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Balance

Josephine Money, APD 

 

When working with clients and explaining what I feel is happening for them in their relationship with food at that time or what I think we may need to work on I keep coming back to the same analogy; so I thought I might try and articulate it a little more! 

 

I feel we need to find a balance between three things. I often talk about them as three balloons or balls we need to hold in the air at equal heights.

 

 

Inevitably my clients’ are trying to focus too much on one and this is leading to them feeling chaotic, out of control, anxious or leading to disordered eating.

 

Nutrition Knowledge

 

Some non-dieting approaches don't discuss nutrition at all - and I must say when clients are asking question my answer is most often - what is your body telling you? What do you feel like? What would nourish you?

 

This will always be my first answer. But as there is so much mis- information about food and body physiology I think it is important to empower people with correct information and understanding so they can judge the facts from the crap!

 

We all have some nutrition knowledge; we are taught about foods at school; we have seen the healthy diet pyramid on the side of the Kellogg’s box. The catch unfortunately is that there is a lot of nutrition information freely available that is inaccurate and even dangerous!

 

We all eat and have emotional experiences with foods (i.e. family birthdays, cultural traditions) we all have a body and have an emotional relationship with it. We all live in a weight centric culture where we are lead to believe smaller is better and healthier!

 

We are not all scientists and as such we don’t all know how to decipher the accurate information from the crappy information. In the desperate mind frame of looking for answers and quick fix to change a body we feel is unacceptable we will believe anything.

 

 A good example is the current ‘anti sugar’ hysteria. I feel this was spear headed by the book Sweet Poison by David Gillespie. Below is an excerpt from David’s website about who he is.  

 

 “David Gillespie is a ... corporate lawyer, a former co-founder of a successful software company and the author of eight bestselling books. His first book, Sweet Poison, published in 2008 is widely credited with starting the current Australian wave of anti-sugar sentiment.”

 

So David is trained as a lawyer; he has no scientific, medical or dietetic training. He is very good at articulating himself and marketing himself and as a result a huge amount of people hang on every word he says and even limit fruit because they are scare of sugar! What the?!

 

Now I’m not trying to pick on David (but feel free to read these great comments from Nutrition Australia about why his claims are unfounded). What I want to point out is that this is one example of thousands of unqualified media savvy people making millions from selling people diets – even when they are dressed up as public health campaigns!

 

 

I like to spend time with clients re-educating them about the body, metabolism, how it works, what we needs and why we can trust it! Bodies are pretty amazing, flexible and resilient and we need to nourish them and respect them instead of ‘beating them up’.

 

It is good to have a basic understanding of how the body works and what it needs. My experience is that people have way too much of the wrong information or a focusing too much on this area with no consideration of what their body is trying to tell them or devoting too much time in their life to thinking about, shopping, preparing food at the expense of more important things.

 

Focusing only on nutrition knowledge often leads to strict rules that can’t be adhered to and anxiety when people fail at this. Also I think people focus on every morsel of food that goes into their mouths thinking it needs to be perfect or they will ruin or hurt their bodies.

 

You will eat 4-6 (or more or less depending on how you feel and what your body needs) times every day for the rest of your life – it won’t always be perfect nor does it need to be!

 

 

Intuitive eating

 

Intuitive eating is connecting with the sensations in your body, hunger and appetite and using these to direct your intake. The phrase was coined by dietitian Evelyn Tribole.

 

Toddlers are great at intuitive eating. If they aren't hungry they won't eat; and if they are still hungry they will keep asking for more. It is about this age we start to impose external pressure for them to start ignoring these internal cues and respond to more external cues.

 

"Finish your vegetables and you can have dessert”

 

“If you don't eat it you have to go to bed”

 

“You can't possible still be hungry”

 

The amount of energy our bodies need each day is influenced by so many things and as a result our hunger each day will be different and unpredictable; but the best thing we can do is respect it; Feed our body and trust it.

 

Hunger is our body telling us it needs more energy. I think of appetite as the cues to what type of food it is our body might feel like Hot or cold; sweet or savoury etc.

 

We are so conditioned to ignore these and eat based on mood, location. time, rules, emotions; that learning to tune in, practice responding and learning to trust the body is a process.

 

Life

 

Life is all of the reasons why we can’t always respond to our bodies cues or make a choice based on our nutritional knowledge.

 

Life is knowing you have a long meeting and though you aren't hungry now knowing you will be very hungry by the time you finish; so making the decision to eat before the meeting will ensure you have enough energy to stay attentive during the meeting.  

 

Life is wanting to choose Low GI grains to manage your diabetes but being hungry, in a store and choosing what is available rather than nothing.

 

If someone is focusing too much on life when it comes to food provision it may mean they are not making any time or space for meal planning, shopping or preparation; so end up hungry and needing to buy food at most meals. This isn't of itself a problem but busy work, families and lives can mean we don't even realise we are hungry until we are very hungry; it is very late and the choices available may be limited.

 

We need to have self-compassion and understanding that responding to some of the situations that life presents is not failing at intuitive eating or nourishing your body but an example of being flexible and resilient.

 

As I mentioned in the beginning I don't think any of these concepts are more important than the other but in order to move past a diet mentality and move towards self-acceptance, self-care, and positive practices in self nourishment they all need to be considered equally.

 

 

Clean up your social Media
Josephine Money, APD 

 

Social media has a much bigger impact on us then we realise. Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram being bombarded with images of bikini bodies, green smoothies and dietary commentary can trigger guilt, shame and insecurity.

 

When trying to build a healthier relationship with our body and food this can be very undermining!

 


Social Media can be full of positive, like-minded people to help make you feel better!

 

It may be time to look objectively at what you are scrolling thru – unfollow anyone who isn’t making you feel bad about yourself and perhaps add some of the suggestions below.

 

I have put in website you can have a look at and most (if not all) will have a Facebook, Instagram, twitter account you can choose to follow if you like what you see.

 

Another great way to find like-minded and inspirational pages to follow is that when you find a page you like who are they following and who is following them!

 

This is by no means and exhaustive list – please share other helpful organisations and people you find.

Body Image And HAES

 

Body Positive

http://www.bodypositive.com/

 

Something Fishy

www.something-fishy.org

 

Dr Deah Schwatz

http://www.drdeah.com/

 

https://drdeahstastymorsels.wordpress.com/

 

Body Positive Australia

http://bodypositiveaustralia.com.au/

 

Centre Eating Disorders, Weight and Body Image

http://www.cewbi.com.au/

 

HAES Health

www.haeshealth.com

 

No Green Smoothies

www.nogreensmoothies.com

 

A mighty Girl

www.amightygirl.com

 

Sophrosyne Psychology

www.sheridanm.com

 

Fat Yoga Australia

www.fatyoga.com.au

 

Dr Susan Albers

www.eatingmindfully.com

 

Brene Brown

www.brenebrown.com

 

Exposing Nutritional Quackery

www.Facebook.com/exposingnutritionalquackery

 

Body Image Movement

www.bodyimagemovement.com

 

Smiling Mind

www.smilingmind.com.au

  

Rejected Princesses

www.rejectedprincessess.com

 

Thinking Nutrition

www.thinkingnutrition.com.au

 

The Fat Nutritionist

www.thefatnutritionist.com

 

Zoe Nicholson

www.figureate.com.au

 

Moderation Movement

www.facebook.com/moderationmovement

 

Intuitive eating

www.intuitiveeating.org

Linda Bacon Haes

www.lindabacon.org

 

Dr Rick Kausman

www.ifnotdieting.com.au

 

The Nutrition Press

www.thenutritionpress.com

 

Health at Every Size

www.HAESbook.com

 

Rachel W Cole

www.rachelcole.com.au

 

The mindshift Foundation

www.mindshift.org.au

 

BodyMatters Australasia

www.bodymatter.com.au

 

Dare not to diet

www.darenottodiet.com

 

Health, Not diets

www.healthnotdiets.com

 

Body Positive Health and Fitness

www.bodypositiveHF.com.au

 

Sarai Walker –Dietland

www.saraiwalker.com

 

Compassionate Nutritionist

www.freshapproach.net.au/compassionatenutritionist

 

Choose Nutrition

www.choosenutrition.com.au

 

Be Nourished

www.benourished.org

 

Yoga Therapy

www.australianyogatherapy.com.au

 

Adios Barbie

www.adiosbarbie.com

Body Positive Panda

www.bodyposipanda.com

 

Underneath we are women

http://www.underneathiam.com/

 

Nutrition:

 

Dietitians Association of Australia:

www.daa.asn.au

 

Nutrition Australia:

www.nutritionaustralia.org

 

Sports Nutrition Australia

www.sportsdietitians.com

 

Eating Disorders:

 

Eating Disorders Victoria

www.eatingdisorders.org.au

 

The Butterfly Foundation

www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au

 

Something Fishy – Eating Disorders information Website

www.something-fishy.org

 

The Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED)-Victoria

www.ceed.org.au

 

 

ANZAED: Australian and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders

www.anzaed.org.au

 

Eating Disorders Australian National Coalition

www.edann.org

Bulimia Help

www.bulimiahelp.org

Eating Disorders International:

The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC)- Canada

 www.nedic.ca


Mirror Mirror

www.mirror-mirror.org

 

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

 

The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland- Ireland

www.bodywhys.ie/

 

Eating Disorders Association (B-Eat)- United Kingdom (UK)

www.b-eat.co.uk

 

Eating Disorder Expert

www.eatingdisorderexpert.co.uk

 

Academy for Eating Disorders- United States

www.aedweb.org

 

Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action
www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org

 

Eating Disorder Hope

www.eatingdisorderhope.com

 

National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders Inc.- USA

www.anad.org

 

 

National Eating Disorders Association- USA

www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

 

 

 

 

Focusing on Health rather than Weight

Josephine Money, APD

 

I find myself saying (again and again and again) if there was a diet that worked – we would all do it, everyone would be happy and someone would be very rich from it! But the reality is that they don’t work – or not in the long term.

It interests me that the outcome everyone is looking for is weight loss – there is something far more important that is rarely mentioned …. Health! It’s sad but true that there is research that shows that people would choose weight loss in exchange for years off their life. Years that could be spent with friends, family and enjoying themselves; being happy!

