Tag Archives: weight loss

Boosting Plus Size Teens’ Body Image and Self-Esteem in Today’s Image Conscious World

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According to niddk.nih.gov, young people from the ages of two years through nineteen years, the obesity rate has skyrocketed to over 31% In a society whose media is crazed by ultra-thin models, actors, and Instagram stars, this means one of every three teens you meet is at risk for weight-related issues around self-esteem and body image. Given the toll taken by carrying excess weight, it’s as crucial to counteract the emotional strain of obesity, as it is to drop a few pounds.

What Is The Difference Between Body Image and Self-Esteem?

Put simply, self-esteem refers to the sense of inherent internal worthiness a person perceives him or herself to possess. Body image refers to the way they perceive their body, regardless of how it may appear to outside observers. This explains why people who are clearly in excellent condition may feel very critical about their bodies, whereas others, whose physical condition may not appear very healthy, can have extremely high levels of confidence about their physiques.

How Can I Tell Whether My Teen Has A Weight-Related Self-Esteem Problem

Parents and loved ones are often horrified to notice their once-confident teen has slipped into low self-esteem. Teens’ bodies change rapidly, and they face extreme pressure from both peers and the media to look a certain way. As they change schools and peer groups, formerly happy-go-lucky kids may suddenly display clear signs of discontent such as:

• Scrutinizing themselves in the mirror for extended lengths of time

• Excessively negative, criticism of specific body regions

• Comparison to other teens or celebrities

• Anxiety around leaving the home

• Signs of depression/anxiety, like sleeping more or less than normal, withdrawal from social engagements, malaise, or changes in grades

Jump Start The Recovery Process

So much of the teenage years is centered around creating social norms and a coherent sense of self. This sense of self will follow a young person into adulthood, and inform much of how they make pivotal choices and relate to others. That makes it incredibly important and productive to intervene as soon as possible. Helping teens to turnaround self-esteem and body issues will give them healthy physical habits as well as emotional resilience. Luckily, even the most rebellious teenager craves guidance, encouragement, and resources. Use the following steps at home, and you’ll not only improve teens’ physical and emotional well-being, you’ll reinforce the foundations of your relationship.

It Starts With You

Teenagers are more interested in what you do than what you tell them. Do you obsess about your appearance? Become upset when you aren’t satisfied with how you look in the mirror? Your teen is learning how to react to her own appearance by watching your example. Be mindful of more than how you look. Pay attention to how you look at yourself, and how you act toward yourself when you do.

Changing Self-Talk

Teens listen more than they let on. One of the things they soak up like sponges is the manner in which their role models talk about themselves. A young man who hears his father lamenting, “ Ugh. I hate my chest. This gutt is awful. I just have never liked the way I’m built. I guess I have your grandparents to blame for these ugly genes!” will certainly find himself looking at his body in the mirror, cursing his DNA. A young girl who hears her mother saying, “I just look so fat in these pants. I’m embarrassed to leave the house” will look into the mirror at her own image and wonder if she should stay home if she looks a little bloated.

Parents can change this feedback loop of negative self-talk by saying things like, “ I may have gained a few pounds, but I actually like how strong I look!” or “You know, it’s actually kind of nice to be filling out this dress a little differently!” Even better, saying things like, “I love myself at any weight. This body does a lot for me” can convey to your teen that she is also beautiful and productive at any weight.

Emphasize Health Over Weight Loss

The Oxford Health Journal confirms that weight management programs for children and teens may do more harm than good. Focusing on weight seems to chip away at a whole-person standard self-worth in children. Furthermore, according to NBC, even after losing weight, many girls continue to see themselves as overweight. In other words, a few pounds may drop, but negative body image remains. This is a clear indicator that we must all work on the inside first, building self-love that fosters healthy eating and exercise habits.

Move For Joy

When a person appreciates what their body can do, it’s hard not to love the body that does it. A loved body will be cherishes and maintained, making improved health a natural side effect. One of the quickest way to achieve this is through movement. Calories are burned and endorphins are released for relaxation and happiness. It’s a combination that makes movement a top tool for achieving whole-person health. In kids, this can be as easy as dancing, or adopting a yoga practice. Yoga, with its emphasis on non-judgmental approaches to individual bodies and internal balance, is of particular usefulness. Even severely overweight teens can put a mat down in a bedroom, throw on yoga tanks and a pair of shorts, and start.

