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February 23, 2009

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

NEDA_Poster-Awareness_09-05-08forWEB 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!
 

Posted by Laura on February 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


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. 

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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!

Posted by Marsha on February 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


January 28, 2009

Healthy Weight Loss: Is It Harder for Women to Say No?

1055107_stop_spam_signThe 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.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, presented 13 women and 10 men with their favorite foods after a 20-hour fast.  They were allowed to smell and taste the foods but not eat them -- indeed, to try to inhibit their desire to eat -- while their brain activity was monitored through a PET scan.  The result: Both the women and men did appear to succeed in making themselves feel less hungry but the brain scans showed more activity on the part of women.  This was interpreted as the women's brains not being entirely in sync with what the women thought they were feeling. That they were actually feeling more hungry than they thought.  Or something like that.

Is there any truth to this?  
To answer that question, my BIG question is:  Was there any attempt to look at the women's previous history of restrained eating? You know, the typical (unfortunately) woman's approach to eating -- "I would love it, but I shouldn't."  "I need to lose X number of pounds, and if I eat my favorite food -- which is high in calories, fat, carbs, etc., etc., I'll be fat the rest of my life, be a bad person, etc., etc., etc."

According to one thoughtful expert in this area, who shall remain anonymous until I can get her permission to quote her (which I should have done before now but oh, well), "It is well-known that people who are trying to restrain [that is, diet] have different responses to 'external' stimuli about food [that is, exposure to food -- you know, like, walking through the mall smelling the Cinnabons], and it is well known that more women diet, and have dieted, than men."  

Simply put, if we have a history of dieting, which almost carves the diet mentality into our brains, it's gonna make it harder for us to say no to food, especially that which we think we shouldn't have.

A BIG caveat:  If we are successful at again adopting mindful eating (or intuitive eating or attuned eating or normal eating -- you choose the term) -- that is, eating like we were born to do -- I doubt we'd show any more brain activity than men when faced with our favorite foods and told we can't eat them. Because we are no longer restrained eaters.  So there is hope that we don't have to be forever victims of our previous folly of dieting.

Just my thoughts on the subject.  :-)  Have a great day!!


Photo by Mzacha

Posted by Marsha on January 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


January 21, 2009

Tomorrow is Women's Healthy Weight Day!

470286_behind_the_shutter 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.

Developed at Trinity University in San Antonio, this research-based program combats media images of female beauty.  As part of its national launch, Fat Talk Free Week was created, featuring a viral video email to raise consciousness about Fat Talk and body dissatisfaction among women.  Research shows it's seeing success: 48% of women at one college who said they "felt fat almost every day" reported eight months later they felt that way never or less than half the time).

Best website: Love Your Body
Sponsored by the National Organization for Women Foundation, this website provides encouragement, and perhaps more importantly, tools to help girls and women "just say no" to destructive media images. It also raises awareness about women's health.  Its message: "...be healthy and love yourself regardless of what the scale says."  In 2009, it will collaborate with the Reflections program to sponsor Fat Talk Free Week in October, the month that NOW promotes its own Love Your Body Day.


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.

Another subject entirely:  For a good laugh, check out The FitBottomed Girls blog post on the Celine Dion Workout!





Posted by Marsha on January 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


January 14, 2009

Healthy Weight vs. Normal Weight: Who's to Say?

1077713_scale_series_5 I had such a hard time deciding on a post topic this morning.  There are so many good/important things to post about. What finally won was another discussion of Oprah's weight.  

But no salacious comments here. 

The question at hand is not Oprah's up-and-down battle with serious weight loss but the measure by which many of us define success. Is it the government's definition of 'normal,' which is defined by the body mass index?  Or is it a weight at which we feel well, function well, and at which a variety of health parameters (such as blood glucose or cholesterol) tell us we're doing fine?

For a great discussion of this, check out the article by Paul Campos, author of The Obesity Myth, in Rocky Mountain News.

If you can get on board with this, I vote that we all give up talking about our weight (and weighing ourselves -- toss out that scale!).  If we want to talk, let's discuss our healthy lifestyle habits instead.   Positive = Forward.

Posted by Marsha on January 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack


January 07, 2009

For Healthy Lifestyles: New Year's Resolutions We Can Live With

957450_bulls-eye 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 http://twitter.com/MarshaHudnall.


How does this relate to the title of this post?  I found through Twitter an interesting blog Healthbuzz by Jim, MD, which is composed of podcasts on a variety of health subjects.  The post that grabbed my attention was on New Year's Resolutions.  Dr. Jim acknowledged that while a focus on healthy eating and staying active would have the most impact on our health in the new year, it's a hard task for many of us.  So he came up with seven healthy lifestyle resolutions that are easier to follow and still offer a lot for our well-being.

  • 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. 
Happy New Year!

Posted by Marsha on January 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


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.


But to my real reason for even mentioning this. The horoscope talks about doing something for others with a 'kind and open heart.'  It brought to mind for me the need for women struggling with body image and healthy weight loss and maintenance to be kind to themselves.  Because once we begin to treat ourselves gently, we find we can treat others much more gently -- especially those with similar struggles. And when it comes to healthy lifestyle management, fitness and diet, there's a real need for gentle treatment.  

Of course, one of the things we're most tough on ourselves about during the holiday season is our desire to eat all the great treats of the season -- and our indulgence in doing it. So it bears repeating on this blog that is all about learning to take care of ourselves well, that indulgence is good for us in moderation.  So go ahead, indulge!  Here are a few tips from our article "Go Ahead, Indulge!" that talks about holiday overeating.

  • Feed yourself.
  • Be choosy.
  • Eat mindfully.
  • Cultivate a discriminating palate. 
  • Keep moving. 
  • Enjoy the season!  
For details on doing all that, read our Fitbriefing that defines healthy weight loss foods a bit differently.

Posted by Marsha on December 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


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.

A timely example:  You're invited to a holiday party but don't have anything to wear.  You don't want to go shopping because you know you'll have a tough time finding anything that looks good on you. Plus, you worry about the food.  Will it be rich?  Will you be able to resist eating too much of it, giving up all hope of managing emotional eating as you reach for yet another bite?  Will you gain weight as a result?  Will all eyes be focused on you as you eat -- you know they'll be wondering why someone who looks like you has no willpower, or someone who has type 2 diabetes or who just 'lost all that weight,' would make the choice to eat such food. 

Whether your worries are founded in reality or not, the issue is the same.  We add enormous stress to our lives with such thoughts, that are ruled by our image of ourselves as fat, undeserving and unacceptable.

One of our oldie but goodie FitBriefings -- Accept Your Wonderful Self -- speaks to the issue of body image, self-esteem and liking who we are -- which is much more than what we weigh.

Are you aware of how much weight worries create stress in your life?  Isn't it time to begin supporting yourself with your thoughts instead?


Posted by Marsha on December 3, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


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 overindulgenceOur 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 overeatingOur 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.

Posted by Marsha on November 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack


October 22, 2008

More on Healthy Weights & Reading

51ilyzv1gwl_sl500_aa240__3A 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.

Posted by Marsha on October 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack