Green Mountain at Fox Run http://www.fitwoman.com Tue, 30 Aug 2016 17:07:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.fitwoman.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-icon-1-32x32.png Green Mountain at Fox Run http://www.fitwoman.com 32 32 But Will I Lose Weight? Gaining Health Through Mindfulness http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/30/gaining-health-mindfulness/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/30/gaining-health-mindfulness/#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=45526 Weight loss. It’s a major concern for the vast majority of women who pass through our doors at Green Mountain. Honestly, with an estimated 45 million Americans dieting every year, it’s clearly a major concern for many people. Dieting has become a central part of our culture because society has trained us to believe that […]

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Weight loss. It’s a major concern for the vast majority of women who pass through our doors at Green Mountain.

Honestly, with an estimated 45 million Americans dieting every year, it’s clearly a major concern for many people. Dieting has become a central part of our culture because society has trained us to believe that the only path to health and happiness is through a thin body.

At Green Mountain, Our Philosophy Is A Little Different.

We help women achieve happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives through a non-diet, weight-neutral, mindfulness-based approach to eating, moving, and living.

We teach women that their health is not defined by a number on the scale, how to shift their focus from weight loss to wellness, and ultimately, how to truly care for themselves independent of what happens with their weight. Because if your self-care depends on what happens with your weight, it’s easy to get off track.

These messages are not always met without resistance – and we get it – it’s so counter to everything that we hear, see, and read about health, wellness, happiness, and success.

As our participants are contemplating this approach, I’m often asked the following:

  • But I want to lose weight. How will do that if I give up dieting?
  • But I need to lose weight. What if I do all of these things and my weight doesn’t change?

If you are wondering the same things, here is my response:

Every week in the first class I have with our newly arrived participants I ask, “How many people have ever lost weight, and permanently maintained that weight loss, by dieting?”

No one raises their hand – ever. That’s because greater than 95% of people who lose weight through dieting gain it back, and often more. For the vast majority of people, diets simply don’t, and won’t ever, work.

So, if we know that our typical approach doesn’t work, isn’t it at least worth considering a new approach?

One in which the number you see on the scale in the morning doesn’t determine what kind of day you are going to have. One in which, eating a piece of birthday cake doesn’t make you a bad person. One in which, you don’t need to obsess about every calorie, point, or fat gram. One in which, a change in weight is a natural outcome of the process, if a change in weight is what your body wants.

Introducing the New Approach: Mindful Eating.

It is not a set of rules that dictates our decisions about what, when, and how much to eat. It is not a list of good and bad foods. It is not a calorie goal.

Instead, it’s tuning into our hunger and satiety cues to determine when to eat and when to stop. It’s choosing foods that are nourishing to our bodies and satisfying to our taste buds. It’s slowing down, savoring each bite, and engaging all of our senses as we eat. Ultimately, it’s learning how to trust ourselves to be our own authority on our food choices.

And learning how to trust ourselves again is hard! Especially when we’ve spent years internalizing the notion that we can’t trust ourselves, or our bodies, to make decisions about food.

For many, scarier yet is the thought of not only not losing weight, but gaining weight if we let go of diets.

However, research shows that eating mindfully/intuitively, is not associated with significant weight gain and is actually associated lower body weights (1, 2). It supports what we at Green Mountain have observed for years – when we nourish ourselves adequately and care for our whole self, our bodies will find, and settle at, their natural healthy weights.

That said, weight loss isn’t always what our body wants. And just because our weight might be higher than what is conventionally considered “healthy” doesn’t mean we are, in fact, unhealthy.

Health is complex to define and is influenced by many factors – diet and physical activity are part of that but so are things like stress level, socioeconomic status, access to adequate healthcare, genetics, etc.

Moreover, weight loss, on its own, doesn’t necessarily improve health (3). And repeated weight loss and weight re-gain, known as weight cycling, can actually be harmful to overall health (4).

When we can shift our focus from weight loss to well-being we are better able to focus on meeting all of our needs – eating in a way that is satisfying and nourishing, moving our bodies in a way that feels good, and allowing ourselves to live our lives fully.

And, when we shift our eating practice away from one that is rigid and restrictive to one that honors our body, we see improvements in many important health parameters (e.g., blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, etc.), even in the absence of weight loss (1, 5).


Resources:

  1. Clifford D, Ozier A, Bundros J, Moore J, Kreiser A, Morris MN. Impact of non-diet approaches on attitudes, behaviors, and health outcomes: a systematic review. J Nutr Ed Beh. 2015;47(2):143-55.
  2. Camilleri GM, Méjean C, Bellisle F, Andreeva VA, Kesse‐Guyot E, Hercberg S, Péneau S. Intuitive eating is inversely associated with body weight status in the general population‐based NutriNet‐Santé study. Obes. 2016;24(5):1154-61.
  3. Tomiyama AJ, Ahlstrom B, Mann T. Long‐term Effects of Dieting: Is Weight Loss Related to Health?. Social and Personality Psychology Compass. 2013;7(12):861-77.
  4. Montani JP, Schutz Y, Dulloo AG. Dieting and weight cycling as risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases: who is really at risk?.Obes Rev. 2015;16(S1):7-18.
  5. Schaefer JT, Magnuson AB. A review of interventions that promote eating by internal cues. J Am Diet Assoc. 2014;114(5):734-60.

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Will Pokémon Go Improve My Fitness Level? http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/25/will-pokemon-go-make-me-fit/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/25/will-pokemon-go-make-me-fit/#respond Thu, 25 Aug 2016 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=45346 My ears perked up when I heard Nat, one of our participants in the Young Women’s Program here at Green Mountain at Fox Run, excitedly exclaim she exceeded her Fitbit daily steps as a result of playing Pokémon Go. So naturally, I had to learn more! What Is Pokémon Go? Over 5 million players are using […]

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My ears perked up when I heard Nat, one of our participants in the Young Women’s Program here at Green Mountain at Fox Run, excitedly exclaim she exceeded her Fitbit daily steps as a result of playing Pokémon Go. So naturally, I had to learn more!

What Is Pokémon Go?

Over 5 million players are using the Nintendo Smartphone game by walking around their local neighborhoods and landmarks to collect Pokémon, gain Pokéballs, and stop at “Gyms” to battle one another for supremacy.

The app provides an augmented reality, which means it is a virtual reality – the camera uses your real life surroundings and creates a digital window into the Pokémon world.

If you run out of capture balls and can’t find more, you can purchase them, which is why this “free” app is now one of the largest grossing.

Will Pokémon Go Help Me Become Fitter?

“I grew up with the franchise,” said Christina, a twenty-something participant. “I think the nostalgia aspect appeals to my age-group.” She smiles, “I found myself walking into town looking for Pokéstops. It ended up being six miles. I would never have walked that far before!”  

Prior to downloading the app, exercise was never a priority for Christina. And I personally have seen her cardiovascular speed and endurance improve in the past few weeks on our hiking excursions.

With walking benefits including lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, it’s hard to imagine this game wouldn’t help you physically.

Personally I feel I’d receive more reduction of stress and sleep benefits by taking a hike in nature, listening to birds chirping, and mindfully moving my body, rather than being distracted by a game. But that’s me.

Is it dangerous?

Despite warnings, people aren’t paying attention to their surroundings, and the list of accidents is increasing: a multitude of injuries including broken ankles and bruised shins, a girl getting hit by a car while crossing the highway, two men crawling over a fence and falling down a cliff in California, and even robberies of unsuspecting players who were too distracted by the game.

Bottom line:

One of my concerns with people spending more time on their phone is they end up engaging less in interpersonal connections.

As a mother of two young children, I get concerned as to how technology will shape their relationships.

However, as a personal trainer, health coach and fitness enthusiast, I can’t help but find myself optimistic that this game will lead the way into a future of movement opportunities for those who otherwise would have been inactive.

Finding new and innovative ways to help others improve their health and fitness might be just what our society needs.

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Olympic Bodies: One Size Does NOT Fit ALL (Part 2) http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/23/olympic-bodies-one-size-not-fit-part-2/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/23/olympic-bodies-one-size-not-fit-part-2/#respond Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=45479 In my last blog, we talked about the body shaming that goes on within Olympic competitions, the comparison, the judging, the disordered eating behavior, and the senselessness of it all. Why is it we all tend to compare ourselves to those we see on TV, on Facebook, on Instagram, in the mall, in the gym […]

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In my last blog, we talked about the body shaming that goes on within Olympic competitions, the comparison, the judging, the disordered eating behavior, and the senselessness of it all.

Why is it we all tend to compare ourselves to those we see on TV, on Facebook, on Instagram, in the mall, in the gym or on the covers of the magazines at the supermarket? Is it because:

  • The number on the scale isn’t right?
  • The size of the clothes we wear are too big?
  • People will talk about how fat we are behind our backs?
  • People will think we don’t deserve to eat that, wear that, go there?

Do you want to live another day, another month, another 10 years avoiding living your life due to what others are thinking? Or due to your beliefs about yourself?

If I continued to live in this way, this would be what my obituary might have said

Anne died thin. She never ate anything “bad”; she was a perfect size 2.

She was the fittest person I knew.

The End

Don’t we – don’t I – have more to offer than our size?

What about some other qualities like honesty, integrity, determination, care, compassion, humor, humility?

I want the  Olympians we watch on TV to  inspire us. To provide us with an inner sense of pride, with strength and energy.

It is not their job to look like a perfect size 2, to have 6% body fat, or to never eat a French fry. They have chosen to work, train and perform at an optimal level at whatever body weight helps them achieve just that.

Olympians range from 4’6”- over 7 feet, from 85 lbs or over 300 lbs…their weight works for them, not against them. If you asked a woman sprinter, do you want to be the thinnest sprinter on the track or the fastest runner, what do you think she would say?  

Is fat the worst thing you can be?

At Green Mountain, we know that one size does NOT fit all.

How do we make sense of all this madness that surrounds the look of our bodies and the self-hatred it sometimes holds?

We shine a light on all of this. We open up the mind and bring awareness to where all of these negative thoughts have come from. We light a LAMP:

L: Limit social media and social comparison.  

