Small changes make for big dividends – at least that’s what i have experienced. Here’s an article about those plastic water bottles and the havoc they wreak on our bodies and our environment. Found it in Natural Alternatives Magazine.
Plastic water bottles have adverse effects on both your body and the environment. Making an easy behavioral change in your home and office can decrease your exposure to toxins found in plastic materials, reduce the amount of plastic funneled into landfills and our oceans (which ultimately gets ingested by sea life and thus impacts our seafood because plastic does not biodegrade), and save you money!
You, Sistah, could save thousands of gallons of water annually used in creating plastic bottles. You, Sistah, can prevent over 40 pounds of plastic from entering nearby landfills. You, Sistah, can reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating truck delivery of water! You, Sistah, can save almost $500 a year!
This isn’t just good for the environment, but also the bottom line! As you stay fit this month, forget those plastic water bottles and rehydrate with a metal water bottle or canteen! Think about it.
Don’t worry, Ashe’. I’ll keep my eyes open for funding for a water filtration system for you.
I ran across this article in an email and just had to share. It spoke to me. Glean from it what you may. Enjoy! It’s long yet well worth the read.
Making good food choices is one of the most important things we can do for the health of our hearts. We know we should be eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains while limiting sodium, salt, saturated fat and avoiding trans fats. Even so, many of us find ourselves looking for comfort from food. After a bad day at work, we drown our stress in ice cream or squash our frustration with pizza, only to remain stressed and even feel a little guilty afterward. Some call it “stress eating” or “emotional eating.” But what is emotional eating, and how can it be managed to avoid harmful heart health consequences?
According to Mark Gorman, a staff psychologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center, emotional eating happens “when someone doesn’t like the emotions they’re feeling — they feel really stressed, for example — and in order to cope with that stress, they eat because eating makes them feel better.”
Simply put, emotional eating is a coping mechanism. With emotional eating, people often tell Gorman that there is relief in the moment — whether they feel better or numb — from whatever negative emotion they are experiencing, such as guilt or distress.
Emotional eating is not considered a true eating disorder, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States. Anorexia (food restriction) and bulimia (binging and purging) are well-known eating disorders; binge eating has also been added to the DSM-5. These eating disorders, however, are behavioral patterns that have distinct criteria, including a level of distress, impairment in functioning and frequency of repeating a behavior. At this time, emotional eating does not have a set criteria or set of symptoms to distinguish it as a diagnosable eating disorder.
To receive a binge eating diagnosis, for example, the American Psychiatric Association website states:
Binge eating disorder involves frequent overeating during a discreet period of time (at least once a week for three months), combined with lack of control and associated with three or more of the following:
Eating more rapidly than normal
Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating
Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed or very guilty afterward
Binge Eating Disorder also causes significant distress.
Dr. Mark Gorman
A person who is eating in response to emotions, however, may very well have a sense of control but chooses to use food as a way to numb, cope or pacify a feeling. “An emotional eater might say, ‘Yes, I ate a whole cheese pizza by myself, but that was a choice I made and at no point did I feel like I couldn’t stop myself. I was in control the whole time.’ That’s different than a clinical diagnosis of binge eating,” Gorman said.
Despite some similarities, emotional eating is not necessarily a symptom of an eating disorder. It might more accurately be thought of as a behavioral response to negative emotions, just as a person might scream in response to anger or go on a run in response to frustration.
It may also be a response to a positive stimulus as well, eating too much cake at a wedding or ordering a large steak dinner as a way to celebrate a promotion. Enjoying food is part of how our culture celebrates, grieves and processes things. “If someone comes in to my office and says ‘My mom died and I’ve been eating casseroles for two weeks,’ nobody is going to pathologize that and say that’s a problem,” Gorman said. “But if someone comes in and says their mom died two years ago and they’ve been eating casseroles nonstop ever since, that’s a different situation.”
Given that emotional eating can sometimes sabotage diets and create a lot of guilt, what is a stress eater to do? Gorman weighed in: “I always say ‘the opposite of stress is not eating. The opposite of stress is relaxation.’ So really what we need to do is to teach the coping strategy of relaxation.” Another example, if a person is lonely, eating does not satisfy the emotion of loneliness. However, some kind of interpersonal enjoyment, such as bonding with friends or family, would pacify loneliness and fulfill the emotional need.
So how do we know if we’re eating emotionally and how can we keep it in check? If you are not eating out of physical hunger, but you are feeling an emotion and eating, Gorman suggests you are likely eating emotionally.
Paying attention to what you are eating and why — or eating mindfully — is an important step for keeping emotional eating in check. Gorman suggests that when you have a craving, ask yourself some questions:
Why am I reaching for this?
Is it because I am physically hungry?
When is the last time I ate?
Do I have a headache or is my stomach rumbling?
If you just had dinner an hour ago and you are not feeling any physiological need, say to yourself, “This does not seem like hunger, this is more of a head hunger or craving.” At that point, ask yourself:
What else is going on?
Am I bored?
Am I stressed?
Am I upset?
Am I trying to make something unpleasant more pleasant?
Gorman suggests that when trying to curb emotional eating, look for alternatives to soothe the emotion or take your mind off it. If you are stressed, go for a walk, put on some music you like or change the lighting. If you are lonely, call, visit or email a friend, or reach out on social media. Evaluate all the alternatives.
When a craving or the need to eat emotionally strikes, the feeling may seem to last forever, but cravings really may only last around 30 seconds. To get over the craving hump, some people use tricks such as:
brushing teeth right after dinner (if you don’t want to brush again, you’re likely not to eat again)
reach out to a friend or talk to a partner or spouse
snap a wristband or headband to distract yourself until the moment passes
Gorman also suggests writing down emotions and exploring “Where am I right now? How am I feeling? What are my options?” Looking at the answers on paper can help you be clear that the emotional eating is not worth the potential health consequences such as weight gain, high blood pressure or diabetes that may be associated with consistently making bad food and portion size choices. In other words, weigh the pros and cons and then make a conscious choice. No doubt, sometimes you will still choose to eat emotionally, and that is fine occasionally, particularly if you choose healthy food when you do. “I’d rather someone be proactive in choosing to eat than being reactive in choosing to eat,” Gorman said.
If you deem that emotional eating is a true problem for you, because it is sabotaging your weight or your health, it is reasonable to think about going to see a therapist, such as a counselor, social worker, or psychologist. Having a care team with a dietitian covering the nutritional element and a psychologist covering the behavioral element can be especially helpful in addressing negative eating patterns and making healthier food choices overall.
Even if you are an occasional stress eater and you inhale a few cupcakes after being stuck in traffic, you can still live a healthy life. Gorman recommends the 80-20 rule, meaning you commit to making healthy choices at least 80 percent of the time and loosening the reins no more than 20 percent of the time. “You don’t have to be 100 percent healthy 100 percent of the time. If you make healthy choices 80 percent of the time, that’s pretty darn good and you should feel good about that,” he said.
Yes, get your prescriptions filled at Ashe’. No not the metformin or the Prozac. LOL! I’m referring to the prescript for fresh fruits and vegetables available at all Crescent City Farmers Markets. By actively participating in Sistahs Making A Change, you are eligible for a $48 dollar food prescription which will be changed into vouchers at any of the CCFM in our area. That’s fresh free food ladies! You can’t beat that with a stick! I found fresh fennel and heirloom tomatoes, fresh rutabagas and sweet potatoes (fresh and seasonal) and i STILL have vouchers to use this weekend. This weekend I will be on the lookout for cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Ok, onions, celery and garlic too. I’m gonna hit the farmers’ market at 750 Carondelet at Julia first thing Saturday morning. I’m told that parking meters will be in effect, but my plan is to ‘hit and run’ before the metermaids can ticket me. LOL! There are discounted parking codes available for $2 for 1 hour at https://www.premiumparking.com/P156 and https://www.premiumparking.com/P158 between the hours of 8 AM and 12 Noon. Better to pay $2 than $40, especially if you plan to spend time bartering, smelling, tasting and comparing.
Sistahs, it’s back! We had such a good time last year at Sista Strut New Orleans Breast Cancer Walk, walking in the rain. Even in those wet conditions, I had a great time as part of Nikia’s team U-Need-A-Cure. This year, I want to strut in a pink tutu. LOL!
Those Sistahs who are interested in going to see the production of The Lion King, please respond to this blog with your interests. Tickets are expensive but Mama J is looking into getting discounted group tickets. She needs a headcount. Still interested? Respond to this blog or leave a message. You can even contact her, if you prefer. Do it soon – arrangements need to be finalized ASAP.