Nutrition and Anxiety

anxiety mental health Dec 01, 2019

Some people describe anxiety as unstoppable worry. Others feel an intense dread without a particular focus. People feel it in their bodies as chest tightness, weakness, nausea, dizziness or a pounding heart. Regardless of how an individual’s anxiety manifests itself, we unanimously agree it feels terrible.  And we want to feel better, so it's natural to wonder if and how nutrition can help reduce anxiety.

I say “we”, since along with millions of other people, I struggle with anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental health issues today (1). Even in people without a pathological level of anxiety, anxious thoughts and feelings can interfere with a person’s social life, relationship with food and their bodies, professional and personal achievement. 

I’ve gathered resources on what nutritional factors are evidenced to impact anxiety, so that I can take the best care of myself possible, and help my clients do the same....

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Breaking Up With Binge Eating FAQ

binge eating faq Nov 18, 2019

Questions about Breaking Up with Binge Eating

We get a lot of questions about our approach to binge patterns and emotional overeating, and about our Breaking Up with Binge Eating program specifically.

And I love that. It means you're taking a thoughtful approach to your health goals, instead of chasing the latest fads like nearly everyone else.

Here are some questions we've seen about the program and our approach:

Q. I've already tried everything else. Why would this work for me?

A. It's so easy to get demoralized with weight management and restoring a healthy relationship with food because so much diet advice is flat-out terrible.

We all see those friends who lose weight on that new diet. What we don't see is the rebound overeating, diet fatigue, and eventual weight regain (usually ending up bigger than you were before) -- because those aren't things most folks put on Instagram.

If you've tried and failed on the traditional diet cycle, that makes you 100% normal. The solution is to...

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BOOM! This is how Jeannette conquered trigger foods

Uncategorized Nov 17, 2019

It all started back in the nineties ...

When she was seven, Jeannette found herself in a situation that any seven-year-old would find rather glorious. She was all alone with a full bag of Combos.

If you've never had Combos, they're salty, crunchy, delicious, cheese-stuffed pretzels.

The bag says "baked," which means they're good for you, right?

Mmmm, delicious. It didn't take long to finish the whole bag off.

The next thing Jeannette knew, her mother called out her name with that voice that meant trouble. The lecture started, and it didn't take long to feel a deep shame for eating the Combos. Jeannette learned that calories are horrible, bad, bad, things.

The big lesson, though, was never to get caught eating "too much" ever again.  Jeannette learned she had to hide it.

Fast forward to a few years ago ...

As an adult, Jeannette couldn't be around pizza (and a few other foods) without eating all of it.

It went through three stages.

  1. She bit into her first slice,...
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How to Stop Sweet Cravings

craving dopamine sugar Nov 08, 2019

Question: I had too much leftover Halloween candy. Thankfully, my hubby was one step ahead of me, and he hid the rest of the candy from me! I’m having really bad sugar cravings right now, though. Is there an effective way to stop the cravings? 

A: One of the best way to get past a sugar craving is to not engage with it, not give into it, just keep living your life. Many people say they are plagued with cravings after eating too much candy on Halloween or Christmas, but within a day or so of getting rid of the candy (or those darn leftover cookies!) and reducing their sugar intake, the idea fades and they are fine enjoying their usual healthy whole foods.

So think of these cravings as short-lived, and you'll come out the other side soon! 

You might find that less-intense sweet things, like flavored yogurt or fresh fruit are enjoyable without being so habit-forming and craving-inducing than manufactured processed foods (which are...
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Self Soothing: Step by Step Directions to Get Grounded and Calm

What is Soothing?

Imagine a 7 foot tall, cuddly, furry creature. It can be any color you want, but it would probably be a bright candy color. The type who would be your special friend if you were a kid in a Pixar or Disney movie. This creature is gentle and protective, the type who would wrap you up in a comforting hug when the day has been too much and take care of you while you nodded off to sleep. This creature would say nice things to you when you felt dejected, help you rekindle your hope and get back to your feet. They would help you be your best self. 

How awesome would that be?

I teach my clients to imagine this creature on the days they really feel like they need some comfort. And imagining this big, kind, gentle giant speaking to them. What would it say?

First, it would listen to you and be keenly interested in how you felt. It would show concern at your distress, wrinkling its fuzzy brow. It would treat you and your feelings as obviously important. 