Social media can set in motion social comparisons that can be a driving factor in body dissatisfaction. It allows for appearance-based social comparison on an unprecedented scale, different from what we used to see with traditional media forms (Strong, et al 2015).

Activity: Notice every time you engage in social comparisons that don’t make you feel good about yourself. Tell yourself one thing that makes YOU unique, special, different.

A: Appreciate what your body CAN do.

Like climb stairs, pick up a baby, play on the floor with your pet?

Start to look at the activities that your body has allowed you to do, and will allow you to do now. Don’t wait until the number on the scale says something else. Do it today, do it now.

Activity: List 10 things your body can do.

M: Mindfulness of your thoughts and self-talk.

Becoming aware of that voice in your head that says you are not good enough. The voice that stops you from doing something you might otherwise do, the one that hates your body, your thighs, your belly. Begin a practice of Positive Self-Talk, send the negative voice on a permanent vacation.

Activity: Write a letter to yourself from that body part that you find yourself hating.

P: Practice self-compassion and self-kindness.

Begin to treat yourself like you would a friend. What you think about your body is based on thoughts and beliefs, thus is constantly changing.

Begin the practice of your body being your friend, not your foe.

If you don’t appreciate your body in this moment, you’ve lost the chance to start right now. . The moment is gone. Begin where you are and care for your body like a good gift (not the bad gift we throw away, re-gift, or let sit in the back of the closet), with respect and appreciation.

Activity: Find an affirmation, write it on a 3 cards. Put one on the bathroom mirror, another one in your wallet or purse and the third on the front door. Read it whenever you see it. If you can’t think of one right now, try one of these on for size:

  • I love and accept my body.
  • My body is strong and capable.
  • I am enough.
  • I honor my body today.
  • My body deserves respect.
  • One size does not fit all.

At Green Mountain, we help women become empowered by who they are, no matter what their size.

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Finding Peace in the Chaos of Back-to-School http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/18/finding-peace-chaos-back-school/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/18/finding-peace-chaos-back-school/#respond Thu, 18 Aug 2016 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=45341 As summer winds down and we ready ourselves for back-to-school season, whether ourselves or our children, stress often times grabs hold, sometimes long before we even enter the classroom. Lists of things to do, things to buy, anxieties over social and academic pressures… It all can feel quite overwhelming. As Einstein brilliantly put it: “Insanity […]

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As summer winds down and we ready ourselves for back-to-school season, whether ourselves or our children, stress often times grabs hold, sometimes long before we even enter the classroom.

Lists of things to do, things to buy, anxieties over social and academic pressures… It all can feel quite overwhelming.

As Einstein brilliantly put it: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So what if this school year, you entered into the chaos with a mindful perspective? And what if doing that allowed you do find the beauty in it?

A Mindful Approach to Back-to-School

Imagine sailing during a storm: You  might fight the winds, raising the sails against them in an effortless attempt to gain control. Or perhaps you drop all the sails, giving up the fight, letting the wind carry you where it wants. Another option is to work with the wind, using the sails to get you back to shore.

It’s in this way that we can step into the back-to-school “storm” – not fighting the chaos reactively; not giving up and relinquishing to it; but instead being aware of, noticing, and being mindful to get to where you need to go.

So with that in mind, here are some things to consider with common back-to-school stressors:

1. De-Clutter Your Mind

You might have a million things on your mind: form deadlines, bus schedules, class schedules, book lists, etc.

Take it out of your mind and put it on paper. In doing so, you ease the burden on your executive functioning that can get overwhelmed. Once it’s on paper, you don’t have to think about it all the time. Instead, you can look at the list and go through one at a time.

2. Refine Your List

Go through your (potentially long) list of things to do, to buy, forms to fill out, etc. and categorize it into HAVE-TO vs WANT-TO. You probably don’t have to get everything on the list done all at once.

3. One Thing At a Time

As you work on crossing items off the list, remember to do just one thing at a time. Multitasking only adds to overwhelmed feelings.

So when you’re filling out forms, just fill out the forms. Don’t stop to respond to a text, or make a phone call. It can wait. And doing so only keeps us feeling distracted.

Instead, put your full focused attention on the task at hand, whatever it might be, however long it might take to complete. There’s nothing like that feeling of crossing it off the list once it’s done.

4. Stop Comparing

Whether you’re a student, parent, or teacher, comparisons leave us feeling bad about ourselves and our progress.

Social media can not only contribute to comparisons and feeling low, but it’s also a distraction from your list.

Conversely, being mindful is about staying present, staying in the now. So stay aware of what YOU are doing and what YOU have done.

And if you do end up getting caught up in comparisons and start feeling low, practice a little self-compassion. Try this 5-minute self-compassion meditation inspired by self-compassion guru Dr. Kristen Neff.

5. Add Some Headspace

Replace a couple of the have-to’s with short mindfulness practices: a breathing exercise, a body scan, progressive muscle relaxation, etc.

It can be just 5 minutes a couple of times a day to bring some clarity to your mind and peace to combat the stress.

6. Create Daily Mindful Moments

Even in the midst of it all, we can still find moments of peace.

Creating these moments helps ease the burden on our executive functioning – the part of the brain the becomes overwhelmed with all of the “to-do’s”.

So maybe before you walk out the door to run yet another errand, or before you get out of the care to go shopping, or at any other transition point, create a pause.

Just stop what you’re doing for a minute. Literally one minute. Bring all of your attention to your body and do a quick scan of all your body parts starting at your toes and moving up to your head. This mindful check-in resets us.


So as you prepare to let go of the lazy days of summer and enter into this coming school year, remember that mindfulness can have its place in the chaos.

And perhaps in bringing it in, the chaos becomes that much less chaotic.

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Olympic Bodies: One Size Fits All? (Part One) http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/16/olympics-body-shaming/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/16/olympics-body-shaming/#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2016 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=45332 The Summer Olympics are ON! How do you spend your summer nights every four years when that familiar Olympic music starts filling up your living room? Do you stay up late? Plan your afternoon around a specific event or game? Do you admire the amazing athleticism? Cheer and clap as if they can hear you? […]

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The Summer Olympics are ON!

How do you spend your summer nights every four years when that familiar Olympic music starts filling up your living room? Do you stay up late? Plan your afternoon around a specific event or game? Do you admire the amazing athleticism? Cheer and clap as if they can hear you?

As a kid, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say: “I want to be in the Olympics”.  

So I watched them, year after year. The problem was, I wasn’t watching them with admiration and joy, I was watching with a critical eye.  Critical about myself. Critical about the fact that I wasn’t good enough, I couldn’t work hard enough, I didn’t have enough drive, and I certainly wasn’t thin enough.  

I  would bash and beat myself up because my body didn’t look like any of the athletes.

This Was the Start of My Own Comparison to Others

Not only did I compare myself to the Olympic athletes, noticing their perfect bodies, I compared myself to my teammates, my friends and strangers at the gym.    

I knew that I would never be able to look as good as any of them. I lacked the discipline, the willpower, strength and determination to be anything but plain old Anne.  

I wasn’t good enough.

Turns out that many Olympians actually feel the same way about their bodies. They comparing themselves to their competitors, feeling not good enough.  

Body Shaming in the Olympics

Trampoline Gymnast Rosie MacLennon stated, ”I remember warming up and looking at the other athletes, and looking at myself and feeling uncomfortable.”

All she could think about was how out of place she felt next to her smaller and thinner competitors, not about the competition at all.

It is no wonder, because the bodies of Olympic athletes get judged on how they look, as if one size fits all. Over the years we have heard comments about how the athletes look rather than how they perform Just this year we’ve heard

  • “She is built like a fire hydrant.”
  • “She has the body of two gymnasts put together.”
  • “ A diet before the Olympics would have been nice.”

I always thought the Olympics were about performance, not how you looked…

Body bashing from the sports commentators and the public DOWN-sizes the athletes hard work, dedication, accomplishment and performance, and PLUS-sizes physical traits that have a lot to do with natural genetics.  

These traits make them special and unique to the sport they compete in. (The powerful thighs, the strong glutes, the broad shoulders, the long legs.)

Did you know that many professional athletes and Olympians develop eating disorders as a result of their own body image issues? Or due to pressure from coaches? Or due to pressure from family and friends?

Just to name a few:

  • Gymnasts Cathy Rigby, Christy Henrich, Kathy Johnson and Nadia Comaneci
  • Swimmers Amanda Beard, Dagny Knutsen and Misty Hyman
  • Divers Brittney Viola and Megan Neyer
  • Ice skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Jamie Sliverstien

Eating disorders have taken some of these amazing athletes away from their sport completely.

When do we say enough is enough?

When do we start valuing our athletes on their talent, their hard work, determination and performance, not on the “LOOK” of their bodies? Not on the size of their thighs or how much they weigh?

Thinner Doesn’t Mean Better, Faster or Stronger

The strive for thinness as written by Stephen King in the book (and movie), “Thinner”:

“Actually this is Horrific. Girls and Women pausing life, counting calories and points, exercising obsessively, obsessing over food, pinching waists and thighs, comparing themselves to others, judging their bodies and avoiding activities they love because the number on the scale is too high.”

Isn’t it time to call a truce?

Tune into my next blog, where we take this horrific madness and start to make sense of it.  

We face this comparison, negative body image and obsession over weight every day here at Green Mountain. We know that one size does not fit all. I will share with you what we do.

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4 Steps to Quit Smoking Without Turning to Food http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/11/quit-smoking-without-turning-food/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/11/quit-smoking-without-turning-food/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2016 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=45202 Smoking cessation can be a very difficult ordeal. If it weren’t difficult enough to get through the physical addiction, a person also has to deal with the psychological component. Because smoking is an orally-based activity, it’s easy to turn to other forms of oral replacements, such as snacking or gum chewing, to gratify this desire […]

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Smoking cessation can be a very difficult ordeal. If it weren’t difficult enough to get through the physical addiction, a person also has to deal with the psychological component.

Because smoking is an orally-based activity, it’s easy to turn to other forms of oral replacements, such as snacking or gum chewing, to gratify this desire and make up for the satisfaction smoking may have provided.

Although chewing gum and snacking might be better alternatives to smoking, such replacements can also turn into distressing new, unhealthy, and mindless habits.

