Tag Archives: eating disorder

Opinions and Judgements

There’s a lot to be said about words, in words, for words; but I think we can all agree on the fact that talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words…etc.

“Where did this ridiculous insight come from?” you wonder?

From overhearing various people talking, on the bus, at the Cafe, on the street, in the check-out line at the IGA or Woolworths, you know, just regular places people talk freely. Now, don’t get me wrong, everyone – and I really do mean everyone – is entitled to their opinion – provided they’re not trying to shove it down your throat: I’m looking at you would-be-converters! But nevermind that right now! Without our opinions we can’t really call ourselves human; and let’s be honest, most of us have opinions about pretty much everything; whether it’s the food we are served in a restaurant, the car our neighbours just bought, the state of politics in our country – I’m not even going to try and touch that one with a barge pole – and yes, we’ve all got an opinion about our weight and the weight of the person sitting next to us on the train or in the cubicle two seats down at work. We might be envious of Sally’s ability to roll out of bed and look like a movie star, or we might be a little judgmental of Marshall’s inability to regulate his eating even though he’s morbidly obese. Let’s face it, as humans we tend – largely – to be a judgmental and opinionated lot.

On the whole that’s okay, we’ll keep most of the negative opinions to ourselves or air them in the appropriate arenas – having a little giggle with your partner about how fat that woman was in the supermarket and would you just look at what she was buying! Well, we all do that. It’s not exactly the nicest thing to be doing, but let’s face it, the woman in the supermarket won’t have heard us and as a result she won’t be hurt by our commentary. Likely enough, she knows she’s got a weight problem and has enough on her plate dealing with it.

I know I’ve written a little bit about this before in Weigh your Words, but I think it’s an important issue so I’d like to touch on it again. The reason why this has come up again is because I just got abused by a woman in the street for ‘not understanding what it’s like to be fat’. Here’s what happened, so you have the full context: I was walking down the street back to the Cafe, minding my own business, when this woman, rather large but nothing particularly massive or anything – I mean, I’ve seen worse! – steps out of her car into the street in front of me and begins to make her way up the hill. She’s breathing fairly heavily, and she’s carrying what looks like a rather heavy bag full of who knows what. I felt for her; I mean, a few months ago that was me! But I needed to get back to the Cafe, so I murmured a polite ‘excuse me’ and slipped by her with a bright smile. I am not  a confrontational person in the least, and I believe in respect for everyone without exception. As I slipped by her, I may have accidentally bumped in to her a little bit – no harm done, but the footpath is narrow enough as it is and she…well, you get the picture. I apologised, of course, and instead of the usual ‘that’s okay’ I was expecting I got this tirade about how slim people should really pay more attention to their surroundings and be more spacially aware. I won’t go into the details, but the gist of the argument went along the lines of: because a slim person is slim they have no understanding of the spacial requirements that a large person needs to get around. Or something. I stood there, more than a little dumbfounded, but before I could apologise again – as is my nature – she went off again with how I had no idea what it was like to be her size and the hardship she went through and, again, in essence, how ‘pretty people had no troubles in life’ and ‘doors just open for them’. Funny thing is, I don’t necessarily disagree with her – we do  live in a world where slim ‘beautiful’ people seem to get ahead more easily than others. It’s kind of like a backhanded slap to the face: obviously she thought I was ‘pretty’, which is very flattering, but the weird thing is, I never really considered myself pretty, let alone ‘slim and pretty’. So backhanded self-esteem boost coupled with a full slap to the face of ‘you made someone feel bad’. Now, obviously – I picked up on this fairly fast – she was having an awful day and the last thing she needed was me to say something about the fact that I’d lost 20kg in the last 9 months so I knew exactly how she felt – when you’re feeling down you don’t really need to hear about the you who’s been successful at the weight loss game. So instead I waited until she’d stopped shouting and I apologised again, asked her I’d hurt her, and when she seemed slightly surprised at my calm rejoinder I told her I understood exactly what she meant and that I had had to fight to get to this shape and weight and I didn’t mean to make her feel bad. Then she apologised, realising that she’d been out of line…and, well, that was it.

Much fun.

