Author Archive for Katherine – Page 2

Seven Ways Yoga Helps Us Trust the Body and Eat with Ease

A rash of new research has yet to explain why and how yoga and other mind-body therapies appear to be effective in treating and preventing eating and body image concerns. Much of the evidence remains anecdotal and the actual benefits are unclear. The research indeed suggests that yoga practice is helpful, but the studies have conflicting results and the effects are not as great as expected.

What’s increasingly clear is that yoga enhances embodiment and mindfulness, two qualities that we do know are helpful in preventing and treating these issues. To state it broadly, both embodiment and mindfulness require present-focused awareness and deliberate attention to sensations, thoughts, and feelings in order to establish a mind-body connection. When we are not fully inhabiting our bodies, it can be tricky to identify and manage emotions, impulses, and thoughts leaving us at their mercy. Continue Reading →

The Yoga of Balance

When I first started practicing yoga, I noticed two things. First, I loved balancing poses. And the second? They require a particular kind of grounding.

To start with, any time we have a lot of internal stuff going on, like distracting thoughts (whether they be warm and fuzzy thoughts, like a new crush, or the debilitating thoughts that come with loss), self-criticism, or comparing mind, balancing can seem a lot harder. Just as centering is needed to focus on a task or calm a racing mind, grounding techniques are requisite for balancing. After all, you must get grounded before you can fly. Continue Reading →

Foundational Eating Part 3: Variety and Moderation

Part three in my series for getting back to basics for building a solid eating recovery.

At a party recently, I got cornered by a guest who wanted to educate me on the truth about nutrition, evidently having gleaned said truth from the latest food-scare propaganda flick. This happens sometimes when people find out I’m a dietitian. “Which do you think is better for you,” he asked, no doubt sensing my skepticism, “Soy milk or cow’s milk?”

I knew this was a trap. “Well,” I started, “both have their potential benefits, so it depends on an individual’s situation and preferences.”  Dissatisfied, the guy countered with something to the effect of, “Yeah, but cancer!”  I paused, choosing my words carefully. I looked at him for a moment and said, “I think that as long as a person eats a variety of nutritious foods and eats them in moderation, there’s little danger of getting too much or too little of anything.” I offered him a bite of my cheese. Continue Reading →

Foundational Eating Part 2: Balance

Part two in my series on getting back to basics for building a solid eating recovery.

When I first met Daisy, she was pretty fed up with trying to eat intuitively. “I eat when I’m hungry, I stop when I’m full, but I’m still plagued with these cravings everyday,” she lamented. Daisy had been dieting routinely for the past 15 years. Her weight had cycled up and down. She was still within her healthy weight range, but felt that it wasn’t her natural weight, the weight she expected if she were eating more intuitively.

There are no promises of weight loss with intuitive eating. In fact, using intuitive eating with the express intention for weight loss (even if it is only a secret hope) will probably get in the way of connecting with your intuition altogether. It’s like meditating. Once you use the practice to achieve something or to get somewhere, you have completely missed the point. What’s more, without laying a good foundation for your new eating approach, it will be too easy to slip back into old patterns and behaviors. Continue Reading →

Foundational Eating Part 1: Adequacy

Part one in my series on getting back to basics for building a solid eating recovery.

Emotional eating. It’s so taboo. It conjures visions of pathetic women in their jammies eating ice cream straight from the tub while watching The Notebook, Kleenex box at hand, right after a bad break-up. No one wants to be that girl. So shameful.

And yet so human. From the soothing received at the breast or bottle to the urge to celebrate with a special dinner, we are all emotional eaters to some degree. As much as we may want to extricate our emotions from this most fundamental act, to do so denies our very humanity. Without this connection, we, as a species, would have been far less motivated to eat and proliferate.

While it can seem fairly straightforward to know what emotional eating is (using food or restricting food in order to suppress or numb emotions), it is more tricky to understand what it isn’t. In my practice, I often see clients who believe they are emotional eaters, but appear to have something else going on. Take Emily a 20-something grad student, for example. “I just can’t stop eating emotionally!” she complained on her first visit, “When I’m stressed, I eat. When I’m bored, I eat. When I eat certain foods, I feel so guilty I have to do something to fix it or I’ll go crazy!”

Easy diagnosis, right? Not so fast. Continue Reading →