Tag Archive | Bad Fads

The New Year: BEWARE of the Diet Propaganda

The New Year is once again upon us and the dieting industry will soon begin its massive onslaught of propaganda to convince consumers that they cannot begin the year without a firm resolve to change their body weight, shape, size etc.

Before we talk about how to fight back, here are a few insights into the way the marketing industry works.  Advertising is based on getting consumers to believe that they will NEVER be happy unless they buy this product, do this activity, eat this food, vacation at this place, and the list goes on.  When sellers look to market their product they seek to find a way to prove that “this” is where true happiness can be found.  Their message is that if you don’t buy, do, eat etc. this or that you will never be able to achieve real happiness. And of course you didn’t achieve this real happiness yet.  You haven’t tried this particular remedy.  So, the bottom line is, if you want to be happy do as the advertisement says.

Herein lie the dangers in New Year’s advertising.  New Year resolutions are often comprised of dieting and exercise promises.  The dieting industry goes all out in trying to convince their unhappy consumers that the ONLY way to start the year on the right foot is to buy new gym clothes, sign up to a gym, buy the diet pills and drinks, and begin a new and “all-improved” diet.  THIS year you are going to achieve REAL happiness by changing your body.

However, this is all a myth!  It is a lie perpetuated by the dieting industry, already a multi-billion dollar industry, in order for them to get richer on the backs of their trusting, vulnerable consumers.  This year, DON’T BE FOOLED!  The dieting propaganda is just that – PROPAGANDA!

Webster’s dictionary defines propaganda as “information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread…”  It is information that is biased and made to fit their agenda; to get you to do as they say.  In order to make you feel like they have your best interests in mind they will promise you the ultimate happiness if you just buy, do, eat their product.

Here is the truth!  You CANNOT achieve any sort of happiness through trying to change your external body.  Extreme dieting, exercising solely for weight loss, or any disordered behaviors (diet pills, laxatives, etc) can never help you attain real happiness.  Happiness, true happiness, comes from within.  It is a synthesis of your inner self, your inner values, and your external actions and behaviors.  It comes while bringing meaning and compassion into your life.  It is an inevitability that stems from nurturing your mind, body, and soul with healthy behaviors, actions, and thoughts.  Attaining the ultimate happiness is NEVER dependent on the way your external body looks.  In fact, by focusing only on your external body you lose the ability to achieve happiness.  Your vision of the world becomes narrow and you become constricted to a disordered space where it is virtually impossible to find happiness.

So don’t be fooled.  Don’t believe the ads when they tell you that they have the answers for you.  THEY DON’T!  YOU DO! The answers are inside your heart and soul.  Look within and stay strong.  Nurture yourself.  That is the ONLY way to find true happiness.


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Is It Possible to Lose Weight ?

Many of my clients ask this question, whether their body has
changed as a result of their eating disorder or as a result of the recovery
process itself. Weight, size and body image are such sensitive subjects. They
are intricately woven into the complexities of eating disorders and must be
dealt with very carefully.

After gaining some weight, many of my clients want to revert
back to some type of restrictive eating in order to change their weight/lose
weight. This type of restrictive eating may be as simple as eating foods they
“know” are low-calorie foods but that the individual hates or reminds them of
their disordered/dieting days. Restriction can also crop up in subtle ways,
like the following:

  • Convincing yourself you like a food because it is healthy when you really don’t like it and have never liked it.
  • Trying to eat a smaller portion size than youknow will fill you because you’ve gained weight and think a smaller portion“should” fill you.
  • Trying to eat a volume of low-calorie foods to fill you up, hoping it will prevent you from eating what you really want.
  • Setting any unrealistic goal that you know deep inside goes against what your “inner eater” wants.


The following vignette is an example of this
phenomenon…inevitably slowing down recovery, giving power to the eating disorder,
and causing the exact behaviors one is trying to alter:

A client came in for a session last week. She has been on
both ends of the eating pendulum. During her restrictive days, she would limit
herself to very few foods as a means to an end (weight loss). Then she went
through a period of rebound bingeing that lasted for an extended period of time
causing some subsequent weight gain. She currently doesn’t want to restrict or
binge but she feels confused about what to do. She feels she is in a body that
is not her “normal” one but knows she can’t restrict to get back to normal. She
is repulsed by the foods she ate while restricting but desires to eat them
again because they are “healthy”. The thought of eating these foods again also
causes her to “rebel” and binge.

She’s trying to eat whatever she is in the mood to eat, but
gets frustrated because her choices are often “unhealthy” and are not leading
to weight loss. It seems though, whenever she tries to negate her intuitive
appetite, she eats more than she initially wanted to, she feels more out of
control, her weight goes up, and she wants to give up.