What this raised in me was an interest in the psychology behind the perception of weight loss. I don’t see myself as slim. I should, clearly, since I have lost all that weight and I now have a waist that could be defined as ‘slim’. I’m happy with my body for the first time in decades; sure I have a few problem patches that I’m working on, but clearly I need to take a look at myself in the mirror and redefine how I see myself. This probably means thinking about how other people see me too, and that’s always tricky. End result? A stranger on the street isn’t going to know the uphill battles we’ve fought to get to our target weights, they’re just going to see the final result and hold their opinions and judgements about that. It’s silly, and yes, it can be petty and even hurtful, but it’s important to remember that you and I were both there at that point. Next time you see a ‘slim’ person walking down the street, don’t just assume they were born that way, because they might not have been and might be in the same boat you are.

Food for thought.

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Fibre Is Your Friend

First off, a remembrance to those who lost their lives on the 11th of September. Thoughts, wishes, and hopes to all the families and loved ones.


Most of us don’t get enough fibre in our diet, whether we’re LCing or not. Fibre is a vital part of anyone’s diet, nutrition and yes, overall health.

“…it seems everything at the moment is ‘vital to overall health’,” you might grumbled sarcastically.

You’re not wrong, a lot of things in the weight loss scene tend to go through phases where they are the most important, bestest thing you can do or your body. And in truth, a lot of them are important, just not to the exclusion of all other things. That goes for fibre as well: it is important, very even, but not in place of everything else thats good for you.

So first up, what the hell is fibre really? Must of us assume that it’s ‘ruffage’, the stuff that’s physically fibrous and helps clean out our intestines as it passes through. You’re not wrong. Basically, fibre is stuff that the body doesn’t conpletely digest – certain seeds, husks, grains and certain vegetable fibres that the body has trouble dealing with. These ‘pesky’ things work their way through your digestive system as a goop that clears everything out. Think of it like a scrubbing brush that cleans out your insides.

“Sure, whatever…why is it important then?”

It’s important because if you’re not getting enough fibre in, you’re going to get stopped up. And by ‘stopped up’ I mean constipated like hell.

Constipation isn’t just irritating, its unhealthy. Think about it, you end up with waste just stocking up in your bowel where it’s not just sitting, by the way, but decomposing, fermenting and going through all manner of chemical changes that are causing gas, bloating and stomach aches. Worse, you leave it there long enough and certain bacteria and other elements can sneak back up into your digestive system and cause all sorts of havoc. In serious cases, some studies have shown that repeated constipation can lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome and/or cancer.

So what is the recommended amount of fibre a day? I’m sure there’s a whole lot of data put there that gives out a specific number, but I’m of the firm belief that if you’re having bowel movements daily or every other day and they are smooth and easy to pass, you’re getting enough fibre. If you’re struggling with regularity, you’re going to need to add in some more fibre and likely up your water intake as well.

Regular exercise also helps. Myself I go for a good combination of insoluble and soluble fibre, just to make sure I’m covered. That means I eat a lot of green leafy veggies and I have two table spoons of psyllium husk every day – in some form or another. Psyllium husk is cool because you can do all sorts of things with it like eat it as a porridge – with dairy alternatives or cream and hot water – or you can mix it in with some egg and make a faux pancake. Just be careful to go slow if you start taking it! I had the misfortune a few months back to go a little crazy with it. The result was not pretty, and trust me, you do not want to lose 2kg in a day by puking and er…flushing your guts out. It’s not fun and it’s not good for you! My advice is: yes, lots of exciting recipes about ‘psyllium bread’ and the like but remember that this stuff turns into a gel-like substance that absorbs liquids! This means that if you’re not drinking enough water, you’re eating too much of it, or both you’re going to get a serious bowel obstruction and that is not fun. So go slow! Most people advice that you start off with one tablespoon and plenty of water and do that for a few days before upping your intake. Pay attention to how your body reacts. You can buy psyllium husk (and flaxseed meal, which has a similar effect and a slightly different taste!) in most health food shops and some supermarkets; for those of you in the area, I do have a stockpile here at the Magpie Cafe (48 Main St., Upwey VICTORIA) for a reasonable price. If you’re looking for recipes, a quick Google search will yield plenty of results, just keep my advice in mind and go slow to start with.

And I think that’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope it helped some!

Clear Skies,

Vee

Weigh Your Words

I envy people who can eat whatever they want and not bear any consequences. You lot are extremely lucky! I think we are all aware that most of us don’t have that luxury. Whether it’s because of PCOS, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, cancer or whatever other reason, some of us really need to watch what we eat.

