Tuesday, December 20, 2011

4 Steps to treat yourself well this week!

(This all happened on a holiday week.  But it is good self-care any week.)
A client was frustrated because she was eating more sugar than she wanted to eat.  Notice, she was not vilifying sugar or any food.  Food is just food.  However, she had already noticed that for her eating too much sugar reduced the amount of nutrient dense foods she ate and made her feel sluggish.  So she wanted to get a balance in her eating for better nutrition and energy. Eating less sugar was part of what made her feel better.

As a "Health At Every Size®", non-diet, lifestyle coach, what did I suggest?

4 Steps to treat yourself well this week!  
… (and then notice how your nutrition and energy are doing)
  1. So that you are nutritionally and enjoyably satisfied, ask yourself:  "Did I eat enough today?"  How was your breakfast?  Your lunch?  Your snacks?  In general, make sure you eat enough and see what that does to your cravings for sweets.
  2.  Eat Some Fruit 1st, before you eat some "entertainment foods" that are sweet but have little nutrition.  Sometimes we crave sweets when our bodies are craving some nutrient in fruits.  Sometimes just eating a delicious piece of fruit is satisfying enough.  Sometimes not.  That is fine.  You are just choosing what you want and trying to listen to all of your needs.
  3. If you still want a sweet, Go Get ONE!  Yep, go get ONE.  Savor it.  Enjoy every bit of it.  For me, I walk to the local cafe when I want a sweet.  For someone else, they may take one sweet off the office tray.  In any case, enjoy ONE.  And see if you might be satisfied with that.  If not, have another.  If you are wanting even more, ask yourself:  "Is this what I really need, or do I need something else?"  (Did you eat some fruit 1st?)
  4. Try this amazing way to end your day and start your evening: “Fruit & Relax Drive Home”.  Here is how this fabulous self-care exercise goes:
  • At the end of the work day don't drive home.  Instead, get in your car, turn on some relaxing music, and eat an apple or some other convenient fruit BEFORE you begin to drive.  
  • This way you drive home relaxed.  You arrive home with stable blood sugar and you have some nice fiber in your system.
Did you notice that I did NOT say "you should eat less sweets"?   That is because I do not want to trigger any of your diet war wounds from years of dieting.  We all know too well that the first day of food restriction brings you one day closer to a binge!

Instead, I encourage you to meet your needs and see what effect that has on the balance of nutrients in your life.  That's all.  Just treat yourself well and see how you feel.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My advice to a mom with concern for her plus size 8 year old daughter...

Mom Asks:  Hi Kelly I need help is there a class or a trainer for overweight children? My daughter is 8 years old and I am trying to help her lose weight she weighs about 140 lbs and I have tried a lot of things and I am scared that she might turn to be a diabetic. I was going to join up with Ricki Lake kids program but don't know how that will work. Do you have any suggestions? Do you work with children at all?
Thank You, Carol
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My Answer: Hello Carol,
It is wonderful that you are paying attention to what is best for your daughter.  Raising a plus size kid is SO difficult.  My heart goes out to you in this difficult situation.  There are so many messages out there about what to do. 

The truth is that NOBODY SHOULD EVER WORK WITH AN 8 YEAR OLD CHILD ABOUT HER WEIGHT.  I do not ever recommend a camp or a class or a diet coach for big kids.  I say this as a psychotherapist who works with teens and young adults who are recovering from childhood dieting experiences.  Instead of working with your daughter, I can offer YOU coaching in the kind of ideas below.

Parents and caregivers should seek advice and counseling so that they learn the best ways to feed and handle weight issues with their beloved child.  Our entire culture is telling large children that they should not exist.  You need to accomplish three things with your daughter:

1.    Offer her TASTY healthful foods while avoiding ALL dieting messages

and ENJOY active play without linking it to weight loss
a.    Children brains interpret the world in black and white.  Nutrition messages WILL be misinterpreted.  Exercise so you will not be fat WILL be heard as a criticism.  This teaches her to hate her fat body.
b.    NOBODY should be giving children good food/ bad food messages.  This trains her young mind to think in eating disordered ways.  (Yes, our culture teaches eating disorders as a way of weight loss)
c.    Instead YOU learn about nutrition for health (not body size) and active lifestyle for the fun of it … then give her an example in your life of balanced living.
d.    Read the books below to help with these goals.
  1. 2.    Teach her to love her body and that bodies come in diverse sizes
a.    YOU learn self-care and body love so that you can demonstrate it for her as you live your life
b.    Read the books below to help with this goal.
  1. 3.    Help her cope with the war on obesity and how it hurts her
a.    You learn how to cope with the constant attack on fat bodies and demonstrate this skill for her as you live your life.