And people are not happy (mostly ‘cause they are hungry); not happy with their bodies, their lives, their looks; and they believe that weight loss could fix it. I also find myself repeatedly telling clients and acquaintances alike that if people are attracted to you after you have lost weight –are they really the type of people you want in your life?

Why do we believe that weight loss will solve everything? So many reasons! And no we can’t just blame the media anymore.  We need to think about society as a whole and what we contribute to our society. Do we praise someone for losing weight? Do we judge people in our heads? What are we saying inadvertently to our family, friends, and children; when we complain about our own bodies’ perceived shortcomings?

I can hear the crowd cheering as I write this – but what about the obesity epidemic? People are going to die- they need to lose weight!

 

Obesity in Australia

3 in 5 Australian adults are overweight or obese (based on BMI). That's over 12 million people! 5%

more adults are overweight or obese than in 1995.

 

1 in 4 Australian children are overweight or obese.

Over 30% more people living in outer regional and remote areas are obese than people living in major cities.

3rd place

Overweight and obesity is only beaten by smoking and high blood pressure as a contributor to burden of disease.

Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing (2015)

 

Yes as a society we are getting bigger and yes that can impact on health – but the connection is not the clear cause and effect relationship we assume. Also we have to consider why we are getting bigger, why are our habits changing for the worst? But that’s a completely different discussion!

What is Influencing our Eating Patterns?- Some things to consider that are leading to changes in our bodies

  • Lifestyles have significantly changes over the past few generations.
    • Male and female working full time
    • Decreased time spent on food preparation
    • Increased take away and convenience foods
    • Traditional food preparations skills are not being passed down

Obesogenic Environment

  • Surrounding social and physical environment are more conducive to sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy food and beverage choices then they are to healthier alternatives.
    • Increased fast food portion sizes
    • Cheap fast food
    • Reliance on transport/ cars
    • Technology developments
    • Increased fear of children playing outside
    • Food and beverage marketing (US - $70 billion a year spent on food and beverage markets – 70% on sweets and 2% on fruit and veg (Nestle, 2002)

‘Healthism’ Environment

  • Increased media pressure on health, nutritional eating, daily exercise.
  • Increased marketing and availability of vitamin and mineral supplement and alternative therapies.
  • Increased pressure on male presentation, physic and fashion sense.
  • Success associated with being thin, affluent, strong willed, committed.
  • Putting exercise before other commitments and Food restriction seen as normal.

 

Dieting Isn’t Working

 

Identifying Diets- It is important to be able to filter some of the information we encounter in the media.

 

How to assess a potential diet:

  1. Recommendations that promise a quick fix
  2. Does it encourage the avoidance of certain foods or food groups?
  3. Does the diet claim to be ‘new’ or ‘revolutionary’?
  4. Does the diet claim to be ‘quick’ or ‘effortless’ weight loss?
  5. Attribute ‘miracle’ properties to one food or product.
  6. List ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods
  7. Does the diet make it difficult to eat out or eat with friends and family?
  8. Requires the purchase of special product, diet supplements, pills or formulae?
  9. Only mention food and nothing about activity?
  10. Sound too good to be truth.

 

If the answer is yes to many of these statements then it probably is a diet!

 

 

The Diet industry is big business generating approximately $58.6 billion annually in the USA alone (Bacon and Aphramor 2011). It promises quick results by developing food plans that can’t be sustained or by using supplements. Many of these programs can result in changes in the short term but are unsustainable and rapid weight gain results when normal eating recommences (Tomiyama et al 2013). One –third to two –thirds of all dieters regain more weight than they originally lost on their diet over the following 12 months (Bacon and Aphramor 2011).  For some reason obesity research “seems to enjoy special immunity from accepted standards in clinical practice and publishing ethics” (Bacon and Aphramor 2011). Even though we know there won’t be good outcomes we keep trying something that we know will fail and will have possible detrimental effects!

 

Research clearly identifies that weight stigmatization is strong in all areas of life- peer relationships, work and even health care. This automatic judgement of people we visually determine to be above their healthiest weight assumes that they are intrinsically unhealthy because of their size, is  leading to an overemphasis on weight loss often without thorough evaluation of lifestyle and health (Tomiyama et al 2013 ). Similarly there is an assumption that normal weight or thin people must be healthy leading to poor health evaluation and less discussion of lifestyle interventions (Tomiyama et al 2013 ). This stigmatization of fat actually demotivates people leading to an avoidance of health care, avoiding exercise, increased quantities of food, poor self-esteem, poor self-efficacy and a learned helplessness (Bacon and Aphramor 2011).               

 

There has being no clear relationship between health outcome and weight loss (Bacon and Aphramor 2011). Weight does not equal health! What the research has shown is that the change of diet to include more fibre, more fruit and vegetables and more physical activity in any form is linked with an improvement in hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol (Tomiyama et al 2013 ) even when no weight loss occurs (Bacon and Aphramor 2011).  Data further supports this idea that it is the behaviours rather than the weight loss its self leading to improvements in health. When we look at weight loss in the management of type two diabetes – there are initial improvements in blood glucose levels following weight loss followed by deterioration back to starting levels after 6-18 months even when the weight loss was maintained (Bacon and Aphramor 2011).

 

There is even an ‘obesity paradox’ emerging of the ‘healthy obese’; where obesity is protective against morbidity and mortality in some diseases (Tomiyama et al 2013) such as type 2 diabetes hypertension, cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease. We are seeing larger patients with these conditions living longer than their thinner equivalents with the same conditions (Bacon and Aphramor 2011). Crushing the commonly held assumption that adiposity poses significant mortality risk (Bacon and Aphramor 2011).

 

Physiologically the body fights against weight loss and fights to regain lost weight metabolically and with an altered response to food in the brain, particular in the emotional response to food (Sumithran et al 2011).  Post weight loss people have increased appetite, increased preoccupation with food and need to maintain a significant calorie deficient to maintain the weight loss (Bacon and Aphramor 2011) due to a permanent shift in metabolic needs reflected in the levels of leptin, ghrelin and other hormones (Sumithran et al 2011).  Post weight loss muscles burn 20-25 % less energy daily and this is sustained up to 2 years post weight loss even when weight is regained (Sumithran et al 2011).

 When investigating people who have lost weight and maintained that loss we see that some common behaviours amongst this cohort are daily weighing, calorie counting, less the half the time watching television then the rest of the population, no ‘cheat’ days, 60mins + exercise daily and overall less calories then someone the same weight who never lost weight (up to 500 cal day less) (Sumithran et al 2011).  Sounds quite disordered to me and something only particular personality types would be able to maintain!

 

 Repeated dieting can lead to weight cycling and overall weight gain,  increased feelings of guilt about eating, rebound overeating and a sense of failure from having tried and seemingly failed. Physiologically weight cycling is more strongly correlated with morbidity and mortality then obesity (Tylka et al 2014); Weight cycling results in an increased inflammatory state contributing to development of hypertension, insulin resistance and dyslipidaemia (Bacon and Aphramor 2011).

 

 Studies show that people with a BMI <18.5kg/m2 and greater than 30kg/m2 have the highest risk of illness but people with a BMI of 25- 30 kg/m2 have the lowest! (Bacon and Aphramor 2011). Diets also fail to address common reasons for non-hungry eating such as boredom or emotional eating which are important to consider for long term success.

We know diets are not working but until now we have had alternative they continue to perscribed. Commonly people find diets are too complicated to follow long term, too restricting on their social life or they feel deprived and rebel. They then feel that they have failed (rather than the diet has failed) and what we do when we feel bad – we eat! And the cycle continues.

 

Practitioners and patients have unrealistic goals of how much weight they should lose – and this is often based on aesthetic desire rather than evidence. There is limited research to correlate weight loss with actual health improvements and what we do see is most likely due to a change in behaviours rather than the weight loss itself. Interestingly to see sustained changes in clinical markers only 5-10% weight loss is required (Pinkney, 2001).

 

Realistic Goals

Benefits attributable to long term 10% weight loss

 

Mortality                         20-25% fall in total mortality

                                        30-40% fall in diabetes related              deaths

                                        40-50% fall in obesity – related cancer deaths

Blood Pressure                fall of 10mm Hg systolic

                                        Fall of 20 mm Hg diastolic

Angina                                             91% reduction in symptoms

                                        33% increase in exercise tolerance

Lipids                                               10% fall in total cholesterol

                                        15% fall in LDL cholesterol

                                        30% fall in triglycerides

8% increase in HDL cholesterol

Diabetes                          > 50% reduction  in risk of developing diabetes

                                        30-50% fall in fasting blood glucose

                                        15% fall in Hba1c

                                         

Jung RT Br. Med. Bull (1997) 53:307-21

 

“Recent investigations have shown that sustained weight loss of just 3—4 kg in overweight individuals with impaired glucose tolerance resulted in 58% risk reduction for diabetes at four years.” (Pinkey, 2001).

 

An Alternative approach – Focus on health, forget about the weight!

Health at Every Size

“Let's face facts. We've lost the war on obesity. Fighting fat hasn't made the fat go away. And being thinner, even if we knew how to successfully accomplish it, will not necessarily make us healthier or happier. The war on obesity has taken its toll. Extensive "collateral damage" has resulted: Food and body preoccupation, self-hatred, eating disorders, discrimination, poor health... Few of us are at peace with our bodies, whether because we're fat or because we fear becoming fat…Very simply, it acknowledges that good health can best be realized independent from considerations of size. It supports people of all sizes in addressing health directly by adopting healthy behaviours.”

 

An excerpt from Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon, PhD

 

Health at Every Size is based on the simple premise that the best way to improve health is to honour your body. It supports people in adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being (rather than weight control). Health at Every Size encourages:

  • Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.
  • Eating in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honours internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite.
  • Finding the joy in moving one's body and becoming more physically vital.

 

Health at Every Size Rejects a weight focus:

  • Weight is a consequence, not a determinate of health
  • Acceptance of current body shape
  • Rejects cultural expectations of ideal body shape

 

Emphasis on internal vs External eating cues

  • Mindful eating, innate eating, intuitive eating
  • Health supported through enjoyment of food, movement and body

 

 Health at Every size (HAES) and Anti Dieting movement

  • Not synonymous with fat acceptance movement (non diet approach as well being rather than political motivations)
  • Does not deny the associations between higher weight and ill health, but strongly question causative factors

 

Every person has the right to body respect, regardless of their body shape, size, colour, age, ability or health status

 

Acknowledgement www.haescommunity.org/ and Fiona Willer and Fiona Sutherland 2014 www.healthnotdiets.com http://bodypositiveaustralia.com.au/

What does a non-diet approach look like?

