Enjoy your Holiday Meal Guilt free

I was talking to a friend recently, and she was telling me how she’s already tired of the holidays.

I said, “But they’ve barely started! How can you be sick of it already?”

Her response made me sad, because it reminded me of how things used to be for me as well. She said, “Kerri, I’m so tired of feeling guilty about food. I can’t wait for January when it will all be back to normal.”

This is not an uncommon feeling this time of year. Holidays bring treats, parties and big dinners. Food is intertwined with all of it. It’s what humans have done forever. We celebrate with food. Every culture has their special meals and foods.

For those with a strained relationship with food, this can be torture. The desire to retreat is strong – just disappear until it’s all over. But the draw to the food can be equally as strong, creating this incredible tug-of-war. No wonder it’s no fun anymore.

I asked my friend if she had ever considered thoroughly enjoying the holiday foods, completely guilt-free, even the foods that she considered not-so-healthy – in fact, especially those foods.

She looked at me like I was nuts. “I’d never stop eating, Kerri.”

So I told her about some interesting research that I had read.

In this study, they divided the people into two groups, and both were given the same shake under different pretenses.

One group was told that this was a healthy meal replacement with a reasonable calorie count and nutritional profile. The label on the shake reinforced that idea.

The second group was told that the shake was an indulgent treat, with more calories than it actually contained. The label showed that the shake lacked nutrients.

Each group had their grehlin levels measured after they consumed it, and again an hour or so afterwards. Grehlin is the hunger hormone. When it’s high, so is hunger. There are many hormones that contribute, but this is a strong one.

Both groups’ grehlin levels dropped after consumption, suggesting a sense of fullness and satisfaction. The big difference came later.

For the group that believed they were drinking a healthy shake, their levels were still stable an hour later. They stayed full and satisfied.

What about the group that believed they had indulged in a high-calorie treat? Their levels rose quite quickly after consuming it, and then dropped again. They were left hungry and unsatisfied. 

So what did we learn after geeking out on this research? That your mindset about the food you’re eating is going to greatly affect how satisfied you will be after eating. If you believe that you’re overindulging, then you’re not going to feel satisfied for long after said ‘treat.’ But if you sit down with your food and believe that it is a perfectly reasonable choice, your body will respond with satiety.

This was very interesting to my friend because she is a binge eater and she has always wondered why even after eating huge amounts of food her body never seems to feel full. Even if she feels physically full, her hunger returns surprisingly fast.

So the moral of this story is just change your mindset – easy, right? Ha, right! Look, I know first-hand how hard it is to change your relationship with food. It took me years to figure this stuff out. Just know that you are not alone, and that help is available.

I wish you all the best with whatever you celebrate.

Dr. Kerri

To book a Food Sanity Session click here

Download your free copy of Break Free From Binge Eating

 

Fitness vs Fatness

Shifting the Focus From Fatness to Fitness

I was at a wedding where they had a belly dancer perform for us. She was not a small woman – definitely carried more around the middle than most women consider desirable. She danced for at least a half hour with no breaks, and it was incredible to watch what she could do with her abs!

As we were watching this woman, another health professional said to me, “I would have expected her to have a six-pack.” I looked at her with my head cocked, in the “I don’t understand” position. She proceeded with her explanation, “She looks so strong is all.” I said “She is. That’s incredible”.

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This showed me how deeply engrained are the social stigmas we have about people who carry extra weight, even amongst those who theoretically should know better. It is a myth that one cannot be fat AND fit. This belly dancer had more core strength and stamina than any of us! And she performed her routine with grace and softness.

Dove’s research revealed that 80% of women and girls had cancelled important life events (like birthday parties, trying out for a team, family dinners, holidays) due to low body esteem.

We need to create an environment where children and teenagers are not afraid of being teased. Because it’s stopping them from participating in the very activities that lead to health.

If our young people focus on their size instead of their health, they may get discouraged when their body doesn’t change the way they had hoped or intended, and they may stop being active because “it’s not working.”

That sense of shame and failure may have them retreating for comfort through food, or retreating to the isolation of their homes or online activities. Then the all-or-nothing dieting cycle begins, and a lifetime of dieting, shaming, and failure is not healthy.

