Marcia's Blog is a lifestyle change and dieting blog written by a beloved and respected nutritionist/weight loss counselor/lecturer Marcia Bodenstein. She has helped thousands of kosher consumers achieve and maintain weight loss.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Don't you just hate those natural thins? Not really, we just want to be like them. "It's not fair" we cry, "why can they eat anything they want and stay thin while I gain weight just looking at a cookie?" Let's take a closer look. No one eats anything they want whenever they want it, and if they do, they dont want the way we want. N.T's (natural thins) do not have an emotional relationship with food the way we do. And guess what? Not everyone who looks like an N.T. really is one - they just work hard behind the scenes to appear so. The good news is that we can observe them, emulate their behavior and maybe even adopt some of their attitudes about food. Although this will not come naturally to us, we can work on it! P.S. Don't look for "fair" - you won't find it.
N.T's watch their portion sizes. They leave food on their plates when they have reached their level of satiety. They don't feel that they have to finish every bite.
N.T's dont skip meals. They don't drop everything at the first stomach rumble, but they don't let themselves get famished either. We know that if we get over-hungry we will eat too much of whatever we can get out hands on, and rest assured it will not be broccoli.
N.T's prioritize their health and wellnenss. They are willing to do what it takes, no excuses. They move! They exercise! They walk to the store and don't drive! They get off the bus a few blocks sooner than they need to and walk the rest of the way!
N.T's weigh themselves, preferrably not more than once a week. Less than that and the numbers can get away from you, and 12 times a day doesnt work either - we become a slave to the scale and forget about behavior changes.
N.T's eat slowly, sitting down. They focus on their food, the tastes, the textures and they know that a meal should last 15-20 minutes so the stomach has a chance to feel fullness.
How far away is YOUR behavior from these "ideal ones"? What do you need to work on?
If you are reading this, then I dare say that you have work to do and ME TOO!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

As we approach the end of 2007, I can't help but look back and see what happened this year. It was a year of accomplishments and setbacks (aren't they all?). The highlights were the launching of the website http://www.startfresh.com/, and some new foods in the supermarkets - Start Fresh popcorn and biscotti which take their place alongside out Start Fresh carob-coated rice cakes.
Personally, I can say I gave up diet coke (addictive and the phosphoric acid takes the calcium from your bones) and recently (3 weeks ago) gave up coffee (again!). And for the new year? I'd love to find the time to exercise more! What have you accomplished this year and what do you hope to work on?
This week we are also surrounded by a lot of lights, noise, some of us have a different schedule - all eating triggers. It is important to be aware of both your environment and your thoughts all the time. Just like a mischievous child, if we take our eyes off of ourselves for one minute, we're in trouble. Pay attention to what you are thinking......remember Jack Welch, the billionaire corporate mogul, who says "the harder I work, the luckier I get". Have a great week!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Good day to all fellow START FRESHERS. I don't know where you are reading this, but it is snowing, raining, sleeting, slushy in Brooklyn. Perfect eating weather - stuck inside, cold outside, all you want to do is wrap yourself in a robe and keep warm. But wait! The kids are inside too, and they're bored. Your husband's stuck inside too, and those tasks that have been waiting for him dont look appealing. And everyone sort of gravitates towards the kitchen - where snacks are plentiful, the food is calling and the nice cozy scene begins. The big leisurely breakfast, the sitting around, the cookie baking, more eating , more snacking and on through the day. And at the end of the day, feeling kind of sick and very regretful because of all the food, you fall into bed, sluggish from all the sugar, no energy beccause of all the volume and full of promises of a perfect diet day tomorrow. Sound familiar? Is there no other way? Let's rewind....
Cold, snow, everyone indoors - move everyone to a place other than the kitchen and take out the jigsaw puzzle with the most pieces and begin...get some paper and pencils and play a geography game or a word game....Scrabble, anyone? Put on a tape and exercise together!
Give those little ones a shovel - they love this weather and your driveway will be clean at the same time. And at the end of the day, make a family project out of making a big, hearty vegetable soup (children can chop, too) - you will feel so much better after a day like that!
What do you think? Let's hope for better weather tomorrow!

Wednesday is Asara B'Teves, and for those of us who will be fasting, these tips can make that fast more comfortable.
First, try to decaffeinate. Limit (or eliminate)that coffee, tea, soda and you will avoid that "caffeine headache" on the day of the fast. (At least you can medicate the headache before Wednesday)
Try to limit salt intake - this will insure that you are less thristy on Wednesday
Eat normally the day before - over loading your body with food will not make for an easier fast - you will not be less hungry, but probably more so.
On the day of the fast TRY to avoid thinking about how hungry you are, or what you would like to eat. Also, avoid the supermarket - you will undoubtedly buy more than you need or want if you shop when you are hungry.
To break the fast, plan for a breakfast and a lunch, or a dinner meal depending upon how late you will be up. The inclination is to eat all of the allotted food in the evening, but your body doesnt need that much. Plan for about 1/2 of your day's food - that should be sufficient.
Also, remember to drink - you are hungry but your body is also thirsty.
Wishing you an easy fast. Let us know.....

