Friday, December 12, 2014

Some cool & helpful infographics

Courtesy of, here's why the scale can do more harm than good.  

"Drive Your Health in 2015" is courtesy of the American Recall Center, which empowers consumers to take care of their health and also alerts them to the side effects of medications

For those of you who want a graphic about anti-depressant meds, here's a handy guide:


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Friday, December 5, 2014

The Monster Inside My Head

Guest Post written by John Bukenas

"I have been on a quest to lose weight for over 30 years. And like most people, I’ve tried every diet plan, every lose weight quick pill.  And they would work at first, but nothing stuck.  

You know the deal, lose 25 and gain 35.  Adding 10 pounds a year to your frame can really take a toll on you in 20 years.

In 2011 I was totally out of control.  I was almost 500 pounds, I couldn’t walk a hundred yards without being in pain and out of breath.  

I decide to try again.  But this time it would be different.  I would do research, stay focused, learn what went wrong in the past.  And as usual, it worked. For awhile, but this time the difference was I decided to go public.  I decided for accountability I would start a podcast and maybe others would come along for the journey.

The podcast is a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because of the wonderful people that have come into my life.  A curse because failing publicly is so embarrassing.

Because of my podcast I had lost 108 pounds.  

I learned more about nutrition, and exercise but there is still something out there that I have not figured out.  It’s the why?

Why do I overeat?  Why do I medicate with food?  Why does nothing else I’ve tried not ease the my stress, my negative feelings?

I’ve tried meditation, tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), journaling.  Nothing seems to work as well as food.  And as I write this I realize how silly it sounds. Because as soon as there was stress and pressure in my life everything I learned went right out the window. So I realized.

There is a monster inside my head.

This monster is killing me and I don’t know how to stop it.  For years I secretly fought it, but it always won.  Because the monster knows me better then I know myself.  If I build a defense, it knows just how to counterattack.  It’s patient, it’s relentless, and after a year of battling It’s won.  I gained all my weight back, I have stopped podcasting.  

Because I don’t have any answers.  I could go on every week and tell you about all the new research that has come out.  I could show you all the great technology there is to help monitor diet and exercise.  And I could interview others who have successful, and how they accomplished their goals.  But that is not why I started the podcast.  It was to come up with answers and a plan to have success.

So I’ve been trying a new plan.

I’m trying to make peace with the monster inside of my head.  It’s not easy, we hate each other.  But my conscious is no match for my subconscious.  I realize I am so mean to myself.  I demand perfection.  If I make a mistake, I really attack.  I say, “I know better, I’m weak, I’m lazy, I’m worthless.”  This attack on myself starts the depression spiral.  Then it starts over again.

I don’t do this with anyone else.  I don’t expect perfection from others because I know it’s unrealistic.

So I’m starting again.  I promise to be kind to myself.  To be understanding.  To forgive my past failures and put it in the past.  To reach out for help when I’m struggling.  And to be there for others who struggle.

Then it hit me.  I realize the monster I’ve been fighting actually loves me.  The monster hates it when I attack myself, it wants me to feel better.  The monster and I just need to figure out how to do that without food.  Because failure is not an option."

John Bukenas hosts the Let’s Reverse Obesity Podcast.

John’s contact information can be found at  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

How To Survive The Holidays - Part 2

CLICK HERE to listen to the interview.

In a recent interview with eHealth network, I was asked if family issues are the main cause of anxiety during the holidays.    

I answered that there are two main causes:  

Family, definitely.  And, food. 

The holidays start with Thanksgiving (at least they do here in the United States) and Thanksgiving is often referred to as “National Binge Day” – the whole day is a tribute to excess. 

You’re expected to overeat.  It’s even considered bad manners not to try everything on the table.  If you struggle with food, this can be extremely challenging.

Another problem with the holidays is everyone talks about food.  A lot.

Some relatives get offended if you don’t try everything.  Someone will say, “I know you’re watching your weight but you’re just GOT to try my pecan pie.  One bite won’t hurt you.  Go on, have some.”

