Body Positive & Weight Loss

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Thursday, October 27, 2016

 

Body Positive. It seems to be a term that’s getting a little more press these days. As a self-described “body positive dietitian” you’d think I’d be thrilled! Truthfully, I’m conflicted. I’m conflicted because “body positive” began as a term used to promote body inclusivity, meaning all bodies (fat, thin, short, tall, able-bodied or not) deserve respect AND don’t need changing. Yup, body positive means I’m going to take good care of my body just as it is today and love it fiercely, without any agenda of making it look different.


And now, “body positive” has been swallowed whole, contorted, and used by every weight loss agenda out there. Just as I’ve seen Special K try to trick you into the idea that they want you to love your body as it is (nope they want you to eat it twice a day as part of some stupid diet scheme so their stock prices soar, hate to break it to you, they don’t actually care about your health and well-being), dietitians are hashtagging their instagram posts with #bodypositive #weightloss.

 

Let me say it loud and clear. NO NO NO NO. Body positive is not loving yourself thin. That is a big load of BS which I refuse to eat for breakfast or let slide in my Instagram feed without saying anything.

 

To me, Body Positive means I make choices that serve my overall health and well-being from the inside, not the outside. Body Positive doesn’t worry whether improved self-care results in weight loss because every body is different. Sometimes improved self-care leads to body changes and sometimes it doesn’t. Body Positive is about being your own unique self, not making changes to make yourself look like every other idealized image we’re forced to contend with. Body Positive is expansive and inclusive, not reductionist or “better than.” Body Positive is an experience, not a number.

 

So the next time you wonder whether or not Body Positive and a weight loss agenda can co-exist, you can hear me say “No.” Body Positive is inherently weight neutral. Those of us in the Body Positive movement have so much more on our minds than the number on the scale.

 

Dare to be Different

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Trying to lose weight (or at least talking about trying to lose weight) is a popular thing to do. It's culturally acceptable and even socially obligatory to be dissatisfied with the size and shape or your body.  One client recently said to me "I feel like a freak because I'm the only grad student NOT on a diet."  Say WHAT!?!


On the daily, you'll see diets being advertised and sold with a vengeance.  If you have been reading my blog and don't already believe me when I say diets don't work, check out this stellar postby rock star dietitian Evelyn Tribole.  She nails it with research and practical advice.

So you may be asking, what does work?  It's not sexy, but slow/sustainable changes you can manage over a lifetime does work.  In fact, my brother said it best as we were enjoying some cinnamon rolls over the holidays. "So Marci, what you are talking about on your blog is eating one of these cinnamon rolls, rather than skipping it or eating three?"  You've got it!

So here are some more specific strategies to get you started:
1.) Start listening to your body. You can use this scale as a guide.  Notice how often you are in the white zone.  Strive to steer clear of that zone as often as possible.
2.) Prioritize your health by committing to at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Learn more about how sleep affects your weight here
3.) Move in ways you genuinely enjoy and NEVER with the intention of providing pain or punishment. (Here's my article about falling in like with exercise

So dare to be different by letting go of body and weight obsessions.  Dare to be different by taking care of yourself, trusting that as you do so, a healthy body will naturally follow.  Dare to be different...and you just may find a much happier and healthier you.

Your very different dietitian in Cambridge
Marci

Amy's Journey- A Guest Blog Post About Recovery

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Thursday, September 01, 2016

Many of you will identify with some of what Amy has to share about her journey to making peace with food and her body. I hope you'll enjoy reading it. I know I did!

I'm a pretty impatient person. I don't really understand people who enjoy the journey... I just want to get to the destination. I just want to be THERE ... that illusive place where satisfaction and contentment live. I've learned that is part of my nature and I'm best served to learn how to work within it and manage it, and stop fighting it.

When I started working with Sarah @ MarciRD, I had that same mindset. I wanted my struggle with food to end – like after a visit or two. :) I wanted to be fixed, healed, whatever – I just wanted to be done with 30 years of battling with food. Imagine my surprise when 2 years later, I am still walking through that door to a neat little office in Cambridge to talk with Sarah.

My first ever visit I was introduced to Intuitive Eating and what it meant to let go of the diet mentality. Of what it meant to give myself permission to eat anything I wanted (at this point I felt scared to death and giddy at the same time!). What do you mean I can eat what I want? What kind of diet it this? Where are the rules, the restrictions? Oh so thankfully, they are out the door with IE. I have found peace with marshmallow fluff. Oreos no longer hold power over me!! I learned to sit, eat, and enjoy food. To really taste food – and use all my senses at a meal. To slow down. And to listen to my body, and trust that it would tell me when I was full. All of this is the complete opposite of what the diet industry tells us – that we need "them", their plan, and their regiment and without it we'll never do it, or we'll fail. It's a lie! There is piece inside of us that knows what we need. We just have to be quiet and listen for that voice to come out! And really, we have to be willing to take the journey ... ugh. And do the work. Bigger ugh.