Mindfulness-Based Smoking Cessation

There are a lot of new approaches to smoking cessation that are based in mindfulness.

At the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Dr. Judson Brewer has developed innovative programs integrating mindfulness with addictions, one of which includes a smoking cessation program.

Instead of avoiding the addictive habit, these approaches focus on turning towards it (believe it or not).

The idea is to use the basis of mindfulness, or in other words, present-moment, non-judgmental awareness while engaging in the addictive habit, rather than trying to avoid it or replace it with something else.

Smoking Doesn’t Actually Relieve Stress

Before I explain how this process works, I want to emphasize something that’s important to remember when it comes to smoking and stress relief.

It has been long known that smoking doesn’t actually relieve stress. Instead smoking alleviates  withdrawal symptoms from nicotine. This relief from withdrawal feels like stress relief, though it’s actually withdrawal relief (American Psychologist; Parrott, A.C.; 1999).

But here’s the really interesting thought: in order to smoke, a person has to: 1) Stop everything they’re doing 2) Go outside and 3) Breathe deeply (true, they’re breathing smoke, but you get the point).

Imagine what it might be like if everyone: stopped everything, went outside and took deep breaths (without the smoke) for a few minutes, a few times a day. Hmmm. That sounds like meditation!

Cravings & Addictions

So back to mindfulness with addictive habits. Much like eating, smoking has a craving component.

Though addiction to a substance like nicotine is quite different from feelings of addiction to food, cravings are the common thread and they can feel quite strong sometimes.

Normally, we try to resist the craving or replace it. But does that work?

If I told you not to think about a pink elephant, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Of course…a pink elephant.

Similarly, when it comes to cravings, avoidance doesn’t necessarily help. Sometimes we even become afraid of cravings because we have ‘failed’ at resisting them so often. When craving hits, we go through avoidance, resistance, replacement…desperately trying not to think about that “pink elephant”.

So how about this instead: when cravings hit, consider taking a few minutes to simply watch it, knowing that after we watch it one of 3 things will happen: we won’t engage in our habit; we will engage in our habit; or eventually, we can engage in the habit in a different way.

In the meantime, we get to know ourselves a little more by watching this thing we call craving. And maybe by doing so, we’re a little less afraid of our habits.

Getting to Know Yourself Through Cravings

So what if we took a few minutes to tune into that craving thing and ask ourselves some questions:

  • What is that…this craving thing?
  • Where does it happen in my body?
  • What are the sensations of a craving?
  • What do the sensations feel like?
  • How strong are the sensations?
  • What happens when I watch them?
  • Do they change?
  • How long does it take for the sensations to change?

How do they change – are they stronger, weaker, different?

The idea isn’t to resist or replace, but instead add.

Adding to Addiction

That’s right, add. Being additive is an important part of the program here at Green Mountain at Fox Run and its Women’s Center for Binge and Emotional Eating.

Not only have we been focusing on a non-diet, mindfulness based approach to health for over 40 years, but we’re the only center in the nation that is a women’s only, emotional/binge eating-only center focusing on this notion of being additive as opposed to restrictive.

Instead of trying to take it away (whether the it is smoking or emotional eating), we’ll often suggest adding to it.

In this case, what we’re adding is mindfulness, a gentle, non-judgmental curiosity about cravings. Sometimes interesting discoveries are made when we get curious.

Remember your first science experiment as a child? When you poured vinegar into baking soda, then, with eager curiosity, watched what happened? We might similarly get to know ourselves in this way a little more. It’s a simple, effective way of looking at a part of ourselves and watching what happens.

Getting Curious & Introspective With R.A.I.N.

Getting curious in this way feels empowering, whether we’re looking at smoking habits, or eating behaviors.

The beauty is this concept is the same for smoking cessation as it is for eating behavior. So really, it can be a two-birds-one-stone approach with smoking cessation.

Here’s a step-by-step method for getting curious about cravings. We use a method known as R.A.I.N which was developed by Michele McDonald over 20 years ago.

Tara Brach, a Psychologist, teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Community in Washington D.C. re-introduced it to the mindfulness community:

Recognize the craving.

Acknowledge it. In other words, looking at the ‘elephant’ (or craving in this case) and say “oh! There you are!”

Allow the craving to be there just as it is.

This is step 1 of curiosity. Instead of turning away from it, simply pause and allow all thoughts, feelings, and sensations to be there, so that we can move into…

Investigate all parts of the craving, with kindness.

Notice thoughts, feelings and sensations, as well as the level of intensity. Ask yourself the questions we mentioned above: What’s happening right now? How am I experiencing this in my body? Where is this happening in my body? Describe the sensations? How intense are they?

Note the experience.

This goes hand-in-hand with the ‘I’ making gentle, non-judgmental notes of what we investigated. In noting, we literally comment on the experience, but remember, the comments are NON-JUDGEMENTAL. For example, perhaps noting: tension, tightness, nervous, hot, intense, light, etc.

So the next time a craving hits for a cigarette or a snack (without feeling hungry), step into the R.A.I.N. and see what happens. You never know what you’ll discover.

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Healthy Recipe: Savory Summer Squash Cakes http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/09/healthy-recipe-summer-squash-cake/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/09/healthy-recipe-summer-squash-cake/#respond Tue, 09 Aug 2016 13:00:20 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=45199 People have been using the concept of farm-to-table dating back to the early days of the human race when we first discovered how to cultivate the earth. Throughout time and history, at some point we got busy and fresh-farmed goods gave way to convenience foods. Many of us also got used to having what we […]

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People have been using the concept of farm-to-table dating back to the early days of the human race when we first discovered how to cultivate the earth.

Throughout time and history, at some point we got busy and fresh-farmed goods gave way to convenience foods. Many of us also got used to having what we want when we want it; hence food shipped from halfway around the world.

At Green Mountain at Fox Run we’re taught that we want to have a positive relationship with our food, to ask ourselves “how do I feel?”. And I believe knowing where your food comes from supports that positive relationship.

There’s nothing like know who grows and prepares your food. It adds an extra “flavor” to the enjoyment!

Now I know that this isn’t always possible, especially if you live in urban centers where the closest farm is miles away. But farmers’ markets are more popular these days. If you haven’t gone to one, try it! They’re tons of fun.

Also be sure to sign up for our Farm-to-Table experience the weekend of August 26th with our nutritionist Dana Notte and myself to learn more!

Mom’s Savory Summer Squash Cakes

Serves 4

Start to finish cook time, 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded carrot
  • 1 cup shredded summer squash
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Using a box grater, shred summer squash, zucchini, and carrots into a mixing bowl. Chop the thyme, rosemary and garlic add to the bowl as well, then finish with the eggs, flour, salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a nonstick pan on medium heat and add oil. Divide the mixture into equal piles in the pan and sear about 2 minutes on each side. (Or until the cakes are golden brown.)
  4. Transfer to an oven and cook for 20 minutes or until tender.

These cakes are a great accompaniment with any protein, starchy vegetable or grain, but chef’s choice is a grilled steak with corn on the cob!

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23 Ideas to Make Exercise Feel Like PLAY Again http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/04/make-exercise-feel-like-play/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/04/make-exercise-feel-like-play/#comments Thu, 04 Aug 2016 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=45074 Are you tired of hearing yourself say things like? “I need to go for a run.” “I should go to the gym.” “I need to work out harder.” “I ought to exercise more.” Whatever happened to the days when we COULDN’T WAIT TO GET OUT AND PLAY!? Intervals, HITT training, CrossFit, bootcamp…harder, faster, more…. Enough! […]

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Are you tired of hearing yourself say things like?

  • “I need to go for a run.”
  • “I should go to the gym.”
  • “I need to work out harder.”
  • “I ought to exercise more.”

Whatever happened to the days when we COULDN’T WAIT TO GET OUT AND PLAY!?

Intervals, HITT training, CrossFit, bootcamp…harder, faster, more….

Enough!

Enough of the “have to’s”, “ought to’s”, “need to’s” and “should’s”.

I am ready for an era of PLAY, FUN, MOVING and GAMES.

Exercise doesn’t have to be about how hard, how long or how much you move your body. It can be about moving your body in ways that spark joy, laughter, fun and good feelings.

The Benefits of Exercising & Moving Your Body

We already know some of the benefits of moving your body, it:

  • Improves mood
  • Boosts energy
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Improves strength & cardiovascular health
  • Helps counter depression
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves self-confidence
  • Boosts brain power

What would a less traditional, more enjoyable approach to moving your body look like?

Warning: What follows may sound like fun, it may sound like it is just for kids, it may even sound like every day, ordinary activity. But…

Know: All of these activities use: a variety of muscles, a wide range of motion, flexibility, agility, strength, and endurance. What’s important is that you choose wisely.

Proceed with care: Choose activities that speak to you. You can do them alone or with friends, indoors or outdoors. Some require equipment, others do not. They can be done for five minutes or three hours…as long as they remain fun and enjoyable!

Non-Traditional Exercises to Practice & Enjoy!

  1. Hula-Hooping
  2. Skipping and Galloping
  3. Jump Roping or Skip-its
  4. Hopscotch
  5. Play-Fit Circuit (a Green Mountain special combination of play activities, done in a circuit fashion for a minute each, such as jump rope, hula hoop, skipping, scarf throwing, hand clapping and more. Look for a play-fit video soon!)
  6. Medicine Ball Slams (great to release stress and tension)
  7. Roller Blading
  8. Climbing Walls
  9. Zip Lines
  10. Nature Circuit Walking (using trees, benches, curbs and more)
  11. Mall Walk Intervals
  12. Cleaning Dance Mix (alone, with friends, in celebration, down the street)
  13. Drumming fun (another Green Mountain hit!)
  14. Hoover Ball (Medicine ball Newcomb)
  15. Medicine Ball Hot Potato
  16. Medicine Ball Tennis
  17. Tennis Ball Scramble
  18. Hand Clapping Games (try them on one leg)
  19. Playground fun with Kids
  20. Foot Golf (Soccer and Golf Combo, my personal favorite)
  21. Disc Golf
  22. Water Running
  23. Water Drumming with Short Noodles

Simple Directions for More Play!

