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September 04, 2006

Stumbling on Happiness

CoverminiFor for those of us who still allow ourselves to believe that losing a few pounds will automatically bring us the happiness and joy we seek, may want to stop and rethink why.

I’m currently in the middle of a very good book. Usually I wouldn't recommend a book before I was finished reading it, but I’m enjoying it so much I thought I’d pass it along. The book, Stumbling on Happiness, written by Daniel Gilbert, Harvard professor of psychology, is an interesting look at how our mind works. More specifically, how we decided what will make us happy and our misguided attempts at achieving happiness.

Stumbling on Happiness isn’t about how to get happy. It’s really about our attempts to plan ahead in an effort to be happy in the future and never really getting there. It is the antithesis of so many self-help books that offer the meaning of life. Gilbert isn’t trying to tell us how to find joy, but why so often our search may be erroneous. With humor, wit and a down to earth approach, he takes the high road and speaks eloquently about the human mind and its quirks. If you have room for one more read this summer I highly recommend this lovely book.

Gilbert also has a wonderful blog which you can visit here.

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Posted by Cindy on September 4, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 28, 2006


Big_book_1 I was in a bookstore and came across "The Big Book of Relaxation: Simple Techniques to Control the Excess Stress in Your Life, edited by Larry Blumenfield.

Editor Blumenfeld has gathered some of the biggest names in alternative healing to discuss how to unwind and detoxify our souls and bodies. John Harvey provides a good basic chapter on meditation. Lilias Folan, of videotape fame, gives instruction on yogic relaxation. Shakti Gawain provides information on creative visualization. Feminist musician Kay Gardner gives hints on how music can soothe the savage nerves. There are other chapters on mind machines, on aromatherapy, and even on nutrition for relaxation.

This "big" book is certainly a good start, but it occurs to me that creating your own self care book, or "tip" jar, might even be more valuable. Become in tune with what makes you relaxed, happy and fulfilled, write a note to yourself to actually do those things when stress levels have you so uptight that you can't think. Just open your personal relax book or relax tip jar and make the time to do it.

Have a pleasant weekend one and all, you might even start to build your personal relaxation tips.    

Posted by Gina V. on July 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2006

Oppression Syndrome

FistsI’m taking on a big topic today, and I’ll tell you right up front that there won’t be a neatly ribboned answer at the end…you’ll have more questions than answers.

I’ve been thinking about stress and body image and living in an environment where you’re subtly (and not so subtly) told that you’re not acceptable – because of your body size. Can this factor alone (what is known as “oppression syndrome”) account for the erroneous belief that “fat kills.”

A book I’ve been reading (“The Mind Body Diabetes Revolution” by Richard Surwit, Ph.D.) put into black and white what I’ve believed all along (from personal experience) that diabetes control can be made worse by stress and that the disease itself can also be caused by stress. Before I read this revolutionary phrase in Dr Surwit’s book, all the articles, books, journals I’d read previously never went so far as to suggest that diabetes can be caused by stress (and I’m talking the mental/emotional kind of stress, not being dangled by your heels over a vat of sucrose). Can being under the miasma of fear, disgust and self-loathing that body dissatisfaction brings cause conditions such as more weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer?

Consider this. Instilling fat phobia seems to be the number one priority for our government, health professionals and media, despite huge body of credible evidence demonstrating that not only is the “growing fatter” argument is junk science/statistic contortions, and there are few (credible) links between extra weight and disease. Example: recently there was and continues to be a lot of interest in the study that found a connection between greater weights and diet soda, ie those that drank diet soda were heavier than those that didn’t. Their conclusion? Diet sodas make you fat. That’s like saying more crumbs are found in homes without dogs than those with dogs, therefore people without dogs are poor housekeepers. Or that there are more gay people than straight people at a gay pride meeting – therefore meetings cause people to become gay.

The recent article proclaiming that Americans were more likely to know about American Idol than to know about the (alleged) link between obesity and cancer was more of the same kind of poor science/poor journalism that contributes to the oppressive environment of body non-acceptance.

