July 2014

Kick Emotional Eating’s Butt!

Binge-Cartoon

Today’s topic is being addressed by an emotional eater so we’re all in this together. For those who isolate themselves in being the worst case of emotional eating, I challenge you to keep reading.

I prefer to not slate the statistics of emotional eating because truthfully, human beings are emotional no matter which way you slice the cake. When I needed to feel something physically and immediately, food replaced the hug. Since we can’t snap our fingers for a hug, we’ll settle for the next fast relief which for us will always be food. WHY are we programmed this way? And HOW can we keep the urge at bay for good?

If you really think about your family and previous generations, you’ll notice that food surrounds a lot of your memories. Apart from holidays, food is a Band-Aid after a rough day at school or work. Your elders were likely to implement that which is not an act to be blamed for your issues. It would be wise however to recognize the pattern so we can make a connection to that particular comfort. HOW you deviate from emotionally over-eating starts with one idea…

You know how we visualize potential escape routes to get out of awkward situations? Think of your urge to reach for food worthy of creating options to get out of. For addictive, impulsive personalities, our downfall is that we trap ourselves in this one-way street mindset- There is no other option. If we take a second to remind ourselves that life is all about options, we give ourselves control again. It’s like a sport and you must create a strategy to win this one. When a full moon is out, I retract into my room, close the door, and just sit for a few minutes. What I really wanted to do was tear apart the entire kitchen but instead I created another option for myself. Yes, I was edgy for the rest of the night and I’m sure others in my household noticed my flaring mood swing but the people that matter in life, love and accept all of who I am. That thought alone will always be your hug.

So to kick emotional eating’s butt, work on an exit strategy. Stylize it anyway you want, but definitely take a moment to consider the other options.

...Because this is not a good look.

…Because this is not a good look.

Neither is this.

Neither is this.

***Small assignment for emotional, impulsive personalities: make a “Top Five Reasons Worth Living For” list. Not intended to be morbid but it’s nice to remind yourself especially for when those tough times roll up. This also helps our fleeting emotions re-fixate on things we love which eliminates a binge. One of mine happens to be music which is cool because if I’m feeling off, I can dive into a great song, dance to it, go for a drive filling my eardrums with it. There are so many other options that can keep us from taking it out on our bodies via calories. What’s in your Top Five? ;)

Nutritional Balance

In a world where the green mermaid and big golden arches can be found at every street corner, we easily forget the way to attaining healthier meals. In a way, it’s like cheating in a relationship. We know the formula to a healthy outcome but of course that route takes extra work so we choose the easy way out. If there’s any relationship that deserves to be addressed, the one you have with your body should not be cheated.

One thing to always keep in mind when it comes to making healthier dietary choices is PROTEIN. Protein takes priority in it’s delivery to repairing body tissues, muscles including the heart, internal organs and skin. Over the years however, the protein portion in Western diets has dropped which contributes to the rise of obesity. This is where cheating is evident! Foods made from industrialized extracted sugars, starches, and salt are easily accessible and we fail to recognize that our bodies are not adapted to chips, cakes, frozen meals and sugary drinks.

Anthropology 101- Hunters and Gatherers (aka: Neanderthals, the first humans) diet comprised of 20% protein. Protein = survival = reproduction = evolutionary success! There is something to be said about this hunting/gathering formula that has been replaced by agriculture’s stressful demands. When humans turned to agriculture as a means of living, population increased which created this rushed process of getting food to mass populations. Humans now have this conflicted relationship with nutritional balance and to top it off, fad diets and media entertainment don’t help.

It pays to learn how to speak the protein lingo. However, navigating your way through the balance of the protein/carbohydrate/fat fair can be the tricky part. Essentially, nutritional balance eliminates the battle between appetite systems. Achieving the correct nutritional balance of proteins, carbs, and fats is way more important than measuring your meals based on calories. Nutritional Ecologist from the University of Sydney, David Raubenheimer, conducts various lab tests with mice in order to investigate how the balance of carbs and fats affects our health. He advises, “A simple rule for healthy eating is to avoid processed food- the closer to real foods the better.”

