Tag Archive | truth

Sugar Addiction

This is a great blog post written by a well respected pioneer in the field of eating disorders, Nancy Matsumoto, co-author of The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders: Supporting Self-Esteem, Healthy Eating, and Positive Body Image at Home.

The truth about so-called “sugar addiction”

In her discussion on the subject of “sugar addiction”, she cites a recent review in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition in which it states that “there is no support from the human literature for the hypothesis that sucrose may be physically addictive or that addiction to sugar plays a role in eating disorders.”

She further differentiates between a “craving” and an “addiction” and breaks down the facts about carbohydrate in a user-friendly way.

Thanks Nancy for enlightening so many people with your fact-based information!

In a recent post, I reported on a NEDA-sponsored panel discussion I attended during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. One panelist, who has been involved in a 12-step recovery program, described herself as being “addicted” to sugar. It was a substance that she simply could not ingest, she said, because it induced a kind of high and made her crave more and more sugary foods. For her, it was simply too dangerous to touch.

via www.eatingdisordersblogs.com

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Intuitive Eating

This topic is so broad it would take an entire book to cover all the characteristics. I just want to discuss appropriateness of this type of eating in recovery. I feel like so many of you want to try it but get worried because it is a concept that is foreign. So, first and foremost, when you are ready, you will hopefully know. Or, you and your treatment team will know. If you are not ready, there isn’t a “race” to get there. I think some people look at it as the end point of their recovery, a point of no return, and that alone brings up fear. Some people have asked me, “what if I go out of control because I can’t do it? What if I gain too much weight because I can’t trust my inner cues or they are wrong? What if I choose all the ‘wrong’ foods and then I can’t turn back? ” and the most common question is “What if my intuitive eating makes me gets me to my natural weight and it is higher than I like?”

What if, what if, what if????? All these “what if’s” are a huge obstacle but they sometimes also demonstrate a lack of readiness and fear. If you have a bunch of “what if’s” about intuitive eating, DON’T discuss it with the eating disordered part of your mind. Your eating disorder will turn it into a “fear fest”. Discuss it with your treatment team, especially your nutritionist.

If you have had an eating disorder for any length of time, your eating has been “from the neck up”. What do I mean by this? Your eating has been guided by your head only – your thoughts, your rules, your emotions, your past experiences, your disordered fears…not by your normal natural physiological mind-body cues. If you have restricted, binged, compulsively overeaten, purged, taken any appetite-suppressing substances or laxatives, overexercised, or a combination of these, you have “short-circuited” your natural means of detecting hunger, fullness and appetite. So, as a result of this short-circuiting, you will need to learn the skill that non-disordered people exhibit normally, until it actually becomes intuitive.

When are you supposed to do this and how are you supposed to do this??? It varies person to person but you can only expect to start the process when you are well-supported by your team. You cannot begin if you are at an extremely low weight or are using eating disordered behaviors regularly. You must be medically stable for a good stretch of time and should be eating consistently (perhaps on a meal plan). Also, you have to do this when you are confident that you have the ability to separate your emotions from your eating. You must also realize that you will make mistakes along the way. Sometimes you will eat too much and feel too full (scary) and sometimes you will undereat and want more (clearly a risk if you are not ready). This is an essential part of the process. No one learns how to intuitively eat “perfectly” without making mistakes.

Also, I like to look at the parallels between what you do with your food and where you are in developing your life skills as an indication of your readiness. So, as far as intuitive eating is concerned, when you are being more intuitive (guided by your gut instincts) in other areas of your life and trusting yourself with decisions regarding relationships, feelings, self-care, boundaries, etc, you will be more equipped to develop your intuitive skills regarding your eating. Overall, you will be living a more trusting relationship with yourself.

Please remember that recovery is a process (I feel like I say this so often!) and you need to know where you are in the process. I want you all to be able to trust your process and unquestionably get to the point where you can trust your true self! Just try to stay focused on where you currently are in your recovery and take the baby steps that are in front of you.

Below are the 10 Intuitive Eating Principles, by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch, authors of Intuitive Eating

1. Reject the Diet Mentality Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.
2. Honor Your Hunger Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.
3. Make Peace with Food Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.
4. Challenge the Food Police Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating under 1000 calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created. The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.
5. Respect Your Fullness Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level?
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence–the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough”.
7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.
8. Respect Your Body Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally as futile (and uncomfortable) to have the same expectation with body size. But mostly, respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.
9. Exercise–Feel the Difference Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm. If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it’s usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.
10. Honor Your Health–Gentle Nutrition Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters; progress not perfection is what counts.

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An Innocent Diet Can Lead to an Eating Disorder

An eating disorder can start before a person even realizes it has happened.