The unsubstantiated claims in this article can be used one of two ways – add to your fear and stress or 2) example to use to identify an organization jumping on the obesity bandwagon.

Perhaps I do agree with this article after all – fatness can cause every disease and syndrome known or unknown to mankind through indifference or malpractice….when you go to the doctor with a complaint, and you’re told that the answer is to lose weight and exercise more, without an exam, that makes a little muscle and fat a dangerous thing. Even if you’re at a fitness level that professional atheletes strive to achieve, if you’re a woman that’s still not “model slim” you can be told that you need to lose weight and exercise to cure your fatigue and back pain. Later you find out that you have a fast growing/debilitating bone marrow cancer that’s achieved stage 4 by the time someone finally listens to you, and you’re walking around with 3 or 4 crushed vertebrae (which makes you shorter, and therefore according to the height/weight charts you’re now borderline “obese”). That's a true story.

Yes, fat (prejuidice) kills.   

picture is taken from Largesse, the network for size esteem.

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Posted by Gina V. on May 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 16, 2006

My Father the Dog

Ehbluemle340mftd3in150dpi_2 Earlier this month I came across some old photos of me on the trail of a mountain called “White Rocks Ice Bed Trailwith my friend Elizabeth Bluemle (ps –I learned about White Rocks while at Green Mountain and it’s totally amazing - a short walk to mountain views and a really cool rock slide. Special attractions: Unique views of White Rocks Cliff, potential falcon sightings, and and optional walk to cooling beds of ice).

Soon after I got Elizabeth’s announcement of publication of her first book, My Father the Dog, and decided that it was a sign that I should shamelessly promote a friend (of mine and Green Mountain’s).

Before we get into the book, let me also add that Elizabeth is my favorite bookstore proprietress (however she can only manage the Flying Pig Bookstore with the help of Theo and Inky – sorry Elizabeth, they made me put that in there - as well as Josie Leavitt). I must also thank Elizabeth for introducing me to Diana Gabaldon (for fans of DG, a new Jamie and Claire book is out now!). Don’t hesitate to ask for advice about reading materials for your kids or you – The Flying Pig has something wonderful for everyone.

Elizabeth is someone that is always engaged in life, moving forward and actively seeking to be the light in a dark place. In My Father, the Dog (with illustrations by Randy Cecil) she makes an airtight case that fathers and dogs are one in the same. Uplifting, funny and profound all at the same time.

Here's what KIRKUS REVIEWS says:

MY FATHER THE DOG is an affectionate look at the lovable similarities between dads and dogs.

The title, cover and opening sentence groom readers for this waggish tale. "My father pretends to be human, but I know he is really a dog. Consider the evidence." Dad starts the day with a good scratch; fetches the newspaper; likes the windows down in the car; has used a tree for a pit stop; growls when startled out of a nap; chases a ball; loves snacks; he looks innocent when he "toots"; and thinks "we're the best family in the world." That's a good thing, " 'cause Mom says we can keep him." The comical oil illustrations juxtapose dad and dog in synchronized behavior enacting each activity as they amusingly express the subtly underplayed scenes to a T. Even the typeface is called "SoupBone." Tail-wagging hilarity that's simply doggone funny—and a perfect Father's Day gift. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright 2006 Kirkus Reviews (April 1, 2006)

Please visit Elizabeth’s website and read the “About Me” section and you’ll see what I mean about her sharing her “light” with others – she’s put together really useful sections for Kids and Writers too.

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Posted by Gina V. on May 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2006


Barefoot_dpc Excerpt from Crazybusy, by Dr Edward M Hallowell, MD

"The best reason to take your time is that time is the only time you'll ever have. You must take it, or it will be taken from you. It is telling that the phrase "taking your time" is synonymous with slowing down. If we want to live life fully, we do best to slow down. I don't suggest that we turn back the clock, trying to retrieve a bygone era when life was slower. We couldn't, even if we wanted to. But I don't believe we should want to. We should revel in our electronically supercharged, unbounded world. But, to make the most out of this new world, to avoid feeling overbooked, overstretched, and about to snap, to make modern life become better than life has ever been, a person must learn how to do what matters most first. Otherwise, you will bulldoze over life's best moments. You won't notice the little charms that adorn each day, nor will you ever transform the mundane to extraordinary."

