Posts tagged dieting
Ease

Every time I sit down to write one of our posts and episodes for what we’ve informally called the little word series, I think of 2 or 3 more I’d love to talk about. I can now confidently say that this series of posts and episodes will definitely be back after we’re done with the last two I had in mind for this time around. We’ve already talked about patience, excess, change, fear, and one of my favorites, labels, and we’ve got just two more to go. Today, we’ll be talking about what has possibly been denied, repressed and pushed back in modern society and in our lives and formative years in the biggest way, and that is the pursuit of ease. Ease will be our little word for today as we discuss eating, our stress levels, time, mindfulness and the emotional aspects of ourselves that have an impact on the way we eat, the choices we make and our general well-being.

Is it just me or is anyone else noticing a serious busyness epidemic in our world today? “Busy” has become the new “fine” when we ask people how they are, not as a complaint, but more often than not as a little badge of honor. Everywhere we turn, and especially in social media, it’s all about the hustle, the getting things done, the systems and ways in which we can do more, using time to an inch of its life. In last week’s podcast episode I answered a listener question from one of our Sams (our gender-neutral pseudonym for all our listeners and readers who send us questions). Sam had asked how Carlos and I manage to have Brownble up and running with its constant flow of content that is released weekly AND also have our day jobs. You can listen back to last week’s episode to hear my full answer, which had mostly to do with getting organized and sticking to the plan so it becomes a habit (especially in terms of the content we create).

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Fear

We’re back with our little word series this week to talk about fear. So far in the series we’ve talked about the important role patience plays when it comes to everything we talk about here at Brownble. Whether it’s the patience needed when changing the way you eat, or patience with family members around you when you’re going on your vegan journey, whether it’s an important part of being more appreciative of the body you have, going on this quest to improve your relationship with food, or to improve your own body image. It even applies to all the posts and episodes we’ve had on cooking and honing your skills in the kitchen. It’s what I’ve loved about this series so far, one little word can have so much to do with many different aspects of our lives, and each and every one of you are going to get something different out of them. After patience came the word that inspired it all and we dove into our relationship to excess and how a little mantra has helped me tremendously this year. Then came the topic of change and how we experience and deal with the many changes we might be going through when we’re on this path to feeling better right where we are, and when creating an impact in the world around us. All of this got me thinking, what is that one emotion that seems to always be present whenever we discuss any of these little words in the series? The answer?

F.E.A.R

Fear is such a powerful part of each and every one of our lives. It’s one of those basic human emotions, and for many of us, especially my fellow anxious chronic worriers, fear runs the show more often than we’d care to admit. Fear is related to all of our favourite topics here in the blog and in our podcast, so I thought it was only fair we let it have the spotlight it often craves, in our little word series.

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Excess

Last week we talked about patience in this new series of episodes and posts in which we’re using little one-word mantras to help us on our journey. Today it’s finally time to talk about the little word that inspired the series: excess. I told you a couple of weeks ago how when a little Japanese woman on Netflix helped us declutter our home, I had some pretty massive realizations about my relationship to excess.

In case you don’t know who I’m talking about, I’m referring to the wonderful Marie Kondo and her Netflix show Tidying Up. A wonderful woman who turned our January into the ultimate “spring-clean-in-winter” fest. As you heard me talk about here, this process of donating bags and bags of those belongings that didn’t spark joy, was very meaningful. Not because we had the relief of having the tidiest closet we’d ever had (although that was part of it too), or because we could feel the breath of fresh air that naturally comes when you put away the last stack of unopened mail (even though this certainly happened), it was mainly because I had some pretty big realizations about my relationship to excess that had less to do with external things, and more to do with that internal world we love to talk so much about here at Brownble.

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Mindful Eating Basics

You've hear me talk about mindfulness and mindful eating a lot. It's because just as some people always place a pitcher of water or a salt and pepper shaker at the table, mindful eating is always a main character at ours. It wasn't always that way though. For most of my life, and even for most of our marriage we ate full of distractions, many times in front of the TV, and how much we ate depended on how much I, or the person making the meal, would put on our plates. While I was on the many diets I tried, it was the restrictive diet du jour which told me how much I should eat. Making it so that everything that was "allowed" was eaten, no more, and no less, regardless of hunger, of satisfaction, and even regardless of whether the food was enjoyable or not.

You've heard this little dichotomy I was so fond of before, right? If the diet du jour told me 1 cup of this or that, I followed it with rigid perfection. Then, when I couldn't anymore because, well... diets!, I would pile on the food, gobble it up mindlessly, feel overly full, and only if a second helping wasn't offered would I stop there. If seconds were even mentioned, or if it was a particular favorite of mine, or if serving platters were on the table and still had food on them, I would eat until plate, ladle and pot were squeaky clean. Not because I was really hungry, or because the food was giving me so much pleasure I just had to dig in, but because....well, diets. 