Not only are there psychological dynamics going on in this
situation, but physiological ones as well. When the body is deprived of food,
there are many complex physical/hormonal/brain side effects that occur as a
result that will ultimately create a temporary heightened hunger and appetite.
These chemical changes cannot be “willed away”. They need to be attended to and
understood. There is no specific time frame for these effects.

I also want to mention, as we all know, an eating disorder
and recovery from an eating disorder are not about the food itself. Recovery is
about achieving other healthy coping mechanisms so that food isn’t the ONLY one
used. Continually placing all the emphasis in treatment on the eating patterns
and the food choices themselves, will take the individual further away from the
ultimate goal…trying to understand what the food is being “used” for, and
reducing the need for food (in any way, shape or form) as the only coping
mechanism. Ultimately, when someone who has an eating disorder is using a
multitude of other coping mechanisms, effective communication skills, and
healthy forms of self-care, as well as experiencing and tolerating all of their
feelings, food can begin to be “just food”.

The following was written by Karin Kratina, a pioneer in the
field of eating disorders. It truly exemplifies this process.

Sometimes recovery from eating issues involves weight loss.
Sometimes it does not. Regardless, any focus on weight is a potential danger
zone since a focus on weight loss can cause a return to the eating behaviors
you are trying to change. If you are above your body’s set point weight range,
it is possible that with intuitive eating, your weight will slowly shift until
you are back at your set point range. But you need to first be doing the
following to heal eating issues (it does not work to try to lose weight then
heal eating issues).


Place a check mark next to the thoughts/behaviors that you practice on a consistent basis:

□   I know how to keep a food journal recording food, feelings and hunger/satiety.

□   I usually keep a food journal when I’m having a hard time with my food/weight.

□   I am in tune with my hunger and am comfortable beginning most of my meals hungry.

□   I am able to stop eating when physically satisfied, usually with no problem.

□  I am able to eat almost any food without beating myself up or feeling guilty.

□  I almost always take action to handle feelings and situations that trigger me to eat by:

□  making a choice between feeling uncomfortable or addressing the issue

□  making effective changes on my own when possible

□  reaching out for appropriate support from family and friends

□  engaging in counseling if I see my reaction to triggers not changing

□   My attitude towards my body is “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the
one you’re with.”

□   I practice numerous nurturing behaviors to fill myself so that I don’t need to turn to

□   I usually know what my needs are and how to get them met by setting limits and
communicating directly.

□   I usually assert myself and rarely have to resort to yelling, arguing or withdrawing when
feeling frustrated with others around me.

□   I like my body most of the time.

□   I realize when I feel fat, an issue other than weight needs to be addressed.

□   I know that if I lose weight to feel better, that ‘feeling better’ is almost
always transient since it is not the weight loss that makes me feel better, but
what I think about the weight loss. I can feel better right now by changing the
way I think.

□   I have changed the way I think and feel content with myself most of the time.


If you are consistently practicing the behaviors above, some
weight loss may be possible. Make note of any thoughts/behaviors that you are
not able to do consistently and make them a priority. You may want to enlist
the help of a professional. Remember, never diet, it is the quickest
prescription to weight gain.

© Copyright 1999 Karin Kratina, MA, RD

Adapted from the unpublished work of Peggy DeMars, MS, RD

Download at www.NutritionTherapy.org Also visit www.NourishingConnections.com


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Are You a Casualty of Dieting? Tips for “Normal” Eating

No matter how many years or decades you have overeaten or how many diets have failed you, you still can learn how to become a “normal” eater—eating when you are hungry, choosing satisfying foods, remaining aware while eating and enjoying food, and stopping when you are full or satisfied.


Note: You did not fail on these diets. These diets failed you.


To succeed at weight management, you will need to:

  • Focus like a laser on eating “normally”
  • Stay persistent like a dog digging for a bone
  • Not expect overnight success
  • Switch your attention from the scale to your appetite
  • Learn effective life skills to manage stress and internal distress


Disregulated eaters can learn how to eat “normally.” Here are some tips to speed you on your way.


Using self-talk

Learn “normal” eating skills: Look in the mirror daily and tell yourself you can learn the skills of “normal” eating.


Think of foods as nutritional and non-nutritional: Instead of thinking of foods as “good” or “bad,” consider them as nutritional or non-nutritional, or nutritional or “fun”. “Good” and “bad” are moral terms that are best avoided in the food arena.


Give yourself praise: Do not put yourself down for the mistakes you make with food. Instead, lavishly praise yourself for your successes, even the tiniest ones.


Try a different approach: If experience tells you that diets do not keep your weight off, do not try to convince yourself that you should diet. Instead, give yourself points for trying a different approach.


