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.