Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Review on Dieting & the Issue of Fasting

The internationally acclaimed author, Geoffery Cannon, released his contraversial book "Dieting makes you FAT" in 2008. His book urges people not to go on diets as he explains they "are part of the obesity problem." Cannon takes readers by the hand and discusses the principles of dieting, why people usually gain more than they lose, and how to really enjoy food without getting fat.

Overall his book is great - for those who haven't considered the basics of reducing their body fat (such as exercise and healthy eating) then this is a great first time "weight loss book." However, I do have a problem with Cannon's contradictory chapter on Fasting. It seems ironic that Cannon verbally bashes strict diet regimes but advocates fasting as a helpful and healthy weight management technique. Cannon suggets that everyone tries fasting now and then; but explains that it is a slow process and requires training and planning before restricting food intake for week(s) on end. Certainly, fasting requires thoughtful planning and research before it is carried out. Anyway, I find it odd that Cannon supports fasting when in my mind fasting is even more restrictive and short lived compared to a diet.

What are your thoughts on fasting? Have you tried it before successfully? I think properly done fasting is extremely effective. It reminds you of what you put into your body and how much you truly need. If you have a problem with portion control, fasting is a great tool to consider. Other "fasting style" techniques include: mono-food days, raw food day, water fasts, or juice fasts. Mono-food days are particularly effective for beginners to fasting. You simply choose a fruit or vegetable to consume all day. Each meal will be consist of this one food - hence "mono." The point? It's to remind your body of how much you truly need to eat to be sustained, and your body feels very in tune with what you are eating. Many of my friends do "mono-fruit Monday" just to remind themselves at the beginning of their week of their weight loss/management goals. I do not recommend carrying mono food days out for long; or embarking on them without proper research or support. If you want to hear more about fasting or mono fruit days I would recommend listening to one of Natasha's many helpful and extensive videos. They are extremely informative and interesting, see below:

Friday, July 23, 2010

A little inspiration

If you're feeling down, then this is the perfect post for you. Sometimes a gentle reminder, or bit of inspiration, is all it takes to realign your lifestyle and healthy habits.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Images of good food vs. A healthy lifestyle

This morning as I watched a classic episode of Sex & the City I started to think about how bombarded we are with images of beautiful women indulging in beautiful food. The women of Sex & the City regularly meet up in glamorous cafés and retro bars sipping the latest alcholic drink or digging into a good hot breakfast. Yet somehow these women stay fantastically beautiful and fit. It sends conflicting images to women - yes you can have this beautiful food - but in reality, many of us struggle to realize that we must temper that with exercise and a predominately healthy diet.

The same glamorization of food occurs in a lot of movies and shows - just think of Sofia Coppalia's Marie Antoinette, or the more modern Gossip Girl that also has chic young girls throwing cocktail parties or snacking at uni cafés, or even the average McDonald's advertisment.
Indeed, it can also be argued that the media glamorizes unhealthy eating habits. In Western society, we are fascinated with competitive model shows, Victoria Beckham's latest collapse and other celebrities that represent disorded eating behaviors.

Whatever the habit may be, it is undeniable that the media plays a pivotal role in presenting food to us. Which raises concerns regarding the extent to which the media's glamorization of food influences us? And how are we, particularly women, supposed to reconcile the mouthwatering images of food with a healthy lifestyle?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Body Shape

An Australian newspaper reported that "pear-shaped" women face a greater risk of developing dementia compared to those who have an "apple shape." However, weight carried in the stomach region is scientifically proven to be the most unhealthy area as such individuals have a higher percentage of heart disease. Either way, a healthy diet, regular exercise and positive attitude is key for all individuals to achieve a happy and healthy life regardless of their fruity shape!