I would be happy to coach you. 
I work with people by phone for about the cost of a co-pay:  $20/half hour.

Start by YOU reading these book for your daughter's sake:



For you to improve your own self-care and body love so you can help your daughter – no matter what your size, read these.

 



Friday, September 2, 2011

Self-care: Make it enjoyable so you want to do it again!

I was exhausted and my energy was sliding down hill fast on this Friday evening.  I decided to make a little salad now, before I ran out of energy.  I made it, I ate it, and now I feel so good and my salad came out so FLABULOUS that I had to share it:
  • Spring mix lettuce
  • Peach and Basil dressing
  • Feta cheese (All the above are from my local organic food delivery service.  Yes, I am totally spoiled by www.harvestlocalfoods.com in the Philly, PA area)
  • Then I made the most wonderful glazed walnuts to put on top
    • I just put tablespoon or so of butter in the pan with a scant 1/2 tsp stevia, and 1 teaspoon of honey.  
    • Once this melts & boils a bit, dump in your nuts of choice (walnuts, pecans, slivered almonds, etc.), stir, toast.  That's all folks.
    • This made enough for two salads, so I have my motivation for tomorrow's salad all made!
When I put this salad together it was bright and tasty with a nice amount of protien, fat, and veggies.  It does happen to be low carb because I personally eat very high fat for my epilepsy, but this salad would be wonderful for anyone.)  If you want more balance of carbs/protien, then have it with a nice whole wheat roll.

What is the moral of the story: 
  1. When it comes to self care, do it now, before you lose your last drop of energy.
  2. Eat what makes you feel good ... and don't eat what makes you feel lousy.
  3. Make it enjoyable so you want to do it again!
I wish you all self-care & body love. 
Your LIFESTYLE matters for your health, not your weight.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The opposite of dieting and weight focus is HAES℠

My neurologist is a nice guy and a good doctor.  He has patiently treated my uncontrolled epilepsy for decades.  He listens to me when I talk about the terrible side effects of the medications we have tried.  He even was progressive enough to tell me about the very high fat diet that has greatly reduced my seizures.

As I left the office on our last visit, he tossed out:  "And it would be a good idea if you could lose some of that weight."  You can imagine that I turned quickly on my heels (probably with my eyes flashing).  I told him:  "Please do not give this advice to your patients.  When you give this advice you are recommending weight cycling, which damages both physical and mental health.  Why would you recommend a treatment that has a 90% failure rate?"

Now this is why I think he is good; He engaged in conversation with me on the topic of weight loss.  What he said next was very important to the HAES movement because it shows what most people think is the opposite of a weight loss focus.  He said: "What do you want me to recommend, weight gain?"

To most people in our culture the opposite of weight loss is weight gain.  The opposite of dieting is binging.

When we in the HAES movement promote an alternative to dieting and weight loss, MOST PEOPLE ASSUME WE MEAN WEIGHT GAIN AND BINGING.  It is important for us to realize this assumption is out there and to head it off at the pass when we talk to the media, our doctors, and online in discussions.

I told my doctor that binging and weight gain were the RESULT of dieting, not the opposite of it.  "I want you to recommend a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE and body appreciation (HAES℠) instead of weight loss.  I will be sending you Linda Bacon's book, Health At Every Size."

I predict that within five years, the media, government, and science communities will recognize Health At Every Size® as the opposite of dieting.

I predict that within 5 years the public at large will be familiar with the LIFESTYLE centered paradigm for health as an alternative to the old fashioned weight centered paradigm.

Wouldn't it be nice if I were right.  I am going to put it in my Google Calendar right now so I can look back at this blog entry five years from now!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Today I started a new size-activist activity.  I posted several comments to articles about the war on obesity (today it was the war on children's fat bodies, but I will also post on the general war on fat bodies).  I intend to post a few comments daily.  If every size-activist did this, we would have hundreds, then thousands of HAES comments all over the web!  Here is one of the comments I posted today:

Winston-Salem declares war on childhood obesity 

It is wonderful that Winston-Salem leaders are planning a website and animated films to educate children about nutrition.   If the REASON for improved nutrition and more activity were to improve the health and well being of ALL children, then this would be fabulous. 

However, when the reason for the program the war on childhood obesity, then every fat kid is taught to feel bad about their bodies and every thin kid is taught that it is OK to target fat kids ... because the adults do! Also, when health programs target obese children, it gives the message to the thin kids that they are just fine, no matter how they eat or if they are active. 

Please stop participating in the war on obese children and change your program to "HEALTHY LIFESTYLES FOR ALL CHILDREN".  We need a focus on Health At Every Size for all children, not a war on fat bodies.

You can accomplish this by taking all the size negative comments out of the literature and NOT making body size the goal.  Instead, remain size neutral and make HEALTH for all sizes the goal.  For the children's sake, please consider these changes.

