‘Twas the Morning of Christmas (A Holiday Poem for the Exercise Addict)

santa-fitness

[image source] ’Twas the morning of Christmas, though the children were sleeping,  I was Yelp!-ing like crazy, while silently weeping.  The stockings were filled with presents so dear,  Yet all that I searched for were “gyms that are near.”  At … Continue reading

Un-Podcast 035: UNcooked (Michelle Norris)

healing-with-food

[source] If I’ve learned nothing else in the past year and a half of this journey to health, I’ve at least learned this: You cannot change the world by yourself. You cannot change yourself by yourself. For 13 years, I … Continue reading

Cover Your Mouth!: Disordered Eating is a Communicatable Disease

Cover Your Mouth!: Disordered Eating is a Communicatable Disease The seasons are changing, and it’s that time of year when we have to start being extra-careful about our immunity. And I’m not just talking about the flu--I’m talking about body image issues. In case you weren’t aware, disordered eating is a communicable disease--or, perhaps I should say it’s a communicatable disease. It’s not the kind of disease that’s spread by hugging--on the contrary, hugs are an essential daily vitamin that can help you build your immunity. It’s the kind of disease that spreads from person to person through negative self-talk, marketing ploys, and cultural habits. Every year during this time our attention turns to America’s favorite past time: coming up with an excuse for eating and then coming up with an excuse for punishing ourselves for eating. And every year during this time, our TVs, radios, blog feeds, and social media networks turn into a giant discussion about how to binge, how to stop bingeing, and how to make up for bingeing once the season is over. This is the time of year when it seems like you can’t have a conversation about anything without bringing up who’s eating what, where, and when, and how you’ll be doing penance for it. It’s in the national media, and it’s also close to home. For example, just two days ago, during my 2 minute savasana at my yoga studio, one of the newer yoga teachers said in her soothing “savasana” voice (and I’m loosely quoting, because I wasn’t taking notes while lying in corpse pose), “The holidays are coming. And you’re going to eat a lot. But you will come back to yoga, and you will get back in shape.” [Insert sound of a record scratching here.] Um, what? How about, “The holidays are coming, and you’re going to spend lots of quality time with people you love. Food and exercise may be involved, but they’re not all that important in the grand scheme of things?” Or, “The holidays are coming, and if you do choose to fixate on food, know that you’re not alone, and that you don’t have to punish yourself with exercise to make up for it. Throw away your scale and do yoga because it feels good?” Or even, “The holidays are coming, and it can be difficult to be around food and family members and stressful situations. Keep coming back to yoga because it will give you the tools you need to stay mind-full and avoid stuffing yourself belly-full out of frustration or stress?” Look, I know that there’s little I can say in this one blog that’s going to get the Today Show to stop showing you segments about how to cook a 5000 calorie Thanksgiving and then burn off a 5000 calorie Thanksgiving, or TV commercials to stop glorifying disordered eating behaviors (like fixating on or sneaking food), or the inevitable “January 1 is coming so eat while you can but save your money for a gym membership” magazine ads. [source] That said, change has to start somewhere--and it can start with YOU. If you want to have a happy and healthy holiday season, then it’s up to YOU to start changing the way YOU talk about food with family and friends. No, you may not be able to get your yoga teacher to keep your savasana sacred, but when the ladies in the locker room are talking about how fat they already feel because they’re anticipating the holiday binge, you can choose not to participate--and, even better, change the subject by asking them who they’ll be celebrating with or where they’ll be traveling. As soon as food or exercise comes up as the topic of conversation, YOU have a choice to change the channel, leave the room, or redirect the conversation. And if you’re stuck on your yoga mat, you can choose not to listen--or, do what I did, and focus instead on the upcoming asanas (or yoga poses), which you want to try to work on. Whatever you do: Don’t feed the negativity about feeding! Even if you don’t have an eating disorder, if you’re a member of the western culture and even marginally exposed to our cultural practices around the fall/winter holiday season, then you have plenty of opportunities to be exposed to the communicatable disease that is disordered eating. Just as you can spread a cold when you forget to cover your mouth when you cough, so can you spread disordered eating and exercise behaviors when you choose to indulge in the negative body talk about indulging during the holidays. Build up your immunity now by practicing the following: Worried about bingeing on once-a-year foods? Cook a dish or two now, and enjoy it on a random week night so you can remember that Thanksgiving or Christmas (or whatever holiday you’re celebrating) is not the only time you’ll have access to that food. Make a list of non-food or gym-based activities that you’re looking forward to participating in from now through January. Use that list to redirect the conversation when friends or family (or you!) start fixating on food. Get a notebook or a piece of paper, and put a check mark every time you catch yourself saying something negative about your body in anticipation of the holiday season. About the chime in on that “I can eat less and exercise more” conversation with your girlfriends? Check it off. Mind racing with anxiety when a stuffing commercial comes on? Check it off. The benefits are two fold: over time, you’ll be able to start unconsciously making the catches, AND you’ll be able to mindfully redirect your thought process with positive self-talk. Be honest with friends and family: ask them not to make a big deal about food and exercise in conversation. You’re allowed to set healthy boundaries, and as long as you’re being respectful in how you ask (i.e. don’t attack them for bringing up the leftover situation), you can help condition those with whom you spend your time to notice when they’re engaging in triggering conversation as well. Remind yourself that a holiday feast is just another meal. Allow yourself to savor the foods you don’t normally eat, but remember to spend time savoring the company you’re in as well. You’ll spend less time gorging (or restricting but fixating) on the sweet potatoes if you’re having a great conversation with your family and friends. You don’t have to worry yourself sick over your food and exercise situation this holiday season. Change the way you communicate, and in turn, those around you might follow suit. And, just in case, make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin H* in the meantime. Stay hungry, @MissSkinnyGenes *Hugs, obviously.