Become your own cheerleader: Never say anything to yourself that you would not say to a young child you love, including calling yourself stupid, hopeless, bad, a failure, or worthless. Become your own cheerleader by generating positive thoughts about yourself and your progress.


Avoid all-or-nothing thinking: Do not use words like “never” and “always.” Remind yourself that most of life is not black and white, but gray. Think incrementally.


Do not dwell on untrue comments: Detoxify negative things people say about or to you that are untrue, rather than repeating them to yourself. Remember that what people say belongs to them, not to you, even if your name is attached to their words.


Connect to your emotions: Ask yourself often how you are feeling, so you can connect more easily to your emotions, but explore only with curiosity, not condemnation.

Stop judging yourself harshly: Develop self-compassion. Treat yourself lovingly. Practice speaking to yourself with extreme esteem.


Keep a positive attitude: Do not keep telling yourself that learning to become a “normal” eater is hard, because saying so only programs you to find the work more difficult. Instead, substitute words like challenging or doable.


Recognizing hunger

Rate your hunger: Check in with yourself often to see how hungry you are by using descriptions such as “not hungry,” “moderate,” “very,” and “famished” or a 1-10 scale.


Evaluate if you are hungry: Every time you think about food, ask yourself if you really are hungry enough to eat or if you actually need something else.


Consider having smaller meals: Experiment with eating smaller meals more frequently.


Think about hunger as a signal: It means that you need fuel, not that you have to go out and seek the most fantastic eating experience of your life.


Know what hunger means: Practice believing that hunger is for fuel and pleasure, not for meeting emotional needs.


Choosing satisfying foods

Choose for yourself: Do not get hung up on what other people are eating. Instead, ask yourself what you would like to eat.


Forget about good and bad: Remind yourself that foods fall on a nutritional continuum (high value/low value), not on a moral continuum (good/bad).


Make a satisfying choice: Never eat without first stopping to consider what you want. Spend time making your decision by tuning into your appetite.


Stay clear of guilt or shame: Refrain from allowing guilt or shame to contaminate your eating decisions. Avoid secret eating.


Choose foods that you like: Do not eat foods that you do not find satisfying or enjoyable. Eating them will make you think that you are on a diet.


Eating with awareness and enjoyment

Look before you eat: Before you eat, look at your food, its portion size, and presentation. Breathe deeply. Look again before taking a mouthful.


Chew every mouthful thoroughly: Chewing a lot helps to thoroughly release the flavor of foods.


Let food sit on your tongue: This allows your taste buds to absorb the flavor and transmit messages about your appetite to your brain.


Talk or eat: When you are talking, stop eating. When you are eating, stop talking.


Stay connected: Pay attention to your body’s appetite signals while you are eating.


Forget about guilt and shame: Push away guilt and shame while you are eating. Focus only on sensory pleasure.


Pause while you are eating: Think about how you are feeling about your food in terms of quality and quantity.


Know when to stop eating: Stop eating when flavor intensity declines, as it is bound to do. Do not try to polish off all of the food in front of you. Instead, aim for the moment when flavor peaks and you feel an internal “ah” of satisfaction—then stop.


Evaluate how full you are: Keep asking yourself while you are eating, “Am I still hungry?” and “Am I satisfied?”


Stopping when you are full or satisfied

Know the definitions: Think of “full” as having enough food (fuel) in your stomach and “satisfied” as reaching the high point of pleasure.


Quantify fullness and satisfaction: Use words, such as “nearly full,” “too full,” or “just right,” or a 1-10 scale to rate fullness and satisfaction.


Tell your body: When you feel full or satisfied, focus on that sensation, and broadcast it to your whole body.


Disconnect from food: When you are done eating, put down your utensils, push away your plate, and get up, if possible. At least mentally move on. Do whatever you need to do to disconnect yourself from the food.


Decide when enough is enough: Make sure you do not focus on food that is left in front of you. Recognize that you do not have to finish it or clean your plate.


Changing your beliefs


From: To:

“I need to diet to lose weight.”

“Diets do not work long term.”

“This is too hard.”

“I can learn to do this over time.”

“This will take too long.”

“If I do not change now, I will only end up back in this same place again, so I might as well get going on it.”

“Losing weight is the most important thing.”

“I will lose weight if I honor my appetite and learn to eat ‘normally.’”

“I am bad/worthless/ugly if I am overweight.”

“I accept my body as it is and still will try to improve it.”


Stopping emotional eating

Consider your feelings: If you have the urge to eat when you are not hungry, identify the emotion you are feeling.


Think of a different response: Remind yourself that feelings need an appropriate response—not food.