Kelly Bliss M.Ed., A.C.E.
Psychotherapist and Plus Size Fitness Professional
Professional Member of the Association for Size Diversity and Health
Promoter of Health At Every Size®, a new peace movement.

 

Monday, June 20, 2011

I got an email asking for local size-friendly fitness classes...


Let me share my response to that request for local size-friendly fitness classes with all of you. You can gather one or two or more friends who are also interested in a plus size fitness class.  Then your group can gather a set of DVDs for plus size fitness, set a time for your own personal group to meet and workout with the DVD playing on someone’s laptop!  You would have your own little 6” tall instructor just for your own group.  Check out this site for full info on plus size fitness DVDs:  www.PhatMoves.com    Make sure to check Classes & Events in case there are local classes in your area.

If you know of other size-friendly fitness resources out there that I can add to this comprehensive resource (and my www.PlusSizeYellowPages.com)  - EMAIL ME PLEASE!!!  kelly@kellybliss.com 

If you do not already have a few friends who are interested, them you could make a www.MeetUp.com or advertise on www.Craigslist.com and gather in some church social hall or something.  I fill my group personal trainings from these two resources.  There are more people out there than you think ... if you cast your net wide enough. These friend finders are valuable for gathering any kind of size-friendly group you want.  And remember www.facebook.com  for connecting the plus size world and building support for your healthy lifestyle.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Here is a sweet relish with NO HFCS (high fructose corn syrup)

This first part is not life changing.  It is just a solution to a little problem that I wanted to share.  I have been trying to reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup in my diet.  So I went looking for a sweet relish without it.  THAT is hard to find.  Finally, I hit the mother load.   Wickles Pickles has a whole line of condiments that are HDCS Free, Gluten Free, and Kosher.  

I focus on one little thing at a time.  That is how I improve my healthy lifestyle.  Once I do the problem solving to make that little change I give it some time until the change is incorporated into my life on 'auto pilot'.  This way, I don't have to think about it or work at it.  I have just become a person with that little thing in my life.  Soon I will be a person with a shopping list that has less HFCS.  Then I will have a kitchen with less HFCS in it.  And I will be ready to move on to the next thing in my lifestyle that I want to tweak.

OK, that part about problem solving 'one little thing at a time' until it runs on auto pilot ... and then moving on to the next improvement ... THAT is life changing!  That is the way you comfortably build your healthy lifestyle!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dr. Drew Pinsky did a show entitled Size Acceptance, then seems to have talked about food addiction and the misery of being fat ...

On 5/9/11 Dr. Drew Pinsky did a show that included the topic of Size Acceptance.  From his introductory comments, I suspect he did not understand the basic concepts of size diversity and health.  Her is his introduction to the show that says he talks about Size Acceptance:  "... we look at the escalating problem of food addiction and the motivations behind it. Is it similar to drug and alcohol abuse? We will talk to a group of overweight and food addicted people. Are they happy as they are? Do they want to lose weight? Are they aware of the health risks" 
If you saw the show, please comment on my blog and tell me how his segment went.  I felt compelled to write a comment on his blog just from reading his introduction with the wild array of assumptions therein.  If you want to add your comment to the doctor's blog, please go here and add your comment at the bottom. 
 
Here is my response to Dr. Drew Pinsky:
I regret that I did not see your show where you discussed size-acceptance. I am commenting based on your introduction to the program.I am curious as to which size-acceptance advocates and HAES clinical practitioners you included in the program. So often people discuss their IMPRESSION of size-acceptance based on ASSUMPTIONS from vague sources.

Often the FACTS about this important health movement (based on the acceptance of size diversity and a need for a focus on Health At Every Size) are overlooked or ignored. Just to make sure the reality of this paradigm are known to you and your audience, I would like to share the Five Basic Principles of Health At Every Size:
1. Accepting and respecting the diversity of body shapes and sizes.
2. Recognizing that health and well-being are multi-dimensional and that they include
physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional, and intellectual aspects.
3. Promoting all aspects of health and well-being for people of all sizes.
4. Promoting eating in a manner which balances individual nutritional needs, hunger,
satiety, appetite, and pleasure.
5. Promoting individually appropriate, enjoyable, life-enhancing physical activity, rather
than exercise that is focused on a goal of weight loss.

As a psychotherapist and fitness professional who works with people on issues of health and weight, I find that almost all people who feel "addicted" to food are actually suffering a reaction to dieting or the intention to go on a diet soon. It is the restrictive eating (or intention to do so) that actually CAUSE binge eating behaviors that are both physiologically and psychologically based and have a great compulsive component.
If people would build a healthy lifestyle and appreciate the body they have NOW, they would not be adding fuel to their next binge and they would not feel so driven to eat. They would be eating when hungry, stopping when satisfied, meeting their emotional needs in a variety of ways, and putting energy into improving their lives (instead of spending decades yo-yo dieting in attempts to changing their waistlines).

