Happy parents raise happy kids

Posts Tagged ‘overweight’

Body Image

Chalk sketch of a naked woman from the 17th century

The image of the ideal woman’s body has changed over the years. The change becomes obvious when you compare pictures today to pictures taken around the 17th century. The woman in the photo on the right was considered a symbol of the ultimate beauty back then. Today, she would be considered obese. She would not dare pose for any person trying to sketch her and most definitely not naked.

You might be thinking that the 17th century was a long time ago and this photo is quite old. To this I would say that there is a woman who has been considered beautiful much more recently, and by today’s standards, she too would be considered fat: Merlyn Monroe. Regardless of how pretty she was, she still was not completely satisfied with her looks and figure. There are many people like that today. I often have clients whose beauty I admire, and I realize they have absolutely no idea how beautiful they are.

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

A Little Bit Unhappy

Thermometer

In the past month, I heard it a lot. I had client after client sitting on my “life coaching deck” and talking about being totally unhappy about some things in their life. They were unhappy about their relationship with their partner, their kids, their health, their job, their money or their social life, and they wanted it to stop.

When this happens, I tell them there is something good about being unhappy. They always look at me surprised, thinking I have fallen on my head, but gradually, they understand that being unhappy and going to see a life coach is a wonderful sign that your body is talking to you and you are listening and actually doing something about it.

Congratulations, you are unhappy!

If you are unhappy with something in your life, congratulations! You are aware of your best navigating compass – your feelings.

Some people think happiness is an airy-fairy thing that cannot be explained and understood, not to mention controlled. Many people say they want to control their feelings in fear that their feelings might take over and control them.

But feelings do not have a mind of their own. They are a compass that lets us know where we should or should not go, we just have to look at it from time to time and see the direction it is pointing to. It is very simple. If it says, “I am not happy”, change directions. If it says, “I am happy”, keep going the same way.

I think this realization has helped me lots in life. When some of my friends, who know I am a happiness coach, ask me, “Well, Ronit, What is your formula for happiness?” I answer, “Tune into your body and let your feelings guide you”.

Don’t eat and run

Strawberries and cream

Gal and I used to eat whatever our parents ate. We went to the supermarket and picked from the shelves the exact same things we had seen our parents choose or whatever was on sale. It took us 5 years of managing our own economy and a sick girl to discover that what we eat and how we eat has a strong impact on our life. Some things you just cannot learn at school.

It happened more than 20 years ago and since then, we have learned more and more about what to eat to be healthy in body and mind. I know that not everyone is convinced that healthy eating is the right solution and I understand. After all, the concept of “health” is very wide. When I sit with my clients at a cafe and order iced coffee with ice cream and whipped cream, I am 100% convinced it is healthy for my soul. So we may not agree about what food is healthy, but I think we can all agree on how to eat.

We live a very fast lifestyle. All the people around you will tell you they have no time – no time for the kids, no time for fun, no time for hobbies, no time for friends and no time for eating. Many shops and massive businesses have come to life to cater for this “fast food” lifestyle. We grab a shake, eat a meal on the way, in the car, during a meeting, while watching TV, during phone conversations and when reading a book. We think we are saving time, but we are making it harder for our digestive system to make the best of our food and this creates a never-ending cycle. What we eat is not digested properly, we lack essential nutrients, we feel tired, we become ineffective and what usually takes us 2 hours, suddenly takes us 4 and we have just lost 2 hours of our precious time, so we need to catch up and save time by grabbing some fast food or eating our healthy food on the run.

Anorexia: Warning Signs

Anorexic image of Lindsay Lohan

One of the things every parent will tell you when his/her daughter is diagnosed with Anorexia or any other eating disorder is that they could not see it coming. I am sure they mean it. Parents do not want to believe their child is having a problem, including me. It is mainly because most of us think that it says something about us. Maybe it says we have failed and we are not good parents. The problem with this fear is that it clutters our thinking and makes us blind to the warning signs of anorexia.

Be brave! Keep reading and look carefully at every photo, even though they are scary.

Having a child with Anorexia or any other eating disorder requires strong, brave parents who manage to help their child despite what others might say about them. The problem with Anorexia is that everyone can see it. Most kids do not do a very good job hiding it.