Know the emotions that trigger unwanted eating: Boredom, loneliness, anxiety, shame, guilt, disappointment, confusion, and helplessness can trigger unwanted eating. Look for more effective ways of dealing with these feelings.


Keep a feelings log: This will help you keep track of what is going on inside of yourself all day long.


Reduce stress: This will lessen frustration, helplessness, and the overwhelmed feeling you sometimes have that may drive you to eat.


Take care of yourself: Make sure you are taking care of yourself (with rest, sleep, hobbies, and fun) at least as well as you take care of others.


Learn from your behavior: If you find yourself eating when you are upset, do not take it out on yourself. Treat yourself with compassion and curiosity. Think about your behavior as a learning experience.


Find help: If you have a history of trauma or abuse, get help through therapy. A strong correlation exists between such a history and emotional eating and weight gain.


Take responsibility for yourself: Do not blame others for your emotional eating. Take accountability for your actions.


Build emotional muscle: Tell yourself that you can bear any emotion and practice doing so. You will find that the emotional muscle you build is amazingly strong and enduring.



References and recommended readings

Koenig KR. Nice Girls Finish Fat: Put Yourself First and Change Your Eating Forever. New York, NY: Fireside/Simon and Schuster; 2009.


Koenig KR. The Food and Feelings Workbook: A Full Course Meal on Emotional Health. Carlsbad, CA: Gürze Books; 2007.


Koenig KR. The Rules of “Normal” Eating: A Commonsense Approach for Dieters, Overeaters, Undereaters, Emotional Eaters, and Everyone in Between! Carlsbad, CA: Gürze Books; 2005.


Koenig KR. What Every Therapist Needs to Know About Treating Eating and Weight Issues. New York, NY: WW Norton and Co; 2008.



Contributed by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, MEd



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Dieting Linked To Eating Disorders


The above article in Medical News Today discusses some of the findings of research done in England by the British Association for Counseling & Psychotherapy on the effects of dieting on the development of an eating disorder.

“Findings indicate that many clients who do/have dieted solely to lose weight have low self-esteem, and that once dieting starts the clients’ psychological issues become more profoundly associated with their physical appearance. Emphasis then becomes increasingly centered on losing weight rather than addressing the underlying self-esteem issues and a strong link between such clients’ low self-esteem/confidence and body image emerges; it also seems that many such clients primarily tend to use dieting in an attempt to control/improve their lives.”

Also noteworthy is how, since dieting is “normalized” in western societies, many individuals who diet regularly may actually suffer from an eating disorder and go undiagnosed.

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Vic Avon on FOX Focus: Male eating disorders

Click below to read the story on Fox 23 News
FOX Focus: Male eating disorders

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Health at Every Size from NYTimes.com

Health at Every Size, an article in Wednesday’s NYTimes.com, discusses how Lent can be another time for people who are discontent with their bodies to give up certain foods in an attempt to lose weight (a diet in disguise, perhaps?).

The article goes on to discuss the ineffectiveness of dieting for long-term weight loss.  “…a weight-focused approach geared toward losing weight is — surprise! — not especially effective in either reducing the weight or creating healthier bodies. In fact, they say, such an approach can unintentionally lead to weight gain and worse health.”

Instead of using this time as one to restrict, why not use it as a time to make peace with the body you have?


If you are already suffering from an eating disorder, restriction of any kind at any time of the year is dangerous and may potentially exacerbate your illness.

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What Can Body Acceptance Get You? Plenty!

The following  is an article by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, an expert in the treatment of eating disorders:

If being told to lose weight actually helped people to lose weight, there would be no fat people.

If being told they “will die if they do not lose weight” by a medical doctor (as was told to one of my clients only 40 pounds above “ideal”) or that they “are unsightly” (as Ann Landers has done) helped people get thin, everyone would be thin.

Few people would elect to be fat in a culture that so flagrantly hates fat people. This hatred of body fat ensures we evaluate other bodies. But it also keeps us, on some level, worried about our own— always checking the mirror to make sure no on else will think we are fat. Even thin people!

Fat hatred keeps people keeps people hyper-aware of food, focused on food, and sometimes even afraid of food—exactly the opposite of what we want.

Fat hatred keeps people counting calories or carbs, skipping dessert and/or trying to burn off calories. But it does not necessarily motivate them to adopt healthier lifestyles—lifestyles that could help them reach and maintain their natural, healthy weight.

Body hatred creates fear, anxiety, and chronic body dissatisfaction. It keeps people monitoring their bodies and continually trying to change them,. If monitoring the body like this made us thin, most of us would be thin! This focus does little to make a person feel good about themselves. It also does little to motivate them to take care of themselves.

