Green Mountain at Fox Run » Blog http://www.fitwoman.com Women's Weight Loss Spa Retreat for Healthy Living Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:29:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Food Addiction Through Another Lens: 5 Steps to Addressing Food Addiction http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2015/02/26/holistic-approach-to-food-addiction/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2015/02/26/holistic-approach-to-food-addiction/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:00:52 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=30557 Google the words “Food Addiction” and in less than half a second you get over 33 million results. It’s pretty clear that lots of people are talking and others are listening. This topic interests me in a big way because I lead a discussion around food addiction here at Green Mountain.  But there is a compelling difference between the message we send […] Read more »

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Google the words “Food Addiction” and in less than half a second you get over 33 million results. It’s pretty clear that lots of people are talking and others are listening.

This topic interests me in a big way because I lead a discussion around food addiction here at Green Mountain.  But there is a compelling difference between the message we send and the focus we encourage here, compared to the insidious theme that runs through the articles contained in my half second Google search.

The Research Around Food Addiction

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

5 steps to address food addiction

Infographic Icons made by Freepik, Yannick from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC BY 3.0

The articles concentrate mostly on our genetic predisposition that may lead to chemical imbalances in the brain that resemble addiction.  It started with research done at Brookhaven National Laboratory a few years back that showed that “obese” individuals had fewer dopamine receptors in their brains than those considered “ideal” or “normal” body weight.

Now we know that eating food does cause dopamine to be produced – that’s part of the reason eating feels pleasurable. We need eating to be pleasurable to keep us doing it; food is basic to life.

But put the Brookhaven research together with that fact and you can see how researchers came up with the idea that larger-bodied people are driven to eat more in order to get the same amount of pleasure from food.

Hence the article upon article that focuses on how food addiction is simply (and likely hopelessly) a genetic hardwire issue in the brain. And which miss a fundamental issue that may impact the number and sensitivity of D2 receptors in the brains of larger people: it’s called the restrict-overeat/binge cycle, which comes about through dieting.

Couple all that with multiple lines of research that suggest some of us are born with the “addiction gene” (more like a whole set of genes actually) and we’re left with a sort of damned if you do, damned if you don’t way of thinking that really gets us nowhere.

Here’s where we’re missing the point

When we create this hyper-focus around the things that seem impossible to change (like the stuff we’re just born with) and ignore the things that we have lots of power and choice over (like not dieting), we don’t get anywhere.  Most all of these Google search articles that we are hoping to help guide us and move us forward ignore half the picture.

What’s the other side of the coin?  The part of the equation that nobody seems to be focusing on?  We get to choose our environment.  Our environment is a result of how we care for ourselves so rather than investing more focus on what you can’t shift…work on creating a shift on the things you can.

There is no one solution

A little more back story for you here, or more like comedic relief.  Just for fun I Googled  ‘natural dopamine boosters’.  What’s the first thing I came across?  Eat ripe bananas.  Yup, that’s right folks, bananas are finally the answer. Am I the only one that finds this suggestion ridiculous?  Does one realize the amount of ripe bananas that they would need to consume to even begin to nudge the needle on dopamine production?

Read This Related Article:
Exploring Food Addiction
Let me just say this…there’s another way and it won’t ruin your enjoyment of bananas forever. It’s called self-care, and here at Green Mountain we recommend that you frontload on this stuff.

It doesn’t happen overnight, but slowly, over time, shifting your environment by focusing on self-care can begin to help balance whatever genetic predisposition you may have been given.  And it might, over time, begin to shift your mental function, too.  It’s like this: focus a little on the physiological and in due time it will impact the psychological.  Or in everyday terms, it’s a mind-body approach.

5 Steps to Addressing Feelings of Food Addiction

Here’s a few suggestion on things to consider shifting rather than trying to use abstinence to manage your feelings of food addiction:

1Laugh

It feels good all over to laugh.  Our heads and our bodies really like it.  So YouTube a funny video and laugh out loud at it.

2Assess Your Sleep

Did you know that the average person sleeps for about 26 years of their life?  That’s a lot so take a good look at this time.  Do you need a new pillow?  Do you need to make your room cooler?  How can you improve this environment to help you sleep better?  Remember, we don’t waste time sleeping; our bodies and minds are very productive during sleep, so honor that.

3Move

Got 5 minutes?  Okay, then how about 3 minutes?  Do what you can, when you can.  Try to work against gravity during the day.  That’s all.  Stand up at your desk by placing your keyboard under a pile of books.  Walk to your colleague’s office rather than sending an email.

