Friday, September 28, 2012

Do something Friday

When I say, think of a healthy behavior for the weekend, what do you think of?

Okay -- do that this weekend.  No more thinking -- just timely action.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

No Grades

As many of you know, I am back in school working on my master's.  It's been an interesting transition from undergrad coursework to professional to professional taking graduate level coursework.  There was also the adjustment of getting used to having "class discussions" online.  But the thing that has been the greatest challenge for me is the lack of graded feedback.

Every week, I submit my assignments and voila!  .....nothing..... I started my sememster the last week of August (two classes!) and still no grades.  I want to be an A student (really, I want to be an A+ student but they don't give that grade out now :(   -- It is very difficult to know whether I am succeeding if I don't get any feedback!  And yet, I'm in graduate school, not grade school.  At some point, I should be able to understand I need to assess my work, do my best, submit my projects and (most importantly) learn everything I am able to learn so I can be a more effective professional (which is the point of going back to school, right??) and that should be enough.

But how can I adjust my writing style to what the instructor wants?  How do I know if I am citing enough sources?  How can I improve???  How will I know what to do???

Life offers a lot of opportunities for feedback.  Our bosses, mothers, spouses, kids, coworkers, friends and perfect strangers are all, often times willing and able to offer their feedback on how we are doing -- especially with something as visible as weight.  On the other hand, your pants will tell you all you really need to know about the state of your weight -- so you really don't need (or possibly appreciate) the feedback you get from the peanut gallery??

You're eating habits, on the other hand, are more like my homework assignments.  You complete your mindfulness "assignments" day after day but you don't get a lot of feedback.  You don't get people marveling over the 100 pounds you lost in 3 weeks (because it's impossible), the amount of restraint you have because you haven't eaten sugar in this decade (because mindfulness is not about cutting out whole food catagories), or the fact that you're pushing away from your plate those critical 4 or 5 bites sooner than you have in the past.  Unrewarding, right?

But, much like me being in graduate level classes with graduate level handholding (i.e. not much!), you are an adult.  If you're serious about eating mindfully and cutting the calories that don't matter to you, this is going to be a pretty internal journey.  You're going to have to do the best work you are capable of each day -- turn it in and start again the next day. 

Grades (the evaluation by others of your best work) don't matter.  Learn everything you are able to learn so you can be a more effective human being (and that's the whole point, right? to learn the skills that enable you to live a healthier, happier, more enjoyable life doing the things you love??!! )

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Difference between Shame and Guilt

If you've ever taken an Eating Coach class with me, you've heard me talk about the interesting thing we do when we label food.  See if this sounds familiar:

We label some food as bad, cake for example.

Since the cake is bad, when I eat it, somehow this translates in our diet-infused brains into the idea that "Cake is bad.  I ate the cake therefore I am bad."

The distinction can be made between guilt ("I did this and I feel bad") and shame ("I did this and I am bad")

We are not bad because of what we eat -- and yet, isn't that what we literally verbalize to ourselves and others when we eat something we think we shouldn't?

There are a lot of people saying we create our reality by the words we speak.  If you are telling yourself and others that you are bad -- what kind of ramifications does that have for you?  Do you think that at some point you stop being flip about that statement and actually start believing it?  I do.  I think we mean it more often than not when we tell ourselves or others that we were bad.

Who wants to be bad?  Is it responsible parenting to tell a child they are bad all the time?  Nope.  What about your best friend?  Or your spouse?  Is there a relationship you can think of that would flourish if you told that person they were bad day in and day out?

And what is the thought process of a child when they are constantly told they are bad?  Would they start living that out and actually being bad since they are already getting blamed and made to feel bad about it anyway?  That would seem pretty logical.

What about you?  Are you creating a self-fulfilling prophecy because of the words you chose to use about yourself?  Do you feel bad because of a "bad" choice you made -- so you tell yourself you're bad -- then you eat the rest of the cake because you might just as well since you're already bad?

Is that the best, kindest, most productive line of reasoning to engage in?  Is it going to help you manage your weight?  I bet not because if guilt and shame actually worked, we'd all be skinny by now!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vulnerability and how it makes you live small

I don't know how many of you took the time to watch the Brene Brown video from Friday -- but I have to tell you, it blew me away.