  • Try new places!  Playgrounds, beaches, ponds, pools, fields, tennis courts, malls, hills, and mountains.
  • Ask a friend (or friends) to join you.
  • Be open minded – expand your repertoire to keep things fun.
  • Be non-judgmental – do what you can. It’s not about how you look or compare to others.
  • Experiment. Search for new places to walk, recruit a family member to head to the playground with you, try an activity that feels a little outside your comfort zone.
  • Take a break from traditional exercise options.
  • Remember it is not about how long you go, how hard you play or how many calories you burn (what a thrill killer). It’s about moving your body the way it was meant to move: enjoy, with play, with laughter, and with excitement.

Reconnect with the I CAN’T WAIT TO GO OUT AND PLAY person that lives inside you!

For more information on any of the above games or circuits, please feel free to call or email us at info@fitwoman.com.

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I’m A Dietitian & Here’s Why I Choose to Eat Local Often, But Not Always http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/02/eat-local-often-not-always/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/08/02/eat-local-often-not-always/#comments Tue, 02 Aug 2016 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=45070 The farm-to-table movement is a growing trend that’s rapidly expanding to areas big and small, rural and urban, all across the States. A big part of this movement is buying and preparing foods grown and produced closer to home. For the most part, I consider myself to be an avid supporter of this movement. I […]

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The farm-to-table movement is a growing trend that’s rapidly expanding to areas big and small, rural and urban, all across the States. A big part of this movement is buying and preparing foods grown and produced closer to home.

For the most part, I consider myself to be an avid supporter of this movement. I believe that there are a lot of benefits to be had from supporting a more local food system. So, I make a conscious effort to shop as locally as I can, as often as possible.

But, often doesn’t mean always and I do still take some help from conventional foods purchased in regular grocery stores.

4 Reasons I (Often) Choose to Eat Local

There are a ton of benefits to sourcing foods closer to home! Including:

1. Taste.

At Green Mountain at Fox Run, we really emphasize the importance of eating good tasting food.

Eating delicious foods is critical to the satisfaction we feel from a meal. When we choose to eat foods grown closer to home, they’re picked at the peak of ripeness, which means that when they land on our dinner plates they’re super fresh.

Maybe one of the clearest examples is difference in the quality of a tomato I buy from my local farmer’s market, and the one that has travelled thousands of miles to get to the conventional grocery store.

The former is tender, juicy, and so delicious. The latter, often hard, mealy, and tasteless.

2. Nutritional Value.

Because local foods don’t have to travel nearly as far to get to us, their nutrient content may be superior to that same food that has travelled  thousands of miles, to supermarket shelf.

There are a few reasons why this might be the case, but they all have to do with travel time and distance:

  1. To prevent foods coming from far away from arriving rotten, they need to be picked before they reach peak ripeness so they have a longer shelf life. Nutrient profiles aren’t fully developed at this point which may yield a product with lower nutritional value.
  2. It takes time for foods to make the journey from the field to truck to store shelves, and finally onto our plate. As time passes, the nutrients in those fresh fruits and vegetables will begin to degrade.
  3. The elements to which the food is exposed along its journey (temperature, humidity, light, etc.) can also lead to nutrient degradation.

So, the fewer steps it takes to get that food from the farm to the table, the more nourishing the food will likely be.

3. Local Economy.

Buying food from your local farmstand or farmers’ market, or looking for local food products in your regular grocery store, keeps your money in your community.

So not only are you getting a fresher, tastier, and more nutritious product, you are supporting your fellow community members, too.

4. Connection.

When we buy food closer to home, we feel a stronger sense of connection to our food, to our community, and to our farmers.

There is something about eating local that brings people together and fosters a greater appreciation for our food, where it comes from, who grows it, and the people with whom we get to share it.

4 Reasons Why I Don’t Eat Exclusively Local

The reality for most of us though, is that eating exclusively local would be really, really challenging, if not impossible.

So, while I wholeheartedly support embracing local eating as is realistically possible, I don’t feel bad about taking some help from the regular supermarket. Here’s why:

1. Variety.

Most regions  are not conducive to growing all different types of foods. The fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein sources to which we’d have access would be significantly restricted if we limited ourselves to only foods that are grown within a 100-miles from our homes.

For me, that would mean saying so long to pineapple, avocado, and salmon – foods that, frankly, I enjoy  too much to give up.

And while the nutrient content of some foods might be greater when we buy them closer to home, if our option is getting a food from faraway places or not getting it at all, then we may be depriving ourselves of nutrients by intentionally avoiding this food all together.

I’m thinking Alaskan salmon – one of the best sources of heart health omega-3 fatty acids out there. Alaska is certainly not within a 100-mile radius of Vermont. But, without it, I’d have a hard time getting in my omega-3s.

2. Seasonality.

Most of us don’t live in climates that support year-round production of many foods, nor do  most of us have the time or know-how to put up our own food to last through the off season.

In order to meet our nutrient needs year-round, most of us will need to supplement with foods from far away. And, that is okay!

3. Convenience.

Life is busy and we don’t want to add eating to our list of stressors.

Sometimes running to the farmstand for a single cucumber isn’t practical – even if it is peak cucumber season. As soon as we start to create rigid rules about how we should be eating, the pleasure that we get from procuring, preparing, and eating our food is stripped away.

Life is unpredictable and flexibility is critical to maintaining our sanity.

4. Quantity.

If we were all to rely solely on local food to feed ourselves and our families, it’s quite possible that many locations would not be able to meet the demand.

This is especially true when crop yield is affected by too much, or not enough, rain during an already too short growing season. We are fortunate to live in a place with abundant access to food, where we know there will always be enough.


The takeaway: there are many benefits to buying local – but that doesn’t mean to embrace the farm-to-table movement you must buy exclusively local. Buy what you can, when you can, locally, and fill out the rest with foods we are fortunate enough to be able to access in the supermarket.

Want to learn more about farm-to-table eating and how you can make it a bigger part of your life?

Join us for a very special weekend intensive from August 25-28 where you’ll experience farm-to-table eating at its finest during the peak of the Vermont growing season. Learn More >>

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More to Love with Rachel Estapa http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/28/love-rachel-estapa/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/28/love-rachel-estapa/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2016 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=44013 Continuing our series featuring people whose work we love, and hope you will, too, today’s post is a Q&A with Rachel Estapa, owner and operator of the Boston-based More to Love®, focused on helping women learn to love and appreciate their bodies, no matter their size. Welcome to A Weight Lifted, Rachel! We’re so pleased […]

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Continuing our series featuring people whose work we love, and hope you will, too, today’s post is a Q&A with Rachel Estapa, owner and operator of the Boston-based More to Love®, focused on helping women learn to love and appreciate their bodies, no matter their size.

Welcome to A Weight Lifted, Rachel! We’re so pleased to feature your work here. Let’s start with finding out what exactly it is that you do!

More to Love (MTL) is devoted to teaching people — mainly larger-bodied women — the practice of body acceptance. And I say practice for a reason — this isn’t about figuring IT all out, it’s about learning how to listen to yourself.

I make it possible for people to explore their own body acceptance on a few levels — physically (as through my branded MTL Yoga classes), mentally (like my More to Love e-course), and through virtual and in-person communities of support.

Someone who is ready for MTL is a person ready to let go of the long-held belief that weight loss is a requirement of self-love.

They know that’s not working for them, they are tired of the cycle of self-loathing but they don’t know what to replace it with — this is where MTL enters. So when they arrive to me, they have an open attitude of “Ok, I am ready to try this and I trust Rachel to guide me along.”

Another theme for majority of More to Lovelies (as I call them) is a desire to trust themselves, their body, their heart – and move away from believing that they are a problem to be fixed.

Most people in MTL have a long, complex history with dieting, weight and shame around this, but they also know they have a deep potential to live more confidently – they just want to learn how to access that. And that’s what I do – I teach people how to listen and trust themselves by providing safe, responsible and effective programs to explore the relationship between their bodies and authentic selves.

Why were you drawn to this work?

I consider myself, above all else, a teacher and student of self-love.

But it certainly was not always like this – I did not set out with a clear mission to help people learn body acceptance and yoga. Instead, my life has been a series of connecting the dots of my own interests, strengths, skills and most important – lessons learn through struggles.

Growing up, weight was “my problem” and I felt ashamed that I couldn’t change my physical appearance, no matter how many diets I tried. But parallel to this was my interest in personal growth and development which lead me to become a trained life coach in my early twenties.

Armed with the skill of being able to sift through negative thinking and self-limiting habits, I turned my focus then onto my biggest hurdle: my relationship to my body. This is then where yoga and body acceptance entered into my life.

Yoga first became a practice of self-acceptance, of realizing that my body was remarkably peaceful if I just listened to it.

Through yoga, I learned to turn the volume down on critical self-talk and appreciate my body, no matter its size. This interest urged me to train at Kripalu Center because I knew I wanted to help make it possible for other people to trust their own body through yoga.

Through learning to help myself, I had the ability to help other people struggling with learning to love and appreciate their bodies and self.

So MTL is really the blending of my own learnings and interests paired with world-class professional training in coaching and yoga.

What are some of the common challenges your clients have around self-care?

I define self-care as simply making space in your life to just be, without an agenda.

This is very hard for me to do! Which is why I value it so much. Since we live in a scheduled world, making “self-care” feel like another to-do stresses people out. So when people come to my yoga classes or take my e-course, they all start with this: give yourself permission to just be with whatever comes up.

Because the truth to what prohibits people from prioritizing self-care is a belief that tending to yourself is indulgent and too scary to turn a light on to what has been considered the problem for so long.

It’s scary to take steps towards change, even when you know it’ll help, those first few steps are full of anxiety, uncertainly and fear. So I try to assure people they are welcome and safe in my company as they work through these issues.

This is also where the power of a community is most inspiring – no one in MTL is doing this work alone. I prioritize creating space for people to share and talk with one another about the complex “stuff” that comes up – especially when you start to push back against long-held beliefs about worth and self-image. A sense of togetherness fuels confidence – and that’s a great asset.

Is there anything in your work that consistently “turns on the light” for the people you work with in regard to self-care? Anything that they consistently say to you that lets you know that you’re making a difference?

