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment.
What is NEDAwareness Week?
NEDAwareness Week is a collective effort of primarily volunteers, eating disorder professionals, health care providers, educators, social workers, and individuals committed to raising awareness of the dangers surrounding eating disorders and the need for early intervention and treatment.
How NEDAwareness Week Works
NEDAwareness Week participants organize events, share stories and distribute educational materials at schools, fitness centers, offices, community centers, places of worship and more mainly during the last week of February each year. As an official NEDAwareness Week participant you can be involved in any way that works with your schedule, resources, community, and interests. For example, you could donate copies of GO GIRLS!™ and Healthy Body Image: Teaching Kids to Eat and Love Their Bodies Too! to schools, ask your workplace to participate in the NEDA Wear Your Jeans to Work Fundraiser, coordinate a first annual NEDA Walk, or arrange interactive and educational activities such as panel discussions, fashion shows, body fairs, movie screenings, art exhibits and more. These events and activities attract public media attention - on local, national and international levels.
Until Eating Disorders are History....
Find out more how you can volunteer, obtain information, and show your support. Visit the National Eating Disorders website and get involved!
February 20, 2009
Body Image: And the Award Goes To...
January 30, 2009
When I Grow Up, I Want to Be an Old Woman
Some things are just too good not to share. This video is one of them. It encourages us to get mammograms. That's good, too, although not why I posted the video. Watch it; I'm sure you'll understand my why.
One other good thing I want to share: a blog called The Gimpy Girls: Solutions for Baby Boomers, the Disabled and the Just Plain Lazy. That's where I found this video. Now I'm looking for time to read more of the blog.
Have a great weekend!!
January 21, 2009
Tomorrow is Women's Healthy Weight Day!
Each year, the Thursday of Healthy Weight Week (third week in January) is devoted to women, to honor size diversity and "confirm that beauty, health and strength come in all sizes, and that talent, love and compassion cannot be weighed." Awards this year go to two winners.
Check out both these websites for great information on what you can do to promote size acceptance and good health among women tomorrow and every day. While you're at it, also consider signing the HAES (Health at Every Size) pledge on Linda Bacon's website Health at Every Size. She's also developing a registry to help folks find HAES resources throughout the country.
January 14, 2009
Healthy Weight vs. Normal Weight: Who's to Say?
December 17, 2008
Women's Weight Loss: 'Tis the Season to Be Kind
I had a wonderful interaction with a family member this morning. Amazingly, it was echoed in my horoscope today on DailyOM, the site I've mentioned before that is often uncannily relevant to what's going on in my life. Won't get into the generality of horoscopes -- I know they often can apply to anyone. But the words I get in a daily e-letter from DailyOM seem to go beyond that.
- Feed yourself.
- Be choosy.
- Eat mindfully.
- Cultivate a discriminating palate.
- Keep moving.
- Enjoy the season!
December 03, 2008
How Much Stress Do Weight Worries Create for You?
The contribution of the holidays aside, stress is a constant in our lives. What we often don't realize, however, is how much concern about weight can cloud all we do, adding stress to even the happiest situations.