Why I Won’t Be Going Vegan… Like, Ever…Ashley Blogs

Though the Grapefruit Diet and the like may finally have been condemned, there are other pseudo diets that lurk in the mainstream, masquerading as the key to optimal health while continuing to promote restriction, fear of foods, and disordered eating. For many of us who have dealt with disordered eating or eating disorders, vegetarianism, veganism, a gluten free lifestyle, and so forth can be a gateway to a whole new dimension of restriction. So many of us have gone down this path, cutting out this and limiting that. We swear it’s for health reasons; that we just saw the latest research and bacon will surely kill us, and we are making our decision based on what is best for our bodies, not our waistlines. And maybe for some that kind of decision might work. Maybe for some that might be true. Maybe for some, cutting out meat or limiting dairy might actually make their digestive system run a little smoother and their energy a little higher. Maybe for some it truly isn’t a big deal, and the ethical nature of veganism is reason alone to make certain dietary choices. I am not one of these people.

For me, the moment I think about restricting a single food item, alarm bells go off. My brain starts going loop-de-loo, and all I want is everything. The moment in which I think hey, bread is evil, let’s not eat bread, for example… all I do is eat bread. It happens with every single food group, and it has ever since my binge eating disorder really took ahold after years of yo-yo restriction. You see, my brain has been trained. It believes that every time I even think about removing something from my diet, I am about to go down the path of deep and heavy restriction. Past experience has told it so. And so when those thoughts start mulling around, my body’s survival mode kicks into high gear, and it’s binge season up in here.
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Ashley Blogs: Nice to Meet You!

Hi there! My name is Ashley, and I’m the newest member of Erica’s team. I’m super thrilled to be here, and I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself, specifically how I came to work with Erica, and how my relationship with food and my body has impacted my life. Believe me, that’s a long list of things that I won’t have the time to really dig into now, but I thought I might at least share the tip of the iceberg.

 

I, like many of you, was preoccupied with food and my body at a young age. From the first time I can remember being aware that I had a body, I can only recall an overwhelming feeling of discomfort. As I moved through puberty and my body began changing, things really started to heat up. I was getting subliminal messages every day from family, friends, and the media about what my body was supposed to look like, what I was supposed to be eating, and what I had to do to be worthy of anyone’s time and effort (re: be pretty and skinny). Food was a constant point of contention – I can recall scarfing down freshly fried chicken cutlets in my formal dining room, hiding because I was afraid of my own hunger and ashamed that my mother would see me bingeing and think I was a failure – and my body consistently made me feel at odds with everyone around me.

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Diets and Diet Culture Have Been the Fabric of Our Lives

My mother has lived in the same New York City apartment — my childhood home — for close to 60 years. Deciding to finally move south, we sifted through her apartment filled with as many memories as possessions. The process flooded my senses with remnants of diets and diet culture: a doctor’s scale in the master bedroom, Weight Watchers food scales, bowls and measuring cups in the kitchen, bookshelves lined with diet books a la Atkins, Stillman, South Beach, Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem, and finally to my former bedroom, which still displayed that full length mirror I’d spent hours standing in front of as a teen!

Body image issues

Thankfully, I never developed a full-blown eating disorder but certainly dabbled in diets and had my fair share of body image issues through the years. Society is much more critical of a person’s weight and body size now than when I was growing up. Many young people feel enormous pressure to “fit in” and look a certain way. The media only fuels the focus on external attributes by using anorexic-looking fashion models in television and magazine ads. Eating disorders do not discriminate and can be seen across all races, sexes, ages and sexual orientation.

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Why is Mindful Eating So Difficult?

We asked 25 men and women in New York City why they thought eating mindfully (we gave a basic description of what this means) was so challenging. Here’s what we heard:

Eating mindfully is desired, but respondents cited a lack of time

 

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“Are You Tired of Being Fat And Ugly?” – A Response

This is a wonderful guest post written by my  niece, Jenny Rose, who is also the designer of my beautiful website. I am fortunate to have family members who “get” the damaging and body-shaming messages the media dole out on a daily basis. 

I came across this sign outside Nutrishop, a vitamins and supplements retailer next door to Chipotle (where I’d just unapologetically eaten 3 tacos).

The sign spoke to me:

“ARE YOU TIRED OF BEING FAT AND UGLY?” it shouted, ringing caps lock in my head.

“Who, me?” I answered.

“JUST BE UGLY!” it concluded, its underline signifying that this was the final word: Conversation over, now buy our products.

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