You Lost the Weight, Now What?

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Once you lose the weight, then the real work begins. You now have to keep it off. One of the unfortunate realities about weight loss is that it is very difficult to keep your excess weight from coming back. As many as 68 percent of people who exercise and diet to lose their weight eventually gain it back. In fact, they can return to obesity in four to five years. What causes people to let themselves go after putting in all that hard work? In some cases, it is due to feeling of accomplishment that comes with weight loss. A dieter may feel that since they have reached their desired weight, they can now reward themselves by not dieting. Another answer is that the body undergoes certain hormonal changes after weight loss. Those changes can result in increased hunger and fat storage. So how do you keep your weight off after working for so long to lose it? Here are some tips: Continue reading

Your New Year’s Resolution Just Got A Lot Easier: Learn How You Can Burn Fat While You Sleep

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It sounds too good to be true, but, when done right, you can use a powerful protein found in milk to burn fat as you sleep. Casein protein powder is known to form structures known as micelles. As milk is processed, micelles are transformed into less complex structures that provide a steady release of amino acids throughout the body. Amino acids are the building block for new, strong muscle tissue, and regular consumption of casein protein powder can ultimately lead to the adaptation of the body to use your body fat as fuel while minimizing the waste of essential amino acids. Continue reading

5 Ways to Make Your Home a Safe Haven

Dear Our Lady of Weight Loss,

I’ve heard you say that one should, if one really wants to lose weight, you should “make your home your safe haven.”  What exactly do you mean by that?

— One Confused Mary

 

Good question, Confused Mary. Well, just imagine that you arrive home from a hard day’s work and your house is a mess.  You haven’t dusted or swept in more than two weeks –dust accumulates, doesn’t it? There are piles of paper everywhere, mountains of laundry, no ‘real’ food  in the house, only fast food junk, no good books to curl up with, and on top of all that, your glue gun (assuming you like to glue things together like I do) is jammed up and broken.

How do you think the above mess will impact on your healthy living plan?  If your home is basically an obstacle course, heavy in energetic barriers, you are going to find it almost impossible to manifest all that your heart desires, most especially that svelte body you’ve been dreaming about a.k.a. permanent weight removal.

Our homes ought to (as in ‘should’ even though I am reluctant to tell people what they ‘should’ do)

1)  fully support our goals
2)  accurately reflect who we are and who we aspire to be
3)  allow us to flourish (vs. stagnate and feel stuck)

So what to do?

1) Clean and declutter with enthusiasm, knowing that you are …
2) Clearing  your path to a better life.
3)  Cleanliness is next to Godliness.  So … thoroughly clear and clean your kitchen.
4)  Toss any ‘food products’ that are not ‘real food.’  You know, the processed junk.
5)  Stock up on fruits n’ vegetables!

What else can you do to create/make your home a safe haven?  Maybe put on music that either soothes the soul, or makes you shake your booty.  Perhaps, light some candles, and pray, meditate or chant.  And/or create an altar to Our Lady of Weight Loss, with offerings of fruit, of course!

Please share your creative ideas!  What are you going to do today to make your home a safe haven, that fully, completely and for real supports your goals?

Remember … Our Lady of Weight Loss is with you every ounce of the weigh!

Spread the word … not the icing!

Janice

Life & Wellness Coach
Self-Help / Weight Loss Artist
wise * fun * utterly useful
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Become a Tushkateer!

Tushkateer*  A Tushkateer is a person who receives Our Lady of Weight Loss’s newsletter, called the KICK in the TUSH CLUB!!!  Sign up and receive her weekly e-newsletter with all the news that ‘fit’ to print, and you are automatically a Tushkateer!  How cool is that? :)

photo by: Helga Weber

Ayurveda and Weight Management

In Ayurveda, India’s 5,000 year old Science of Life, there’s no “one size fits all” answer to managing our weight. The solutions are as unique and individual as we are. You start by knowing your “dosha” or Ayurvedic mind/body type.

KAPHA

The most common type of weight gain is caused by having a slow metabolism. This is common for a person who is a classic Kapha type. Kapha dosha is comprised of the earth and water elements, so this type of individual will reflect those qualities. A Kapha person will be structurally bigger, with bigger bones and a more easy-going, stable, gentle personality.