 

Using Health Rather than Weight Focused Goals

  • More tangible goals
    • Using hunger/ fullness scale
    • Food variety, trying new foods
    • Small achievable goals such as walking extra tram stop
  • Sustains motivation
  • Goals attained quicker

 

 Behaviour Change Focus

  • Eating behaviours – Mindful eating practices
  • Activity – focus on enjoyment, listening to and responding rather than pushing self and the old ‘no pain no gain’.

 

Stimulus control

  • Eat a regular, set meal times
  • Eat siting down with appropriate crockery and cutlery
  • Put away leftovers before commencing meals
  • Avoid distractions such as TV and reading while eating

 

Reinforcement techniques

  • Reward / provide positive feedback about behaviour not weight changes
  • Use tangible rewards (not food) immediately on meeting goal
  • Self-Monitoring
  • Behavioural Contracting
  • Realistic goals based on behaviour
  • Social Support

 

Regular eating

  • Regular meals and snacks to avoid getting overly hungry, or feeling deprived. Assist with BGL stability.

 

Wide variety of food- avoiding ‘food morals’.

  • Include food from all food groups based on the idea of eat most, moderately, least
  • When having sometimes foods – sit and enjoy rather than ‘scoff’
  • Avoid Labelling language when discussing food and lifestyle

 

Tools

  • Self-monitoring
    • Check list food frequency
    • Behavioural goals
    • Non weight related goals
  • Food diary
    • Hunger, satiety, thoughts about food,
  • Distractions
  • Mindful eating
  • Internal locus of eating vs. External Locus of control

 

Non Diet Approach Research

Study

Findings

Carroll et al (2007). Short term effects of a non dieting lifestyle intervention program on weight management, fitness, metabolic risk, and psychological well being in obese premenopausal females with metabolic syndrome. Applied physiology, nutrition and metabolism. 32(1):125-42.

31 Obese Women with metabolic syndrome

Improved: BP (diastolic), HDL cholesterol

Improved Cardiorespiratory Fitness in previously sedentary

Improved general well being

Stable weight

 

Jackson( 2008).Eating order: A 13 week trust model class for dieting casualties. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour. 40:43-48.

39 female chronic dieters

Improved psychological variable

Stable weight

 

Hawley et al ( 2008). Sustainability of health and lifestyle improvements following a non dieting randomised trial in overweight women. Preventative Medicine. 47(6):593-99.

225 overweight women

Reduction in BP (systolic)

Improved diet quality, stress management behaviour scores and eating self efficacy

Stable weight

 

Dalen (2010).Mindful eating and Living (MEAL): weight, eating behaviour, and psychological outcomes associated with mindfulness based interventions for people with obesity. Complementary therapies in Medicine. 18(6):260-64.

10 overweight/ obese people (7F, 3 M)

reduction in CRP

Weight loss

Decreased depression, physical symptoms, negative affect and anxiety

Cutler et al (2010).Appetite for life: an evaluation of a primary care lifestyle programme. Journal of Primary Health Care. 2(4)281-87.

261 overweight women

Reduction in total and LDL cholesterol

Stable weight

Increased fruit veg, dairy and healthy fat consumption

Bacon et al (2005). Size acceptance and intuitive eating improve for obese female chronic dieters. Journal of the American Dietetic Association.105(6):654-65.

78 Obese female chronic dieters

Reduction in LDL and HDL cholesterol, BP(systolic)

Stable weight

Increased physical activity, self esteem, body image

Decreased depression

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgement Fiona Willer and Fiona Sutherland 2014 www.healthnotdiets.com bodypositiveaustralia.com.au/

The research into Health at Every size, non-dieting approaches, and mindful eating is in its infancy and more is needed and underway – but the current findings are very promising.

 

 

“Randomised controlled trials indicate that a HAES approach is associated with statistically and clinically relevant improvements in physiological measures (eg blood pressure, blood lipids), health behaviours (eg eating and activity habits, dietary quality) and psychosocial outcomes (such as self-esteem and body image), and that HAES achieves these outcomes more successfully than weight loss treatment and…”

Bacon and Aphramor 2011

 

So How Does Eat Love Live Adopt a non-dieting approach to weight management

 

 

I don’t like to claim to be a Health at Every Size practitioner as I find – like in all my work – I adopt the principles into my work with clients but I am still flexible and respond to what each individual client needs and what works for them.

  • We avoid using scales as much as possible – the weight changes on the scales are a reflection of many changes in the body not just body fat. The changes are inconsistent and slow.
    • Instead we focus on small changes that are in a person’s control and are easily measureable – such as trying 1 new dish per week, or walking 15mins 3 times a week.
    • The goals are always about the individual client – where they are at and what they feel they can manage.
    • Clinical indicators are also a much better indicator of health – HBA1c, HDL, BP etc.
    • Small goals and changes help people to build their confidence to maintain changes and make more.
  • We are non-judgemental in our language when listening to people and when talking about the variety of foods available (i.e. no such thing as good and bad foods).
  • We aim to make people feel safe to talk about their relationship with food and their body open and honestly. There is no commentary about what people are currently doing or judgement. Most people are aware of where they are over doing it and being able to be honest about it can be very hard – commenting in a negative way may cause them to disengage.
    • Instead we listen attentively and provide support, reassurance and containment of their difficult feelings.
  • We provide information and or correct misinformation about food and nutrition information– such as carbohydrates being a bad food!
    • We provide clear, correct nutrition information.
    • We discuss with clients how they feel they may be able to incorporate any of the information provided into dietary changes – remembering that small steps can lead to much bigger ones and more self-efficacy in clients.
  • If we feel it is necessary we suggest more support – i.e. exercise physiology, psychology, step in to life groups, etc.
    • We ensure clients have good social support also if they are making changes; I often find myself passing on articles, the names of books and websites for client to share with family and friends so they can feel like they are well supported in making changes.
    • We ensure that our clients know it is ok to come back if they haven’t being able to implement anything we have discussed – that we can help them to work out why they weren’t able to change and how we can support them to move towards changes.

I tell my clients we are aiming to Find the Balance

  • Nutrition Knowledge
  • Intuitive Eating
  • Life

 

References

Bacon and Aphramor (2011). Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradign Shift. Nutrition Journal.10:9.

Pinkney, J. (2001). Implications of obesity for diabetes and coronary heart disease in clinical practice. The British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease. 1:103-06.

Tomiyama, Ahlstrom, and Mann (2013). Long term effects of dieting: Is weight loss related to health? Social and Personal Psychology Compass 7/12: 861-877.

Sumithran, Prendergast, Delbridge, Purncell, Shulkes, Kriketos and Proietto (2011) Long Tem Persistance of Hormonal Adaptions to weight Loss. The New England Journal of Medecine. 365:1597-604.

 

 Wardrobe Clean Out 

By Josephine Money

Since the birth of my second child I have being working on a small personal project …. I have cleaned out my wardrobe! This is no small job – I.have.a.lot.of.clothes!

Becoming a mother is a huge change in your life – for me it meant changing from being out in the workforce 5 days a week and socialising 2 days and many nights to being at home 90% of the time! Quite a change and one that meant my plethora of dresses and skirts were a little useless (I remember a colleague once commenting that she had never seen me in pants!). Obviously there is a lot of adjustment needed to deal with this and clothes really is a minor superficial factor  - but never the less because I enjoy expressing myself in my clothes, hair, shoes, make up; it was an important one for me.

As an aside my personal plan to manage the possible isolation that comes with this transition to stay at home included:

  • Aim to leave the house at least once a day. To walk around the block or go to the supermarket. Some days my only outside contact with the lovely little old ladies who want to talk to you in the supermarket ‘cause you have a baby – and I was ok with that!
  • Keep in contact with people – family, friends, colleagues’. I’m not good at making phone calls but an email or a text, even at 2am keeps the line of communication open.
  • Be honest about how you are traveling. Motherhood – especially the first time is hard work! I have never felt less prepared or more incompetent in my life! And sleep deprivation really is torcher!

So I made sure I was honest with a few key people about when I was feeling sad, lonely, isolated, overwhelmed etc. This was helpful to have someone to check in with what was rational and what wasn’t; when I just needed some sleep or when it may of being more serious.

  • Embrace mothers group and other opportunities to meet people who are going through the same things as you – this could be an online forum or facebook group, structured mothers group or one you put together yourself with friends.

 New parents groups are organised by the maternal child health nurses to bring together new parents in a geographical area and normally have a number of weeks of structured sessions and then participants are encouraged to continue meeting after the sessions have finished. This is a bit like big brother – a group of people you haven’t chosen to spend time with- and though they may not all be ‘your type of people’ you all have something very important in common – newborns!

This is a great group of women (and sometimes men) who you can talk about nothing but your babies with and that’s ok! You can talk wee, poo, sleep, and vomit, compare notes, ask silly questions. You can’t always do this with your friends from pre-children – especially ones who don’t have children. Of course they are interested but they are not as interested to the detail that you can share with other new mums.

  • It can be very hard putting yourself out there to talk to strangers especially if you are naturally introverted or shy. There is this lovely thing I discovered from the time I was pregnant – even before my first baby was born – it’s like a secret society that your swelling pregnant belly gives you access to. I’m not sure what to call it or exactly how to describe it but suddenly other women (mothers) smile at you knowingly across the tram or supermarket. This alone makes you feel included in a club and able to start a conversation. And once you are carrying around your precious little bundle or squirming toddler you find yourself talking to everyone in the shops, park, down the street. I think it is easier as you have very safe ground to start a conversation; it usually starts with “how old?” And goes from there. And though the conversation may not be the start of a life long friendship it is important adult interaction that you need and it is reassuring as it reminds you that you are not alone and they others have survived this and you can too. Don’t be afraid to keep the conversation going if you do connect with someone – ask for a phone number or suggest a play date –we all need mummy friends! (Sounds a bit like dating?!)
  • Holding on to some of my individuality was important to me – especially in the way I present myself. I have always loved dressing up and accessories and this didn’t change. I made an effort to get some more comfortable, practical clothes and shoes that still reflected me! Jeggings, lip stain statement necklaces, gold and silver shoes, funky scarfs are all things that make me feel like me – even when I’m unshowered covered in baby spit up!
  • Moving my body. Exercise and activity are things that are essential for me- and it has nothing to do with weight loss! I exercise for my sanity – it clears my head and makes me feel happier and more able to cope. I found that any activity helped – walking around the block with the pram or baby carrier, hanging out the washing and playing in the back yard with my toddler, even walking around the shops – window shopping of course!!

