I was recently asked to give an interview on essential fatty acids. I was actually thrilled to talk about this because getting enough essential fatty acids (omega-3) in your diet is essential to brain health, mental health, and satiety! Through the 90's dietary fat got a very bad rap. But slowly people seem to be coming around to the idea that fats are crucial to eating well.
In fact, did you know that inadequate dietary fat is association with increased levels of anxiety and depression! Seriously.
So what's your biggest obstacle to getting more omega-3s into your diet?
Yesterday, I received several emails with a link to this article on a condition called "Orthorexia." Most people read the article and wondered if it was serious, wondered if it wasn't some sort of exaggeration or joke.
And while I admit, reading about it online may seem strange or even ridiculous, it is a true disorder that affects both the physical and emotional health of a lot of people. Just read my recent client spotlight. What began as "healthy eating" and exercising for her, quickly became orthorexia, which then became a much more severe eating disorder that required residential treatment and intensive outpatient care.
Now of course I believe in healthy eating and exercise- my life is committed to supporting it in myself and others! BUT, the distinction between healthy living and orthorexia are two important words: unhealthy obsession. You can read more on the Orthorexia home page, written by Dr. Steven Bratman who coined the term and wrote the book "Health Food Junkies."
<Ironically, I just loaned my copy to a client who has suffered mental, emotional, and physical distress FOR YEARS due to an unhealthy obsession with "healthy" eating and exercise.> My clients who suffer from orthorexia share a single characteristic- the obsession diminishes rather than enhances their quality of life. Relationships suffer, social isolation ensues, they have often feel paralyzed, depression/anxiety is worse, sleep patterns are affected, etc.
My philosophy is that moderation with food, exercise, and in life- is the key! And I also believe that we are meant to find enjoyment, satisfaction, and fulfillment from the food we eat. Anything taken to an extreme is unhealthy. If you have always been interested in "healthy" living and are curious as to whether or not you are taking a bit too far, the assessment below may be helpful to you. This is taken from Dr. Bratman's book.
Dr. Bratman suggests that you may be orthorexic, or on your way there, if you:
o Spend more than three hours a day thinking about healthy food.
o Plan your day’s menu more than 24 hour ahead of time.
o Take more pleasure from the “virtuous” aspect of your food than from actually eating it.
o Find your quality of life decreasing as the “quality” of your food increases.
o Are increasingly rigid and self-critical about your eating.
o Base your self-esteem on eating “healthy” foods, and have a lower opinion of people who do not.
o Eat “correct” foods to the avoidance of all those that you’ve always enjoyed.
o So limit what you can eat that you can dine “correctly” only at home, spending less and less time with friends and family.
o Feel guilt or self-loathing when you eat “incorrect” foods.
o Derive a sense of self-control from eating “properly.”
Bratman suggests that if more than four of these descriptions applies to you, it may be time to take a step back and reassess your attitude toward what you eat. If they all apply, you’re in the grip of an obsession.
This seems to be a controversial topic. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Striving to live a balanced life in hectic Harvard Square,
2. Many schools open their gyms up to the community for walking programs so check a local school.
3. Turn up the music and dance. A friend lost 19# by doing this for 60 minutes a day with her kids.
4. Take family night to another level with a game like Wii Fit.
5. Use a pedometer and make your own records for as many steps in a single day.
6. Get outside in any season: In the summer, go for walks, hike a new trail, go for a bike ride, kayak, canoe, swim. In the fall, do your own color tour - bring your camera and walk through the beautiful colors. In the winter, ski - downhill can be expensive but if you already have the equipment night skiing is cheaper, cross-country skiing is a great work out, go ice skating, slide down a hill in a toboggan - climbing up the hill is great exercise, go snow shoeing, have a snowball fight, build a snowman. In the spring, take a walk to see all the flowers and trees budding and waking up from their winter slumber.
7. Take work breaks: 30 min at lunch, 15 min in the morning and afternoon. Other people get a smoke break, right?
8. Commercial Break Competitions: Do some routines with hand held weights (or improvised wts from filled water bottles). March, climb stairs, do jumping jacks, push ups, etc.
9. Play like your kids and with your kids. Get down on the ground with them, do somersaults, climb, run, skip, jump, play tag, toss and chase a ball. Have Fun!
10. Join a club or team.
November is American Diabetes Month®—a time to shine a spotlight on a serious disease that leads to potentially life-threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation.
This year, we need to take a bolder, more audacious approach to American Diabetes Month. Consider that:
•24 million children and adults in the United States live with diabetes
•57 million Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes
•1 out of every 3 children born today will face a future with diabetes if current trends continue
We ask you to join the American Diabetes Association in launching a national movement to Stop Diabetes – help us confront it, fight it, and most importantly, stop it.
Here's how you can become involved:
•Share. Inspire others to join the movement by sharing your personal story. Visit stopdiabetes.com and join us on Facebook and Twitter to learn about all the exciting ways to be a part of the Stop Diabetes movement. Invite your family, friends, and co-workers to join this effort as well.
•Act. Whether you want to walk*, bike* or simply tell a friend, there will be many ways to help us build momentum for the Stop Diabetes movement.
•Learn. The American Diabetes Association has many resources throughout the country to help Stop Diabetes. If you, or a loved one, already have diabetes* or are at risk* for developing it, we can provide medical, lifestyle and motivational information to prevent this disease from taking control of your life and the lives of those around you.
•Give. Sign up with your local American Diabetes Association office to help raise money for diabetes research, federal and state advocacy and public education.
This month I'll be providing a few tips that you can use if you have diabetes or know someone who does. Stay tuned!