For a Kapha person, being skinny is usually not a healthy goal. If you are prone to gain weight, and are always five to ten pounds overweight no matter how little you eat, it would go against your nature to ever be really thin. Rather, it would be better to balance your metabolism, increase your ability to digest sugars and carbohydrates by adopting a Kapha balancing diet and lifestyle, and allow your body to naturally find its ideal weight. You may not be skinny, you may always weigh five to ten pounds more than average, but you will feel better and look healthier, and you will lose most of your excess weight.

Diet

The main principle for balancing Kapha is to introduce some of the fire element into your food and lifestyle. This will balance the earthen and watery elements of Kapha dosha.
Flavor your vegetables and dhal soups with spices that are mildly pungent, such as black pepper, fresh ginger, and turmeric

Other tastes to balance Kapha dosha are the bitter and astringent tastes. These include green leafy vegetables, split mung dhal soup and other bean soups, and astringent vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. It’s important to cook your vegetables and eat them warm, rather than relying on raw vegetables. Raw vegetables are difficult to digest, whereas to balance Kapha dosha you want to eat warm, light, cooked foods.

Quinoa is an excellent grain for managing weight, as it has high protein and zinc content (4 mg of zinc per cup). But it should be cooked with a bit of ghee or olive oil, as otherwise it may be too drying.

Basmati rice is also a good grain for Kapha dosha, because it has a more drying quality than other types of rice, but quinoa is better because it has the intelligence of fire to support weight loss.

The fire element can even be added to the water you drink. If you boil your water for five minutes on the stove, you are adding the intelligence of fire to your drinking water. If you sip the water throughout the day, the intelligence of fire will permeate the molecules of water, and thus permeate your body. You won’t notice anything right away, but if you continue with this routine, in time you will feel less fatigue. This is because Kapha dosha tends to create a feeling of lethargy, and by introducing the fire element in the water, you’ll gradually feel more energetic.

If you are Kapha by nature, you’ll want to stay away from heavy, cold desserts such as ice cream and cheesecake, as these will only slow your metabolism and increase the cold, heavy qualities of Kapha in your body. Rich desserts, fried foods, foods made with refined sugar and refined flour, cold foods and drinks — all of these should be avoided if you want to balance Kapha and your weight.

Lifestyle

Regular exercise is the most important change you can make to improve your metabolism. The problem is that people with excessive Kapha dosha often feel somewhat complacent or even lethargic, and they might have to push themselves a little to exercise every day. Usually Kapha types need more vigorous exercise for a longer period to have the same effect as milder exercise would have on a Vata person.

Even making a habit of breathing more deeply can help charge the metabolism with more of the fire element. When Kapha dosha is out of balance, one of the first things that happens is that the person becomes a shallow breather. Deeper breathing is healthy for all body types, but especially for Kapha dosha, because deeper breathing helps wake up the body’s metabolism. When the metabolism is lower and breathing is shallow, the body’s channels get blocked and cause even more lethargy, which becomes a vicious cycle.

The digestive fire is weaker in the morning when you wake up and in the evening before bed, so breakfast and dinner should be lighter meals. An excellent breakfast for balancing metabolism for all three body-types is a cooked apple or pear with cooked prunes and figs. This breakfast choice is light and sustains most people until noon, when they can eat their heaviest meal. A healthy supper for a Kapha person might be soup made with vegetables, grains and dhal and flavored with spices such as cumin, fresh ginger, black pepper, and turmeric. Or kitcheri, a light meal made with rice and split mung dhal, is also a light Kapha-reducing meal Kapha Churna is an excellent spice mixture for balancing Kapha dosha.

VATA

If you are Vata-predominant, you are normally thin and wiry. But that does not mean weight gain will never be a problem for you. Sometimes Vata types are thin all their lives and then suddenly put on weight because their metabolism has changed. Vata-predominant people are susceptible to mental stress because they tend to overuse or misuse their minds. When under stress they also tend to forget to eat regularly, thus disturbing their digestion, creating ama and clogging the channels. This is often the precursor to weight gain.

Diet

When Vata dosha is the underlying cause of a weight problem, it’s important to eat a balanced diet that is easy to digest but also nurturing. Take the middle path, and eat a tridoshic diet, which means one that balances all three doshas. Avoid foods that are too hot and spicy (such as food spiced with chillies, cayenne, and black mustard seed), and at the same time avoid foods that are ice cold, such as ice cream, iced drinks, and cold, heavy desserts. Stay away from foods that are too heavy (such as aged cheeses, meats, and heavy desserts) and also avoid foods that are too light and dry, such as crackers, cold cereals, and packaged snacks. In general, avoid leftovers; frozen, canned or packaged foods, and processed foods of all kinds.