THE FOCUS ON WEIGHT LOSS AND DIETING IS WHAT FUELS THE OBSESSIONS AND CRAVINGS THAT FEEL LIKE AN ADDICTION TO FOOD. BEING BELOW YOUR NATURAL WEIGHT SET POINT RANGE FORCES THE BODY TO CHANGE IN WAYS THAT INCLUDE TREMENDOUS CRAVINGS AND APPETITE CHANGES.

A focus on Health At Every Size helps people find peace with food and comfort in their bodies. Yes, I promote self care and self acceptance!
Kelly Bliss
Professional Member of ASDAH
Association for Size Diversity and Health -http://www.sizediversityandhealth.org
Healthy Lifestyles for All Sizes – http://www.KellyBliss.com

Monday, March 21, 2011

Today's Trays

Some of these issues are mine personally, some come up when I am talking with my clients in phone counseling sessions.  See if any of these issues might be present in your life:

  • difficulty eating enough fruits and veggies each day
  • wanting to graze in the evening, and sometimes eating foods without much nutrition or with too much salt (Boy, do evening salty snacks add to my night time swelling!  My poor eyelids don't really need all that stretching .. Ooo, is that TMI?)
  • being too busy to plan meals for the day.  I wonder if I really did get enough protein or calcium or whatever.
  • Heck, I wonder if I even took my vitamins (or meds)  today!

All of these issues were addressed or solved when I implemented this one simple concept  ...
Today's Trays.
  Here is how it works.  Each morning give yourself 3 minutes.  That is all this takes.
  1. Select a tray that you will leave on the counter (for non-perishables) and select a tray that you will leave on the top shelf of the refrigerator (for perishables).  Just for fun I have seasonal trays that brighten my mood.  Now that it is spring I may have to head to the Dollar Store and get some trays with flowers on them.
  2. Think about your day:  breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks.  Really think.  What do you hope to feed yourself today?  Keep in mind that you may like evening snacks, so plan on them.  Put your food for the day on Today's Trays. 
    Pull the fruit you hope to eat out of the fruit bowl and put it on your tray.  Grab the veggies from the crisper, the tuna can from the pantry, etc.  Oh, and don't forget the dark chocolate!  Just put all the food you hope your will eat on Today's Trays.  Leave one tray on the counter and put one tray in the fridge.  Now, enjoy how pretty it is and what nice self-care you are giving YOU. 
  3. Enjoy eating all day.  Have your breakfast from your trays.  Fill your lunch bag from your trays.  And at the end of the day when you have the munchies, you may realize it is because you still have a bunch of nutritious foods you have not yet eaten.  Enjoy them!
When you try this idea, please let me know how it goes (kelly@kellybliss.com).  What other problems does this idea solve for you?  What issues does it raise or bring to the surface?  What other cool ideas do you have that might be similar?  I really enjoy a simple practical action that affects many aspects of life!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stigma is BIG Business

Pattie Thomas wrote a fabulous article: Stigma is BIG Business, Diets don't work, but they do make some people very rich.
By following the money, we can see profit motives have led to bad science, not to mention ineffective, harmful and costly health care. Stigmatizing fat is profitable; the FDA just upped the ante."

I get death threats monthly. Do you know why? Because I promote HAES(sm): that people should eat healthy, exercise enjoyably, AND appreciate the body they have today. That's all I say. But apparently this message stirs up such anger and fat hate in people that they send me hate mail and spew hate in the comments section to the YouTube videos in which I present this position. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5gpSwiMWds

As you read the comments to this article you probably will see the fat hate and rage clearly displayed again. It is dripping all over the internet in the comments to HAES(sm) positive articles and videos.
People are enraged at the health centered paradigm because they have spent so much of their time and money on the weight centered paradigm. The medical community and weight loss pushers are ignoring the health centered paradigm because it would cause them to lose their cash cow. The media ignores health centered paradigm because they have been swallowed up in the myth that everyone who eats healthy and exercises will be thin. 

Indeed, our culture is addicted to the quest for weight loss. We pour billions into the quest every year. For a short time, in the beginning of the weight loss fix, we are thrilled and elated. The media swoons with stories of great weight loss of individuals while ignoring the fact that 95% regain what they lost. Then later, when we come down from the fix and the body weight set point asserts itself, we crash ... shaking, lives falling apart and looking for our next weight loss fix, even if it includes mutilating perfectly functioning essential organs and inducing anorexic behaviors.

