The Game of Life on a Diet

The Game of Life on a Diet

I was thinking the other day about creating a board game for middle school and high school students called "The Game of Life on a Diet".   Yeah - weird I know - but those are the kinds of things I think about. 

You start out with your player, riding a bike (because kids can't drive). At the fork where you are supposed to choose between going to college or getting a job, the player can choose, "Go on First Diet" or "Live Free". 

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Don't Let Weight Watchers Get Your Teens Too

Don't Let Weight Watchers Get Your Teens Too

Weight Watchers has announced that it will offer teens free memberships this summer. This is like a dealer offering free drugs to teens in order to get them hooked for life and keep them coming back for more.

Dieting is like a drug.  When you begin, there is a surge of excitement and a high.  You find your plan, get your materials, set your goal weight and begin.

You lose weight and ride a wave of ecstasy as the praise and adoration floods in and your spirits soar. This shit is awesome, you think. 

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There is No Such Thing as a Fattening Food

There is No Such Thing as a Fattening Food

I know this sounds like a particularly bold statement so bear with me. People are often concerned with having fat on their bodies and then eating foods that people associate with being fat. One way to handle this concern is to not give a flying fuck (sorry mom) what anyone thinks of your body or what you eat.  For people who are not quite there yet (and it's ok - it can take awhile), they can be caught in a bit of a catch 22.  They want to relax and eat foods they enjoy, but they are still worried that these foods might be responsible for their size. The good news is, there are no such thing as fattening foods!

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Decoding a Fat Feeling

Decoding a Fat Feeling

Did you know that fat feelings are not actually about fat? Fat feelings are an expression of discomfort about something going on in your life. Yet, we are so conditioned to feel like there is something wrong with our bodies that we blame all the discomfort we are feeling on our bodies.  Then we make a plan to change our bodies. This plan is a distraction from the real issue. It is also a way to feel like we are bringing control and certainty into life situations that feel chaotic and scary.  So it's a brilliant coping mechanism, but it doesn't address the real issues.

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It's Not About Working Harder

It's Not About Working Harder

I was discussing anti-dieting and intuitive eating with a friend over the holidays. I could tell he didn't really get it and the kicker was when he said "I think there is value in trying to stay fit, even if it's hard." (I'm pretty sure he meant "thin" when he said "fit".)

This statement suggests if we simply worked harder, we could all be thin. In reality, this is one of the main misconceptions that keeps people trapped in the dieting cycle for so long. For my friend who said this - he works out and eats "healthy" and stays thin so he thinks everyone can.  This is what many people believe in our culture and it is why the diet industry is booming and why fat shame exists.  People ask themselves, if everyone else can lose the weight or maintain a healthy weight by society standards then why can't I?  

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How Do We Start to Change Diet Culture

How Do We Start to Change Diet Culture

I recently had a reader ask: "How do we change this {diet} culture?  We all talk about how horrible it is, then we perpetuate it by telling friends we're fat. I see how young women dress and think that it's very hard to be young and not in perfect shape. There is also no modesty. Everything is shown these days. Young women must feel the need to look perfect all the time because everything is photographed, "shared", and posted. It's a tough time to be self conscious and yet have to put yourself out there to be a part of social media."

Here was my response:

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So the Dr. Said You Need to Lose Weight

So the Dr. Said You Need to Lose Weight

For the last several years, I have been standing on the scale backwards when I go to the doctor and they want to measure my weight. I know that weight does not equal health, and I know that in the past, whatever the number was, used to send me into a tailspin of euphoria or anxiety that wasn't based on anything other than a number.  I didn't want to subject myself to that stress anymore.

Last year, when I went to the gynecologist, I did the weight backwards as usual. Then, the doctor brought me into her office. After she affirmed that everything looked great and that I had no problems, she told me to lose weight.  I told her that I don't diet anymore and I gave it up because it's bad for my health.  She said, oh of course, diets don't work, but you need a lifestyle change.  At the time, I didn't quite have the nerve to challenge her anymore than I already had, so I swallowed the lump in my throat and doubted myself.  I mean she's a Dr. right?

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Looking for a New Year's Cleanse? Try These!

Have you been feeling icky about food and your body? Do you feel sluggish and fatigued? Are you often trying to get to the gym but just can't? Do you look at the covers of magazines and the stars of TV shows and despair and wish you had their body?

I'm not going to tell you you "need" anything. But if you are looking for relief from feeling crappy and want some ideas, here are some  cleanses that might help you feel better in 2018. 

A media cleanse!  Go through your Instagram and other social media and delete every account that makes you feel bad about your body.  In it's place, start to follow men and women with bodies that represent all the shapes and sizes that are natural in the world and that really exist.  Stop following people who use filters and touch ups and air brushing before they will even post the picture.  Do the same with your Facebook feed.  Have a friend who keeps asking if you are beach body ready or if you want to try the keto diet with them? Hide them. You don't have to unfollow, but hide them as fast as you can. 

Get rid of your magazine subscriptions to magazines where the thin white ideal is the only body represented and every month there is a plan to "lose weight fast" on the cover.  I'll tell you how to lose weight fast - throw those magazines in the trash.  Stop watching TV shows where every character is a skinny white woman and all they talk about is how many almonds they are allowed to eat for lunch. 

The second cleanse is of your closet.  Throw out clothes that don't fit and are tight and uncomfortable.  Stop holding onto things that you want to fit into that you haven't worn in years.  If you can't bring yourself to throw them away, then at least put them in the basement or attic where they aren't there to remind you of something you equate with failure every time you walk in the closet.  Instead, find clothes that fit and are comfortable so you always have a "go to" outfit when you walk in the closet.  You don't need to have a lot of clothes, but having clothes that fit and are comfortable makes a huge difference in your mindset for the day and how you hold yourself when you are out and about. 

The third cleanse is a cleanse of all your diet tools and diet mentality. Diet books, food journals, scales (both for your weight and your food), point counters, clean eating magazines - go ahead and toss them all.  Free yourself from thinking of foods as good or bad.  Release yourself from rules around eating that constantly leave you feeling guilty and full of shame.  Notice and eliminate messages coming to you from people who want you to buy their products and who are telling you that there is something wrong with your body. 

The fourth cleanse might be a little tougher and take some time, but, who are you hanging out with? Are you spending your time with people who elevate and appreciate you? Do you spend time with people who are focused on what they can do and what they contribute or only what size their jeans are? The point is not to get judgmental of others, but to protect yourself. If hanging out with someone makes you feel bad, then be sure to set boundaries and take steps to mitigate the harm that they do.  Reach out to people online who will be more supportive or make a point to seek out people in your community who really lift you up.  Start a new group of your own!

And last, but maybe most important, cleanse yourself of the negative self talk that you subject yourself to on a daily basis.  How often are you saying something mean to yourself? How do you expect to feel peppy and energized when you constantly feel like you are doing something wrong?  Who wants to go to the gym when someone (yourself) is nagging you all the time?   Your negative voice operates from a place of fear.  It thinks it is protecting you, but you can do a much better job of that without listening to it.  You can thank it for it's service and it can still have a seat on the bus - but don't let it drive.

Once you stop looking at bodies that are not real, and start wearing clothes that are comfortable and speaking to yourself with self compassion, already your energy and your mood will start to heal.  By removing all the negative influences and replacing them with things that make you feel good, you will lose the weight off your shoulders and open yourself up to more joy and freedom and happiness. You will raising your vibration and this will attract more and more people and experiences to you that will make you feel better and better.  

But don't take my word for it - try it for yourself and see how it goes. Then tell me about your experience because I'd love to hear about it. 

But if I eat what I want I will......

But if I eat what I want I will......

Are you afraid to give yourself unconditional permission to eat? It’s not surprising if you are afraid. Many people are – which is why so many people restrict themselves. Some people restrict intentionally, and some people don’t even realize they are doing it.  But everyone thinks that restriction is what they “should” be doing and they even beat themselves up if they aren't restricting enough.  

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What To Do If You Stopped Dieting and Feel Like Shit

What To Do If You Stopped Dieting and Feel Like Shit

Recently, my mentor Rachel Cole posted this blog about how to feel good in our bodies.  I want to take a moment to point out why we might be feeling bad in the first place. Then, it might be clearer why what she suggests we do to feel better is so true and so helpful. 

If you are currently dieting, you may find that dieting is not making you feel good.  You get really excited at the beginning of the diet.  You lose some weight and feel even better.  Then it gets harder to maintain and your negative voice gets louder and you start to feel like a failure.  Then you gain the weight back and feel even worse.  Yes, you are in pain and it is coming from dieting. Dieting is bad for us mentally, physically and emotionally.  

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Be Wary of Weight Loss "Success" Stories

Be Wary of Weight Loss "Success" Stories

Do you think that anyone can lose weight if they try hard enough? We have been taught that intentional weight loss is possible, that it can happen for anyone, and that it is the golden ticket to living your best life.  That makes it hard to stop attempting to lose weight. To make it harder, everyone has heard about someone who has lost weight and kept it off, which makes everyone think that it's their fault if they can't do it too. 

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Diet Culture - The Silent Killer

Diet Culture - The Silent Killer

When lead paint, asbestos, cigarettes and BPA were found to be harmful to ourselves and our children, we made every effort to minimize or eliminate them or at least post warnings about them routinely.   Diet culture is another nefarious intruder that we need to protect ourselves and our children from.

Diet culture is like carbon monoxide, killing us silently in our sleep. Which is why I want everyone to wake up. 

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Does Dieting Keep You From Feasting on Your Life?

Does Dieting Keep You From Feasting on Your Life?

A few things I am wondering about……

I often hear women say that they don't want their children to have the same body issues that they do.  They fully agree that children should not hear diet talk and be made to feel self conscious of their bodies. They want their kids to be confident. And so these mothers don't talk about their diets in front of the kids.

