Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chapter 12 - Respect Your Body

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that most of you reading this blog find the body acceptance part of this process a little difficult. Okay, maybe a lot difficult. An important thing to keep in mind as you read this chapter and ponder it is that this part of Intuitive Eating takes concerted effort for a long, long time, but is absolutely essential to becoming an intuitive eater. I can talk, because I've been working on this for years now. I've come a long way, but have a long way still to go. I can say now, with full confidence, that I feel better about myself and more comfortable in my skin than I have in a very long time.

A few weeks ago a cousin-in-law of mine posted on her blog about her experience of being a fat girl. She was a chubby kid and by high school was sixty pounds over weight. She lost the sixty pounds slowly over several years and has managed to keep the weight off for a long, long time now. I have a hard time even believing that she was once over weight because she is very small and her eating and lifestyle habits show no signs that they once were a problem. Her life has changed.

One thing she said in her post struck me very deeply because it was the first time I had heard anyone else express my philosophy of weight management. She said, speaking of her years of being overweight..." Most importantly, those years taught me an appreciation for my body, no matter it's size. I really had to learn to accept and acknowledge qualities that made me beautiful on the inside, until eventually, I felt beautiful on the outside. I had to accept where I was - and the frightening prospect that I might always be that way - BEFORE I could go on and change it." Thanks Brittany, I hope you don't mind that I quoted you.

In our book the authors quote another book, Body Traps by Judith Rodin. Here is the quote and I really think this is the magic key to learning how to take care of ourselves they way we should and the way we eventually get to a healthy and natural weight and stay there..."You don't need to lost weight first in order to take care of yourself. In fact, the process actually happens quite in the reverse!"

I really, truly believe that if we can learn to like ourselves first, before we are the size we think we should be, than we will start to treat ourselves right and that will mean eating right and exercising, giving our bodies what they need, but not more than they need. You see where I'm going with this?

I ask the questions again that the authors ask at the beginning of chapter 12. Has all the self-loathing because of your body helped you to actually make permanent change? Has dwelling on you imperfect body helped you make peace with your body and food? Maybe it's time to try something totally different?

It's true that it's hard to escape the body torture game when the whole country is playing it. This is why it takes so long to overcome, but that should make us even more determined not to play with the rest of them!

Keep in mind that body acceptance and respect for yourself are not the same thing as giving up or not caring about your body or health. I think we all picked up this book partly because we wanted to be more healthy, but, and I have to say this clearly, body acceptance may mean not being the size that you have dreamed about in your head. Sometimes the size we want to be is unrealistic, and not one that our body can sustain without major work and vigilance. The hard truth of the matter is that body acceptance will include for some of you, having to settle for a normal weight which might be somewhat more than your ultimate ideal?

I would love to hear what you guys think of this chapter and some of your ideas in the area of body respect. Any feed back would be great because I know all of us are stuggling with this.

It's very late and I've got to go to bed, but one last assignment. If you can find a way, I want you to watch a few episodes of What Not to Wear. This is a style show on The Learning Channel and was very helpful to me as I was working on learning to love my body. This show is all about loving the skin your in and learning to dress the body you have NOW, something the authors of Intuitive Eating suggest is very helpful. For those of you who have seen the show you'll know what I'm talking about. So whether you like clothes and style or not, I think you'll learn something from watching an episode or two. If you have time of course.

What I Learned in France

I just returned from an amazing trip to Paris France. Aside from all the wonderful things I saw and did, such as going to the top of the Eiffel Tower and seeing real Renoir's at the Louve, I learned some things that actually were very relevant to this blog and I want to share them with you.

I hadn't been in France long when I noticed an interesting phenomenon. There were no fat French people! Okay, maybe there were a couple chubby older ladies, but really, most of the heavier people I saw in France were Americans. It was weird. Almost everyone was thin! After talking with Emilie about this (Emilie is my cousin who has lived in France for over two years) I learned a thing or two about the french food culture and the reasons why most french people are thin. They are Intuitive Eaters!! Their food culture lends itself very well to this way of eating. I'll explain....

The above two pictures are samples of things we ate in France with almost every meal (notice how small the pastries are). Busy pastry shops are on every corner, and the french eat desserts and white bread very regularly, with almost every meal in fact. Dieting is a foreign concept to them, and even though they move their bodies everyday, they aren't generally regular exercisers. So why are they so thin?

They savor their food. Food that is made carefully and with fresh, real ingredients. They eat slowly, and their portions are much smaller.

Really? Is that all?

Yep, that's all.

The french manage food and meal times much differently than we do here in the good old U. S. of A. Above is a picture of a typical French cafe. We would be seated for lunch and two hours later, finally be wrapping up our meal. Meals really took almost two hours to eat. It was wonderful! We would sit down, be served at drink, a little later, be served bread, a little later a meal, delicious, fresh, and smaller, but totally satisfying. No one rushed us through our meal. We would talk, eat, chat, eat some more. We enjoyed the meal, every bite. Then after having plenty of time to finish our food, we would order dessert. Desserts were amazing, but much smaller than the ginormous portions we are served here in America.

