On Wednesday I was joined by other positive body image activitists to talk with Dr. Ashley Solomon of @nourishthesoul about Body Image for the #ended twitter chat. We discussed a lot of key things, and some great points were made. I couldn’t not share them with you! (If you are not familiar with Twitter, the @ followed by a name is our Twitter username.)
Q1 How is body image defined?
@laurenlazarster: Those who love themselves seem to be proud of their bodies. The body is more of a sacred temple for those who feel whole
@marcird Q1 It’s about how you feel in your body, not just how you feel about it.
NEDA provides an excellent handout here: http://bit.ly/jZAZlM
@marcird: Body image is influenced by your self-esteem and self-worth and it in turn, influences your self-esteem and self-worth.
Q2a. What factors influence the degree to which a person struggles with their own body image?
@nourishthesoul: Brains. Perceptions of body require complex process. Some are wired to misperceive: http://bit.ly/j76iuk #endED
DrBeckerSchutte I'd say family of origin, cultural exposure, self-relationship, and self-talk. #endED
@marcird Being prone to perfection, control, order, and detail may also be another risk to struggling with #bodyimage.
Q2b. What role does media play in shaping our body image?
ValerieKusler Media helps SET the unrealistic expectations we try to live up to, gives us more reasons to feel not good enough.
@nourishthesoul Media also teaches us that our worth and value is derived from our appearance and sexuality: http://bit.ly/fAcm8e #endED
@marcird Media glamorizes “skinny” giving the impression that EVERYTHING is better if you’re thin.
Q3. How does our society’s focus on obesity impact body image?
@nourishthesoul These efforts then create more hostile environment where weight bias more prevalent & acceptable & ppl turn the shame on selves.
@MarshaHudnall: Q3: Societal focus on obesity ignores that we come in diff sizes. Creates rather than solves health problems #endED
@nourishthesoul Most of the anti-obesity initiatives take an individual approach, putting “blame” on the person. And many are very shaming.
@laurenlazarster: I think focusing on the body keeps one from focusing on the real issues!
Q4. How do struggles with body image affect a person’s ability to recover from an eating disorder?
@mmgarza: A big part if my recovery is realizing that I don't have to love every part of my body. It made it more realistic.
@marcird Judgment is a component of negative body image. Judgment, rather than curiosity or acceptance delays the recovery process.
@VoiceinRecovery I think body image is a consistent lesson 4 ppl in recovery; It is a journey. Progress not perfection
Q5. What can society/parents/friends/partners, etc do to help us/loved ones feel positively about our bodies?
@VoiceinRecovery Stop negative talk and criticism to self and others. Be careful with compliments to what you see as a healthy weight. Not helpful
@nourishthesoul Compliment each other on our efforts, strengths, and personal values rather than our accomplishments and appearance. #endED
Q6. What practical things can we do to improve our body image? Do you have any resources you’d recommend?
@ValerieKusler Keep a before/after Photoshopped pic nearby to remind you JUST how fake that crap all is!
@nourishthesoul Engage in movement that makes you feel excited and joyful. Practice mindful exercise: http://bit.ly/fMdjkq
@susangweiner: Learn to listen 2 selves & respect bodies. Not believing everything media tells us what we "should" be.
@nourishthesoul Exercise and eat nutritious food to feel strong healthy and let your body weight set itself accordingly.
@nourishthesoul Experiment with what weight feels comfortable physically, emotionally, and even spiritually rather than focusing on a number.
For further websites on body image check out http://www.adiosbarbie.com, http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless, http://www.bodyoutlaws.com , www.voiceinrecovery.com, http://www.nourishing-the-soul.com/
The goal of #endED is to bring anyone and everyone together who care about ending eating disorders. My hope is to end the silence and myths about eating disorders, create a place for honest and informed discussion, while offering hope and encouragement.