4Restructure How You Eat

Don’t just assume that it’s about addiction.  Over-hunger almost always leads us to overeating (that restrict-overeating/binge cycle again).  It’s primitive stuff so look at how you eat throughout the day to avoid setting yourself up for a binge.

5Get social

Human beings like other human beings.  Shoot, we love them.  So consider making some time to engage in your community.  If you are introverted, try a play or comedy night where you can be with others, but at a level of engagement that is more comfortable for you.

Remember, there is no one answer (like eating a ripe banana to end the cycle), but recognize that you  can manage your quality of self-care and in that begin to reclaim your power within the feelings of food addiction.  The key is to work on creating a life that supports you.


Learn More about Our Binge Eating Program

 

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The Binge Eating Diaries: Before There Were Calories http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2015/02/24/the-binge-eating-diaries-before-calories/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2015/02/24/the-binge-eating-diaries-before-calories/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=30589 As a child, calories didn’t exist. Food was exactly what it was supposed to be – delicious and nutritious. As a child, eating was fun. It was an activity. Treats were treats. My mom tricked me into thinking that apples and watermelon were candy. And my taste buds believed the lie… with pleasure. As a child, as long as my […] Read more »

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As a child, calories didn’t exist.

binge eating diaries before there were caloriesFood was exactly what it was supposed to be – delicious and nutritious. As a child, eating was fun. It was an activity. Treats were treats. My mom tricked me into thinking that apples and watermelon were candy. And my taste buds believed the lie… with pleasure.

As a child, as long as my clothes were bright colors – I didn’t care what size they were. As a child, if I was running around catching fireflies, throwing a softball, or rolling down a hill – I didn’t care what anyone else was thinking about how I looked. I loved how I felt. As a child, I was oblivious. I wasn’t a happy idiot. I was just…happy.

As a child, I understood the true meaning of pleasure – especially when it came to food and movement. I smelled. I tasted. I ran. I jumped.

As I got older, the magic started to fade.

Food started to take on a different meaning entirely. Moving my body became exercise. Exercise became work.

As I got older, I started reading labels, counting pounds and eating more or less than my body needed. As I got older, I started trading in my bright colors for dark, “flattering” hues. The magazines promised they would fool people into thinking I was thinner. And that thinner was better. And that if I was better – people would like me. And if people liked me – I’d be happy again.

Read This Related Article:
Is Your Child Inspired By Thin?
As I got older, I stopped playing and I started worrying. I worry all the time. And now, I worry that I worry too much. As I got older, I stopped listening to my inner child – no matter how loudly and violently she screamed:

What happened to happiness? What happened to our relationship with food, movement, and our bodies?

The Culture Shock of Weight Stigma

One morning, when we woke up and opened our eyes, we saw the world differently. Why? Because we realized that the people in our world were starting to see us differently. I didn’t start binge eating until college, when I used food to help me get through a very difficult time in my life. But I’ve been emotionally eating since I was old enough to “understand” that what I looked like “really, really mattered” according to the culture that we live in.

I was in sixth grade when I first felt judged – not for my talents, my ambition, my personality… but for my size. I had two best friends the year before, both of whom were petite, pretty, and adored. For my age, I was tall, big boned and I didn’t quite fit in that trio any longer. I stood out in all the wrong ways like the short straw… only I was the extra big straw. (A fat Boba straw if you will.) These girls banned me from the popular triangle and sent me to the Bermuda Triangle.

I was lost. I couldn’t find myself and I couldn’t understand how it took just one summer vacation to convince them that all of a sudden… I wasn’t good enough. Almost every day for an entire school year, I got off the bus with tears streaming down my innocent cheeks. As the comments wore me down and the weeks dragged on, I mentally put the puzzle pieces together. My body, even at such a young age, was unacceptable if I wanted to fit in.

Growing Anxiety Around Food And Body Image

From there, my anxieties about food and my body grew worse. I would tattle on myself if I snuck a piece of cheese during the middle of the night. I called my Mom after school one day to immediately confess that I had eaten not one, but two Pop-Tarts®, for an afterschool snack.

The guilt was grander than the caloric content of those two pastries. The guilt was bigger than my body. And avoiding that guilty feeling became my ultimate goal. But I had no idea what was right or wrong, how much to eat, if I should or shouldn’t eat certain things at all. I knew I loved food, but I hated what I thought food was doing to my image – my body image and my social image. After all… who are we really, if other people don’t like us, acknowledge our value, and accept us?