 

So back to the big wardrobe clean out.

The reality is getting pregnant and having a baby changes your body. Some people’s bodies go back to what they were pre pregnancy and they can wear their old clothes; mine wasn’t like that. My whole lifestyle changed becoming a mother as I’m sure it does for everyone. I couldn’t exercise when I wanted, I didn’t have the time and flexibility to shop and prepare food as I use to, sleep deprivation made identifying hunger cues more difficult and I engage in more comfort eating when I’m tired and home more. These factors over two pregnancies have meant they my body size and shape has changed.

This of course means there were many items of clothing in my wardrobe that didn’t fit, feel as comfortable or I didn’t feel as comfortable in. Of course there are also those pieces that I just don’t have the opportunity to wear as much as I use to.

Now there are two ways of dealing with this – I could choose to let these clothes taunt me and given it to the perceived pressure to diet to fit back in to them –or I could get rid of them. Now being the positive body image warrior that I am I think you can guess which way I went! And that’s exactly why I am sharing the experience as I think too many people hang on to that magic pair of jeans they use to fit in to beating themselves up that they don’t fit them now.

I embrace the changes in my body. Yes I am bigger then I was. Yes I am rounder then I was. Yes there are curves and bumps in places there never use to be- But I earned these changes. I felt nausea, tired, itchy and swollen. I experienced incredible pain and incredible joy with this body and the result was (over two pregnancies) two very happy healthy and beautiful girls who have completely changed my life and are now the absolute centre of my life. Two girls who can make me smile and feel happy just by looking at me or smiling at me making all stressor melt away. That’s what these changes in my body represent to me. The fact that my body was able to create, carry and birth these two amazing individuals. So instead of trying to hide this experience by dieting and exercising I choose to embrace it and accept that I may need to let go of some of my old clothes.

I continue to exercise when I can, to help with my energy, mood and sleep. I continue to listen to my body and feed it when and what it tells me it needs. I am not perfect and I have my own struggles at time with non hungry eating and even ‘fat’ days – hell I’m human and I live in this body focused society too! But on the whole I am positive and I work towards staying positive.

 

So back to the wardrobe:

  • Anything that didn’t fit NOW – had to go.
  • Anything I hadn’t worn since before my first pregnancy -had to go.
  • Anything I didn’t feel comfortable in or found myself pulling at when I was wearing it – had to go.
  • Anything I didn’t feel fabulous in when I put it on – had to go.

Now obviously this can be an expensive exercise as you may not be left with much- to manage this I tend to divide the clothes in to three piles:

  • Salvos – I feel good that someone who needs it will benefit
  • Friends and Family – I feel good that someone I know will appreciate and get lots of wear out of it.
  • eBay- I know the item of clothing has lots of wear left in it and will give someone else some of the joy and enjoyment I have had. The bonus is I recoup some money which I can put towards new clothes!!

Now my wardrobe contains only clothes I fit in to and feel comfortable in. This means less precious time getting ready, my wardrobe and getting dressed is now always a positive experience avoiding all that negative mirror time changing my outfit numerous times trying to feel comfortable.  

As an aside to remain positive while I was pregnant and my body was changing I did something similar – anything my pregnant body didn’t fit into I put in to a suitcase and out away. This meant that again I wasn’t taunted by clothes I couldn’t wear making me think there was something wrong with my body. Instead I was able to embrace and enjoy my ever changing body.

These are a few small things I have done to feel good about myself – to avoid the negative self talk and giving in to the negative atmosphere around me- hopefully it gives you a few ideas too!

 

 

Body Image Article - Jan issue Women's Health and Fitness Australia 

 

Wedding Dress Shopping

by Josephine Money 

This is one of those times I'm being very honest.

I talk about positive body image, managing media and trusting your body all day every day..... And I believe it!!

But I am human and there are times I need to be more supportive with myself ... And leading up to the wedding was one of these times.....

 

Wedding dress shopping

 

Well I have taken the plunge – made the decision and ordered (and paid for) a wedding dress!!

 

I must say the process of shopping for it was harder than I anticipated – and I had really put some (emotional) preparation time in!

 

I was anxious, overwhelmed, excited, fearful, dreading and looking forward to the process all at once!

  

I think buying a wedding dress is difficult for a collection of reasons.....

 

Firstly – getting married is a big deal!

 

You are choosing to commit to the one person for the rest of your life.  It is a public declaration that this is the person I choose and god I hope that they choose me back (none of us like to be vulnerable!).

 

Oh course, by the time you get to planning the wedding I hope that you are feeling fairly confident about that! I was lucky that I felt very confident that he was The One. But it's nothing like others comments and lovely engagement cards with very strong messages to fully appreciate the weight of the situation! 

 

Then there is the fact that according to society and general culture the wedding day is ALL ABOUT YOU..... ALL EYES will be on the BRIDE! (That’s what all the bridal magazines are saying at least!). That is some major pressure and expectation just there!

 

Now for some girls – they realize this, they love this and they embrace this! 

 

For me in social situations I'm usually chatting away to myself trying to calm my negative self-talk by thinking things like 'it’s ok everyone else is too busy worrying about how they look to be looking at you ‘

 or

‘ it’s not your party no one will be looking at you anyway’... Don't think that is going to work for at your own wedding when you’re the bride!!

 

So what to wear? How to make a choice? And how will I feel in it?

 

Men are lucky in this decision about the wedding ( and as stereotypical comment as it may be..., my experience is that grooms are generally happy with most of the decisions about weddings being made without too much fuss, too much talking and not taking too much time  so they can get back to the cricket/ football as quickly as possible!).

 

Weddings are one of the times men can’t get it too wrong – it’s like work wear; men are expected to wear a suit.

 

The colour, cut and accessories may change but it’s a suit!

Or maybe the majority of men in my life are just not that fashion conscious!

 

But for the bride there are way too many different types of dresses to choose from! Long, short, fabrics, colors (all a different shades of the white or ivory!

Or to go a different colour like red or black and ruffle a few feathers), straps, no straps’, sleeve or no sleeves, lace, taffeta, jewelry, hair, makeup, shoes!!

 

And then as bride you need to decide on bridesmaids’ attire too– long, short, colors, price, availability, varying body shapes, others likes, dislikes – it’s a lot of pressure without even considering the lifelong commitment!!

 

So trying to keep this building anxiety at bay I did the sensible thing – bought some bridal magazines and started looking through them.

 

 Now I love clothes; I secretly love flicking through magazines ( though I moral object to the photo shopping, objectification of women in advertising etc!!) so this seemed like a great place to start- and it was! Provided I skipped straight past all the section on how to lose weight in the lead up to the wedding!!

I. Was. Horrified.

By the number of articles about weight loss, toning, shaping, zapping and even invasive cosmetic surgery discussed in bridal magazines! Talk about targeting a vulnerable audience!

 

I appreciate the importance of feeling good and wanting to look your best on your big day, but I don't like that people feel the need to lose a large amount of weight before the wedding – of course many people do. But then they are haunted by their wedding photos on the walls of their house forever mocking them and reminding them just how skinny they were and could be again if they just tried harder..... And so the diet cycle continues (but that is a whole 'other article!)

 

Oh course we know that the women who loose weigh for their wedding usually regain it plus more after their wedding! We just forget to talk about this bit!

 

Just like we forget to mention that the restriction of food has being shown to cause mood swings, anxiety, poor concentration and irrationality! Hello bridezilla!

 

I'm sure I'm not alone is knowing that trying to organize a wedding, or any large event that involves immediate and extending family members, respecting traditions and is enjoyable; requires a clear mind, creativity, patience, compromise , flexibility and a good sense of humor!!

 

I am lucky enough to have a full appreciation of how unhelpful weight loss dieting is and knew that it is something I didn't want to engage in in the lead up to my wedding; as people who know me or work with me know it is against my basic values as a person and clinician!

But if there was a time (other than my whole adolescence before the getting of wisdom) that I was going to feel tempted by the lies and fanciful promises - this was it!

 

Not only did I have the magazines (and blogs, another great wedding idea resource) telling me that I should be trimming up; people around me started to talk about their own plans to lose weight for the wedding!

 

Small innocent comments that I can normally choose to debate with them about or ignore- where really grinding on me!! I started to feel conflicted - don't these people know me at all! Can't these people remember what I do and what I stand for!

 

But then I was able to step back and appreciate that it's not all about me!! As significant family members and friends of the bride and groom these people were feeling the same pressures I was, getting the same comments and exist within the weight and image obsessed culture as me and I need to allow them to express their own anxieties in the way they find helpful!

 

Of course appreciating this doesn't make it stop or stop affecting you but it can make it easier to hear it, put it in the bubble and let it go!! I vented to close friends and my groom; some people l asked not to make some comments and some people I let it go! That was my way of dealing with it and it's important to find your own way.

 

So decision made, no dieting.

I'm perfect as I am!

 

It's just one day in my life and it was going to be very important to me- not because of the dress- but because I finally had the chance to make a commitment in front of my family and friends to the man I love and to consolidate the life we had built together.

 

Remembering and focusing on this was another very important coping strategy for me.

 

I love a function; I love organizing details, surprises and getting dressed up...... But this wasn't about a wedding- it’s about a marriage and that's what I wanted!

 

I spoke with my fiancé about what was important to both of us and made sure that we focused out attention on these things. To us getting married in a church was important, including many important family members and friends in the ceremony was important, thanking everyone and them knowing they were an important part of our life was important and celebrating us was important.

 

With this focus I was able to look at dress shopping with more perspective.

 

I wanted something I felt amazing in, that suited me (body and personality); but I accepted and appreciated that I would probably see dresses in the years to come that I liked more; and that I would probably look at the wedding photos with my children and laugh at how funny we looked and out bad fashion taste!!

 

My first experience of trying on dresses was better them expected. I hadn't planned it, it was spontaneous and luckily I found an incredibly helpful sales assistant. I had parked outside a formal store, I had time to kill so I ventured it to browse for ideas and when asked I decided to take plunge, dive in and try some dresses on.

The sales assistant noted the style of what I was wearing, asked what I liked or had in mind and what I didn't like, asked details about the wedding and tried to get a feel for what we were planning.

 

I instantly trusted her and appreciated that she had more experience at this then me and asked for her opinion. She made suggestions that were thoughtful and appropriate, she discussed what would and wouldn't suit my body shape; and what would make a dress more or less comfortable given my body shape. I was so thankful- she pulled a dress out I tried it on and it was amazing!

 

Then she let me try on all sorts of other styles to see the difference in how they suited me! This was one of the best things I could do!

 

I tried on the Disney ball gown (strapless make me look wider and self-conscious and the large full skirt make me feel overwhelmed), she let me try sheath style dresses ( hard for anyone that isn't a supermodel ) and lace. She read my body language and feed it back to me, noting what I stood taller in and when I looked uncomfortable.

 

As I said I was lucky- this was an experienced retail assistant who was honest but gentle and had much more experience with fitting these styles of dresses then me and this enabled me to relax and trust her!

 

Not all experiences will be like this.... As I was to learn!

 

Though I was secretly pretty sure I had found the dress I wanted to make sure and I wanted to try some others on and have a fun girl’s day out with my bridesmaids!

 

So, off we went to the bridal salon, we had our appointment and we arrived on time, and we're waved at and told to wait! 45 min later a young frazzled girl asked me what could she do or what did I want to try?

 

Umm ..... I don't know?

 

I thought I would talk to someone who does this all the time about the wedding, what I imagined, the style I felt comfortable in and she would know her stock and point me in the right direction!

 

But no, that wasn't going to happen!

 

I had a tried, disinterested weekend casual who didn't really care! She looked at me blankly and I looked back ... Panicking! Luckily my girls jumped to action, grabbed a few styles I had mentioned I liked and we started trying!

 

Oh the humiliation......

 

This bridal salon didn’t keep a range of sizes to try, all the dresses were sample sizes and the assistant didn’t seem to think this was a problem and started undoing the dresses for me to, all size 8 and 10!

 

I'm a very healthy, happy woman who is at least a 14-16!

 

(At least at the first store I went to when I pointed out dresses that  she only had in a small size she gently informed me it wouldn’t fit and that I wouldn’t get a sense of the style!)

 

But she persisted and I was panicked so I went along with it!   Of course they were nowhere near fitting at the back and looked awful!

 

So my creative  assistant went and got an A4 piece of paper and bulldog clips and fasted the dress to the paper over my back and pushed me out it the busy shop, instructed me to walk and spin!

 

I wanted the floor to swallow me whole!

 

Of course this was when the lovely, long limbed lady next to me also came out in a dress that needed bulldog clips to hold it up! Easily fitting in to each dress she tried that day; each time coming out in her well fitted or too big dress while I stood wrapped in paper and clips!!

 

I saw her in many dresses that day each looking amazing. I'm not proud of it but it was one of those times that all my beliefs and things I talk to clients about  went out the window and I was thinking- why me? Why can't I look like that? etc!! (of course latter on I remembered that I wasn't the problem the dresses were and that the lady next to me may of being having as much trouble as me finding a dresses to suit her body shape and that she could feel amazing in!! Shame we can’t always be that calm in the moment!!)

 

So I'm in the middle of a large store uncomfortably squeezed in to dress 4 sizes to small clipped together with paper and bulldog clips and I'm told to walk around and spin!

 

Yes, feeling numb!

 

My girls appropriately oohed and ahhhed and politely ignored the paper fastening but all looked at me concerned as I want just not smiling; I think I looked dam right miserable!

 

Luckily my girls are super honest and that's why I love them! There was lots of gentle ' I'm not sure that neck line is right’, ' I think the mermaid style is better’, ' no you look miserable in it!!'.

 

My girls and the assistant scatted off to grab more dresses to try in a whole range of styles, which was great cause it really confirmed what worked for me and what didn't- of course we had to use our imagination a lot as the backs of the dresses on me looked like they had being supplied by Officeworks!

 

The straw came as the assistant again presented me with a slinky size 8 dress to try. I looked at her with trepidation and she just started squeezing me in! And then, of course, I got stuck… halfway in the dress!

 

The assistant had lifted the dress over my arms and head and that is where it stayed! My arms were pinned to the side of my head by the dress, sticking straight up! As the dress precariously perched over my upper body, below it on full view were greying, fraying undies and bear legs (I’m surprised she didn't send me out to parade around the shop like that!).

 

Eventually I wiggled out of it and the she then suggested trying to step in to the dress and pull it up!

 

What The?!!

 

I lost it a little then and said I would not try any more in that size! We looked at each other, a little bit of a lone ranger stare down moment, and she scatted off again and left me to lick my wounds. Returning with a collection of plus size dress in the opposite style to what we had established I liked and suited me!!

 

I was done and I wanted out of there ASAP!

 

So needless to say, that day of shopping was not a fun one! I was quite and withdrawn the rest of the afternoon. When I got home I crawled in to my fiancées lap and had a cry and indulged myself pity a while.

 

Over the next few days I was able to support myself into appreciating that it wasn't my fault; and there is nothing wrong with my body. The dresses in that shop didn't work for me and I didn't communicate well with the assistant as I was overwhelmed and much less of myself than usual.

 

I was even able to appreciate that it wasn't all the assistants fault and she may of gone home complaining that I had being an annoying, withdrawn, sulky client!!

 

It took a few weeks, lots of self-talk and a few stiff drinks to talk myself in to trying again! I gathered the troops, and we headed off.

 

I actually found a lady on eBay who sold new dresses very cheap and had lots in my size, we headed off to her home to try them and it was a much better experience! Most of them didn't suit me and my girls saw me stuck precariously with ratty underwear and skin in all directions but I was able to laugh about it as I was surrounded by loved ones and was relaxed.

 

And then, I took them to the original shop and the first dress I had tried. When I came out of the change room, if I say so myself, I was beaming! The girls were quite for a moment- before erupting in smiles and tears! This is the one, I felt good in it, I felt confident, and I was actually smiling!!

 

As the wedding drew closer I became less and less worried about the dress or anything else to do with my appearance. I was excited, and nervous; but mostly excited about what the wedding day was all about; A time to celebrate with family and friends the commitment of myself to another.

 

This relaxed attitude helped through all the little dramas that enviably come up in organizing such an event! By the time the big day came around I didn’t care if I was married wearing my jeans, or a dress, or if the flowers were perfect. I just wanted it to happen!

 

This is of course my experience and I'm sure other have had lots of different experiences. Thinking about the above I have come up with a few ideas to help navigate the potential minefield that is wedding dress shopping!

 

Don't focus on the numbers

 

The thing about wedding dresses in Australia is that most of the ones we can buy off the rack come in European sizing, and European sizing is different to what we are use too. Firstly if u are usually a 12 in Australia you will be a 14.

Secondly, wedding dresses are generally a small fit, so most people need to go up a size as well. So as a size 12 usually you may need to order a size 16 for it to fit properly in all the necessary places and then of course there is fittings and adjustments so it is just right for your body!

 

Ask for help from people you trust

 

If you normally feel more comfortable or have more success shopping on your own, then consider going on your own initially. If you have a friend or family member that can be a little passive aggressive in their feedback or make you feel uncomfortable in your body or expressing your own style with these people then DONT take them!

 

Maybe if you feel you should take them shopping with you; go on your own first and when you are close to making a decision or sure of the styles you like, then organize a trip with them.

 

It can be hard enough with strange sizes, unusually shaped dresses, tulle and corsets,   small change rooms, unflattering lighting and strangers seeing you in your underwear, let alone to be worrying about looking after other people or avoiding emotional grenades in their feedback!

 

Plan ahead and do your research

 

Know your budget before you start looking and stick to it. Going to different boutiques can be great to try on the different styles and see what suits you but buying new can be very expensive; as can brand names.

 

Try to focus in what is important, how you feel in the dress. You want to feel comfortable and feel good about how you look in the dress- a brand name can't promise you that!!

 

Once  you find a style you like, or even a particular dress (get the brand and style numbers) have a look online to see if you can get it second hand on eBay, Gumtree or there are specialty  websites and stores that sell just second hand wedding dresses.

 

Look at getting it made - then is can be fitted to your body (and none of those pesky numbers worrying about sizes). There are many tailors in Asia who you can order your dress from through eBay and have fitted by a tailor close to home. I know there are horror stories about this out there but the people I know have only ever had good experiences!

 

Also while you are on the web have a look at wedding blogs for idea and even goggle 'how to find a wedding dress for my body ‘.

 

Don't trust everything that you read

 

There are lots of different articles on the web and in magazines about what dress suits what body type, BUT, these are just a guide- yes they can be a helpful guide but you have to remember that we are all different, we don't all fit perfectly into a body type!

 

If there is a style you like and the magazines tells you it won't suit you - don't give up! Go and try it! At least they u will know for yourself weather you feel good in it or not!

 

Be yourself

Your wedding day is probably not the day to try a radical new hair cut or dress in a completely different style then you would be useful. (if you really want to try an extreme theme or look maybe use it for the hens night, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner or a birthday!).

 

Keep it in perspective

 

Remember that it is just one day! Yes a very important day, but, try to focus on the marriage rather than the wedding!

The people that are there to celebrate with you are excited about you and your fiancé committing to each other; they are your loved ones; they are not going to judge you on how you look!!

If you are worried they will judge you then maybe you need to do some soul searching about if this is you projecting some of your anxiety on to others- remember as much as we sometimes think we can we can't read minds!!

 

Speak your mind

 

Communicate. Tell your helpers and the assistant what you like and what you don’t. Tell them when you feel uncomfortable and be honest with them!! It is about you after all!!

 

So how did my day go?

 

The day was amazing; I felt fantastic in the dress and I was able to focus on the more important order of business. We had a wonderful day.

 

We had discussed in the weeks leading up to the wedding our expectations of the day and were realistic that things would probably go wrong. Nothing is perfect! We focused on the meaning of the day rather than the event. This meant we were both relaxed and able to enjoy ourselves.

The dress was perfect and when I got too hot at the reception I changed in to a much more comfortable dress I had made in a style I often wear and flat shoes! I was able to relax and join in the celebration!

 

I was myself! I was dressed in my own style; and I enabled me to enjoy the amazing day that it was. I hope that this helps people when they start their own adventure of wedding dress shopping!!

  

 Weight management- 10 things to think about!

 1 There is no quick fix

Permanent weight changes require permanent behaviour and life style change. So allow yourself plenty of time.

 

2 If it sounds too good to be true - it probably is!

We are constantly bombarded with tempting advertising promising a miracle product to assist with weight loss.  If these worked there wouldn't be so many of them! There would be one - and one very successful company behind it!

 

3 We can't change genetics- be realistic when setting goals

Just like we are born to be a natural height and have a certain hair colour we have a predetermined natural weight and shape which is healthiest for our body. We can work to be as fit and healthy as possible within these limits.

 

 4 Every body is different, what works for one person won't necessarily work for others

Because we all have different genetics and the environment around us influences us all in different ways we can not expect that an exercise or eating plan will have the same impact for us as it does for others.

 

5 Think about why you're eating - Non hungry eating

We are often so busy trying to decide what is the best choice to eat, that we forget to check if we are actually hungry and need to eat! We eat for a number of different reasons such as boredom, the food is there , the food looks nice, emotions, social pressure, the time on the clock, or to prevent getting hungry latter. Hunger should be the reason the majority of the time we decide to eat but often we create habits based on non- hungry triggers.

 

 6 Think about what you are drinking

There is no particular food or nutrient that causes weight gain or weight loss rather it is about the total amount of energy over a period of time.  Some drinks are very energy dense which we can sometimes forget! For example alcohol is very energy dense, not to mention what we mix it with or what we eat on the way home at the end of the night!

 

7 How are you eating - speed of eating

When we are distracted or busy we often eat with out paying attention to what we are eating, also we tend to eat more quickly. When we do this we don't have time to enjoy and register the foods and don't allow time to notice sensations of satiety, which can take 15-20mins to travel from the stomach up to the brain. If we eat quickly we feel unsatisfied and go back for seconds or thirds and then end up feeling overly full and bloated.

When people take time to eat slowly, notice and enjoy the taste and flavours of the foods they are eating, they are often surprised at how little they require to feel satisfied and no longer hungry.

 

8 Think about your portions

As we are bombarded with messages about the health risks of being above our healthiest weights we are also bombarded with quick and easy ways to supersize our foods. Convenience and take away foods are often more economical to purchase in larger sizes. We end up eating more of it because it is there or we don't want to waste the food. An easy way of keeping your meals in check is to aim to have half your plate covered with vegetables and salad, a quarter with meat and a quarter with grains and grain products.

 

9 Activity is important

Having an awareness of the types of foods you eat, how much of them you eat and why you eat them is one thing but it is also important that this is accompanied by some activity each day.

 

10. Think about long term lifestyle changes rather then short term crash dieting.

As hard as it is to believe when the media is constantly telling us something different ,  'diets' don't lead to sustainable changes in weight, they are often expensive and nutritionally unbalanced; increasing long term health risks.

 

Also, putting yourself on a diet can lead to the diet mentality - thinking of foods as 'good and bad' or feeling deprived - which often leads to over consumption of sometimes food which you are trying to limit!

 

Living with Depression

 

See below an article contributed by a friend of mine for the website- thanks so much and I do hope it support others in their understanding.

 

Living With Depression

 

Look at what a wonderful life you have: a caring, loyal & committed boyfriend, a supportive, loving & understanding family,

a beautiful house and so much to be grateful for.

So why can't you be happy??

Depression is very hard to understand, especially for those who love you the most.

No-one can understand; it has nothing to do with circumstances yet everything to do with the individual suffering from the disease. It is exacerbated by the fact that no-one can possibly understand.

For those living with someone who is clinically depressed, it is particularly difficult, as the desperation to try to help the person can often result in a crevice expanding between the sufferer and the carer.

 The worst part is, there is nothing that can be done. No amount of love, cuddles or reassurance is going to change the state of mental depression. All it does is put pressure and expectation on the depressed person to change, and to be happy, to make the worried people not worry.

This makes the process all about everyone else, not about the sufferer, and can lead to increased feelings of guilt; that you have let everyone down that cares about you. The only way to 'fix’ it is to therefore ‘be happy’.

 Easier said than done.

If you love someone who suffers from depression, the best thing you can do is acknowledge that they are down and let them know that you are there for them, whenever they need anything. Whether that be as an outlet for raw emotion, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to laugh with, it is important you let them know you are trying to understand what they are going through. Give them permission and space to feel how they need to feel. They won’t feel like you don't love them, they'll feel relieved.

 

Letter to Self

 

 

A letter from a nearly 30- hopefully wiser self, to a younger and  more impressionable self . . .

 

You are an amazing person

You are generous, always have being and always will be

You can generally achieve what you put your mind to

And you will realise you don't need to prove yourself by achieving everything

People appreciate everything that you do for them; they just aren't always good at telling you

You are loved, and you will always be loved

There is nothing wrong with you, you are not the odd one out, and other people feel the same way

Learn from mistakes instead of trying to avoid making them                

I know school and its issues seems really important when your there, but really it's not, the issues you worry about now will pass

You actually have a normal healthy body, not too big, not too small - just right

People can be very cruel, you need to learn that it is often more about them then about you

No, everyone isn't looking at you, everyone isn't taking about you

It's not ok to keep going back to people and relationships that hurt you. Don't stay friends with people who make you feel bad about yourself, put you down, think they are superior or use you

You treat your friends with loyalty and respect and you deserve it back

It is ok to talk about how you are feeling and what you are thinking; no one will abandon you

Your parents are not perfect, never were and never will be. They too have made mistakes which you need to forgive them for

You will realise there is much more to life then work

You can't save everyone or make everyone happy

You are not always right; then again you are not always wrong

The majority of bad things you imagine won't happen

Pain eventually goes away be it physical or emotional

Eating, not eating, over eating, exercise and vomiting do not fix anything, ever

Appreciate your body as it is, it's only downhill as you get older!

Some friendships and relationships are not forever, and that's ok

It's ok to put yourself first, if you don't, no one else will

Trust your instinct; you have good intuition - listen to it

People don't change just because you want them to

Stop hesitating and take the opportunities that are presented to you

Don't sell yourself short

Hard work does pay off

Don't dismiss everything just because it's not logical to you or doesn't have scientific research; some things just are

You don't have to buy every book you think you should read, you often don't get to reading them

You will never be able to sing, but don't give up trying its fun

It is ok to have an opinion and stick by it

It's ok if others don't agree with you

Your body is pretty amazing it will survive everything you throw at it without too many complaints

It is ok if someone doesn't like you

Eat before you go out drinking and partying; take Panadol when you get home before you go to sleep!

Do challenges that scare you, you never know what you're capable of until you try

Most people are not thinking about how you look, they are too busy worrying about themselves

What you see in the mirror and what others see is often different

Accept compliments graciously, it's rude to repute them

Don't go to bed after a fight without saying goodnight, even if you're going to keep up the silent treatment in the morning!

You don't need the top mark, you just need to pass

You don't need to avoid difficult or negative feeling, if you sit with them they will pass- they can't hurt you

Thoughts are thoughts not truths

Not everyone has your best interests at heart

Bad moods are normal, they too pass. There doesn't always have to be a reason

Silence doesn't always need to be filled

Be kind to yourself

A bath helps with most things; too much wine doesn't

Pets always love you unconditionally

People will disappoint you, sometimes it's important to forgive them and let it go, but sometimes its not

Don't watch scary movies on your own

Don't forget you put something in the oven

Procrastination doesn't help, it still needs doing. Neither does denial or avoidance!

Make an effort to be better at saving money

It doesn't always need to be clean or in the right spot

Cleanse and moisturise more often

Ask for help when you need it

It's ok to be angry; it's ok to be sad; it's ok to grieve

It's ok to enjoy your own company; and to need it form time to time

It's ok to just sit and be

You are often happiest when with groups of friends and family

Don't over commit yourself, but know people will understand when you have to cancel things

It's ok to say no

Sleep will help most things; time helps many things too

Honesty; keep it up it

Write your names in books so they come back you

You don't need to keep everything! You will always have your memories - you don't need every cinema stub or card written!

Don't hold grudges they only hurt you

Don't buy the smaller size, you will not lose weight to fit into it and you will be uncomfortable

Love you, you are perfect as you are; everybody else can see it - you just have to learn to too.

 

Do Scars Ever Really Heal?

Following an injury to skin, muscle, tendon or ligament, fibrous tissue forms a scar as a natural process of the body to heal and repair wounds.  Scars consist of a protein, collagen, which cross-links within the injured site to form a pronounced alignment in a single direction, sealing the wound.  This area of scarring becomes inferior to the quality of normal collagen fibres, resulting in loss of tissue or muscular function.
Treatments are wide and varied, and include dermabrasion, plastic surgery, laser treatment, steroids, vitamin replacement as well as, but not concluding, many topical remedies and experimental techniques.  It is possible to treat scars quite effectively, therefore reducing the amount of functional loss.
 
But can we treat Emotional scars?
 
Physical pain is processed by the nervous system via a negative feedback system and the body's method of defence.   But emotional pain has no automatic processing system.  How do we process these thoughts, fears and subsequent irrational behaviours that can continue to harm us emotionally without an effective defence mechanism?  Our body is an amazing machine; the act of repair and regeneration alone is remarkable when it comes to physical injury.  How, though, do we repair the scars left from our past when in many cases we can't even pinpoint or recognise a cause or trigger?  Why is our emotional pain so much more unbearable than that of physical injury, and without an automatic physiological mechanism for repair?
 