As the weather grows warmer and people begin shedding layers, it’s common for body dissatisfaction and anxiety to grow. A recent Glamour magazine psychologist-designed poll (1) states that 97% of women experience “I hate my body” thoughts on a daily basis, with an average of 13 negative thoughts each day. With these statistics, it’s no surprise that, according to a 2008 collaborative survey between Self Magazine and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 67% of women aged 25 to 45 (excluding those with eating disorders) are attempting to lose weight.(2) How? 37% of women regularly skip meals, 26% cut out entire food groups, and 16% have consumed 1,000 or fewer calories per day in an attempt to lose weight. According to a September 2010 Experian Simmons DataStream, the percentage of women from ages 25 to 54 who are dieting peaks in the early to middle summer.(3)
Drastic attempts at weight loss continue despite research demonstrating that these types of dieting measures are ineffective. A 2007 review (4) analyzing the long-term outcomes of 31 calorie-restricting diet studies concluded that one-third to two-thirds of dieters regain more weight than they lost on their diets. Another study in 2006 (5) focusing on college students found that a history of weight loss through dieting predicted greater weight gain during the freshman year of college. Research on nearly 17,000 kids ages 9-14 years old concluded, "...in the long term, dieting to control weight is not only ineffective, it may actually promote weight gain." (6)
As a Registered Dietitian, my job is support our clients in making positive changes that are sustainable and nourishing. According to the American Dietetic Association’s position on weight management, “successful weight management to improve overall health for adults requires a lifelong commitment to healthful lifestyle behaviors emphasizing sustainable and enjoyable eating practices and daily physical activity”. (7) Following a healthy diet regimen throughout the year will facilitate escape from the chronic dieting cycle and aid in feeling nourished all year long!
4 Mann T, Tomiyama AJ, Westling E, Lew AM, Samuels B, Chatman J. Medicare's search for effective obesity treatments: diets are not the answer. Am Psychol. 2007 Apr;62(3):220-33.
5 Lowe MR, Annunziato RA, Markowitz JT, Didie E, Bellace DL, Riddell L, Maille C, McKinney S, Stice E. Multiple types of dieting prospectively predict weight gain during the freshman year of college. Appetite. 2006 Jul;47(1):83-90.
6 Field AE et al. Relation between dieting and weight change among preadolescents and adolescents. Pediatrics, 2003 112:900-906.
7 Position of the American Dietetic Association: Weight Management. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Volume 109, Issue 2, Pages 330-346, February 2009.
Note: This article originally appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of the Massachusetts Dietetic Association's Newsletter. This article was co-authored with Jessie Erwin, a dietetic intern from the University of Connecticut.
In the space of 7 days I had 3 clients tell me that they recently discovered that they truly loved getting physically active. Yes, I mean exercise (a dreaded word for some of you, I know, bear with me). And I had to blog about this because all 3 stated that they started loving exercise when two things happened:
1. They were eating enough on a consistent basis. They were no longer overly restricting but getting adequate fuel to be able to sustain a workout.
2. They were NOT doing it with the intention of trying to lose weight. They were exercising because it was fun and felt good.
Now that, my friends, is what makes my job feel totally worthwhile. So many people, particularly women, dread working out. And I’d gamble that those women who hate exercise choose an activity they hate (does 60 minutes on the elliptical sound like hell to anyone else?) and are overly hungry (ie on a diet and trying to lose weight).
Just imagine what would happen if you had enough energy to dance your way through a zumba class, hike through the mountains, go for a stroll with a friend, take a restorative yoga class. If this sounds like something only dreams are made of, consider my tips for finding peace with exercise.
1. Don’t call it exercise if you hate that word.
2. Don’t do it in the name of weight loss. Check out this blog post for more detail as to why this point is so important.
3. Select activities that rejuvenate your body, not exhaust or deplete it.
4. Make sure that the types and amounts of exercise you are doing alleviates mental and physical stress, rather than contributing to or exacerbating stress.
5. Find the things you genuinely enjoy and NEVER with the intention of providing pain or punishment.
While my 5 tips may fly in the face of the advice in every Shape magazine article ever written, they just might help you find a happier, healthier balance when it comes to keeping your body strong and healthy.