At my first dinner in France I ordered chocolate fondant for dessert. Chocolate fondant was exactly like what we would call chocolate lava cake here at home. I received my cake, which was only about the size of a racket ball, but presented very beautifully. I wanted to savor every delicious bite because it was such a small cake. Then it dawned on me. This was one big reason french people are small. They start with smaller portions and savor each bite because each bite counts. As I was enjoying the most amazing dessert I had ever had, made with the finest butter, cream, chocolate, and eggs, I couldn't help thinking about the huge, head sized chocolate molten cake I'm served at Chili's restaurant back in the states. I was more satisfied, slowly enjoying my little french cake, than I ever had been rushing through that chocolate monster back home at Chili's.

The french sit down to nicely set tables to enjoy their food. They wouldn't dream of eating in the car, having lunch working at a desk, or snacking while watching television. They set the table, sit down, and enjoy themselves at meal times. Emilie said she has carefully observed her french mother and sister in law. They don't nibble as they are preparing food. When preparation is complete and it's time to eat, they put what they want on their plates, sit down, and eat a leisurely meal, not going back for seconds, because they feel so satisfied.

French people rarely, if ever, snack, because eating food quickly would be a less than optimal eating experience. I don't know if I agree with the no snacking thing because it doesn't follow Intuitive Eating very well. Intuitive Eating tells to eat when we feel hungry, which is often between meals, but maybe we should make sure even our snacking is done in an optimal setting, not standing up at the counter or driving down the road.

Here's the new book I'm reading. I'll let you know if it's good. The author was born and raised in France, went for a year long study abroad in America and gained lots of weight. After returning to France she resumed eating in the 'french' way and lost her weight, keeping it off for the rest of her life. I'm about three chapters into it and their are many of the same things advocated in it that go hand in hand with intuitive eating. Mainly, savoring what you really want to eat, stopping when full, not dieting, and not restricting certain types of foods. When I'm done I'll do a review. I'm certain there are many things we could learn from the french way of eating because french women don't get fat!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Intuitive Eating Chapter 10

Oh boy, my favorite chapter...Coping With Your Emotions Without Using Food. This the the hardest part of intuitive eating for me, but reading Rethinking Thin helped me understand something that made me feel a little better. People who are over weight don't use food to cope with their emotions any more than thin people do. Science has proven this. It was good to learn that this was true. People everywhere use food to cope with life, but even so, even if you're fat or thin, using food as a coping strategy will sabotage your ability to eat intuitively, so it's something that needs to be addressed.

Something that I think most diets don't keep in mind is the fact the food has a huge emotional component to it and this is not something that can be escaped. Eating can be, and usually is an emotionally laden experience. We use food for all sorts of reasons and food has many functions in our society that have almost nothing to do with hunger or nutrition. We use food to celebrate happy occasions, to show love to family and friends, as tradition, to socialize, to reward ourselves or others, as a hobby (cooking, baking), as entertainment....and the list could go on. Like I said, diets don't take this into account and this is part of the reason why diets fail and are not usually adopted as a way of life.

Here's a list (from the chapter) of emotional reasons we eat:

Sensory Gratification
Boredom and Procrastination
Bribery and Reward
Soothing yourself
Frustration, Anger, Rage
As a way of connecting to others
Loosening the reins on a controlled life

I've eaten for every reason on this list. Some of them good, some not so good and some more than others. I can especially relate to eating out of boredom or stress, and having a need to connect to others. I know I eat the most when I feel like I have no freedom to do what is stimulating or fullfilling to me. When I feel this way I really crave those cookies! What are some emotional reasons you eat?

I'm facing the fact that eating for emotional reasons may never really completely end in my life, but I can learn (and have learned) to do it less often. As a result I'm also forced to deal with my stress, boredom, and other emotions in a better way (one good side effect of eating intuitively).

Even though I still eat for emotional reason, I do it much less than I used to and when I do I am very aware of what I'm doing. (I wasn't in the past) When I realize that I'm eating and not hungry, I recognize that I'm doing it and ask myself why. Then I try to think of other ways to deal. Sometimes I can't always find a healthier way to deal so I choose to keep eating, but just recognizing that I'm eating to cope results in much less over eating in the moment and in the future. Hopefully, with more practice, this will get easier for me.

How do you guys feel about Chapter 10?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rethinking Thin Chapter 8 and Epiloge

The war still rages about what makes people fat. The debate is still on about how unhealthy being overweight (within a range) really is. There is no doubt that Americans are fatter than ever before, but nobody seems to be able to find out exactly why this is so or even if it's really such a bad thing (health wise) unless your're extremely overweight. There are a million theories though. I suspect that there are hundreds of factors that contribute to America's growing girth. I've decided, after closing the cover on Rethinking Thin for the second time, that it's unwise to single out any one, two, three or more of the theories and assign them to ourselves as the reason(s) were not the sizes we want to be. There's just not enough solid information to chalk our weights up to any one reason.

Considering all the information that's out there, all the the things that have been discovered and all the things that have yet to be discovered I keep coming to the same conclusion. It's best to find a balance, to use common sense. We need to listen to our bodies, to how they feel. Learn to eat when we're hungry and stop when we're full. We should eat a variety of foods and choose foods based on how they make us feel. It's always good to move our bodies. Remember to always take into account the mental factors of eating such as the power of pleasure, the problems with deprivation, and the psychological dangers of dieting.