It is time to stop paying the weight loss pushers for a weight loss fix at any cost. It is time to stop the war on body size and start a campaign for health at every size. Every body of every size deserves respect and the opportunity for self-care and self-acceptance.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Study Suggests Health at Every Size is Supported by Scientific Evidence; Weight Loss Focus is Ineffective and Harmful

University of California, Davis, January 24, 2011 - Dieting and other weight-loss efforts may unintentionally lead to weight gain and diminished health status, according to two researchers, including a UC Davis nutritionist, whose new study, Weight Science:Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift, appears in the Jan. 24 issue of the Nutrition Journal, an online, open-access scientific journal.

Rather than focusing on weight loss, the researchers recommend that people focus on improving their health status.

HAES book cover 2nd Ed
In the new study, co-authors Linda Bacon, an associate nutritionist in the UC Davis Department of Nutrition, and Lucy Aphramor, an NHS specialist dietician and honorary research fellow at the Applied Research Centre in Health and Lifestyle Interventions at Coventry University, England, cite evidence from almost 200 studies.

"Although health professionals may mean well when they suggest that people lose weight, our analysis indicates that researchers have long interpreted research data through a biased lens," Bacon said. "When the data are reconsidered without the common assumption that fat is harmful, it is overwhelmingly apparent that fat has been highly exaggerated as a risk for disease or decreased longevity."

Bacon noted that the study findings do not support conventional ideas (or popular myths):

    Myth = Weight loss will prolong life.
    Myth = Anyone can lose weight and keep it off through diet and exercise.
    Myth = Weight loss is a practical and positive goal.
    Myth = Weight loss is the only way overweight and obese people can improve their health.
    Myth = Obesity places an economic burden on society.

"The weight-focused approach does not, in the long run, produce thinner, healthier bodies," said Bacon.

"For decades, the United States' public health establishment and $58.6 billion-a-year weight-loss industry have focused on health improvement through weight loss," she said. "The result is unprecedented levels of body dissatisfaction and failure in achieving desired health outcomes. It's time to consider a more evidence-based approach."

Aphramor added: "It's the unintended negative consequences that are particularly troubling, including guilt, anxiety, preoccupation with food and body shape, repeated cycles of weight loss and gain, reduced self esteem, eating disorders and weight discrimination."

Health-focused alternative
Concluding that the weight-focused approach to health is unsupported by the scientific evidence and has in fact been detrimental and costly, Bacon and Aphramor suggest the health care community should adopt what they say is "a more ethical, evidence-based approach toward public health nutrition" -- one that instead encourages individuals to concentrate on developing healthy habits rather than on weight management.

The researchers stress that evidence shows that changing health behaviors can sustainably improve blood pressure, blood lipids, self-esteem, body image, and other indicators of health and well-being, independent of any weight change and without the negative aspects of weight-focused approaches. While weight loss may result, the goal is self-care rather than weight loss, they say. This weight-neutral practice has become known as Health at Every Size.

"It is clear from our review of the data that body weight is a poor target for public health interventions," Bacon said. "Instead, the health care community should shift its emphasis from weight-management to health-improvement strategies, for the well-being of people of all sizes."

Bacon is the author of the 2010 book, "Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight," based on previously published research. She also is the founder of Health at Every Size Community Resources

Financial Disclosure: Aphramor received financial support for this study through a West Midlands Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professions research training award. Bacon and Aphramor are both Health at Every Size practitioners and sometimes receive financial compensation for writing and speaking on this topic.
Quick Links

Kelly Bliss answers Rachael Ray: You lost weight doing what?

In Today's show, Rachael Ray and Linda Evans commented on how awful it is for very thin people to have to "give up themselves" to maintain that painfully thin weight.  I had to write the show.  The only topic that I could find was the one below, and so this is what I wrote to Rachael:
Topic:  You lost weight doing what?
Subtopic:  Today Rachael and Linda Evans talked about people who are very thin having to “give up themselves” in order to maintain that weight.  There are people of all sizes who would have to live painfully regimented lives in order to maintain a weight lower than their natural set point.  And some of these people are medium and some are plus size.  Please consider doing a show on “HAES”, health professionals and activists who focus on health… at every size

Now back to the main topic to illustrate my point:  You lost weight doing what?
** At age 13 I lost weight by not eating anything at all for a week.
** At age 15 I lost weight by only eating grapefruits for a month.
** At age 19 I lost weight by eating only 1000 calories per day
** At age 22 I lost weight by participating and then teaching “Safe Slimming” 
    (A Pennsylvania State University program much like Weight Watchers™)
** At age 23 I lost weight by throwing up 6 times a day and ruined my health.
** At age 24 I lost weight by running 3 hours a day and ruined my feet.
** At age 25 I lost weight by running a marathon and damaged my knees for the rest of my life.
** And then I vowed never to try to lose weight again and reclaimed my health and fitness.