Avoidance is a bandaid, a ?topical remedy? that will not penetrate the ?subcutaneous layer? of our emotional mind.  They say ?time heals all wounds?, but this is not the case when tackling emotional wounds.  Time alone simply represses those urges, ineffectively numbing the area.  They will not heal on their own, they do need conscious awareness and hard work which is often considered too difficult as re-opening these wounds can be very painful.   Thus the scar remains intact, with a subsequent decreased ability for the emotional mind to function effectively.
 
Talking, counselling and challenging these thoughts are the only ways to breakdown that ?collagen cross-linking? of emotional scars, to increase the ability to function at a capacity we, as humans, are capable of.  We need to re-align the ?collagen?, or our attitude towards these emotions, so that we can have a higher functional ability within our lives, to face our fears, and deal strategically with our destructive and harmful behaviours. 
 
Acceptance, reflection and validation are critical elements to the healing process.
 
It takes so much more conscious energy, courage, faith and self-belief to work on these scars, no matter how deep and wide they may stretch.  There is no easy fix, no surgery or pill will ease the pain of the wound or repair it the way a physical injury is repaired.  Time and a truckload of bravery and courage to tackle the wounds, to rub salt into them and massage the area as much as we can tolerate, will encourage that healing process.  Reflecting on why they developed in the beginning and how we can process that on a deep level is essential.  Eventually regeneration and repair will begin to take place.   We can then discover not only a better relationship with ourselves, but embark on the path to recovery, peace and potential happiness. 
We just have to be ready and prepared to undertake the challenge and commit to the process of recovery, or the scars will continue to debilitate us.
 
Thankyou to the writer of this article who would prefer to remain unknown but wanted to share with Eat Love Live.

What I have learnt (and am still learning) from Nigella ...... 

Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the Melbourne food and wine festival and see one of my favourite cooks in the flesh. I noticed in Epicure in July last year that Nigella Lawson was expected  to come to Melbourne in March 2011! I set the reminders in my phone for the date of the show  and the date the tickets were to be released!
 
Nigella has being a cooking and life inspiration for me for many years - her simple, no fuss approach to food, her use of real foods and ingredients and not focusing on fat, kilojoules and salt content (is that strange for a dieitian to say?!) and her ever apparent passion for good food and a good life which spills in to her books, articles and shows.
 
 At Christmas I was actually given my first Nigella book. Yes my first! I had always watched the shows and Google recipes and just poured over the books in boarders! I was given Nigella Kitchen and relished sitting down and reading it as people would devour the much anticipated next book in the Harry Potter series.
 
Focus on what you want, what makes you happy and stop worrying about others.
 
I sat down and read about what Nigella's kitchen means to her. She spoke about the influence of her family and friends and particular her mother. She discussed the kitchen being her sanctuary and the heart of her home. On reflection I was able to conjure up some of my own fairly special memories based in the kitchen. From a young age my brothers and  I helped mum with the cooking - or just banging on the pots and pans. My mother never did, and still doesn't follow recipes . She cooks with what is available and what seems and innate endless list of recipes but may of just being auto pilot when cooking the family meal as she was so busy looking after us, running a business, studying, sowing, gardening, socialing, and being part of the school community. (phew!).
 
I remember my parents throwing wonderful parties where we would clean and prepare the house and the back yard and inevitable everyone congregated and settled in the kitchen amongst the pots, pans, washing up and out family pin board - where ever important note, letter or piece of paper was pinned.
 
I remember birthday cakes and wakes all centred around the kitchen as I grew up and realised that I to have created my homes in the same way; especially as many were open plan with the kitchen part of or overlooking the living areas.
When we moved in to the home I am currently living with I was excited by the open plan of the living area and kitchen and the streams of natural light. I embraced the help of a fantastic friend on moving day that unpacked and put my kitchen together for me. As we had previously lived together - everything was just where I would of put it and would expect it to be!
As I was reading Kitchen by Nigella she spoke of how she liked things to be accessible and on display. She uses her fresh herbs in place of flowers in her home and relishes in the cluttered collection of eclectic pieces that makes up her kitchen and pantry. Though this may seem like a simple idea it resonated with me in a way I didn't expect.
 
I reflected on times of my life when I was more insecure and lacked confidence in myself and would seek approval of others -and there was many - it took me a while to learn that lesson! I realised that in setting up my home and my kitchen in the back of mind had being that nasty voice chatting away telling me that things needed to be sparse and tidy and things packed away out of sight. That people would think it was messy if I had things on the counter. That it something didn't match the theme of the room it needed to go away in a cupboard somewhere no matter the sentimental value to me.  I was still doing it - even now; in my home rather than how I dressed, how I looked, what I said, or my opinions!
 
That same day I looked at my kitchen, reflected on what I had being reading and did a little reshuffling. I arranged the photos on the fridge with their classing colours and smiled at the memories they bought up. I opened the famously chaotic 2nd drawer with all the cooking utensils and hung some on the hooks above the bench, I arranged the small ones (that always get lost at the bottom of the drawer and there for never used!) in empty glass coffee containers I had being collected. I arranged my spice jars on displace. I arranged a bookcase to the side of the kitchen and popped out the canisters, beautiful preserve jars and collection of cook book and other beautiful odds and ends.
 
I stepped back and looked at my kitchen that may look cluttered to some but realised it gave me a sense of joy and warmth. I wanted to go in there and potter and cook and create. I was inspired.  I found that when I was cooking it was easier having things in reaching distance and I enjoyed myself even more while preparing food.
 
Be Nice to your self
 
Listening to Nigella's hypnotic voice is blissful is even more engaging live then on television. Some of the things that Nigella spoke about that resonated with me were about trying to go easier on our selves.  Nigella spoke of her approach to food being about sharing her passion, experience and shortcuts. Nigella talked of enjoying cooking but recognising that for many of us time is not of the essence and that it is ok to use the quick and easy shortcuts that their area; stock concentrate, frozen vegetables etc. ? There are enough challenges in life as it is - why do you need to challenge yourself more?.
 
Another great lesson Nigella shared was to be aware of when we put ourselves down and to stop this. How often have we all said ?sorry its overcooked? or ?it's not very good or as good as you would make it?. Or an excellent example as we travelled to get to convention centre? sorry the car is a mess blah blah blah?.
 
I wonder if we put ourselves down as a protective mechanism as we are so worried about what they might be thinking! As I have often said to clients and remind my self - - people most likely won't notice your perceived flaw unless you point it out ; and often people are too busy worrying about themselves and what others are thinking of them to notice!
 
Follow your Passions
 
Nigella came to the stage as the crowd cheered- it really was a very exciting moment! And the first thing she spoke about was that she didn't feel qualified to be giving a master class, that she isn't trained in anything and she doesn't consider herself an expert. Nigella is passionate about food. She loves flavours, aromas and the nostalgic memories it can stimulate. When asked why she and others with no professional training are so successful - she put it down to passion. And I believe she is right.
If we are lucky enough to find that thing in life that we are passionate about, that we can talk about read about, think about and can incorporate it in to a career- then it doesn't feel like a job at all- just a special hobby that helps pays the bills. When people are doing what they are passionate about they are genuine and engaging. If you aren't able to incorporate one of your passions in to your working life then it is important to have allocated time each day or week to indulge in your passion so the positive feelings flow into the rest of your life.
 
Have a good relationship with food
 
Nigella is so passionate about food that you can't help but become infected with her excitement. Nigella focuses on taste, texture, aroma and pleasure. She avoids using morally driven language such as good and bad foods. She ta time makes reference to her use of high fats, salt and sugar in cooking; but doesn't apologise for this.
 
In the ever increasing hysteria of obesity, weight, and health; it is lovely to have the simply messages conveyed. We have being eating foods for millions of years, and we worked out what to eat long before there was science, medicine and dietitians.
The diet and food industry is so clever at stimulating the emotional relationship we all have with our bodies and food in a negative way that in Australia alone we are spending over $60 billion dollars a year. (As I always say - if diets worked there would be one, and you wouldn't need a life time membership!) Using real, natural, whole foods and not buying in to the hysteria of irrational food myths (my favourite current one is 'don't eat fruit it contains sugar and will cause weight gain'!) actually helps people to reconnect with taste, texture, aroma and pleasure of food. This focus on the attributes' of foods often helps us connect with our bodies better - noticing hunger, enjoying and recognising that place where we have had enough- not stopping just because the plate is empty!
My experience has being this disconnect between our physical hunger and satiety and what we actually eat is a large part of nutritional and weight concerns'. And no; I am not advocating over indulging in butters and oils - but balance and moderation is a key topic to be explored- but that is another article!
 
Be Your Self
 
Nigella has not always received positive press; there is many remarks made about her sensuality with food and that this 'food porn' is created to drive ratings and sales.  Nigellas response to that is that she is just being herself. From an interview with The Age:
 
?.... Lawson says that she can't control how people perceive her and that ''it's wrong to get into a state about it''.
She says the suggestion that the way she presents herself in front of the television is carefully thought about is simply false. ''I don't construct a personality, but I certainly think the personality that is ascribed to me is not my personality,'' she says. ''That's a projection of other people, but also to do with the particular, strange force television has.''
Her trademark lascivious tone, for example, is unintentional. ''When I am talking to camera I mean, I love my crew and I have had them forever so I am very very close to them I know that I am quite an intense person and I know that I am being quite intimate. To me, I am not being remotely coquettish.''
Men and their egos are often the source of this misinterpretation, she suggests. ''One of the things I find quite endearing about men is that they do seem to have a certain sort of confidence and they sort of think anyone is flirting with them.'' ?
 
Don't focus on weight and shape
 
Nigella is a beautiful woman and even more amazing in the flesh. Nigella rarely engages in conversation with the press about weight, shape, style dieting etc. Though there is at time comments about her!
 
Nigella is a woman who doesn't conform to the pressures to be stick thin and fit the celebrity mould. She has beautiful curves and she always wears simply cut clothes that caress them. She doesn't hide in shapeless dresses but appears to accept her body and play up her assets. She doesn't appear to be trend orientated but has a style of her own which she sticks too. What a wonderful example.
 
Seeing Nigella is press, on television and now in person helps me to accept and relish my own curves, my own sense of style and me as I; am flaws, passion and all.
 
And yes; thought I support many clients and friends and write about these things, I am human and I do live in this very influential social cultural context where there is pressure to look right, act right, achieve everything and conform to standards.
So moving forward Nigella will continue to be my 'girl crush' as she inspires me to focus on myself, my goals and my passions and not to apologise for this

  The Beauty Myth 20 years on - have we progressed? 