To better understand this, consider how you take care of something you really love. Maybe a child, or pet, or favorite object—say a car. You probably nurture them, watch over them in a caring way. If it is a car, I bet it runs really well. If it is a pet, she probably eats well and gets plenty of exercise (the result of your love), she is probably very healthy.

So why do people believe they have to hate themselves to get thin? To get healthy? 

Since body hatred doesn’t work, why not try the opposite? Try liking yourself. Well, okay, then what about accepting yourself?

Admittedly, accepting yourself if you are a woman is a radical concept in this culture. Sadly.

 But people who accept their bodies (or even like them!) take better care of themselves. They do not wait until they are at XXX weight to take care of themselves (as most people who want to lose weight do).

Liking the self means taking better care of the self, which means more health enhancing behaviors—probably one of the best paths to reaching and maintaining a healthy, natural weight.

So, be radical! Decide to accept your body and yourself ! And then treat yourself as if you did!

About the Author:

Karin Kratina, PhD, RD helps women and men escape diet prison and learn to manage their weight naturally. She co-authored “It’s the Calories, Not the Carbs” and “Moving Away From Diets.” Get the complimentary e-zine, Stay Attuned,™ for inspirational eating, body image and weight tips. Send an email to subscribe@nourishingconnections.com and put “Subscribe” in the subject line.  Visit at www.nourishingconnections.com.

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The Diet Nightmare!

When was the last time you can remember being in the company of other  women (and often men) without the conversation inevitably evolving into the latest “remarkable” diet someone is on, how carbohydrates are “fattening” or fats are “fattening”, how a low-carbohydrate diet is the way to stop “bloat” or how a lemonade fast is the best way to drop quick pounds, what the new secret is to drop weight while you sleep, what new-fangled pills are the latest weight loss magic that melt away the fat?

Someone will inevitably be compelled to argue how bagels are the devil, how she hasn’t eaten bread in years, how butter “sticks” to her hips like glue, how much weight she lost and then gained back, what body parts she gained it in, what times of the day she allows herself to eat, how much exercise she has to do or how much exercise she’s not doing and feels guilty about, why her thighs keep growing, where she has the most cellulite, how she can’t control the size of her  stomach? These conversations are epidemic! The irony is that these women don’t see this way of life as unusual or obsessive in the least, nor do they realize that their eating is not intuitive or healthy. If they didn’t discuss their dieting life with other women, they would have little to keep each others’ interest. Unfortunately, diet and weight topics of conversation are the common ground on which women reside. They seem to have lost touch with the other aspects of themselves and the other things in life that are more important than their dress size or the number they see on the bathroom scale.

This phenomenon is especially prevalent between January 1st and February 15th. During the first days of every year, many people embark on their “New Year’s Diet”, forgetting that last year, each and every single other time they embarked on one diet or another, the diet failed because diets always fail. It’s as if all the bad memories of all these failed diets were erased from their memory and they decided this time would be different. It WON’T be different. It NEVER is different. It CAN’T be different because it’s still a diet. It still isn’t normal or sustainable. It is rule-driven restriction, and it will fail.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Just because a new diet seems different because it subscribes to eating certain different combinations of foods at certain times of day or eliminates certain “fattening” foods, or because a celebrity or doctor tried it and lost weight (temporary weight, I’m certain), it is still a diet and will inevitably come to an end and any weight lost will be regained. That’s how diets work.

But, because people get so excited just before and in the early stages of embarking on their latest, newest diet, they make you feel like they’ve “got it” this time. They surely have the secret. This time, they will keep the weight off. They are certain of it!

A few weeks or months later (if it even takes that long), they will be off their diet, and they will no longer be excited. In fact, they will not be talking about that specific diet because it will have failed. They will only complain about how much weight they have regained. The irony is though, that they won’t blame the diet for failing them. No, that’s not the way it works. They will inevitably blame themselves, saying they can’t “stick” to a diet, or they are weak, or some other derogatory self-critical comment. This negative self-talk will further exacerbate their rebound overeating, subsequent weight gain and quest for a new and better diet. PEOPLE DON’T FAIL DIETS. DIETS FAIL PEOPLE!

Dieting like this is a cycle that never ends. It’s like being a hamster running on a wheel. The hamster keeps on going and going and going, getting absolutely no where, until he finally decides to jump off or falls off (or dies, trying to get somewhere he can’t get to).

For those of you who are “enlightened” and have given up the dieting nightmare, good for you!!!!!  For those of you who keep thinking that there is a “good” diet out there, get off the darn hamster wheel! Please work with a trusted professional to learn how to eat more intuitively, stop the endless diet cycle, learn self-trust and heal your relationship with food, yourself, and your world! It is a slow process, but at least you are off the wheel and really getting someplace worth fighting to get to!

