Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rocking Your Recovery From Dieting/Disordered Eating During the Holidays!

It is holiday time! We start with Thanksgiving, and we continue into the Christmas Holiday season that will extend all the way to New Year's Day. I am so weary of all of the hoopla about "surviving the holidays".  One well known eating disorder "expert" recently said another name for Thanksgiving is "National Binge Day" and if you are craving pumpkin pie that you might not have enough sweetness or comfort in your life!  Really?? What a way to reinforce food fears!  Whether you are a chronic dieter, have an eating disorder, or are just the average person ... you would swear that we are all facing sheer doom and destruction at this time of the year. Many are trembling with fear and trepidation. Come on! You should have visions of sugar plums dancing and prancing. Celebrations include food, eating, sharing meals, and truly enjoying delicious recipes that are only served once or twice a year. Food and eating should not be placed on a pedestal.  There certainly are many other important aspects of holidays and special celebrations. However, food and eating should not be feared and approached as if you were facing a rabid dog. This is the perfect time of the year to practice intuitive eating principles of eating what you really enjoy, honoring hunger, and acknowledging satisfied.

So, here are some suggestions to help you enjoy, experience, and thrive during the holidays as you continue your journey towards making peace with food, eating, activity and weight issues:

  • Try not to let yourself get overly hungry. Even though this can be a hectic time of year, don't skip meals or go too long without eating.
  • Mindfully focus on enjoying your food and eating experiences. Be thankful for meals shared, time to celebrate and foods that you enjoy.
  • Participate in self-care activities like going for a walk, listening to music, or carving out time for your hobbies.
  • Ditch the diet mentality and all that goes with that faulty way of thinking. Don't buy into guilt, stay off of the scale and tune out all of the diet ads that spike at this time of year. Learn to trust and appreciate your body.
  • Remember your goal of living in the middle ground. Avoid extreme, all or nothing thinking.
  • If you are entering into an eating/food situation that normally would cause anxiety have a plan of action and rely on support systems to help you deal with the challenge.
  • Commit to enjoy this wonderful time of year without the fear, guilt and anxiety that might have plagued you in the past. There is incredible power in what you tell yourself!!
Wishing you all peace and blessings now and in the year to come,
P.S. Yes, this is a reprisal of my blog from last holiday season!  ( >;

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Tom Hanks, Diabetes, Weight Fluctuations and Eating Disorders: Lessons Learned

To proclaim dieting/dietary restriction as "dangerous" in this calorie conscious, weight obsessed culture currently engaged in a "war on obesity" is certainly going against the grain (to say the least).  Not everyone who drives their weight down by restricting their diet only to see it rebound develops diabetes.  Tom Hanks, as well as many medical professionals, believes that the huge weight fluctuations he has experienced in preparing for various movie roles might have contributed to his recent Type 2 diabetes diagnosis.  He lost over 50 pounds for his role in "Castaway" and had to force his weight up over 30 pounds for "A League of Their Own."  Medical research demonstrates a connection between eating disorders and the development of insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) or Type 2 diabetes.  Weight fluctuations, frequent swings in eating behaviors (restrict-binge cycles) confuse both body and mind.  Think about what the pancreas goes through when abruptly awakened from starvation slumber and thrown into overeating overdrive!  In my practice it is not uncommon to see my eating disorder clients in various stages of recovery have blood sugar irregularities.  One more reason not to diet!

No, not everyone who diets and experiences weight fluctuations will get diabetes.  They might get an eating disorder instead.  Some of you may remember the actor Dennis Quaid admitting to struggling with anorexia nervosa.  They called it "manorexia" back at that time.  We had not been enlightened as to the prevalence of eating disorders among males.  There was  hesitation and shame to call it what it was ... anorexia nervosa.  He lost over 40 pounds to play Doc Holiday in the movie "Wyatt Earp".  It took him several years to recover from the aftermath of starvation.

Let's learn some lessons about the possible consequences of dieting.  Please join me in sharing lessons learned.