Mind vs. Scale

In my attempt to immerse myself into the world of eating disorders while I have the opportunity during this rotation, I am gathering as many references and resources as possible, both physically and mentally. What I mean by that is, anything that I can’t take a copy of, I spend my free-time on one of the comfy therapy couches reading through.

The great thing about this is that I’m not just flipping through textbooks. No, eating disorders are much more complex than that. Psychology comes into play, making the reading material much more enjoyable, at least in my opinion.

There are many books, self-help novels and long stories that are helpful in recovery from an eating disorder. Most of the time, these books are helpful not only to the patients, but also for the therapists, doctors and dietitians involved in recovery. It helps to understand.

So, today I picked up a book from one of the dietitian’s bookshelf and plopped down to read through a few chapters: Eat, Drink and Be Mindful, by Susan Albers.

Albers’ book is all about mindful eating. In fact, it’s woven with workbook-pages so that you can not only read the book, but become engaged and practice what you’re reading. If you’re curious about mindful eating, I suggest you read this book. It’s incredibly helpful, and if you haven’t a clue where to begin when it comes to eating mindfully, this book is for you.

But it’s not mindful eating that compelled me to write this post. No, there was a specific chapter that caught my attention. It caught my attention because, although I have a healthy relationship with food, there is one relationship that I still struggle with: the scale.

You see, I don’t quite know life without my scale. I started weighing myself in high school and really haven’t stopped ever since. Every morning, before I get into the shower, I step onto the scale. It used to be an obsessive-thing, but now it’s out of habit.

I know that it’s only habit because, back when it was an issues, the number on the scale dictated the mood for my day. Now? I take a mental note and move on. The number no longer affects my emotions.

But in Albers’ “Self Assessment” chapter, she addresses the need to not focus on specific numbers. She states that if you focus on your weight in numbers, you are less likely to focus on the behaviors that are being reflected in the weight.

She also acknowledges that there are those people that just use the scale to keep themselves accountable, being aware of what they weigh.

“These are the people who gain weight and don’t even realize it.”

I read that, and then re-read it. And then read it again. Is this like an editing error or something? I just didn’t get it.

But then I sat and thought about it, and realized that when I gain weight,  I almost always see it on the scale, and not in myself. I see the numbers creeping up day by day, and that is what tells me I’m gaining weight. But I never stop to acknowledge whether or not my body feels this way. Are my jeans tighter? Is my face fuller?

Because of my habitual morning weigh-ins, I’ve totally disconnected my mind from my body. I may have the healthiest connection between mind & food, and body & food, but what about mind and body? The connection isn’t even there anymore.

This is urging me to do two things:

1) Ditch the scale. There is absolutely no need for me to know my weight. I am worth far more than the number on the scale. The way my clothes are fitting is a better indicator of my body, and in order for me to be more connected then I need to start taking this into account.

2) Be more aware of my body during yoga. I tend to be in my mind more often when I’m doing yoga because it’s a huge way to relieve stress. But this makes yet another disconnect with my body. Yoga is all about balance, so I need to take this into practice with my focus on both mind and body.

 

Hopefully in doing this, I’ll find that connection with my body and mend the relationship.

 

Do you weigh yourself often?

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Dairy and Acne

When we talk about nutrition, we often think of how the diet affects specific organs, like the heart, the intestines, the liver… but one organ that is commonly overlooked is skin… the largest organ in the body.

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Ok so you kind of forgot, or maybe just didn’t think of skin as an organ, right? It’s okay because I actually seem to forget this quite a bit as well.

I’m usually stuck thinking the appearance of my skin, specifically my face, is from my skincare routine: wash and moisturize twice a day, toner once a day and exfoliate every other day. Everyone does it differently for their own skin type.

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But I always forget that I may be doing everything just fine from the outside, but what about from the inside? Am I feeding my skin what it needs, or maybe too much of what it doesn’t need?

The reason I bring this up is because lately, I’ve unfortunately been suffering from a bit of acne. I’ve never had a full-face of breakouts and still don’t, but what I mean is that there are more blemishes that seem to be reappearing once I seem to finally tackle them. This is a big issue for me currently because of this internship, I’m meeting a lot of new people and making a lot of first impressions. I’m in my twenties, I thought this shit was suppose to end, not get worse, what’s going on!?

acne

Like I said before, I forgot that my skin is an organ too. And once I remembered, I realized that maybe my diet is what needs some adjusting… to make changes and work on my skin from the inside out.

