“I Inherited My Anorexic Mom’s Obsession With Food” (Taylored Training and Fitness)

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Somehow, while I was doing research for my SI joint site, I stumbled across this really great article from Coach Whitney at Taylored Training and Fitness.  It’s about how we can inherit negative patterns, in terms the way we see food and the way we treat our bodies, from our parents.

I haven’t written very much about my own history with food and eating yet, so it’s probably a bit too soon to for me to leap to talking about my own family.

But I do want to say that, if there’s anything all the psychology classes I’ve taken as taught me, it’s that we do pick up way more from our parents than we consciously realize as children.  Coach Whitney writes:

Although my mom did try, I witnessed, learned and inherited her obsession with food. She lived in a world of black and white: food was either good or bad. It would either make you skinny or make you fat.

Every day was a new chance to lose weight. Since having a piece of cake or a cookie was “bad” food, low-fat options were a better choice; it was the ’80s and we owned every Snackwell’s product that was ever made! If it wasn’t low-fat, then exercising to “burn it off” was the strategy of preference for my mom, and then in turn for me.

Her story really resonated with me, because I grew up in a somewhat similar situation.  My mother was not anorexic, but we were all definitely still influenced by the calorie-counting and “low-fat” mentality of the 80’s and 90’s.

I so want to write more about my own story, but I don’t think I am ready to yet.  For now, I just wanted to share this article, and particularly the above quote, on my blog.

I definitely recommend checking out the rest of the article, as well as the other posts from Taylored Training and Fitness!

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Out with the old: Saying goodbye to 90’s nutrition advice

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In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions and goals, I thought I’d share this really great article I found recently on nutrition “myths.”

Fitness Magazine interviewed registered dietitians on how their perspectives on healthy eating have changed over time.  These RD’s talk about some of the conventional wisdom regarding nutrition coming out of recent decades, how it influenced them, and how a lot of it turned out to be wrong.

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As a teenager struggling with body image issues in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I encountered much of these same nutrition trends myself from magazines and books, as well as from the nutritionist I saw for help with my eating disorder.

I remember– I was terrified of fat.  When I went out to eat, I insisted that I found mayonnaise and salad dressing “gross,” because I had read that cutting those things out was the best way to cut calories.

Each day, I only ate a certain number of calories at set times, and carefully adjusting the amount depending on the number of calories I had burned through exercise.  My treat at the end of the day would be some kind of “low-fat” dessert or “snack pack” of cookies.  Most of the food I ate was low fat– Healthy Choice ham for my sandwich at lunch, with low fat cheese.  Lean Cuisines for dinner.

It is so strange, now, to realize that so many of the “rules” I based my life around were, in fact, actually all wrong.

One of the quotes I related to the most in the article came from Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Nutrition Starring You.  She says:

“When I became a dietitian in the mid 1990s, we were in the middle of the fat-free craze. Bagels, fat-free frozen yogurt, and Snackwell cookies were all the rage. Our hospital diet materials recommended limiting nuts because of their fat content and limiting shellfish because of their cholesterol. Now, we know much more about the health benefits of fats derived from nuts and seeds, and we’ve also learned that high-sugar, fat-free foods are not nutritious choices. Unfortunately, people have long memories and to this day, so many of my patients are afraid to eat shrimp if they have elevated cholesterol. It’s exciting to work in a field with ever-evolving research.”

Yes– it absolutely was a fat-free craze.  Fat-free dressing, fat-free cheese.  Sometimes I’d even come across bread that was labeled fat free.  I always thought I was doing something great for myself when I reached for that label, not understanding that my body actually needed fat in order to function.

I also really related to this quote from Emily Cope, M.S., R.D.N., Owner & Consulting Dietitian at Emily Kyle Nutrition:

“When I was in college, I remember being obsessed with those ‘100-calorie packs’ of cookies and crackers. I thought they were a great option—less than 100 calories for all of those tiny wafers!! Little did I know those calories were being replaced with chemicals and unnatural ingredients. These days, now that I am older and wiser, I am less concerned with calories and more concerned with the quality of my food—whole fruit and nuts are my current go-to snacks!”

Yes.  Unfortunately, that was so me as well.  I felt comfortable with pre-packaged, processed foods because they were marketed for weight-loss, and it was easy to know how many calories were in them.

