Friday, February 10, 2012

Two Stories, One Theme

Photo Courtesy of Flicker: Life Design Strategies
I've been doing a lot of reading these days.  One book that has occupied my time and thoughts is Intuitive Eating.  I've discussed the book a little in my last post but it seems now that I've nearly completed the book and started the process of becoming a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, I've become more aware how much this revolutionary approach to food and eating is needed. 

One startling example was a post by Anne Brenoff on Huffington Post.  Her article is titled, "Dieting: Let The Blame Game Begin!" Ms Brenoff is writing on the first day of her new diet and she's not very happy about it.
Today is Day One of my diet. I know from having been here before, it's the hardest day. Yes, I am cranky and I'd just as soon sharpen these little baby carrots into darts and throw them at the back of someone's head today as I would eat them. I'm in the "don't mess with me" phase of my diet, which lasts about five days or until my scale nudges a little to the left -- whichever comes first
Not surprising to hear how Ms. Brenhoff is struggling already on her new diet.  As the authors of Intuitve Eating point out, dieting or limiting calories leads to a whole host of negative consequences in the body.  Just look at the very notable study done by Ansel Keys in the 1940's.  In an effort to understand how they body reacts to prolonged dietary restriction, he found that the men in his study (who at about 1500-1600 calories per day) experienced some dramatic changes.  They became more irritable, they changed their eating habits during meals (some sped up and some slowed down) and they obsessed about food.  Once they were taken off the study, they overate and did not return to their normal eating patterns until four months later.

Ms. Brenoff is not alone in her struggle.  She is one of countless dietiers out there who are looking for the next fix.  They are looking for that one diet that will help them lose weight.  Why this obsession to lose wieght?  Maybe it's the clear emphasis our culture puts on being "skinny".

Just one day after Ms. Brenoff's post, another interesting article was posted on Huffington Post. This article called, "The Hunger Blogs" is a chilling description of the very common blogging of the "thinspo" or "thinspiration" community.  They are sites that are there to inspire, help and encourage disordered eating patterns that promote being thin.  What amazed me is just how popular these blogs are.  Like the article says,
Although thinspiration sites have been around nearly as long as the Internet itself -- as far back as 2001, Yahoo! removed roughly 115 sites (pro-ana [pro anorexia] was the label used at that time) citing violations of the company's terms of service -- the depth and scope of Tumblr's teen thinspo community seems unprecedented. Tumblr-based thinspo blogs are a sort of pro-ana 2.0, forgoing chat rooms and message boards in favor of eerily elegant images, sophisticated design, pop-culture references, private messaging, and street-style sensibility.
I find it interesting that both of these articles were on the same site in the same week.  On one hand we have someone who is upset to be on another diet to lose 20 pounds and on the other, we have young women going to any lengths to be thin or lose weight.  Although Ms. Brenoff is not dealing with an eating disorder, she does have something in common with her teenage counterparts.  They both likely have a negative body image and are influenced by our culture's strong influence on being thin.

We need to make peace with our bodies.  The authors of Intuitive Eating discuss at great length how our our negative body image can drive our need to diet.  Dieting leads to restricting or giving up food.  Giving up food leads to feelings of deprivation and that leads to a binge or giving into tempation.  That then leads to feelings of failure and weight gain. Now that we've failed at our diet...again, we feel badly about ourselves and our body and we then look for the next diet to help us lose weight.

Why not break the cycle?  Make peace with food.  Learn more about Intuitive Eating and honor your body and yourself. 


6 comments:

  1. Intuitive Eating is one of my favorite food-related books. Thanks for this great take on it!

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  2. Excellent, thoughtful blog

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  3. Hi Aaron! I'm a fellow RD blogger (and follow you on twitter!) working with Attune foods to spread the word about their nutritious cereal. I'd love to send you some samples but couldn't find your email address on here. If you're interested, please contact me at janel at attunefoods dot com. Thanks!

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  4. Hi Aaron! I came across this article and couldn't agree more. Becoming at peace with our own body type and learning to listen to what it needs (and doesn't need!) is the only way to reach optimal health. Intuitive Eating sounds like a great book to read.

    -Patti
    http://www.missdietitian.blogspot.com/

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  5. Thanks Patti! I highly recommend Intuitive Eating. Let me know what you think.

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  6. New Diet Taps into Pioneering Plan to Help Dieters Get Rid Of 15 Pounds in Only 21 Days!

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