iamom: (bush hunger strike for nepal)
A recent conference on nutrition has sparked an intense and interesting debate on the value of low-carb diets to treat obesity. It has drawn in heavy hitters such as Dr. Robert Lustig and Gary Taubes, and gone on to implicate others throughout the nutrition blogosphere such as Stephan Guyenet.

It's an interesting debate and I enjoy watching it, because it's attacking with real science the conventional wisdom held since the 80s about low-fat diets. In large measure, it's quite likely that we can tie the modern obesity epidemic to the low-fat craze of the 80s and 90s, because that brought with it a huge influx of refined carbs into our diets.

One of the commenters in this most recent debate, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, has an excellent website I just found this morning for the first time, and I love this summary post he's made about a form of eating he calls LCHF, or Low Carb High Fat. It's a really good read, and basically summarizes the kind of diet I've been trying to follow for about the last 8-10 weeks, successfully losing weight each and every week since I started:

http://www.dietdoctor.com/lchf

In some respect, it's "Atkins." But the logic behind it is quite sound for those who are obese, and if you're "pre-Type-II-diabetic" or Type I diabetic, this way of eating is much easier on your diabetes. In fact, I think it can pretty much resolve Type II diabetes entirely. Personally, what I've noticed with it is that my hunger is much better managed, I don't think about food all the time, I don't need to eat much between meals, and I feel much more satisfied after a given meal. I'm also getting in a lot more vegetables than I used to. So for me, it's all good so far.
iamom: (Default)
Elisa Zied is a nutritionist whom I just located through the great blog on obesity called Weighty Matters, authored by an Ottawa-based physician and obesity specialist named Yoni Freedhoff. Through this article on food addiction on Zied's personal blog, I discovered this other post on the topic on a different website. From that post comes the following:
According to Sunny Sea Gold, author of Food: The Good Girl’s Drug, “Food hasn’t been proven to be addictive in the same way drugs are; the science isn’t quite there yet.” But Gold, who overcame binge eating disorder, does believe that people can use food just like they would alcohol, drugs, or sex. “They can become dependent on food as a distraction, as a coping mechanism, and as something they comfort themselves with...I know I did” she adds.
I don't have any doubt that certain people do have full-blown addictive behaviours around food. I know that I have had them in the past. Recent research that shows similar MRI results to drug addicts when food-addicted subjects are shown certain food cues would lend further credence to that fact.

My personal experience has been that when food has become a truly addictive substance in my life, I've needed to abstain from it as I would any other drug. Of course, you can't abstain from food per se, but you can certainly undergo a nutritional detox wherein you eat no refined sugar or excess salt for a number of days to see what happens to your body.

In my own case, whenever I've done that I've undergone genuine withdrawal symptoms such as severe headaches, irritability, and even some joint pain. But the feeling that comes after even a few days of eating no sugar and low salt can be pretty remarkable. Suddenly I feel refreshed when I awaken in the morning and it doesn't take me 10 minutes of slow movement to work the stiffness out of my joints. My mind is clearer and sharper throughout the day, and I just feel better generally.

For someone in the throes of their addiction, this activity is much easier said than done. That's why I think psychotherapy can have a big role to play in that process. I can't really think of any case wherein someone who is addicted to food hasn't developed their addiction through mindless eating behaviours tied to emotional or psychological precursors. Some form of inward-looking talk therapy -- or even substantive personal journaling -- is required to break up the mental logjam in our minds and to develop authentic awareness around the reasons why we're overeating in the first place.
iamom: (Default)
The beautiful actress and model Portia deRossi (now known as Portia deGeneres after legally adopting her wife Ellen deGeneres' name last week), appeared on Oprah yesterday to promote her new book Unbearable Lightness and to speak candidly about her battles with anorexia and bulimia. Near the outset of the show, she told a heartrending story about how she ended her first day of shooting on the TV series Ally McBeal. She started an enormous eating binge with a bag of Cheetos in order that they might act as a landmark for her at the end of the night. When she saw the bright orange chunks hit the toilet bowl at the end of that night's purge, she would know that her stomach was finally empty. At the height of her disorder, she weighed only 82 pounds, and after collapsing on a movie set at the age of 25, learned that she had osteoporosis, cirrhosis of the liver, and that her organs were nearly ready to start shutting down. In short, she nearly died from malnourishment.

I've never been one to purge, I've only binged. But I really empathized with parts of her story, and that story brought me to tears a couple of times. When Oprah told Portia about how playing Ellen deGeneres's therapist on Ellen's sitcom during the episode when she came out of the closet inspired the largest onslaught of hate mail Oprah had ever received in her entire career, Portia broke down into tears and that made me cry, too. I also teared up a little when Portia explained how much Ellen's unconditional love towards her has helped her to heal herself. "If someone as wonderful as Ellen can love me for who I am, maybe I should, too." I found that so unbelievably touching, I don't know why. I think just the idea of receiving unconditional love from someone no matter what you look like or how you act is not an entirely natural one to me.

Right at the end of the show, she summed up her experiences so poignantly I had to transcribe it. The idea of chronic dieting being its own hell resonated untellingly strongly with me.
Living with anorexia and bulimia is hell. But chronic dieting is also hell. Living your entire life never feeling good enough about your body – always feeling like if you weighed a little less, somehow you'd be happier, your life would be better – is a horrible way to live. And it's a very short step from a full-blown eating disorder, but really the only way I recovered from my eating disorder (and from chronic dieting) was to never, ever restrict any kind of food – not even portion size. And that really is the only way food loses its power over you.

If you can have something every day, as much as you want, you tend not to want to have as much of it anymore. And after a period of time, you actually eat what your body needs, what makes you happy, and you don't think about food ever again. That is how I healed myself.

– Portia deRossi, on Oprah yesterday
Edit:[livejournal.com profile] dizziedumb just posted a few trailers about food movies that sort of speak to parts of this issue here.

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Dustin LindenSmith

January 2013

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