How often do we take a look at our own vulnerability and what protecting ourselves actually causes us to do.  How many of you have not thrown your resume into the ring for a job you thought you'd love because you were afraid you wouldn't .... get it, be able to do it, get called for the interview...whatever.  Your vulnerability caused you to not try -- because not trying is easier to live with than failing (or at least that's what we tell ourselves).

Even with our eating habits, how many times do we hold back from making commitments because we are afraid to fail, afraid someone will point out our new (slightly odd) habit of eating less or using smaller plates, boxing up half your dinner out so you won't overeat.....

How often have you thought about joining a gym but then been afraid you would attract too much attention because of your size, your lack of knowledge about working out, your level of bodily you talk yourself out of it because you don't want to put yourself in that vulnerable of a situation.  And so you stay the same.

No gym membership.  No change in eating behaviors.  You live small trying not to draw attention to yourself.

 Well, here's the thing, if you want to create something new (a more fit and healthy you, a you than can run a 5k, a you that can rock climb, a you that is the grandparent that can get on the floor to play with the new grandbaby -- whatever it is, if you're not there right now, it will be new for you) --

you have to face being vulnerable.

You are your worst critic.  It's likely that very few people care enough to pay attention to what you're trying to do much less spend any great amount of time mocking it -- but it's this fear we let stop us in our tracks.

Living small won't serve your purposes.  You're not going to accomplish your goals by keeping yourself invulnerable (it's a myth -- it can't be done!).

So take some time to be mindful of your thought processes today and see just how many of your actions are really driven by the need to protect yourself from vulnerability.  Maybe that habit worked for a while.  Perhaps its time to see if it's now getting in the way of your weight management and your health.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thought for the Day....

 It’s not about “what can I accomplish?” but “what do I want to accomplish?” Paradigm shift. --Brené Brown

Friday, September 21, 2012

Do something Friday

Okay, all.  I need a huge favor!  For the sake of me, you, and the whole world, I need you to watch (and by that I mean REALLY WATCH...and LISTEN) to this video.  It's 20 minutes long and I know right now that seems like a lot of time to devote to watching a video.  We're all busy -- I get that.

But we can all agree that our world needs to get a handle on the factors driving our weight which in turn is driving our disease rates up and sucking the life right out of us.  This researcher just may have the information that pulls all your pieces together.

Here it is:

Do something Friday presents : Brené Brown, researcher

Can't see the video? Click here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Your Best Weight

What's the difference between your best weight and the BMI or "ideal weight"?

Happiness and contentment with your life.  Period.  Done.

For a while, I've had the growing suspicion that weight is killing us because we stress about it so much -- if that's true, it's not the weight that's killing us, it's the stress we put on ourselves doing all that damage.

While that may not capture the whole story, in terms of our eating choices leading diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc, I think it's a really important point to underscore Yoni Freehoff's idea of  "best weight".  Your best weight is going to be the one that you can live the life you love at. 

If you're able to eat the foods you love, participate in the activities you enjoy, feel comfortable in your own skin  -- that is your best weight.  And that has very little to do with the "ideal" weight a health professional may give you -- or a range on the BMI scale.....don't even get me started on the 600 ways that scale's value has been misrepresented to the public!!! 

Like Yoni says:

 "....  why do we place such a premium on the notion of that perfect, healthy weight? Why isn't "trying our best" enough when it comes to weight loss?


We aim to suffer and sacrifice and restrict far beyond what's comfortable, and then try to convince ourselves that somehow results won by under-eating and over-exercising will last—that, "nothing tastes as good as thin feels."

But of course extremes don't last. As a species, we're simply not built to endure unnecessary suffering for the long haul. And yet each year spawns a new crop of books claiming to have found the latest, greatest (and, of course, highly restrictive) route to weight loss.

Well here are two long-term weight management truisms for you.

If you can't happily eat less, you're not going to eat less. And if you can't happily exercise more, you're not going to exercise more.

Next time you're considering a new diet or other weight-loss technique, ask yourself a simple question: "Could I happily continue living this way?" If the answer is no, you're just wasting your time. Ultimately, weight lost through suffering almost always finds its way back. You need to like your life."

