Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Celebrities with E.D.'s

A while back, a reporter asked me my position regarding celebrities disclosing that they have struggled with eating disorders.  She asked if I thought the disclosure was helpful or hurtful for the general public.  I went with "helpful," and here's why:  Obviously, I wish that no one had to suffer the physical and psychological damage of an eating disorder.  But, since people do develop them, and since we're still learning how to best treat them, pay for treating them, etc., I think any type of public awareness is beneficial.  For fans who struggle with eating disorders, learning of someone else's struggle may help with feelings of shame or isolation around the disorder.  Moreover, I think it's important for the public to understand that a number of the singers, actresses, and models they admire are not as naturally thin as they appear.  In many cases, they must go to drastic measures, in order to conform to our current body ideal (see Adriana Lima's recent revelation to the Telegraph for proof).  For some, these measures may lead to the development of full-blown eating disorders.  In my opinion, the more information we have that counteracts the idea that skinny (for all women) is healthy and effortless, the better.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Come Back to Carbs

Can one woman hail the return of entire macronutrient?  I'd like to try.

We live in a carb-free, low-carb, healthy-carb country.  We're encouraged by experts to up our protein intake and lower our carbohydrates, with the premise that this is the key to arriving at a healthy (read: aesthetic) weight.  

Recently, I went to a dinner party and brought a lovely quinoa.  It went untouched.  Because of the carbs.

Later that week, I stopped at my gym's snack bar to pick up a sports drink prior to yoga class.  Amidst a sea of no-carb, high-protein drinks (many infused with artificial sweeteners in order to claim the title), I finally stumbled on some fruit juice that fit the bill.  

I get it.  We realized that we'd weigh a little less if we cut back on carbs.  But, what we didn't realize is that we'd be eliminating a major energy source, one that fuels our muscles, organs, and brains.  Carbohydrates have a significant impact on mood, as well.  Just ask someone who's going carb-free.  

Your trainer tells you to cut out bread.  Your gossip magazine shows you a day in the life of your favorite celebrity, proving that lean protein and vegetables for lunch and dinner is not only doable, but leads to the intended results.  Your coworker went low-carb and quickly dropped 15 pounds.  

The thing is. . . not one nutritionist I respect has ever recommended this type of diet to anyone I know.  They understand the importance of all three macronutrients.  They understand what cutting carbs does to one's energy and mood.  And then understand, as I do, that the weight-loss benefits of going low-carb are temporary (only for as long as you're on the diet), and that depriving ourselves of something (anything, really) often backfires, obfuscating the point entirely.  

I wish that I had a dollar for every person I meet who complains of an inability to ward off mid-afternoon candy runs, or who shamefully confesses to late-night binges on chips, cookies, or cake, who, by the way, is also restricting her carbs.  When she begins to reintroduce this necessary nutrient, she finds that her carbohydrate cravings remit.  It's her body's way of saying, "Thanks for giving me what I need."