Many people start making food changes innocently, to feel healthier. They have no idea that they are setting the stage for a possible eating disorder.

Placing a child on a restrictive diet can have long-lasting negative physical and psychological effects. Tomorrow’s post is going to be about the effects of children and diets. But, for now…

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How to Raise Your Self-Worth

Do you find yourself worthy?

Self-worth is your ability to appreciate, accept, and value yourself independent of success, failure, or the opinions of others. It means having an overall favorable opinion of yourself, believing in your right to feel good, and therefore choosing your thoughts, actions, and expressions based on the belief that you matter.

If you plan to achieve your goals, whether they are goals of ending your unhealthy relationship with food, or overcoming stress, sadness, or depression, you will also need to build a valid sense of self-worth. While self-worth is not about your achievements, it is about spending energy and effort in pursuits that are meaningful to you and your happier life. When you feel worthy, you feel motivated to make behavior choices that support your overall goals of success and joy.

What is the definition of self-worth? Low self-worth is best described as having a low opinion of yourself and feelings of being unworthy. It can result in some common thoughts, actions, and behaviors including:

  • Low motivation
  • Feeling stupid, fat, ugly, useless, or unwanted
  • A sense of not being good enough or on equal ground with others
  • Not feeling strong enough to handle things on your own
  • Feeling judged by others
  • Needing to be more articulate, prettier, smarter, richer, etc.
  • Finding it hard to forgive yourself for making mistakes
  • Dissatisfaction with life
  • Depression
  • Low energy levels
  • Feeling helpless to change things
  • Feeling either superior or inferior to others, never equal
  • Withdrawn from social contact
  • A sense of defeat and hopelessness

One of the problems of believing yourself to have low self-worth is that you will act according to the belief you hold. If you believe you are unworthy of love, you will act as though you are unworthy of love. If you believe you are an outcast, you will act as if you are an outcast. Your beliefs define your reality. In truth, you are so much more than what you believe about yourself. You are the breath of creation in human form, the combination of spirit and physicality. If you currently have low self-worth, there is hope! You can make a decision to change it.

Five Ways to Increase Your Self-Worth

Raising self-worth is a very personal and often complex process. There is no one magic formula to make you believe you are a worthy individual. It takes time, effort, and awareness to allow a sense of worth to deepen. Since strengthening your sense of worth takes motivation and action, you have to have to want and choose this as your goal before you can improve it. Dare to love yourself. It is your journey, and without your support, you are not going to get anywhere at all. However, if you are ready, below are a few suggestions that can and will actively build your self-worth.

1. Realize You Have Control Over Your Future

Encourage yourself to focus on the dreams and desires that are important to you. Begin by giving yourself permission to imagine and pretend that you are living your most perfect life. What ideas awaken passion, creativity, intuition, and gut feelings? What makes you laugh, feel good, and come to life? What do you stand for? Once you have an idea of what goal or direction is important to you, decide to spend time, energy, and action involved in those pursuits. When you become involved with the things that are important to you, your sense of worth increases.

2. Think Better Thoughts

Begin to notice your automatic thoughts. Are you inner voices supportive and loving, or critical and abusive? Consciously watch your thoughts as a detached observer. There is no need to fight your thoughts, pretend to ignore them, or even judge them. Instead, bring your thoughts out into the open. Acknowledge their existence, write them down, and speak them aloud. Sit back and say to yourself, “Isn’t that interesting that I am thinking these thoughts.” It’s okay to feel insecure or anxious, and you still love yourself. It is also okay to add the supportive and loving thoughts you really want to hear. Your thoughts are your responsibility and while you cannot erase negative thoughts, you certainly can learn to challenge them.

3. Express Your Self

Self-worth is your ability to feel free to be yourself. So it makes sense that if your self-worth is low, most likely you will invest your time role-playing, and pretending to be something, somebody, other than who your really are. You will find yourself behaving in ways others expect you to behave so that they will like you. Yet, inwardly you will feel self-critical, judgmental, and believe yourself to be different in some non-okay way. It is your right to be who you are, expressing your innermost truths, and not feeling like you must live up to someone else’s expectations. You have the right to say, “No” when you mean no, or, “I don’t care” when that is what you really feel inside. However, self-worth also includes your decision to communicate directly, state your preferences and opinions, and speak in a concise assertive voice.

4. To Err is Human

Self-worth is your ability to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses while at the same time accepting yourself as worthy and worthwhile. If you want to raise your self-worth, allow yourself to gain a realistic perspective about mistakes, obstacles, setbacks, and failure. Failure is actually the only way to become successful. Although no one really wants to experience failure, you can remind yourself that failure is a natural aspect of every ultimately successful journey. Think of misfortunes as temporary and specific instead of permanent and general. In other words, your current effort may have been unsuccessful, but that doesn’t mean that your overall goal or dream is unattainable. Learn from your setback, revise your action plan, and begin again.