I don’t know about the rest of you but I sometimes get really annoyed by naturally skinny people – and not to be sexist, but yes, its primarily other women – waving a dismissive hand and saying something like ‘Oh, surely it isn’t as bad as all that, I don’t have to keep track of what I eat no reason you should.’ I respect that people who say things like that aren’t concerned with their own weight or size, and in all honesty that’s super for them, but the reality of this all is: you simply cannot compare one person to another. Especially not when it comes to weight, health and/or necessity.

This doesn’t just go for people not trying to lose weight mind you. This also goes for the lot of us who do watch what we eat. I may lose 2kg this fortnight while you only lose 0.5kg even if we are doing the exact same thing. Why? Because our bodies are different. My metabolism might be a little quicker than yours, I might be less further along in the weight loss than you at a point where I dot have to inrease my kj deficit yet. There are a whole range of reasons why two people may not lose weight the same way.

This is why I always get so worried when a friend tells me they’re on the latest celebrity diet because such and such lost 20kg in 6 weeks. Not only is that unhealthy and puts you at risk, it’s probably unattainable unless you’re a celebrity with time and money on hand to fix your diet. It’s also stupid. The quicker you lose weight the faster it’ll come back, which is really why you need to set yourself reasonable targets. Me, for example, I need to lose 30kg in total and I originally aimed for the steep 1 year timeframe. I’ve amended that to 1.5 years because while the initial burst of weight loss was awesome, I do nit just want to gain it all right back again and that means slowing down a little and adding in more exercise. By May next year at the latest I aim to weigh 52kg, so I’ve still got a little ways to go, but I’m nearly through.

The other type of person I have trouble with is the obese person who excuses their weight by saying ‘It’s okay, I’m healthy’ or that they’ve tried dieting and exercising but ‘it’s just too hard’ or ‘it didn’t do anything for me’. Now, its really none of my business, your weight and health don’t really affect me, but when I hear that I just want to throttle them. When I hear that I feel like my battle against obesity – and let’s be honest here, it is a battle – is being dismissed as some sort of vain attempt to conform to society. I’m being trendy, clearly. I find it rather upsetting and lately it’s been getting under my skin; I know, not very professional of me.

The truth is that Western society does seem to promote skinniness as being ultra healthy, thus the rise in eating disorders and fad diets, but on the flip side we are also plagued with obesity to such a degree that people do get dismissive about their weight. The truth is, if you are obese, you are not healthy. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Forget how much you weigh, studies are showing that increase in waist size along can lead to diabetes and other problems. I’m sick and tired of people saying ‘I can’t’, the answer may not be Low-Carb for them in particular, but there’s something out there so grow a spine and lose the extra kgs before you keel over and die. Seriously, people, your health is important! If you’re thinking about losing weight but doubt whether you can, your first step is always to say:

Yes, I can!

Clear skies (with apologies for the slight rant),
Vee

Vitamins & Supplements

Today, I want to take a look at vitamins and supplements. I take a lot of vitamins and supplements because of my PCOS, the lack of a gallbladder, and now because of LC. So, just off the bat here’s what I’m taking – I’m not sure about the doses:

  • Women’s Multivitamin
  • Magnesium
  • CoQ10
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc + Vitamin C (I usually only take this one when I’m feeling extra run down)
  • Dairy-Free Probiotic
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Iron + Potassium (only every other day during my period)
  • Fish Oil Capsules (or Krill, depending on what’s on the shelf at the moment)

 “Hang on a sec, Vee,” you must be thinking, “you’re doubling up on a few things there aren’t you?”

Yes, I guess I am. Obviously a multivitamin has most of those things in it already, but along with all the other things you get in it – ginseng, green tea extract, or whatnot – you don’t really get enough of any of the things you need, possibly with the exception of folic acid – which you’d be taking in larger amounts if you were trying to conceive!

Most of these things we should be getting from our food, but sometimes, especially when we’ve cut out certain things to attain a healthier weight, that’s just not possible. Before I go any further I’d like to suggest that you all go and see your GP and ask about getting yourself testing for any vitamin/mineral deficiencies, that way you know what you should be targeting!