Well now I know that it doesn’t matter a lick what other people think of me if I can’t accept myself… my entire self. I don’t have to love everything about me, but I can’t keep punishing myself for the things I can’t change (like the miles of stretch marks) or ignoring the things I can change – like my relationship with my inner child.

before-there-were-calories-pin

Give Your Inner Child Back Her Voice

I’ve been trying to lure my inner child out of hiding for years, but she’s scared. And who can blame her? She doesn’t understand why food has to be good or bad. She’s afraid that someone is going to make fun of her for getting frosting all over her face. (If you’re a “big” kid, you shouldn’t be eating a cupcake at all, right?)

She wants to come out and play but not only is she scared of what other people might think or say – she’s scared of me.  She’s afraid that I’m going to berate her for desire for food. She’s worried that I’m going to step on her dreams and make her grow up. That I’m going to judge her for wanting to wear those bright colors, sing out loud in the grocery store, and dance without rhythm in all the wrong places. And this makes me sad.

As Green Mountain has reminded me time and time again, we wouldn’t dream of treating a loved one, friend, or especially another child the way we treat ourselves and our inner child. So why do we insist that putting ourselves down and removing pleasure from our lives is somehow going to inspire us? Motivate us? Make us happy?

Read This Related Article:
Fat, Fat, Fat-the critical voice inside
Well, if we’ve been talking down to ourselves for the last 20 years… we can’t expect to change our neural pathways in a mere 20 minutes. But we can start any time we’re ready? And as we do, it’s important to recognize that it’s not just in our heads – these feelings, desires, urges, emotions, confusion. They come from a very real place, and I wonder… if our culture were different, would the way we think and feel about food, our bodies, and movement be different, too?

Would It All Be Different?

If those girls back in sixth grade hadn’t “learned” that size makes a person popular or uncool… would they have treated me like they did? If our society didn’t shove commercials and billboards full of triple sized portions in our faces and THEN shame us for our desires… would guilt play such a huge role in our lives?

And if we no longer felt guilty… would our relationship with food be so upside and backward? And if we were no longer upside down and backwards– would we have more time to feel the way we want to feel instead of trying to look the way we’re “supposed to look.” Would this world be a much different place? Would our inner children still be laughing… instead of hoping that one day we’ll reach out and open up our arms again?

Until next time,

Jace

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog. This was a very personal blog for me to write and I’m thankful that you let me share my stories with you today. I truly believe that our culture has played a huge role in the onset of eating disorders. What do you think?


Learn More About Binge Eating Help For Women

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Resistant, Unmotivated, Or…: Getting Past Labels to the Root of the Problem http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2015/02/23/binge-eating-disorder-labels/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2015/02/23/binge-eating-disorder-labels/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=30587 It’s a label many of us may have suffered before. We’ve been called “unwilling” or “non-compliant” when it comes to following orders about what we “should” eat –whether it be from a doctor or a diet book. It’s not a label that rests lightly on anyone’s shoulders. Because in all likelihood, it ignores what’s really going on. Binge Eating Disorder […] Read more »

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It’s a label many of us may have suffered before. We’ve been called “unwilling” or “non-compliant” when it comes to following orders about what we “should” eat –whether it be from a doctor or a diet book.

It’s not a label that rests lightly on anyone’s shoulders. Because in all likelihood, it ignores what’s really going on.

Binge Eating Disorder Awareness

binge eating disorder labelAs part of Eating Disorder Awareness Week this week, whose theme is I Had No Idea… we wanted to bring attention to the fact that Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is the most overlooked and misdiagnosed of all eating disorders. It rarely gets the attention that Anorexia and Bulimia receive, and yet BED is far more prevalent than both disorders combined, occurring in 1 of 35 adults.

Due to secrecy and shame surrounding binge eating, the illness can go undetected for long periods of time. Quite simply, if you’re already feeling judged for your size and stereotyped for being out of control with food, why would you tell anyone what, when and how much you are eating? Aren’t we humiliated enough?

The Result of Weight Stigma & Overlooking BED

Weight elicits emotionally charged responses in both those attempting to get help and those attempting to help them due to the extreme weight stigma our culture fosters. Although not all people considered “overweight” have BED, people with this problem typically struggle with maintaining a healthy weight. But while Anorexia and Bulimia are recognized as serious illnesses,  a larger-bodied person with BED may be characterized as “just” having an overeating problem.