Determining what's most important isn't a simple task, but I'm working on it all the time. How 'bout you?

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Posted by Gina V. on May 9, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 26, 2006

Mindful Eating – Peaceful Eating

Time is short this week so I’m going to briefly talk about a favorite free e-newsletter.  Annette Colby, PhD, RD, author of the Eating Peacefully newsletter, holds degrees in nutrition and exercise physiology and certifications in a variety of other specialties including reikki and energy healing.  I’ve enjoyed the newsletter for a number of years – it has always been full of inspiring quotes and wise words about eating, healthy weight and taking care of yourself. 

Here’s a sample quote from a recent newsletter on the meaning of failure. 

“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career.  I have lost almost 300 games.  On 26 occasions, I was entrusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”   ~ Michael Jordan

If you haven’t guessed, this subject was addressed because failure is something that weight strugglers really struggle with.  When viewed the wrong way, failure creates fear, and stops us from trying to achieve our dreams.  If viewed as a learning experience, it can help us find the path to success.

Or read this piece on emotional eating that we asked Annette if we could feature on Green Mountain at Fox Run's website.  Annette shares some wonderful insight for someone who struggles with emotional eating.

To sign up for her e-newsletter, go to Annette’s website

‘Til next week…………

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Posted by Marsha on April 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2006

Phat Girlz

Phat Girlz is a new movie starring Mo'Nique. Since Vermont is a step behind in latest releases, I've justPhatgirlz_1  read reviews of this film, which have made me anxious to see it. Although some reviewers can't figure out what's going on in the movie due to their non-experience with real women's bodies and minds, I'm sure that it speaks to all women that have to remind themselves occassionally that there is no such thing as a "perfect body."

Mo'Nique is the actress that previously brought us a beauty pagent for women of 153047__monique_l substance - F.A.T Chance (F.A.T. = Fabulous and Thick). In Phat Girlz, "Jazmine" (Mo'Nique's character) is a well adjusted, self-accepting woman of size working on her career. She finds she has to confront some unexpected issues - the issues that lurk beneath and jump up when least appreciated.

Even if this movie was the worst on earth, I'm still excited to see a story about plus-sized woman that isn't depressed and planning her next diet. And there's another bonus - there's no "fat suit" to be seen in this flick.

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Posted by Gina V. on April 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 03, 2006

It's Fat Free Friday!

Fat_free_fridayLet's join Jessica Weiner, the author of "Do I Look Fat in This:? : Life Doesn't Begin Five Pounds From Now", in a celebration of Fat Free Friday. Jessica's mission is to silence the critical head. Jessica is a great proponent of living in the now, (as are we), and not waiting to do the things you want to do, live the life you want to live only when you reach some sort of acceptable image of yourself. For most of us, it's a never-ending waiting game.

Check out this and other Jessica Weiner books, for a good kick in the head and maybe even a little kick in the posterior.

Remember...your body does hear everything you think!

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Posted by Cindy on March 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2006

Body Image & Big Butts

Honey_does_this_make_my_butt_look_big What bigger blow is there to our self image than when our significant other makes a comment like “I can’t believe you ate all that.”  Well, maybe there can be bigger blows, but in the heat of the moment, it sure doesn’t feel like it.  In honor of the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week theme “Be Comfortable in Your Genes,” here’s my suggestion for how to take charge of these situations. Educate, educate, educate.  We need to teach our loved ones how their often innocent and well-meaning comments can wreak havoc on our feelings of self-worth.

Therapist Lydia Hanich in her new book Honey, Does This Make My Butt Look Big? takes on this task with a good dose of humor, which, of course, can be a valuable tool when dealing with a thorny issue like this.  The book presents typical questions or statements that can raise hackles and gives ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ answers to each.  Hanich also explains why the questions or statements are loaded, to help readers begin to really understand the whys and hows of the situation.