If you only take away one thing from this post, let it be Yoni's closing line:

You need to like your life!!!! 

If you don't, what's the point of all this hard work??

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mindfulness is going mainstream!

Alright small (but growing) band of mindful eaters, I have some great news!  For a while, I have been telling you you're not alone.  But today I have more proof for you.  Here's an article from US News that talks about mindfulness and how to use your awareness to keep your eating on track:

How to Stop Sabataging your Health by Rebecca Scritchfield

When you make a choice to eat, what drives your decision? For many people, it can be any number of feelings, from boredom or stress to fatigue or just wanting to "taste" whatever it is you are craving. But there is only one physical signal we have that indicates it's a good time to eat, and that's hunger. Hunger is very interesting. It's not an "on/off" switch, but rather it's more like the volume on your television. There are many levels. When the hunger "volume" is up, your feelings may be more intense, like a growling stomach or an urgent need to eat for more energy. When the hunger volume is lower, it could be that you are just starting to feel hungry again, but it is not as intense. If you wait a bit, you will feel the hunger increase.

You can rely on your hunger signals if you don't try to fight them. You usually feel sensations in your belly area like a stomach growl or empty feeling that occurs between three and five hours since your last meal, depending on how much you ate and how quickly your body processed it. When you listen to the signals in this way, it is call "intuitive eating"—trusting your body to give you signs of physical hunger, and trusting yourself to honor those signals by eating.

It's a good idea to get attuned to your hunger signals, regardless of whether you are trying to lose weight or not. Intuitive eating is rational. You get hungry; you eat. It seems simple enough. For some people, this is easier said than done. Some people feel challenged to differentiate a hunger pang from a craving or a means of distraction. way to distract themselves from tackling a growing to-do list Sometimes they confuse a neutral feeling—neither hungry nor full—with hunger. If there is "room" for food, maybe that's hunger?! Sometimes people can identify the feeling, but they don't want to know the answer. They want to eat the food. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, know that you can improve upon your eating skills so that you feel more familiar with the signals. You will feel empowered to make choices to eat based not on your emotional need for food, but your physical hunger.

What do you tell yourself besides "I'm hungry" before you eat something? Have you ever said any of the following:

• I had a bad day so I deserve to eat [fill in the blank].

• I already messed up by ordering take-out for lunch today. I might as well just skip my workout, eat something unhealthy, and start over tomorrow.

• I never eat well when I'm stressed. It's how I deal.

Each of these statements exemplifies self-sabotage. They are irrational thoughts you tell yourself that take you out of a dialogue with your body. Think about it. If you were teaching eating skills to someone, would you say, "When you have a bad day, treat yourself with a candy bar from and maybe you will feel better." How about: "You should be ashamed for ordering takeout. Since you ruined your day, you might as well eat a huge bowl of ice cream and skip your workout." You can easily see the irrational thinking when you imagine yourself doling out such advice.

The problem with self-sabotage is that it does not help you whatsoever. It doesn't help you eat a balanced diet. It doesn't help you feel good about your habits. Finally, it doesn't help you reach a weight that's right for you.

You can stop getting in your own way by squashing sabotage.

• Make a list of all the "rationales" you have told yourself. For each one, write down if the thought is realistic and helps you with self care, or if the thought is irrational and leads you to pursue poor habits.

• Whenever you hear one of your "rationales" come up, pause, write it down, and ask yourself: "Is this the best self-care choice for me right now?"

• Pay attention to signs of hunger every day. There are many times you may think about eating or experience a craving. It's okay. Just take a minute to decipher what you are feeling. Does your body need food? If so, use your intuitive eating skills, and eat. If you know you don't feel hunger, name that emotion, and come up with a way to address it that doesn't involve eating.

Please be patient. It takes time to change and build new skills. Don't expect miracles overnight. But sooner or later you will stop subverting your desire to eat well and feel healthy.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thinking about your habits: Coffee!

I'm all about the warm, delicious smell wake up drink but here's an interesting thought on one of our fav beverages:

"There are two types of coffee drinkers (well probably more, but for our purposes today – two).