And now, I gotta’ get out of my office to take stroll!
Our next #endED Twitter chat is Wed, June 29th with Ashley Solomon, Psy.D. We'll discuss body image and eating disorder recovery. I can't think of a better topic for summer. Check out the Facebook Event Page for more details, including how to participate in a twitter chat if you've never done so before. Below are the questions Ashley will be discussing. I hope you can make it!
Twitter Chat Questions
1. How is body image defined?
2a. What factors influence the degree to which a person struggles with their own body image?
2b. What role does media play in shaping our body image?
3. How does our society’s focus on obesity impact body image?
4. How do struggles with body image affect a person’s ability to recovery from an eating disorder?
5. What can society/parents/friends/partners, etc do to help us/loved ones feel positively about our bodies?
6. What practical things can we do to improve our body image? Do you have any resources you’d recommend?
About Ashley Solomon, Psy.D
Ashley is a therapist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, body image, trauma, and serious mental illness. She maintains a blog Nourishing the Soul (NTS). NTS is a look at how our relationship with food can become distorted when our minds, bodies, and souls are not properly nourished. This blog provides a forum for discussion of these distortions, as well as offers news and views on the latest in the field of disordered eating, recovery, and healthy living. You can also follow her on Twitter @nourishthesoul.
The goal of #endED is to bring anyone and everyone together who cares about ending eating disorders. My hope is to end the silence and myths about eating disorders, create a place for honest and informed discussion, while offering hope and encouragement.
Who says Indian food can't be quick and healthy? I created an super delicious Indian meal for dinner and the first thought that came to my mind "I've gotta' blog about this!" So, here is my "busy girl's quick & tasty Indian dish you won't regret."
Chef's Note: I don't actually measure anything when I cook, so I'm totally estimating.
Chef's Note: This is a super easy meal to double and makes great leftovers.
* Frozen rice (I used a frozen rice medley from Trader Joe's) or 1 cup cooked rice
*I jar of your favorite Indian sauce (I used this Seeds of Change Jalfrezi Simmer Sauce)
*2 cups chopped vegetables (I used sweet potato, broccoli, and cauliflower but anything works)
*1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted if you have time
1. If you're super busy like me, pre-chop all of your veggies the night before and store in the fridge. Try to keep the chopped veggies uniform in size so they cook evenly.
2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.
4. Dump veggies on the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and some salt & pepper
5. Roast for 15-20 min stirring half-way through.
6. Heat sauce in a pan.
7. Microwave rice (or cook on stove top if using the non-frozen version).
8. Assemble! 1/2 cup rice, 1 cup veggies, 1/2 cup sauce, sprinkle with raisins and almonds.
Sit back and enjoy. It is seriously delicious.
For today's blog post, check out Eat Well with Janel's blog. I'm acting as a guest blogger while she's enjoying her honeymoon. :) I won't divulge the whole blog post, but will give a one word clue: leftovers. Intrigued? Then head on over! Plus, Janel's fabulous blog is loaded with great recipes and cooking tips. Enjoy. :)
Save the date for Saturday, June 25th! Boston's Museum of Science is hosting an amazing all day food event from 10 am - 5 pm. And it's free!!! Check out the demonstrations, exhibitors, demos, and food offerings. Here is a link with more info. And this is the Museum of Science event info as well. Hope to see you there!
I learn a lot from my clients. In fact, that's one of the things I love about my work. A few weeks ago, I got an email from a client who wanted to bring in some old jeans to our next session. These were jeans she wore when her eating disorder was pretty darn bad. So, she suggested she bring them in (with some of her art supplies) for us to have a little fun. From this experience I learned that in order to move forward, there are certain things you have to let go of first.
So after you read her blog post, you might want to consider, the following questions:
- Is there anything toxic in my life (beliefs, thoughts, relationships, tangible items, habits) that are holding me back from living a life this healthier and more free?
- If yes, do I need support to let those things go?