We should do a better job of accepting ourselves for who we are. Genetics are part of our size, there's no getting around that. The fact is...there is no one standard size that is right for everyone. We should be good to ourselves. Remember that diets very rarely result in permanent weight loss! And something else important. It's very unfair and unwise to judge people who are fat. Even ourselves!

I hope you enjoy, or have enjoyed reading Rethinking Thin. My main reason for wanting to have every one read this book is to help you understand how sound science can shake up some possibly wrong ideas we might have in our heads about fat and introduce us to other ideas that may be helpful to consider. Ideas about people and fat, about our environment and fat. To see that here are no simple answers.

What did you learn from the book? Did you discover anything that helped you?

Which Diet is Best?

Vicki, a member of our group who found the blog and joined awhile ago sent me this study. Vicki is a dietitian/nutritionist (sorry Vicki, I can't remember which one). This study proves irrefutably, that no one diet is better than any other. All diets result in weight loss. Why do I say this when I'm doing my best to convince you to abandon dieting? I think this idea will help you in the future if you decide to commit yourself to intuitive eating. There are, as of yet, no magic bullets for weight loss. If you decide to never diet again, you won't be missing anything. In fact, it's necessary to drop the idea that somewhere there is a diet that will result in permanent weight loss for you. The fact that the last diet didn't work, but the next one will be different is a notion that is best dropped in an intuitive eating lifestyle. No one has discovered the magic pill for permanent, easily maintained weight loss!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chapters 9 and 10 of Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating Chapter 9 - Feel Your Fullness

I tend to be one who cleans her plate. After becoming aware of this fact and trying to break myself of the habit without much success, I now start out with less food on my plate to begin with. I've gotten pretty good at judging how hungry I am and deciding how much food it will take to feel satisfied. I also tend to be a fast eater so learning to slow down and savor has been something that I've had to work on and am still working on. I find I'm much better at this if I don't wait until I'm famished to eat. There are so many factors that condition us to eat more than our bodies need. I know some of you have mentioned that you don't like to waste food. What are some other factors that cause you to eat more than you need?

The most important part of learning to stop eating when your full is to know for certain that you can have any food you want again, when ever you want it. If you don't truly believe this then it's really hard to listen to your body. When I eat at a restaurant that I know I can't eat at everyday, I tend to over eat. So, for my day to day living, I find it critical that I truly believe that I can have access to any food. Do you believe the principle that nothing can be off limits or Intuitive Eating can't work? Explain why or why not.

Feeling your fullness is where the rules come in for Intuitive Eating. This way of eating does not promote eating until you're sick (although they allow that sometimes this will happen). The key is to listen to your body and act accordingly. To do this you must learn what it feels like to be comfortably full and then STOP! This will be different for everyone. The amount of food that fills up one person may not fill up another so don't compare yourselves. Just listen to your stomach.

We all know there are foods that won't keep you full for long. I don't cut those foods out of my diet, but I do keep in mind, when choosing what to eat, that certain foods will keep me fuller, longer. Have you ever told yourself "I shouldn't be hungry" and then not allowed yourself to eat? It's silly, because when you're hungry, you're hungry. Eat something and move on. I find that some days I'm very hungry and other days I don't eat much at all. It all seems to even itself out over time.

Learning to eat intuitively during social events has was the hardest for me. I'm was so busy jabbering, listening to others jabber or sitting around the table too long picking at the food that I'm wasn't as tuned in as I should have been. Being with people seemed to be a cue for me to eat. Over time, I've gotten much better with this. I just remind myself to be aware. Also, eating intuitively is becoming more and more automatic for me. Do social situations cause you to eat more? I know for some people they eat less in social situations because they don't want others to think they're pigs. Which of these problems do you experience?

Intuitive Eating Chapter 10 - Discover the Satisfaction Factor

I love this chapter because I think the satisfaction factor is critical to a person's mental health when it comes to a relationship with food. Diets very rarely take into account the satisfaction factor. I believe this a huge reason they fail. There is something very powerful in feeling happy and satisfied when you leave the table. So many other cultures around the world seem to remember this. The Japanese promote this as one of their goals for healthy living and many people believe that this is why the French are much healthier than Americans even though their diets contain much richer foods. They're just satisfied with much less because they are taught to enjoy and savor their food. Meal times in France are slow and leisurely. Americans are so concerned with health and eating quickly, that they sometime forget that food is supposed to taste good. We don't take time to enjoy and savor!

I know that some of you are saying, "I always eat foods I love and enjoy and I'm fat." But ask yourself if you are really thinking carefully about what you really, truly want, and then savoring each bite, stopping when you're full? Sometimes we just plow through our food without really even tasting it.

I had so deeply bought into the idea that I must deny myself tasty food because it made me fat that I had a hard time believing what the authors say, that if you allow yourself pleasure and satisfaction from every possible eating experience, your total quantity of food will decrease. When I tried this principle out for myself, I found it to be amazingly true. Now I try to get the most out of every eating experience. Sometimes this isn't possible, we all have to eat on the run sometimes, but I do this whenever I can. And yep, I eat much less than I used to! Not only that, but I think I'm a happier person in general and I don't obsess about food. My favorite result from intuitive eating! How do you guys feel about the principle of pleasure and eating?

