Connections

Before I talk anymore about the calorie myth, I just want to take a brief second to talk about a recovery–and life tool–that has become really important in my life recently. In fact, I think it might be the single most important tool I’ve discovered–more so than nutrition, fitness, and even therapy or program. Connection. ED (or disordered thinking in general) grows strongest when we disconnect from other people. ED loves to sit in your head and wait for the quiet moments to start playing the negative self-talk record on repeat. ED knows that the longer you obsess about your own self and body, the less you’ll be open to letting anyone else in–and then ED has you all to himself. I have always been the quiet kid who preferred to isolate. I used to get sick to get out of going to sleepover parties with my girlfriends in elementary school (although I didn’t realize that it was partly psychosomatic until recently). I preferred going on long walks by myself around New York City at twilight to staying up late with friends in my dorm. I am notorious for giving rain checks on days when the anxiety sends me to bed before 9 pm. Frankly, while being alone can be a wonderful way to meditate, get in touch with yourself, and take a break from the world to calm the anxiety, it’s not an efficient tool for getting better. In the end, taking a risk and putting yourself out there–even for a little while, even with just one person–gives you a better chance at fighting the negativity that would...

“But You Still Have To Go To The Gym”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1qc7VlGk1w] This commercial makes me so angry–it embodies pretty much everything that’s wrong with the state of fitness and nutrition in our country today. There are so many things wrong with commercial that it’s almost hard to find a place to start. So I’ll do my best to focus on the main reason why this seemingly innocuous Cheerios commercial makes my blood boil. Looking past the fact that I no longer agree with the contention that the whole grains in Cheerios are part of a “heart healthy breakfast,” the majority of my ire today comes from the last line: “But you still have to go to the gym.”+ Now, as a certified personal trainer and an incurable gym rat, I’m happy that General Mills is suggesting that fitness is an important part of anyone’s “heart health” and “weight loss” regime; however there’s a more insidious message behind the commercial, and it contains that ugly, 7-letter “C-word.” Calories. (If I never have to hear the word again, it will be too soon.) The crux of this commercial’s message is: no matter how healthily you eat, if you don’t burn it off, you’ll get fat. (And Cheerios carries disordered food messages throughout much of its marketing strategy. Dr. Deah Schwartz, a Health At Every Size blogger, did a great post on the disordered implications of its “more whole grains, less you” message on Peanut Butter Cheerios boxes). Here’s the thing: calories in vs. calories out does work. But only for so long. It goes something like this: I start eating well and working out. I eliminate processed foods but don’t change...

The Promised Land

  So, it’s not really nutrition or fitness related, but I thought I’d share the news, since it’s definitely more than a tiny baby step: I’m going to Israel. Why? Well, here’s the thing: I am Jewish by birth, the granddaughter or Holocaust survivors on one side, niece to an incredible rabbi on the other, a cultural Jew whose religious education stopped after Shabbat during pre-K at the JCC. I still can’t say I’m a religious person, but I am working on reconnecting with my culture and my spirituality. I’m also turning 26 next month. What does that have to do with anything? One word: birthright. If you are born Jewish and have not been to Israel, you’re actually entitled to a 10 day trip to Israel before the end of your 27th year. I’ve never been to Israel and my 27th year starts on Black Friday.* I had never considered actually going on birthright, but something struck me this past summer. I want so badly to feel a connection to something, to learn about a piece of myself and my history. To maybe find something I didn’t know was lost. So I filled out the application and put down the deposit…and now I’m going to Israel. It won’t be until January, so I still have to make it through the musical and the holiday season, but my trip will be the light at the end of the holiday-season-in-retail tunnel. I’m nervous–10 days with strangers, in a country on the other side of the world, where no one knows that I am fighting my one-day-at-a-time battle with ED, where there...

Forgetting Fitspiration

A quick thought before I go back into the science and history of the calories in/calories out myth:    My physical therapist wants me to start going to the gym again. And I am utterly terrified.   I know it’s silly, especially since I’m hoping to make a career of fitness and nutrition, but I can’t help it.   The gym has always been both a haven and a prison. It is where I saw some of my greatest triumphs and my hardest falls. It is where I learned to love my body and hate it, to gain muscle and lose my mind.   Yoga is one thing, but going back to the gym is definitely another.   I just find this very relevant now, as I start to understand the myths that fueled my ED and exercise bulimia–as I start to explore why calories in/calories out is a fallacy, and how obsession is fueled by the false advertising of the fitness and health industries.   I’m not sure how to reconcile the fact that my PT wants me to start doing 5 minutes of steady state cardio with my former impulses to do hours of the same. I’m not sure how to reconcile 3 sets of ten light-weight negative calf raises on the leg press with the desire to deadlift 100+ pounds on the first day.   I’m terrified of finding myself listening to the voices that once upon a time told me the lies that led to my pain.   That being said, I feel a little bit better about the fact that I know that the...

The “C” Word

I have added a new “bad” word to my vocabulary. Forget the f-word, forget the four-letter c-word: this is a 7-letter c-word, and it’s the most heinous, stupid, useless wastes of breath I think I have ever wasted time uttering: “Calorie.” In fact, I am sick of hearing that word used, because I think we, as a culture, completely abuse it without having any actual understanding of what it actually means. Over the course of the next few posts, I’m going to explain how potentially ruinous the “calories-in/calories-out” mindset is, so prepare to have your minds blown (and your sanity restored): From the moment I met ED, I had a niggling suspicion in the back of my mind that part of my miraculous weight loss was due not just to the fact that I was eating less, but also to the fact that I was exercising more. The summer between 8th and 9th grade was spent not only eating soy-free (a.k.a. apples and peanut butter), but also biking back and forth to the gym every day, spending an hour doing some asinine combination of light weights and cardio, and then doing “toning” and “core” exercises on my bedroom floor each night. And, for a long time, that formula worked. After my 9th grade knee surgery, I started increasing my caloric intake while sitting on my rear and healing, so I, of course, gained weight. As soon as my knee would allow it, I joined the cross country team and began doing long, slow (very slow) endurance runs. As my competitive nature kicked in and my leg grew stronger, I...