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May 06, 2008

Diets Don't Work!

775438_icecreamWe've been saying it for over 36 years. Finally, the whole world is getting hip to this message (but not quite there yet). To show solidarity, join us in celebrating International No Diet Day today!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THE ASDAH CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL NO DIET DAY

"Are you putting your life on hold until you lose weight? On May 6, 2008, join the Association for Size Diversity and Health in celebration of International No Diet Day, a one-day moratorium on weight-loss dieting sponsored by an international coalition of health professionals, activists and community groups.

Now celebrated worldwide,  International No Diet Day originated in 1992 by Mary Evans Young, the director of a British activist group called Diet breakers.   INDD was established to challenge the cultural attitudes and values that contribute to chronic dieting, weight preoccupation, eating disorders, and size discrimination.

ASDAH is an international professional organization composed of individual and organizational members who are committed to the principles of Health At Every Size (HAES).   In line with INDD goals, the mission of the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) is to promote education, research, and the provision of services which enhance health and well-being, and which are free from weight-based assumptions and weight discrimination."

“It is important to recognize that health and well-being are multi-dimensional and that they include physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional, and intellectual aspects,”  says ASDAH Board President Dana Schuster, “And perhaps most important, we need to recognize that people of all shapes and sizes deserve basic human rights, including the right to not be discriminated against.”

Join ASDAH for International Diet Day on May 6 and eat well, play well and give yourself a break from self-recrimination because of some arbitrary definition of perfection and beauty."

For more information visit the official INDD web site: http://www.largesse.net/INDD/

For more information on ASDAH, visit:  www.sizediversityandhealth.org

ASDAH’s Annual international conference is coming up in July 2008 and will be held at the LAX Marriott.  For more information visit www.sizediversityandhealth.org.

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Posted by Cindy on May 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


April 30, 2008

Disordered Eating: The "New" Epidemic

Several years ago I was on a media tour in New York, visiting various women's magazine editors in an attempt to get them to think about publishing different kinds of stories on eating and weight loss and weight loss programs. My focus: That women (and increasingly men) were suffering from disordered eating -- too much focus on calories, fat grams, weight loss, even 'healthy' choices. The response I remember from one prominent magazine in particular was that the term 'disordered eating' was too 'scary,' that it was even too sensational for magazines (imagine that!).

So imagine my relief that they have finally jumped on board (although I do admit a bit of exasperation that they didn't even talk to me in putting together their story on the issue!). Self magazine recently published the results of survey that showed '65 percent of American women are disordered eaters." MSNBC published this story on the survey:

The disorder next door: Alarming eating habits

SELF poll reveals 65 percent of American women are disordered eaters

By Tula Karras, SELF


SELF's groundbreaking survey reveals that more than six in 10 women are disordered eaters. Another one in 10 has an eating disorder. Find out if you're at risk and how to get healthier, starting today:

Michelle Marsh, 32, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, seems like the perfect dieter. If you ran into the 5-foot-1-inch, 103-pound marketing specialist checking food labels for calories in the supermarket or powering through one of her seven weekly workouts, you'd envy her ability to control her intake and burn off any excess, too. But Marsh, who had her first baby nine months ago and is now below her prepregnancy weight ("I'm the tiniest I've ever been!" she says), could be the poster girl for an unrecognized epidemic among women: disordered eating.

No, she doesn't starve herself to an unnatural weight (like anorexics) or throw up daily (like some bulimics), but she doesn't seem to have a healthy relationship with food or her body, either. "I spend about half my time thinking about food and meal planning," she says, although her meals don't require much planning — she usually restricts herself to the same foods every day (oatmeal, brown rice and two small corn tortillas with chicken and a sweet potato). "I weigh myself every morning, and if the scale goes up a pound, I exercise more. If I gained 5 pounds, I'd be very upset."

To read the rest of the story, go to http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24295957/. They even have tips at the end of the story for moving away from disordered eating and achieving healthy weight loss, if it's in your cards. The tips echo what we've been saying at Green Mountain at Fox Run for years. It's nice to know they've gone mainstream.

