Fit vs. Fiction's Blog


Calorie Counts on Menus are Misleading and Dangerous. Don’t Be Fooled!

 

Last week I wrote about my complete disgust and anger over the recent law that was passed in Ontario making calories on restaurant menus mandatory. I explained how this type of action will not only be useless in helping those it’s intended for, but will actually cause damage to countless others.
My article resulted in 3 different reactions from people:
1. Thank you! I thought I was the only one that felt this way and was really upset by it!
2. I never thought of it that way; that totally makes sense.
3. I like it. Now that I know how many calories are in something, I’ll know if I can eat it or not.

Sadly, the government is appealing to that last group of people, the ones who have had the same message shoved down their throats (pun partially intended) their entire lives. That message being: Calories are BAD.

But are they?

It’s time to readjust our thinking and look at all the facts!
After publishing my last article, I heard from so many people, from all walks of life who are really upset about this and question the government’s motivations, because it sure as hell can’t be to make Canadians healthier!
For those who are still confused, I’m going to list as clearly as I can, HOW this law is more HARMFUL than helpful.
WHO is this hurting?
1. People battling obesity and other related illnesses
2. People battling eating disorders
3. Everyone else
1. The people it is intended to help, the people who are at risk for illnesses related to obesity, are getting misleading information that will only impede their best efforts.
2. The people who are battling eating disorders and whose disorders thrive on calorie counts and who are at severe risk of relapse every time they’re faced with a number next to their food options.
Eating disorders are extremely misunderstood and far more dangerous than most people realize. They have the HIGHEST mortality rate of all mental illnesses. Calorie counting is a weapon of the disorder, not a tool of recovery.
If you’re wondering why the government should care about a small minority of the population dealing with eating disorders, you should know that the number of sufferers is much higher than you’d expect, and this law pretty much guarantees that that number will continue to rise.

But it’s not just ED sufferers who are at risk; so are you. I am consistently hearing from people who are sharing with me, how even though they’ve never been super focused on calorie counts when eating out, they’re surprised at how much anxiety these menus are inducing. They can no longer simply go into a restaurant and order what they’re craving, without feeling the need to second guess their choice and possibly choose something they “should Have’ over what they “want” to have. All that does is suck the joy out of dining out and make people feel lousy about food. We’re supposed to listen to our hunger cues, not ignore them and then risk overcompensating later on when left unsatisfied by our “healthier” choice. Our society already has warped ideas when it comes to food and dieting, this is only making things worse.
So many parents are sickened by watching their kids suddenly start focusing on and worrying about menu numbers when out for dinner. Kids are already being inundated with negative messages about body image and weight from the media, this is the last thing they need.
What’s the ministry of health thinking??
According to health minister Deb Matthews, The law is designed to combat childhood obesity.
And yet, according to research stated in a petition opposing this law, started by Andrea Lamarre, co- chair of the Waterloo Wellington Eating Disorders Coalition , it will have the opposite effect:
According to the research: “Those who are most targeted by such initiatives may actually be at a greater risk of developing eating disorders. A recent study by Lebow, Sim & Kransdorf (2015) revealed that adolescents who had been overweight or obese “represent a substantial portion of treatment-seeking adolescents with restrictive eating disorders,” and argue that extreme weight loss is problematic in the adolescent context in particular.
Which means that focusing on calories and weight loss without proper information, won’t result in healthier kids, just SICKER ones.

Basically, if you think there aren’t that many Canadians battling eating disorders…give it a year, that number will change if this law doesn’t.
Calories USED to be the enemy. But that’s old school thinking. What we know now, is that It has MUCH LESS To do with how many calories are in something, than what those calories are made of. Would 100 calories of candy be a healthier choice than 200 calories of avocado? Not in the least. Would it be healthier to choose the lower calorie french fries over the more caloric salad with quinoa and almonds? Not at all. We need to get away from counting calories and move toward education around ingredients.
Calories are energy.
We need to load our bodies up with the healthiest version of those suckers as possible. Of course, we don’t want to be taking in “too many”, but purely looking at number and deciding off of that, is not helpful or healthful.

Example:

If a person drinks 3 liters of pop a day and switches to lower calorie diet pop, will they lose weight? Could be. Will they gain Health? Not a chance.
Sugar isn’t great, but chemicals are not a better choice.
Counting calories is an old fashioned, useless way to go about getting healthier and that judging a food simply by it’s calories is similar to judging a person simply by their age. We can’t assume that every 40 year old woman will be healthier than every 35 year old woman, or that all 50 year old men are exactly the same. There is so much more that goes into health and fitness than numbers. The most experienced health and nutrition experts are steering their clients away from measuring food and leading them towards understanding it.
Bonnie Wisener, nutritionist at shift nutrition and wellness, agrees,
“Different foods have varying effects on our health that go way beyond weight. For example, trans fats can lead to inflammation, insulin resistance and
Cardiac disease, regardless of their calorie count. Paying attention to specific food selections can lead to the same, or even better results than simple calorie restrictions, and most importantly, to improved health.

To clarify: Eating foods with less calories because you think it’s the answer to losing weight, is not your best course of action. Eating healthier foods will improve your overall health.”

 

Restaurants hate it too!