And remember, when you're digging into that favorite package of cookies make sure you're checking in with yourself to make sure the third cookie is still tasting as good as the first one did!In my experience, they usually don't.

One slice of apple pie has got to have less calories than that package of Graham crackers and can of applesauce you ate instead of pie, not to mention the satisfaction factor that is almost absent in the Graham cracker scenario! Just savor the pie and move on. I think you'll find that you eat much less pie than you ever thought you would.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rethinking Thin Chapters 6 and 7

I'm going to do these two chapters together because the information in them is very closely related. The chapters are a little longer, but we're going to have two weeks this time to catch up on reading.

Remember the super fat rat from the study?

The science of weight has made leaps and bounds in the last decade or so. One monumental finding was by Mr. Friedman with the help of his fat rats. Together they tracked down the the hormone called leptin. Remember leptin... that little hormone that resides in your fat cells and tells your brain when you've had enough to eat? Turns out leptin is only one hormone in a complex series that effects our weight and appetite.

Then there's Mr. Rozin and his scientific studies on the psychology of eating. What are the tricks our brain plays to cause us to eat? What are some visual cues that help us eat less or cause us to eat mindlessly and more than we need? We do so much eating that we aren't even aware of, yet our body weights tend to stay steady over time. So much at work in these bodies and minds of ours!

Turns out, our bodies are incredibly complex when it comes to eating, appetite and weight. It seems silly that any one diet or eating plan would actually work for just anybody, thus more evidence that we can blame the process of dieting and not ourselves when our weight loss efforts fail in the long run. Dieting seems like a fruitless effort to outsmart a very, very complex system. It's seems were doomed to lose, most of the time, when we play the diet game. It makes more sense to me to work with the system that God put in place instead of trying to fight it.

I might be a little naive here and probably simplifying too much, but after reading these chapters and all the different scientific findings, I've decided that Intuitive Eating is more sound than ever. I think these studies reinforce the fact that our bodies know what they need. The best way to maintain a healthy, normal weight is to listen to our bodies, tune into them, and respond to what they tell us. Rid yourself of all those outside messages and let your body do the talking. It seems to me that if you can allow your body and brain to subconsciously do the work of controlling your eating, you'll naturally gravitate towards your ideal playing weight (unless there is something distinctly wrong with your system, such as the girl with no leptin). Intuitive Eating is the key to helping you learn to let you body and brain do the work. Of course nutrition plays a part in this (certain additives can contribute to the drive to overeat and things like that) and we will get to that later, but I think our bodies can even help us know what is good or bad for them if we just listen.

What did you learn from chapters 6 and 7? Do you agree or disagree with my little assessments above? Why or why not?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Intuitive Eating Chapter 8

I'd have to say that challenging the food police has been, and continues to be, the most difficult part of Intuitive Eating for me. (It might be a tie between that and coping with emotions without using food). The food police never seem to stop talking and new voices, presenting new ideas, crop up all the time. We are never free of all the messeges out there about food and dieting. I'm happy to say though, the shrill voices of the food police have diminished and quieted over time, leaving my life much more peaceful and calm.

In chapter 8 we learn about the voices of the food police and about the many other voices in our heads that we should use or ignore when learning to eat intuitively. I'll admit that some of the names the authors give to these voices are a little bit corny, but the ideas are good and necessary in learning to eat this way.

Question from chapter 8

1- List 3 ways the Food Police, the Nutrition Informant, and the Diet Rebel talk to you specifically. These should be messages that you hear and accept as true and that effect what or how you eat almost everyday.

2- The Food Anthropologist, the Nurturer, and the Intuitive Eater are all voices that the authors would like us to develop and tune into more often. Do these exist in your mind at all and do you ever base you eating decision on what they say to you? If so, how?

3- The authors point out several ways of thinking that can sabotage our efforts to become intuitive eaters. Pick two from this list and describe how you've seen them in yourself and how they manifest in your eating and relationships with food....

Dichotomous Thinking - all or nothing

Absolutist Thinking - one behavior with absolutely result in another behavior

Catastrophic Thinking - thinking in exaggerated ways i.e. I'll never be thin

Linear Thinking - getting to the goal without appreciating the process

It's really important to become hyper-alert to the food talk that inevitably arises when you approach eating situations. Observe what you're thinking each time you eat. Decide if what you are thinking helps or hinders your ability to eat in an intuitive way.

One last message from the Food Police

Rethinking Thin- Chapter 5 "The Drive to Eat"

Several studies are sited in chapter 5 of Rethinking Thin. The Ancel Key's study (now sited in both of our books) proves very clearly that when human being's cut back significantly on calories and food is restricted, phycological mechanisms kick in to help keep our bodies from starving. When denied energy, human beings will become fixated on food and anything that has to do with food to the exclusion of almost anything else. The study also shows that once people who have been hungry and have lost significant amounts of weight are then allowed to eat again, they exhibit irregular and out of control eating which takes many months to normalize again, if it ever does.

How much do genetics play a role in weight?

Many other studies are sited in chapter 5 that seem to prove irrefutably that a person's weight is much more determined by genetics than any other factor including diet, desire to be thin, or a person's environment. If you really stop to think about it, I'm sure you can find examples of people everywhere who seem to be able to eat anything they want and never gain weight and people who gain weight much more easily. We just assume (falsely in most cases) that the naturally skinny people must just have better self control than the people who are more overweight.