Here are some fruit facts you can incorporate into your summer salads or cooking:
Pears - are great for the skin; are high in fiber; they are linked to lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and even cancers; are considered an immune booster
Apple - are high in fiber; clean teeth and strengthen gums; detoxify the body; and relives constipation
Banana - are high in iron; great for eyesight protection; protect and strenghten bones and is linked to having a healthy kidney (kidneys detoxify our body).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Glossing over reality

We all know the importance of re-reading and checking over written work. It's interesting to think how the brain works, quickly scanning and picking up the smallest omissions or words that don't work - even if it's just one letter out of place. Studies have also revealed that our brain only looks at the first few letters at the beginning of the word and at the end. It fills in the gaps of the word, correcting it and guessing what they would be. This leads me to wonder, do we truly see our bodies for what they are, or do we see the version we want or perceive?

Let me explain. Have you ever looked at an old photo of yourself and thought, is that what I really looked like? Actress Magda Szubanski recently discussed that she keeps a photo of her nearby when tempted by food. Each time she looks at it she's so shocked that she looked "that big." So, are we capable of seeing the flaws (or even the assests) of our bodies or does our brain give us a glossed over image? Please offer your insight.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The French Paradox

Would you believe that the Frenchman, who has his "petit café et croissants" each day, is less likely to suffer from coronary disease or to be obese compared to the average American? Although the French consume a diet which is relatively high in saturated fat, french women not only are more chic but studies indicate that they are also slimmer and healthier. This is termed as the French Paradox. How is that those who eat bérnaise sauce, boeuf bourginon, macaroons, quiche or any of those delicious French "gourmandise" can still be healthy?

For those who are interested in weight loss and a healthy diet, we are actually able to learn from the Frenchman's diet and way of eating. Although they may have an indulgent palette, the French are particular about their portion sizes. Studies also indicate that they get a lot more incidental exercise (eg. walking to the shops, going up and down stairs, bike riding to work) compared to the average Western individual. Another contributing factor, may be that the French regularly drink small glasses of red wine which is good for a healthy heart. The final secret in this paradox is that French people get up to 80% of their fat intake from diary or even vegetable sources including milk, cheese and yoghurt. They have fish (full of good fats) and also a low incidence of snacking in between meals. Those delicious 3 course lunches clearly keep them content till dinner when they then nibble on some bread, a salad or light soup.

So, next time you deny yourself that glass of red wine or slice of chocolate torte....remember the French paradox. It's okay to indulge every now and then, or even quite regularly like the French, as long as you watch your portion sizes and remember that it's rather healthy to "mange un peu de tout" (a bit of everything).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The city that never sleeps?

They say that New York is the city that never sleeps. We've got Broadway and clubs, and bustling streets with chic stores. But we've also got hotdog stands on every street corner and pizzeria or donought stores packed with people. So, lately I've started to think of a more fitting slogan for New York - the city that always eats. Which brings me to the question...can our immediate surroundings influence our eating habits?

I believe the answer is undeniably, yes. I also know that 80% of the time my eating habits are healthy, but when I'm around particular people or at a particular event my eating habits change drastically for the better, or worse. For instance, if I'm with my friend who is a dancer, we have an enjoyable time doing things that aren't focused on food. We shop, we talk, or we even go exercising together. However, when I'm with my friend who eats whatever she pleases and doesn't like exercise, it seems that my willpower to make healthy decisions dissolves. Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely impressionable. But it is harder to resist temptation when your around it.

My message? Consider who is holding you back from your own weight loss or healthy lifestyle decisions. At the end of the day, we are in control and we choose our own reality - but it certainly helps to have people around us that support and motivate us in these decisions.


My name is Sancia and I live in New York. On my blog I want to discuss the journey of 'healthy living' and weight loss as so many of us struggle to achieve this lifestyle. I will discuss the benefits of weight loss, review new diets and weight loss books, provide nutritional tips or healthy recipes and present to you my perspective on wholistic living and eating. Ultimately I want to reconcile eating well with the pleasures of life, and provide support for anyone that needs help with their own weight loss or self-acceptance journey.