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Happy New Year…and Beware!

Warning! Warning!

January 1st will be here in a matter of hours, and you will experience (or may already be experiencing) an “all out” onslaught of diet-related propaganda. You’ll see diet-related weight loss ads in magazines, on TV and on the internet. You will see diet books in the front of every book store. There will be workout clothes easily visible in all major stores that carry clothing. There will be high-pressure ad campaigns for gym memberships. Sports stores will have sales on workout equipment. In drug stores, diet pills will be easily visible. Grocery stores will have food products highlighted in their ads and in stores that are deemed “dietetic”.

Why????? Money!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 1st is the beginning of a very profitable, yet brief period of the year when companies will strive to make money off the people who gained weight over the holidays and those who make New Year’s resolutions to “get into shape”. These companies want you to feel bad about yourself so that you will buy their clothes, diet book, workout equipment, magazine, diet program, etc. They couple the onslaught of propaganda with claims designed to get you ”excited” about the “new and improved” version of yourself that you can achieve by partaking in whatever they are selling.

Please, don’t let this time period derail you off your recovery path!!! Don’t fall prey to these gimmicks and money making schemes. These companies are powerful and they have marketing geniuses who get paid to know how to prey on people’s vulnerabilities.

It will be over by the end of January into mid-February. Hang in there. Don’t let the ads penetrate your healthy mind. Don’t give them power over you! Be especially aware of your thoughts and feelings and subsequent eating behaviors. Challenge any negative thoughts and potentially eating disordered behaviors you may have urges to use as a result of hearing and seeing these ads. If you are going to make one New Year’s resolution, make it that you will do whatever you possibly can to make progress in your recovery!!!

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Interesting Facts!


With the exception of infancy, we grow faster during adolescence than any other time in our lives.

Approximately 20% of our adult height and 50% of our adult weight is gained between 11 – 19 years of age.

It is normal to gain between 40 and 50 pounds between the ages of 10 and 16.

For girls, weight is often gained in the breasts and hips, mainly in “estrogenic” or “female” fat.  This is healthy and necessary for menstruation and pregnancy.

During the teenage years, girls will experience a widening in their hips.  This is normal and necessary for childbirth.

Women have up to twice the amount of body fat as men do.

Genetics play a huge role in determining the size and shape of our bodies.  You cannot change your genetics.


Facts About Advertising

The dieting industry generates 50 billion dollars a year with products we buy because we are dissatisfied with our bodies.

The average person in America sees over 3,000 advertising images in one day.

The average person spends approximately 3 years of time during his/her lifetime watching television commercials.

Television commercials/advertisements cost, on average between $250,000 and $500,000 each.

Approximately 180 billion dollars is spent each year, on advertising.

Advertisers use professional models to sell their products.

Computers have digitally altered the professional models that you see in magazines.  What you see is not reality, but an image that was created to make you spend money on something!

Many models have had plastic surgery to improve their appearance.

Many models have eating disorders, smoke and use drugs to try to prevent them from eating normally.


Check Out Our Obsession With Looks

Women looking for pouty lips are now pumping their lips full of Gore-Tex, the same substance that makes your winter coat waterproof.

If store mannequins were real, they would be too thin to menstruate.

The average lipstick wearer will swallow 10 pounds of lipstick over 40 years.

Americans spend over $40 billion on dieting and diet-related products each year.

American women spend $130 million a year on cellulite creams, which are as effective as smearing your body with glue to temporarily tighten your skin.

In 2002 about 54,000 teens had chemical peels and just under 53,000 underwent microdermabrasion. More than 19,000 teens had nose jobs.

400-600 advertisements bombard us everyday in magazines, on billboards, on TV, and in newspapers. One in eleven has a direct message about beauty, not even counting the indirect messages.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), over 220,000 people under 18 years old had a cosmetic procedure in 2002.

Average cost of a one-year gym membership:  $450.

Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American people, yet they are the people that we are made to believe we should look like. 


5 – 10 million women and 1 million men struggle with eating disorders, in part because of our culture’s obsession with thinness, obtaining the perfect body and valuing people on the basis of physical appearance rather than inner qualities and strengths.


 What You Can Do To Help Prevent Eating Disorders

Learn all you can about anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Share your knowledge with loved ones. Genuine awareness will help them avoid judgmental or mistaken attitudes about food, weight, body shape, and eating disorders.

Discourage the idea that a particular diet, weight, or body size will automatically lead to happiness and fulfillment.

Choose to challenge the false belief that thinness and weight loss are great, while body fat and weight gain are horrible or indicate laziness, worthlessness, or immorality.

Avoid categorizing foods as “good/safe” vs. “bad/dangerous.” Remember, we all need to eat a balanced variety of foods.