Posted by Marsha on April 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


April 23, 2008

Overcome Self-Doubt to Build Self Esteem

My daughter first looked at me strangely when I mentioned to her that her "I feel fat" thoughts really weren't about her body. I explained that fat is not a feeling; instead, when we think we feel fat, we're usually distracting ourselves from something else that's bothering us. For many of us, negative body image often has to do with feelings of insecurity -- we're worrying about how we're falling short in some area.

To the rescue: Tips from one of my favorite e-letters -- that from Annette Colby. She recommends we try the following tips when fears and self-doubt threaten to overwhelm us.

1. Awareness Recognize the fear and doubt within you. The first step to overcoming doubt is to be willing to face the situation. By being honest and admitting that you have doubts can you seek alternatives.

2. Acceptance
Understand that it is all right to have doubt. What matters most is that you love yourself enough to overcome your doubt by taking calculated risks.

3. Explore Your Fears
Take out a piece of paper and write down a list of your fears. Explore your doubt, examine your fear, and look at the areas in your life where they get the upper hand.

4. Examine Your Excuses
Write down your reasons for not pursuing a personal challenge or moving forward on something important to you

5. Say Good Bye
Write a goodbye letter to your doubt, then bury it, burn it, or release it in some other creative way.

6. Mirror Mirror On the Wall
When your doubt pops up, go to the mirror and talk to yourself. Positive talk isn’t the entire answer, but without we haven’t got a chance of success. People are more successful when they talk to themselves in a reassuring, compassionate, and loving way.

7. Build Self-Esteem
Keep reminding yourself that you are valuable, that you have worth, and that your life matters.

8. Take Positive Action
Take positive action in the direction of your dreams. You can put doubt in it’s place when you take action on the activities and goals that are most important to you.

9. What's the Best that Could Happen
Imagine the best possible outcome. Practice allowing yourself to envision yourself being the person you want to be.

10. Take Care of Yourself
Take some action every day that allows you to feel better about yourself.

No matter what self-doubt is blocking our way to -- whether it be successful weight loss or going after our dream job -- these tips can help us move forward. The bottom line is believing in ourselves because our minds are the most powerful tool we have to help us achieve our dreams.

Posted by Marsha on April 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


April 16, 2008

Meditation for Healthy Living & Healthy Eating

I recently began meditating as a way to help myself move forward in life, to find what I want to do with the rest of my life and get out of the rut that I felt myself in. So on the vacation that I just returned from, it was good that my two girlfriends were as interested in meditation as I was. We took time each morning we were in Sicily to spend time focused inward. I do believe it made our time there more fun, as I certainly felt calmer and more able to deal with the anxiety of navigating a country in which I do not speak the language -- and not many of the folks there speak English that well.

We've talked about the value of meditation before on this blog and covered it in length in an article on mindfulness in meditation Here's how we describe the value of meditation:

The practice of meditation is about relaxing in order to focus: a daily session in which we intentionally focus our minds on something, such as our breath or a word. When the mind inevitably strays to a thought or emotion, we bring our attention back to the chosen focus. By letting thoughts and feelings pass without judging them, most regular meditators describe feeling more relaxed, less anxious and therefore less disturbed by negative thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.

Meditation can also help us with eating struggles, such as binge eating, eating to manage type 2 diabetes, or just plain eating well. To wit:

Meditation can be very useful for people who struggle with eating. The relaxed, upright posture produces a calmer, more balanced emotional state. Watching the mind, being aware of thoughts, feelings and sensations, and bringing the mind back to a focus gradually trains us to be a “witness” rather than “victim” of our own states. Every time we bring the mind back to the focus, it is like exercising a muscle in the gym—the ability to let go of disturbances and focus the mind grows stronger. Gradually, we recognize that thoughts and feelings are temporary experiences, arising and falling away like waves in the ocean.

