Boosting Positive Body Image

Take a moment this week to focus more on the positive, forget black and white thinking, and exercise your passion with this inspirational blog post!

Photo Credit: andresAzp via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: andresAzp via Compfight cc

More on the Positive – Instead of focusing on weight, scales or muscles, think about the positive characteristics you possess…humor, creativity, passion. Focusing your positive characteristics can help you build self-esteem and positive body image.

Forget Black and White Thinking – No food is “bad” or “good.” Food provides us with energy and nutrients but in varying amounts. By refraining from labeling foods, we can help prevent ourselves from internalizing those same labels. To learn more about how to foster a healthy habits with food, check out the Healthy Habits Program.

Exercise Your Passion – Do you enjoy swimming, hiking or basketball? Have you ever tried a relaxing yoga session or an upbeat spinning class? Trying a new activity with a friend or simply going hiking with your family can be a great way to socialize and fit in physical activity. Experiment with different activities and find what you enjoy the most. It’s important to exercise for health, wellness and enjoyment rather than just weight loss. For physical activity, think about overall wellbeing rather than pinpointing areas you find negative.

Additional Tips for Boosting Positive Body Image

  1. Surround yourself with positive people
  2. Accept that every shape and body size is beautiful
  3. Understand that the media portrays beauty in varying ways. The media and advertisements project images that are often not realistic.

Diabulimia: Learning More about your Teen and their Type-1 Diabetes Diagnosis

Diabulimia: Learning More about your Teen and their Type-1 Diabetes Diagnosis
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

Diabulimia is an unofficial term, used by both the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, to define a serious condition effecting, but not limited to, adolescent girls diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Photo Credit: via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

An adolescent diagnosed with diabulimia (known formally as ED-DMT1) is characterized by the intentional misuse and manipulation of insulin for the purposes of weight loss and control. By decreasing, or skipping the necessary dose of insulin, the individual’s body cannot absorb the carbohydrate, which affects weight and causes high blood sugar. This is very dangerous state as high blood sugar can cause Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

 

Did you know diabulimia’s prevalence is most widely recognized in adolescent girls? Studies conducted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Pediatric Nutrition, report that an adolescent girl, with T1DM, is 2.4 times more likely to develop an eating disorder than her peers. While it is difficult to pinpoint the culprit behind diabulimia, the current assumption is the hyper focus on diet, control and weight. The strict diet associated with diabetes care and the pressures associated with women, eating, and body image could “exacerbate preexisting disordered eating tendencies.” (Childers)

 

If your tween or teen has diabetes, here are signs that may signify there is an element of disordered eating or an eating disorder:

  1. Frequent Diabetic Ketoacidosis
  2. Excessive Exercise
  3. Use of diet pills or laxatives to control weight
  4. Anxiety about or avoidance of being weighed
  5. Frequent and severe hypoglycemia
  6. Binging with alcohol
  7. Severe stress in family
  8. Frequent Insulin omission (Franz)

This is a relatively new branch to the field of nutrition, displayed by its mixture of symptoms and heath concerns.  It is important to remember the American Diabetes Association (ADA) continues to stress that there is no “one-size-fits-all” eating pattern for individuals with diabetes. When it comes to dietary recommendations, there is a strong emphasis on personal/cultural sensitivity and care. If your adolescent shows the above signs, it is highly recommended to seek a registered dietitian who specializes in both diabetes and eating disorders.

DiabulimiaPostAdditionalResources

What do you think the prevalence of Diabulimia suggests about adolescent girls perception of health? How can we help to reframe this image?

 

 

Resources

  • Nancy, Childers, and Hansen-Petrik Melissa. “Diabulimia in Adolescent Females.” Pediatric Nutrition 37.3 (2014): 13-16. Print.
  • Franz, Marion J., and Kulkarni, Karmeen. Diabetes Education and Program Management. Chicago, IL: American Association of Diabetes Educators, 2001. 159. Print.

Weight Shaming is Such a Shame

Weight Shaming is Such a Shame

By Lauren Cohen and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Photo Credit: ashley rose, via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: ashley rose, via Compfight cc

There are a series of phrases out there so vile that I am embarrassed by the following sentence. They include; “thigh gap,” “food shaming,” “FUPA,” and “butterface.” These are just a few of the grotesque ways we have manipulated the English language to diminish the beauty of another person. A person.  A person who is made of cells, and matter, and muscle, and fibers, and water, and feelings, and emotions, and self-hate. We don’t need your help to belittle ourselves—we do just fine on our own. But we don’t have to.

 

Weight shaming—or perhaps better described as body shaming—is something we all fall victim to. It’s easy to accidentally offend. When I was thirteen, gangly and tall with a rough case of acne, a woman pulled me aside while I was bathing suit shopping. I was in a bikini and she asked me, with a soft and serious tone, if I was eating enough and if I would like her to speak to my mother. I was horrified, confused, and virtually naked. I am sure she had good intentions; but I can still feel today that sensation of brutal exposure.

 

Body shaming is a real life nightmare. It feels like walking into to your high school cafeteria completely nude. The room falls silent and everyone laughs. I don’t need to explain it to you—no doubt you have felt it at one point or another. But… why?

 

It comes from all over. From our parents and our friends, from the media and from ourselves. As a society, we forget that people are built just the way they are built. Everybody is different and every body is different. Sometimes they’re small; sometimes they’re large. Sometimes busty or curvy or lean or petite. There are extremes, of course, and those often require nutrition intervention for both over and under nutrition. But for the majority of the population—we need to work on some serious body loving.

 

There is a theory out there—the set-point theory—arguing that individual bodies maintain a certain weight and frame for extended periods of time. If you think of your lifespan as a graph, this would be a plateau. Provided that the plateau is not in an extreme, I like the idea behind this theory. To me, it is a scientific way of asserting that your body is all your own.

 

Your body is very smart. Think about it. It knows how to take care of itself, when to ask you for more food, when to enforce more sleep, when to suggest an appealing exercise or crave a specific meal. Your body takes care of you—now it’s time for you to take care of your body. Give it some lovin’.

 

 

How do you show your body love? What can we do to help prevent body shaming?

 

A Reflection on BMI | Part 2 – BMI Report Cards

A Reflection on BMI: Part 2 BMI Report Cards
By Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

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Just to recap what we learned in Part I, BMI is a measurement based on an individual’s height and weight. It is used on a scale to reflect one’s status as underweight, normal and underweight. While using measurements is essential for statistical reasons and diagnostic tools, BMI is being utilized as a marker of health rather than focusing on behaviors and a cluster of measurements. We have said it before and will say it again; BMI is only one measurement and it’s not always reflective of a person’s state of health.

 

After collecting all of this information on BMI, does this change how we look at it for our growing children and adolescents?

 

Adolescent bodies, the time of development just after childhood, are growing at a rapid pace. Mentally and physically. Teens deal with an increased level of hormones in their bodies, which contribute to the many different growth spurts they will endure. They struggle with self-identity and the desire for independence. This combination often causes teens to be deeply self-conscious, which can inhibit decision-making. It could cause them to become defiant and often times unresponsive to parental guidance.

 

Puberty arrives at different times, stages and intervals for every child but usually happens around age 11-14. On average, teens experience a 20-25% growth increase during this time—35 pounds for girls and 45 pounds for boys. In an average one-year spurt, girls grow roughly 3.5 inches and boys about 4 inches. Using a measurement such as BMI, which is already so marginalized to determine the health status of a rapidly changing youth seems counterproductive.

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Over the past few years, you may have heard of BMI Report Cards or, as they are more harshly referred to, “Fat Letters.” They are letters sent home from schools reporting on a child’s BMI and suggesting to seek out a physician if results are above normal. Needless to say, parents did not respond well to this. It caused a national outrage. In 2004, Arkansas was the first state to send BMI report cards home to parents and/or guardians. Children and adolescents with a BMI indicating they were “overweight” were suggested to consult a health care professional. Today, the program is implemented in over a quarter of United States school districts.

 

A cover story from the New York Post last week chronicled (with pictures!) this same concern. Click here to read the article in full and see the letter that a young girl was sent home with from the NY Department of Education. Unfortunately, this is happening with more regularity in New York City schools than the article chronicled. It isn’t just front cover news; a friend of ours recently received “obese” range marks for two of her three children who are nowhere near overweight. Now it becomes clear that we cannot possible classify these kids as overweight or underweight without taking into consideration other factors such as fat distribution, family history and the child’s behavior. This leads us to a very important question—if BMI calculates the relationship between height and weight, in a time when height and weight are rapidly changing at different paces and intervals, how can we justify using this as a determinant of adolescent health?

 

Knowing everything that we know about BMI, is this really something that will be beneficial for children and adolescents? Shouldn’t we be focusing on their habits through this time to pave the way for a lifelong positive relationship with health and food?

 

Perhaps even more important, we should be considering how these letters impact the children receiving them. We know that adolescence is the time that individuals are molded into adults. So what happens when a child is told they are fat? A recent article published by the LA Times discusses a study at UCLA that researched this question. Their data reflects “10-year-old girls who are told they are too fat by people that are close to them are more likely to be obese at 19 than girls who were never told they were too fat.” (LA Times, Deborah Netburn) The research goes on to emphasize the danger of “Weight Labeling” at this age. With our understanding of adolescent development, it’s easy to see why.

 

The major flaw with BMI calculations continues to be that it cannot tell you an individual’s habits. Those high in muscle weight are considered overweight, petite individuals are underweight and normal range individuals could be harboring unhealthy eating habits. BMI is limiting. It doesn’t ask the big questions; have you started menstruating? Are you feeling pressure to experiment with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or sex? How often do you think about food? Are you eating a balanced diet? These are the thoughts and habits that, overtime, determine the health of an individual.

 

Has your child received a BMI report card known as a Fitness Gram? What are your feelings concerning weight stigmas and children?

 

For more information on this subject, check out the Academy of Eating Disorder’s stand on BMI reporting in schools and Examiner’s take on Fitnessgrams.

Healthy in the Mind and the Body

You want to be healthy in the mind as well as the body, right? So do you think a gym is a place of healthy attitudes and positive role models? Unfortunately, it’s not always the best place for our mind or bodies especially when we are moving for the wrong reasons. Many times, I encourage my clients to move but fear they will get caught up in over-working their bodies, or triggered when their trainer or instructor give unsolicited diet advice or encourages more than one spin class a day. Well my colleague had the brilliant idea to create a training program to educate fitness specialists/trainers at the gym how to work with health seekers in a way that honors both the mind and body. This amazing training helps the gym employees to identify individuals with eating disorders and gives them tools to work with clients in a healthy way rather than encouraging the disorder. Read on to learn about Jodi’s Destructively Fit and perhaps think about whether or not your health club needs a little bit of Jodi’s energy.

By Guest Blogger, Jodi Rubin

Eating disorders have always been my passion. They have been my specialty since I began my LCSW private practice more than a decade ago. Over the years, I’ve directed a program for eating disorders, currently teach a curriculum I created on eating disorders at NYU’s Graduate School of Social Work, and have done a few other things. Yet, I have not found a way to connect my love of healthy fitness and honoring one’s body with my passion for helping those struggling with eating disorders.

The issue of eating disorders within fitness centers is a ubiquitous one. I’ve seen people spending hours on the treadmill, heard countless patients recounting their obsessiveness with the gym, and others seeming as though their self-esteem became immediately deflated if they couldn’t work out hard enough, fast enough or long enough. The research I have done has revealed that the presence of eating disorders within fitness centers is “sticky” and “complicated” and gets very little attention. Through no fault of anyone in particular, if people aren’t given the education and tools, then how can anyone feel knowledgable and confident enough to address this sensitive issue?

I went directly to fitness professionals to see what they thought about eating disorders within the fitness industry. As I suspected, it was clear that there was not a lack of interest in this issue. Quite the contrary. Most, if not all, of those with whom I spoke were eager and excited to finally have a forum in which they could learn about eating disorders and how to approach the issue. That’s when DESTRUCTIVELY FIT™: demystifying eating disorders for fitness professionals™ was born. I created this 3-hour training with the goal of educating those within the fitness industry about what eating disorders are and what to do if they notice that someone may be struggling. It has since been endorsed for continuing education by both the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and The American Council on Exercise (ACE) and has sparked the interest of variety of fitness clubs. Check out Destructively Fit™ in the news here!

Some stats for you…
• 25 million American women are struggling with eating disorders
• 7 million American men are struggling with eating disorders
• 81% of 10 year old girls are afraid of being fat
• 51% of 9-10 year old girls feel better about themselves when they are dieting
• 45% of boys are unhappy with their bodies
• 67% of women 15-64 withdraw from life-engaging activities, like giving an opinion and going to the doctor, because they feel badly about their looks
• An estimated 90-95% of those diagnosed with eating disorders are members of fitness centers

 

Read more about Destructively Fit™ on destructivelyfit.com. You can also follow Destructively Fit™ on Facebook and Twitter. Help spread the word and be a part of affecting change!

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/.

 

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