In the 1980’s I became a personal fitness trainer and psychotherapist who focuses on health, not weight.
In the 1990’s I recovered from a serious head injury where I learned to talk and think all over again.
In 2011 I participated in the New Year’s ReVolution with a focus on Health At Every Size http://2011revolutions.blogspot.com/ 

Please consider doing a show on the choice to focus on the ACTIONS of healthy living and body appreciation, instead of weight loss.  Please!  Nobody should have to live obsessively and give up themselves to maintain a lower weight which is not natural to them.  Thank you so much for considering this.  If you want to read more about this HAES concept, check out: http://www.plussizeyellowpages.com/Health_At_Every_Size_HAES.htm

Sunday, January 16, 2011

4 Moves for Better Knees ...


Wow! Yesterday's personal fitness training group was a GREAT workout!  I was so happy with how much better my knees felt.  I have been doing extensive training to strengthen and tone my quadriceps and it is paying off.  While it is true that I have bone on bone osteoarthritis (that began at age 25 from running 3 hours a day), I have been able to reduce the pain by staying fit. 

You see, when my thigh muscles are toned that means the individual muscle cells remain contracted, even when at rest.  This keeps my thigh muscles more firm and helps increase the space between femur (upper leg bone) and tibia (lower leg bone).  This prevents my bones from "grinding" into each other even though I have very little cartilage left.  If you have knee pain, keep your legs strong and toned.  This will help you too.

Here is HOW I maintained and increased my leg muscle tone even when my knees were very injured by connective tissue tears and I could not walk.  I tell you this because you may know someone who also has mobility issues and needs movement that is extra gentle yet effective.  This is the work I have been honored to do with many clients who went from not being able to walk to walking quiet well.  (You may enjoy this story of going from wheel chair to dancing.)

The starting position for all of these is to Sit in a chair in good posture with your feet flat on the floor.

#1.) Heel Presses:  While sitting in good posture, press your heels down.  Can you feel your thighs and buns contract?  Good for you!  Now do as many as you can until your muscles are fatigued.  Take a break and then do it again.  You will enjoy this more if you put on a good song.  -  Continue this for a week or so, a few times a day, until you build strength enough for ...

#2.)  Almost:  While sitting in good posture, reach your arms out in front of you as a counter weight, and ALMOST get up out of the chair.  Just put weight on your feet and lift your butt so it almost lifts off the chair.  Then sit back down.  Go as slow as you need to feel knee stability.  Continue until your thigh and butt muscles are fatigued, then rest and repeat.    -  Continue this for a week or so, a few times a day, until you build strength enough for ...

#3.)  Little Bit:   While sitting in good posture, reach your arms out in front of you as a counter weight, and get up out of the chair a LITTLE BIT.  Maybe lift your butt an inch or two and then sit back down.  Go as slow as you need to feel knee stability.  Continue until your thigh and butt muscles are fatigued, then rest and repeat.    -  Continue this for a week or so, a few times a day, until you build strength enough for ...

#4.)  Get on Up and Do It Again!:  While sitting in good posture, reach your arms out in front of you and GET UP, then sit back down.  (This was a song in the 1980's by Suzy Q.  It has a great beat for this workout.)  Continue until your thigh and butt muscles are fatigued, then rest and repeat.    -  Continue this for a week or so, a few times a day, until you build strength enough for ... LIVING WITH BETTER MOBILITY AND LESS KNEE PAIN!

P.S. When you shop online, please use my links on www.PlusSizeYellow Pages.com because this helps me get closer to affording to put all these exercises on video and post them for you!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Weight Watching is an ANXIETY, not an action...

Why does almost all dieting result in yo-yo dieting?  There are many reasons.  Scientists clearly do not know much about the human set-point or weight regulating mechanism.  However, we do know this mechanism exists.  There are scads of studies that demonstrate the power of the set-point**.  We also know from studies and experience that serial dieting causes increased weight over time.  There are many things that effect our weight over which we have no control.  But there are also many things that effect our WELL BEING that we can influence.  Let's look at how the common choice to focus on weight loss sabotages our self-care.

I had the misfortune of watching a few minutes of Dr. Phil yesterday.  He had some guy on with a 14 day plan (or was the magic number 17 days).  They said that people who are trying to lose weight always plateau (that is the set-point asserting itself).  To break the plateau, this diet monger says we need to change the formula for the way we eat every 17 days. Count calories.  Change your count on different days.  Some foods are forbidden. Keep track.  Focus.  Pay close attention to every mouthful (that is the only way to get an accurate calorie count).  Excuse me, but this sounds like eating disordered thinking to me.  This kind of obsessive playing with food and concentration on rituals often accompanies eating disorders.  Indeed, it requires eating disordered thinking to push past the body's set-point.  In order to achieve a temporary, cosmetically desirable weight, people will do the darnedest things.  