But they continue to diet and they bring the diet talk underground.  I want to hug these mothers and say - you should not be hearing this talk either. Why do you talk to yourself the way you would never talk to your child? You are worthy of loving your body too.  And self confidence doesn't come from being skinny, it's from connecting with this sense of worthiness.  We are all worthy, only some of us have forgotten. 

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How Do You Want to Feel This Holiday?

How Do You Want to Feel This Holiday?

How do you want to feel this holiday? Did you know you have a choice? Here is an excerpt from my journal many years ago.  Trigger warning: I was in the thick of diet mentality and hated myself. I have also included an excerpt from a more recent year showing how things are different and how I feel now. Nothing has changed materially in my life circumstances but everything has changed internally and it makes all the difference.  

At the end of this post, I will tell you the top 3 things I did to change my perspective and change my life for the better. Read on and tell me, which way do you want to feel?

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Dear Family Members during the Holidays

Dear Family Members during the Holidays

I know you have been raised in a generation of dieting.  I know that you have been taught not to trust your body.  I know that our society idolizes a thin ideal and this has been ingrained in your head.  I know you have been taught to try and change your body over and over again in order to fit a norm deemed acceptable to society.  I know you have lost weight more times than you can count and gained it back again.  I know you are ashamed and embarrassed by fat on your body because generations before you told you you should be.  I know that you are bombarded by ads and messages hundreds of times a day that tell you have problems to fix and encourage you to look like everyone else. 

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Do you have Diet Mentality?

Do you have Diet Mentality?

I am always surprised when people don't realize they suffer from diet mentality. 

While walking the dog yesterday, I bumped into my neighbor who is in her 70's.  She was asking what I do for work lately and I told her I am coaching women to help them find peace with food and their bodies.  She told me that she was going to sign up for a local weight loss program and that she hadn't gotten around to it yet.  (I guess she thought that peace with food can only come when you lose weight.)  She then shared that over Halloween she bought and ate a half a bag of candy corn. She said it was disgusting and she was so mad at herself for eating it but she couldn't stop.  She also said when she was lying in bed later that night, she hoped her husband didn't see the bag she left on the counter because she meant to hide it or throw it away.  

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50 Truths to help you break up with Diet Culture

50 Truths to help you break up with Diet Culture

Need a good reason to break up with diet culture? How about 50 great reasons! Things that make you go Hmmmmmm..........

  1. 98% of diets fail.
  2. Dieters gain most of their weight back, if not more, within 3 years. 
  3. "Dieting causes the condition it's supposed to cure.  Most people who diet would be happier, healthier, and thinner if they never dieted." Paul Campos - The Obesity Myth
  4. There is no proven method for sustainable weight loss.
  5. The largest predictor of weight gain is a diet.
  6. Dieting is the most common precipitating factor in the development of an eating disorder. https://eatingdisorder.org/eating-disorder-information/underlying-causes/
  7. It’s hypocritical for us to prescribe behavior to fat patients (labeling food good/bad, restricting intake, relying on the number on the scale for feelings of success) which we would diagnose as eating disordered in thin patients. (Deb Burgard - http://www.bodypositive.com/top10.htm)
  8. Dieting is a $61 billion dollar industry based on getting you to not like how you look so you will spend money on it's solutions.  (Even better for them that they offer solutions that don't work so you will keep having to come back. A previous CEO if Weight Watchers even admitted they know most of their business is based on repeat customers.)
  9. BMI was never created to accurately give any information about someone's health, it was created by a statistician to describe the weight of a population.  All weights under the BMI bell curve are NORMAL.  Only the middle part is average.  (So why do Dr.'s say everyone should be in the middle?) For more reasonsBMI is bogus (as if you need any more)  - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106268439
  10. Over weight - over what weight? Who says what is over?
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Secrets From the Eating Lab - Book Review

Secrets From the Eating Lab - Book Review

I just finished reading Tracy Mann's Secrets From the Eating Lab.  With regard to the concept of not dieting - it was filled with great and useful information to support why diets don't work.  I would recommend it to people looking for studies and scientific data to support why diets are not good for you. 

The author also aptly suggests - why are we all concerned with weight anyway? She explains that fat is not going to kill as much as we have been led to believe, if at all, and that heavier people actually tend to live longer than smaller people.

However, spoiler alert,  I actually didn't like the book at all and I’m about to tell you why. 

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Dangerous Deception in News Article about Not-Dieting

Dangerous Deception in News Article about Not-Dieting

My friend sent me an article about intuitive eating.  It was titled "What Happens to Your Brain when you go on a Diet".  Articles like this intrigue and disgust me. We all know that diets aren't as trendy anymore.  So it says all the right things; dieting makes you gain weight, everyone has a set point weight that the body wants to get back to after dieting, they make note that the “calories in and calories out” is “old”, and they even mention that you can maintain a healthy diet and gain weight which is true.  They warn of bingeing in reaction to deprivation and how the stress hormones from dieting can impact your health. They mention how dieting makes you stop listening to your body’s own cues. They even say that being slim doesn’t mean your healthy – they say it in parentheses (as if they don’t really want to say that).  It all sounds like they are against dieting – right?  

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