I try to spend about 20 minutes a day meditating, but shorter or longer periods are useful, too. That's just the amount of time that seems to work for me. And now -- excuse me -- I need to go meditate. I've got a lot of catching up to do after being gone for two weeks, and meditation will help me approach what seems like an overwhelming amount to do in a more relaxed fashion.

Ciao for now!

Posted by Marsha on April 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


April 02, 2008

Celebrating Mom

211845_24966339Good grief, it's April! Before you know it, it will be Mother's Day. At my house, mother's day is celebrated by allowing mom to relax and refrain from her motherly duties for a day, accompanied by breakfast in bed and a fresh flower or two lovingly placed on a tray. Aww...

But what about the rest of the year? Why not spread the love all month long?

Green Mountain at Fox Run invites you to join them for their 5th annual Mother/Daughter/Sister Program beginning May 1st. Think about celebrating your mom, your daughter or sister by celebrating your journey to good health.

• Discover familial, historical and cultural influences that affect how we as women feel about our bodies and, therefore, how we take care of them. The mother-daughter relationship is the earliest and most significant influence.

• Explore more deeply the complex ways in which food and body shape/size impact women of all ages today.

• If you're the mother of a college-age daughter who struggles with eating and eating disorders, you can learn how to be supportive, to make a big difference for your daughter who is under much more pressure to ‘be thin' for today's standards of beauty.

• Enjoy adventures together – just like you used to. Hike forested New England trails, or try Pilates or yoga for the very first time.

• Learn new ways to take care of yourself and each other. At the end of the day, pamper yourself with any assortment of spa treatments.

Enrollment is limited. For more information, call (800) 448-8106 or (802) - M-F, 9am-5pm EST. Or register online to reserve your spot now. Make sure to mention Mother-Daughter Month in the ‘Special Comments’ section.

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Posted by Cindy on April 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


April 01, 2008

Triggers for Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is something we all engage in from time to time. For example, it's normal to celebrate with food, and sometimes nothing is more comforting than food. Still, it can get the best of us if we turn to food too often.

Annette Colby, PhD, nutritionist, therapist and author of several helpful books that look at issues such as emotional eating, lists the top 10 emotions we turn to food to help us with:


1. Feeling disempowered to change your life
2. Feeling overwhelmed or trapped and not knowing how to move forward
3. Unresolved stress and anxiety
4. Perfectionist attitudes or fear of making mistakes or failing
5. Loneliness or Boredom
6. Having a sense of insecurity
7. Feeling undeserving of the abundance and pleasure life has to offer
8. Low self-esteem or poor self-image
9. Eating to hide an emptiness inside
10. A sense of feeling deprived caused by dieting or "being good" with food

Lists like these are useful because it can be hard to figure out what's driving emotional eating sometimes. But that's the first step in overcoming emotional eating -- becoming aware of why we're doing it. Only then can we come up with strategies that will truly help us.

Check out Annette's site and her books for more useful information on emotional eating and other issues that get in the way of our being the best we can be. Check out our Green Mountain site, too, for articles we've written on emotional eating that offer specific strategies for a myriad of reasons we emotionally eat.

Posted by Marsha on April 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


March 25, 2008

Healthy Eating - Ten Best Tips For Managing Food Cravings

570270_ice_cream_2Most women who participate in the healthy weight management program at Green Mountain at Fox Run, confess they struggle with managing food cravings. When you're in the midst of a food craving cycle, the idea of creating a healthy eating plan seems more like someone taking away your emotional blankie than a good idea. "What about my ice cream, potato chips, pasta, chocolate...(fill in the blank)..?"

To help you adopt a healthy eating plan that includes the foods you crave, try these 10 Green Mountain Tips:

1. Think "management" instead of "control." "Control" implies an adversarial relationship with food; it's gnerally a constant struggle to maintain control. "Management" is much easier. When we manage something, we work with it to achieve our desired results.

2. Eat at least three well-balanced meals a day. Don't skip meals! You'll only be hungrier for the next one. It's a normal physiological reaction to crave food if you're hungry.