Many Women can remember the first time they read the Beauty Myth. 20 years ago when it was first published it was a revelation, a shock, a new voice or a freedom.  Naomi Wolf, 20 years on, remains a leader in advocating for feminist causes and progressive politics.
 
 
Wolf writes that women should have "the choice to do whatever we want with our faces and bodies without being punished by an ideology that is using attitudes, economic pressure, and even legal judgments regarding women's appearance to undermine us psychologically and politically".  She argues that women were under assault by the "beauty myth" (often referring to the the 'ideals' imposed on women as the ?iron- Maiden? );   in five areas: work, religion, sex, violence, and hunger. Ultimately, Wolf argues for a relaxation of normative standards of beauty.  Wolf comments on the previous waves of feminism and where they have left us as women:  
The more legal and material hindrances women have broken through, the more strictly and heavily and cruelly images of female beauty have come to weigh upon us... [D]uring the past decade, women breached the power structure; meanwhile, eating disorders rose exponentially and cosmetic surgery became the fastest-growing specialty... [P]ornography became the main media category, ahead of legitimate films and records combined, and thirty-three thousand American women told researchers that they would rather lose ten to fifteen pounds than achieve any other goal...More women have more money and power and scope and legal recognition than we have ever had before; but in terms of how we feel about ourselves physically, we may actually be worse off than our unliberated grandmothers. (The Beauty Myth).
 
Earlier this month Naomi was in Australia to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of her incredibly book and unfortunately I missed out on hearing her speak! (If anyone would like to write a commentary do let me know!).  Of course as happens with media tours - there was a spike of articles in print and radio media.
 
One of the most interesting I read was the cover article of the Sunday life Magazine; written by Emily Maguire.  Naomi reflected on the shift in our culture to accepting and encouraging women to question and challenge the ideals. 
 
"When I wrote The Beauty Myth, it was considered almost taboo to question the ideal. The assumption was that there must be something wrong with you: you don't measure up, you're a dissatisfied shrew. But now it's normative. We have girl scouts learning to question the ideal of beauty and Hollywood stars giving interviews about loving your body." 
 
Just as we have grown so has the beauty industry. Understanding that the images they see are manipulated by technology and that the messages they hear are designed to make them buy stuff hasn't lessened women's desire to conform to those images. Meanwhile, you only need to glance at the spread of glossy magazines in your local newsagent - with every cover model an airbrushed echo of the woman who originally posed for the picture - to see that the beauty ideal has become narrower.
"It's a whole new mutation," says Wolf. "When I wrote the book, fashion models were the thing, but now fashion models don't seem to be that important in terms of the beauty myth. It's more starlets and Hollywood." Wolf attributes the change to "the democratisation of the luxury industry ... The luxury brands began to see a giant market in ordinary people, young girls especially, so they joined forces with Hollywood and made brand-placement deals with these ingenues. I think that as a consequence these starlets have had to turn up the volume, get smaller and smaller, get more and more surgery, because they're part of the brand and they need to lure new people."
 
Naomi focus' on the analysis of pornography and its contribution to the developing generations expectations of sexuality and sex (a whole different topic!). They beauty myth helped generations of women to question the media images presented to us. Yet as we come to understand more there is more development in 'the ideal'; the iron maiden becomes narrower and narrower of what is accepted as desirable. It is fantastic that Naomi is still championing the message of questioning what is projected as normal to us for many generations to come. 
 
To some extent the there must be some acceptance as we observe the shift in the print media at least. The past few months has seen make up free celebrities inWho, Crystal Wren - in everything, and even a body friendly issue of Shop till you drop. Maybe eventually we will even stop talking about how there is the use of plus sized (yes we all know they are normal sized!) models and a greater range of clothing size - because the normal range of natural shapes and sizes will be included as the norm.
 -Listern to Naomi Wolf Interviewed by the ABC: Naomi Wolf: The Treehouse and the Epiphany
-Watch SBS Dateline'sInterview with Naomi

The female body at its finest!  

 

Many things about the female body are related the process of being able to conceive, carry a pregnancy to term, give birth and then nourish the baby with breast milk. All in all it is a pretty amazing set of skills managed by an incredibly complex and clever body. 
 
Females have more body fat to enable hormone development and the support of a fetus in incredible circumstances. Female development through out life is based around adapting to the possibility of pregnancy. In puberty the increased fat mass, breast development and widening of the hips moves the body towards the ability to conceive and sustain a fetus. Then menopause; the shift in hormones moves the body into a different shape with more central fat deposition. Probably as a protective mechanism when in evolutionary terms the body wanted to prevent illness in latter life. 
 
But what about after the birth of a baby - what happens to the body then? 
If we were to believe what we see- mothers can just bounce back to their pre-baby shape with noeffort, no dramas and really  problems at all.  
Apparently there isn't possible pelvic floor damage that prevents exercise, sleep deprivation, lack of time for cooking and shopping, the emotionally response to hormone shift (more tears and mood swings!), the swollen boobs, stretch marks,  breast feeding anxiety or pressure from other to appear as a 'super' mother doing it all with ease!  
Yeah right!
 
I'm not a mother myself but I have wonderful friends and clients who tell it how it is!  
So where does the misconceptions come from?  
Celebrities are paraded constantly in the media for their amazing return to pre babe shapes! Their images are splashed on the internet, in papers and magazines. So when the new mothers find some time to sit and have a flick they are confronted and self torment that they haven't miraculously returned to their pre baby body! 
 
Kourtney Kardashian (why is she famous anyway?!) reported about how she got her bikini body back! . Only to be found out to have her new mother photos digital retouched.

Instyle's article on Hollywood's hottest mums shows beautiful women with a perfect baby bump in amazing dresses with full hair and make up! Where is the fluid retention, swollen ankles, skin breakouts and wouldn't fatigue make the ?hoo haa? of getting all dressed up a bit of drag?! Even Jennifer Hudson is giving in to the pressure to 'bounce back! (I just hope it is some really amazing underwear teamed with breast feeding weight loss- rather then restrictive dieting and excessive exercise. 
I have seen some very honest photos of Jools Oliver though which are a lovely reminder of what the female body does look like after giving bith! (photo sourced: mamamia.com.au)

I guess when your body is part of your job, and there is money to spend personal trainers, chefs, full time nannies and goodness knows what else doesn't seem like such a big deal! 
The problem is that this sets very unrealistic expectations for new mums! Not only does the pressure to be the 'ideal' shape infiltrate childhood, adolescence, adulthood- it is pretty strong in motherhood also. Yes I am focusing on mothers today - but don't forget the impact that having a new baby in the house has on fathers as well. Sleep deprivation, provider anxiety, lack of time for usual social activities and exercise; can all impact on father's physical and mental health - when they feel that should be appearing as proud, capable fathers and maintaining a high level of work and sports! 
 
Its time we talked honestly about parent hood - and the impact on life. Mia Freeman, who has a favorite blog of mine Mamamia posted a great article last year about what real mothers bodies look like. It directed me a website - The Shape of a Mother ; where women are encouraged to post photo of their post - partum selves and discuss their experience with body image post pregnancy. It contains some beautiful photographs of women's REAL bodies - stretch marks, extra skin and all.  
We should be making sure that we embrace the amazing things that our body can do - instead of how we look doing it! 
Having children is just one of the many fabulous abilities it has  . . . .     
 
 
 

Weight  DOES NOT EQUAL Health!  

BMI; is it the be all and end all? 

 
 
 Yes, Yes, I can hear you all crying but what about lifestyle diseases etc. I agree that when people are not mindful of their health this can lead to excessive weight gain OR loss and that being on the extreme ends of the normal weight range can increase the risk of disease. But there are plenty of people who naturally fall about or below the 'bell shaped curve' of the BMI and are perfectly healthy! 
 
The BMI is a standardized statistical measure which is very helpful when looking at large populations but fails to consider individual characteristics. BMI was developed in the late 1800's and became popular in use after a paper written by Ancel Keys was published in 1972.  which found the BMI to be the best proxy for body fat percentage among ratios of weight and height (1,2).   BMI was explicitly cited by Keys as being appropriate for population studies, and inappropriate for individual diagnosis. Nevertheless, due to its simplicity, it came to be widely used for individual diagnosis, despite its inappropriateness! 
 
BMI has being accepted as the normal measure of weight and health despite strong opposition from numerous medical establishments (3,4).  BMI does not consider genetics, culture or body composition; hence making it inappropriate for the individual use. It would be appropriate it we were all meant to be the same size and shape!! But how boring would that be!
 
Health is defined by WHO as physical, mental and social wellbeing (http://www.who.int/en/). There is no comment on weight in that! What we do know is that we can minimize the  risk of disease by being physically active and moving our bodies; being mindful of the types of foods and volume that we eat. That doesn't mean dieting and that doesn't mean avoiding particularly foods! But as they always say - everything in moderation! Also just because you don't see changes in your body doesn't mean that your activity and positive eating is going to waste! There will be a number of important things happening in your body that you can't see but may need to measure in other ways such as vital signs,, blood results, fitness and endurance, strength, number of times you get sick in winter, skin brightness etc. 
 
 As I always discussed with my clients we maintain our most natural and healthy body weight by eating when we are hungry, stopping when we have had enough and being active. Often it is the non-hungry reasons for eating and eating behavior (i.e. speed of eating) that I find myself discussing most.
 
So make sure that any discussion about BMI you take with a grain of salt and common sense. If you do want to make changes to you health make sure you are setting health related goals - not weight ones!!

^Beyond BMI: Why doctors won't stop using an outdated measure for obesity., by Jeremy Singer-Vine, Slate.com, July 20, 2009

^Keys, Ancel(July 1972), "Indices of relative weight and obesity.", J Chronic Dis., 1 25 (6): 329-43, PMID 4650929 

^"Do You Believe in Fairies, Unicorns, or the BMI?". Mathematical Association of America. 2009-05-01. http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_05_09.html. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 

^"Is obesity such a big, fat threat?". Cox News Service. 2004-08-30. http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/featr/content/shared/health/stories/BMI_INDEX_0830_COX.html. Retrieved 2007-07-08