I haven’t taken my own advice here yet, but the next time I visit with my GP I will definitely ask her for a test! Things I think I should probably be taking but aren’t sure about:

  • Chromium (again, only when I’m feeling like I really need an extra push)
  • Calcium

Let’s break it down so it doesn’t get all muddled:

Magnesium

We need magnesium for more than 300 different bodily functions. A lot of us don’t get enough magnesium through our diet, and that’s not our fault, we just don’t eat enough of the right foods to get the requisite amount. On top of that soil – especially in Australia – is low in magnesium so plants that normally have perfectly adequate amounts of magnesium, don’t. So if you’ve ever suffered from cramps – either stomach cramps, leg cramps, or what I used to call ‘growing pains’ even as an adult – you might want to look into magnesium. Ladies, lots of studies show that women with PCOS tend to be low in magnesium so it’s a definite go for us!

Vitamin D

The sun’s gift to all of us! Except that for one reason or another, most of us don’t get enough. By most of us, I’m primarily referring to those of us who work indoors for most of the day or live in places around the world where we don’t get a lot of direct sunlight. There have been direct links shown between depression and lack of Vitamin D! Not to mention the fact that D helps us absorb and regulate a whole heap of other vital minerals such as calcium and iron. So, the easy way to get your dosage, is to spend some time in the sun – I think the approved time is somewhere around half and hour with your legs and skin bared, but be mindful of any UV issues you might have! Too much sun is dangerous! The other way you can do it is to hop over to your local pharmacy and buy Vitamin D3, make sure it’s D3 and not D2. D2 is not the same as D3. When we absorb Vitamin D from the sun it’s D3, not D2; in high concentrations D2 can be toxic.

Vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid, we rely on C to boost our immune system, keep our skin healthy, and a whole bunch of bodily functions most of us aren’t even aware of. It also helps us absorb things more easily, like iron and potassium. Most of us make sufficient amounts ourselves, but sometimes, like when we’re sick, not eating well, or stressed, a little boost can help us out of a rut.

Vitamin Bs

Here’s one you really should be taking, especially if you’re on an LC diet and/or have PCOS.  Vitamin Bs help maintain and control blood sugar levels and are vital in ketosis; if you don’t have enough B in you, your body won’t be able to efficiently render energy from non-carb sources.

Iron

This comes in two forms: heme and noneheme, both of which are found in animal and plant matter. Most of us will get our iron in it’s heme form, usually through the vegetables and meat we eat. Iron helps keep the immune system running as well as being a vital component of our circulatory (blood) system. Those who don’t have enough iron in their system become anaemic, and often experience dizziness, nausea and lack of energy. This is especially true for those of us with PCOS! If we aren’t regulating our periods, we might experience heavy ongoing bleeding: that’s blood loss, girls, and iron loss to boot. Try and take a supplement of iron, Vitamin B and magnesium and see if you don’t feel better!

Probiotics

Sometimes you’ve eaten or drunk something that hasn’t done you any good – say you’ve had just a few too many red wines on a cheat day or something – and you feel awful, and I don’t just mean hungover! Your digestive system has a whole heap of helpful bacteria helping you digest whatever you’ve consumed. These little guys are awesome, but sometimes you need to send in some reinforcements. This is especially the case if, like me, you have no gallbladder and really need all the help you can get to digest whatever it is I’ve eaten this time. If you take nothing else I highly recommend taking at least a probiotic a day along with a multivitamin. Not only will your digestive system run better, but you’ll notice that your skin starts looking just that much more awesome. I specifically take a dairy-free one because I find that sometimes the dairy ones just don’t sit right with the phantom gallbladder attacks, but that’s just me.

CoQ10 – Co-Enzyme Q10

You’ve probably never heard of this, right? That’s okay. The thing is, I hadn’t heard of it until I’d started doing some research into PCOS and then into insulin resistance. Turns out, CoQ10 is a vital enzyme needed to ensure that body cells function properly. There are current studies showing hopeful results in using it to help deal with the symptoms of heart conditions, PCOS, cancer, diabetes, and a whole host of other diseases. The older you are, the more you’ll likely need to take a supplement. I would advise that you ask your GP about this before you start taking it, however, seeing as how some people can suffer from side effects like heart palpitations and the like. SO CHECK FIRST.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids  

Found in abundance in fish or krill oils, these little puppies not only help with your digestive system but are also an immune booster and it helps maintain healthy internal organs. The body cannot make this stuff itself so it’s essential that it comes from your diet or a supplement.

