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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 11, 2009
Healthy Eating: The Best Way to Resist Temptation
In one of my many conversations recently about healthy lifestyle management, the question came up about the best way to resist eating foods that we believe might not be the best choice for us at the moment. To wit, the upcoming chocolate celebration known as Valentine's Day, which Cindy so aptly discussed yesterday.
Cindy talked about enjoying chocolate in moderation, knowing we can have some again later. But many of us struggle with just eating one or two. We have experienced having one, then another, then another....before we know it, it's all gone.
So how do we break this cycle? The best way is to really not want more. And just how do we do that?
Mindful Eating is the Key
Tuning into what we really want is what mindful eating is all about. When we're paying attention, we're better able to find the point at which we have had enough. Our bodies were designed to be able to tell us that but weight loss diets have taught us differently. Weight loss diets either leave us feeling hungry much of the time, or set us up for feelings of deprivation that leave us in a state that a whole box of chocolates may not even really ameliorate. Especially when we're left feeling guilty for eating the whole thing.
To take care of these two major problems, we teach at Green Mountain two basic principles of mindful eating: regular, balanced eating, and eating what you want.
Regular, Balanced Eating
This one is relatively simple. Just feed yourself balanced meals/snacks on a regular basis. People normally get hungry every 3-5 hours or so (it can vary depending on the person and on how much we eat at any one meal or snack), so if you're not sure when you're hungry, start eating on this 'schedule' for a while, and you'll help yourself get back in touch with what true physical hunger feels like.
Eating What We Want
This one can be more challenging. For some of us, it's just a matter of giving ourselves permission, to get rid of the negative thoughts that cloud our judgment. We can tell ourselves it's okay to eat chocolate (or whatever is our 'thing'), and we can go on to enjoy it in moderation.
For others of us, however, we've been dieting too long. Or if we haven't been dieting, we've been believing we need to be, so we might as well have been as far as our ability to feed ourselves in a way that satisfies is concerned. We might need to move slowly, giving ourselves opportunities to enjoy foods we fear in a relatively controlled way. For example, instead of the whole box of chocolates, we might better enjoy a small package that limits how much we have access to at any one moment. Instead of buying the half gallon of ice cream, we might better manage a trip to the ice cream store to enjoy a cone -- single, double or triple dip, you decide -- or the hot fudge sundae. A triple dip or a sundae is an improvement over the whole half gallon.
Putting It Together
The first step in mindful eating -- eating regular, balanced meals/snacks -- helps immensely with the second step. When we're hungry, it takes more to satisfy us. When we eat foods we fear after a period of feeding ourselves well, it doesn't take as much to satisfy. So we don't have to deal with the fear that arises if we think we're eating 'too much.' That assumes, however, that we're eating the food without feelings of guilt, which will interfere with our ability to feel satisfied.
Remember, too, that it took a while to develop the attitudes and behaviors that confound our eating. Many of us have been dieting -- and binge eating as a result --for years. Being patient with ourselves, knowing we'll have ups and downs (actually, that's a part of normal eating, not just dieting recovery), will help us move forward instead of returning to old behaviors when we think we're not doing as well as we 'should.'
That brings up one of my favorite sayings: Let's stop shoulding on ourselves.
Have a happy Valentine's Day!
January 28, 2009
Healthy Weight Loss: Is It Harder for Women to Say No?
The headlines were abuzz last week with results of the latest study that 'proved' women are at some sort of biological disadvantage compared to men. This time, it's whether we're able to resist our favorite foods as easily as men can.
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?
January 07, 2009
For Healthy Lifestyles: New Year's Resolutions We Can Live With
I can now confess I have recently developed a new addiction, although it's one I think I am coming to terms with. It's called Twitter, a social networking site that has been a lot of fun over the holidays. If you're on Twitter, follow me at https://twitter.com/MarshaHudnall.
- Have fun & de-stress. It's obvious why this helps our health.
- Take care of oral hygiene. Seems poor oral hygiene can raise risk for heart attack.
- Start working crossword puzzles. Keeps the mind nimble.
- Indulge in a little red wine daily. The antioxidants therein provide some important health benefits. (Dr. Jim emphasizes 'a little.')
- Stop the cycle of snoring. Affects both your and your sleeping partner's sleep.
- Don't skip the seatbelt -- ever. Ditto my comment on the first bullet.
- Check your ergonomics. Especially for those of us almost permanently attached to the computer.
So keep up those fitness and diet (healthy eating, that is, not weight loss diet) efforts, but when you feel like you're going around in circles with that, focus on the above for a little positive feedback in the form of success at these sometimes easier efforts. And listen to Dr. Jim's whole spiel about them for his complete take on the subject.
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.
November 19, 2008
Preventing Holiday Weight Gain: 10 Tips to Guarantee Holiday Weight Gain
The annual holiday food fight is about to begin. You know, the one where conflicted women nationwide (even worldwide) face down rich-food eating traditions.