As you read the chapter think about what all the studies combined are telling us about dieting and weight. What do you think the author is trying to tell us about what we know about biology and the generally accepted ideas about dieting and weightloss that are prevelent in our society? How do the scientific studies sited in chapter 5 relate to what we are learning in intuitive eating?

A last cartoon for this week:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Intuitive Eating Chapters 6 and 7 - Rethinking Thin Chapter 4

I have a fun cartoon that I think applies very well to chapter 6 which is about honoring hunger. The idea is that if you don't keep you body fed biologically with adequate energy and carbohydrates you can trigger a primal drive to over eat. All you have to do is think about how you feel when it's time to eat after a long fast Sunday and you'll know what I'm talking about. This guy here is so hungry he can't think of anything but food......

Intuitive Eating - Chapter 6

1- When you have dieted in the past did you experience anything similar to the men in the Dr. Ancel Keys study? When you diet do you find yourself more preoccupied with food or less?

2- The authors state that the hunger drive is truly a mind-body connection. Have you experienced the hunger drive with both mind and body. If so, how?

3- How often would you say that you eat in response to the internal cue of gentle hunger and how often do you eat or not eat in response to other internal or external cues such as emotions, time of day, social situations or self imposed rules? Do you eat only when you're ravenously hungry or are you one who stays fed to the point that the feeling of hunger is rare in your life? Maybe you're somewhere in between these two?

Intuitive Eating Chapter 7

1- I'm sure most of us have experienced psychological deprivation and can attest that it's a powerful and real thing. How have you experienced psychological deprivation, even outside of the food arena?

2- Feeling deprived in other areas of your life may lead to heightened feelings of deprivation when dieting or restricting food. Have you experienced this?

3- Have you ever experience anything like the story of Heidi and her chocolate as described on page 76-77?

4- Have you experienced "last supper eating?" If so, how?

5- Refer to the list of subtle forms of rebound eating described on pages 78-79. Do you see behaviors of your own in any of these descriptions? Which ones?

6- Have you ever experienced the see-saw syndrome as described in chapter 7? If so how?

7- When the authors suggest giving yourself unconditional permission to eat, and you imagine yourself doing this, what are your feelings? Do you believe that you would eventually experience food habituation like the authors say that you would?

This week, make a list of foods you enjoy but don't keep around the house, don't allow yourself to eat, or eat, but feel extreme guilt when you do eat them. This list will include foods that you feel you would never stop eating if you gave yourself unconditional permission to do so. If you feel brave enough, go ahead and try an experiment. Pick one food from your list, keep it around, give yourself unconditional permission to eat that food, and see what happens.

Rethinking Thin Chapter 4

1- Dr. Stunkard has proven pretty clearly that being overweight is not a result of psychological issues. Have you blamed any of your weight problems or issues with food on psychological factors? Do you believe there are certain behaviors that separate fat people from skinny people? Do overweight people bring their weight problems on themselves?

2- Carmen mentions in one of his diet classes that he believes the theroy that a person is only as fat as they want to be. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not?

One favor this week..... I find that I'm basically writing the questions and posting the only comments, with the exception of one or two others. If you are still reading with us will you let me know. Just say something like, "I'm still here." I don't expect people to answer any of the questions, but it would be nice to know that I'm not the only group member left. Thanks gals!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Video to Share

I saw this segment on the Today Show awhile ago. I thought it was very relevent to what we've been reading and discussing. Take a look. What do you think? Click here to open the video.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rethinking Thin Chapter 3

As the years pass the standard for what is considered thin changes. View the pictures below and see for yourself. All I know is that if I had been born only a hundred years earlier, I'd be a hottie! My question is, who sets the standard for what is considered beautiful? The Gibson Girl was just one man's idea of beauty, and it started a storm of obsession for women everywhere.

Renaissance Woman: Having some meat on your bones was a sign of wealth and beauty.

Lucienne D'Armoy: A famous European beauty in the late 1800's. Notice the well placed flowers.

Lillian Russell: One of the most famous actresses of the late 19th century - early 20th century. Known for her beauty and style as much as her acting and singing.

Here are some of Charles Gibson's creations going for a swim. Gibson girls were all the rage in the early 1900's. These girls put Lillian Russell out of business.

Camille Clifford: A stage actress who was considered the closest living version of the Gibson girl. She is modeling a style called the wasp waist which is a silhouette created by a corset and girdle, producing the much sought after 18 inch waist. This style was also famous for it's ability to cause deformed ribs, weakened abdominal muscles, deformed and dislocated organs, and respiratory aliments, not to mention ruined reproductive organs that resulted in miscarriages and maternal deaths. Good thing we don't have to wear corsets anymore. Now we just have to somehow achieve an 18 inch waist without them.

Theda Bara: First "vamp" of the silver screen during the early 1900's. Isn't she scandalise?

A typical flapper of the 1920's.

Clara Bow: A famous actress of the silver screen in the 1920's. Getting thinner.

Mae West : Screen star and sex symbol of the 1930's. So curvaceous!