3. Give up guilt. One brownie never made anyone fat, but your attitude about eating brownies or any foods you consider forbidden can make you fat. Believing you have 'cheated' on your diet, and therefore having ruined your chances of success, will produce feelings of failure and guilt. Allow yourself your favorite foods in moderation, without guilt.

4. Accept food cravings as a normal part of living in a food-oriented society.  Everyone experiences food cravings, regardless of whether they struggle with their weight. The more you understand cravings, the more manageable they become. Food cravings can be caused by physical cues and emotional cues. Although you cannot necessarily emliminate all cravings, you can manage your reation.

5. Look at cravings as suggestions to eat, not commands to onverindulge. Overeating does not have to be an automatic response to craving. Take charge. When a craving begins, determine how you want to deal with it.

6. Believe that cravings will pass. Researchers have found that people believe a craving will continue to intensifiy until they give into it. In truth, a craving is similar to a wave in the ocean. It grows in intensity, peaks and then subsides if you don't give into it. The more you practice riding the wave, the easier it will become.

7. Disarm your cravings with the 5 D's.

Delay - at least 10-15 mintues before you eat.

Distract - yourself by engaging in an activity that requires concentration and is not compatible with eating.

Distance - yourself from food - leave the room, ask the waiter to remove your plate, take steps (literally) to get yourself in a non-food environment

Determine - how important it is to eat the craved food and how much you really want it.

Decide - what amount is reasonable and appropriate to start with. Eat it mindfully and enjoy!

8. Stop labeling foods as 'bad', 'illegal' or 'forbidden. It's not the food. It's the manner i which you may consume it and how often you consume it. You can eat some of anything you want - even if it is high in fat, calories, sugar or salt - but if you want to reach your healthy fitness goals, you may not be able to eat all of what you think you want

9. Aim for moderation instead of abstinence.  Avoiding things you fear only reinforce your fear. If you think you can never eat certain foods again, you may feel driven to eat as much as you can whenever you can. Explore what you really want. Is it really food? Or do you want well-being too.

10. Exercise regularly. Exercise is the key to managing food cravings. Rather than burn calories, one of the most important contributions of regular exercis is a relief from tension and stress. It is also a very healthy way to delay, distract and distance yourself from food.

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Posted by Cindy on March 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


March 14, 2008

Emotional Eating: Flowers brighten mood

'Blah' days can make you feel lethargic and disinclined to get out and be active. When it's cold, overcast and dark, it's also easier to feel a little down, which is one of my triggers for emotional eating

To perk myself up, I've found that it helps to buy a fresh bouquet of flowers for the table (even though I know the cat will eventually get to it)!  Flowers have always been a pick-me-up, but little did I know that there's a scientific basis for it.

A Universal 'Pick-Me-Up'

According to a study of behavioral and emotional responses to receiving flowers, participants expressed "true" or "excited" smiles upon receiving flowers, demonstrating extraordinary delight and gratitude. The reaction was universal, occurring in all age groups. In addition, participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated after receiving flowers and a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction.

Seniors performed higher on everyday memory tasks and experienced enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers, according to study leader Jeannette Haviland-Jones, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University.

Flower Power in Stopping Emotional Eating

I've worked hard to not use food as a mood regulator, and it's good to know that flowers can help beat a case of the 'blahs.' But emotional eating issues are complex and individual, so understanding the reasons why I turned to food in times of boredom and stress, and how that impacted my self-esteem, was vitally important to learn how to change my behavior. For more insight, read Stopping Emotional Eating, Coping with People at Home or Stopping Emotional Eating:Getting the Support We Need.

Spring Flowers: A Natural Mood-Enhancer for a Healthy Lifestyle

If you want to make flowers a part of your healthy lifestyle, here's a few tips to keep them lasting longer:

  • Tulips are thirsty flowers and apt to toss back a glass of cool fresh water each day, but the little cut-flower food packets are not necessary.
  • Keep spring flowers away from sources of heat, including direct sunlight, radiators, lamps and television sets.
  • Tulips and daffodils get along in the garden, but not in the same vase.