- If yes, what could take the place of those toxic beliefs, thoughts, relationships, items, or habits?
- If yes, is there one small thing I could do right now that would point me in a better direction?
After I said goodbye to my scale (with a hammer), I relied on you to gauge my worth and my value as a person; your job was to dictate what kind of day I would have, to punish me on days when you were tight and to urge me to restrict even more when you were loose. You whispered to me constantly, “You are not enough.” You were a constant test. Like the your friend, the scale, there would be no number good enough, no size low enough, to satisfy you. I used you to compare myself to others, never measuring up.
When I started to get better, you started to get tighter.
You tried to undermine my recovery by telling me I didn't deserve to feel good in my clothes. Every morning I tentatively stepped into you, feeling you grow more restrictive, more punishing. As you got tighter, your voice grew louder, and my recovery began to fade.
It was then that I decided to destroy you, and in doing so reclaimed my recovery.
I wrote on you in permanent markers, things you didn’t like but that made me feel empowered, in control.
I have a body, I am not my body.
These cute pockets are not worth my sanity.
These jeans do not define me.
I think I will cut you up, take your voice away, the way you took mine away for so long. I will make you into a blanket, a blanket that will provide warmth and comfort rather than hatred and self-loathing. You will provide memories, not of cold, restrictive days, but rather of the day I took my power back, the day I decided that a piece of cloth does NOT define my worth.
So goodbye, Jeans. Rest in peace.
I just saw an advertisement that made my stomach turn: "The Miracle Noodle: imagine the world where noodles are calorie free." If you know me at all, you know that I am screaming "noooo!!!" While a large percentage of the US population may go crazy for calorie-free food, I dig in my heels and cringe. And that is why I couldn't resist selecting the Shirataki Noodle for this month's Product NO Case. Why do I hate this no-cal noodle phenomenon (see another blog post on calorie-free salad dressing)? Let me count the ways.
1. It tastes disgusting. Ok, I'll be honest, I haven't tried it. But I've talked with multiple clients who have eaten the stuff and admit, it's totally disgusting. It's made of tofu and yam flour- enough sad.
2. Eating no-calorie/low-calorie foods leaves us feeling deprived. Do you know what happens when you're deprived? You are set up to want to binge. Plus when you eat food that is unsatisfying, your brain continues to produce "I want to eat hormones" causing you to think about food more.
3. Demonizing calories is NOT helpful! Calories are the very stuff that allows our brain to function, heart to pump, legs to walk, etc. We can't feed our bodies calorie-free substitutes and expect to feel well and be healthy! Let's embrace the fact that we are humans and that means we are EATERS- consumers of calories. And when we feed our body balanced, satisfying meals we feel good and think about food less.
So the next time you feel like enjoying some noodles, check out this awesome recipe for Peanut Soba Noodles & Veggies. Even if your goal is to lose weight, no need to fill up no-cal nonsense. Promise.
Each month I try to highlight a product I think is fabulous. As I was whipping up some fajitas for dinner last night, I knew exactly what I wanted to blog about- seasoning blends. You may be wondering why I get psyched about spices, but let me explain. The key to delicious/nutritious cooking is all about developing flavor. And the “typical American diet” is over-reliant on salt and butter. Turns out that with a little olive oil and spices, you can turn some pretty blah meals into something fabulous. And the really cool thing about spice blends is that you don’t have to be an expert on how to season your food to use them. If you’re making Mexican food, select a southwest blend. If it’s an Italian night, select an Italian blend. I have 3-4 go to spice blends, plus garlic, black pepper, and crushed red pepper when I cook.
Any spice blends at your grocery store should do the trick. But if you’re interested, check out this handy website I just discovered, Savory Spice Shop. Also, I wrote this blog post on how to select, store, and use spices and seasonings that might also be helpful.
Here’s a great recipe that uses an Italian seasoning blend. I think you’ll like it!
Do you have any spices or seasonings you love? If yes, please share!
Nutrition Counseling in Cambridge