Lifestyle

People with a predominance of Vata dosha need a regular routine, to balance the uneven, variable nature of Vata dosha. It’s important that they go to bed early, well before ten o’clock and rise early, before 6 a.m. A regular routine with adequate sleep is one of the best antidotes to Vata imbalance. Regular meals are essential, with three warm, cooked meals a day. It’s important to eat them at the same time every day, as Vata digestion tends to be irregular. By eating at the same time, your digestive enzymes will prepare to digest the food and digestion will be stronger. Avoid work that is stressful to the mind, and practice relaxing exercise such as yoga and pranayama. A daily oil massage, abhyanga, is especially important for Vata. The skin is one of the primary seats of Vata dosha in the body, so massaging your body every morning with warm, Vata-pacifying oil can go a long way toward soothing your entire nervous system and emotions. The more relaxed you are, and the more regular your routine, the better you will withstand day-to-day stress and the less likely you are to fall prey to weight imbalances.

Many times people with Vata disorders find themselves in a rush, always in a hurry. It’s not healthy for anyone to always be rushing around, to constantly have to hurry, and it’s especially harmful to people with Vata imbalances. If you find yourself in that situation, it’s important to cultivate a habit of taking it easy and slowing down. Learn to structure a more relaxed, royal daily routine. This is important for mental, emotional and physical health.

PITTA

You would think that since Pitta dosha is associated with the fire element, a person with high Pitta would not have any problem burning up carbohydrates and sugars. Yet if the person doesn’t take care of the digestion, that can create problems. For instance, if someone who is predominantly Pitta by nature skips breakfast or other meals, that can create ama, digestive impurities, because the digestive fire becomes too strong. In this situation, stomach acids can “burn” the food and even damage the stomach.

To understand how this happens, think of setting an empty pot on the stove. The heat is on, but there’s nothing to cook. Instead, the pot itself gets burned. In the same way, if you have a strong digestive fire but you don’t feed it regularly, then the digestive enzymes go out of balance, burn the food and create ama the next time you eat.

Many people with high Pitta dosha are overweight, precisely because they are not eating regularly and as a result ama has coated their digestive system. When ama blocks the channels of digestion and the channels that circulate nutrients throughout the body, then metabolism slows down and weight gain results.

Diet

First of all, the person with high Pitta should get into the habit of eating three meals a day, starting with breakfast. This is very important, as otherwise the stomach will continue to be burned by digestive acids. Eating a cooked apple or pears with cooked prunes or figs for breakfast is a good idea, because it will soothe the digestive fire but not overload it. Raw pears or other sweet, juicy fruits are also good for people with high Pitta.

A vegetable that is good for weight management is daikon radish. This white radish can be grated and added to dhal soups for a mildly spicy flavor. Include sweet vegetables for lunch and dinner, such as squashes that are white inside (zucchini, loki or yellow squash). Steam them well and then sauté them in ghee with mild, cooling spices such as powdered fennel, small amounts of cumin and small amounts of turmeric. Flavor foods with Pitta Churna, a delicious spice blend specifically created for balancing Pitta.

Avoid eating pungent spices such as chilies, cayenne, and black mustard seed. These will only increase the acidity. A person in this situation may be drawn to heavy, cold, sweet foods to cool the acidity. But heavy, cold foods will only make the problem worse by creating more ama and blocking the channels of digestion and metabolism. It’s better to cool the digestive fire by cooking with cooling spices, eating light desserts with your meal such as fruit crisps, and by drinking light dairy drinks such as sweet lassi.

Lifestyle

People who are predominantly Pitta should go to sleep before the Pitta time of the evening (10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.). Even if you feel like you have a lot of energy then, or feel more creative, it’s not a good idea to stay awake during the Pitta time of night, because this only aggravates Pitta dosha further. And if you stay awake during the Pitta time of night, you will invariably get hungry and thirsty and may eat packaged cookies or salty snacks, or drink soft drinks or alcohol. All of these things will only disturb Pitta dosha further and contribute to weight gain.

