Your Body is Not a Calorie Counter (and Other Podcast-y Thoughts)

rebootedbodypodcast

I know I don’t normally post on Saturdays, but I had to share this with you. Recently, I was on the Rebooted Body podcast, which is hosted by Finding Our Hunger podcast guest Kevin Geary. It was, quite honestly, one … Continue reading 

Cover Your Mouth!: Disordered Eating is a Communicatable Disease

Cover Your Mouth!: Disordered Eating is a Communicatable Disease The seasons are changing, and it’s that time of year when we have to start being extra-careful about our immunity. And I’m not just talking about the flu--I’m talking about body image issues. In case you weren’t aware, disordered eating is a communicable disease--or, perhaps I should say it’s a communicatable disease. It’s not the kind of disease that’s spread by hugging--on the contrary, hugs are an essential daily vitamin that can help you build your immunity. It’s the kind of disease that spreads from person to person through negative self-talk, marketing ploys, and cultural habits. Every year during this time our attention turns to America’s favorite past time: coming up with an excuse for eating and then coming up with an excuse for punishing ourselves for eating. And every year during this time, our TVs, radios, blog feeds, and social media networks turn into a giant discussion about how to binge, how to stop bingeing, and how to make up for bingeing once the season is over. This is the time of year when it seems like you can’t have a conversation about anything without bringing up who’s eating what, where, and when, and how you’ll be doing penance for it. It’s in the national media, and it’s also close to home. For example, just two days ago, during my 2 minute savasana at my yoga studio, one of the newer yoga teachers said in her soothing “savasana” voice (and I’m loosely quoting, because I wasn’t taking notes while lying in corpse pose), “The holidays are coming. And you’re going to eat a lot. But you will come back to yoga, and you will get back in shape.” [Insert sound of a record scratching here.] Um, what? How about, “The holidays are coming, and you’re going to spend lots of quality time with people you love. Food and exercise may be involved, but they’re not all that important in the grand scheme of things?” Or, “The holidays are coming, and if you do choose to fixate on food, know that you’re not alone, and that you don’t have to punish yourself with exercise to make up for it. Throw away your scale and do yoga because it feels good?” Or even, “The holidays are coming, and it can be difficult to be around food and family members and stressful situations. Keep coming back to yoga because it will give you the tools you need to stay mind-full and avoid stuffing yourself belly-full out of frustration or stress?” Look, I know that there’s little I can say in this one blog that’s going to get the Today Show to stop showing you segments about how to cook a 5000 calorie Thanksgiving and then burn off a 5000 calorie Thanksgiving, or TV commercials to stop glorifying disordered eating behaviors (like fixating on or sneaking food), or the inevitable “January 1 is coming so eat while you can but save your money for a gym membership” magazine ads. [source] That said, change has to start somewhere--and it can start with YOU. If you want to have a happy and healthy holiday season, then it’s up to YOU to start changing the way YOU talk about food with family and friends. No, you may not be able to get your yoga teacher to keep your savasana sacred, but when the ladies in the locker room are talking about how fat they already feel because they’re anticipating the holiday binge, you can choose not to participate--and, even better, change the subject by asking them who they’ll be celebrating with or where they’ll be traveling. As soon as food or exercise comes up as the topic of conversation, YOU have a choice to change the channel, leave the room, or redirect the conversation. And if you’re stuck on your yoga mat, you can choose not to listen--or, do what I did, and focus instead on the upcoming asanas (or yoga poses), which you want to try to work on. Whatever you do: Don’t feed the negativity about feeding! Even if you don’t have an eating disorder, if you’re a member of the western culture and even marginally exposed to our cultural practices around the fall/winter holiday season, then you have plenty of opportunities to be exposed to the communicatable disease that is disordered eating. Just as you can spread a cold when you forget to cover your mouth when you cough, so can you spread disordered eating and exercise behaviors when you choose to indulge in the negative body talk about indulging during the holidays. Build up your immunity now by practicing the following: Worried about bingeing on once-a-year foods? Cook a dish or two now, and enjoy it on a random week night so you can remember that Thanksgiving or Christmas (or whatever holiday you’re celebrating) is not the only time you’ll have access to that food. Make a list of non-food or gym-based activities that you’re looking forward to participating in from now through January. Use that list to redirect the conversation when friends or family (or you!) start fixating on food. Get a notebook or a piece of paper, and put a check mark every time you catch yourself saying something negative about your body in anticipation of the holiday season. About the chime in on that “I can eat less and exercise more” conversation with your girlfriends? Check it off. Mind racing with anxiety when a stuffing commercial comes on? Check it off. The benefits are two fold: over time, you’ll be able to start unconsciously making the catches, AND you’ll be able to mindfully redirect your thought process with positive self-talk. Be honest with friends and family: ask them not to make a big deal about food and exercise in conversation. You’re allowed to set healthy boundaries, and as long as you’re being respectful in how you ask (i.e. don’t attack them for bringing up the leftover situation), you can help condition those with whom you spend your time to notice when they’re engaging in triggering conversation as well. Remind yourself that a holiday feast is just another meal. Allow yourself to savor the foods you don’t normally eat, but remember to spend time savoring the company you’re in as well. You’ll spend less time gorging (or restricting but fixating) on the sweet potatoes if you’re having a great conversation with your family and friends. You don’t have to worry yourself sick over your food and exercise situation this holiday season. Change the way you communicate, and in turn, those around you might follow suit. And, just in case, make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin H* in the meantime. Stay hungry, @MissSkinnyGenes *Hugs, obviously.

The seasons are changing, and it’s that time of year when we have to start being extra-careful about our immunity. And I’m not just talking about the flu–I’m talking about body image issues. In case you weren’t aware, disordered eating … Continue reading 

5 Ways to Start Letting Go of Food Rules

habit

Back when I was training to become a figure competitor (aka during my last and worse relapse with ED), I thought I had it all figured out: The carefully researched broscience in my muscle magazines told me that I was … Continue reading 

How’s That Workin’ for Ya?

quote-about-change-mindset

[source] When I was working at the Fruit Stand, I had an incredible mentor, who not only helped me become a better salesperson, trainer, and facilitator, but also inadvertently helped me through some of my depression and anxiety during the … Continue reading 

A Little Tuesday “Thought-spiration”

superwoman-dies

You don’t need to look like this: [source] To prove that you’re strong enough to do this: [source] * [source] You don’t need to be able to do this:  [source] To prove that you’re worthy of this: [source] You don’t … Continue reading 

A Letter to My Sisters in the Midst of Their Quarter-Life Crises

fat-is-not-a-feeling

Dear Sisters, Here you are. Rock bottom. The almost-or-just-past-quarter-life crisis. The Millennial angst, the thwarted expectations of the American dream. You don’t own a house. You lease a car. You owe more to your school than you education was worth. … Continue reading 

Good Reads for a Beautiful Friday

happy-friday

  [source] Howdy friends! It’s a beautiful Friday, and I just wanted to share some of that beauty with you–in the form of some great insights from other beautiful people. So, to get your weekend started off right: Have you lost … Continue reading 

Not Just Science: How nutrition got stuck in the past

“And here we are, 35 years later, trying to untie a Gordian knot of weak science and powerful industry cemented together by the mutual embarrassment of both political orientations. The entrenched liberal ivory-tower interests don’t want look stupid by having to admit that the 3 decades of public health policy they created and have tried to enforce have failed miserably. The entrenched big-business-supporting conservative interests don’t want to look stupid by having to admit that Giant Agribusiness, whose welfare they protect, is now driving up government spending on healthcare by acting like the cigarette industry did in the past and for much the same reasons.”

…I wish everybody would read Adele Hite’s blog.

The Civilized Caveman

I only have a couple of links to share with you today, but I think they’re important ones.

I love reposting Stefani Ruper’s words here, because she is so insightful, and offers some useable tips for “hacking” your ED. Today is no different. Here’s a link to her last week’s “Get Indignant.”

I also wanted to share with you an amazing post by a man named George Bryant. For those of you who are not familiar with the “Paleosphere,” George, aka the Civilized Caveman, is a Marine who fell into the Paleo diet and now hosts a blog full of amazing “cooking creations.”

George recently came out about his struggles with Bulimia on Abel James’ Fat Burning Man podcast, and followed it up on Stefani Ruper’s Live. Love. Eat. podcast. He then posted this blog about it. I highly encourage every one of you out there to go and read it. George is a force for good in this world–his earnestness and honesty is astounding, and his willingness to share his story is seriously special.

Anyway, that’s all I have for you on this rainy Friday morning.

- K.

 

[EDIT:  Just realized that today is Thursday. Apparently my brain was ready for the weekend.]