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Posts Tagged ‘diet’

How to Feel Good: Get Enough Sleep

Polar bear asleep on the ice

Let’s continue with our tips on how to be happy and feel good in life. In the first post, I shared the science of endorphins – the “feel good” hormones. Chapter two was about the science of smiling. In the third chapter, I explained how taking time off can help us improve our mood, feelings and functioning. In this fourth chapter, I will explain how a good night’s sleep can improve our health and well-being and make us feel good.

Sleep is essential to our health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, many people do not get enough sleep or do not sleep well. A survey conducted in the years 1999 and 2004 found that 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders. When we are asleep, the brain goes through our impressions of the day in a process vital to memory formation.

Good sleep impacts our nervous system, cardiovascular system, metabolism and immune system. Imagine what impact bad sleep has!

This post is part 4 of 4 in the series How to Feel Good

How to Feel Good: Take Time Off

Ronit and her mother

During a recent presentation, someone asked me to share some tips on how to feel good. In the first post of the series How to Feel Good, I shared the science of endorphins – the feel good hormones. In the second, I covered the science of smiling. In this post, I suggest another great way to feel good – taking time off.

Last year, I took time off from everything (home, work, kids and Gal) and went overseas to spend some time with my family. It was a wonderful reminder for me about why we have take time off to recharge out emotional batteries.

Taking time off from daily life can have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing. It helps us regenerate and start fresh. Sleep is the body’s natural way of giving us time off. It “forces” us to rest so we can function. Did you know that without sleep, we would die? If you want to torture someone, you do not need to hurt them. Just deprive them of sleep for 2-3 night. Just ask any mom!

This post is part 3 of 4 in the series How to Feel Good

Anorexia: Fix the Broken Body Image Created by the Media

Body image ad: Your body. Your Rules.

Media is one of the major contributors to the damaged body images we have in our society. Once, it was only girls, but now we have more and more boys suffering from low body image.

Movies and magazines show celebrities who look tall and slim, with smooth skin at every pose. It is no wonder people spend money on products to try to “fix” themselves. What they do not know is that the photos they see are heavily photo-shopped and that the person they see in the magazine never looked like that.

It seems fitting that we should use the media to fix the damage done by the media. That way, our daughters and sons can see it. Yes, the photo-shopped images are beautiful, but they are not normal.

This post is part 8 of 8 in the series Anorexia

Autistic Kids Recover

Child sitting on a ledge

The first time I heard about Autism was 29 years ago, when I was studying special education. It opened up a whole new world for me. The institute where I studied had amazing teachers who specialized in autism. The institute had a center for Autism but unfortunately, students were not allowed to do work experience there. Throughout my bachelor degree I did work experience anywhere between once to 3 times a week. But never in the autism center.

In my third year of studies, I had to choose a work experience placement again. Many organizations gave presentations in an attempt to convince us to join them for the year. Once again, work in the Autism Center was not on offer. I was disappointed because I felt a pull to work with autistic children, or at least to learn more about them. In a very bold move, I specified the Autism Center as my first, second and third preferences for placement.

Handy Family Tips: Easy Healthy Spread

Garlic Cloves

A couple of months ago, we went to visit some friends of ours who had a guest. Their guest was a young man who loved cooking but did not really think of himself as cook or a chef. To feed his love for cooking while travelling, he made a nice and easy garlic spread and which we tasted on a piece of bread. It was heavenly.

Since I love introducing the kids to special and healthy food options, I loved the idea. My kids are very much healthy eaters. When they make a sandwich it is full of vegetables and adding the garlic as a spread was a great way to add flavor to the sandwiches without adding junk to it.

When I came home, I had to try it. Here is what you do.

This post is part 17 of 19 in the series Handy Family Tips

The Art of Letting Go: Attachments

Hands letting go of butterfly

Change is not easy for many people. Over time, we develop beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that give us a feeling of certainty in the world and make up our identity, and identity is a big thing for people. It is the skeleton that defines who we are. This makes it very hard for us to let go when it seems like we have to give up a bone from our skeleton and we are afraid we will not be able to stand properly.

People are a lot like monkeys. If you want to catch a monkey, you can put a cage with a banana in front of it. Once the monkey holds the banana, the monkey is trapped, because their hand will not come out with the banana. Monkeys are not smart enough to know that if they let go of the banana, they will be able to slide their hand out of the cage, so they stay trapped.

People hold on to beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that trap them like bananas and are afraid to let go of them even when they rot and smell.

For most, letting go of a banana means that we will no longer be able to maintain our identity. Allowing change means that we will be crippled or handicapped. I think this is because they consider letting go as a form of giving up and since childhood, they have heard millions of times “Never, never give up!” and interpreted it as “Never let go”.

