Hugging and Chalking

This blog is about obesity and the inanity/insanity it spawns, the encroaching lawsuits and growing diet industry. Obesity is a matter of genes and personal responsibility. You can have an endocrine problem, or you can have a balance problem (too many calories and too little exercise). It’s not where you eat, but how much you eat; it’s not McDonald’s fault, or Mama’s fault, or Washington’s fault if your body is too fat or too thin. Rosabelle.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Interview with Sandra Aamodt about mindful eating

Jean Fain is the author of  http://www.jeanfain.com/newsletters.htmlShe had an opportunity to interview neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt about her ideas on the downside of dieting. Ms. Aamodt has a Ted Talk and a NYT editorial piece about mindful eating. Why you can't lose weight on a diet

Q. As a therapist specializing in eating issues, I’m well aware of mindful eating’s many benefits. But for those who’ve never stopped and savored a raisin, how do you define mindful eating and what advantages does it have over dieting? 

A. I define it as eating with attention and joy, without judgment. That includes attention to hunger and fullness, to the experience of eating and to its effects on our bodies. As we learn to clearly observe how food tastes and how it makes us feel, we naturally start making more satisfying choices. Mindful eating views food as an ally, while dieting treats it as an enemy, leading to constant struggles between willpower and temptation. That's one reason that the results of mindful eating look better in the long-term than in the short-term, while dieting shows the opposite pattern.

Q. After three decades of trying and failing to lose the same 10-15 pounds, you resolved to stop dieting and start eating mindfully. What prompted that resolution?

A. I didn't exactly fail to lose those pounds. Instead I succeeded one time too many. The main trouble with diets is that they work in the short term, but they fail in the long term. As I started to look into the research showing that almost all dieting is yo-yo dieting in practice, I realized that my story was typical, a result of my brain working as it should to protect me from starvation. Knowing that, it didn't make sense to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. The resolution, which I made for New Year's in 2010, was an experiment. I didn't know how well it would work, but I knew that I needed to try something new because the old way was costing a lot of energy and delivering little payoff.

Q. Judging from the firestorm your recent NY Times op-ed incited, not everyone is ready to ditch dieting and their big weight-loss dreams. In fact, if Reddit commenters are any indication, dieting is as popular as ever. So, I’m curious, who are your ideal readers and how do you hope your book impacts them?

A. My strongest hope is that parents will read the book and realize that expressing anxiety about children's bodies is not going to make them thinner. Instead, it's likely to lead to weight gain and increase the risk of eating disorders. The easiest place to break the cycle of diet obsession, I think, is at that parent-child relationship, before a lifetime of weight cycling has gotten started. The other class of readers I hope to reach is people like me, who are tired of repeated dieting that isn't getting them anywhere and looking for a better way.

Q. While you couldn’t be more clear that mindful eating doesn’t guarantee weight loss, you can be sure that a good number of readers will expect to lose weight doing as you’ve done -- eat mindfully without restriction for six months to a year. What do you have to say to them?

A. Whether or not you hope to lose weight, the process of learning to eat mindfully will go better if you don't make that a goal. Part of the point of mindful eating is to loosen the grip of cognitive controls on your food choices, so you can let the brain regulate hunger as it's done successfully for hundreds of thousands of years. Try mindful eating for the benefits you can count on, such as developing a good relationship with food or being able to apply your willpower to being a better partner, parent, or worker instead of using it up in repeated attempts to fit into smaller pants.

Q. As of your 2013 Ted Talk, you’d lost 10 pounds. How goes the weight maintenance?

A. I'm still wearing the blue dress I chose for that talk. As long as my lifestyle is stable, my weight stays the same. Last year I had an injury that stopped me from exercising for several months, and I gained five or 10 pounds. When I became active again, my weight dropped back to normal within a month, without any particular effort.

Q. You say you can’t learn mindful eating from a book, and I couldn’t agree with you more. How did you learn to eat mindfully and how do you suggest readers do the same?