I have shed a lot of tears in Sarah's office, doing the work. I have laughed, gotten frustrated with myself, fallen back into old habits, been angry with myself and so much more, more times that I can count. Eventually, I listened. I learned. I changed the way I talked to myself. I started paying attention to how different foods made me feel after I ate them. I dug in and figured out why I had struggled for so many years in the yo-yo diet world ... why I binged on certain foods. I forgave the little girl who started sneaking food when she was only 10, and the mom who put her on a diet at that same age. It makes a lot more sense now. I started living true to my nature and honoring the woman I am today. I began being grateful for my fat! Imagine? Because for all the things I went through as a little girl into my teen years, all I got was fat... and it could have been so much worse. I stopped fighting against my fat and started being grateful for all that I am and all I have learned along the way. Aye yiyi ... I started enjoying the journey.

I want to leave you with a paragraph from one of my favorite books, Imagine Heaven by John Burke. What if you saw yourself in a way that was loving, full of grace and full of forgiveness?

"Knowing how God sees you, sets you free to accomplish the things that God created you to accomplish. It sets you free to use your unique gifts, time and resources to make an impact that lasts for eternity – not to prove that you're worth something, but because you're worth EVERYTHING to God. "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this, it is a gift from God... For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10".

 

How Do I Know if I'm Hungry?

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Sunday, August 14, 2016

How do you know you're hungry? I know it sounds like an odd question but I'm always amazed at the answers I get to this seemingly simple question. Think about it a moment. Imagine I just asked you "how do you know you're hungry?" What would you say?  

I talk about hunger a fair amount. Certainly more than the average person since I happen to be a nutrition therapist for a living. :) And perhaps more than other dietitians because I use an intuitive eating approach to my work. That means I work with my clients to help them connect to the process of eating when hungry, stopping when full, and learning to manage their emotions without using food. Perhaps it sounds simple but it can be a surprisingly complex process!

There are many things in life that can derail us from eating in response to a physical cue for hunger: not being able to identify hunger, eating based on the time of day, habits, chaotic schedules, emotions, and even dieting. I'm sure you could add to the list.

In an ideal world, we'd eat in response to a hunger cue the majority of the time. Note: not 100% of the time. Sometimes we eat for fun and social reasons. But hopefully most of our eating is done because our bodies and brains need more fuel. So my purpose in writing this blog post is to help you become more aware of your personal cues of hunger. Believe it or not, your hunger cues are just as individual as you are! And learning your own personal cues for hunger is the first step to eating intuitively.

So, here is your homework assignment. Get out a sheet of paper and write the following:

Starving:
 

Over-hungry:

Meal hungry:

Snack hungry:

Now, I want you to write down as many PHYSICAL descriptors as you can for each category. I'll give you some examples.

Starving: stomach pain, headache, terrible mood, no energy

Over-hungry: growling/empty stomach, shaky, can't think of anything but eating

Meal hungry: grumbly stomach, lack of concentration, low energy, mouth watering at the thought of food

Snack hungry: distracted thinking, energy dip, little grumbles in stomach

Ok, the next step is to keep this paper around for a week or so. Throughout the week pay attention to moments that you think you might be in one of these categories and ask yourself the following questions:

1. Am I hungry?

2. How hungry am I?

3. How do I know? This "how do I know" part is your cue to write down any physical descriptor you have that fits your particular level of hunger.

The last step is extremely important because you are creating an individualized list of how your body speaks to you. Try to pay attention for a week or so and see what data you gather. You might notice that you need to make changes to your list as you go along.

What are your greatest obstacles to eating in response to hunger? I'd love to hear your feedback!

Your nutritionist in Cambridge,

Marci

Healing the Hate: A Better Body Image for 2016

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Monday, July 25, 2016

This post originally debuted in January and with the heat of summer upon us I had to re-share it.

Key Point: You cannot talk your way to better body image. If you treat yourself with hate you will continue to feel hate towards your body. In this video blog I share with you the why and the how to improve your body image through actionable steps.

After you view this video blog, I hope you will share what you plan to start doing that feels good to your body. What action step or steps will you start making today?