The diet and fitness industry (and, sadly, the health care system as well) has been telling parents that we’re in a war against obesity (which, by the way, isn’t working).

My mission, and why I started The Diet Rebellion, is to help parents understand that the casualty of this war is their children’s mental health.

We are at a very important fork in the road. Let’s lead parents down the less-traveled path. This new path teaches us that:

  • Parents who discuss healthy eating with their kids without the conversation being about weight, raise teenagers who are less likely to develop eating disorders or obesity.[i]
  • Parents who don’t restrict foods raise teenagers who are less likely to develop discorded eating.[ii]
  • Parents who role model healthy eating behaviours and lifestyle choices themselves, for the sake of health and not weight loss, raise kids who are more likely to have a healthy lifestyle.[iii]

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This new path allows our children to achieve health at any size. It allows us to teach our kids that if they want to prevent diabetes, they don’t have to lose weight; they can do that by achieving better fitness and by participating in fitness because their bodies are amazing. Just like the belly dancer, they can be incredibly fit in a large body.

When we make food and fitness fun and enjoyable, we encourage lifelong participation. It creates healthy lifestyle strategies and connects children more with how their bodies feel and less about how their bodies look.

Until next time,

Dr. Kerri

 

[i] JAMA Pediatr. 2013 Aug 1;167(8):746-53. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.78.

[ii] Int J Eat Disord. 2014 Apr;47(3):310-4. doi: 10.1002/eat.22189. Epub 2013 Sep 18.

[iii] Br J Nutr. 2008 Feb;99 Suppl 1:S22-5. doi: 10.1017/S0007114508892471.

 

 

Why this doctor won’t recommend weight loss

Gasp! A doctor that doesn’t care about your weight?! Is that even allowed?

I will continue to educate you each month with a new blog that supports this way of thinking. For today I just want to share one frightening statistic and my thoughts about it.

9/10 Women with low body esteem admit to putting their health at risk

(like stopping themselves from eating or NOT SEEING A DOCTOR)

Over my 13 years of practicing naturopathic medicine I have met women who have not seen their doctor in years. No pap, no blood work, nothing. The reason? They don’t want to be told, again, to lose weight.

Shame Does Not Help

I get that their well meaning doctors have their patients best interest at heart (I sincerely hope that is their motivation), and I’d bet that they don’t realize what a simple comment or shake of the head can do to that patient’s already challenged self esteem.

These women are embarrassed about their weight. They feel so ashamed and when they feel like their doctor is only going to add to it, they choose instead forgo medical care when it’s necessary.

Weight Loss isn’t the same as Health

These overweight and obese patients feel that every complaint they have is met with “well, if you lost some weight, then….” and many of their conditions are not being treated properly. Some of them are out right being denied cared by their physicians until they lose weight.

You may hear a voice in your head saying “Well, rightfully so. If they won’t make their health a priority then why should their doctor?”. And here in Ontario, where healthcare is publicly funded, you may find a voice saying “Why should I fund their lack of commitment to their health?”.

It’s not your fault that you’ve become prejudiced against fat. You’ve been conditioned to believe that fat means unhealthy. Sadly, you’ve been duped! The research that shows and supports that weight loss doesn’t lead to better health outcomes is under reported. Under the guise of keeping you healthy, many believe that if they let you know that you don’t have to lose weight that they are simply supporting gluttony and laziness. Because that is what we as a society mean when we say ‘fat’. We’ve attached these moral judgments to obesity that we can’t even see them as separate anymore.

The good news is that I will be reporting this research. Right here. Month after month.

The Absurdity of “The Weight Loss” Prescription

People who carry more fat are not necessarily any less healthy than their thin counterparts. But where the thin counterpart will get treatment, the one with extra weight is first prescribed weight loss.

Here’s the problem with that script – it’s useless. There isn’t ONE known way to lose weight long-term. No pills, no magic diet, nothing. If you’re going to prescribe a remedy, you should first be sure that it’s possible. Otherwise, you might as well tell these women to go touch the surface of the moon and send them on their way.

There Is An Alternative

My solution? Stop weighing them. Change the conversation away from their weight and onto their health. They are not the same thing. As I will continue to support with evidence blog after blog, health can be achieved without weight loss. And since weight loss doesn’t work long-term, and since I want my patients to achieve long-term health, it’s a moot point anyway.

