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, February 24, 2008

Good Morning to all of you out there in "foodland". Where is "Foodland"?, you ask. It's everywhere! Look around - our whole lives center around food, eating it, cooking it, shopping for it, assaulted with ads for what is the best, the healthiest, the gooeyest, which food for which simcha and Yom Tov - my goodness, it's a wonder that we think of anything else! BUT our obsession has not served us well - neither collectively not individually. We are a nation of overweight, unhealthy people. 65 percent of us are considered overweight, 30 percent obese. On a personal level, has food and weight made you happy? (except for those few minutes of chewing?) Of course not. What used to be the solution is now the problem. So, why do we fall victim to what "bottomless pit" calls "that little angel on her shoulder? The one that whispers self-destructive thoughts to you -"one wont hurt", "just this time" and "you deserve a treat". Rebbetzin Jungreis in her book "The Committed Life" comments that the "yetzer hara" has the ability to temporarily blind a person. "I want it NOW, I want it ALL, and I WONT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER" - sound familiar? Solution: We must prepare for that little angel/devil when she appears. Like a part in a play we must rehearse, rehearse, rehearse before the opening night.
So, the next time you are invited out or go to a simcha or a restautant, rehearse beforehand:
What am I going to say when someone says "eat this?"
What am I going to think when the urge to overeast descends upon me?
How am I going to react when I feel hungry, knowing I am not really hungry, but feeling like I feel hungry?
How am I going to resist something that everyone seems to be enjoying and I know that this will only lead me to frustration and unhappiness?
And, most important, what can I eat beforehand so that I can go without being ravenous?
And rehearse and rehearse and know your lines so that on the night of the "big play" you are well prepared. Break a leg!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dearest Lovetoeat and all of my other compadres out there - if we could only be perfect! That will never never happen BUT there is "harm reduction". It is what I always take comfort in. What a coup that you didn't continue what you did on Shabbos. What a success that you went right back to your program on Sunday morning. I'll bet that is improvement over all of the times we "messed up" and kept right on going because "what the heck - I wasn't good so I'll eat till after Shabbos, Monday, after that simcha, after my vacation, till my next Start Fresh week, etc. etc." Refer to last week's newsletter "What's In Your Mind Is More Important Than What's In Your Mouth" - what you did is not important - what you learn from it is. So, what did you learn? How can you avoid the same traps next time? I know, I know it's constant vigilance, but worth it? You bet!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hi friends. I hope your week was good, healthy and productive - looking at your comments I see that it was. I had the unique (?) opportunity to be on jury duty last week; it was yet another chance to see how we use food. If you've ever been there you know it is just a lot of waiting around. When I got there at 8:45AM I entered a room where about 80 people were sitting and waiting - I counted 39 of them eating!! We were told that about once every hour 12 of us would be called by name and those 12 would be directed to another room to be interviewed for a case. The others, if your name was not called, were free to go downstairs, "get something to eat" and return. So every hour there was a mass exodus to the food concession. We were not allowed cell phones, video games, BUT FOOD WAS OK. After lunch (where I assumed folks actually ate lunch) most people came back with a bag of snacks - MORE FOOD. Amazing, but no longer a surprise to me, how food is so central in our lives. We use it as an activity when we're bored, quick energy, a tranquilizer, a friend - and we give it the power to do what it cant possibly do - MAKE US FEEL BETTER. I call it the "oranges in the hardware store theory" - the answer is not in the food. The other phenomenon that I observed is the number of people who are overweight (again, not a surprise) and the kinds of foods they ate - chips, cakes, sandwiches. The "thin ones" were eating fruits and salads, and those who I suspect were N.T.'s were on their computers or reading.
It is so hard to ferret out the signals - what is hunger, and what isn't. Hunger is what is created by the stomach - it's empty, it's been about 3 hours since the last meal, and I would be satisfied with a nice bowl of veg soup or a salad, or a fruit. Appetite is created by LIFE. It's the big black hole left there by uncomfortable feelings. It comes on "all of a sudden" (true hunger builds gradually), and there is NO WAY that a salad, soup or a fruit is going to satisfy this. THAT IS NOT HUNGER!!! You see, the stomach has no idea what you ate - carrots or carrot cake - it only knows if it's empty or full. SO - Jury duty is not hunger, mother-in-law is not hunger, financial difficulties is not hunger, children issues is not hunger, weather, vacations, illness, economy, who will be the next president - all NOT HUNGER. The problem is that it FEELS LIKE HUNGER...the signals seem the same. So the work is to discern what is HUNGER and what is EMPTINESS. Food will only take care of one of those.....right?