When you focus on weight, it is likely that you will end up eating less than you could maintain long term and exercising more than you could sustain for a lifetime.  This Herculean effort can only be sustained for weeks, months, or maybe even years for most people.  Then when normal life resumes, the body resumes its normal weight.
There is a better way to improve your health, reduce joint pain, level out blood sugar, improve energy, and feel better about your body.  Try focusing on the ACTIONS OF HEALTHY LIVING, instead of the scale.  Engage in problem solving so that you build a life that really meets your needs.  (Instead of spinning and spinning on the next weight loss scheme.)

When you focus on your nutrition, enjoyable movement, stress reduction, and sleeping better ... all INDEPENDENT OF WEIGHT, you can make choices that are livable.  Without the pressure from the scale, you can choose a reasonable amount of exercise and develop quality, tasty nutrition that you can live with for a lifetime.  Because your changes will be gentle and doable, you can maintain them even when life stressors happen.  And life stressors always happen.

Watching your weight is an ANXIETY, not an action.  Self-care is an action that can stay with you for a lifetime.  Self-acceptance is a journey that sometimes takes a lifetime.  It is worth the trip.

** Studies that show the power of the weight regulating mechanism
Journal of the American Medical Association 295 #1 (2006): 39-49.
Journal of the American Medical Association 297 #9 (2007): 969-77.
NEw England Journal of Medicine 338 #1 (1998): 52-54.
International Journal of Obesity 22 (1998): 89-96.
International Journal of Obesity 20 #1 (1996): 47-55.
International Journal of Obesity 18 (1994): 145-54.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 70 (1999): 965-73.
NIH Technology Assessment Conference on Methods for Voluntary Weight Control (1992).

Monday, January 3, 2011

I started using trekking poles because my knees hurt ... from fat prejudice.

OMG!  You will not believe how cool these trekking poles are.  First, they REALLY take the pressure off of your knees when you walk.  But mostly they are FUN!

I started using trekking poles because my knees hurt ... from fat prejudice.  Yes, that is what I said.  My knees did not hurt from my weight, but rather from fear of fat (when I was younger) and fat prejudice in our culture.

Back when I believed the cultural myth that anyone could be lean if they just exercised more and ate less, I used to run three hours a day.  That is the amount of compulsive, eating disordered exercise that was necessary to keep me less fat.  (Even at that level of exercise I still counted as "overweight" by the ridiculous BMI charts.)  While running three hours a day my knees began to hurt.  What did the doctors tell me to do for my hurting knees?  They told me to lose weight.  So I ran more.  I ended up running a marathon at age 25 and being diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knees when I was 26 years old.  So you see, my knees have hurt most of my life ... from fat prejudice.

Back to trekking poles:  Whether I am walking through the Lansdowne, PA streets or hiking in one of our many parks, when I use my trekking poles I am sharing the work between my arms and legs.  It really reduces the stress on my knees and gives me a great workout in my arms too.

When I work with Lifestyle Coaching clients who have knee problems or balance issues, I often recommend they try this fun way to go walking.  I have gotten many rave reviews from those who have taken my suggestion.

When you go to this site and enter "trekking poles" in the search, you will find several selections.  The price range is from about $20 to $80.  I also made some poles that worked pretty well out of bamboo stalks.  But I had to keep replacing he rubber tips so often and repairing my homemade hand grips that I just bought a pair of real trekking poles.  The real ones are MUCH better to use.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The truth is that people of all sizes get OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).

After being on a special super-high-fat diet for my epilepsy, I was at my lowest weight in decades.  That is when I was diagnosed with OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).  I mention this because people falsely assume that only fat people get sleep apnea.  This is a dangerous assumption because it can prevent lean people from getting tested even when they show symptoms.  And it can prevent fat people from getting tested because they feel guilty that their fat caused the problem.  The truth is that people of all sizes get OSA.

I was determined to find a treatment that included self-care and self-acceptance ... not the party line that includes a recommendation to lose weight.  Losing weight is NOT AN ACTION!  Eating healthy and exercising are actions ... and I already was doing those.  I was not going to go on a restrictive, deprivational diet and exercise compulsively to be smaller than my natural weight.  Yo-yo dieting was not going to help my OSA.  And all dieting is likely to be yo-yo dieting.  I wanted to find a real solution to my health issue.

I was unable to tolerate the CPAP for many reasons.  I really tried.  As  matter of fact, I am so good at resolving issues with CPAP that I often coach clients through the process until they can use their own CPAP comfortably.  For myself, I simply could not use this option because the CPAP gave me a constant headache 24 hours a day.  Even my most ingenious problem solving did not help.  I kept searching for alternatives.