A. I learned on my own, without any previous training in mindfulness. I started by deciding to pay attention to how my body felt before and after eating for an entire year. It ended up taking me about six months to learn how to eat mindfully. Early on, I had trouble figuring out whether I was hungry, I think partly because I was invested in getting the "right" answer -- the one that agreed with my preconceptions about whether I should be hungry at the moment. I also had trouble detecting fullness before I'd overeaten. With time and attention, both hunger and fullness signals became stronger. Now I automatically notice when it's time to stop eating, even if I'm deep in conversation. Shaking off the guilt and learning to fully enjoy food was a slower process, which has greatly enhanced my quality of life.

For people who don't feel comfortable learning on their own, there are a variety of books and workshops that provide mindful eating exercises. But no matter how you approach the experience, you can't skip the exercises and expect to learn anything just by reading or listening. Mindful eating requires experimenting -- "playing with your food," as Jean Kristeller says -- until you learn what works for you and how it feels to eat according to hunger. 

Q. How do you understand why mindful eating helped you stop eating donuts, but not ice cream?

A. The simple answer is that I learned to taste my food. When I was dieting, there was so much chatter in my head about "should" and "must" and "don't" around food that it often drowned out the basic experience of eating. Once I learned to pay less attention to those voices and more attention to the physical sensations, I discovered that I didn't like some of the foods I'd been using to cheat on my diet, like donuts or Doritos. But I still love other treats, like ice cream and strawberry shortcake.

Closing Thoughts….
Yes, even the most mindful eater can gain weight as Aamodt did when she got sidelined from exercise. Fortunately, mindful eating has taught her to trust that, even if life throws her a curve ball and she gains a few pounds, her weight generally takes care of itself. In my professional opinion, that’s as good as it gets. 


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Sunday, May 15, 2016

The neglected health blog

My goodness; where does the time go?


I eventually lost 35 pounds and got back to a size 8.  But as always it's a struggle.  At my regular blog I wrote quite a bit about exercise and chocolate.  Yes, chocolate (dark) is good for weight loss.  Also, I've continued on the exercycle, and I'm at 2,588 miles in 17 months.  The little online record for biking across the country with photos lost its funding, so now I just track it in a notebook. Can't walk much; developed bursitis in my left leg last August after having it clear up in the right in June, so it has to be the stationary bike.

http://collectingmythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/coffee-vs-chocolate-for-caffeine.html

http://collectingmythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/04/more-on-my-wonderful-chocolate-drink.html


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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mayo BMI calculator

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Just barely squeak into the normal zone. I’ve lost 18 lbs since Christmas. http://www.mayoclinic.org/bmi-calculator/itt-20084938

Yes, it’s the old tried and true ELMM method—eat less, move more. Works every time, but it does take longer as we age. I’m “embracing” healthy eating with no crazy changes or diet books. Just more fruits and vegetables, more salads with a variety of greens, eating all the colors, steaming, no sandwiches, making a lot of soup from home made broth, avoiding all my triggers—potato chips, crackers, cheddar cheese, processed foods in general and no glass of red wine with dinner.

Yesterday I made baked meatballs out of canned salmon—got them nice and brown, really delicious.  It’s easy to warm them up for a meal.  Even my husband liked them. Also I make up a mess of black beans, brown rice and grilled onions with a smidgen of either bacon or hamburger, divide into 4 packages, and then use that warm on my salad greens with some pieces of fat free feta cheese. I could waste away to nothing before I’d develop a taste for feta, so I think it is pretty safe. If made in Greece, it’s a brined white cheese made from sheep or goat milk, or if U.S. made, may be from cow’s milk.  I can’t tell from this label.

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Also more exercise—4-6 miles on the exercyle, spread over 4-5 times a day on the bike so I don’t reinjure my bursa. I’m also using my husband’s finger strengthener for his guitar while I cycle, trying to improve my grip which had become so weak I needed help to open jars.

Grip master

My leg pain of the last 3+ years was gone after the first 10 lbs., but I’m still being careful.