There are those that truly enjoy coffee – its smell, its taste, and the entire experience. These are the people at the Starbucks counter that ‘take it black’. And then, there’s the other side. These folks only drink coffee with cream, coconut milk, sugar, coffee mate, raw milk, honey, coconut creamer, artificial sweeteners, whipped cream, squirts of flavored syrups, ice cream, sprinkles and/or it’s a ‘mochafrappalatte’ type thing and is served with a straw and a spoon.

If you fall into this category I need you to sit down, you are not going to like this next part.


You like cream, sugar, honey, whipped cream, etc. Calling your drink concoction ‘coffee’ is a very clever to justify the additives. “Yeah, let’s just call it ‘coffee’” – You guys are SNEAKY!! It’s kind of like calling French Fries, onion rings, pizza (thank you USDA), cheese covered broccoli, or ranch dressing soaked salad vegetables…

So many people say that they NEED and LOVE their morning coffee, until they hear that they need to drink it black (this is based on goals and individual situations). Let me just tell you, some people would fight to the death for coffee mate – the loyalty is INSANE!

If you have to ask, “If I can’t have sugar, coffee mate, cream, etc. in my morning cup, what can I do to make it taste good?”, then you really need to question the reasons behind your habit. Is it replacing sleep, masking a sugar or cream fix, or do you just REALLY like that Starbucks cup?"  --Amy Kubol

So, after giving it some mindful thought, what is it you really like about your morning (or all day) habit???

Keep in mind that many of Starbuck's/Biggby's** drinks have A LOT of sugar and calories in them!!  All I'm asking is:  give it some thought and make sure your choices are worth it!

**and when you click on these links, read your fav's calorie count and breath a sign of relief, make sure you have the right size selected and then use the drop down menu to chose the type of milk and syrups going into it!  Ahhhh....not so pretty now, is it?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thought for the Day....

If we own the story then we can write the ending.  --Brené Brown

Hat tip to Weight Maven for point me in this direction :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Do something Friday

This week, we had some time to think about weight, diet, and exercise from a new perspective.  Yesterday, you had some time to think about the question "What's next?".

Today, I come with a dare:

I dare you to publicly commit.  I dare you to make your declaration to the world.  If you're reading these words on the Eating Coach site, click the "Comments" button below this post (if you're the first brave one, it will say "No Comments" and it's right below the post next to my name (hint: it's NOT the envelope icon). 

If you're reading this via an email subscription, click here to visit the site and follow the directions above.

Once you have the comment box open -- write out your "What's next" goal.  You don't need to have any particular account to do this.  You don't even need to leave your name.  But put it out for the world to see -- it will make it much more real for you and help you focus on what it is you really want.

Be daring, my friends!  I know you have it in you.  And who knows, your goal may just inspire someone else along the way! (Actually, those of you who do this will be providing ME with inspiration!  So -- hit me with it!!)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wise words....

No matter how you got here, you are here. What’s your next move?

If it’s been a good journey to this point, great. What’s your next move?

If it’s been arduous and challenging, then perhaps that’s not so great. What’s your next move?

Regardless of what’s happened in the past, we’re perennially bounded in the now. We are neither bound by the past nor assured that the future will look like it.

Our freedom lies in how we use this moment to sculpt the next. Every moment in our lives is unique – you won’t step into this river of experience again. That’s simultaneously one of the most terrifying and hopeful truth of our condition.

So: what’s your next move? Will you approach it as the new moment it is? --Charley Gilke, at Productive Flourishing

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

So Monday and Tuesday's discussions were just the lead up ...

To the discussion I really set out to have:

The idea that really inspired me this week was Weight Maven's statement:

"When it's time to give diet and exercise a rest"

Okay -- let's be clear:

I'm not going to tell you its okay to sit on your couch and eat whatever garbage food happens across your path for an indefinate period of time....ever.  Because IT'S JUST NOT!

However, let's dial back the scope of Weight Maven's statement.

Let's think about giving up dieting as the "fix" to our weight solution.  How many of you tried Atkin's and swore you could live this way?  I literally heard no less than 50 people tell me that very thing.  And how many of them are still following the Atkin's plan?  None that I know of. 