And then there are the people who watch every bite they eat – and every bite YOU eat.

They say, “Oh, I shouldn’t have this.”  Or worse, “Do you think you should eat that?  Do you really need that?”

And then there are people who talk about food as if it’s a person.  “Oh, what a beautiful turkey.  What a gorgeous ham.  Everything looks beautiful.  I’m so in love with this meal.”

Personally, I don’t think food is beautiful or gorgeous.  People are beautiful (inside and out).

Love belongs to relationships between humans.  You love your husband, your wife, your girlfriend, boyfriend, your kids, your parents.  Food isn’t worthy of your love.

All this focus on food can lead to a lot of stress – you’re anxious, upset, and sad – and if you don’t have other strategies to deal with those stressful emotion, that makes you more vulnerable to using food to cope. 

So it can be a vicious cycle.  The key is to learn to express feelings in words, instead of behavior.

How do you stop the cycle?

People often think they are triggered by food but they’re not.  They’re usually triggered by situations and experiences that are painful or upsetting, and make them want to turn to food to cope – to numb, or distract from what’s upsetting them.

Start by asking yourself some questions:

*What is the most difficult part of the holidays?  Food?  Family?  Lack of family?
*What do you like about the holiday season?  What do you dislike?
*What helps during this time?
*What doesn’t help?
*What are the emotional triggers?

This helps you understand yourself better and know what your true triggers are – situational and emotional.  When you deal with and process those situations and feelings directly, you won’t use food as a coping strategy.

What is my top survival tip for the holidays?

Be a social anthropologist.    

When you're watching and observing, you're not a participant.  Observing means creating some distance and that distance can be very illuminating.

When you hear your mom or dad or grandparents criticize your sister or brother or cousin, or even themselves, you can see more clearly how you learned to criticize yourself. 

When you realize that your mother apologizes for every bite she eats, you’ll recognize how you learned to feel guilty for every bite you take.

It doesn’t matter whether you celebrate Christmas or Hannukah or Kwanza, or nothing, pay attention to what’s going on around you.

Which category does everyone at the table fit into?  Are they drunk, jealous, show-offs, or relentlessly perfect?

What do you like about them?  What do you appreciate?  What do you dislike?  Give yourself permission to hold the positive and negatives about others – it’ll make it easier to hold both about yourself.

Do you like people better because they’re thin?  Probably not.

When you’re observing others, you don’t feel as much under observation.  That makes you feel less self-conscious, and you feel better.  When you feel better, you’re less likely to use food to cope.

Add some gratitude!

It’s the holidays, and ultimately the holidays are about gratitude, so be grateful.  Think of one thing you appreciate; whether it’s a person or a situation, because hanging onto one good thing can keep you going when things are challenging.   

And with that in mind, be grateful for yourself, and practice self-acceptance and self-care.  You’ll feel better, and when you feel better, you’re less likely to use food to cope.  And as I like to say to my listeners and viewers, that’s how you win the diet war.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

How To Survive The Holidays - Part I

(Click the photo HERE to listen to the interview).

It's that time of year again.  The holidays are upon us.  Perhaps that fills you with a sense of joy.

Or possibly dread.  

Or both.

If you feel conflicted about the holidays, you're not alone. 

Why are the holidays so difficult for so many people?

For one thing, we’re often saturated with media images of how it’s” supposed to be.”  At this time of year, TV commercials and magazine ads start showing happy, loving, close families (and by the way, they’re usually white and well-off), all gathered over a table loaded with food, beaming and grateful for their wonderful lives. 

If that’s your reality, consider yourself very lucky.  But for many people, if not most, this is a fantasy world that’s not even close to reality.

If it seems as if everyone in the world is living a perfect Hallmark holiday life, full of peace, love and happiness - and then there’s YOUR family, that can be painful.

The contrast can be really difficult especially if you think the picture perfect image is how it’s supposed to be, and it’s just not.  

That’s depressing for a lot of people, which leads to overeating as a way to numb or distract from the pain.  Or, because these families are often shown eating, eating or overeating can be a way of “feeling” like you’re part of the picture perfect holiday family.