The thread of similarities between all the More to Lovelies is they don’t feel so alone in their struggles, and they are awed at how soft and gentle their own inner voice is when they make space to listen to it.

People are inspired when they realize just how strong they really are! Words like “confidence”, “believe in myself”, and “appreciate the community support also come up a lot too. People walk away from my programs with a very deep appreciation for themselves just as they are, even the flaws, and that is priceless to someone who long thought they were a problem to be solved.

Would you say many of your clients struggle with eating and exercise – and, if so, what do you think caused that struggle?

The majority of those in MTL worry that their body as it is isn’t good enough, flexible, strong, etc – but they are ready to change believing that.

I credit this worry to years of fear, anxiety, societal pressures and also personal struggles with connecting weight loss and physical movements. Lots of people developed injuries, exhaustion, intimidation with movement.

Eating is also another HUGE factor, one I don’t dip too much into as I am not a trained person on eating issues, but I think nearly every MTL’ers on some level has struggled with eating and movement. Lots of shame gets connected here, lots of history, habits, identity, belief of self-worth. Food and movement is intimate so if you feel the core of you is flawed, then that would extend to the behaviors around eating and moving too.

What do you wish everyone knew about food, exercise and self care?

I wish everyone knew that it was a spectrum – that the only habits and awareness one needs to devote time to is understanding their own.

Comparison destroys self-love. I’ll say that again: Comparison destroys self-love.

So much of my work is devoted to helping people experience their OWN unique spectrum of health and wellness and understand it’s always changing, evolving – and that body acceptance isn’t about getting to a certain point and staying there, it’s about learning how to acknowledge, respond and tend to kindly to all the various sensations and moments that build our life.

Do you have any upcoming workshops or events you’d like our readers to know about?

I am the keynote speaker for the annual Boston Curvy Fashion Week Expo happening on Saturday, July 30. This fall, I am planning a few yoga workshops and day-retreats in the Boston area, so best to follow More to Love to get updates.

How can our readers find you?

My website is More to Love. You can find out about my weekly More to Love Yoga classes in the Boston area. All are welcome. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

We hope those of you in the Boston area can find your way to Rachel to take advantage of the tremendous support she has to offer!

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The Great Green Mountain Detox? http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/26/detox/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/26/detox/#comments Tue, 26 Jul 2016 13:00:23 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=43573 Wait. Green Mountain, the pioneering NON-DIET place is recommending a DETOX? We are surrounded by detox plans—on the covers of magazines and newspapers, popping up on Facebook and websites. Sometimes, they even get their own TV infomercial slot. And they all say the same thing. They’re going to make you feel great and look better. […]

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Wait. Green Mountain, the pioneering NON-DIET place is recommending a DETOX?

We are surrounded by detox plans—on the covers of magazines and newspapers, popping up on Facebook and websites. Sometimes, they even get their own TV infomercial slot. And they all say the same thing. They’re going to make you feel great and look better.

At Green Mountain, we believe there are no foods you cannot have, and we don’t classify foods as ‘detoxifying’. But we do have a great Detox Plan that can help you live a happier and healthier life.

A different kind of Detox Plan

Let’s take a look at 3 toxic things, and take action:

The GREAT GREEN MOUNTAIN DETOX

  1. Fire the judge. That judge that lives inside all of our heads, the one that judges your every move. Judges what you eat or don’t eat, judges your activities, your body, and your thoughts, then makes sure to tell you how you aren’t good enough, smart enough, or thin enough. It is time to terminate this judge for good. This judge has made enough money off of you to retire nicely in an upscale Florida neighborhood. Say goodbye. It is time to detox from this harsh judgment of yourself.
  1. Cut out comparisons. The constant wishes…I wish I looked like that, had that body, that lifestyle, could eat like that, was as strong as that…and on and on and on. Comparisons are a direct blow to your self-esteem. They knock you down and deteriorate your body image and self-confidence. Remember this: No one in the world has your unique gene set, and no one has lived your experiences in your You are the only one who can play the lead in the story of YOU. This is the moment to detox from comparisons, step into yourself and play hard AS YOU.
  1. Nix the negative self talk. How many years have you heard that negative voice inside your head? You know the one. It tells you how “stupid”, “fat”, or “clumsy” you are, or how much of a “failure” you continue to be. These thoughts have become intricate superhighways in your brain — easy to drive along and popping up everywhere. It is time for a detox, a detour. Drive a different route, go a different direction and say something with some compassion, strength, confidence or joy. For example: “Yes, I can” “I am capable of doing this”, “I am strong or I am getting stronger every day” or “I deserve to be happy”

Not a quick fix. A lifestyle change.

Here are the steps to jump-start our Detox Plan, and create change that will last.

STEP 1: STOP and NOTICE these destructive thoughts that come into our heads.

STEP 2: REDIRECT and begin to change the direction of these thoughts.

Remember when the firefighters came to school when you were young and taught you to “Stop, Drop and Roll?” Now, when your mind becomes engulfed in the flames of Judgement, Comparison and Negative Self-Talk, you will STOP, NOTICE and REDIRECT.

Put out the fire and detox your mind, the Green Mountain Way.

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Emotional Eating Gone Wild http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/21/emotional-eating-gone-wild/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/21/emotional-eating-gone-wild/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=43550 Women who come to the Women’s Center for Binge and Emotional Eating often ask us: “Am I a binge eater or an emotional eater?” and “How do I know if this is normal or an eating disorder?”. The answer to the question is not clear cut. Binge and emotional eating aren’t necessarily separate and distinct, […]

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Women who come to the Women’s Center for Binge and Emotional Eating often ask us: “Am I a binge eater or an emotional eater?” and “How do I know if this is normal or an eating disorder?”.

The answer to the question is not clear cut. Binge and emotional eating aren’t necessarily separate and distinct, but rather the same process on a continuum.

Eating emotionally is okay

The truth is, most of us eat emotionally. We have times in our daily lives when we reach for that special something to eat and it gives us comfort. It helps us relax, de-stress and take the day’s woes away. That’s common, normal and okay.

Yes, that’s right, IT’S OKAY to eat emotionally.

And when our participants realize this, the shame-monster shrinks a little.

Why is emotional eating okay?

Because it’s doing a job for us. Our bodies know that we digest better when we’re calm, so as soon as we start eating, the relaxation response is activated (aka parasympathetic response; aka “rest-and digest” response). Breathing gets deeper, heart rate slows, muscles relax, etc. and we’re better off.

At least, for a little while… (here comes the catch).

The catch

Remember, this is emotional eating. It’s about soothing a difficult emotion, not about eating for hunger.

It’s one thing to come home after a trying day and call a friend to vent, listen to some peaceful music, take a hot bath, put on lavender lotion, and have a bowl of ice cream.

It’s another thing to come home after another trying day and finish off another quart of ice cream.

All of these examples reduce stress, but if we don’t have a lot of options (or don’t use a lot of options), then it’s all on food, and we overuse it.

So while it’s ok to eat and it does soothe us, the hard reality is that at some point, it doesn’t feel good or taste good anymore.

That’s why it’s important to pay attention to how else we’re coping with difficult emotions, as well as how much we’re eating, and how often we use eating as a coping strategy – (that’s the catch!).

If we aren’t paying attention and we continue eating, we’re actually creating a new stressor, which can look like shame or self-loathing. And now we have a whole new difficult emotion to cope with, and it starts the cycle over again.

Think of emotional eating as a continuum

EatingContinuum

At one end is Emotional Eating (which is normal and ok).

As we lose touch with the “hows” discussed above (how often, how much and how else), we move up the continuum into Emotional Overeating and eventually to Binge Eating and Binge Eating Disorder.

The DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition), which is the guide providers use to make clinical diagnoses, provides a clear definition of binge eating disorder with specific criteria for diagnosis. For example, the main criteria include eating a large amount of food in a short period of time, having a lack of control over eating, as well as several other criteria that need to be met in order for a clinical diagnosis.

When we meet with women here at the Center, we’ll often suggest that it may be worthwhile considering some further support for emotional overeating or binge eating, especially if they feel they are losing control of their “hows” and are moving up this continuum.

So if you’re still left uncertain about where your eating process is, try taking this self-scoring quiz.

Feel free to contact our staff if you’d like more information about emotional eating, binge eating, available resources, or to inquire about our unique, specialized treatment.

 

 

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10 Things to Remember About Self-Compassion http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/19/10-things-self-compassion/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/19/10-things-self-compassion/#respond Tue, 19 Jul 2016 13:00:59 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=43540 Of the many classes I teach at Green Mountain at Fox Run, Cultivating Self-Compassion is one that I find very important in our core program, as well as for my own journey. At times, I set a course and expect that my behavior will align with my intentions, but then I find myself not engaging […]

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Of the many classes I teach at Green Mountain at Fox Run, Cultivating Self-Compassion is one that I find very important in our core program, as well as for my own journey.

At times, I set a course and expect that my behavior will align with my intentions, but then I find myself not engaging in the necessary actions to bring about desired change. That’s when I realize that I need to take a step back, take some deep breaths, and ask myself about my intention to change.

Why it is important to me?

Why do I want to make that change now?

What caused me to miss my opportunity to practice that new behavior?

How it begins

This process of self-reflection often leads me to my practice of self-compassion.

That’s when I focus on being kind to myself, being a compassionate friend to myself, and providing myself with encouragement to put a new, and slightly better designed plan in place.

Then, I begin. No waiting.

The plan involves acknowledging where I currently am, and taking one to two steps in the direction of my intended behavior change. Just small steps, nothing really big. Just enough to get my momentum going in the direction of change that I am seeking.

It’s okay to fail

The practice of self-compassion teaches me about myself, and also how to engage or re-engage with the process of change.

When I have failed to actively take the steps I had planned, instead of berating or putting myself down, I simply begin with acknowledging that I have missed my target– and that this is not the first time nor will it be the last. It is just part of the process.

I also know that I am not alone in missing my target behavior when it comes to making change. We all miss the mark at various times. It’s part of our common humanity.

Life for all of us just keeps changing, which makes keeping to our plan hard to manage.