Weight Watchers works.  How many of you reached lifetime member status?  And why are you reading this blog?  Because Weight Watchers wasn't the whole solution for you?  Because it's limiting to have to count calories your whole life?  Yup, I think so too.

Dieting implies that you're doing something get to the results you want so you can then do what you like.  That's not the way weight managment works.  Unless you want to diet forever, you're going to have to find another solution you can live with forever.

So what about exercise?  Maybe instead of dieting you should substitute exercise? 

Well....first off, if you don't like exercise and only plan on doing it long enough to lose the weight -- this is the dieting mentality all over again. 

Second, do you know how many calories are stored as potential energy in one pound of fat? 3500. (give or take a few).

I did a fairly intense 30 minute stint on the Arc Trainer at the FC the other day.  Guess how many calories I burned?  400.  (and I wouldn't necessarily imply that the Arc is that accurate with it's calories burned feature -- wouldn't it make sense for the manufacture to err on the side of reporting a higher number of calories burned so I feel really motivated by that number and want to use their machines because I seem to burn so many more calories on the Arc instead of say a treadmill? )

But for the sake of argument, let's say the Arc calories burned tracker is accurate and I did, indeed, burn 400 calories in 30 minutes.  If I do that 7 days a week 1 pound a week.  And I'm trading 210 minutes of my life per week for the experience.  Worth it?  You decide.

I want you to give serious thought to giving up the "Diet and Exercise as punishment to beat your body into shape" mentality.  Give it, and yourself, a rest.

How many of you say you hate exercise but love taking a stroll along the lakeshore or through the woods?  How many of you like going on a bike ride with friends?  Mowing the lawn? Gardening?

If you like any of those things, you don't hate exercise -- you just may not have developed an appreciation for leaving work, driving to a gym, and sweating it out with others inside where there's nothing to think about except how much longer you've got until you can leave. 

How many of you look at a plate of "diet" food and sigh because you've got 4, 17, or 52 more pounds to go before you can eat things you like again?  How long can you survive on willpower alone?

So diet foods are boring, limiting, and, let's face it, kind of sad.  How sad did you feel last time you had a big, fresh, salad full of garden tomatoes, fresh greens, snap peas, feta, bleu cheese or some great gorgonzola topped with slices of steak hot off the grill?

What if you aren't tired of movement and healthy food?  What if you're just tired of the framework you put around those things and how that framework makes your world look and feel?

Maybe it is time to give "diet" and "exercise" (and yourself) a rest.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Food for thought about weight

Okay -- Marc David had some bullet points about weight.  Please take some time to consider you weight from a new perspective:

*Weight is a richly complex, multi-dimensional phenomenon. Most often, there are no simple black and white solutions. It’s time to honor the depth and the psycho-physiologic complexity of weight and it’s loss.

*Excess weight is a symptom, and every symptom we experience under the sun has a divine message, a wise teaching, and has lessons that we are being asked to learn. We need to honor this sacred symptom rather than attack it.

*Extra weight can be related to an unlimited number of nutritional and metabolic factors.

*Extra weight can be caused by an unlimited number of emotional factors.

*Extra weight is fast becoming an issue of genetic inheritance.

*Extra weight can be directly connected to deeper and more profound soul lessons that we are being asked to learn. Some of these lessons might include patience, humility, getting present, embracing our sexuality, forgiving others, forgiving self, learning how to nourish ourselves, loving what is…

*Extra weight can be a mix and a swirl of any or all of the above factors.

*Extra weight, often times, doesn’t even belong fully to the person who has it. Meaning: humans often “carry” the symptoms of others, of parents, of the collective. The most obvious example – few obese children have “a problem” – it’s all about the parents, or their surroundings, their peers, the media…

*Extra weight is not a personal issue, it’s collective – meaning, if over 200 million individuals in the USA are overweight, then weight is about the entire tribe. We need to heal the culture as much as we need to change individual habits.

*Women suffer in a unique way, and in a more intense and poignant way when it comes to excess weight. We need to ask why, and to understand that men and women though equal, are rather different.