Treat yourself to a bouquet today, or give one to a friend or loved one. It'll do wonders to brighten your - or their -day!

Posted by Laura on March 14, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


March 12, 2008

A Time of Change

966865_yellow_flowerSpring is a glorious time of year, especially here in the Northeast where we've been buried under snow for months (or if it's been a snowless winter, the brown landscape gets pretty dreary). Spring represents change at its best -- a time of growth, a time of awakening, a time to celebrate.

Many of us don't look at change that way in our personal lives, however. We may actively resist it, instead of seeking out the positive aspects of change. My favorite self-help website, Daily OM, describes the benefits of change this way:

It is only through change that we are able to grow. Transformation takes you out of your comfort zone so you can evolve. A change will always bring new experiences and add different elements to your life. In the midst of change, we learn how to handle a fresh set of variables. As we adapt, we assimilate this change into our beings; we have already grown when we become more than we were just a moment before. When you allow change to happen naturally today, any plans you make will be able to evolve organically so that you can realize your dreams.

Women who come to Green Mountain are seeking change -- change in how they eat to adopt healthy eating, how they move their bodies to start to enjoy exercise, how they think about themselves to improve body image and how they view the world around them. They may not realize the seek change in all these areas, but all these areas generally get touched upon in the journey to taking better care of ourselves.

Change is not always a smooth course to the finish. Witness snowstorms in April -- we've even seen snow in June in these parts! But one thing is true about Spring -- it's persistent. It's there regardless of the form it takes, and it leads the way to sunnier times.

Of course, lifestyle change is the same. It can get pretty bumpy. But staying positive, and keeping our eye on the goal can keep us going. Try this affirmation: I embrace the change that is inevitable in my life, to find the positive and continue to grow into the person I want to be.

Posted by Marsha on March 12, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


March 04, 2008

Sleeping Well, Eating Well, Living Well

89452_dreaming_girlIt's National Sleep Awareness Week! I know -- pretty exciting stuff. Sarcasm aside, getting enough sleep is basic to good health and healthy weights. It's estimated that one-third of people in the US suffer from chronic sleep loss. With so many of us also struggling with healthy weight loss, it makes sense to pay attention to this problem.

The link between adequate sleep and healthy weights has to do with hormones. According to the National Sleep Foundation, if we don't get enough sleep, it may affect our levels of the hormone leptin, which regulates carbohydrate metabolism. Low levels of leptin can cause carbohydrate cravings, "...regardless of the amount of calories consumed."

The Sleep Foundation also points out that adequate sleep may also be part of a type 2 diabetes program. It cites a small study on 11 healthy young adults that showed after several nights of only four hours a night of sleep, "their ability to process blood glucose had declined, in some cases to a pre-diabetic state, prompting their bodies to produce more insulin."

And that's the tip of the iceberg when it comes to negative effects of not enough sleep. Here are a few tips from the National Sleep Foundation to help you get your zzzzz's.

At night:

Establish a regular bedtime routine and a regular sleep-wake schedule. That means getting up at the same time every day of the week, no matter how much you've slept the night before, and going to bed at about the same time.
Don't spend too much time in bed. Your time in bed should be about the same as the amount of time you can actually sleep during the night. You can't force yourself to sleep by spending more time in bed.
Do not eat or drink too much before bedtime.
Create a sleep-promoting environment that is quiet, dark, cool and comfortable.

During the day:

Consume less or no caffeine, particularly late in the day.
Avoid alcohol and nicotine, especially close to bedtime.
Exercise, but not within three hours before bedtime.
Avoid naps, particularly in the late afternoon or evening.
Establish a regular bedtime and get up at the same time every day. Do not stay in bed to make- up for lost sleep or beyond your regular rise time.
Keep a sleep diary to identify your sleep habits and patterns that you can share with your doctor.

Posted by Marsha on March 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack