My Exercise Allergy

By Guest Blogger, Rebecca Weiss.

I used to joke and tell people I was allergic to exercise. It did seem that every time we were supposed to run around the track or play dodge ball in middle school I’d start to feel a bit unwell. Those Presidential Physical Fitness contests? I regularly threw up on those days. I think the main reason I hated exercise was that I couldn’t stand the sensation of being out of breath. It panicked me, and make me worry that I’d never catch my breath. It even led to some pretty serious anxiety issues as an adult. So, for the most part, when I ran as a kid, I would stop as soon as I wasn’t breathing normally. And, as a result, I never took to exercise. I did enjoy playing basketball in high school, but never really exerted myself because I hated the feel of my face getting red and my feet hitting the gym floor so heavily. I didn’t want to sweat in front of my classmates. I was too self-conscious to lose myself in the game.

And so, as an adult trying to improve my health and fitness level, I had to start from scratch. Now, people will tell you that all you have to do is walk a bit every day. And, certainly walking can be great exercise. But, I could walk so that I wasn’t burning any calories. My office is about a mile from Penn Station, with no good subway options, and I dreaded the walk every workday. I would adopt a slow pace, talk on my cell phone, take elevators or escalators when available—it wasn’t doing much for me. We all know that for exercise to have an impact you have to get your heart rate up. And, guess what, doing that might change your breathing or cause you to sweat. I did not want that.

One of my greatest role models for exercise was my paternal grandfather who, according to family lore, rode a stationary bike every day until his death at 92. So, at the age of 40, I bought a recumbent exercise bike. No one at the Sports Authority was any help, so I just picked the bike that felt the most comfortable in the store and wasn’t too expensive. Some people came to the house to set it up, and I was on my own. There were pre-set work out programs, a heart-rate checker, calorie counter and more, but I couldn’t figure out how to get my feet in the straps.

The first night I rode the bike for 10 minutes and thought I had made a terrible mistake. I had the tension set at level three (out of 10) and felt like my legs would fall off the entire time. My muscles were burning and I sensed that uncomfortable out-of-breath feeling creeping in. I hated hearing myself huffing and puffing for air. But, I told myself I had to keep trying to see if it got easier. And it did.

After about three weeks, I could ride at that same tension level for 20 minutes without feeling like I was going to die. I actually started to enjoy the feeling of sweat rolling down my face—it felt like I was accomplishing something. I settled into a routine of riding the bike for 30 minutes a night after my kids went to bed, while I watched all the trashy TV shows I could record on the DVR. The Real Housewives. The Soup. Say Yes to the Dress. Yes please! The best was Dancing with the Stars, as I found the music drove me to peddle faster.

After six months I was up to 35 minutes on some of the harder workout programs. I got used to the out-of-breath feeling, sometimes even embraced it. Look what my body can do! I can push myself to the point of discomfort and come out stronger. I don’t feel allergic anymore.

That time on the bike became “Me time.” I started to look forward to it. Even though the workouts were challenging, I craved them. I found that I was also pushing myself more on my walks to and from the office. Using the DWTS model, I listened to fast-paced music to inspire myself to walk faster. With my headphones on, I couldn’t hear myself huffing and puffing as my exertion increased. Using a pedometer helped me keep track of my distance and time, and showed me what a difference taking the stairs can make.

My dietician asked me recently if I think I will stick with this new routine, if it will be part of my life moving forward. I am almost positive that it will be. The truth is, I feel so much better now. I can run to catch my train without feeling that I’m over exerting myself. I have visible muscles in my thighs and calves that look great in skirts. I feel so amazing when I get off that bike each night—I don’t want to give that up.

I hope it means I’ll live to be 92 (or more), but for now it’s enough of a reward to see myself as someone who exercises regularly, and to have overcome fears that have slowed me down—literally—most of my life.

About Rebecca: 

Rebecca Weiss is a writer, mom of two, and director of communications for a New York City auction house. In 2012 she started a fitness and wellness journey. She is a monthly contributor to Mom Dishes It Out.

Wait!!! You’re a male with an eating disorder?

By Dr. Tony Wendorf, Guest Blogger

In a culture that values image so much, women may feel a lot of pressure to look a certain way.  Over the last few decades the movement toward valuing “being thin” has progressed at an alarming rate. Eating disorders have also followed suit and increased over the last 10-20 years.

Perhaps society is to blame, or it may just be that we have gotten better at understanding and recognizing what an eating disorder looks like. For years we have placed so much clinical attention on females with eating disorders that we completely ignored similar symptoms in males when, in fact, The Academy of Eating Disorders recently released statistics demonstrating a 10:1 female to male ratio. This gap is only continuing to get closer and closer the more we learn about males with eating disorders.

Typically, men have a later age of onset (21 years old) versus women (18 years old). Men typically do not seek treatment as quickly as females (nearly four years later). When men do seek treatment, their hospital stays are typically almost three full weeks shorter than females. Not surprisingly, we also see that males tend to die sooner after hospitalization than females.