Each person needs a different amount of protein, carbs, and fat to satisfy nutritional balance. Sometimes crunching the numbers ourselves can be difficult but making an appointment to find out what those numbers are is super helpful! A single evaluation with a nutritional expert can wake you up and get you started in the right direction.

At the core of it all, awareness in what you eat can be saving. When it comes to nutritional health, don’t cheat!

If a Neanderthal wouldn't eat it, think twice.

If a Neanderthal wouldn’t eat it, think twice.

Good Sources of Protein:
Turkey
Chicken Breast
Tuna
Salmon
Low fat cheese- cottage cheese or mozzarella
Pork Loin
Lean beef and veal
Tofu
Beans
Eggs
Yogurt, milk and soy milk
Nuts and seeds

The Body Issue

Had enough of bikini season?

Had enough of bikini season?

It’s that time of the year again! We’ve all been there. Approaching the cashier at our local pharmacy when your routine is interrupted by the reminder of what month it is; Colorful magazine covers containing images of palm trees and super models in bikinis fill the racks conveniently right next to the self-rewarding candy bars. It’s July and the monologue you begin with yourself goes a little something like this- “I haven’t done any squats or Pilates. And I definitely haven’t given up pizza. Darn that Heidi Klum. It must be photo shopped! That woman has had babies and a busy schedule. How the heck does she look like that?! Screw my metabolism and my family genetics and the stressful job that keeps me from going to the gym. Everyone else is at fault for my body issues!” And that’s when you reward yourself for an Oscar worthy performance by reaching for a Butterfinger.

Here’s some advice for our self-loathing tick itching at the checkout stand: Buy the magazine featuring the swimsuit model along with your favorite candy bar. You’ll be surprised to find out that the celebrities honored for their hot beach bodies are also human beings that occasionally dive into instant gratification via Snack Aisle. In the June Issue of Us Weekly’s “The Body Issue” featuring Heidi Klum and 100 celebrities inside the cover, they each share their challenges with dieting and the pressure of bikini season. What’s so refreshing to know is that there isn’t any “one secret works for all” to become beach ready. Not one person had the same routine as far as exercise or food they ate. In fact, some were advocates for simply staying on their feet for a majority of the day and breaking the candy bar in half, saving the other half for later indulgence.

Changes in diet are usually a turn-off because people tend to think of the immediate “elimination” of favorite foods when what you’ll discover from the bikini Gods is to create space between indulging. If you can tackle this part of the process, next on the list is adding an activity you’re comfortable doing. Comfort is key. If you don’t want to lift weights, get to work on that pile of old school books in your room. Cleaning burns calories. Movement burns calories.

Most of this information is common sense however it’s not common-doing. The barrier between common sense and the doing is based on our behavior and how we handle life situations. How we manage stress says it all. You could have your plan to be healthy and hit the gym after work when wham! A simple phone call from someone takes ahold of your brain and gets your anxiety going and your response is accompanied by a couch with a bag of potato chips. You made the choice to give that situation your attention in such a way to deviate from your initial plan. Instead, you could let that phone call hit your voicemail (if it’s that important), hit the gym for half an hour (if the missed call is still bugging you) then give that person your attention. Some of us are very immediate in our response to situations which isn’t a bad quality by any means but when it chips away at your self worth and time, remind yourself that you are your biggest priority. Your body is worthy of your undivided attention and you only get one precious shell so treat it well.

If seeking extra guidance outside of your home seems ludicrous, think again. There are many professionals who are passionate in helping others make better life choices when it comes to stress and food. Yo-yo dieting and extreme work outs aren’t the answer to achieve confidence in your image. Even the photo shopped stars eat nachos and take a day off.

Learning how to moderate our favorite indulgences is a learned process, not a light switch. So be patient in your classroom of life and invite Heidi Klum to your study sessions. She has good notes. ;)