This post is part 1 of 10 in the series The Art of Letting Go

Anorexia: Healing through Creativity

Gentle woman

Creativity and self-expression are wonderful ways to recover from an eating disorder. Not eating and overeating are ways to control your life. Creativity happens when there is full control and can even be a form of meditation.

When I was young, I had many throat infections. My mom’s solution was always to take me to the doctor and give me antibiotics. This was a major part of my life for about 10 years. I took antibiotics about 6 months every year as a kid. It freaks me out to think about it now. When I grew up and learned more about the connection between physical problems and emotional states, I discovered that my throat infections could have been a result of being unable to express myself. Funnily enough, when I started writing at the age of 14, they disappeared.

I also learned that self-expression can be a cure, so since then, whenever my throat starts playing up and I have that familiar dry tingle threatening to flare, I sing! I turn the music on at full volume, or do it in the car, and sing! It does magic. One day and the infection is gone.

Using art for self-expression is a wonderful way to regain control over your life. You are on your own, creating what is in your mind. No criticism, no expected outcomes, just you and your creative flow, so you can feel how your body obeys your commands.

In any creative form, there is a sense of freedom that anorexic people desperately need. They have the freedom to try new things, the freedom to make mistakes, the freedom to express themselves, the freedom from rules and boundaries – basically, the freedom to be themselves.

Also, immersing ourselves in creative art can work as a great distraction from thinking about the emotional challenges that take over otherwise. Anorexic people continually think about their “distorted body”, about food and about their problems. Keeping busy and doing something creative is like putting a sign on the door saying “time out” from thinking and hopefully those thoughts will never come back.

People are different and find different forms of self-expression, but all of them are wonderful and can help in healing and recovering from anorexia or other eating disorders.

This post is part 7 of 8 in the series Anorexia

Anorexia: Love Your Body

Hands making a heart on belly

Women with Anorexia have issues with their body image and a feeling of helplessness and inability to control their life. The combination of these challenges makes them seek control in any way and not eating seems to them a great way to gain control.

Society around us obviously contributes a lot to the negative body image and self image girls have during childhood, through their teenage years and later on into adulthood. The image of an anorexic teen girl can be misleading. There are also many women are anorexic who need help.

One way of healing is learning to love your body.

Loving your body is giving yourself the permission to feel good physically and it must be done slowly, with love and with patience. If you are a parent or someone who wants to help an anorexic person, just saying, “You need to love your body”, will not make the required difference.

The best idea is to help the anorexic person search for good things – positive thoughts, encouragements, small bits of progress and every little achievement – to help change their perception of their life’s reality.

This post is part 6 of 8 in the series Anorexia

Anorexia: How to stop worrying

Anorexic girl seeing chubby girl in the mirror

Anorexia is a very debilitating disease. While it looks like there is a physical problem, the real problem is the one we cannot see with our eyes but the one we can see with our heart. As hard as it is to accept, choosing not to eat is a way to deal with difficult emotions.

Most eating disorders are the same. Eating (too much) or not eating (at all) is the solution to worry, to fear, to shame, to confusion, to failure and to guilt, and gradually, the simplest strategy seems to be to shut down the desire for food.

I do not know if you have ever fasted for fun, for health or for weight loss. There is a point when you no longer feel hungry at all. I think it is important for people to feel this point to understand that we can eat or not eat at will. To survive, we really do not need much food, so someone who chooses not to eat, really does not feel hungry, but still has those emotions that he or she tries to keep away. If you want to help a person who has anorexia, remember that focusing on the food is (again) working on the symptom and not the problem.

The best solution to anorexia is increasing the emotional intelligence. The first step is to recognize the feelings and the second step is to manage the feelings.

Today, I will focus on tips to mange worrying.

This post is part 5 of 8 in the series Anorexia

Anorexia: Exaggerated Perception

Magnifying glass

People with eating disorders like anorexia often have an exaggerated perception of life. It is as if they see the world through huge magnifying glasses and things that seem minor to others seem huge and overwhelming to them.

If you have anorexia or any other eating disorder, or if you have a child that has it and you want to help, it is important to focus on the thoughts and the mindset and not on the food. Not eating is not the problem. It is the solution that people with a distorted perception find for their problems.

Avoid trying to convince them to eat. It only makes things worse. Anorexic people need control, not a nagger.

Avoid punishing a child who has anorexia. It only increases their helplessness and their desire to control something (ANYTHING) in their life, like what they eat, when they eat and how much they eat.

Generally, anorexic people have a very bad self-image, considering self as useless, not worthy, a failure, stupid, an idiot, etc, and they use every little thing that happens in their life to reinforce it. They use their glasses to look for proof they are worthless and they do not consider single events as temporary or coincidental, but as part of their identity.

Here is a list of thoughts that make big things out of small things and demonstrates the effect of the huge magnifying glasses anorexic people wear. Each one you get rid of will reduce the magnifying effect.

This post is part 4 of 8 in the series Anorexia

Ronit Baras

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