*Eating disorders have skyrocketed. Eating disorders have absolutely nothing to do with food per se. They are not food issues. They are LIFE issues, expressed via the vehicle of food. Once we listen to these sacred dis-eases more deeply, we can hear how they are calling us to grow, and how they are pointing to the ways our families and communities are failing to hold and love one another in a good way.

*Our relationship with body fat, even for those who have very little of it, is clinically bonkers. Too many of us assume that any body fat is demonic, unworthy, unnatural, unappealing, and deserving of our contempt. Body fat has a brilliant biological purpose. If you could truly suck all the fat out of your body, you’d be dead in an instant.

*We project our shadow – our unconscious judgments, our negative mind chatter, our prejudices, our hate, our moralism – onto people who carry too much weight. As a culture, we secretly love to hate fat people. Who’s issue is that?

*From the standpoint of science, we really don’t even know how much any given person truly ought to weigh at any given time. So many people walk around claiming, “I need to lose 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 20 pounds.” Says who? By what scientific criteria can anyone assess ideal weight?

*According to the sum total of all the research on weight, science cannot say with any certainty that extra weight is a symptom, a disease, a risk factor, a positive indicator of health, a genetic issue, a psychosocial one – because it can be any of these.

*The scientific community still can’t wrap its’ head around the simple fact that weight is a mind, body, heart, soul, psychological, cultural and spiritual phenomenon. How we “do” science as a nation is rather immature, and often primitive. It’s time for the scientists, doctors, dietitians, and researchers who hold the collective power to counsel others – to heal their own inner wounds and expand their vision so they can serve from a deeper and more humane place, and a truly scientific/holistic place.

Did any of these resonate with you?  It seems to me it is worth taking a look at the ones that struck a cord -- perhaps it will give you some insight into what is really going on with your weight.  Remember, with knowledge comes power!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thought for the Day...

Science has failed us in the weight loss department:

It literally gets an “F.” The culture has failed us as well. Far too many people have intense moral judgments towards anyone with excess pounds, which contributes to the hidden epidemic of social disconnection, apathy, and plain old sadness. Let’s face it: when it comes to the subject of weight gain and weight loss, we’re clueless. And from that place of cluelessness we tend to flail around, we try our hand at the most inane weight loss strategies, we diet for decades, we consume diet foods and ingredients like synthetic fats and artificial sweeteners that are, if you care to closely study the scientific literature – toxic.

I’d suggest that if you’re not outraged at how all of us have been handling the issue of weight, than it’s time to pay more attention. -- Marc David

Don't worry!  There's more to this story coming tomorrow :)

And hat tip to Weight Maven for pointing me in Marc David's direction!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Do something Friday

Today's post is a thought from Seth Godin....and then a challenging:

Slightly rewarded (slightly punished)

For most of us, it's not the big traps that mess us up, it's the little ones.

Every time I break stride and distract myself by checking my email (a hundred times in a bad day), I get a small reward. I get the satisfaction of starting and finishing a project, on time and for free.

For a lot of people, every time they drink a Coke instead of a glass of water, they get a small punishment in exchange for their treat. One Coke never hurt anyone, but a hundred of them make you fat.

One way to change behavior is to keep track of how often these little events occur, because seeing them lined up on the windowsill might be enough to change your mind. The other way is to make those events louder. I'm pretty sure that if I got an electric shock every time I stopped to check my email, I'd only do it daily...

So your challenge is this -- line up your eating events this weekend.  Just until Sunday -- you can do that.  It's not even a holiday weekend.

The goal is to find one SMALL change you can make and live with.  Like: not buying store bought cookies any more because you realize they are not really delicious but you can't help eating them if they're in the house.  Very small reward for the calories invested --  totally not worth it!  I can guarantee there is something you can change this weekend that won't even seem like that big of a deal once you get in the groove.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Calorie restriction, lifespan vs. healthspan

I just read an interesting article in Slate magazine reviewing a National Institute of Health study on calorie restriction and food quality in research monkeys.  It's definitely worth the read if you like that kind of thing (which I do!).

But -- in case you don't, let me just review some of the findings for you:

Monkeys who ate a little bit less (25% less than the control group) were healthier - they experienced fewer incidence of diabetes and heart disease. And, if they did experience these conditions, the calorie restricted monkeys had a much later onset than the control monkeys (increased healthspan).