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hi Everyone - I hope you are having a great Chanukah, feeling good about yourself and your efforts (not perfection, just efforts). Thank you Catskill Craver (see comments from last post) for that fabulous insight - giving yourself the gift of sticking to your promise to yourself. What better gift can we give to ourselves and those people around us than to take care of our health?
Of course you want to lose weight, wear those clothes from your closet that you thought you'd never wear again, re-gain that energy that was lost with each pound gained, but AS IMPORTANT (maybe more so) is the dignity and self-respect that we get from taking care of ourselves, nurturing ourselves appropriately. This program is about PRIDE...what does that mean? how do we get it, or get it back?

P PLANNING AND PREPARATION. When we plan and prepare our food we send a message to ourselves that says "I am important", "I am worthy of this effort"

R facing REALITY - realizing that sure, I can lose weight by fasting or starving, I can pray for a stomach virus, but this is not successful weight control. Facing reality like an adult is very POWERFUL (another P word). Weight loss that is effected by lifestyle change, 1-2 pounds a week average - those are the goals. REPETITION - doing this over and over until it finally becomes a part of our routine. If you have ever taught a child, you know that he/she doesnt learn the first time you tell him/her - maybe not even the 100th time, but keep repeating and they get it! That's the same with us - REPETITION - and then we get it! It takes what it takes.

I means ME. Doing this for myself, but not by myself. The "I" in PRIDE is supported and surrounded by the other letters, and doesnt stand alone. That's why we need each other, that's why we need support. But make no mistake - this is for YOU!!

D DETERMINATION. The same determination that you bring to finding a lost object, cleaning your house, doing your job - that stubborn "I'm going to do this no matter what" - that's the determination that is needed for this program. Making a DAILY DECISION to never give up, keep on keeping on.

E EAT and EXERCISE - 2 important components of a healthy lifestyle. This program is not about eating less, but about eating well. Starvation is not a long-term solution - if you dont eat enough, your metabolism slows down, the fat-burning process slows down, and weight loss slows down and stops! EXERCISE is another important part of weight management. Find something you like to do, find someone who likes it too, and go for it!

The pride and dignity of taking care of yourself is a feeling that is so much better than anything you are eating dontcha think??? Let me know.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Thank you all so much for your comments - it means a lot to me that we understand each other so well. So, now it's Chanukah - another food challenge (not that we don't have them every day).

There are some "Chanukah tips" in the Startfresh.com newsletter (if you are not currently receiving it, leave us your e-mail address on our website - the newsletter is FREE!). I hope these tips help - feel free to send us what helps you...we can all benefit from each other's experiences.

Chanukah is just another TRIGGER, the first component in the anatomy of a binge (see the last blog entry). Understanding that we do have some control over how we handle each part of that binge cycle may head off that episode, so, no, all is not lost when we are "triggered". We face those triggers all of the time - some are ongoing challenges, some come at certain times of the day (dinnertime, 4 PM slump), others at certain celebrations (weddings, Shabbos). The triggers are like the trigger of a gun - it's there but you do not have to pull the trigger. There are those we can do nothing about (family members, financial situations) and some that we can change (walk down a different street if your challenge is passing the candy shop). What if your decision is to binge? Well, it is always your prerogative to change your mind, to make a different DECISION - to pull yourself back, to say NO! Not now, not this time! And if you have already gone into ACTION you can STOP! You dont have to eat it all, eat more, go to the next thing and the next because "tomorrow I am going to be perfect, so I'd better get it all in today".
But what if you did? What if you couldn't stop yourself? What if you have that HANGOVER?
It's strange but true - that "the day after" you want to punish yourself, eat less, or eat nothing.
That's the day you have to take better care of yourself - eat your favorites (on the program of course) Treat yourself as if you were just getting out into the world after the flu - gently, not too much turmoil or activity.You are only human - imperfect at best. Experience the LETDOWN feeling (again!). Internalize that the overeating didnt help, but is yet another TRIGGER, and now the impulse is "I'll binge because I binged" - sound familiar?
In her book, The Committed Life, Rebbitzin Jungreis asks "Why do people make such terrible choices and how can they protect themselves from being so self-destructive?" The answer lies in THINKING - is this worth it? Is this worth giving up my self-esteem over? Is this moment of instant gratification worth the suffering that I will have to endure later?
We have an enormous reservoir of inner strength. "Who is powerful?" our sages ask? "The person who is able to subdue his desires"

So, the fear is not that we have no power. It is that we are powerful beyond measure. Tapping into that power and using it well are the goals of weight control (and life).