And then came Marilyn Monroe.....need I say more?

Sophia Loren: The Italian Siren.

Twiggy: Famous model of the 70's who is very appropriately named. Next to this girl, every one's fat!

Now for our contemporaries........

Jennifer Aniston: Title character of Chapter 3

Nicole Kidman: Chanel No. 5 model

Kate Bosworth: New face for Calvin Klein

Kiera Knightly: One of our highest paid actresses and always being accused of being anorexic.

Jennifer, Nicole, Kate and Kiera. These are the women who's photos are in all the magazines as the standard of ultimate beauty today. No wonder everybody hates their bodies. Almost no one can look like these women.


The Dove girls: Part of a much needed campaign to show what real women look like. Love these girls!

Intuitive Eating Chapter 5

How's it going out there? I'm hearing that a few of you are just getting your books. Don't worry, it won't be hard to catch up if that's the case. We're looking forward to your comments and participation.

There's some interesting reading and questions for this week, but first of all, did anyone do the T.V. commercial assignment? We have TiVo so I don't watch commercials too often but, I watched some deliberately this week and was not a bit surprised at how many commercials were about diet food and dieting. I saw all kinds of commercials for new light foods that won't make you feel guilty, and a particularly long commercial for a new diet pill that is supposed to be the newest revolutionary way to burn fat. My favorite was a commercial that I think was for hand lotion or something where a woman is followed throughout her day and we are shown all the things she touches.... touch the keys, touch the computer, touch the baby, touch the husband, touch the laundry, touch the mail, and then somewhere in the middle of all of this touching you see a chocolate cake and the women says alarmingly, "Don't touch that," while shaking her finger at it, a subtle reminder to all of us that as we go about our busy day we must remember not to indulge in sweets. This is a hand lotion commercial! Just goes to show that subtle messages about eating right or eating wrong are everywhere.

This week we will read Chapter 5 of Intuitive Eating. From here on out we will be exploring each of the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating in much more detail. If you have the newer version of the book, there is an Appendix B in the back that has step-by-step guidelines to help you with each principle. This Appendix helps break each principle into steps. You may want to check it out. If you have the old version of the book and don't have this Appendix, but want to know what it says, let me know and I can post it on the blog.

We'll also be reading Chapter 3 in Rethinking Thin this week. This is one of my favorite chapters in the book. I've got some fun pictures to post regarding this chapter. There's lot to think about, so let's get started......

Just one shelf of diet books at Barnes and Noble

Intuitive Eating questions Chapter 5:

1- The authors mention that for many people, dieting has been used as a way to cope with life, from filling up time, to exercising a semblance of control. Think about diets you have been on in the past. Have your diets ever been about anything besides just weight loss? If so, what else have they been about?

2- We are introduced in chapter 5 to the idea of diet bonding, the social aspect of dieting. Have you ever participated in diet bonding? If so, in what ways?

3- Be really honest here. Have any of you thought, while reading with us, that you need to go on just one last diet to lose all your excess weight, and then you can go back and try to learn to eat intuitively? If you also believe that diets don't work, can one more diet truly be part of the solution?

4- Some of you have never dieted and others of you may have given up dieting, but have you ever pseudo-dieted or unconsciously dieted? Remember pseudo-dieting behaviors are not usually apparent to the person engaged in them. Look at the list on page 44-45 for help with this question.

5- On page 47 we are shown the Dieter's Dilemma model. Does this pattern feel familiar to any of you? If so tell about a time you have experienced it.

6- On pages 48-50 there is a list of ways in which dieting causes damage. Have you experienced any of this damage? If so, what? Make sure you include damage that can happen psychologically and emotionally as well.

7- The authors state firmly that willpower does not belong in Intuitive Eating. Dieting is all about willpower, but it doesn't seem to be enough. Do you believe you can willpower your way to thinness for life? What are some other thoughts you have about willpower and its place in the world of eating?

8- Has rebellion against being told how or what to eat been a part of your struggle with weight? If so, how has it manifested itself?

9- Has anyone in your life ever put pressure on you to lose weight besides yourself? If so, was it good motivation for weight loss?

The daily ritual of weighing yourself

10- Have you been riding the "what do I weigh today" roller coaster? This would include celebrating the number with a treat or consoling yourself after a less satisfactory reading, with food. How often do you step on the scales? Tell how the number you see on the scale effects your emotions.

11- Really study the chart on page 57. Pick one diet mentality that you see in yourself frequently. How would your life be better if your thinking changed about that particular thing?

I know this is a lot of questions for one chapter, but don't worry, there will be no questions for Rethinking Thin this week, just a fun photo essay to look at and ponder. I'm going to do a separate post for it, to make it easier to post lots of pictures.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Next Chapters

Sorry I'm so late with this. I was planning on posting Sunday, but it turned out to be an extremely crazy and busy day. Today wasn't much better. It's 9 0'clock and I'm finally sitting down to post the reading assignments and questions for this week.

First of all, much thanks to those who have commented. I've enjoyed reading what you have to say. I'm noticing that all of our experiences are different, but similar. I hope reading these books is helping you think and ponder on some of the thoughts you have about dieting, your body and food that might not be serving you well. Even if you don't completely adopt these ideas right away, it's still good stuff to think about.

