What Should We Do About #DearFatPeople?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, by now you’ve have heard of, read about, or watched the offensive and shaming #DearFatPeople video Nicole Arbour created in the name of “comedy”. You may have even seen one of the responses, which at least this awful video gets people talking and saying “this sh*t ain’t right.”

There is a lot of chatter going on about the idea of fat shaming, summed up to “it’s bullying” and “it’s never OK.” I agree. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been supporting Association for Size Diversity and Health (I’m a member) Health at Every Size and their collaboration with Women’s Health Magazine in their #StopTheShame campaign on Twitter.

The Gasoline for Weight Stigma

In thinking about what I could possibly contribute that would add to the “this is not OK” conversation, I was immediately drawn to exploring what fuels weight stigma in the first place. The first thing that comes to mind, is the idea of dieting. In our desperation to conform to societal thin ideals, we diet. Instead of exercising and eating well because we love our bodies, it’s because we hate them. We compare. We despair.

It’s Not Just Adults Who Diet. It starts Early.

I have been working on a blog and infographic on teens and dieting. The fact that I’m even having to do this is sad. It sucks. As a mom of two, I dread my girls feeling the pull of dieting like I did by 12 years old.
What I want to know is, what should we do about it? Let me know in the comments below.
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A 10-year study looked at dieting, unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors, and binge eating to determine if engaging in these behaviors during adolescence increased the risk for continuing them into young adulthood.  The study involved 2,287 adolescents and young adults that were about half female and half non-white and divided participants into a younger group (average age ~13) and an older group (average age ~16).

At the beginning of the study approximately 50% females and 25% of males reported dieting in the past year. For females and younger males, this number stayed consistent through young adulthood.  The number of dieters in the older male group actually increased as the study progressed.

Over 50% of females and 33% of males engaged in unhealthy weight control behaviors at the start of the study.  Particularly alarming was that extreme weight control behaviors including diet pill use in all groups, and laxative use in young females increased significantly over the 10 year period.

Overall, those who reported dieting at the beginning of the study were more likely to continue this behavior.  The same result was seen in regards to unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors and binge eating.

Other studies have linked dieting to weight gain, binge eating, disordered eating, and eating disorders.  One study of 17,000 kids found that those who dieted were 8-12 times more likely to engage in binge eating than those who never dieted.  Researchers from this study actually suggested that dieting may be at the root of the current obesity epidemic!  These results were echoed in a twin study which showed that the weight gain associated with dieting is independent of genetic predisposition to weight gain.

This video provides more details on these studies.

 

 

These findings, suggest that we need to prevent these behaviors before they start.

NO CHILD OR TEEN SHOULD EVER DIET!!!!

Young people with weight concerns need to be guided towards healthy behaviors, including intuitive eating and physical activity and away from destructive dieting.

Healthy behaviors can start at home.  Practice intuitive and mindful eating as a family.  Focus on eating for physical hunger as opposed to emotional hunger. Also make fitness a family activity.  Everyone can benefit from healthful eating and exercise, get the whole family involved in the healthy lifestyle and DITCH the DIET!

For more information from Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and her work with Intuitive Eating click here

Source: Neumark-Sztainer, D; Wall, M; Larson, NI; Eisenberg, ME; Loth, K. Dieting and disordered eating behaviors from adolescence to young adulthood: findings from a 10-year longitudinal study. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Jul;111(7):1004-11.

So… what should we do about #DearFatPeople?

I think one thing we need to do is loudly say that no amount of fat shaming is OK (and we need to listen to people who have been shamed!) They will tell you that family, friends, and medical professionals make them feel shame when they push and push and push for weight loss over healthy lifestyle as the goal. (At least that is what I hear time and again.) It’s as if their love is conditional. That’s just sad. What if someone makes the changes they want and don’t weigh what you think they should. Are you OK with that? I think we need to realize it’s not up for judgement. If we care about weight shaming, we need to also care about healthism, the idea that you can’t push health on people. Read what I have to say about it.

What Do You Think?

What do you think we should do about weight shame, stigma, dieting etc.? What were some of the best response articles and videos you found? Do you have a fat shame story? Share in the comments below.

Try These Zucchini Bread Pancakes

Zucchini Bread Pancakes

Unfortunately summer is beginning to come to an end. In order to celebrate the slow transition into fall, try making these zucchini bread pancakes! It’s a great way to use up those leftover zucchinis you might have in your garden before the weather gets a bit cooler. We love this recipe for it’s subtle sweetness, warm-spiced flavors and loads of fresh shredded zucchini! These cakes reheat wonderfully, so if you have more than your share of zucchini growing in your garden, why not put ’em to good use? We promise these cakes will have everyone jumping out of bed in the morning.

Tips for Making it Work

  • Top with butter and maple syrup for a delightful breakfast treat, or top with nut butter and sliced banana for an afternoon pick-me-up or post-workout snack.
  • No buttermilk on hand? Make your own by combining 2 tablespoons each of milk and plain yogurt, and whisk until smooth.
  • More than enough zucchinis on hand? Whip up a few extra batches and freeze to enjoy later.

Summer Produce Picks

With summer in full swing, there are so many garden treats to choose from! What seasonal creations have you been making in your kitchen this week? Please share your inspiration by leaving a comment below.

Zucchini Bread Pancakes
 
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Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Serves: 10-12 pancakes
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons light brown, dark brown or granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (from about 9 ounces whole, or 1½ medium zucchini), heaping cups are fine
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax meal (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • Butter or oil, for coating skillet
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine eggs, olive oil, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth. Stir in zucchini shreds. In a smaller bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir dry ingredients into zucchini batter, mixing until just combined.
  2. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Once hot, melt a pat of butter in pan and swirl it around until it sizzles. Scoop ¼-cup dollops of batter and form into cakes in pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook another minute or two, until golden underneath. Transfer pancakes to a warming plate keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm. Repeat next weekend.

 

Zespri Kiwifruit Sunrise Smoothie Bowl #Recipe

 

Sunrise Kiwi Smoothie Bowl

Breakfast doesn’t have to be be boring. Smoothie bowls are a great way to get the refreshing taste and flavor you get from a smoothie, but with a little added texture. This smoothie bowl recipe is packed with nutrients and flavor. One kiwifruit alone has more vitamin C than an orange and as much potassium as a medium banana. So get blending and enjoy this easy breakfast in less than 10 minutes. You’re welcome, hungry people of the world.

Sunrise Smoothie Bowl
 
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This refreshing blend of fruity summer flavors is a great way to spice up your morning routine. Its packed with calcium, potassium, and many other important nutrients so you can start your day energized!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit (one peeled and blended; one sliced into ¼” chunks for topping)
  • 1 large banana – chopped, frozen
  • ⅓ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons Chia seeds (the chia helps to thicken the mixture, like a pudding texture)
  • 4 tablespoons granola
  • 2 tablespoons toasted coconut
  • 2 tablespoons nuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
Instructions
  1. Slice kiwifruit into halves and spoon the fruit out.
  2. Reserve one kiwifruit, chopped into ¼” chunks for topping.
  3. Add 1 kiwifruit, banana, orange juice, yogurt, and chia seeds to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth (the mixture will be thick).
  4. Per serving bowl, place half the mixture at the bottom of the bowl, add 2 tablespoons granola, 1 tablespoon each of toasted coconut, nuts, and mint.
  5. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days.


Disclosure: Zespri is a client of mine, but they did not compensate me to create this recipe or write this blog post. 

DIY Freezer Smoothie Bags + Recipe

 

 

 

DIY Smoothie Bag

I make smoothies almost every day, for breakfast, exercise pre- or post-fuel, or as an after-school snack for my kids. But when I’m trying to juggle work, being a mom, and all the craziness life throws my way, even the simple task of throwing together a quick smoothie can seem overwhelming. So, what’s a busy mom to do? Prep ahead of time, of course! Prepping and assembling smoothie ingredients in smoothie bags ahead of time can make all the difference in the world between getting a nourishing, frosty smoothie in your belly STAT versus ravenously grabbing whatever food you can get your hands on.

In just about ten minutes, you can get smoothies for an entire week prepped and ready to go! Assemble them ahead of time and then keep in the fridge or freezer to pull out whenever you want them. Prepare them just like you would if you were making the smoothie right then and there. Here’s how to make it happen:

Chop and Prep Fruits and Veggies

  • Use whatever you like/have on hand. I like bananas, kiwifruit, blueberries, tart cherries, cranberries, kale, spinach, avocado, etc. Seriously, pretty much anything goes. Chop into small pieces, if necessary, and place in small, sealable plastic bags.
  • If you have any fruits or veggies that are about to turn, these smoothie bags are a perfect way to reduce food waste! Just be sure you freeze these ones when they’re assembled!

Add Extras

  • Toss whatever add-ins you like into bag with your produce. Nut butter, Greek yogurt, and protein powder are all good options. I also like cinnamon, vanilla, and other spices to enhance the flavor.

Seal and store

  • Roll up the bag to squeeze all the air out, and then create a tight seal to keep ingredients fresh. If you’re freezing your bags, use a freezer bag for optimal freshness.
  • If you prefer reusable containers, fill these up as much as possible to reduce amount of air in the container
  • Store in fridge or freeze them. The freezer will definitely keep everything fresh for a longer time, but be sure to pull them out the night before you want to use them to keep your blender happy.

Blend and Enjoy

  • Pop the contents of the bag in your blender. Add liquid to make it smooth (your preferred milk, water, coconut water, etc.) and ice to get it nice and cold, and blend as usual

Like I said, these are no-brainers that you really cannot mess up. Just about anything can go in a smoothie. Below is one of my tried and true recipes, but feel free to play around with it and find your own personal faves!

Banana Split Smoothie
 
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It's dessert in a cup! This creamy blend of cool sweetness delivers a heap of nutrition and fiber, making it a perfect option to satisfy that sweet tooth or refuel after a workout.
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • ½ cup pineapple (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • ½ cup of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced
  • 1 cup plain or Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate sauce
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup ice
  • ½ cup your favorite milk
  • 1 T peanuts, crushed, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except ice, milk and peanuts, in bag and freeze or refrigerate until ready to use. Place bag contents in blender, add milk and ice, and blend until desired consistency is reached. Top each with crushed peanuts, if desired.
  2. *Add spinach, kale, or avocado to “green” up this recipe

 

4 Reasons to Stop Calorie Counting For Good

I quit calorie counting!

Count calories, lose weight, and be happy, right??? Not necessarily so. Here are my 4 reasons why calorie counting is not the best use of your time – and what I think is more worth it instead.

Reason 1: 3,500 calories per pound is a myth.

You may have heard that if you eat 500 fewer calories a day, you will lose a pound a week. By this logic if a 170 pound woman eating 2500 calories a day, altered her diet to consume 2,000 calories she would lose 26 pounds in 6 months. After 3 years she would weigh only 14 pounds! If that sounds crazy, it’s because it is.

Here’s the truth: This old model of weight loss completely leaves out the fact that as we eat less, our body adapts burning fewer calories which means fewer pounds lost. Actual weight loss is a much more complicated and dynamic process. Better models of weight loss do exist and you can see one of them here.  But, even with this newer model, it does not mean we’ve “finally cracked the code.”  Because…

Here’s another truth: A certain amount of weight loss may not be good, healthy, or even accessible to you. We are all different shapes and sizes. Genetics has a major impact on how much weight you can lose along with changes to habits that are realistic and sustainable.

If you feel like you have good, realistic habits and you just can’t get the scale to budge, consider that you may be at a good-weight-for-your-body place. This is something only you can determine with the proper health practitioner whom you trust.

Regardless, the 3,500 calories per pound is a dangerous oversimplification that sets all of us up for failure.

read more: break out of scale jail (blog post)

watch: size diversity (video)

Reason 2: It’s a Distraction. Calorie counting interferes with listening to your body.

When you choose foods based on calories instead of hunger, you lose touch of whether or not you actually need to eat. Instead, stay in touch with your internal hunger and fullness cues.

Try eating more intuitively. Listen to what your body needs. Give it the fuel it needs and let it tell you when you have had enough. The more we ignore these signals the harder they are to hear, try replacing calorie counting with listening to your body.

Get more information on intuitive eating.

Reason 3: Mistakes, Mistakes, Mistakes

There are several apps and websites encouraging us to input what we eat so it can tell us how many calories we consumed for weight loss.

There are 2 problems here. First, these programs are based on the 3,500 calorie myth. Second, this assumes that the program knows exactly what we are eating and how many calories it contains.

How do you log the lunch from your favorite restaurant or your mother-in-law’s lasagna? The calorie calculations from these programs are not without error and you may make mistakes in estimating portions or ingredients. (You are human.)

How does relying heavily on calorie tracking help you, especially if the estimates are inaccurate? It’s like a GPS that can’t take you to your destination.

If calories help you learn about nutrition or make choices, don’t let me get in your way, but how can you use it as a guide more than a rule book and still practice your intuitive eating skills, flexibility, and self-trust?

Reason 4: It’s A Joyless Job

What about the pleasure of eating? Focusing on calories is exhausting and makes it hard to enjoy the foods we are eating. Whether it is a salad, fries, or a dessert, eat what you love (it’s your choice).

Instead of calorie counting, take the time to enjoy your food with all your senses. Don’t let the calories give you permission to eat. Go ahead and have fun with food. This is how we can feel satisfied instead of deprived, which can lead to overeating for many people anyway.

If this sounds like scary territory, set a boundary for yourself that you think is reasonable.

I Quit…

Years ago I used to put my hope into calorie counting. I’m over it. Instead, I do things that feel good, energizing, and fun. I don’t ignore my eating habits. I pay solid attention to them. I pay attention to my need for food, what I would enjoy, and how to make it more balanced. I quit calorie counting and instead put trust in myself to keep myself in check.

Do you have a special “I quit” story? Please share it in the comments below.  Or post a question to me if there is anything else I can help with.