I’m still in Virginia!

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How big is this state, anyway?  I’ve ridden my exercycle, Gold’s Gym Power 210 Spin, 380 miles since Christmas using an online program called “Tools to Keep you Active” into which you can log your biking, running or walking, and it will show you a photo of where you are.  And I’m still in Virginia!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

I eat orange peel

orange-peel

I eat an orange every day.  About every third orange, I slice the peel, put it in a small amount of water and zap it in the microwave, drain, and do it again and drain.  Then I soak it in sugar water for a day.  Sometimes I save that water for my tea. I drain the water and sprinkle the peel with sugar and keep it in the frig in a closed container, where I munch a few slices a day for something tangy and sweet (much less sugar than a piece of candy). I used to let the slices dry out and then sugar them, but it didn’t really change the taste.  If I were serving them at a party as sugared orange peels, I’d probably do it the right way.  I don’t think I’ve discovered all the health benefits that this web page reports (lower cholesterol, anti-inflammatory, weight loss), but at least I haven’t had a cold in 18 months, which is pretty unusual for me.  Or it’s a fluke.  Either way,I’ve become rather fond of the peels.  I sometimes chop them (after I’ve prepared them) in small pieces and add to fruit salads.

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http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/fruit-peel.html

Always read instructions for cleaning the peel.

Cross posted at Collecting my thoughts.

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Monday, October 08, 2012

How are the knees?

If you're a boomer, planning to vote Obama, AND you are overweight or have some arthritis in the joints, you might want to peruse JAMA Sept. 26, 2012 (a lot of pulbic libraries offer this journal) for the articles about total knee replacements, outcomes, do-overs and costs. It's a $9 billion/year cost, and most patients are on Medicare. I suspect after reading through these articles the TKA will soon be KO'd and you'll just have to live with the pain. If your knees hurt when you're in the voting booth, perhaps they're telling you something? You'll need a subscription to read the entire article, but here is the abstract.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Diet and exercise myths and studies

Diet and exercise. Everyone seems to be over weight these days, including me. If you pick up a consumer magazine or health journal, obesity (or obesity links to poverty and crime) seems to be the meal ticket (pardon the pun) for social workers, nutritionists and medical writers. Losing weight is no problem. Maintenance is. Most medical reports only go to 18 months for “success” stories. I lost 20 lbs. In October 2006-March 2007. Travel is broadening, and in 2006 we went to Finland, Russia, California, an architectural tour, and to Michigan. We ate a lot of good food. I gained a few pounds back in Ireland that fall, a few pounds in Italy the next year, and a few in our Holy Land tour in 2009. Since 2010 it’s been a hopeless climb back to my 2006 weight. In fact, I’d be happy to weigh what I did in 2009. The June 27 issue of JAMA has another comparison of plans, and STEP, or a stepped care weight loss program does better than the standard behavior mod plan. However,  “The findings do not answer the question of how to achieve weight loss in a manner that will be appealing enough to the participants in long term sustained weight loss." (p. 2641). Really? Who knew? Eat less, move more. It always works. Cross posted at Collecting my Thoughts .

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Rick Warren's new book

                          The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life  -     By: Rick Warren, Daniel Amen, M.D. & Mark Hyman, M.D.

Today Gretchen Carlson interviewed Rick Warren about his "The Daniel Plan" which is about healthy eating and exercise, and she specifically asked what he thought about the Obamacare mandate requiring Christians to violate their conscience and teachings, and after telling her Christians had the first hospitals he moved right back to talking about his book and didn't answer her question which included a clip of Cardinal Dolan on NBC.

One of the guests with Warren commented on obesity and brain function. Compared to people of normal weight, overweight people’s brains look 8 years older and obese people’s brains appear 16 years older. Warren has lost 65 lbs.--so maybe that was his problem with answering a very clear question.

http://bebrainfit.com/lifestyle/drains/the-toll-being-overweight-takes-on-your-brain/

Cross posted on Collecting my Thoughts