The book also advises loved ones how to react to loaded questions that we may ask.  This excerpt from the introduction explains:

“Does this make me look fat?”

You hear these words and freeze in your tracks. You get a sinking feeling in your stomach. What to do? How to answer? Do you lie? Tell the truth? Pretend you didn't hear? Try to distract her? Your instincts tell you to run. It's fight or flight, and you'd much rather flee because you've stayed for the fight before, and you know you can't win. With a seemingly simple question, your honey has catapulted you into a complete quandary and rendered you utterly defenseless. You're cornered, trapped. You'd rather gnaw off a foot than answer that question. Talk about a loaded question! You HATE that question! There's only one place it has ever led you to: trouble. And there's been no way out of the trap...until now.

Although Hanich promotes the book for couples, it clearly has utility for anyone with a mother, daughter, sister, friend who struggles with appearance, weight, food or eating.  Sadly, at that rate, Hanich has a potential bestseller on her hands.

For a good read to immediately help you with more supportive self-talk (what we say to ourselves has a much bigger impact on us than anything anyone else could say to us), check out our FitBriefing on size and self-acceptance.


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Posted by Marsha on March 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 28, 2005

Tricking Your Brain Into Thinness – Dieting Gimmick or Gimmicky Diet?

Flavor_point_dietDid anyone catch ABC’s 20/20 last Friday?  Titled The Fat Factor, the producers must have figured FAT would be an interesting topic as millions of American’s sat in front of their TV sets feeling overfed and perhaps a little bit guilty about their late night turkey sandwich.

After talking to Wynonna Judd and Carnie Wilson about their trials and tribulations as weight struggling women, the focus turned to the newest diet book, The Flavor Point Diet written by Dr. David Katz. (It doesn’t go unnoticed that Katz is the senior medical correspondent for ‘ABC’, as well  as the diet doc from ‘Celebrity Fit Club’ fame, and a featured columnist at O Magazine).  A pretty media savvy doc, I’d say. 

Described by Rodale (his publisher), as a “groundbreaking diet drawn from cutting-edge science that maximizes your eating pleasure, optimizes your health, and guarantees permanent weight loss, by combining foods selected by flavor,” Katz believes you can meet your weight loss goals by tricking your brain into being satisfied for very long periods of time.  You won’t eat when you’re not hungry and therefore lose lots of weight, faster. 

Sounds revolutionary, doesn’t it?  However, I’m not sure how this diet satisfies the plethora of other problems people face when struggling with their weight, like emotionally eating, managing their stress, time and management issues and competing priorities, just to name a few. 

Nevertheless, the strategy is to follow ‘flavor themes’ by week, day, meal and dish, to eventually reach your ‘flavor point’ where you feel full and satisfied. According to Dr. Katz, too many flavors (variety) offered to your brain and the less successful your dieting will be.  “The concept is very, very simple. An excess of flavor variety over-stimulates the appetite center in the brain," says Katz.

The research offered to back up his theory comes from research conducted at Yale's Prevention Research Center, where Dr. Katz is director.

It’s important to note I haven’t read the book (it comes out this week), but it does sound like the premise may not lend itself easily to the lifestyle of a typical busy American woman.  Themed weeks, days and meals sound awfully challenging.  Not that you can’t lose weight on this ‘diet’ or any other ‘diet’ for the short term, but can you live with it?  Is it a lifestyle and/or a healthy lifestyle? How long can you really eat this way or any other rigidly described way?  Will you be set up for failre is you're currently managing binge eating?

Isn’t it more important to understand how to achieve long-term weight loss success with mindful eating techniques and healthy eating and weight management without dieting? We think so.

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Perdita di peso - Dimagramento - Benessere - Centro per dimagrire - esclusivamente alle donne e rispettoso della salute
Il programma di perdita di peso Green Mountain tutela la salute
Perdita di peso,Dimagramento,Benessere,Centro per dimagrire,Dimagrire,Salute,Dieta,Sovrappeso,Problemi di peso


Posted by Cindy on November 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack