Fit vs. Fiction's Blog


My life with Anorexia

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on May 24, 2015
Tags: , , , ,

Alone I live inside my head, never wanting to leave my bed

On the outside so strong and tough, But inside never good enough

I spend each moment wrapped in fear, afraid of looking in the mirror

What power it has over me, it’s reflection is my enemy.

My bones are not distinct enough, my stomach still too round

I weigh my worth in numbers, hating every pound.

My body aches from hunger, and I relish in the pain

This war I fight within myself, is driving me insane.

I’ve finally hit my bottom, like none I’ve hit before

I can’t stand to live a life so painful anymore.

“Please somebody help me!”

I’m shouting every word

But my prayers go unanswered, my pleas are never heard.

Waiting lists go on for years, fees are just too high

My future looking grimmer, my life is slipping by.

But way out in the distance, though my eyes must strain to see

The light of hope is flickering, and calling out to me.

I’m 45! And in case you were wondering…

I’m about to turn 45 years old, which is weird because there are times when I feel like I’m still 16 (of course, there are also times when I feel like I’m 145). I don’t dread birthdays. I don’t see getting older as a curse. I think it’s a privilege that too many people never get. But, at the risk of sounding like an “old” person, I will say that the time has gone by REALLY quickly and has been jam packed with LIFE. Some of it good, some of it weird and some of it pretty friggin’ bad, but it’s been my life and all I can do is embrace it.

Some people like to say that age is just a number, but I strongly disagree. It’s so much more than just a number. Age is an accumulation of experiences and relationships that impact everything I do and everything I am.
So today on my 45th birthday, I’m sharing 45 facts about ME!

Some are things you might know, some you’d never guess. WHY am I doing this? To be honest, while you don’t want to live in the past, visiting it once in awhile can help you appreciate how far you’ve come. I realize this is completely self-indulgent, but hey, it’s my birthday!

Here we go:

1. My (ex) stepfather was the Satchel Bandit. He spent 2 years robbing banks between Montreal and Toronto. (He told us he was a caterer) He was caught in the act and convicted on 47 counts.

2. I was a contestant in the 1990 Golden Girl International Talent Competition where Jackie Stallone (Sly’s mom) was one of the judges and I WON! (Just kidding, I lost miserably. May have even come in last place)

3. When I was in my late teens I was followed around the Cavendish mall for an hour by two girls who thought I was British pop sensation Kylie Minogue.

4. For an entire year, I decided to change my name to Jordan and drove my mother crazy by refusing to answer to anything else.

5. I failed home economics in High school (cooking and sewing) which should really be of no surprise to anyone. (I still can’t cook… or sew)

6. I have the absolute worst sense of direction and once got lost jogging in my own neighbourhood.

7. I am a HUGE UFC fan! The only way I can fall asleep is by alphabetically listing UFC fighters in my head. Some people count sheep, I count Silvas, Guidas and Fabers.

8. I got fired from Club Med for being bossy. (There’s an interesting story there..)

9. I flew to Mexico with 2 pieces of luggage. On the way there, the airline lost one of my bags. On the way back, they lost the other one.

10. I was the ONLY injured passenger in a via rail train crash in 1994. (I broke my nose) Canadian actor Saul Rubinek carried my bag off the train for me.

11. In 2000, I spent 2 months in the hospital (17 days in the I.C.U.) with kidney and respiratory failure. I was a medical mystery until 2 major surgeries confirmed that I had an unusual case of C-Diff, complicated by MRSA and pneumonia. I was given a 25% chance of surviving and was 5.5 months pregnant with our son Jackson. I couldn’t talk, eat or breathe on my own. After several weeks, I started to heal, but we lost Jackson. (His initials are tattooed on my ankle)

12. 3 years later, for reasons completely unrelated, I needed to have part of my liver removed. I now have quite a collection of Kickass Scars.

13. My scars are finally outnumbered by my tattoos. Scars:7 Tattoos:10

14. I worked at Pizza Hut for 1 day, but couldn’t handle the uniform.

15. I worked at a shoe store for a week, but couldn’t handle the feet.

16. The best insult I ever got was about 20 years ago when I was crossing the street with my headphones on and wasn’t watching where I was going. A guy in a car yelled out, “PAY ATTENTION, YA DOUGH-HEAD!”

I laughed so hard.

17. Rob and I were contestants on Love Handles, the Canadian version of The Newlywed game hosted by Stu Jeffries and we won! Our prize was a train ride from Vancouver to Banff.

18. My first non-fitness related job was at the Second Cup cafe on Church street in downtown Toronto. I was their only heterosexual employee and met the most amazing people and learned a lot.

19. I became a vegetarian at 17, not for moral or ethical reasons, but because a friend of mine dared me to go a WEEK without eating meat which turned into 28 years simply because I can be UBER competitive.

20. I met actor Jerry O’Connell when I was a “special skilled” extra on his teen show “My Secret Identity”. He teased me about how I wiggled when I walked. (FYI..he played a 14 year old with superpowers).

21. I moved from Montreal to Toronto on my own when I was 19 years old and had a CRAZY roommate who lied about EVERYTHING and stole whatever I didn’t hide. Last I heard, he was collecting money for a fake charity he created.

22. It’s been 28 years but I still can’t shake the resentment I feel for the asshole doctor who told me when I was a healthy, fit 17 year old girl, that while I wasn’t overweight “medically”, Society was thin and if I wanted to fit into society I had to lose 10 Lbs. Plus, I shouldn’t be seen in a bathing suit until did! (FYI: I lost the 10 Lbs, plus another 20)

23. On my 18th birthday, my mother got me a cake that said,”Happy Birthday Bitch”. She was extremely embarressed to order it, but it was an inside joke between the two of us and I thought it was a hoot! She also came with me and some of my friends to Club 281 (the only male strip club in Montreal at the time). She thought it was funny that I wanted her to join me and my friends at our first time at a strip club…she had no idea it wasn’t our first time at this strip club.

24. I once got up to sing a Rihanna song at a PACKED Karaoke bar and completely forgot how to sing it. Instead of singing, I ended up repeating, “Holy shit, how does it go again??” over and over until the song ended.

25. Before I was 30, I had lost my mother, my brother, my father and my baby, Jackson. Every year on their birthdays (and mine) as well as on the anniversaries of the days I lost them, I do Random Acts of Kindness around the city so I can celebrate their lives instead of mourn their deaths. (confession: I don’t do it for my father, because while I don’t hold a single grudge against him, I also didn’t have any relationship with him growing up)

26. Whenever I walk through the cologne department of a department store, I find the Polo Cologne (green bottle) and smell it. It was what my brother Billy wore and it reminds me of him.

27. I worry all the time that I’m not nearly as good a mother as my mother was.

28. I used to have a crush on Pink and now I want to be her.

29. In Grade 2, I wrote a petition about my French teacher because he was mean to the girls and violent with the boys and while I didn’t want him to be fired, I did want things to change. All but one kid in my class signed it. After an intimidating conversation with the principal where I spoke my mind, the principal and the teacher called my home and apologized to me and to my parents. The teacher was much friendlier after that and I learned that I had a voice and the right to use it.

30. Before getting into recovery for my eating disorder, I once walked to the gym, alone, at midnight on a Sunday (1 hour away), worked out for 2 hours and then walked back at 3am because I felt I had eaten too much that day. My fear of gaining weight was stronger than my fear of the danger I was potentially putting myself in that night. Another day, I took a fat burner and thought I was having a heart attack at the gym, but finished my workout before driving myself to the hospital. A week later I did the same thing.

31. The only reason I went into recovery was because I felt that my sons deserved a mom who was at least half as amazing as mine was. Even though I had given up on myself, I could never give up on them. I gave them life. They saved mine.

32. #31 came out sounding much more dramatic than I had planned.

33. At my Sweet 16 party, while I was dancing with my friends, somebody stole ALL of my gifts. I heard he pawned them for drugs.

34. I don’t follow people on Social media who constantly post “uplifting”, “Inspirational” quotes because I think they’re full of shit and I relate much better to people who have fucked up and fallen down a bunch of times before finding a way to get back up.

35. I swear. A lot.

36. When I was a teenager, I was an extra in a Uma Thurman movie and had to stand outside in the freezing cold while garbage was being thrown at me. (Not worth the crappy pay)

37. I made a promise to myself many years ago, that I would someday, somehow meet Prince and tell him about my brother who was a major fan. He constantly listened to his music when he was in the hospital and when he died, we put Prince casettes (it was 1987) in his casket with him.

38. Several years ago, I did a print ad for MILK where I played a “Plain Jane Mom” who was hiding in their kid’s school locker. It was not comfortable.

39. I honestly believe my cat is plotting my death.

40. I published a book.I wrote it for parents who are trying to raise healthy, happy, self-confident kids in a society that keeps telling them they’re just not good enough. I wrote it because I spent most of my life feeling like I wasn’t good enough and robbed me of relationships, dreams and goals. It took me until I was in my 30s to find recovery and I’ve made it my mission to save other kids from going through the trauma I couldn’t avoid.

41. Last October I was a guest on Geraldo Rivera’s TV show on Fox where I debated the Fit Mom debacle with fit mom, Maria Kang, herself. It was an interesting experience.

42. I don’t hate Nickelback.

43. Last summer, I almost literally bumped into my sister at a charity event I got invited to at the last minute. We hadn’t spoken to each other in many, MANY years because whenever we did speak, it never went well. This time it was different. WE’RE different and for the first time in our lives, we enjoy spending time together and wish we lived closer. xo

44. I think Scarlett Johansson should play me in a movie.

45. One day, if I’m ever brave enough, I will add to this list the things that would truly shock and amaze most of my friends and family, but I’m not ready yet…and either are they. Trust me.

What would your list look like?

The “Satchel Bandit” A.K.A. Eddie

Eddie

Milk ad

The Golden Girl  International talent Competition 1990 (UGH)

The Golden Girl International talent Competition 1990 (UGH)

phoenixzphoenixscary

foxtattoo

bookMe and Momloripost

Breaking Free from an Image Obsessed society

We live in an image obsessed, fat phobic, one size fits all kind of world where we spend our whole lives trying to live up to an unrealistic expectations of beauty that is impossible to attain and it’s killing us. Body image issues and eating disorders are destroying the lives of boys and girls, men and women and it’s time to take a stand!

Why I started Fit vs Fiction and why I won’t shut up about it

BECAUSE:
We live in an image obsessed, fat-phobic, one-size-fits-all, thin is in, skinny jean wearing, thigh gap measuring, binging and purging, body hating society where kids barely out of pre-school are begging their mothers to keep them home from school because they feel like they’re just too fat to fit in!

And THAT..is NOT..Okay.

Latest Book review from VictorianEDTreatment Center, Newport Ca

Book Review: The Body Image Survival Guide

by mhurst220— last modified Apr 24, 2013 04:05 PM

Filed Under:
psychology

The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents by Marci Warhaft-Nadler is a must read for every parent raising a child in the 21st century. A negative body image is a contributing factor for developing an eating disorder. Eating disorders are on the rise in children. There was a 119% increase of eating disorder related hospitalizations among children under 12 years old between the years 1999 and 2006.

Watching a family drop off their daughter at the Victorian – Eating Disorder Treatment is heart breaking. Emotions are high; crying, screaming and bargaining are all quite familiar. Our staff calms the parents and client reminding them that they are making a wise decision to seek help for this deadly mental illness. It is a scenario every parent dreads – acknowledging their child is sick and in need of professional help. Many question if anything could have been done to prevent the eating disorder? A genetic and social disease, preventing eating disorders is hard to quantify. However, a new book titled, The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents by Marci Warharft-Nadler, eating disorder survivor and Certified Personal Trainer provides several preventative tools to navigate a child towards a healthy body image.

The Body Image Survival Guide is broken down into chapters addressing issues for every age group:
•Ages 0-3
•Ages 4-8
•Ages 9-12
•Age 13 and up

As well as how to address body image in a variety of scenarios:
•Body image issues with boys
•Building self-esteem
•How to help an overweight child
•When parents need to lose weight
•Post-pregnancy dieting
•Role modeling positive body image
•The dangers of negative body image
•Media literacy

My favorite thing about the book is the way Nadler breaks up the chapters with real questions from parents. The “Dear Abby” format of the book quickly makes it seem as if Nadler is simply one parent talking to another. I highly recommend The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents to parents, teachers and school counselors.

You can purchase The Body Image Survival Guide HERE

and follow Nadler on twitter here: @fit_vs_fiction

I’m 43! And just in case you were wondering…

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on April 22, 2013
Tags: , , ,

I’m about to turn 43 years old, which is weird because there are times when I feel like I’m still 16 (of course, there are also times when I feel like I’m 143). I don’t dread birthdays. I don’t see getting older as a curse. I think it’s a privilege that too many people never get. But, at the risk of sounding like an “old” person, I will say that the time has gone by REALLY quickly and has been jam packed with LIFE. Some of it good, some of it weird and some of it pretty friggin’ bad, but it’s been my life and all I can do is embrace it.

So today on my 43rd birthday, I’m sharing 40

facts about ME! (because 43 facts would be crazy!)

Some are things you might know, some you’d never guess. WHY am I doing this? To be honest, while you don’t want to live in the past, visiting it once in awhile can help you appreciate how far you’ve come. I realize this is completely self-indulgent, but hey, it’s my birthday!

Here we go:

1. My (ex) stepfather was the Satchel Bandit. He spent 2 years robbing banks between Montreal and Toronto. (He told us he was a caterer) He was caught in the act and convicted on 47 counts.

2. I was a contestant in the 1990 Golden Girl International Talent Competition where Jackie Stallone (Sly’s mom) was one of the judges and I WON! (Just kidding, I lost miserably. May have even come in last place)

3. When I was in my late teens I was followed around the Cavendish mall for an hour by 2 girls who thought I was British pop sensation Kylie Minogue.

4. For an entire year, I decided to change my name to Jordan and drove my mother crazy by refusing to answer to anything else.

5. I failed home economics in High school (cooking and sewing) which should really be of no surprise to anyone.

6. I have the absolute worst sense of direction and once got lost jogging in my own neighbourhood.

7. I am a HUGE UFC fan! The only way I can fall asleep is by alphabetically listing UFC fighters in my head. Some people count sheep, I count Silvas, Guidas and Fabers.

8. I got fired from Club Med for being bossy. (There’s an interesting story there..)

9. I flew to Mexico with 2 pieces of luggage. On the way there, the airline lost one of my bags. On the way back, they lost the other one.

9. I was the ONLY injured passenger in a via rail train crash in 1994. (I broke my nose) Canadian actor Saul Rubinek carried my bag off the train for me.

10. In 2000, I spent 2 months in the hospital (17 days in the I.C.U.) with kidney and respiratory failure. I was a medical mystery until 2 major surgeries confirmed that I had an unusual case of C-Diff, complicated by MRSA and pneumonia. I was given a 25% chance of surviving and was 5.5 months pregnant with our son Jackson. I couldn’t talk, eat or breathe on my own. After several weeks, I started to heal, but we lost Jackson. (His initials are tattooed on my ankle)

11. 3 years later, for reasons completely unrelated, I needed to have part of my liver removed. I now have quite a collection of Kickass Scars.

12. My scars are finally outnumbered by my tattoos. Scars:7 Tattoos:10

13. I worked at Pizza Hut for 1 day, but couldn’t handle the uniform.

14. I worked at a shoe store for a week, but couldn’t handle the feet.

15. I’ve never seen the movies: Ghostbusters, Gladiator, Braveheart or any of The Back to Future flicks.

16. Rob and I were contestants on “Love Handles”, the Canadian version of The Newlywed game hosted by Stu Jeffries and we won! Our prize was a train ride from Vancouver to Banff.

17. My first non-fitness related job was at the Second Cup cafe on Church street in downtown Toronto. I was their only heterosexual employee and met the most amazing people and learned a lot.

18. I became a vegetarian at 17, not for moral or ethical reasons, but because a friend of mine dared me to go a week without eating meat and I can be UBER competitive.

19. I met actor Jerry O’Connell when I was a “special skilled” extra on his teen show “My Secret Identity”. He teased me about how I wiggled when I walked. (FYI..he played a 14 year old with superpowers).

20. I moved from Montreal to Toronto on my own when I was 19 years old and had a CRAZY roommate who lied about EVERYTHING and stole whatever I didn’t hide. Last I heard, he was collecting money for a fake charity he created.

21. When I was 15 or 16, one of my family members had an insane stalker who terrorized us for months and forced us to spend some time at a friend’s place when he put his fist through our kitchen window. It took awhile (no stalker laws back then) but he was finally arrested.

22. On my 18th birthday, my mother got me a cake that said, “Happy Birthday Bitch”. She was extremely embarressed to order it, but it was an inside joke between the two of us and I thought it was a hoot!

23. I once got up to sing a Rihanna song at a PACKED Karaoke bar and completely forgot how to sing it. Instead of singing, I ended up repeating, “Holy shit, how does it go again?” over and over until the song ended.

24. Before I was 30, I had lost my mother, my brother, my father and my baby, Jackson. Every year on their birthdays (and mine) as well as on the anniversaries of the days I lost them, I do Random Acts of Kindness around the city so I can celebrate their lives instead of mourn their deaths.

25. Whenever I walk through the cologne department of a department store, I find the Polo Cologne (green bottle) and smell it. It was what my brother Billy wore and it reminds me of him.

26. I’m a terrible cook.

27. I used to have a crush on Pink.

28. I now have a crush on Rick Yune and Bruno Mars

29. Before getting into recovery for my eating disorder, I once walked to the gym, alone, at midnight on a Sunday (1 hour away), worked out for 2 hours and then walked back at 3am because I felt I had eaten too much that day. My fear of gaining weight was stronger than my fear of the danger I was potentially putting myself in that night.

30. The only reason I went into recovery was because I felt that my sons deserved a mom who was at least half as amazing as mine was. Even though I had given up on myself, I could never give up on them. I gave them life. They saved mine.

31. #30 came out sounding much more dramatic than I had planned.

32. At my Sweet 16 party, while I was dancing with my friends, somebody stole ALL of my gifts. I heard he pawned them for drugs.

33. In high school, my best friend hit another friend in the face because she didn’t like the way she talked to me and got suspended for it.

34. Twenty-five years later, I’m friends with both of them and hope they got a chuckle when they read the previous fact.

35. When I was a teenager, I was an extra in a Uma Thurman movie and had to stand outside in the freezing cold while garbage was being thrown at me. (Not worth the crappy pay)

36. I made a promise to myself many years ago, that I would someday, somehow meet Prince and tell him about my brother who was a major Prince fan. He constantly listened to his music when he was in the hospital and when he died, we put Prince casettes (it was 1987) in his casket with him.

37. Several years ago, I did a print ad for MILK where I played a “Plain Jane Mom” who was hiding in their kid’s school locker. It was not comfortable.

38. I took drum lessons for a month, always wanted to learn sign language and presently, wouldn’t mind learning how to box.

39. My first book was just published. I wrote it for parents who are trying to raise healthy, happy, self-confident kids in a society that keeps telling them they’re just not good enough. I wrote it because I spent most of my life feeling like I wasn’t good enough and robbed me of relationships, dreams and goals. It took me until I was in my 30’s to find recovery and I’ve made it my mission to save other kids from going through the trauma I couldn’t avoid.

40. I know it was kind of silly to write this but I did it anyway. :o)

What would your list look like?

My ex-stepfather. The satchel bandit with my mom at my Sweet 16.

My ex-stepfather.
The satchel bandit with my mom at my Sweet 16.

The Golden Girl International talent Competition 1990 (UGH)

The Golden Girl International talent Competition 1990 (UGH)

Me and Mom</a

Billy and me  >

My crazy family

My crazy family

We need to fight FOR our kids and not against eachother

I decided to send my Huffington Post article about Childhood obesity to a fairly well-known local fitness team and asked them for their thoughts. I did this, knowing that my article “Childhood obesity is not the problem” is a tad controversial. In my post, I discuss the dangers of anti-obesity campaigns and the fact that I believe we need to focus less on weight and more on health. I was genuinely interested in hearing their thoughts as people who have spent the last 25 years or so, offering health tips to families. They responded by saying, “The author is missing point. I think she is taking the topic and twisting it to write an article.” I wrote back explaining that I am, in fact, the author and that while I understand that there’s a health crisis in this country, focusing solely on weight is completely ignoring all of the other factors that play into our kids overall health and well being.

I was really looking forward to the discussion that I was hoping was going to follow. Afterall, we’re both trying to reach the same goal and I believed in the benefits that could come from extremely dedicated people approaching the same issue from different angles. Sadly, that’s not what happened. Not only did the conversation end, but my entire post had been deleted from their Facebook page.

REALLY?!

What this showed me was that some people are so stuck in their own opnions, that they aren’t even willing to consider that there may just be another way to look at things. I wasn’t looking to completely change their outlook, just expand it a little and I was just as open to the possibility of learning something new as well.

Here’s why I find this SO FRUSTRATING: There is hardly a lack of weightloss experts, programs and campaigns out there trying to make us lose weight and yet, obesity is still an issue. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to look at things in a different way. If we keep banging our heads against the same “Skinny means healthy” concrete wall, nothing will ever change.

Do I believe that I have a TON of knowledge to contribute? Yes, I do. But I am also not so arrogant as to believe that I have nothing left to learn.

We all know that childhood obesity is a problem, but here are a few things most people don’t know.

Fact: In Canada, for all the kids who are overweight, there are even more kids who are NOT but THINK that they are.

Fact: Eating disorders aren’t just a teen girl issue anymore. Girls AND boys as young as 5 years old are destroying their bodies in an effort to be skinny

Fact: It can be extremely difficult to find treatment for eating disorders due to lack of resources or finances.

Fact: Some people suffering from eating disorders find it nearly impossible to be taken seriously if they don’t “look the part”. It’s easy to look at someone who weighs as much as 380lbs or as little as 80lbs and recognize that they probably have a problem but someone battling a severe eating disorder can look healthy while slowly dying inside and can be overlooked even by medical professionals.

Fact: Anti-obesity campaigns tell kids they need to be skinny to be healthy by focusing on numbers, but we are more than just numbers and our self-worth should not be measured in pounds.

I understand that obesity is an issue, but I also understand that it is one of several issues that need to be tackled simultaneously if we have any chance of truly raising healthy children. While I understand this, there are way too many people who refuse to see the bigger picture and choose only to look at fat as the enemy. For there to be any chance of us finding solutions to the health crisis we’re facing, and for our kids to stand a chance at the long, quality filled lives they deserve, we need to fight the risks of unhealthy living instead of eachother.

If we let ego get in the way of progress, WE may feel better, but our kids won’t get any healthier.

The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents:Helping Toddlers, Tweens and Teens Thrive

Front20cover20no20spine   This is my book.
The book I wish my own mother had had when I was struggling and she felt so powerless. It states the problems but is full of solutions, games, projects, resources and cheat sheets for when your kids ask you sticky questions… and you need solid answers. The negative messages our kids will hear from the media and society will be loud. The positive messages we give them as their parents need to be even LOUDER!
As of today (Friday, March 15th) You can order your book from Amazon.com (or from my website www.fitvsfiction.com)
These are the tools you need to empower your kids to grow up with the self-confidence and self-esteem they deserve.
Self-worth shouldn’t be measured in pounds! xoxoSee More

Body Image Pledges for Parents and Kids: A promise to be good to ourselves and eachother!

Body image pledge (for older kids):

I promise to believe in myself and to reject the unrealistic and unhealthy ideals that may be thrown at me by society, the media or marketers trying to profit off my bruised self-esteem. I will lead; not follow. I understand that nobody can make me feel bad about myself unless I let them. And I will not let them. I believe in myself and I am amazing just as I am.

Pledge for younger child:

I promise to always treat myself with love and respect. I promise to be proud of who I am and not let anybody make me feel like I’m not good enough. I won’t judge other people on how they look because it’s what’s on the inside that matters. I will believe in myself and follow my dreams. I don’t have to be perfect. I’m great just the way I am. I don’t need to be exactly like everybody else, because I am unique and special in my own way. I’m me and I’m magnificient!

SELF-WORTH SHOULDN’T BE MEASURED IN POUNDS!

* “The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents: Helping Toddlers, Tweens and Teens Thrive”

Available through Amazon.com and www.fitvsfiction.com

Sugar-free, Fat-free, chocolate flavored pudding..is NOT pudding!

And there is nothing cake-like about rice cakes.