Men diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa—Restricting Type are the most likely to die following treatment. It’s possible that this alarming notion is due to the fact that men are admitted and discharged based on a lower Body Mass Index (BMI), which contributes to quicker fatality. The older the male is for admission, the more likely they are to die sooner than someone who is admitted at a younger age.  And yet another contributing factor is poor social support, which naturally results in the likelihood of death.

Many of the clinical symptoms of an eating disorder are similar, if not identical between males and females.  However, there are a few significant differences. For one, many males with eating disorders have struggled with a history of being premorbidly overweight.  This is not the case with females. Additionally, males do not tend to attempt suicide nearly as frequently as females with eating disorders. Anecdotally speaking, many males with eating disorders are having or have actively dealt with struggles with their sexuality. This may also contribute to body image dissatisfaction and distortion. Lastly, a great number of men with eating disorders struggle with Binge Eating Disorder, which is not currently listed in the DSM-IV-TR, but clearly has a distinct clinical pattern that requires immediate attention—immediate attention that is often not received.

The message is clear. Eating disorders do not discriminate between males and females.  As a professional in the field, there is a greater push to treat men with eating disorders and far more training available to better address this population. If you believe that yourself or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, it is highly encouraged that you seek immediate evaluation. I highly recommend the following facilities:

Rogers Memorial Hospital: www.rogershospital.org
800-767-4411

Rosewood Ranch, Center for Eating Disorders: www.rosewoodranch.com
800-845-2211

My contact information:
Dr Tony Wendorf
Licensed Clinical Psychologist #2977-57
Specializing in Recovery for Eating Disorder Individuals
tonywendorf@gmail.com

 

 Author

Dr. Tony Wendorf is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders and is a professor in the Masters of Counseling program at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, WI for courses in Multicultural psychotherapy, Psychopathology, and Eating Disorders. Dr Wendorf is a psychologist at The REDI Clinic. Prior to joining the REDI Clinic, Dr. Wendorf completed his Doctoral Residency at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-All Saints in Racine. During this time he was part of the consultation-liaison team in the medical hospital, established an eating disorder therapy group, saw eating disorder patients for individual therapy and conducted psychological and neuropsychological evaluations.Dr. Wendorf gained specialty training in treating males with eating disorders during his time at Rogers Memorial Hospital as the primary therapist for the male program in the residential Eating Disorder Center. Additionally, he has specialized training in Maudsley Family Therapy (FBT).

Dr. Wendorf received his Bachelors Degree in Psychology from UW-Milwaukee, his Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology and his Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology from Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology. He is a member of multiple professional organizations including the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp), the American Psychological Association (APA), National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) and the Wisconsin Psychological Association (WPA).


What Is Gestalt Therapy?

Gestalt Therapy is a growth-oriented approach to working with people that emphasizes context and relationship. The Gestalt approach embraces a person’s physical, psychological, intellectual, emotional, interpersonal and spiritual experience. Each of these interconnected aspects of living is considered inseparable from a person’s environment, history and culture.

A Psychotherapeutic Approach

 

Gestalt therapy seeks to develop awareness, support creative choice and encourage responsibility in a person’s effort to realize and effective, meaningful and fulfilling life. From a Gestalt perspective a well-lived life is grounded in a person’s awareness of how they live their life and conduct their relationships in the present.

 

The Gestalt practitioner works to create a relationship with a client that is respectful and attuned. The immediacy of the emerging dialogue creates a space in which the client feels recognized and affirmed by the therapist. A delicate balance of support and challenge is used when addressing the client’s hopes and concerns.

The Gestalt approach places more emphasis on describing and understanding the unique experience of a client rather than interpreting and generalizing about the client’s experience. The use of creative experimentation involves the therapist and client co-creating new ways for the client to be in the world with greater satisfaction.

The Epidemic of Diabetes

Hydrate with water, not soda

Regardless of weight and age, America is heading towards a Diabetes epidemic. Americans must change their lifestyles by moving more, and eating less.

Diabetes does not discriminate based on overall weight. America needs to focus on decreasing belly fat, specifically, eating less processed food and moving more.

 

Based on the study reported in the Journal of Pediatrics, Diabetes is increasing in our teen population. There was a 14% increase in prediabetes and diabetes in a ten year period. In 1999 – 2000, there was a 9% incidence of prediabetes and diabetes in teenagers between ages 12- 19. In 2007- 2008, there was a 23 % incidence of prediabetes and diabetes. This is more than two fold. However, the study also revealed this was regardless of weight. Across the weight spectrum, all teens had an increase in the incidence of Diabetes. In my mind, this is a Diabetes Epidemic not an obesity epidemic.

Obesity did not increase in our youth during this ten year period from 1999 – to 2008. One study from the NHANES reports an actual decrease in teen obesity, despite an increase in prediabetes and diabetes. Also, half of the participants in the study had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which means everyone needs intervention.

So what is the intervention? It depends on who you ask but the many agree America must move more, eat less processed food, and practice stress relief. America is eating too much and not moving enough. We are a culture of convenience. People need to eat because they are hungry rather than bored. We need to eliminate highly processed food such as chips and soda. We need to feel full with fiber and drink for hydration. Simple solutions are to replace chips with fiber rich berries and soda with bubbly water like Perrier. Ideally, we need to decrease insulin resistance and belly bulge (aka abdominal obesity).

