Posted by Rebecca Cooper
The Destructive Culture of Dieting
Weight problems and food addictions have become a national epidemic. At any given time, twenty five million Americans are seriously dieting. Only 1 out of every 200 dieters lose their weight and keep it off for a year or more. Although there are more diet programs and weight loss products than any other time in history, recent studies show that roughly sixty percent of adult Americans are overweight and one third are obese. America’s obsession and preoccupation with food and body image is often a precursor to the development of an eating disorder. Statistics show that thirty-five percent of normal dieters progress into an eating disorder. Approximately eight million people in America have an eating disorder and eighty-six percent started by age twenty.
When you diet, you set yourself up to overeat because you subconsciously rebel over restricting your food. You are discounting your appetite, your internal guidance system. You no longer eat when you are hungry or stop when you are full. You let the external source, the diet, determine when, what, and how much to eat. You may no longer know what it feels like to be hungry or full.
Due to the food restrictions of the diet, your metabolism slows down. Your body thinks it is experiencing a famine; it is in starvation alert mode and is trying to store every calorie. Then you “slip” or eat normally. Your body then stores as much fat as it can because it thinks there may be another famine just around the corner. The result is that you gain weight with a vengeance, faster than before dieting.
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August 22, 2011 | 12:26 pm
Posted by Rebecca Cooper
Although President Obama is trying to correct the health care system, there can be no solution with the increasing obesity problem. The cost of obesity and eating disorders are bankrupting our nation.
Obesity alone is costing the American healthcare system more than $100 billion annually. And while there’s some overlap, diabetes costs nearly $150 billion, cancer care costs more than $200 billion, and heart disease costs more than $300 billion annually, according to studies by the National Institutes of Health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the following:
• $127 million during 1997–1999 up from $35 million during 1979–1981.
• In 2000, the total cost of obesity in the United States was estimated to be $117 billion—$61 billion for direct medical costs and $56 billion for indirect costs.
• In 1996, $31 billion of treatment costs (in year 2000 dollars) for cardiovascular disease among adults was related to overweight and obesity.
• Obesity rates have skyrocketed nationwide in the past two decades. In 1990, no state had a rate above 20 percent obesity. By 2007, every state but one did: Colorado was at 18.9 percent.
Reasons for Increasing National Weight
A new study released July 2009 by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation suggest, as the economy declines the obesity rate will rise nationwide for the following reasons.
• nutritious foods are often more expensive than empty calories.
• worries over the recession are triggering increased depression, anxiety and stress, which often can be linked to obesity.
• older baby boomers obesity rate for 50 to 64-year-olds is higher than the rate for people over age 64.
• Medicare spends anywhere from $1,400 to $6,000 more per year on obese seniors than non-obese seniors.
• money goes to treatments for obesity-related ailments such as diabetes and knee problems.
• Successful heart disease treatment unfortunately trades mortality for disability.
Loss of Productivity
The mortality is decreasing but the rate of disability begins to climb as BMI exceeds 30. Journal of the American Medical Association in 2007
People with Class III obesity (over 40 BMI) are 9 times more likely than normal-weight individuals to be disabled due to the extra weight. Journal of the American Medical Association in 2007
Mild obesity of 30 to 35 BMI increases life with disability by up to three years. here is is a list of additional costs directly or indirectly related to disordered eating:
• diabetes costs nearly $150 billion
• cancer care costs more than $200 billion
• heart disease costs more than $300 billion annually (National Institutes of Health)
Some practical Solutions:
• The cost of fresh and healthier food need to be affordable for all.
• Fresh and healthier food needs to be the default choice instead of processed fattening vending machine foods
• Educational awareness about the dangers of using food for emotional reason, eating disorders, and healthy eating.
• Schools need to provide nutritious breakfast and lunch programs
• Schools needs to reinstate physical education as a mandatory class
• Have hands-on vegetable gardening classes that excite kids about eating what they grow
• Provide food options that are low in fat, calories, and added sugars
• Reduce time spent watching television and in other sedentary behaviors
• Encourage families to sit down at the dinner table together, at least a few days a week
We can slow down the obesity rate in this country if we work together on this increasing, and very expensive, problem.
August 12, 2011 | 3:43 pm
Posted by Rebecca Cooper
When we come into this world we know when we are hungry and when we are full. Try to get a baby to eat when it is not hungry or be a few minutes late for feeding and notice the baby’s behavior. We come into this world in touch with our appetite. We are intuitive eaters by nature, but some lose that ability at a very young age.
Perhaps there are unnoticeable everyday occurrences that take us from our natural ability to eat intuitively. Here are some to consider:
As an infant, every cry or discontentment may be met with a bottle or pacifier. Mothers put something in the baby’s mouth to distract the baby from whatever was displeasing it. Maybe it was hunger, maybe not. But both mother and child have found something to stop the pain.
As the child gets older he/she is promised a lollipop if they do not cry when they get a shot. The child stares at the lollipop and thinks so hard about that sweet treat that they can ignore the pain of the shot. Once more it is reinforced that we will be rewarded if we stuff down the pain. Is it any wonder that later in life we use sugar to sooth ourselves?
As the child matures it may be taught to eat everything on their plate. They learn not to pay attention to their appetite and eat everything. They may even be promised a dessert if they finish their plate. To make the situation worse they now add the ice cream onto the full contents of the stomach.
Food may be used to reward a job well done. “You’ll get an ice cream cone after you finish your homework.” So you think about the dessert reward while you finish the mundane history essay. Later in life the child may eat mindlessly while working on a different task.
Maybe when a child becomes ill, the caretaker will make it a point to buy all his/her favorite foods. They have all our attention, love and care associated with food. Some start to associate the parental bonding with food. Later in life when a person feels lonely or needs some attention, love or care, they may unconsciously reach for food.
When puberty begins the body starts changing in so many ways. A healthy adolescent can gain anywhere from 20-50 lbs. Most of this gain is due to her body developing and preparing her to grow taller. The weight usually precedes the growth spurts. This is normal, but most adolescents and parents do not acknowledge this fact. When the adolescent starts to gain weight they focus on the number on the scale and diets. It is reported that 50% of girls ages 12-14 say they are unhappy because they “feel fat” and 45% of elementary age children report wanting to be thinner.
The teenager then gets on the merry-go-round of yo-yo dieting. Forty to sixty percent of High School girls in the US are dieting on any given day. There is now research that tells us that cyclic binging and food deprivation (i.e. yo-yo dieting) may produce alterations in the brain that can cause bingeing behavior.
For some people yo-yo dieting may last a life time. Thirty-five percent of people who go on a diet will progress to an eating disorder. Eighty-six percent of people with eating disorders report that the onset of the disorder started by the age of 20. Thirty-three percent of these people started their eating disorders between the ages of 11 to 15 years old.
Here are some eating disorder behaviors that you may notice in an adolescent:
Intuitive eating requires the ability to be in touch with your appetite and body. It is important that a child deals with feelings as they occur. By stuffing the feeling down they are disconnecting from their self. They may start to confuse emotions surfacing with being hungry. Intuitive eating will guide your child throughout their life making it easy to maintain their ideal weight easily, naturally and permanently.
Rebecca Cooper is a California licensed therapist, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist, and the author of Diets Don’t Work®. www.DietsDontWork.org. She the founder of Rebecca’s House Eating Disorders Treatment Program™. www.Rebeccashouse.org. 800-711-2062.