Monday, February 11, 2008

To anonymous, lovetoeat and all of my other wonderful "lantsleit"out there - your comments and support give me the motivation to continue blogging and working. It is so gratifying to me to be understood and supported in this very special way. I just had to stick in this extra blog this morning....
It's 11 degrees here today (11 below with windchill) and so much time will be spent indoors - don't use it as an excuse to run to the food! It will NOT warm you up (unless it's a big mug of soup) - not physically and not emotionally.
Keep up the good work!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hi everyone - the first thing I do each day is look for your comments - they are as important to me as this blog (I hope) is to you. It is really heartwarming to know that y'all speak my language, that we understand each other and are there for accountability and support. Who else in my life would understand "I can't stop eating"? (their answer: "control yourself") Who else would understand "I eat until I'm stuffed"? (their answer: "push yourself away from the table") - and these answers are particularly annoying when they are preceded by the word "just" - as if it were the most natural and easy thing in the world. Sometimes I don't even want to talk to these folks. BUT - what I know is that these N.T.'s (natural thins) can teach us a thing or two. Their behaviors will never come naturally to us, but we can mimick their actions and "act as if"....such as:

EAT SLOWLY - those natural thins don't wolf down their food. Did you ever finish eating your meal and look around and everyone else has barely begun? Put down that fork between bites, chew your food - don't swallow whole. A meal should last 20 minutes so that your stomach can signal your brain that you have begun to eat, that you are eating,and that you are satisfied. At each level, the brain releases different enzymes (insulin, glucagons and finally seratonin). The time between the first release and the last is 20 minutes; therefore, you can conceivably have overeaten before your brain knows that you have started.No wonder we don't get filled up!!

SIT DOWN - an N.T. would never dream of eating a meal while standing. And, I believe, that if we sat down to everything we ate, we would eliminate 90 percent of the overeating.

THROW OUT THE OLD CLOTHES - don't give yourself a "safety valve". Make sure that your clothes fit NOW (not too big so that you feel it's OK to gain a few pounds and not too small to make you uncomfortable) .

LEAVE OFF THE SAUCES - those "thins" favor plain food - not messy, saucy, gooey, where the food is hidden under a mountain of sauce. Take yours plain too and if you want sauce, add a measured amount after you are served. Those sauces add loads of calories and fat.

GIVE FOOD YOUR FULL ATTENTION - don't read, talk on the phone, cook, do homework with the kids, laundry - concentrate on eating!!

SEND BACK THE BREAD BASKET - In a restaurant that's the first thing that is brought to the table. Either send it back OR put it at another end of the table OR make sure your salad is served with that basket so that you can be eating something while everyone else is eating the bread.

THINK QUALITY NOT QUANTITY - Whatever you eat, make sure it's worth it. An NT doesnt eat what she doesnt like just 'cause it's there.

DONT PUNISH YOURSELF FOR A BINGE - yes, those N.T.'s overeat too (or so they say),but they don't make it a moral issue - they simply go back to their regular way of eating. We continue eating because we started - the guilt is the most "fattening" ingredient in any food.

We will never be those Natural Thins - but no one has to know that!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Thank you everyone for the comments to Marcia's Blog. It is so reassuring to know that we are all on the same page, think alike and have all the same questions, concerns and challenges. Dear lovetoeat - the whole point of adopting this healthy lifestyle is to have the freedom to go anywhere and partake in every simcha and Yom Tov because we have mentally and physically prepared ourselves for success. "Binge-proofing" means taking all the necessary steps so that when faced with the temptation we are well armed. First of all, remember when a simcha was a dreaded event? Nothing to wear, hate the way we looked and felt? Now, a few pounds lighter, and a with a new "lighter" attitude, we go in pride. BUT, before you go, eat a soup, a salad, a fruit and a yogurt so that you go comfortably satisfied and not ready to eat anything in sight. Then when the food is served, you can make an intelligent choice (which you cannot do if you are overhungry or bingeing out of control). As far as the pizza store - not only can you walk past - YOU CAN WALK IN!! There are so many healthy alternatives now in all the pizza shops (not like when I was growing up), anyone's food preferences can be accommodated. What's more - you can have pizza. Yes, that's right - real pizza. They even have pizza with a bunch of veggies on top. BUT, make sure that you complement it with a nice salad so that it is a filling meal. Also, try cutting that slice in half and eating with a knife and fork - it makes the meal last a little longer and forces us to eat a little slower. As far as entertaining, what a great way to use your imagination, your ingenuity and your new-found knowledge. We think that we have to overcook when we entertain and overeat when we are entertained - neither is true. Your guests want to eat in a healthier way, like you do. Whatever dish you have prepared pre-Start Fresh can be made lower-calorie and lower- fat. And what are you emphasizing - is there loads of cake and not a fruit in sight? Are there loads of processed carbs with nary a vegetable or whole grain?
Simchas, eating out and entertaining needs to be about more than just eating. It's about the ambiance, the company, the comeraderie, the good conversation and some laughs. When the entire focus is on the food, it definitely takes something away, don't you think?
To bottomlesspit - talking yourself thin comes with training and practice. First, let's take a good look at our "diet talk" - "I can't do this", "It's so hard" "It's a lifetime struggle". So much of this is taping over those old tapes and changing our food talk:
Old talk "I'm on vacation..."
NEW TALK "I've been on vacation from healthy eating for years. I want to enjoy this vacation and come back looking and feeling good. I dont want to undo everything I've accomplished so far".
Old talk "It's free" (at a buffet)
NEW TALK "Nothing is free. Overeating comes with great consequence that I no longer want to pay" .
Old talk "I'll have just one"
NEW TALK "I have never been able to have just one and if I don't start, I will not have to worry about how much I am going to eat - one is too many and a hundred are not enough" .
Old talk "It looks so good"
NEW TALK "If I eat it, I'll have to wear it"
See the difference in the sef-talk? Remember that you really want to lose the weight and change the relationship with food. We have gotten through some really tough times in the past and will get through this too. The most important thing you can say to yourself is "I WANT TO DO THIS, I CAN DO IT, AND I WILL DO IT".