Lissa Coffey is world renown as the authority on Ayurveda and relationships. She is the author of “What’s Your Dosha, Baby? Discover the Vedic Way for Compatibility in Life and Love.” For information on Ayurvedic products to balance your dosha, including teas and churnas, visit her website: http://www.doshasmart.com

photo by: Kerala Tourism

7 Tips To Increase Raw Foods Into Your Diet

Can you ever give up cooked food to go on a strictly raw food diet?

Raw foodists eat only raw, uncooked foods: vegetables, fruits, seeds, sprouts, legumes, nuts, seaweed. Cooking anything over 116 degrees Farenheight destroys the enzymes in uncooked plants that aid in digestion and nutrient absorption.  Eating only raw foods ensures that you are getting all of the “life force” of the uncooked food. Not suprisingly, many people who go on a raw food diet experience better skin complexion, more energy, healthy weight loss, and better digestion, in addition to decreasing their risk of cancer.

Though I can’t give up my cooked pasta, melted cheese, steamed rice and sauteed vegetables anytime soon, one thing I am willing to do is increase my consumption of raw foods. Who knows, taking on these simple baby steps may inspire you to go on a month-long trial of only raw foods, or at least dedicate one or two days in a week to just raw uncoked foods. Any increase of raw food consumption, however minute, is a major win for your body.

Here are 7 tips to increase your consumption of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, sprouds, seaweed, seds and more. A few simple changes may eventually lead to a completely raw food lifestyle–you never know!

1. Enjoy a homemade fruit smoothie every morning. Juice up some strawberries, bananas, blueberries, or whatever else is in season in a blender for a fresh glass of fruit juice. Or if you don’t have a blender (or want to go through the trouble of cleaning one), squeeze yourself a glass of orange juice with a manual juicer.

2. Take advantage of pre-cut and pre-washed vegetables from the supermarket. Yes, buying them unprepared is always the cheaper option–but if pre-cut veggies are going to make you eat more veggies, then more power to you.

3. Enjoy diced raw vegetables in sandwiches, wraps, or in a cold pasta salad. Eating raw vegetables by itself may not be your thing, but you can enjoy it more if you wrap it in a tortilla with Thai peanut sauce, or toss it with cooked pasta and a tangy Italian salad dressing.

4. Always have a stock of raw snacks to munch on in the downtime between meals. Keep tupperwares of fruit slices, carrot sticks and nuts at hand so your grazing is always on healthy raw food.

5. Keep researching for new raw recipes that interest you. Eating only green salads and raw almonds will definitely get boring after a while. Eating raw food will stay interesting if you make it interesting with different recipes, different ingredients and different food preparation techniques.

6. Consider investing in a dehydrator. A dehydrator sucks air out of fruits and vegetables without cooking them above 116 degrees F, and will give you more interesting raw eating options.

7. Learn about other raw food preparation techniques: sprouting, soaking nuts, dehydrating, investing in a solar oven, and more.

Want to learn more about going on a raw food diet? Check out thebestofrawfood.com as a starting point for articles, resources, and recipes.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / smikulen

photo by: Muffet

How Seth Godin Reminded Me Why Calories May Not Count…and Tim Ferriss Confirmed It


Over the last year and a half, I’ve become a fan of all things Seth Godin.  Although he has been a popular and well known author, blogger and marketing guru, for many years, I confess I found him late.  I am, however, committed to playing catch up and I’m absorbing all he has written, as fast as I can.  In Godin language, I’ve become a true enthusiast.

I admit that at first, I found myself a bit intimidated by his constant reminders about being “remarkable”.  Godin says in Small is the New Big, “Working hard doesn’t make you remarkable.  Doing a good job doesn’t make you remarkable.  What makes you remarkable is being amazing, outstanding, surprising, elegant and noteworthy!”  Gulp!  Okay.  Am I putting myself out on a limb; setting myself up for serious scrutiny?  No matter what, after reading that, I’ve been taking the leap.

After all, I’ve always thought that being ordinary, normal and average were not things to aspire to anyways.  Somehow reading Godin confirms for me that I was right to think that way all along.  He also continues to remind me that fear of change, not by me alone, but by the population in general, has led to a persistent belief in what he calls “lies that people tell to maintain the status quo.” Of the ten he lists in his rant “Mail…the check is in the”, and as I’ve been traveling more recently, I relate to the one that affects all of us frequent flyers. “A bottle of Evian is dangerous to airline security and must be surrendered.”  We have accepted this as truth, or at the very least an imposed truth.  He goes on to say, “…people will embrace patently false ideas if it helps them deal with their fear of change.”