Friday, November 23, 2007

Have you ever had a binge?
Do you think a binge just happens?
No way.
First, behind every binge there is an attempt at self-care. The mistaken notion that this food is going to make me feel better is very much in play here. So, rather than beating yourself up for having that unplanned binge, understanding it and all its' stages may help to make a better judgement next time. Every binge has a TRIGGER. The TRIGGER is usually an emotional feeling. "I just had an argument with my best friend and I am angry", "It's raining outside and my plans have been cancelled and I am disappointed", "My son is late coming home and I am frightened"....those feelings and the full gamut of emotions are the TRIGGERS. The triggers feel like hunger and it is difficult to differentiate emotional from physical hunger. It would seem that we go from the TRIGGER to the binge stage, but there is an important step in between - DECISION. I once heard a Rabbi say "between thought and action there is a moment to choose", and sometimes that moment between the thought and the food is so fleeting, and the voice that says "don't do it" so small that we choose to ignore it, but it is definitely there. That decision may be made right before the binge takes place, or it may be hours before when you "prepare for it" in the supermarket, as you purchase the problem food. The third stage of the binge is ACTION, when the actual eating takes place. Most of us have our own ritual - alone at the end of the day, go to an ice cream parlor with friends, middle of the night - shoveling the food in or savoring every bite. After the action (and the action may last for minutes or hours) there is a HANGOVER.

There is no binge without a HANGOVER, and there are two types. The physical HANGOVER - headache, sore muscles, nausous, stomach ache, gas, belching, bloating, sleepy, weepy and/or_______________(you fill in the blank); then there is the emotional HANGOVER - guilt, self-hate, embarassment, and anger. These are uncomfortable but they do pass. And then the LETDOWN - the food didn't solve the problem, you are disappointed in yourself and everything is as it was except you have gained some weight and lost some dignity. And, the last stage is BACK WHERE YOU BEGAN. You are no better off than before and those TRIGGERS are all around you again. Do you recognize any of these stages? Can any of them be short-circuited?...................to be continued

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

So, it's raining - perfect eating day. It's also a perfect binge day if it's sunny, if it's my birthday (or yours), when the dog gets sick, when the dog gets well...you get the idea. The food is always there and it's the "most acceptable drug there is". We give it such power - "this doughnut is going to make me happy" "this piece of cake will calm me down" "this ice cream will give me the quick energy I need" - AND NONE OF THIS IS TRUE! It's just food, and we want from it much more than it can give us. It's not the item - it's the experience and expectation that we bring to the situation that is important. If the hunger isn't physical to begin with, there is not enough food in the world to satisfy it. And yet, we cave in to the destructive habits again and again, in an attempt to take care of ourselves, to make ourselves feel better and comfort the uncomfortable feelings. Is all lost? Of course not! Are we doomed to this behavior forever? No way!
Think again! Something is going to take better care of you than eating, than that inanimate food.
What we are looking for can usually not be provided by food, but by other people.
Think of those situations that send you running for the chips. Is there something that you can ask for, something that can replace the unplanned overeating? What will make you feel better at that moment. It isnt food!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I’m so excited about the launching of our new website- what a boon to our kosher community! Just think, the ability to have our meals planned out for every day, Shabbos, YomTov, and what I love most is the community support. It’s too isolating to be out there alone when the cravings hit and there’s no one to understand. Believe me- I’ve been there.

Let me introduce myself. I’ve lost 5,000 pounds in my life and gained back even more. Like so many of you- I’m a master dieter. I’ve been everywhere, done everything and I dare anyone to top my list. Which includes diet pills, therapy, injections, diet clubs, protein powders, herbs from the health food store, starvation, eating only a few foods, rotation diet, grapefruit diet, experimental programs, calorie counting, the air force diet, shakes, acupuncture, hypnosis, water pills, the cookie diet, Ayds candy, red liquid protein, brown rice diet, Xenadrine, Meridia, Orlistat and of course, all the well known ones.

All of these false starts led me to the basic understanding that there are three components necessary for permanent weight control. 1. A solid healthy food plan. 2. Focus on behavior change. 3. Social support. And that’s what Startfresh.com is all about.

I’d love to hear about your experiences as join us in our journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

Marcia