But interestingly enough, the calorie restricted monkeys in this study (as opposed to another long term calorie restricted monkey study out of Wisconsin), the calorie restricted monkeys didn't live longer (no increased lifespan) than the control monkeys.

This little situation set the researchers back on their heels a bit -- because one would assume (and this was born out by many other studies on many other species of living creatures) that if you were healthier this would translate into longer lifespan.  But nope -- not in this case.  Why???

Well, it seems when the researchers took a look at what the monkeys were eating, they found that the NIH group was eating a more whole food/natural food diet.  The Wisconsin monkeys were eating a more highly processed diet (the Slate article goes a little more in depth about why that was).

So it seems that whole food/natural food will help you live longer.  Eating less of it will make you healthier while you're alive.  (or at least that could be a preliminary interpretation of the results thus far).

Well, duh!  This makes a lot of sense, right?!  So let's start thinking about what we really want out of life:

Do you want to live longer?
Do you want to have a longer healthspan?

Do you want it all?

What are you willing to do to get it?  Can you make some changes to a few more natural foods (think old fashioned oats in the morning instead of Cheerios)?  Can you eat less total volume than you do now? 

I bet there are changes there that you could live with in both those categories!  What do you think??

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Determining the Proper Dose

Journal, journal, journal!

Cell phones have made this remarkably easy!  Take a picture of everything you eat!  Notice how much food is there.  Spill the salt shaker and write the number of your hunger level on the table in salt and take a picture of your full plate next to it!  Anything!  People, please!

Seriously!  Figure out how you can journal -- paper, app, photo -- there's no wrong way.  The idea is to get some concrete evidence you can refer back to so you can start figuring out when you over-eat  (perhaps it's all the time or maybe it's only when you've a stressful late afternoon meeting).  Figure out when you leave the table feeling light and refreshed -- can you remember the last time that happened?  --You'd be able to if you journaled!

You're looking for patterns.  What drives you to eat more than the amount that makes you feel good?

What happens right before you sit down and eat the right amount of food that leaves you satisfied but not stuffed?

Don't know??  JOURNAL! Easy.  Simple.  Inexpensive.  What's the problem here???  Are you telling me your health (and your sanity) isn't worth the tiny bit of time and attention journaling requires?  Well....then there might just be the problem.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

More on Dosing

A few posts ago, I talked a little bit about dosing.  About that same time, I also posted this picture on the FC Facebook page:

**The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison. -- Ann Wigmore

Just to be upfront -- I'm not a huge fan of turning eating into a complex, all or nothing, can't stay on top of the current research so why bother, medicalized version of the behavior many of us enjoy.  But I think there is something beneficial about considering our food choices as having a direct correlation to our health (which, of course, they do).

Why do I not stomp my feet in frustration and lament the world isn't fair because I am allergic to aspirin?  It's just a fact -- a relatively important one -- that I need to remember to tell my doctor.  --Not a moral judgment on me.  One aspirin is too large of a dose.

Why then do we fight tooth and nail with arguments like "I only eat half of what my husband does and HE doesn't gain a pound!  It's not FAIR!"

Apparently, the dose of food you chose it too much for you (if you find yourself gaining weight).  It's not a question of morality or fairness -- it's just a fact that needs to be dealt with.

The right amount of food is of benefit to your body. Whole foods, fresh foods, and relatively unprocessed foods are better staples of a diet geared for health than are highly processed, sealed in packaging, so full of preservatives it may never go bad foods.  (but to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever died from eating a Twinkie -- even one deep fried in Fair oil)  There must be an appropriate dose to processed foods.  We can eat some of them and suffer no long term negative consequences -- we just can't eat them for every meal for years on end and suffer no negative consequences.  It appears the dose is somewhere in between.

So give it some thought?  How would the optimal dose of something leave you feeling?  If it were a medication, wouldn't you want it to leave you feeling better than before you take it?  Wouldn't that be a great way to tell what the appropriate dose of food for you?  If you walked away from the table feeling better than when you sat down -- mentally and physically -- wouldn't that be a great clue?

So how do we determine that dose?  Hmmmmm.....let's give that some thought.

Monday, September 3, 2012