This year, to help women understand what doesn’t work when it comes to happy holidays, the healthy-weight experts at Green Mountain at Fox Run have come up with some sure-fire tips to take the guesswork out of gaining those holiday pounds. We counter them with sensible advice for emerging from the holidays feeling great.
For Guaranteed Holiday Weight Gain
…Before the Holidays
· Diet! Diet! Diet! Let’s face it, you expect to overeat during the holidays so why not get a jump on weight loss now? If you’re feeling truly ambitious, try dieting during the holidays, too; the deprivation will be highly effective at driving you to overeat. Our real advice: Learn to eat what you want now in a way that leaves you feeling great. Then the holidays won’t pose any special challenge, and you can enjoy them fully.
· Work out extra hard and long every day. You can make up for those times during the holidays when you won’t want or have the time to do anything. Our real advice: When we overdo on exercise, we’re more likely to burn out, or worse yet, injure ourselves, and guarantee we don’t want to do anything. Slow and steady wins the race.
· Start weighing yourself daily. You’ll be able to follow your weight up and down the scale, and cut back even more when you’ve gained an ounce. Then you’ll heighten your feelings of deprivation even more, further guaranteeing holiday overindulgence. Our real advice: Toss out the scale now and for always. It generally doesn’t give the instant gratification we seek, and often negatively impacts our motivation to take care of ourselves.
…During the Holidays
· Take on as much work as you can. If you don’t do it, who will? The holidays just aren’t the holidays without all the fuss! Our real advice: Choose wisely in what you commit to. You may end up with fewer or simpler celebrations but you’ll enjoy the holidays much more.
· Surround yourself with family and friends who make you feel guilty about eating. It’s easier to say ‘no’ when your spouse, mother, sister, daughter, friend looks disapprovingly at you as you reach for that wonderful holiday sprinkled cookie. Our real advice: Educate family and friends about the real impact of their attempts to control what you eat. If they won’t listen, minimize your time around them when you’re eating. It may mean missing a party or meal, but you might feel much better as a result.
· Forget about stress management for now. You’re too busy!! Just focus on getting what you need to get done. And be sure to really have too much to do before big parties. If you can pick a fight with your spouse on the way to a party, all the better to guarantee extra emotional overeating. Our real advice: Take care of yourself physically and mentally to help keep a balanced view on what’s important during busy times. Maybe the easiest thing to do: Get some exercise! Physical activity refreshes, relaxes, revitalizes and will add energy and enthusiasm to your life. Make it a regular part of your day during the holidays and after.
…Before & During Parties
· Make sure every social event revolves around food. If you throw the party yourself, make too much food, especially desserts! Set up nuts and other goodies early so you can pick at them all day long while you skip meals. You do eat fewer calories that way, right? Our real advice: Traditional foods are a big part of festivities, but holidays don’t have to be all about food. Plan fun activities such as pumpkin bowling (knock down gourd ‘pins’ with small pumpkins), a pine cone toss (count how many pine cones you can land inside a hula hoop) or just fun and refreshing walks through the woods, around the neighborhood talking to friends you pass.
· Set a ‘hands-off’ rule for all the rich foods you’ll encounter. If you just say ‘no,’ you’ll be able to nip any weight gain in the bud! Our real advice: When we forbid foods or label them ‘bad,’ we set ourselves up for overeating them. Again, learn to eat foods you love – even those rich in calories, fat, sugar – in a manner that makes you feel well. That way, you’ll enjoy them and, if you’re following a healthy lifestyle, you’ll enjoy a healthy weight, too.
· Go ahead and buy all those goodies on sale in jumbo packages. They’re for your guests; they won’t create any problem for you having them around. Our real advice: Good intentions aside, mere exposure to food often sets us up for wanting to at least taste it, especially if we’ve got the idea we shouldn’t. Help yourself by buying only as much as you really need, and even then, it might help to keep goodies tucked out of sight in the pantry until party time.
· Bank calories whenever possible. Skip breakfast and lunch to make sure you’ll overeat at the party. Our real advice: Feeding yourself well all the time leaves you better nourished and able to choose wisely whether at parties or the food court at the mall.
October 22, 2008
More on Healthy Weights & Reading
A couple weeks ago, I posted about research that showed reading books that young girls could identify with helped improve self esteem and might be a good way to reach them with helpful fitness and health information. Emphasis on the helpful, which to us at Green Mountain means health at every size [HAES] messages.
For anyone who can use a primer on what HAES is all about, I'm thrilled to report that Linda Bacon has published her long-awaited book (long-awaited in HAES circles at least) "Health at Every Size, The Surprising Truth about your Weight." Excerpts from the website:
Fat isn't the problem. Dieting is the problem.
A society that rejects anyone whose size or body shape doesn't meet an impossible ideal is the problem.
A medical establishment that equates "thin" with "healthy" is the problem.
The solution? Health at Every Size
Health at Every Size is not a diet book. Read it and you will be convinced that the best way to win the war against fat is the give up the fight.
This is a book with helpful messages that anyone concerned about womens healthy living -- or anyone else's, for that matter -- can really use.