Ahh…. ‘twas the night before _______ (Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, 2011), and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except you in your house. As visions of sugar plums, Aunt Edna’s fruit cake, and the leftover chocolate fudge created your holiday head debate.
You knew it would taste good, to have a slight bite, but you realize quite quickly that slight is not right. So, you run to the cupboard, pull out the pie, and sit down nibbling as the night passes by. After all the pie has been nibbled, the pie is past tense; you head back to bed, wishing for more common sense.
Then, whilst in your bed, your stomach does clatter, your significant other jumps up to ask what the matter. You guilty smile, as you explain away pie, as you can’t quite fathom, a life without doctor approved gluten-free rye. So you take an extra diaplex and relax with a sigh, hoping your stomach will not writher and cry. You know that the “trade off” of taking good care, is worth more than gold and holiday fare. Yet, where is the balance, what to do? No need to stress, pause, and read ahead, for a minute or two.
Life after Pie
This week’s blog marks the conclusion of my holiday series of Easing into the Health for Holidays. I am envisioning all those poor little stress organs, the adrenal glands, getting ready to pump up their biochemical stress signals, pour out more cortisol, and decrease the calming neurotransmitter, GABA, as brains ignite in the wavering pendulum of “being good” or “being bad” with food.
We are a society who swings from extreme to extreme, it is hard to obtain pleasure through moderation and easier to give into its unsatisfying replacement of entertaining ourselves with distractions when life moves so quickly. Food is the focus of this all too common dichotomy during the holiday season. One must make the decision between indulging vs. restricting, of stuffing the belly with “treats” or filling the stomach with nutrients.
Most will make the decision to overindulge through the holiday and resolve to diet and restrict into the New Year to compensate. The problem with this approach is that food becomes the enemy to fight, not an enjoyment and pleasure. Just like a teenage girl eyeing the rebellious “bad boy”, we form another kind of dysfunctional relationship, one between our plate and body. Hence, the yo-yo dieting and it’s after effects…
One recent study conducted on mice demonstrated the effect of calorie restriction on the stress response. It showed that mice that were fed restricted calorie diets or low fat diet exhibited higher stress response than those fed a regular diet within a 3 week period. Furthermore, they had alterations in their DNA patterns that regulate appetite control and were more likely to binge eating patterns with re-feeding than non-restricted mice.
Misplaced Perceptions on Weight Loss
On December 13th, Diane Ray from HayHouse Radio interviewed Dr. Synder, a bariatric surgeon who recently wrote a new weight loss book. I was touched by Dr. Synder’s perspective of weight obsession in our society. My Naturopathic Heart soared when he discussed what I feel is the true cause of our dysfunctional relationship with food, American’s pressure to aim for perfection and the un-quenchable drive for more, more, and more. It’s a moronic path that leads to overindulgence and chemical highs with a downward spiral into deprivation and depression. Izzy sings about this pattern in the movie; I Could Never Be Your Woman.
Dr Synder believes that when the underlying goal and identity of a person is based on getting to a number on the scale, rather than on who they are in their role as a wife, father, or volunteer, there exists an imbalance in societal values. “Weight is a part of your life, it can be viewed as just another medical condition,” Dr. Synder says. “When it becomes hard to function and do activities with those you love, then it is an issue that hinders your lifestyle, a dis-ease that must be addressed.”
On the other hand, if getting into a size 2 is based on the misperception that weight is the reason for one’s emotional pain, it becomes a distraction from dealing with unresolved emotional scars or misplaced priorities. It is a result of one not knowing who they would be if you were actually ok with who they are separate from their body size. It’s an emotional and spiritual angst that can’t be solved based on whether you eat ½ or none of the 70% or 88% dark chocolate bar.
Most people know what to eat. The guidelines have been paved by common sense and experts for centuries:
1. Eat your vegetables
2. Eat your fruits
3. Eat your fiber
4. Stay away from sugar
5. Eat healthy fats and proteins
6. Eat food that looks like food, that spoils because it isn’t full of preservatives, and will actually digest and nourish your body
7. Drink water
8. If you eat a food, and you feel bad after it, you may want to avoid it. If you eat a food and feel good after it, include it in your diet.
9. Most people do better without gluten, soy, and chemicals.
Biochemical Imbalances Resulting in Cravings:
Conitnued at my blog on saratoga.com