This kind of modern day myth permeates all areas of our lives.  Once they take hold they seem virtually impossible to dislodge.  Which brings me to the title of this article.  In the areas of health and weight loss, this kind of popular “lie” has without much effort, been ingrained into the mass consciousness relating to the part calories play in healthy weight loss or weight gain.

Although there is much research over many decades to the contrary, like a recent piece I read in the N.Y. Times, about what makes us fat, I would bet that most people when asked, would confirm that if you eat fewer calories than you expend, you will lose weight.  Simple, right?

Even though there has been increasing evidence that not only is the kind of calories important, but that calories, if they count at all, are merely a small and maybe insignificant piece of the overall complex weight puzzle.  Yet, the idea persists that if you cut your calories and do more exercise, you will lose weight.  The old calories in – calories out theory.

Enter Tim Ferriss.  Reading his latest book The Four Hour Body confirmed that the weight gain, weight loss issue has little, if anything, to do with calories.  I must admit I’ve also become an enthusiastic fan of Ferriss’ and luckily for me, he only has two books, so I’m pretty much on track with all he has written.

In very succinct Ferriss style, in explaining the subject of calories, Ferriss says, “as usual, the focus is on the least important piece of the puzzle.  But why do scientists harp on the calorie?  Simple.  It’s cheap to estimate and it is a popular variable for publication journals.”  He then goes on to call this “parking lot science” and I suggest you read the detailed explanation, in what I think is a very thoroughly researched and informative book.

I personally have understood for a very long time that calories don’t really count.  In my ongoing search for ways to continue to improve my health, (which at times has been so bad that it was feared I might die of malnutrition and at other times I was so heavy no matter what I did the weight didn’t come off), I have read many, many books and tried even more programs.  I have faithfully counted calories and could never explain the lack of significant results.  Yet, the widely held calorie myth is hard to dislodge.

It appears on food packages and we are constantly reminded about calories and their relationship to weight, seemingly everywhere we go.  I personally have often chosen to go against the popular belief of the moment.  The recommended daily dose of vitamins and minerals has never resonated with me either.  For example, I take 3,000-4,000 mg of vitamin C daily, thanks to what was once controversial research by Linus Pauling.  This is much higher then the suggested RDI which is between 60-75 mg, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt me in any way.  Dare to explore what works, I say.

So I’ve taken the leap and given myself a challenge; to question some of the widely and long held “truths” that just may not work anymore and in fact, may not have ever been true at all.  Each new day brings us all an opportunity to be open to make changes, and even small changes can result in making big differences in our own lives, and can inevitably have an impact on those around us.

Personally, I am ready to give up the lies I have bought into over the years.  I am committed to being remarkable and an enthusiastic enthusiast as Godin suggests and to becoming superhuman and having incredible sex, if I learn from Ferriss.  If I can do this, life as I once lived it, might become more than I dared to imagine!  In advance, I thank Seth Godin and Timothy Ferriss for challenging me to be better and to do better.  What change challenge are you willing to take?

Visit me at: www.beverleygolden.com

Khloe Kardashian Claims to Have Lost 20 lbs in 20 Days

Khloe Kardashian has proclaimed that she lost 20 lbs in 20 days on a magazine cover this week.

Generally, the youngest Kardashian sister is applauded for maintaining a healthy body image. I personally liked when she snapped back at her mom for criticizing her weight (props to you Khlo!). She definitely isn’t fat — she’s just perceived as so much bigger than her itty-bitty sisters. That’s got to be hard. She’s so much taller and bigger-boned than them, that even if she had the same BMI, she would still look a lot larger.

Fast forward to now, Khloe claiming to the world to be super skinny with her new weight loss. Yay for Khlo? No so much.

When I read that someone claims to have lost so much weight in such a small window of time, their reputation as a celebrity with a positive body image, in my mind, goes out the window.

No one should aspire to lose 20 lbs in 20 days. I’m not a doctor, but I would imagine without the help of the feeding tube diet or downright anorexia – this would be impossible.

Our culture demands immediate results. If you aren’t losing a pound a day, like Khloe claims to have, you are perceived as doing something wrong. You’re eating too much, not putting enough much time in the gym. Losing weight slowly is not an accomplishment, even though it’s healthy.

