Showing posts with label diet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label diet. Show all posts

Friday, February 7, 2014

Embracing the Imperfect Diet

It sounds like the antithesis of what it means to be healthy, right? Haven’t we been told that we have to eat more veggies, consume less junk food, and cook more at home? Doesn’t that mean always striving for better nutrition, not embracing the “less than,” substandard fare?

Yes…and no. While eating healthier is great, we can take it too far. There’s a new term on the rise in health circles: Orthorexia. It may sound odd, but it’s a serious issue. It is caused by being overly concerned about healthy eating. And before you scratch your head, let me explain.


The orthorexic person doesn’t just care about eating healthier: they live for it. They consistently try to improve their diet and have anxiety when they are placed in situations that compromise it. They worry about food quality when they eat out, when they visit with friends, and when they are grocery shopping. They suffer from guilt if they aren’t 100% perfect when it comes to their strict eating protocol. Often, they may judge or scold friends and coworkers when they eat foods that don’t adhere to the orthorexic’s view of healthy eating.

It may sound unlikely to happen to you, but if you come to healthier eating with an eating disorder of any kind – yo-yo dieting (disordered eating), bulimia, anorexia, etc. – you may very well develop an orthorexic mindset. We often trade one obsessive pattern for another.

So how do you combat falling into an orthorexic mindset?

First, seek help. If you recognize that you have suffered from disordered eating in the past, getting quality care from a therapist is the first place to start. We live in a culture that promotes perfection, and in so doing, often sends us down a path of dieting, body image dysmorphia, and unhealthy mindsets. Professional psychological counseling can help you work through those pain points and assist you in finding peace.

Second, take small, loving steps. While improving your diet and health is an awesome goal, you also have to live your life! If you find yourself cringing when you are going out to eat or attending a friendly mixer, examine what it is that is really bothering you. Is it fear that you’ll fall back into unhealthy eating patterns? Is it giving up control over the quality of foods you eat? Or is it something more? Do you have a hard time letting yourself enjoy those moments? Whatever it may be, give yourself permission to let go and embrace the time spent with others. You can enjoy the healthiest fare available if you choose, but you can also give yourself a break and simply be – eating delicious food and celebrating with the people you enjoy. The habits you’ve cultivated around making healthy choices will be there in the morning.

Third, embrace imperfection. We are never going to lead the perfect diet 100% of the time. And it is okay! You are doing many great things by choosing to eat whole foods, cook at home, and buy local produce. If a little imperfect food creeps its way into the mix, you are still making amazing changes. If your favorite popcorn is at the movie theater, then enjoy it a few times a month. Are you daydreaming about a Snickers bar? Then go eat one and savor it. The stress caused by worrying over these occasional treats is harder on you and your body than the occasional indulgence.

Orthorexia is quickly becoming a buzzword in healthy circles, but you don’t have to fall into its trap. Stay aware of your mindsets as you start making healthier choices, and remind yourself that imperfection is the goal – perfection is not attainable.

What ways have you witnessed orthorexia in the lives of those around you? Have you dealt with a similar issue? How did you overcome it?

Contributing Writer

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Healthy Weight Week

Weigh yourself no more than once a week
to avoid getting discouraged while on a diet.

How often have we told ourselves that we need to take off that extra ten pounds only to have a year go by, and then we are looking at taking off twenty pounds? 

Most of us have, more than once in our lives, tried to diet and jump on the next fad diet that hits the market.  Many of us have tried them all at one time or another and not had a lot of success at keeping off the weight. We are inundated with subliminal images of thin people every day on television as the media hypes the newest diet trend, just to sell their products!

Well, this week is Healthy Weight Week, and there's no time like the present to get started on a healthy new YOU! 
We all want to lose the weight quickly and hope for dramatic weight loss almost overnight. The facts show that those who follow a plan and lose 1 – 2  pounds per week will have far greater success in keeping the weight off. Your course should be slow and easy allowing your body to adjust to the changes it will go through in your quest to get healthier. Getting to that healthier you is not just a diet, it is a lifestyle change. You must examine your overall living habits and decide that you want to make changes. These changes don’t just involve the food that you are putting in your body. It also includes the amount of physical activity you engage in during the day. You will be surprised that even a slight increase in your activity level will help tremendously. Making the decision to lose weight, change your lifestyle, and become healthier is a big step to take. Start simply by making a commitment to yourself.
Two years ago, my husband and I started living healthier and we were successful with losing weight. We retired a few years before that, and retirement was agreeing with us, and it began to show, physically! We gradually added that dreaded 10, 20 and then 30 extra pounds. Something had to change if we were going to live that long healthy life we always dreamed of. We knew that there would be other health complications in addition to the discomfort of carrying around those extra pounds. We started our lifestyle changes in order to achieve a healthy weight. We needed to lower our cholesterol, blood pressure and avoid type II diabetes; all three of these illnesses are becoming epidemics in our country.

In order to lose weight you must decrease your daily caloric intake. One pound is equal to 3500 calories. Therefore, if you want to lose a pound per week, you must reduce your daily caloric intake by 500 calories.  Most of us are really not aware of EVERYTHING that we eat on a daily basis. The Internet is full of very helpful information to assist you when setting up your healthier you plan. WebMd has some good charts including calorie counters and a healthy portion chartThere are charts that will tell you just what your ideal weight should be for both men and women. It will help you establish your BMI (Body Mass Index) range for your body type and age. BMI measures your body fat content. 
The key to our success with reaching a healthier weight was keeping a journal of everything we ate each day. We charted it keeping track of several factors. We wrote down each food item along with the number of good and bad fats, sugars, fiber, cholesterol, proteins and calories. This required a lot more label reading on my part while shopping, but it helped me get to know just what I was buying. Keeping track became easier as time went on. This is just one way to start making a lifestyle change, WebMd has a great slide show with 22 diet tips to help you stay on track.

It also made me more aware of just what is in the food I am buying, and my buying habits changed drastically. We limited red meats and only ate leaner meats, like chicken and fish. We cut down on high calorie side dishes and increased the fiber dishes by adding more beans and brown rice dishes.
We started to lose weight slowly and after a couple of months the weight seemed to just fall off.  My husband's cholesterol levels fell along with a dramatic change in blood pressure. It has been almost two years now, we are still at our ideal weight, and we are much healthier overall. 
So even if the overall goal seems large, see it as a journey rather than just a final destination.You'll learn new eating and physical activity habits that will help you live a healthier lifestyle.These habits will  help you maintain your weight loss over time. You will feel great and look forward to a long, healthy life. Our whole outlook changed to a more positive view about ourselves. So get started now and don't put it off any longer! You will thank yourself many times over while you are enjoying all those extra years of a healthy, active life!

fad diet
Make a healthy lifestyle change for a
healthier new YOU.
Cindy Foley
Contributing Writer