The seasons are changing, and it’s that time of year when we have to start being extra-careful about our immunity. And I’m not just talking about the flu–I’m talking about body image issues. In case you weren’t aware, disordered eating … Continue reading

Friday Reading: Stop Counting to Make Paleo Count

stop-counting-make-paleo-count

Happy Friday! So, I’ve been receiving a lot of communication from all of you out there in the blogosphere regarding feeling out of control about counting, tracking, and logging “health goals.” While the blogs, podcasts, and books make it seem … Continue reading

UN-Podcast 029: UNinventoried (Theresa Goodrich)

[source] In the past couple of days, I’ve had to come up head-to-head with many of my old beliefs about fitness and training, and reassess where I stand when it comes to exercise. As a person with an exercise addiction, … Continue reading

Disgust, Body Shame, and Fitspiration: Why We Care About Maria Kang

you-are-beautiful

TL;DR: Fitspiration sucks. Stop fat-shaming/fit-shaming yourself and others, kthx.  Strong is the New…? I just want to take a brief interlude and ask a question, because it’s something that’s been weighing on me pretty heavily. How many of you out … Continue reading

UN-Podcast 026: UNlisted

One of the most important things I think we can do in order to break free from addictions, end disordered eating and exercise, and transform our bodies and our health is to stop following our “high-fact” and “low-fact” diets. Today’s … Continue reading

UN-Podcast 024: UNstrung

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets,laugh more, cry less.  Life must be lived as we go along. The station … Continue reading

Trigger HAPPY Thursday: Get the Body You’ve Always Wanted

imperfect-I'm-perfect-quote

I do have to warn you: today’s Trigger HAPPY Thursday may contain some triggers. If you aren’t ready for this, that’s okay. Just come back when you’re ready to have it out with the ED in your head.  Today’s happiness … Continue reading

Fitness Friday: How to Exercise When You’re Injured: HIIT Dip Bar Workout

kaila-prins-exercise-injury

Well, I’m back on the West Coast, and I realized that it’s been a hella* long time since the last “How to Exercise When You’re Injured” post, SO…time for another exciting workout that you can do, whether you’re injured or … Continue reading