I am happy to tell you, that after years of research, I found a simple treatment solution that completely resolved my OSA.  Instead, I wear a little oral appliance that moves my jaw forward and I had my soft pallet stiffened with Pillar Implants. Each one improved my breathing substantially, but did not give complete relief.  Both of them together totally resolved my severe OAS.  I was thrilled when my sleep study confirmed ZERO apneas per hour!!

It turns out that many people never get tested for sleep apnea because they simply do not want to use the CPAP.  50% of those who are prescribed CPAP do not use their machines.  We really need better means of treatment.  If you have or fear you might have OSA, please do the problem solving so that you can wear your CPAP or look into these alternative treatments.  Please check out my site where I have written up the process for getting your own oral appliance and soft pallet implants.

Self-care means getting treatment for those illnesses or conditions that effect your life.  Instead of embarking on a yo-yo diet experience, participate in problem solving for your self-care and self-acceptance.  My quality self-care paid off on this one.  It was a long and arduous process.  If my journey can save you some time and effort, I am honored to share my story.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Have you seen the New Year's Revolution?

You must check out  the New Year's Revolution!  This concept may change your life.  At this time of year, we are pummeled with body attack ads that promise our whole lives will be better if we only lose weight.  

Don't fall for it.  You can make your life better right now, independent of weight.  Give yourself a better day today with self-care and self-acceptance, and you will be one day closer to a better life.  (If you fall for the hype and begin a diet, you know where you will be?  You will be one day closer to your next binge or your next yo-yo diet heart break.)

What makes it so scary to let go of dieting?  Fear.  The diet industry has spent billions of dollars to convince us that the opposite of dieting is overeating and "letting yourself go".  That is bunk!  Overeating and giving up on your self-care are reasonable REACTIONS to the frustration of watching your weight.  They are the other side of the coin to dieting, not the opposite.  

If you want to get off the body hate and yo-yo dieting merry go round, then embrace self-care instead of weight loss goals.  Appreciate your body instead of criticizing it. A new study published in the journal Obesity, suggests that weight stigmatization can lead to avoidance of exercise.  Yes, when you embrace the cultural hatred of fat bodies, then you are setting yourself up to avoid some of your important self-care ... movement and exercise for the pleasure of it.

When you focus on Health At Every Size℠, you are not letting yourself go.  You are committing to self-care.  Look at these 5 principles of HAES℠.  

1. Accepting and respecting the diversity of body shapes and sizes.
2. Recognizing that health and well-being are multi-dimensional and that they include physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional, and intellectual aspects.
3. Promoting all aspects of health and well-being for people of all sizes.
4. Promoting eating in a manner which balances individual nutritional needs, hunger, satiety, appetite, and pleasure.
5. Promoting individually appropriate, enjoyable, life-enhancing physical activity, rather
    than exercise that is focused on a goal of weight loss.
 
That IS healthy living.  This year, join the New Year's Revolution, instead of yo-yo dieting!

I'm coming out ...

I will not get sucked into the body hate and diet industry this January.  Instead I will focus on my self-care and self-appreciation.  For my PERSONAL New Year's Revolution, I am coming out. This is difficult. I used to say I was "Fit and Fat". I used to consider myself an example that helps show the fat people can be healthy.  I did lots of TV, radio, and news interviews.  I enjoyed defending fat people against the prejudice and hate that is so often directed at us.   I was shocked by the amount of hate emails I got as a result of that interview.  I think it was fear of that hate that kept me in the closet these past few years.
So now, I am out of the closet ... I am not healthy any more. The Universe is teaching me that health is a fleeting thing (for people of ALL sizes!) So for the new ...year, I am coming out of the closet as a person with health issues. I may be fit and fat. But I am also coping with epilepsy, OSA, PLM, osteoarthritis, and something that is melting my tendons in my wrists and knees. Gees, I feel silly, but I am sitting here crying over this. I have been pretending and hoping all this would go away.  I kept waiting until I had my health issues solved and then I was going to write on it.  I cannot wait any longer.  People need the information I have gathered.  It is scary to come out, but today I am.  I am coming out as a fit and fat woman who also has health issues.
Guess what?  People of all sizes have health issues.  I realized as I was working with my Lifestyle Coaching clients that both fat and thin people need to do problem solving regarding health issues.  The information I have learned on my own journey toward wellness is important to share. The information I have learned from my clients as we participate in their problem solving process is important to share.  So check back often as I talk about problems and solutions to all sorts of health issues.  And thank you in advance for your acceptance as I come out of the closet.  Maybe we all can become more appreciative of and loving toward our bodies.  After all, this is the only body we've got!