Since being on a budget, many times I go for calorie-dense foods in order to get more bang for my buck, which often times includes dairy… like cheese, cream, milk, yogurt, etc. Well, one big controversy in the world of nutrition is with acne and dairy. It’s been studied and studied and studied, but even though there are many signs pointing to dairy in the diet being the culprit, there is hardly any scientific proof that it does in fact cause acne. It’s suggested that the hormone in cow’s milk (IGF-1) affect our bodies and the normal balance, and also that the dairy increases the amount of sebum, or oil, that we produce.

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So, since evidence is sparse, I thought maybe I would do a little self-study of my own and see how my skin would react to this change. I’ve read a lot of stories where people mention they saw a difference in their skin in less than a week, so my goal is to cut dairy from my diet completely for two weeks. This works out pretty well actually because in preparation for our apartment move, we have been in “Operation: eat everything in the kitchen” mode, so we don’t have a whole lot of food lying around. In terms of dairy, we do have about a half-gallon of milk and a few yogurts, so I’ll be starting this little dairy-free adventure on Sunday once that’s all gone.

This means, of what I currently eat, no…

  • milk
  • sour cream
  • yogurt
  • cheese
  • ice cream/froyo
  • butter (rarely, if ever used)
  • whey protein

If you know me, you know that I love overnight oats (goodbye yogurt), protein smoothies (goodbye whey), ice cream (goodbye, my sweet love), and anything with cheese… So this is not going to be a walk in the park for me. But I’ll survive.

zits(haha)

Depending on the outcomes of my experiment, dairy may, sadly, just need to be eliminated from my diet. I’ll need to shift my focus from trying to recreate the same dairy-heavy meals and snacks. But since this is a totally new thing for me, I think substituting.. or at least trying to substitute.. for the lack of creamy-yummy-goodness will make a huge difference in my happiness. Obviously there are different kinds of milk to choose from, and I’m on a mission to find nutritional yeast, but does anyone have any other suggestions for replacing dairy products? Vegans, I’m looking at you because I know you have ways of making things “creamy” and “cheesy”!

Any suggestions?

Tuesday Topic: Healthy Holidays

Hello my beautiful blog people!

I’m unhappy to report that I did, in fact, fall ill to a nasty little bug. My voice has been nonexistent since Saturday morning, which I originally thought was a result of too many drinks the night before, but I’ve developed a cough as well.

Unfortunately for me, one of my December goals was to stay healthy! Booooo. But in my defense, I have been really good about washing my hands and taking extra vitamin C! It just snuck up on me.

Because of this, I thought maybe it was a good time to share a few ways to take care of yourself this holiday season. Some of the tips are geared more toward staying healthy and fit rather than left feeling as bloated as a snowman, but there are a few for taking care of your overall health as well.

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1) Exercise regularly

Try to do something active every day, even if it’s as simple as a yoga podcast, walking the dog or shoveling the driveway (or washing the car if you’re in a not-so-snowy place). It will help you feel good and keep your metabolism in check.

2) Indulge, but consciously

‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry, but don’t obsess over what you should and shouldn’t have. Have the things you really enjoy, but only take one serving and then move on.

3) Choose healthy foods as much as possible

Whether you’re at a holiday party or just having lunch the day after Christmas, try to fill your plate with mostly fruits and veggies at every meal, and don’t snack on cookies or leftovers just because they’re in the house.

4) Wash your hands

The single most effective way to prevent the spread of germs is sudsing your hands often! It’s also not a bad idea to carry mini-hand sanitizer around with you.

5) Take “me” time

Through all the gift giving and reconnecting with family and friends, don’t forget about yourself during the holidays. Carve out time each day to do something by yourself, like taking a bath or doing your nails… even if it just means taking the long way home.mani

6) Sleep!!

Especially if you are lucky enough to have time off from work or school around the holidays, do yourself a favor and forgo the alarm as much as possible. Your immune system and your sanity will thank you.

7) Drink fluids, mostly water

WebMD does a pretty good job at explaining the benefits of drinking water, but specifically around the holidays when your lifestyle is a little out of whack, it couldn’t hurt to be a bit more conscious of your fluid intake.tea

8) Wear form-fitting clothes to parties

Eating a couple of cookies or having a few glasses of wine won’t show, but seconds and thirds at a holiday feast might. Wearing an outfit that flaunts your assets gives you a higher awareness of just how much you’re eating and drinking.

9) Put a cork in social media

Holidays are a time of joy and happiness, and while it’s nice to share a bit on Facebook and Twitter, it is easy to fall victim to the comparison trap in those situations. Enjoy your holiday and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing.

10) Focus on the holiday

If you find yourself counting the calories of all the sugar plums dancing in your head, take a step back, breathe, and remember the real reason for all of the celebrating. It’s important to remember that food is just one part of the celebration.

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What are tips you go by to stay healthy during the holiday season?