If you have been hiding from doctors due to fear of judgment, please come talk to me. Let’s get your actual health evaluated and create a treatment plan for long-term success.

 

Dr. Kerri Fullerton ND

 

References:

http://ndnr.com/naturopathic-news/bmi-shouldnt-be-used-to-determine-healthiness/

Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, 2016, Dr. Nancy Etcoff & Dr. Susan Paxon

How do you receive body comments?

Other people commenting on my body has been a push and pull throughout my life.

While I was actively dieting and trying to be small I thought that I loved it; thought that it was what I wanted. But it never felt good.

When I gave up dieting and started to focus on self love and true health, people’s well meaning compliments really messed me up.

Read more about my experience over on The Diet Rebellion blog.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Kerri

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Turkey Chili with Barley

This time of year we all crave warm comfort foods. So here is a recipe that serves up yummy healthy comforting goodness.

We encourage our fertility patients, and those trying to stabilize blood sugars, to consume more plant based proteins like beans, peas and lentils. This recipe allows you do so with gusto. Delicious.

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Dinner tonight and leftovers to freeze

You will need:

  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound of lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, juice drained
  • 1 cup salsa (spiciness to your taste)
  • 2 19-oz cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley

Instructions:

  1. Using a large heavy pot over medium heat, sauté the onions in a 1 Tbsp of olive oil.
  2. Once onions are softened, add the turkey and cook until no longer pink, breaking up the chunks as you go.
  3. Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper and cinnamon, cook for another minute.
  4. Add the first 2 cups of stock, tomatoes, salsa, beans and barley and bring to a simmer. If you need to, add more stock until everything is just covered in liquid. Reduce heat to maintain low simmer and cook for 60-70 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve hot with your favorite chili side (we like rye bread to sop up the bottom of the bowl).

Enjoy!

How breaking up with the scale helped my marriage

I started dieting officially in Grade 8. At 5′ 4″ I wanted to weight 120-125 lbs. My body thought otherwise. It thought that 130 was a better weight.

So my love/hate relationship with the scale began. When it was moving down, it was love. When it was moving up, it was hate.

In my desperation to get into the weight range that I wanted, my dieting attempts got more rigid. Trouble is, I was a terrible dieter. Restriction was never my strong suit. Overeating, binge eating, secret eating – that was what I did in response to restriction and body bashing. I loved myself better with food.

Fast forward into adulthood. Still wanting to weigh less. Still letting the scale be the ‘verification’ for if I was ‘on track’ or not.

What does this have to do with my marriage?

My husband thinks that I’m hot. He did when we met. He does now. Those two bodies are very different from one another. For one thing, 14 years have passed. I had a C section after carrying a 10lbs baby boy. And I’m not a size 8 anymore. I’m a 14.

One day, about 4 years ago, he was trying to get lucky and I was ‘off track’ and feeling anything but sexy. I screamed at him about how the weight was coming back, that I was fat and not sexy.

He looked at me with such anger. I don’t often see that side of him. He’s a joker and typically being silly.

“I am so sick and tired about how you talk about my wife” is all that he said. He walked away.

I cried. He was right. If anyone spoke about my friend or family that way I would be furious. By placing that kind of value on body size, it diminished all the other things that I am: playful, funny, a great Mom, caring doctor, supportive friend, bright and beautiful woman.

Why couldn’t I see what he sees?

I really started to understand that day what measuring my weight did to me. I gave my power away to a number. I told it that it could tell me if I could feel cute today. I started to see how what the scale said had no relevance on the other things in my life. I am an amazing friend at any size. My kid adores me at any size. That sweet man that I married wants to be with me at any size. But when I’m grumpy because my body doesn’t look like I want it to, that does impact my ability to be a great friend, an influential doctor, a supportive friend, and fun Mama.

So I chose my husband over my scale. I broke up with it that day and haven’t looked back.

What does your relationship with your scale provide you with? What does it cost you?

Not everybody has such a hard time with scales. If you are like me though, and need help with the break up, I’m here.

Kerri Fullerton XOXO