So here are 10 things to remember in your practice of self-compassion:

  1. Practice self-compassion every day.
  2. Know that you are already very skilled at compassion.
  3. Speak to yourself as kindly as you do to those you love, care for, support, and encourage.
  4. In this breath, you begin to acknowledge your struggling and suffering, and choose to be kind to yourself, in spite of your innermost feelings of vulnerability, shame, and unworthiness.
  5. Seek out the opportunity for change and growth that presents itself through challenges and suffering, and treat yourself kindly in the process.
  6. Let go of beating yourself up.
  7. Stop listening to all that negative self-talk that runs automatically through your brain.
  8. Understand that ALL human beings struggle, suffer and experience self-doubt.
  9. Be kind to yourself, validate your inner experiences, and encourage yourself to rise again, and again, with greater strength and compassion each time.
  10. Believe in your heart that you are worthy of self-kindness, self-compassion, support and love, and that you must make this your practice every day of your journey toward becoming your healthier self.

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Are You Addicted to Food? http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/14/addicted-to-food/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/14/addicted-to-food/#respond Thu, 14 Jul 2016 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=42797 It happens on a regular basis. I’m sitting in my office with a client who desperately wants to change her eating behaviors. But no matter what she tries she always seems to end up right where she started. She feels helpless and defeated. She says, “I just don’t know what to do. “I honestly think […]

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It happens on a regular basis. I’m sitting in my office with a client who desperately wants to change her eating behaviors. But no matter what she tries she always seems to end up right where she started. She feels helpless and defeated. She says, “I just don’t know what to do.

“I honestly think I’m addicted to [INSERT FOOD].”

When we’re struggling with changing behaviors around specific foods, attributing our challenges to a food addiction seems like a natural fit. After all, the feelings we are experiencing are so strong that it certainly feels like an addiction.

But, while this is a highly controversial topic, evidence to support the food addiction case is lacking1, 2.

Can food be an addictive substance?

At first glance, the challenges we experience with food may seem to fit the within the addictions model quite nicely. However, sufficient scientific evidence to definitively label any particular food item, ingredient, or nutrient as addictive just doesn’t exist1.

Moreover, there’s a critical difference between food and other substances we know to be addictive (e.g., alcohol, nicotine, opioids). Food is essential to survival.

The evolutionary explanation for why the rewards centers in our brain light up when we consume foods that are higher in sugar and fat is that they increase our motivation to seek out foods to fuel our bodies adequately1.

When food was scarce, and potato chips and peanut butter cups didn’t yet exist, this was a survival mechanism – but not anymore. So, perhaps having easy access to many highly palatable foods does increase our desire to consume them.

But the factors that influence our decisions about what, when, and how much we eat go far beyond our brain chemistry.

Restriction, deprivation & the self-fulfilling prophecy

Additionally, the traditional treatment model for substance-use disorders – abstinence from the addictive substance – runs counter to everything we know about helping people reduce episodes of overeating.

Restriction fuels feelings of deprivation.

Deprivation intensifies the desire for the restricted food.

Eventually the desire becomes so strong that we “give in,” and the all-or-nothing thinking and feelings of failure that follow suit lead to overeating.

We call this the restrict-binge cycle and it is incredibly common in anyone who has ever tried to eliminate foods perceived to be problems.

Also, the way we describe an experience, such as being addicted to chocolate, can have a real impact on our response.

For many, labeling their struggles with certain foods as an addiction just perpetuates the overeating of those foods. They feel as if they are victim to their addiction, powerless to the foods that control them.

Until they can change this mindset, they probably will be destined to overeat these foods. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – before they’ve even given themselves a chance to respond differently, they’re resigned to the fact that this overeating is just the way it’s going to be.

So, while it is my position that using the phrase “food addiction” does not accurately capture why we overeat or help inform treatment of overeating, what’s more important is how we respond to what we call this experience.

3 ways to help overcome your feelings of food addiction

  1. Understand WHY you are eating

Many factors influence our desire to eat. Besides hunger, physical discomfort, emotional distress, or simply the power of habit can all contribute. Eating provides us with a temporary distraction from stressful or uncomfortable situations, and provides us with temporary feelings of pleasure. Because food is so easily accessible and such a strong reward, it often becomes our go-to when we are looking for a way to escape the stress or monotony of the everyday. And, if we turn to it often enough, our response eventually becomes almost automatic.

So, the first step in interrupting this behavior is to understand WHY we are turning to food in the first place.

When you find yourself drawn toward those food items you tend to overeat, pause to check in and assess your physical hunger level.

  • If you are not physically hungry, assess what else is going on.
  • How are you feeling? Bored? Stressed? In physical pain?
  • What about your environment might be influencing this desire? Time of day? Sight of food? The people you are with?
  • Then, consider what alternatives to eating might work. Experiment with different options.
  1. Pay attention to HOW you eat

How we eat has a lot to do with how much we eat and how much we enjoy what we eat.

In a culture that is constantly on-the-go, the process of eating takes a backseat to the other priorities. We rely on quick convenience foods to get us through, we eat while multitasking and often in a hurry, and we finish our meals without really even remembering how they tasted.

Eating mindfully helps us to slow down, engage our senses, tune into our hunger and satiety cues. We finish eating feeling satisfied and content – even when we are eating our favorite foods.

Chocolate is a popular example. When people spend time actually tasting the chocolate, letting it melt in their mouths and touch all of their taste buds, closing their eyes and really experiencing the food, and noticing how long that flavor lingers, what they realize is that they can feel more satisfied with less food by simply slowing down.

  1. Give yourself UNCONDITIONAL PERMISSION to eat

Part of what draws us to some of the foods we struggle with has little to do with the food itself and more to do with the self-imposed notion that we should not be eating it. Creating lists of shoulds and shouldn’ts around foods gives those particular foods power. The more we tell ourselves no, the more we want it. And once we “give in,” the more likely we are to overeat and lose the enjoyment of eating.

Giving ourselves permission to eat what we want in a way that makes the body feel good, allows us to reclaim power over our food decisions.

This is a terrifying thought to many and, like anything, becomes more comfortable with practice. But, we do know that when all foods are allowed, we are better able to recognize our true wants and needs and respond accordingly. It allows us to trust our own internal wisdom about what our bodies need and escape the world of extremes where food is good or bad, acceptable or not acceptable.

Trading ‘no’ for ‘know’

Whether we call it a food addiction or not, it boils down to figuring out why we are eating past the point of comfortable or consistently overeating specific foods, and determining the most effective mechanisms for coping with that.

Understanding why we want to eat, being mindful of how we eat, and giving ourselves permission to trust our bodies and eat what we really want are great places to begin the process of healing our relationship with food and overcoming feelings of food addiction.

Sources:

  1. Hebebrand J, et al. “Eating addiction”, rather than “food addiction”, better captures addictive-like eating behavior. Neurosci Biobehav R. 2014;47:295-306.
  2. Ziauddeen H, Fletcher PC. Is food addiction a valid and useful concept?. Obes Rev. 2013;14(1):19-28.

 

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How Yoga Changed My Life http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/12/yoga-changed-life/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/12/yoga-changed-life/#comments Tue, 12 Jul 2016 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=41701 About three months after beginning a regular yoga practice of twice a week, I began to see some significant changes in my life. My first ‘aha’ moment came after a family holiday gathering. I hadn’t become stressed about the two-hour drive or worried that my young children were going to misbehave. I wasn’t even concerned […]

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About three months after beginning a regular yoga practice of twice a week, I began to see some significant changes in my life.

My first ‘aha’ moment came after a family holiday gathering. I hadn’t become stressed about the two-hour drive or worried that my young children were going to misbehave. I wasn’t even concerned about what I wore or if I had a pimple or whether or not I was having a bad hair day.

Even more peculiar, no one ruffled my feathers during the event. I began to question why it had taken me 38 years to be unconcerned about receiving little judgmental side comments.

This was my first hint that yoga was changing me.

The Big ‘O’

A few weeks after that, something really crazy happened in the bedroom. I had an orgasm in a position that I had never been able to before. Coincidence? Maybe. I ended up concluding that certain yoga positions opened up and stretched out tight groin muscles which made me a little more flexible.

Yoga also had been helping me be more present in the moment, so instead of thinking about whether my belly flab was hanging out or if my thighs were jiggling, I was just enjoying the sensations.

Who knows? (And who cares?!)

A Taste of Mindfulness

After a calming but invigorating Saturday morning yoga class, another unusual incident occurred: instead of indulging in my traditional weekend cheesy egg omelet and home fries, my body was craving a seaweed salad. Who the heck craves seaweed?

It seemed like I was naturally supporting my goals to be healthier. A light bulb went off in my head after I heard about a study led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center concluding that a regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating, and people who eat mindfully are less likely to be of higher weight.

In another study performed by Alan Kristal, D.Ph., yoga practitioners were more likely to be at their natural healthy weight. This was attributed to increased awareness, specifically a sensitivity to hunger and satiety, rather than the physical activity of yoga itself. People who practiced yoga started eating less, eating more slowly, choosing healthier foods, and showing fewer symptoms of eating disorders.

Yoga also opened a door of mindfulness for me during my afternoon runs. I periodically began to perform body scans to feel my feet on the earth as I ran, noticing if my core was engaged, and consciously relaxing my shoulders. This helped to reduce the stress on my body while the exercise itself cleared my mind.