Sure it can be frustrating after a few super-healthy days, coupled with intense workouts, not to see results. It’s this lack of immediate results that makes many give up on their healthy goals and turn to a bag of chips.

And it certainly isn’t inspiring to look at the scale, not see results after your hard work, and then look at Khloe Kardashian purporting to have dropped so much weight in just under 3 weeks.

The Kardashian Family has done plenty of things that I personally think are in bad taste (and I’m sure many would agree with me). I don’t agree with Kim making a sex tape or having such an elaborate wedding with someone she was so clearly poorly matched with. And say what you want about Khloe and Lamar’s marriage today, I don’t agree with marrying someone you’ve known a month.

But those decisions affect only their family and a select few close to them. Posing on the cover of a magazine with these weight loss claims has the ability to make an impact on so many other people — possibly leading them to poor self-esteem and potentially even an eating disorder.

You’re not going to lose 20 lbs in 20 days. Instead, you should forget about Khloe’s goals and work on having more than 20 days of healthy eating and effective workouts.

Seven Steps to Becoming an Intuitive Eater

As obsessed as we are with food and diets, you’d think we’d be thin and healthy by now. So why are we Americans still universally less-than-fit,  soft around the middle, and constantly worrying about weight?

The fact is, diet tips, rules and tricks won’t work if we’re ignoring the mental and emotional side of eating. Why do we still overeat—or eat the wrong things? Most of the time, when we’re craving cookies, we’re really hungry for love, sex, friendship, peace, a sense of purpose and meaning. And when you’re gripped by that kind of hunger, all the tips and tricks in the world won’t save you.

Next time you’re ready to embark on the next fix-me-fast diet, try something different: instead of focusing on the food, tune in to address the emotions that make you stray. Here’s how to start:

1. Feel your hunger. After a lifetime of denying our hunger, it’s hard to tell when we really need food. But we’re all born with the capability to eat when were hungry and stop when we’re full. As children, we eat in response to our bodies’ hunger signals. As adults, we eat in response to the clock, the latest magazine article, or our uncomfortable feelings.

Get back in touch with your body’s signals by carrying a small notepad and charting your hunger before you eat, rating it on a scale of 1 (starving) to 10 (uncomfortably full). If you do this day after day, feeling your body’s cues will soon come naturally. You’ll know you’re on the right track when you start eating in response to your body—a rumbling in your belly, a slight lessening in your ability to concentrate—instead of your thoughts or emotions.

2. Stop counting. That means calories, fat, carbs, grams, portions—whatever number you use that keeps you out of your body and in your head. When you count, measure, weigh or calculate your food, you’re eating according to your intellect rather than your body’s cues. For a life-long food counter, the prospect of free-for-all noshing can be scary. Start small: eat one meal a day without counting anything. After several days, eat two meals without counting. Continue at your own pace until you’ve stopped counting your food—and start eating in response to your body, not the numbers in your head.

3. Examine your cravings. When you’re feeling the urge to eat, what are you really hungry for? If you’re craving chips, does your jaw want to chew and crunch, to relieve stress and tension? Does the noise the chips make drown out the racket in your head? When you’re aching for ice cream, maybe the soft, creamy texture makes you feel nurtured, or fills up some empty spaces. Once you have a better idea of what you’re really craving, you’re better equipped to make a conscious choice. Maybe you massage your jaw, minimize sources of stress, visit a friend who makes you feel nurtured. Or maybe you have a scoop of ice cream—but you do it as a conscious decision.

4. Practice mindful eating. There you are, in front of the fridge at 9 p.m., noshing on leftover Chinese right out of the container, with no recollection of how you got there. It’s called “eating amnesia,” where the unconscious, hand-to-mouth action of feeding yourself becomes so automatic that, before you know it, you’ve wolfed down a whole box of cookies. Become fully aware of the act of eating. Always put your food—including snacks–on a plate. Then sit down at the table, remove distractions like television, and observe your plate. Notice the colors, textures, shapes and smell for 30 seconds to a full minute before you take the first bite.  As you eat, notice the chewing action of your jaw, the taste of the food, how it feels moving down your throat and into your stomach. It’s such a pleasant practice, it will soon become second nature.