It would...

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Bring It On: How Your Challenges Make You Mighty

challenge mindset Oct 20, 2019

You wake to the sun shining on Monday, your energy is solid all morning and afternoon, and you make healthy food choices. You feel pretty badass about it all.

On Tuesday you wake to realize you’re out of coffee. Then you are stuck in traffic, arrive late to your morning meeting, and while eating lunch, manage to spill yogurt on your crotch. While you try to wash it off in the bathroom, making awkwardly intimate moves with the porcelain sink, your phone rings. And your kid needs to be picked up from school, because “We think he has tonsillitis.”

Maybe the details in your life differ, and life’s cruelty shows up instead as a sick dog, migraine, and broken eyeglasses. The details don’t matter, because some things remain the same. When we’re having one of those days, we are more likely to eat too much, cave to a craving rather than sit through it, stress ourselves out, and not get done all the things we wanted to. If you’re like most people,...

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4 Reasons You Deserve to Feel Amazing For Packing Lunch

When midday arrives, bellies awaken. The sounds of paper bags rustling, tin lunch boxes clinking, vinyl insulated bags being unzipped, and takeout menus unfolding stirs anyone who hasn’t realized it already: it’s lunch time!  The line forms at the office microwave. Desks empty and “out to lunch” signs appear in the glass doors of small shops. Kids peer down long lunch tables to see who will swap desserts with them. It’s a widespread daily ritual, the midday pause for nourishment.

And without fanfare, millions of people of all ages pull out a packed lunch. I think the people behind those packed lunches, who so often go without thanks, are heroes. Here’s why: 

Packing a lunch is an act of love.

Whether the meal is for you, for your husband, wife, or kids, you are showing that you care. You not only want that person to have something to eat, but you probably also thought about what they like to eat, what they don’t enjoy, and how much...

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The Art of Not Taking Home the Grand Prize

You know how on game shows, there may be 3 people vying for an awesome grand prize, such as a car or $10,000 round the world trip? But the people who come in second and third place often don’t just get shown the door. They get a consolation prize. 

I think the term “consolation prize” is cute and funny. It consoles you. “I’m sorry you didn’t get what you wanted, but here have this instead!” 

It’s actually a very kind move of the game shows, I think, to acknowledge the disappointment of a contestant who got all excited but then let down (in front of millions of people, to boot). It shows generosity and compassion.  

What if we gave ourselves consolation prizes when things didn’t go our way? Would that have a positive effect?

If might, if it helped us acknowledge and validate our own disappointment or distress. That’s a step up from denying our true feelings like, “nah, I shouldn’t be bothered...

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How To Order From the Hidden Menu (The YAHOO Principle)

Uncategorized Aug 25, 2019

Being trapped sucks. 

We all detest being told we have to do something, and we get cranky when our options are limited. Like a lousy hotel breakfast, many situations in life seem like a short list of options, none of which we like. 

But did you know there's a hidden menu? Life is full of hidden menus. 

We all miss the hidden menu sometimes, because we look at the obvious menu. Here is an example: The boss suggests a steakhouse dinner meeting tomorrow night. As a vegetarian we are perplexed by whether we should accept or decline the invite. The menu online is apparently a carnival of things we don't eat. The only vegetarian option is the side salad. Not even an entree salad!  If we say yes to dinner, we invest a bit in that relationship, but a side salad and the breadbasket to eat? Ugh. Plus it would be mighty awkward.  

So we consider saying no. If we say no, we might offend the boss, and then we'd need a really good...

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How to Maintain A Fighting Spirit

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

So the saying goes about boxing. But it strikes me that the same thing can be said about eating, fitness, or any other endeavour. Like a glazed-over boxer staggered by his opponent, making a blunder, facing the unknown or simply being under a lot of stress can stagger us, and we forget all about the … "Plan? What plan? Did I have a strategy?"

I've learned many lessons in my life about managing stress, and consider myself relatively resilient and capable as a baseline, but I would be a fool to deny that many times in my life, adversity has made me want to light my plan on fire, and find the fastest escape or gratification possible. And many times, I did.

So as that quote about being punched in the face ran across my mind, I decided to hunt down some martial artists -- since they have literally been punched in face (in the name of sport) and ask how they learned to keep their wits about them. These were some of the...

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