Read This Related Article:
How Weight Stigma Hurts
Physicians frequently do not assess for binge eating, therefore BED often goes unidentified in primary care settings. Unfortunately, weight is the focus and the prescription is typically a traditional weight loss strategy, often further complicating the course of BED. In fact, national health insurance initiatives require physicians to assess for obesity through the body mass index (BMI) – which is a notoriously inaccurate measure of health — and prescribe weight loss methods if the BMI exceeds a certain level. In some cases, if physicians do not do that, they may not be reimbursed for the healthcare visit.

Treating Binge Eating Disorder

The problem is, the objective of weight loss is problematic for many people with BED, as it activates the restrict-binge cycle. The causes of BED are more closely tied to emotional regulation and escape from awareness of intrusive thoughts. Therefore focusing on a symptom such as weight doesn’t address the root cause and therefore doesn’t lend itself to a long-term solution.

Treatment programs that focus on food intake and the resulting weight response tend to have high attrition rates. At Green Mountain at Fox Run, we encourage instead a general “care of self-approach”, encouraging autonomy in a person’s choices around food and exercise.

Recognizing & Diagnosing BED

Screening Tool:
Binge Eating Scale (BES)
Those who have BED and don’t appear to be struggling with weight may have serious unexplained gastrointestinal distress. A physician may do many expensive tests trying to discover the cause of the distress and yet never know what a person is doing with food to cause the problem.

Opportunities for discovery of eating disorders could be solved by use of screening tools such as the BES, decreasing the focus on weight and asking more questions about emotions and eating behavior, and looking for symptoms of depression and anxiety which commonly accompany binge eating disorder.

This article from the Binge Eating Disorder Association can also equip you to get past the issue of weight and address the root causes of eating or health problems.


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Using Science as a Springboard for Diving into the Unknown http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2015/02/19/science-behind-achieving-a-healthy-weight/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2015/02/19/science-behind-achieving-a-healthy-weight/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=30562 Let’s face it – when it comes to creating change, having ‘proof’ that an approach works helps entering the unknown a little less daunting. Who doesn’t want assurances that our hard work will be rewarded? Making that Leap of Faith Less Scary At Green Mountain we understand that taking a leap of faith into the unknown can feel scary – […] Read more »

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Let’s face it – when it comes to creating change, having ‘proof’ that an approach works helps entering the unknown a little less daunting.

Who doesn’t want assurances that our hard work will be rewarded?

Making that Leap of Faith Less Scary

science-healthy-weight-managementAt Green Mountain we understand that taking a leap of faith into the unknown can feel scary – like a leaf blowing in the wind – anchorless, adrift and at the mercy of yet another approach. The women who visit us are ready and eager to find a solution that will last long term and finally – hold the test of time.

They understand all too well what doesn’t work based on experience (i.e. diets), but letting go of the old ways and stepping into the practice of being different is unnerving for all of us, no matter what ‘it’ looks like. Here we are asking women to tune in to and feel – and then practicing honoring- their body’s cues.

This practice involves building trust in Self because that trust has been shattered over the years by knowing ‘what to do’ for optimal health but choosing the path of least resistance in the moment.

Research Supports the Non-Diet & Mindfulness Approach

Read This Related Article:
How to Navigate the In Between
We find that what helps with this leap into the unknown is to understand the research behind our body/mind approach. This knowledge gives women something to hold onto as they move into the practice of being different – it helps to provide at least a little footing for entering new territory.

Unfortunately, quietly funded research that proves the non-diet and mindfulness approach works isn’t as ‘in your face’ compared to, say, the dieting ads that are fueled by the annual 65 billion dollar industry. The loudest voice isn’t necessarily the correct voice – but it certainly draws our attention.

3 Days of Science & Practice in Our New Weekend Retreat

science of healthy weight lossWith this in mind, we are pleased to announce that we are offering a special weekend intensive that shines a brighter light on the new science behind the non-diet and mindfulness approach to achieving a healthy weight.

Topics will include:

  • The Science of Mindfulness
  • The Physiological and Psychological Response to Movement
  • How the Gut Microbiome Influences Food Choices
  • Body Weight and the Metabolic Basis of Weight Loss and Gain

To name a few.

Explore The Science Behind How To Achieve And Maintain A Healthy Weight

This weekend intensive is aimed at new and past Green Mountain participants alike as we will be delving deeper into the science behind how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Our team of professionals will share the latest research that is creating a buzz in the science, psychological and medical fields, and WHY the lifestyle approach works on both a physiological and psychological level for long term, positive change – once and for all.

We hope you’ll join us!


LEARN MORE About Our New Weekend Retreat

 

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