This week we will read chapters three and four in Intuitive Eating and chapter two in Rethinking Thin. In your Intuitive Eating reading you will get an overview of the 10 principles of intuitive eating. They will give you a better idea of what's coming up. Each principle is briefly reviewed in chapter three. We will dig more deeply into each of them over the next few week.

I think you'll like chapter two in Rethinking Thin. It will give you a little history about dieting that I think you'll find interesting if not down right comical. Enjoy.

Here's the questions for this week. Comment if you feel the need.

Intuitive Eating questions:

Chapter 3

1 - At the beginning of chapter three it says, "Only when you vow to discard dieting and replace it with a commitment to Intuitive Eating will you be released from the prison of yo-yo weight fluctuations and food obsessions." When I read this the first time it sounded good to me. I had experienced too many weight fluctuations, and I was obsessed with food, although, the idea of discarding diets sounded a little scary. How do you feel about this statement?

2 - After reading chapter three it's easy to see that the process of learning to eat intuitively isn't quick and easy like some diets promise to be. Each step in the process can be a challenge depending on where you struggle the most. After reading through the different principles, which one do you think will be the most difficult for you. Which one the easiest?

3- There are several case studies written in chapter 3. Which one do you see yourself in the most?

Chapter 4

1- The authors say that if you want to learn to be an intuitive eater, weight loss should be a secondary goal and learning to eat intuitively a primary one. Weight loss a secondary goal? How do you feel about this idea?

2- On page 31 it says, "Keep in mind that the journey to Intuitive Eating is a process complete with ups and downs, unlike dieting, when the common expectation is linear progress (losing a certain amount of weight in a specific time period). If you decide to go on this journey will you be okay with the "ups and downs" the authors mention and graph on page 32.

3- The authors talk about coming from a place of curiosity during this process and not judgement. What do you think this means as it relates to the process of learning to be an intuitive eater.

4- Now the elephant in the room....the big question everyone doesn't want to ask.....Will I lose weight if I become an intuitive eater? It's clear that intuitive eating is not all about weight loss, but still it's hard not to hope for that if you dealing with being overweight.

Look at the questions at the top of page 33. Answers the questions for yourself, but also ask yourself if weight loss is the only goal worth striving for.

5- When was the last time your focus was on how you feel physically and mentally and not on the number on the scale?

6- If hitting diet bottom is stage one of Intuitive Eating, do you think you're there.

7- As you read through the stages, can you see yourself reaching them? Do they sound appealing to you? Do you think chocolate could really eventually have the same emotional connotation as a peach?

Rethinking Thin questions:

Chapter 2:

1- How does all the information about the history of diets you read about in chapter 2 effect the way you feel about diets in general and more particularly whether they work or not? It seems like all diets have been popular before and eventually just come back into style.

2- The chapter talks about Lord Byron, a famous celebrity of his day. What he did with his struggle with weight became entertainment for his fans. Does this remind you of anyone famous that we know of?

3- The chapter talks about the American tendency to devour our food instead of savor it. Do you feel like this is an American trait? How do you think things would change if we learned to savor our food instead of devour it?

4- A question is asked at the end of chapter two..."Are people struggling because the goals, the ideal body weights, have become unrealistic, or are the struggling because the perfect diet just has not been discovered? How do you honestly feel about this question?

Okay, the questions are done, but I just have one more assignment for you this week. Watch T.V. and find at least 5 commercials that reference weight loss or perfect body ideals. This won't take long, trust me. I think you'll find that it's no wonder we can't think normally about bodies and food!

Also wanted to leave you with a few numbers to ponder.....

16% of normal or underweight girls ages 8-11 are trying to lose weight
45% of American women are on a diet on any given day
165 - Weight of the average American woman in pounds
117 - Weight of the average American female model
87% of normal weight college students want to be thinner
48% of American women want to have cosmetic surgery

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let's Begin

Here we go! This is going to be really great. There are about 13 of us that I know of. A few have signed up on the blog, a few haven't. It doesn't matter, I just hope everyone has a good experience with this. I'm excited that there are so many who have joined. The more ideas we have bouncing around the better for all of us. I hope you'll all feel comfortable to share your thoughts, insights, ask questions etc. I always learn more from other people than I do on my own.

I hope you all had plenty of time to get the two required books. If you haven't, don't worry because you'll have a whole week to read your chapters and respond to the discussion questions. I plan on keeping a notebook during this process to write down my thoughts. I hope you'll do the same. We're going to do a few chapters a week. You can read ahead of course but I'm going to take a slow pace so we can take in all the information and accommodate busy schedules. I don't want this to be too taxing on people's already busy lives. Once again, I urge you to finish both books with us before making your final decision about whether or not these ideas hold any water. Keep an open mind and sit with the ideas for awhile. Let them percolate and simmer a little. It's taken you years to learn a certain way of thinking about your body and food, it will take awhile to unlearn it and adopt something new.

This week we'll read the introduction and chapters 1 and 2 of Intuitive Eating and the prologue and chapter 1 of Rethinking Thin. Get out your highlighters, pens, and paper!

Intuitive Eating discussion questions:

Introduction and Chapter 1

How have diets you've been on in the past (if any) contributed to issues you may have with food and your body?