I’ve spoken with several restaurant owners and servers who have their own issues with the menu changes.
Menu changes are expensive and some restaurants are seeing a drop in revenue.
Nobody wants to lose money, so some restaurants are finding ways around this. I spoke with a bartender at a popular family restaurant chain, who shared with me that since seasonal menus don’t require calories to be listed, their restaurant creates a different “seasonal” menu every month! By switching the foods around every few weeks, they can avoid negative reactions from customers and fines from the government.
Sneaky.
Another possibility is that in order to capitalize on the lower calorie menu obsession, they’ll start formulating their food to have less calories by cutting nutritional corners. Is that really what we want?

“ But Marci,” my critics argue, “ at least this is a first step!”
Yup, one step, in the WRONG direction! I’d rather they take ZERO steps than cause more damage. If in an effort to solve one problem, you create a different problem while not actually solving the first problem..What’s the point?!
If you need an appendectomy and the doctor says, “The first step is to cut you open, and then I’ll stop there for awhile,” would that be ok? No, it wouldn’t. If you’re not gonna finish the surgery, find another way to help the patient.

 

So what CAN we do?

First, stay OUT of restaurants. Kindly, keep your laws off my dinner table when I’m trying to enjoy a meal out. It’s a treat, I want to enjoy it.
BUT… There IS a better answer.
In 2006 The WHO (World Health Organization) ordered the food industry to take action in the fight against obesity. The Netherlands took the lead with The Choices programme. They were the first, but many other countries have followed. In a nutshell, an independent group of researchers, using a strict criteria, analyze all the products in the grocery store. Those that pass their tests based on things like calories, trans fats, saturated fats, dietary fibre and sodium, are given a label letting consumers know they are healthier choices. It comes down to CHOICE and information. The best part about this program, is that so many companies want to earn the healthy label so they are making their products more nutritious to do so! In 2016 alone, 180,000 products were reformulated by reducing sugar and sodium content and increasing dietary fiber.
THIS. MAKES. SENSE.

Healthier products, healthier consumers.

This highlights what’s GOOD about a product instead of just throwing ominous numbers at us.
Final word:
Who is at risk under the Healthy Menu Choices Act?
EVERYBODY
Who will be helped?
NOBODY

It’s time for the government to stop pretending to care about our health and actually DO something to improve it!fvfpo

 

My life with a binge eating disorder

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

Food is my weapon, impeccable aim

Won’t ease off the trigger til I’m writing in pain

Suddenly my skin feels 10 sizes too small

Can’t fit in my clothing, I’ve outgrown them all.

I nibble for pleasure, then binge into pain

Can’t stop the cycle, am I going insane?

My heart is in pieces, where it used to be strong

Try to fix it by eating, though I know that it’s wrong.

It’s like food is my savior, and sugar’s the cure

How much more of this madness, can my body endure?

The scale in my bathroom continues to rise

My spirit is dying, can’t muffle the cries.

The strong fearless woman that I used to be

Is quickly becoming a stranger to me.

“Not thin enough, not thick enough, not sick enough” they say

Yet I cry myself to sleep at night praying, “God, take me away”.

In a world where being STRONG earns respect and revere

It’s hard to feel weak and want to be here

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.

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

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

Mayor Bloomberg, do you want us to be healthy or just skinny?

The judge has spoken, the ruling’s been made and our right to drink super sized, sugar loaded beverages remains in tact.

I’ll be honest with you and say that I’m feeling somewhat conflicted by the decision. I know that the main argument against the ban was from people who just don’t want the government telling them what to do. Nobody likes to be told what they can and cannot eat or drink and people tend to get a little annoyed when they feel like their being treated like children, or fools, or foolish children. That said, who the hell needs to be drinking soda from a cup big enough to swim in, anyway? If you’re still thirsty after drinking enough liquid to bathe in, you’ve got some bigger issues that need to be addressed. I have no problem with Mayor Bloomberg wanting to limit the size of sugary drinks being sold, what I do have a problem with is that, once again, he is completely missing the mark on doing the HEALTHY thing.

An article by The Canadian Press states, ” The rule prohibits selling non-diet soda and some other sugary beverages in
containers bigger than 16 ounces.”

NON-DIET SODA.

Aye, there’s the rub.

WHY is drinking copious amounts of sugar-laden drinks unhealthy but consuming the same amount of chemical filled crap just fine? WHY are we protecting people from the evils of sugar while promoting, accepting and even encouraging the consumption of chemicals that come with risks related to health issues like depression, severe migraines, inflammatory bowel disease and Cancer?

Oh wait a minute, I know, because they have less calories! Calories are bad because they make you fat and fat is bad, because it can lead to health issues. Can you see my concern here? Why is that certain health risks are acceptable as long as they don’t affect our size? Why are we, once again, putting our weight ahead of our health?

He’s the really crazy part, some research has suggested that artificial sweeteners can lead to, say it isn’t so, OBESITY!

I have no problem with the government wanting to help us get healthier, but I do have an issue with it just wanting to make us skinnier.

I work with kids as young as 7 and 8 years old who have already started counting calories for fear of getting fat and that’s just not okay! If we want to raise healthy children we need to teach them that eating well makes them FEEL good, instead of promoting the dangerous messages that eating less makes them look skinny.

Time to stop trying to lose weight and start focusing on gaining HEALTH!

 

Next Page »