Decide to avoid judging others and yourself on the basis of body weight or shape. Turn off the voices in your head that tell you that a person’s body weight says anything about their character, personality, or value as a person.

Avoid conveying an attitude to yourself and others that says, “I will like you better if you lose weight, or don’t eat so much, etc.”

Become a critical viewer of the media and its messages about self-esteem and body image. Talk back to the television when you hear a comment or see an image that promotes thinness at all costs. Don’t watch shows that you know promote these views. Rip out (or better yet, email the editor about ) advertisements or articles in your magazines that make you feel bad about your body shape or size. Better yet, don’t buy these magazines

If you think someone has an eating disorder, express your concerns in a forthright, caring manner. Gently but firmly encourage the person to seek trained professional help. If you suffer from an eating disorder, speak up and get the help you need.

Be a model of healthy self-esteem and body image. Recognize that others pay attention and learn from the way you talk about yourself and your body. Choose to talk about yourself with respect and appreciation. Choose to value yourself based on your goals, accomplishments, talents, and character.

Avoid letting the way you feel about your body weight and shape determine the course of your day. Embrace the natural diversity of human bodies and celebrate your body’s unique shape and size.

Support local and national nonprofit eating disorders organizations — like the National Eating Disorders Association or the Binge Eating Disorder Association.

Reprinted in part from Teaching Body Confidence, by Rebecca Manley, M.S.



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Carbs, Carbs, Wonderful Carbs!

You are a human. You are not a plant. Therefore you cannot photosynthesize to get energy to live. You must get your fuel/energy from food. The “essential” nutrients in foods – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water, provide the “raw material” to give your body life! The reason these nutrients are called “essential” is because life ceases without them!

Today’s post is on the topic of carbohydrates. Bashing carbohydrates is OLD NEWS. In fact, it never should have been news in the first place. Carbohydrates are your body’s NUMBER ONE source of energy. There are between 75 and 100 trillion cells in the adult human body. All those trillions of cells need carbohydrates to thrive.

Carbohydrates are essentially carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) organized in teeny little carbon rings, either by themselves or bound together with another similar ring or in longer chains of rings. They are found mostly in foods of non-animal origin.

This is glucose. It is the only carbohydrate your cells can use. All other carbohydrates you eat have to eventually convert into this cute little molecule in your body. So no matter what food your carbohydrates come from, they ultimately will become glucose to give your cells energy.

Carbohydrates are the PREFERRED source of fuel for most of your body’s trillions of cells but they are the ONLY type of fuel that your brain and central nervous system can use. They cannot use any other type of nutrient as their energy source. They need carbohydrates to survive. Have you ever felt a lack of concentration, brain fog, from eating too little carbohydrate? After going long hours without carbohydrates, have you gotten weak and shaky, your muscles begin to tremble and your heart begins to race? Ever wonder why that happens? When your brain is “starved” of carbohydrates, it senses that it has no energy to survive. It sends messages to your muscles to tremble to release any stored fuel (carbohydrate) to send to the brain and it makes your heart beat faster to get the blood quickly to the brain to prevent the brain cells from “dying”. This isn’t a pleasant scenario and your brain is obviously showing you it is in danger.  Your brain is telling you it is desperate and has no fuel to work!

You need carbohydrates all day, every day for sustained energy for your brain and body. So, every time you eat something, whether it is a meal or a snack, it would be ideal to include a carbohydrate source with your other nutrients.

Also, contrary to some peoples’ beliefs, carbohydrates are NOT “fattening”. This concept is misleading and incorrect! Remember, from another post on this blog that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Calories coming from carbohydrate-containing foods are no more or less able to change an individual’s weight than calories coming from other foods. That is a MYTH!  The more you avoid them though, the more you will set yourself up to crave them. If that has happened to you, the more consistently you are able to include them into your daily meals and snacks in a “safe” way, the more comfortable you will become.

In addition to the energy you will give your body and brain by eating carbohydrate- containing foods, you will also give it other fabulous nutrients, depending on which foods you choose. For example, if you choose to eat whole wheat bread you will also be giving yourself fiber and B vitamins. If you eat yogurt, you are also getting calcium, protein and vitamin D.  If you eat fruit, you are getting fiber and antioxidant vitamins. Or you could have a fun food like a candy bar and you will benefit from the energy from carbohydrate and a side benefit of pleasure (an essential ingredient in my opinion)!!

So, the next time you are considering what to eat, remember that carbohydrates are essential!  Your trillions of cells will thank you!

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Baby Food Diet???


First off, before I give my opinion on the “baby food diet”, I have to say that as an eating disorder nutrition therapist, I have treated many individuals who, at times in their illness, ate baby food because it was the only food that was “safe” enough to eat. That is NOT the issue this article was referencing.

