Health, Personal Success

Eat Your Words

While pregnant with her, the most astounding thing happened! I would put food in my mouth and chew. She’d kick like mad before I even swallowed. This occurred every time. I was incredulous – what a baby! 

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Providence Doucet

When she was two, she had chocolate cake. She kicked her feet high in delight. The frosting was all over her face and her eyes shone with joy.

At four, she had pizza. How she held it in her tiny, pudgy hands!

She’s had many meals since then. With girlish abandon, she eats what she wants when she wants: warm bread with butter, garlic mashed potatoes, steak, ice cream sundaes and healthy food, too.

She. Loves. Food. She likes high quality food. She can discern whether ingredients are fresh and she doesn’t like gristle on her steak.

She also loves dance class. She loves to learn challenging moves and practice them over and over and get good at it. She’s made such progress! Her body is lithe, supple and strong.

She’s my baby. She’s 15, but she’s my baby and I want her to be happy and healthy. I want her to love eating, dancing, laughing and playing violin all the rest of her days. I want her to enjoy life!

But our culture wants to destroy her. American society wants her mind to be cloudy with insecurity and a bit of self-hatred. Air-brushed models are in magazines,  surgically modified celebrities are on TV, the Internet and film.

Even family members make comments. Grandparents plant seeds of doubt when they caution against weight gain. They compare sisters to each other, silently massacring dreams and self-confidence. They undermine the strong sisterly bond that exists. Well, they try anyway. These girls have each other’s backs, thank goodness.

If she were my son, would you tell him to watch what he eats? Would you scare him and tell him he might get fat if he “puts that” in his mouth? Would you comment on his figure as he stands in front of the fridge?

Please…I implore you…stop it. Stop with the comments and the body shaming. Stop trying to exert control through fear.

Let her enjoy all that life has to offer.

 

 

 

Health, Personal Success

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

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Endorphins are your body’s natural painkillers. These chemicals reduce pain and diminish the effects of stress. Good news, one of the things you can do to increase endorphin activity is to eat chocolate!

Dopamine is one of your body’s most important neurotransmitters. According to Livestrong.com, “Dopamine has the enormous job of regulating mood, behavior, sleep and cognition. It also is associated with motivation and reward.”

Caffeine can actually increase dopamine levels. This explains why I feel better after a cup of coffee! However, too much caffeine can disrupt the levels of serotonin (another chemical in your body) which will affect your mood.

Good things in moderation is the key.

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Health

Evolution

My Spam box this morning contained golden nuggets of information: exotic Russian women are waiting for me – as is an $800,000 donation from a very generous woman named Donna.

One thing that is always in my Spam box, the news, magazines and billboards is some variation of the theme, “Lose Weight Quickly”.

I’ve learned that this is a very bad idea and, as with most things, I learned this lesson the long and hard way.

When I was 7 years old, I ran around the neighborhood with my friends Renee and Cathy.  We played tag, rode our bicycles and re-enacted “Charlie’s Angels.” I ate what I wanted and I ran around a ton.

At 12, my parents started telling me I better not eat too many Cheetos. I’d get fat. Why did we have Cheetos and Ding Dongs in the house? I started to look for the fat. I started to worry.

At 14, although I was below average weight for American girls my age, trying on jeans would reduce me to tears. I didn’t look like Brooke Shields in her Calvins. My sister and I started dieting and exercising. We were miserable, but felt like we were “taking control”.

The next five years were a roller coaster of diets. At this time, it was all about low fat and cardio. We were mildly successful.

When I landed my first job, I made a salary that was considered poverty-level. Paying back college loans and working in San Francisco, I could only afford pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I developed a wheat allergy, so I ate less. The radio salesladies commented on my tiny waist. I was physically a wreck, but damn, I looked good.

I got a bit wiser and healthier. When I was pregnant with my girls, I suddenly cared a lot more about being healthy and a lot less about looking thin. When they were toddlers, I got naturally strong, carrying an infant and the car seat made me strong. Carrying an infant, a car seat and chasing a toddler  made me even stronger.

Now, my goal is to be as strong as I can be for as long as I live. Lifting heavy weights, rollerskating at the rink, practicing yoga and taking frequent walking breaks has made me stronger than ever. A surprising side effect to all this strength training? I think I look better than ever, too.