Reality can be really painful.

Ever see the movie, Reality Bites?  Reality is often painful and can never measure up to an image, fantasy or idea about how things "should" or "could" be.    

These days, the term "reality" is associated with reality shows on TV.  And lots of families include people that are right out of a reality show.  There are certain types of characters that run in families:

Drunk relatives – either happy drunks or angry drunks; neither is fun.

Overly cheerful, aren’t-we-happy and isn’t-everything-perfect relatives that are usually living in denial of reality.

Jealous relatives – the ones who have a negative comment about everything you do or say.

Show-offs – they think they’re better than everyone else because they can outspend everyone else in the family

Then there are those who only talk about how great it used to be back in the day.  They just can’t handle being in the present.

No matter what the issues are in families, it can sometimes be depressing or upsetting.  That's when grieving is important, which means processing the limits of what you had and accepting what you will not experience.  The process of mourning involves a range of emotions, from anger, sadness, disappointment, to acceptance. 

When you allow yourself to think what you think during the holiday season, and feel what you feel, you will be less likely to need or use some form of distraction, such as food, to cope.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

5 Ways To Deal With Disappointment

Does this sound familiar?

“I didn’t sign up for this.”
“I thought things would be different.”
“I feel so stupid for thinking it would work out.”
“I can’t believe I trusted that person.”

Paulette recently went into escrow on her dream house – and then the deal fell apart.   She said, “I feel so stupid for thinking things would go my way.   I can’t believe I let myself get so excited about the house.  I should have known better.”

A moment later she added, as if in jest, “I bet stuff like this doesn’t happen to skinny people.” 

Paulette was disappointed about losing her dream house.  Instead of processing the disappointment, she turned on herself, accusing herself of not being psychic, and joking that  thinner people don't have to deal with things not working out.  

In other words, if she changed her weight and became one of those "skinny people," she’d never be disappointed again. 

This is an illusion, because you cannot manage life situations by controlling your weight.

The definition of disappointment is, “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations” (Google dictionary).

Disappointment can be about a person or situation.  It is often more acute than "sadness or displeasure" because there are many other elements bound up in the experience of disappointment, including the notion of losing basic trust in others and in the world.

If other people and/or situations seem unpredictable or unreliable, you may be vulnerable to turning away from others and relating primarily to your body or to food.  

When things don’t work out or someone lets you down, you may also feel a sense of powerlessness or helplessness.  Focusing on your powerlessness over food, which you ostensibly can control, may be preferable to experiencing powerless in the context of your relationships or in the world.

If you’re disappointed in yourself for something that is food, weight or body image related, you may be displacing feelings towards others and turning them on yourself, as Paulette did.

Food for thought:

Ask yourself the following questions:

What situations and/or people are disappointing me?
What is going on in your life that is causing disappointment?   Perhaps a friend has let you down, or other things have not gone as planned. 

What does it mean about you? 
i.e., Perhaps you fear that you’re not good enough, not omniscient, that you somehow should have known better.  If so, explore the basis of your self-esteem and the meaning of powerlessness.

What does it mean about other people?
i.e., You cannot trust others, that they are inherently self-serving and will throw you under the proverbial bus?  If so, consider where you learned that people are inherently not trustworthy.

What does it mean about the world?
i.e., The world is an unfair, unsafe place and there are no rules.  Bad things can happen to good people.  If so, explore your life experiences and identify what you may be re-experiencing in the context of this situation.

What does it mean about the future?
i.e., Nothing is ever going to go your way and there’s no point in trying or trusting again.  If so, examine your ideas about hopelessness.

When you acknowledge your disappointment and process the underlying anxieties about your good enough-ness, powerlessness, trust, fairness, and hopelessness, you can move forward – like Paulette, who is now the proud owner of another house that she ended up liking as much as the first.

When you deal with the underlying emotions and conflicts that impact your sense of wellbeing, you make peace with yourself.  When you do that, you will make peace with food.

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