I am continually stunned, saddened, and perplexed by the crazy diets that are adopted by celebrities and promoted in the media. The “Baby Food Diet” recommends that the dieter (usually a celebrity who is not overweight in the least) eats14 servings of baby food equal to approximately 1,000 calories per day until the “desired” weight is achieved. Imagine eating 14 jars of baby food per day. You cannot eat anything other than pureed baby fruits and vegetables on this diet. I don’t think you can even eat “Gerber Graduates Meat Sticks” or “Lil Sticks – Turkey Meat”. So basically, you are fasting, which only cause temporary weight loss and then most definitely will lead to rebound binge eating. 

Please don’t waste your precious time on this terrible diet. It is so bad on so many levels. I can’t even believe anyone would entertain it…except maybe a baby.

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Is it just me or does anyone else see a problem with using diet tricks to lose weight?

The definition of a trick is:

A crafty or underhanded device, maneuver, stratagem, or the like, intended to deceive or cheat; artifice; ruse; wile.

So, if we are trying to deceive ourselves into using strategies to lose weight, don’t you think that we are going to want to outsmart our own tricks? Why can’t we just be honest with ourselves and make some sincere connections? Why don’t we try to develop insight into WHY we are eating in a way that’s causing our weight to go up, and address the cause instead of using trickery on ourselves that we are smart enough to outfox but then get angry at ourselves when it doesn’t work?

On the other hand, if an individual wants to educate him/herself on healthy eating practices, simply because they are wise and helpful for overall health, then I’m all for it. For example, if you want to eat more beans because you like them and they contain a good source of fiber, good for you! If you want to add some almonds to your breakfast cereal to get some quality fat, that’s a fabulous idea!

One of the “weird tricks” the above article mentions is to eat without distractions to achieve peaceful eating. Eating without distractions is good, not as a weight loss “trick” but for the mindfulness that occurs when we eat without distractions like TV, computers, and video games. Not every strategy or “trick” pertaining to food should be geared for weight loss! It should be geared toward improving your overall relationship with food. If, as a result of improving your relationship with food, your weight changes (up or down) then so be it! Trickery doesn’t lead to long-term lifestyle changes! Knowledge, insight, self-awareness and kindness do!

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Is the Obesity Epidemic Being Addressed in All the Right Ways?

This article, in its entirety, was in the Asbury Park Press on Sunday, September 12, 2010. I understand that overweight and obesity are issues in epidemic proportions in our country and in NJ where I live. The article makes some very valid points, including that our youth has easy access to “junk food”, soda and highly processed foods. And yes, the youth in our country is much more inactive than the youth in days past. Yet, there has been a mass movement toward educating our country about the consequences of eating excessive processed foods, being inactive “couch potatoes” and being overweight or obese. And yet, the rate of weight gain is ever increasing. Could there be another approach to the issue? Is education working? And, what about the people who are overweight who are healthy? Are they going to be targeted as well?  Should they be made to change their lifestyle or their weight? Are thin people, just because they are thin, healthy? Do thin people NOT eat junk food, processed food, or soda?

Articles like this one simplify the issue and always focus on the same causes of the “problem”: overeating because of easy accessibility, large portion sizes, cheap low quality food, and underactivity. Yes, these are certainly some of the causes.

But, what about the notion of our youth and the adults of our country relying on food to cope?  Is it possible that we are attacking the issue from a behavioral and educational standpoint exclusively and forgetting that as humans, we sometimes knowingly or unknowingly use food as a panacea to cover our pain, reduce our stress, and communicate our feelings, like a drug would? I wonder if stressed out kids as well as adults, who have easy accessibility to food and no healthy means of communication or no one to talk to, may “use” food as a coping mechanism. Then, the behavior reinforces itself over and over again.

I’m not saying that all individuals who are overweight or obese “use” food as a coping mechanism, nor am I saying anyone who is thin doesn’t “use” food to cope, but I would certainly venture to guess that it is a factor that shouldn’t be overlooked or minimized. Maybe as a country, in addition to focusing on education about food and exercise, we could focus some of our attention on ways to support our youth psychologically, giving them healthy coping mechanisms and communication skills as well as helping find them resources to deal with their issues so that when the easily accessible processed food is within reach, they may not always reach for it.

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Not So Healthy Covers

Magazine Covers

Why do some magazines whose covers profess to be promoting health or the ”self” have consistently at least 3 or 4 headlines on their cover about fast weight loss or how to improve sex? Are there no other means to achieve health or happiness other than losing weight while you sleep, achieving flat abs, or finding the hottest sex secrets?

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