A couple of years ago, I worked with an anorexic woman who was 40 years old and weighed about 25kg (55lbs). Trust me, that was scary! It is not something you can hide very well. When I was in hospital with her, in the mental ward, there were other girls there and not all of them were teens. They looked like skeletons! But it is much harder to notice anorexia when it is developing and people often say, “She’s just a bit skinny, that’s all. She’ll get over it”.

This post is part 3 of 8 in the series Anorexia

The "Light Thinking" Diet

Fruits and fruit shakes

You may have been on a diet at some stage in your life and your diet may not have been successful. If not, I am sure you know someone who has had this experience. Dieting requires a lot of effort and it is very frustrating when it does not produce big enough results or when the effects disappear as soon as you stop the diet.

I have always believed that fat was a result of heavy thoughts, because the mind is a powerful thing. Now, I have the research to back it up.

The show “You are what you eat” showed people they had full responsibility over what they ate. I think they can call it “You are what you think”, because a recent research discovered that our thoughts have a direct impact on what we eat – we gain weight when we have “fat thoughts”.

In recent times, “light” became a keyword for food shoppers. We are convinced that in order to be healthy we need to eat “light” food – no fat, no calories, no sugar, no salt, etc. Well, our body reacts badly to it. The more we try to be healthy, the harder it is to lose weight.

Why is that?

My Gluten Free Adventure

Gloten Free Mama label

It all started a year ago, when a regular checkup discovered I was missing some important vitamins in my body. As a very health-conscious person, I was a bit concerned. I eat very healthy food and have loads of energy, so there had been no indication anything was wrong.

My doctor was great. He did not just give me supplements but was very determined to find the source of the deficiency. I went through a series of checks that ended up discovering I do not have the enzyme required to digest lactose, the sugar in cow’s milk. It was sad to learn that (I love milk, yoghurt and cheese), but at the same time relieved, because it could have been worse.

During that period, I met a friend who had discovered she had Lupus (an autoimmune disease) and had almost died from organ failure. For the two previous years, she had taken chemotherapy medication, looked half-dead and we had all been very worried about her. When we met, she was still on the same medication, but she looked amazingly better than ever.

When I asked her how she had recovered so well, she said she had discovered she was gluten intolerant and had decided to stop eating gluten. I asked her if she had Celiac (my doctor had sent me to check that too and, thank God, I do not have it) and she said, “No, I don’t, but I figured I could try not eating gluten for a while and if I felt better, I’d know it was a good choice”.

That was 6 months ago.

Ronit’s Parenting Bible: Food

Teen eating fruit

Many parents have issues with kids and food. I have to say that running a family and making sure they stay healthy is not easy, especially when your kids are babies and your heart aches with them whenever they are sick.

I added the connection between food and health to my bible after a huge pain of trying very hard to get rid of Eden’s pneumonia when she was just an 18-month-old baby. By the time she was 2 years old, Eden had been sick with pneumonia 3 times already and had been constantly on antibiotics and inhalers. Before those scary 6 months, I had never thought about what I ate and had just gone to the supermarket and bought the same things my parents and Gal’s parents had.

One of my friends, who was trying to help me, told me Eden should eat certain things and avoid eating others to improve her health. I thought she was not normal (which was true, but in a good sense) and that food had nothing to do with germs and health problems. It was only later, when we discovered Eden was sensitive to dairy food, that I realized just how tight the relationship between food and health was.

Food, and only food, was the difference between having a very sick girl (with pneumonia that 6 months of antibiotics could not fix) and having a healthy girl that went to see the doctor only once in the following 20 years. Food, and only food, was the difference between being anemic and having a healthy iron level. During my second, third, fourth and fifth pregnancies, while every other woman had to take iron tablets, my iron level was strong and stable, even the doctor was shocked. Food, and only food, was the difference between Gal having sinus surgery to unblock his nose and not needing that surgery until today.

This post is part 3 of 10 in the series Ronit's Parenting Bible

Ronit Baras

Be Happy in LIFE logo     Book your private life coaching with Ronit Baras and learn how to be happy in life