What does the phrase "the big diet hope" mean to you? What is it about dieting that seems so alluring?

How old were you when you went on your first "diet?" What is your earliest memory of being concerned about your weight?

Our weight loss problems are usually not from a lack of knowledge about how to lose weight or knowing about what diets are out there. How much do you know about weight loss and diets both old school and new? Is having the information enough?

Have you experienced "diet backlash?" In what ways?

Chapter 2:

What style of eater are you? You can display characteristics of all of them, but what seems to be your predominate style? Identify which one you are and think about ways you display this style of eating.

Why are fitness fanatics and careful eaters considered "virtuous" in our society? Do you feel that people who don't exercise regularly and who "indulge" in unhealthy food are less virtuous?

Do you agree or disagree with the statement, "diets don't work?" Why or why not?

Now that you have been introduced to what an intuitive eater is, do you know anyone in your life who eats this way? If so, what behaviors do you see in them that you like?

The authors suggest that we all have an intuitive eater inside of us that has just been buried over time. Do you believe that you possess this ability somewhere in you? Why or why not?

Do you trust yourself around food? Does the idea of eating without rules excite you or terrify you?

The more you go to external sources to "judge" if your eating is in check, the more you remove yourself from intuitive eating. What are some external sources that guide your eating?

How often do feelings of guilt follow your eating?

Rethinking Thin discussion questions:

Prologue and Chapter 1:

On page six it reads that "the battle of weight loss is never won, even after you lose weight, individual faces a lifelong struggle with no expectation that the struggle required will diminish with time." Do you believe that if you were to lose weight and finally have the body you always wanted that the struggle would be over? Could you do what was required to keep the weight off for the rest of your life?

The author asks, "How did our society today, end up with what may be the greatest disconnect ever between the body weight ideals that are held up as obtainable if you really try and the body weight realities for most people?" What do you think is the answer to this question?

Carmen is a great example because he has tried EVERYTHING out there to lose weight. What do we learn from Carmen's life of dieting?

Compare what you've learned so far in Intuitive Eating with the dieters in the study talked about in Rethinking Thin.

I know I've listed a lot of questions here. I thought of so many as I was reading along. Answer which ever ones you want. Don't answer. Whatever you want. Share some ideas on the blog if you feel like it. If you think of any questions for everyone post them and we'll respond.

Here we go everyone! Have fun reading and thinking!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Come Join Us

Okay everybody.... it's a new year. Like the rest of the universe you're probably gearing up for a rigorous program of hard core dieting and back breaking exercise? You're probably stocking up the fridge with tasteless low carb tortillas and sugar free jello or filling your freezer with all varieties of meat for your third attempt at the Atkins diet? Are you excited (or dreading) to start a new and difficult regime that you know, down deep inside, will eventually fail just like every other diet you've tried in the past? I know... you're telling yourself that this one will be different, this year won't be like the others, but what happens when you hear that siren call for cheesecake or it's Junior's birthday and you love white cake with chocolate frosting!

How many of you would like to learn a new way of thinking about and relating to food and to your body so that you will never have to make another New Year's resolution that has anything to do with dieting? How many of you would like to have a healthy and peaceful relationship with the food that must be a part of your everyday life? How many of you would like to look in the mirror, genuinely like what you see, then go to the kitchen, make yourself a delicious lunch, enjoy every mouthful, and walk away from the table satisfied, happy, not feeling any guilt, and not thinking about fat grams, carbs, or calories? How about if you walked away and didn't even think about food again until you hear your stomach growling several hours later? How many of you would like to feel "in control" when it comes to food? How would you like cheesecake to never be off limits, but feel very satisfied after only eating one small piece?

If making peace with your body and food sounds good to you. If you're sick of fighting the battle that starts in your head every morning when you look in the mirror, hate what you see, and then realize that you're craving pancakes with strawberry syrup and whip cream, but you know that if you want to "be good" that day you should have cottage cheese and an apple, than this group, this blog is for you. Join us, and the journey might just change your life.

We'll call this little group our "Intuitive Eating" group because this is what we will be learning to do, eat intuitively. This group will be much like a common book group, but long distance and our discussions will take place via this blog. We will be reading two books together, one chapter in each book per week. There will be discussion questions each week and you can respond, comment, share with others, or not. It's up to you, but it would be good to keep a notebook or journal of your thoughts, ideas etc, as we go along.

If you decide to join the group, let me know by quickly leaving a comment on this post. If you would like to join anonymously you can do that too. I won't be checking to see who is reading this blog. If you decide to join and then feel like it's not for you, feel free to drop out at anytime, but I would strongly encourage you to stick with us through both books before you make your final decision.

Joining the group is free of course, but you must purchase (or borrow from the library) two books. The first is Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A. The second is Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata. Both books are cheapest through, but I'm sure you could also buy both at Barnes and Noble or Borders. They're great books to add to your shelves permanently.

You have one week to procure your books. We will begin reading and discussing next Monday, January 12th. Get excited ladies (and gents maybe), this is going to be awesome. You're going to learn all kinds of great things and discover so many great things about yourself you never thought possible. Your relationship with food and your body is going to become a lot more peaceful if nothing else. We want as many people to join as possible so spread the word. If you start with this program and think of others who would benefit, tell them too.