5 Yoga Poses to Counter the Effects of Today’s Society

  1. Mountain Pose – Benefits include improved posture and body awareness.
  • Begin with feet standing a comfortable distance apart.
  • Look down at your feet and notice if the toes are turned in or out, adjusting so the toes are forward, making a square box.
  • Stand nice and tall, having equal pressure between the balls of the feet and the heels, and close your eyes.
  • Scan your body from the ground up, releasing any tension and noticing any area of the body that needs healing. Relax your shoulders away from your ears, and settle your shoulder blades down your back. Relax your jaw, and extend the crown of the head toward the sky.
  • Stand and breath for 3-5 minutes to ground, and drop into your body.
  1. Downward Facing Dog – Benefits include calming the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression. Energizes the body and stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands.
  • Begin by bending over with knees bent and place your hands on your mat.
  • Step back so the body is in the shape of an inverted “V”. Place the feet a comfortable distance apart, aim the tailbone up toward the sky with a neutral spine. Gaze your eyes toward the belly button.
  • Settling the shoulder blades onto the back, gently press the heels toward your mat for a gentle calf and Achilles stretch.
  • Breath in this pose for up to 20 breath cycles, easing the knees down and resting in Child’s Pose when ready.
  • This pose requires significant shoulder strength, so if you are taking care of your shoulders today, you can modify by placing your hands on the seat of a stable chair, walking your feet back, focusing on the deep stretch of the back side of the body while relaxing your head, neck, and shoulders.
  1. Camel Pose – Benefits including stretching the entire front side of the body and improves posture.
  • Come onto your knees in a kneeling position, stacking your hips above your knees, and curling your back toes under.
  • Placing two fists in the small of the lower back, squeeze shoulder blades together behind you to open the chest.
  • Take a deep breath in, look up and relax shoulders. Exhaling, looking back behind you.
  • If it is accessible to you today, go ahead and reach back for your heels. If coming onto your knees does not feel right, you can do this pose seated in a chair by reaching back for the back of the chair, and pressing your chest forward to intensify the stretch.
  1. Seated Spinal Twist – Benefits include massaging internal abdominal organs and relieving lower back pain.
  • Seated on the floor with your left leg out in front of you, hug your right knee with your left arm and reach your right arm back behind you.
  • Twist through your belly, adding your chest, shoulders, and lastly, the neck by looking back behind you.
  • Breath here 5-10 breath cycles and then repeat on the left side. This pose can be performed while seated in a chair.
  1. Legs Up The Wall – Benefits include stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to release relaxing hormones and reducing stress. This is a great pose to do at the end of a long day to help you sleep. Also reduces varicose veins and swelling of the ankles.
  • Sitting on the floor, raise legs straight up the wall with your buttocks as close to the wall as possible, so the body is in an ‘L’ shape.
  • If it feels good, you can stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes, relaxing the mind and focusing on your breath.

Yoga has been the link to mindfulness for me. And when we are mindful, we begin to practice behaviors that can lead to healthier choices, developing self-compassion and body awareness, and helping to prevent emotional eating.

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7 Hot Summer Grilling Tips http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/07/7-hot-summer-grilling-tips/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/07/7-hot-summer-grilling-tips/#respond Thu, 07 Jul 2016 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=41696 I love the smells of summer. Like fresh cut grass or the scent of fresh budding flowers in the breeze. My favorite, of course, is the aroma of the grill, with fresh food laid over hot grates– ever so neatly getting scorched by direct heat of charcoal, wood or propane. Sorry, I get a bit […]

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I love the smells of summer. Like fresh cut grass or the scent of fresh budding flowers in the breeze. My favorite, of course, is the aroma of the grill, with fresh food laid over hot grates– ever so neatly getting scorched by direct heat of charcoal, wood or propane.

Sorry, I get a bit lost even when I think about lighting up the grill. It’s not just the delicious grilling results that excite me, but also the company that grilling brings close, like friends, family or even strangers.

How to grill to perfection

Grilling can be challenging if you have never done it. Here is some of my expert advice to help you along.

  1. Marinate for tenderness. Marinades add lots of flavor to any protein. But they break down the fibers in protein as well. This makes meat more tender.
  2. Try wood or charcoal. Wood and charcoal give food a smoky flavor. There are special grates for grilling over campfires, and you can find grills made for charcoal wherever there are grills for sale. Make sure not to add charcoal or wood to a propane grill — that will end badly.
  3. Always preheat your grill. Preheating gets the grates hot so that the food doesn’t stick to the surface. Also, it helps clean off the debris that builds up on the grates.
  4. X marks the spot. If you want to have nice X marks on your food, place it lengthwise on the grill like the hands on a clock, like it would be pointing at 11:00. Let it cook for about 2 minutes, then turn it to 1:00 and cook for about 2 more minutes. Flip the meat, etc. and repeat on the other side, cook to desired doneness. This will give you the perfect x.
  5. Keep the heat. If you have a grill that doesn’t burn at a very high temperature, keep the hood down. This will keep the grill hot so you can get good grill marks.
  6. Grill your vegetables, too. Cooking veggies on the grill changes their flavor. A little bit of oil, salt and pepper is all you need. If you want to try grilling corn, soak it in water for an hour before grilling while the corn is still in the husks.
  7. Look for meat ‘sweat’. Meat starts to sweat when it’s almost done, so if you don’t want dry chicken or fish, look for little beads of water on top of it after you flip it. Depending on the thickness this can happen quicker than you think.

Below is a recipe from our Cooking Beyond The Measuring Cup series that works beautifully with beef, chicken, pork, fish or tofu.

Tequila Lime Marinated Grill

Serves 4

16 ounces raw meat, fish or poultry, divided into four portions

Juice of 3 limes

1 pour of tequila

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 chopped and seeded jalapeno

1 handful of chopped cilantro

1 light pour of honey

1 pour of olive oil

1 palm full of cumin

1 palm full of salt

1 palm full of pepper

  1. Combine lime juice, tequila, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, honey, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk. Add the meat, etc. and let sit for a minimum of one hour, or as long as overnight.
  2. Preheat grill for 10 minutes with the temperature on high.
  3. Once grill is hot, place meat, etc. on grill. Cook to desired doneness.
  4. When done, thinly slice the meat, etc. and serve.

Serving Idea: Make soft tacos! Of course, you will have to prep your favorite taco toppings or see how to make a bowl.

 

 

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A Revelation on Meditation and Inflammation http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/05/revelation-meditation-inflammation/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/07/05/revelation-meditation-inflammation/#comments Tue, 05 Jul 2016 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=41688 Sometimes, when I learn something new about the power of meditation, I have to step back and just marvel at how unbelievable it can be. For example, this: in a January 2016 study published in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry, just 3 consecutive days of consistent meditation practice was found to reduce the inflammatory hormone […]

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Sometimes, when I learn something new about the power of meditation, I have to step back and just marvel at how unbelievable it can be.

For example, this: in a January 2016 study published in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry, just 3 consecutive days of consistent meditation practice was found to reduce the inflammatory hormone known as Interleukin 6.

High levels of this hormone have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune conditions.

Inflammation is at the root of many health problems

Inflammation is known to be a contributing cause of a variety of physical and psychological conditions including:

You see, inflammation is the body’s immune response to a potentially harmful agent. It may be relatively minor, such as when a cut or scrape becomes red and swollen.

Or it can be more significant, such as when chronic stress and the resulting consistent high levels of cortisol in the body lead to many of the same health conditions mentioned above.

Note: Weight worries are a consistent source of stress for many people. That’s one reason we recommend focusing on feeling good instead.

What if I’m too busy to meditate?

I totally get it.

As a busy working woman myself, opportunities to steal away to a meditation retreat come few and far between (and I do have the desire).

But let’s start with the amazing facts. In this meditation study, just 3 days of meditation reduced inflammation! Imagine what might happen in 5? Or 7? Heck, imagine if we developed a regular practice of meditating!

Like with anything else, you can start small. 5 minutes, twice a day…then 10…and on it goes. That’s what we call a practice.

When we begin meditation as a practice, we gradually experience a reduction in stress. Then we realize, hey! I feel good! This ‘feel-good’ outcome is, in essence, pleasure. Maybe just a little pleasure, but pleasure nonetheless.

Practice makes pleasure

We as humans are pleasure-seeking, pain-avoiding creatures. We seek pleasurable activity, and when we find it – even it’s just a small pleasure – we want to keep doing it.

The more we practice meditation, the more pleasure we experience, and since we love pleasure, we end up wanting more. So we do it again.

It may not start out as AMAZING! Maybe it’s just a small pleasure we can build off of. And the beauty of it is that as we build our practice we experience the health benefits, including reduction in inflammation.

Three Simple Steps

So here are 3 simple steps to reduce inflammation:

  • Accept “Monkey Mind”. Being distracted is part of who we are as humans. When you notice you’ve been distracted, you’ve stopped being distracted and instead are noticing it. That’s awareness! Now, bring yourself back to the meditation. This process actually ends up building concentration and helps you be less distractible.
  • Commit to a regular practice. I suggest a few minutes at the beginning and end of your day. If this is totally new to you, start with 5 minutes each time, and go from there…
  • Find Guidance. You can find guided mediations almost everywhere now. Here are a few of my favorite places to go:
    • Green Mountain at Fox Run website: Free 5-minute guided meditations.
    • Apps:
      • 10% Happier – Dan Harris of ABC News provides an easy intro to mindfulness meditation. Free for the first week, then subscription available.
      • Insight Timer – hundreds of free meditation of all types.
      • JKZ Series 1, 2, & 3 – Modern day founder of mindfulness Jon Kabat-Zinn’s guided meditations.

A word about sleep: using meditation for sleep is great and can be quite helpful. But it doesn’t count as your daily practice. Count it instead as your sleep aid, and do your beginning and end-of-day practice outside of this time–preferably not in bed so it’s a ‘wakeful’ meditation.

So go forth in celebration of meditation, and in the reduction of inflammation! (Sorry, couldn’t resist the temptation).

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12 Ways to Measure Your Health (That Have Nothing To Do With the Scale) http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/06/30/measure-health-without-scale/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/06/30/measure-health-without-scale/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=39152 Has the scale in your bathroom ever dictated to you how you’re going to feel one day? What you are going to wear? Or not wear? What you are going to eat? Or not eat? What you are going to do? Or not do? Why do we let a piece of metal dictate the way […]

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Has the scale in your bathroom ever dictated to you how you’re going to feel one day?

  • What you are going to wear? Or not wear?
  • What you are going to eat? Or not eat?
  • What you are going to do? Or not do?

Why do we let a piece of metal dictate the way we feel, how we are going to approach our day or even our existence?

Imagine a day where you just ask yourself… “How am I going to address my day? What clothes feel good on my body today? Am I hungry? What sounds good for breakfast?

I say ditch the scale. It has had no formal education, it has no brain cells, no infinite power, and NO RIGHT to tell us how we are to feel about ourselves or how healthy we are.

Do you know there are a lot of ways we can measure our health that have anything to do with the number on a scale?

You are so much more than a number on a scale.