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These days, I have come so far in terms of my outlook to food that sometimes I almost forget that I ever had a problem.  (After all, I’ve had to deal with so much else with my body over the intervening years!).

I will talk more about how I overcame my eating and body image issues in future posts.  But for now, let me say that these days I think I live and eat pretty holistically.  I don’t get caught up on the idea of depriving myself of something if I really want it; I don’t count calories.

And the funny thing is, now that I allow myself to eat whatever I want, I find that most of the time, I generally tend to crave pretty healthy choices.  Now that I’m actually well-nourished, I find myself more in touch with how my body responds to different foods, and I tend to gravitate towards the foods that make me feel best.

I’m sharing this with you for a few reasons:

A) There’s some really good advice contained in this article, and

B) It serves as a reminder to me– and maybe to you– that things can get better.  Even if you have a problem that goes on for years; if you feel trapped and you truly seem stuck, things can change when you don’t expect it.

I truly hope this post was helpful to you.  Happy New Year!

On being “allowed” to eat Caesar salad

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photo courtesy of Geoff Peters https://www.flickr.com/photos/gpeters/3010150846/

As some of you may know, when I was a teenager I basically starved myself.  When I look back at pictures of myself during that time, it’s just like oh my God.  Why did I think I looked good?

I thought it was so cool back then that you could see the outline of my collarbone so perfectly.  That I looked so taut and toned and lean… now I just look at those pictures and see a skeleton.  Why did I think that was good?  Why did I think that was healthy?

My weight and mental outlook were unhealthy any way you look at it, but on top of that I had internalized most of the diet advice of the day (late 1990’s-early 2000’s).  Fat was still thought to be the main contributor to weight-gain, and saturated fat the devil.

The newest research has shown that isn’t really true– that fat is not bad, and that if anything weight gain has more to do with how our bodies process carbohydrates.

I have so memories of going out to eat as a teenager and being so jealous of the Caesar salads my mother and sister would order.  I would always order the “garden salad” or the “house salad”– with, of course, the dressing on the side.  Caesar salad scared me because all of the dressing was mixed in– in large amounts.  I couldn’t control it.

Well now, ten + years later, I am totally letting loose on the Caesar salad.  I make one at home practically every day.  I’m totally obsessed, and with good reason: the romaine is, of course, totally healthy.  And the fat in the salad dressing is in fact not bad– if anything it will help to stabilize blood sugar for longer.

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I’ve been stuck in other areas in my life right now, and I’m thinking of the Caesar salad thing as a reminder that things truly can change, even though at the time they seem immutable, fixed as fact.  There was once a time when I thought it was a fact that, if I ate foods like Caesar salad, I’d get fat.  That I’d start gaining weight and never stop.  That if I weighed more than 132 lbs, guys would no longer find me attractive.

I’m happy to tell you that none of that has turned out to be true.  And now, a celebration of various Caesar salad ideas:

With Bacon:

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courtesy of Maurina Rara https://www.flickr.com/photos/maurina/8591810024/in/photostream/

Caesar salad pizza:

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With chicken:

12887345494_9fb4f91e7d_kYum!

My Food and Cooking Goals

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To have a robust selection of recipes at my fingertips that are easy to make, with ingredients that aren’t hard to find.

To prepare delicious meals that tempt me to eat even when my digestive system isn’t feeling great.

–To feel as though I have plenty of options, even though I can’t eat too much lactose or too much fiber

–To eat healthy, well-rounded meals.

–To be environmentally responsible. This means buying local, organic food, and supporting companies with sustainable practices.

–To be ethical in my choices. This means buying from cruelty-free companies as much as I can, whether it’s cage-free eggs or cheese from cows not treated with hormones.

–To get better at planning meals and preparing food ahead of time. I’m a terrible cook if I wait until I’m hungry before I start preparing my food. I want to get more of a system in place so that I prepare food before I’m hungry, and before I’ve run out of ingredients.

–To know that I’m getting the best deal possible—to find the best prices for the more expensive items. To buy in bulk when possible.

–And even maybe to grow some of my own food, now that the weather’s finally warming up.

Just bought these...
Just bought these…

I hope you will come along with me on this journey!

*Top Photo Credit: epSos.de**