Zinc

Like iron, we need zinc to fight off viruses and bacteria. Children and infants need zinc to develop their bone structure and brains so it’s likely to be included in any pre/post/pregnancy multivitamins for those of you who are headed that way. Most of us get our zinc through the foods we eat: red meat, poultry, crustacean seafood, beans, and nuts. Some of us might be low in zinc due to geographical reason – like magnesium, the soils growing your foods might be low in zinc. In addition, you could be low in zinc if you’ve had a loss of gastrointestinal surgery, digestive issues, or Chron’s disease. Just something to keep in mind.

 

I’ll leave the list at that, we’ll probably end up revisiting this since I’m constantly finding out new things!

Keep in mind that we should be getting enough of all of these things through our diet, but most of us won’t be. In addition, those of us on an LC diet will be losing more amounts of minerals and vitamins more rapidly because we’re losing fat and water: two things which vitamins and minerals need to be absorbed correctly into the body! So make an effort to check out what you’re low in and either build those things into your diet or take some appropriate supplements.

Clear Skies,
Vee

Recommended reading:

National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements    

A Word About: Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are a sad reality of our modern world.

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were setting up the Cafe and overheard two young teenage girls, probably around 14/15, talking about ‘bambi legs’ and how to get them. We shared a confused look and went back inside. A quick Google later had us both kind of shocked. Apparently ‘bambi legs’, apart from referring to legs after amazing sex, refers to bony thin legs – apparently it’s a ‘thing’ to signify how ‘beautifully’ skinny you are. These were young girls I’m talking about, girls who haven’t finished growing and aren’t even out of puberty yet! Now I know full well that I can be old fashioned when it comes to certain things – I can’t abide fully made up 12 year olds, or young teens wearing ‘adult’ clothing, some things just shouldn’t be messed with: when you’re a kid, be a kid, don’t pretend to be 19 when you’re 11, that’s just asking for trouble.

Okay, let’s move on. After overhearing yet another conversation about ‘being fat’ today, and again, coming from young teenage girls, this time about how to be a ‘better bulimic’ – because the grammar there isn’t enough to drive you crazy – I decided I had better address these issues a little bit. So I hopped online and did some research and came across this website. This site clearly defines the most common eating disorders – eg. anorexia, bulimia – and talks about signs, symptoms and potential treatments.

I think it’s important to have a good understanding of eating disorders when you’re dieting. Not only because it’s important to have a full understanding of the things people go through to conform to a certain ‘norm’. I’d like you to have a look at this video by Cherry Dollface and think about what she’s getting at. If you’re changing your lifestyle to look more like the model on the cover of a magazine – male or female! – you might want to reassess your goals: you’re never going to look like someone else. That’s just the way it works; I know we would all love to have supermodel looks, but that’s just not possible for most of us. Don’t set a goal that you’re never going to be able to achieve: it’ll just make you miserable. Society puts enough pressure on all of us – men and women, girls and boys – to look and act a certain way without us adding to the pressure by trying to be someone we’re not. We certainly don’t want to be saying “I’m on this diet so I can look like … ”; that just sets a bad example for anyone, especially the young and impressionable teens who are already confused about who they are!

Teens are probably the most pressurised of all humanity; not only do we expect them to get some sort of sensibility and education, we also want them to grow up, not hang around with the wrong crowds, stay safe, and in some cases – we don’t want them to grow up at all! They’re busy planning not planning for their future: they’re in the now and that might mean study for some, partying for others, or both. It also means figuring out who you are, trying to work out what you’re into: do you like rock music? Classical? Do you go with fashion trends or do your own thing? Are you going to get that tattoo or not? Your friends smoke, do you? Your friends drink, will you? All of these things and more make up the hazardous environment of growing up as a teen. And then, bang! Kids get swamped with images from movies, magazines, social media, the rest of the internet telling them they’re ugly, fat or have the wrong eyebrows. All of this when you’re swamped with hormones and trying to work out how you fit in the world.

Admittedly, a lot of teens cope quite well. Others don’t and turn to things to help them buff up or slim down are things like eating disorders or protein shakes. None of which their bodies are prepared to cope with. And it’s not just teens that are at risk here, adults are just as much in danger of become victims of social pressures. The only thing I can say is that if you feel pressured and you’re suffering, remember that you’re stronger than you think and this will pass! You’re your own person and the only one you have to be is yourself. You can choose that, by the way; you can choose who you want to be. And if you can’t cope with the pressure there are elements in place to help you out: talk to your GP, or at least to someone you trust – a family member, a friend – you’re never really alone.

Clear skies,

Vee