When you treat your body with the respect that it deserves, it will let you know how you’re doing. You just have to listen to it and notice what it needs.

12 Indicators Your Body Will Tell You When You’re Healthy

Here are a few things that your body will share with you when it’s feeling healthy, and when you listen closely:

  1. Your mood improves! People want to hang out with you, YOU want to hang out with YOU!
  2. Your clothes fit better and they feel good on your skin.
  3. You may sleep sounder at night. Imagine waking up refreshed and rejuvenated instead of tired and depressed, or guilty and judgmental.
  4. You feel stronger and more confident. Carrying that laundry basket upstairs feels so much easier.
  5. You have more energy to do things that bring you joy.
  6. You want to go outside, play with the kids or take a walk with your friends.
  7. Your health markers are better. Your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are moving in the right direction.
  8. There are fewer aches and pains throughout your body. Who wants to move when it hurts? By getting out of pain, you are more apt to move your body.
  9. You are more likely to try new things, take risks. How about trying Foot Golf? Pickle Ball? Kayaking?
  10. Stress and anxiety levels decrease, because your mood and body are beginning to feel better.
  11. We stop obsessing over food and weight.
    • The sooner you can make peace with food, and let go of the dieting mentality and the weight obsession, the sooner you can get back to living your life.
    • Diets don’t work. 95% of dieters regain their weight and maybe even more with 3 years of the diet. Let’s not waste any more time thinking about “the next one” and focus more on what the body is telling us.
    • Diet and restriction lower metabolism, decreases your satiety hormone, increases your hunger hormone and triggers your brain to obsess about what you are not allowed to have.
  12. We feel better living in our own bodies.

By learning how to trust, honor and respect your body, you can begin to live a life free from weight worries and struggles.

You can begin a mindful journey to live a happier and healthier life in these beautiful homes that we call bodies.

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Zucchini Feta Casserole – A Favorite Vegetarian Recipe http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/06/28/zucchini-feta-casserole-a-favorite-vegetarian-recipe/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/06/28/zucchini-feta-casserole-a-favorite-vegetarian-recipe/#respond Tue, 28 Jun 2016 17:10:44 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=16867 One of the most popular vegetarian recipes we serve at Green Mountain at Fox Run is our Zucchini Feta Casserole, created by our chef Michael Webb and inspired by his mother.  Michael’s mother served up a version of this dish to him and he thought it needed to be added to the Green Mountain menu.  […]

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One of the most popular vegetarian recipes we serve at Green Mountain at Fox Run is our Zucchini Feta Casserole, created by our chef Michael Webb and inspired by his mother.  Michael’s mother served up a version of this dish to him and he thought it needed to be added to the Green Mountain menu.  We are so glad he did, since everyone adores it and it’s a great example of a one-dish meal people could make at home and freeze for future use.  This recipe below is set for 12 servings, assuming you’ll be freezing some of this.

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups sliced white onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups sliced zucchini rounds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 cups feta cheese
  • 2 cup fat free cottage cheese
  • 1 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 each eggs
  • 6 cups cooked brown rice

 

  1. Pre heat large pan over medium heat.  Once hot, add oil then onions and garlic.  Sweat onion and garlic until soft and transluscent, stirring often.
  2.  Mix cooked onion and garlic with the sliced zucchini and set aside.
  3. Mix cheeses and herbs
  4. layer in baking pan: rice, veg, cheese, rice, veg , cheese
  5. Preparing this is very much like a Lasgna cook your rice set aside saute your veg ie. onions garlic in a bowl beat the eggs then add them to your cottage and feta and basil mixture set aside the rice should have tomatoe sauce herbs and the tamari soy place brow rice herbs tomato sauce soy mixtuer on bottom then your zuccini squash and other veg then top with your cheese egg mix sprinkel your seseme seeds on top
  6.  COOK AT 350 FOR 45 MINUTES THE LAST 15 MINUTES UNCOVER AND CONTINUE COOKING

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Confessions of a Pioneering Non-Diet Dietitian: 11 Ways I Stay Recovered http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/06/28/non-diet-dietitian-stay-recovered/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2016/06/28/non-diet-dietitian-stay-recovered/#respond Tue, 28 Jun 2016 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=39156 When I was asked to write about the “You Are More Than You Know” theme we’ve got going here at A Weight Lifted, I floundered. What in the world would I write about? After a bit of thought, I gravitated to where I spent a lot of time in the past – in that space of […]

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When I was asked to write about the You Are More Than You Know theme we’ve got going here at A Weight Lifted, I floundered. What in the world would I write about?

After a bit of thought, I gravitated to where I spent a lot of time in the past – in that space of not thinking that highly of myself.  Primarily because of my body.

Body concern is unfortunately all too human these days. I speculate that it reached the proportions it did in my life due to a genetic vulnerability towards self-doubt brought to life by being born into a round body among a family of thin ones. Nature, meet Nurture.

Anyone who sees me today might wonder why all the angst.

By many standards, I am not a larger person. And while I know that my self-image is often distorted, and that being larger is not a bad thing, I’ve got deeply engrained neural pathways that sometimes push me off balance around that issue in regard to myself.

Where My Body Concerns Led Me

My childhood nickname of Marshmallow surely gives you a clue of where those neural pathways came from.

The circumstances that dug them deep – teasing, bullying, being told I would be “so pretty” (read: acceptable) if I just lost weight — led to a number of years of extreme dieting, followed by a number of years of an eating disorder.

Those years were seriously painful. Because when I do something, I do it.

I am now at the lovely age of 66, and this occurred in my 20s. So you may understand that eating disorders were relatively unknown then. Indeed, they were relatively uncommon compared to today. Certainly, there weren’t the treatment centers and support communities that currently exist.

It was a shameful secret that isolated me as I abused my body in the name of its size.

Where I Am Today

Fortunately, after about 10 years of this torture, I stumbled to recovery through a French boyfriend who taught me how to feed myself well, eating what I want in a way that makes me feel well.

Gotta love that French paradox.

I was blessed to become a part of Green Mountain at Fox Run shortly thereafter. The personal value of the lessons I have learned here – from both the professional staff as well as the women who have come to us – are immeasurable.

Paying It Forward

 So what is the value in this story to readers of a blog for women who are tired of dieting?

Certainly, it offers a picture of dieting gone very wrong.

But unfortunately, I fear too many of us have been there, done that. Maybe not dropping into an eating disorder but becoming mired in long-standing distress over eating and our bodies.

What I hope is by sharing my story – that of a woman who many have shared with me seems to “have it all together” in this area in which I have worked for the last 35 years (ROFL double time. If only Hollywood had discovered me already) – you might be inspired to know that even in the face of sometimes crippling doubt, it is possible for a person to successfully change their basic way of being to support themselves instead of tear themselves down. And come out immensely better for it.

That is how I see that I am more than I know. Or at least what I used to know.

Because in my decades of recovery, to the present day where I can honestly say that while I often question how much I really know about the field of eating and weight, I do know I am recovered from both body loathing and disordered eating.

Being recovered doesn’t mean that you don’t sometimes have thoughts that still arise from your experience. What it means is that they don’t control your life anymore.

Still, I always hesitate with the word “never” (except when I’m telling my husband about his failure to do what I want him to do *more ROFL*).

So here’s what I know helps me stay recovered, and if you’re on that path, I hope it might help you, too.

1. I am the expert of my own body.

I listen to me now most of the time. I still pay attention to much of the conversation about food, eating, fitness and self-care. But if I try things on for size and they don’t fit, I know it’s about the idea, not me.

My husband would be thrilled if I could extend that to clothes shopping.

2. How I talk to myself means a lot.

I can honestly say that when those negative tapes start running – the ones that tortured me for years – I hit the stop button as fast as I can. I know where it will take me, and it’s not good. I don’t want to go there. The thought stopping technique helps me when it’s hard to do that. Self-compassion also works magic.

Additionally, I try to remind myself of what I do well. Rather than being prideful, it’s a way to, as Sharon Salzberg says, “remind us of all we are capable of being…[and] become galvanized to actualize it.”

3. Being neutral about my body size has helped me move forward.

I enjoy thin privilege, which theoretically should make it easier to be body positive. But like many of the women who come to Green Mountain, body positivity doesn’t feel as authentic to me as Body Neutrality, our method for people who for whatever reason don’t feel comfortable with “I love my body” but can still learn to treat it well.

4. Other people help me stay happy.

I’m essentially a loner but my mind can go to dark places when I spend too much time by myself.

5. I need to feed myself well to think straight.

I’m a registered dietitian so I hope I know that. But what has changed is my definition of feeding myself well. It’s a powerful blend of nutrition and pleasure that has helped big time to put an end to my struggles around eating.

6. Saying no to something I really want sets me up for wanting more.

Deprivation doesn’t work for me, especially when it comes to food.

These days, I know how to think about what I really want before I decide, though, and even sometimes stop when I’m in the middle of it and realize that it’s not fitting the bill. That ability extends beyond food choices, too.

Okay, maybe I need to work on that a bit more when it comes to clothes. Message heard.

7. Exercise keeps me sane.

I think it’s the pure fact that it makes me feel so good. Mind you, I’m not talking extreme. Walking and swimming are my current go-to’s. That changes at times, although walking always stays because it’s easy for me to do it.

8. Purpose keeps me going.

Although as I see friends my age who have retired and are living what appears to me an enviable life with much less stress, I wonder if you can have your cake and eat it, too. Except, wait, I tell people you can! I clearly need to work on this.

9. I try to practice gratefulness.

It’s easy for me to lose sight of all the good things in my life. I’m trying to dig some neural pathways that keep me aware of my enormous privilege. (Btw, that privilege likely played a big role in my recovery, which is an important realization for anyone working in this area. Read this blog for more insight on that.)

10. I try to be compassionate with myself and others.

Once a perfectionist, always a perfectionist. But it doesn’t need to express itself destructively. 

11. Love expands my world.

Likely due to feelings of insecurity, I often hold myself back. Except when it comes to my family. They are my joy, my life, my heart. In spreading even a little bit of that feeling out to others, what I get in return is vast.

Okay, now I’m feeling vulnerable. So that’s what I’ll end on.

As Brene Brown says, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness.”

I can live with that.

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