The study admits to flaws. One of the flaws is the tool BMI – Body Mass Index. This measurement tool uses overall weight and height, not accounting for muscle mass and frame. Football players are considered obese when using BMI. A better tool to assess for obesity, belly fat, insulin resistance and or risk for diabetes would be the waist to height ratio. This tool would not qualify the typical football player as obese.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to share some of these thoughts with the HLN audience. Click here to see the clip.

 

May AL, Kuklina EV, Yoon PW. Prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among US adolescents, 1999−2008. Pediatrics. 2012;peds.2011-1082.

Outrage Over the Tube Feeding Diet

Tube Feeding Diet

Searching for the perfect wedding dress can be stressful but in that one moment when all eyes are looking at you, the pressure  to  look beautiful and feel beautiful can escalate. Now more and more often, bride-to-be’s  are looking for quick and simple weight loss solutions. One diet that has recently grabed a lot of attention from the media is the Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition Diet—also known as the Feeding Tube Diet. Utilized by people who are looking for rapid weight loss, this procedure involves a constant flow of liquid nourishment that runs from the nose, through the esophagus and into the stomach. While people can lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time, there are many important factors to consider.

Misuse of Medicine: Tube Feeding is approved for gaining weight and providing nutrition. Tube Feeding is warranted in a state of malnutrition not to cause malnutrition One can still eat with NG tubes, so why not just eat less food? There are medical risks to tube feeding.

Eating Disorders: Tube feedings are used to in extreme cases to refeed people suffering from an eating disorder. Encouraging a tube feeding diet may trigger an eating disorder.

Temporary Weight Loss Extreme dieting is neither healthy nor permanent. Weight is quickly regained as fat after extreme diets.

Honeymoon Weight gain Brides are likely to puff up with swelling once they resume drinking fluids and eating on their honeymoon. At the end of a two week honeymoon, a woman is likely to have gained the weight back and not fit into the honeymoon clothes. What will happen then?

As a RD, CDE I am appalled by this diet and find it disturbing that women feel the need to go to such extremes for one day in their life. What are your thoughts? Would you do this?

Michelle Obama says Let's Move!

Laura’s Take on the Let’s Move! Campaign. Listen to Laura talk with Rita Cosby on wor710.com on 2/1/2012 or via podcast.

As a leader Michelle Obama is in a unique and powerful position to empower Americans to live healthier lives. She can influence food companies to provide less processed, higher quality foods to schools and to our supermarket shelves. She can raise the energy and spirit of health by advocating for health awareness and encouraging physical activity. Her celebrity status can help bring the USDA’s “MyPlate” to more families’ tables.  She can help spread the message to fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy. Thankfully, Michelle Obama also stresses moderation and admits to eating her burgers and fries.

Let’s Move! is taking information that is already out there and bringing a greater awareness on how to access such health education. Many of the materials and guidelines are those developed by the USDA.

Michelle Obama has companies like Goya and California Fresh Work Funds trying to help initiative change.

Is this the right campaign?

At the end of the day, bringing awareness to health promotion and disease prevention needs to be the ultimate goal of someone like Michelle Obama. However, rather than fight obesity, the campaign may want to rephrase their negative spin and create a new positive tone to Let’s Move!

How about let’s move more, let’s move towards eating real wholesome foods and let’s move towards eating less processed food. Let’s move to building self esteem!!!

Can one person create change?

Yes, Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution and The Biggest Loser are just two examples of how change happens. Even, the presidential chef is making change. In the Washington Post today, the presidential chef Cristeta Comerford reports losing 15 pounds and eating healthier with her own home garden. She was influenced by her boss, Michelle Obama!! That’s right, the White House has their own garden and serves seasonal garden veggies to their guests. Comerford now has her own garden too.

 

What can you do to make a difference? Can you change your language about health or perhaps just add a half cup of veggies to your dinner plate?

 

 

The Hollywood Image

The Hollywood image that’s plastered everywhere—online, on TV, in magazines– is simply not realistic and can be harmful. Yet, it’s what some women and men strive for. They may see how skinny Demi Moore or LeAnn Rimes have gotten and think this is the ideal. I want to remind everyone that most people do not have such bodies naturally!  Most people do not have the time or money to focus on their bodies the way the Hollywood stars do. Most people can’t afford a full staff of a dietitian, a trainer, an esthetician, a chef, and a dermatologist…. Plus, celebrities are getting paid A LOT of money to look this way and if they don’t meet the criteria there is always editing and airbrushing to attain the super skinny, youthful look. To meet the Hollywood ideal, most men and women need to restrict their intake to a caloric level that is equivalent with that of an eating disorder. Most stars don’t acknowledge that they have an issue, although Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima openly admitted recently that she simply stopped eating solid food 12 whole days before the Angel runway show!

Remember, beauty is from the inside and shines when one is confident from their inner core. There is a great new web site promoting a new definition of beauty – check it out at www.BeautyRedefiend.net/.

 

Beauty Redefined Sticky-Notes