5. Be Responsible for Your Success

Raising your self-worth includes being responsible for your own happiness and success. To achieve this, learn how to be your own best friend and supporter. Constantly tell yourself what a good job you are doing. Actively seek out evidence of your success. Praise your efforts. Learn to be excited by your choices. Recognize your many triumphs – however small they may seem. Self-worth is the overflowing of love and acceptance from within you directed to you. Decide you will allow yourself to feel successful with each step you take, no matter what the outcome is. It is enough that you have taken the step. You are enough.

Self-worth is your right to live and be happy. Follow these steps and you will find that you have set into motion forces that allow you to deepen your sense of self-worth. Good luck and good self-worth!

Copyright 1997–2011 Annette Colby, PhD. All rights reserved in all media.

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Why Is This Food So Misunderstood???

How can a simple wheat product that naturally contains protein and carbohydrate, and is fortified with iron and B vitamins, (and sometimes omega-3 fats) get such a bad reputation that people avoid it like it is a toxic substance, a drug, the devil?

Pasta is such a fabulous and versatile food. I cannot understand why so many people eliminate it out of their diet. I have heard countless times that pasta is “fattening”. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a negative comment about pasta, I’d be rich.

Let’s clear up some misinformation about pasta.


So why then do so many people avoid pasta? Why are they afraid of pasta?

People who don’t have the accurate information about the nutritional value of pasta “buy into” what they hear in the media and from other people who perpetuate myths and misconceptions.


  1. Pasta is a carbohydrate containing food that also contains protein, B vitamins, and iron.
  2. Pasta has approximately 100 calories per ½ cup (cooked), similar to other grains and starches, including starchy vegetables.  

End of story.

So…why do people fear this food??? I don’t want to upset or trigger anyone reading this post, but I want to present the facts and my professional opinion, instead of perpetuating the misconceptions.

In my opinion, when “most” people eat pasta, they are eating probably upwards of 2 cups (cooked), which seems like a reasonable entree amount when you see it in a bowl or on a plate. 2 cups cooked is approximately 400 calories. Unless you eat it plain, you are probably adding some type of sauce and protein (like meatballs), which will also contribute to the caloric value of the meal. Then, you might add bread with butter or dipping oil, salad with dressing, and other components to the meal. Your meal could therefore be naturally higher in calories than the original 400 for the pasta.  So perhaps the total meal is of higher nutritional value, and then all the “blame” gets placed on this wonderful “harmless” grain.

Pasta is a versatile food. It can be combined with all sorts of proteins, cheeses, sauces and veggies. It can be added to salads. It can be eaten hot or cold. It can be an entrée or a side dish. It comes in all different shapes and sizes. There are even whole grain versions, high protein versions, and non-wheat (gluten-free) versions. If you haven’t had it in a while, you could first have it as a side dish. Or, you could sample a few bites of someone else’s.  If you are “afraid” of pasta because of all the myths you have heard or because you have had a “bad” experience with it, remember, it is just a grain. It is worth trying it again. You might actually surprise yourself and have a positive experience! Bon appetit!!


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Honesty vs Dishonesty

This is a tough subject to broach because I think most people strive to be honest and good quality people. All of the clients I see are wonderful, honest, beautiful people. When it comes to their eating disorder though, that’s where honesty becomes “fuzzy”. The most honest individuals can become somewhat “dishonest” in the realm of their eating disorder.

Do you ever try to convince yourself that what you are doing is “fine”? Do you ever rationalize, minimize, catastrophize, stretch the truth, omit certain details to yourself or others, either to defend your eating disorder or so you don’t have to face the truth about it, because you are scared or uncomfortable?

Or, are you in denial about certain issues and behaviors surrounding your disorder? Do you simply “not see” what you are experiencing? By being in denial, are you avoiding facing and tackling certain obstacles?

By coming out of a place of denial and by being honest with yourself each and every day, you may feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. Perhaps in being honest, facing the details of your illness and the eating behaviors that accompany it, you will face the changes that are crucial in making a full recovery. Are you ready to do that?

A client of mine once told me that honesty was the “death knell” of her eating disorder, meaning that if she remained honest with herself and others, her eating disorder would not be able to survive. An eating disorder feeds and thrives on dishonesty and denial. If you are dishonest with yourself and others, your eating disorder gets to call the shots, twist the truth, dictate your behaviors and keep you sick.  

Are you ready to be honest with yourself, about yourself? Once you get past the fear, there is strength and empowerment in honesty and openness. Honesty is a gift you can give yourself and it will be extraordinarily powerful in the recovery process.

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