5. Be in your body. Many of us walk around all day in a state of half-awareness, not really present in the room, on the earth, in our bodies. And when we’re not in our bodies, we can’t tell if we’re hungry or when we’re full.  How often are you aware of your body? Tune in right now, as you read this, and check in, starting your toes and moving up through your body. Pause at your stomach, and notice how it feels. Is it empty, or satisfied? Does it feel rigid and tense? Numb or dull? Or is it soft and relaxed?  Once you become intimate of your stomach’s sensations, you can begin to identify true hunger.

6. Pause. When you experience a craving for food, just stop and observe it. Don’t try to make it go away, but don’t indulge it either. Sit with the discomfort of the craving. It may become intensely distressing, even painful; that’s okay. Stay with it, and notice what comes up. You’ll often find a vast ocean of emotions like fear, anxiety, even grief, under the craving for food. It’s a powerful exercise—but quite illuminating, and sometimes life-changing.

7. Be happy now. Maybe you’ve been postponing your happiness until you lose ten pounds, give up sugar or eat more greens. But the happier you are now, the more likely you’ll be to stick to your eating goals. The “do-have-be” mindset tells us that success breeds joy when, in fact, it may be the other way around. Once you’re able to accept yourself exactly as you are, you’re more likely to achieve your dietary goals, and less likely to eat from stress, depression or anxiety.   And anyway, there’s no point in postponing joy. Be happy now; the rest will come.

Lisa Turner is a widely published food writer and intuitive eating coach. She combines her degrees in health and nutrition with 25 years of training in yoga, meditation and mindfulness to help her clients explore emotional issues behind their eating habits. Lisa is also a faculty instructor at Bauman College of Culinary Arts and Nutrition in Boulder, Colorado, and hard at work on her next book. Visit her websites at www.TheHealthyGourmet.net and InspiredEating.com.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / frisno

photo by: Darwin Bell

Think Yourself Thinner

Weight Loss has gone awry, even a health hazard. The latest craze is the dangerous vanity of the KE-Diet which uses an inserted feeding tube down the nose into the esophagus through the stomach and into the duodenum for brides who want to fit into their wedding dress in 10 days. Other fad diets have involved the starvation principle in some form, but why pay hefty prices to starve because you can do that on your own for free? Successful weight management has always been free and sustainable: Use Your Head.

All you have to do is see yourself as fit and healthy, and the rest will follow. This goal is sustainable because it is a primal force of human nature and not based on narcissism. Don’t give yourself a deadline because it is a lifelong journey!

Amazingly, when it concerns weight loss, desperate people believe in myths which damage both the body and mind. One popular myth about skipping meals like breakfast slows down metabolism while holding on to fat.  Another myth encourages over-exercising which usually results in joints that are pounded into submission, muscles that burn along with depression and insomnia.

Personal trainers and exercise physiologists advise clients who want to lose weight to lose the vanity instead. Simply shifting perception to the long term goal of fit and healthy introduces balance in all activities of daily living. This redefines beauty and the human form realistically, genetically, individually and vitally. Instead of deprivation, there is substance.

What you need to know to be fit and healthy:

  •  Eating balanced meals consisting of lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables fuels your body with good energy, relieves stress and boosts your immune system. Food and mood correlate highly.
  •  Your brain needs a regular infusion of glucose to function. The brain on its own consumes 30% of daily calories and needs a minimum of 1200 calories a day for good reaction time, concentration and memory. 2/3 of the brain is composed of fatty acids. What kind of fat do you want for your brain: saturated fat (which solidifies at room temperature) like butter and red meat and could cause rigidity in the brain or monounsaturated fat like  that found in olive oil and in omega 3 fatty acids like salmon, where  your brain cells are more fluid and flexible?
  •  Don’t become an exercise addict. People who exercise for hours at a time are at risk for internal damage. Note that muscles recover and strengthen during rest. You can do aerobics or strength training exercises for up to 90 minutes a day, but make sure to avoid sitting slumped over a computer or plopped down in front of the TV for hours because you exercised earlier. The way you monitor your food for quality, you mind your muscle for quality movement.  Housework is a great way to move and accomplish simultaneously.  A walk will improve your focus at work. Seek opportunities for movement that matters throughout the day. In other words, eat and burn to become an efficient human machine.
  •  Avoid external and superficial comparisons because you cannot presume to know another human being’s heart and soul. Focus on your own health profile – how do you feel? Does anyone go around comparing blood tests, blood pressure, insulin levels or urine analysis with other people?
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