Diet companies might be able to package their fat free, sugar free, carbohydrate free “treats” to look good, but nothing can be done about the taste. The sad thing is that we accept it! We convince ourselves that they are just as good as the real thing and then wonder why we’re still hungry after eating them. “How can I still be craving chocolate?” you wonder, as you swallow the last piece of the “ChocNOfat BAR” you bought at the health food store. Our bodies are smarter than we think, when we crave certain things, we can’t simply trick our taste buds into thinking we’re satisfying those cravings by eating something that’s the same color, shape or texture. What usually ends up happening is we wind up eating “around” the foods we really want. For example, you might really want a few chocolate chip cookies, but to avoid the calories and inevitable guilt that will follow, you choose instead to have something else. Maybe you choose a couple of rice cakes, but when they don’t quite do the trick, you decide to have something sweet, so you grab an apple, but when that doesn’t work, you try something a bit more substantial and grab a few slices of bread with some low fat cheese. Still not satisfied, you end up giving in to your original craving and have a few of the cookies you wanted in the first place. Only now, you’ve had the cookies PLUS, rice cakes, an apple and bread with cheese. Had you just eaten what you wanted in the first place, you would have been satisfied and gotten on with your life! Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Now that you’ve eaten the forbidden fruit, or in this case, cookies, you are overwhelmed with guilt and feel like you’ve just blown your diet and will usually react in one of 2 ways. Either you vow never to eat cookies again and start following an unrealistically strict diet to repent for your food sins, which, in time, you will find impossible to maintain. Or, you’ll skip the diet and, feeling completely discouraged over your own perceived lack of willpower, give up on healthy eating altogether, and punish yourself by gorging on anything and everything with complete abandon while your self-esteem sinks to a new low. All this can be avoided, however, if we learn how to be patient with ourselves and realize that food is not the enemy.

Eating food doesn’t make us overweight; OVEReating food can. The simple fact is that it takes more than a slice of cake, or a few cookies or a small serving of fries to lead us into a life of obesity. A lot more. I don’t believe that we need to or should ban these foods from our lives, in fact, we need to learn how to live with them if we want a chance at living a life free of the diet and body image angst that plagues so many of us.

After years of being told that we don’t know how to eat, we’ve actually started to believe it. This makes us completely vulnerable and therefore prime targets for any and all new diet plans or products that come our way. When did we lose faith in ourselves and start putting all our trust in complete strangers, who care more about healthy incomes than healthy consumers?

I realize that there is a problem with obesity in our culture, but it’s certainly NOT from a lack of diet products available; quite the opposite actually. When we’re told to avoid fat and sugar, we immediately start stocking up on all the fat-free, sugar-free products we can get our hands on. There is a diet version of almost everything these days. Each of them promising to taste just as good as the original. What they don’t say, is that the fat free items are loaded with extra sugar and the sugar free ones are made with extra fat. It’s their way of replacing some of the lost flavor. I’m not suggesting that we should always choose the most decadent option available, but there is almost always a happy medium. Life is too short to live without flavor. Don’t settle for bland and dry over moist and delicious. While we shouldn’t make decadence the main component of our diets, we shouldn’t completely avoid it either.

Along with a Barrage of diet products telling us what to eat, are countless weight loss companies telling us HOW to eat. We are so tired of feeling like we’re fighting an uphill battle with our bodies and trying to figure out how and what to eat every single day, that we’re relieved when some diet company offers to do our thinking for us. Some of them will sell us books detailing what foods to eat, others will make their own, prepackaged foods available at most grocery stores, and some, will go as far as to offer home delivery so you never have to shop, cook or think for yourself ever again. BUT AT WHAT COST? Needless to say, these options are very expensive, but worse than that, they make us completely dependent on them. Suddenly, we can’t take a bite or a sip of anything that hasn’t been pre-approved by whichever diet company we’ve sold our souls to! That can’t possibly seem like a good idea long term. When does it end?

I understand the desperation to lose weight, but most people want to lose weight because they feel that their extra weight is keeping them from enjoying life to the fullest, but how does being a slave to a diet plan improve their quality of life? Where’s the freedom in that? We need to learn how to live WITH food, not fear and avoid it. We are all so much more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. It’s time to reclaim that power. We have to stop paying other people to do what we should be doing for ourselves. The only things getting leaner are our wallets! Instead, we need to take the foods we enjoy off our “naughty lists” and learn how to incorporate them into our daily lives. It’s time to go back to REAL food. Throw out all the fat free, sugar free, carbohydrate free, flavor free products that are filling your pantries and refrigerators and start enjoying your food again. Listen to your body, respect your body and most of all, start working WITH your body instead of fighting AGAINST it.

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