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Body Image Series: Behind the Curtain of Control

After a teary eyed episode last week, I'm finally here for part 4, the last installment of our body image series (at least for the time being). We've gone through so many aspects of our struggles with body image in the series. In part 1 I told you all about my rock bottom moment when it comes to body image and the fantastic tools that pulled me out of that place. In part 2 we discussed what the research is now showing when it comes to body image, body image resilience, and using the low points as jumping off points to slowly improve your relationship with your body. We also talked about self care (not self control or focusing on changing our bodies in order to love, appreciate and look after them). To me, acts of self care were one of the secrets to coming to a new relationship with my body and with food. In part 3, we talked about what happens when we have a different body, either due to illness, disability or circumstance, and I again told you about a painful/joyful part of my life, where I learned so much about what it means to navigate this beauty obsessed world.

Today we're going even deeper.

Today we're going deeper because our issues with body image and our relationship to food are like big juicy onions. Once you start peeling back the layers, you start to notice there is usually something at the core of these issues, something we try to keep hidden away below the surface, distracting ourselves with calorie counts, miles measured in apps on our phones, trying to control, tweak and change our bodies, and speaking negatively about our outside image instead of looking inward. 

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Before a New Year Begins...

You know me and my love of milestones. birthdays, the beginning of a season, the start of a new year or a new chapter in my life. There's just something magical about new beginnings and it's a powerful moment to make promises to ourselves. In no other moment of the year is this truer than New Year's Eve. I always ask people this time of year if they make any resolutions and almost everyone has some kind of tradition of setting their gaze on a future goal, promising to do something they have yet to do, promising to leave stress behind a bit and focus more on the good stuff of life. I get it, I'm one of those people. I do this the night before a birthday, the night before a new year, when I'm sitting on a plane coming back home from a trip. It's so nice to sit with oneself and take stock of what really matters and what we'd like to change.

One of those years something very special happened, I promised myself I would look into that whole "vegan thing", boy was that a good idea and not in a million years could I have guessed where it brought me! It's been many years since that day and now I get to hear the stories of so many people who confide in me and look for support on their journey. You have no idea how much I think of those little conversations you and I have as true treasures. I would have also never thought that Carlos would join me on that journey, nor that we would have this place where we all get to hang out together. 

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Vegan Teens Series Part 2: "I'm a Vegan Teen in a Non-Vegan Family"

It's finally time for part 2 of our vegan teens series! In part 1 we talked about what can happen when parents decide to go vegan and they have a resistant teenager at home that may not want to start eating this way. I gave you tons of tips for keeping the peace at home, inspiring without relying on the outcome, how to ensure that no matter what you do or your teenager decides to do, that the number one priority is to infuse a sense of "normal" and balance to food and the act of eating. Today though, the parents are not my audience. This post is specifically for you my dear teen! If you then decide to show mom and dad this article in the hopes that they understand what you're going through if they've been resistant, feel welcome to, but this post and podcast episode is for you.

Let me start this off by saying that although I'm in my mid-thirties as I write this, I work with teenagers and I remember being a teenager extremely well. I can say without a doubt, that due to my life circumstances and the fact that very often I was the odd one out (you can read more about my personal story with food here, and my "always feeling like an outsider" story here), my teens were the hardest years of my life (with their amazingly cool moments too!). I know you hear people giving you the speech of how things get more complicated after you become an adult and have responsibilities, work and the like, but let me tell you this: that was NOT my experience.

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Why We Fail at Healthy Eating When We Only Focus on Food

There's something amazing that has been happening in recent years when it comes to the media and our quest for health. For the first time, there is an acknowledgment that we can be active participants in getting healthier. For the first time, concerns abut food, our activity levels, stress levels and lifestyle are at the center stage, and we are finally getting the message that we can actually make a huge difference in our lives and our own vitality. The downside to this health focused media frenzy, has two main issues I believe need to be discussed. The first is that health is sometimes confused with the quest for being skinny, having a "perfect body", fitting a certain societal ideal (for both men and women), seeing any body type that doesn't fit this ideal as the thing we need to fear and steer clear from. Make no mistake, health and fitting society's body ideals are two very different things. The second issue when it comes to this focus on health that I feel needs to be talked about, is that it has made us focus so much on the food itself. It has created not only food fears, but it has made us step away from the many different aspects of our lives that are behind our choices at the table. It's just not as simple as knowing what you need to know about food and nutrition and making sure you follow that to a tee. If it were only up to that, we'd be a society without diet related health issues, based on the amount of books, experts and diets out there. The truth is we are complex human beings, and when the focus is all on the food, trying to isolate it from all the other aspects of ourselves, it's a lost battle. Health, and healthy eating specifically, is much more than just the food on our plate.

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