Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What is exercise bulimia?

I was into sports my whole life. I started competitive swimming at the age of 5 and was the only girl on an all boys soccer team at age 6. (I also scored the first goal of the season.) I love competition and physical activity. It is a part of who I am. But when I was in high school, my love grew into an obsession.

I was on a highly competitive swim team. We practiced before and after school and sometimes swam up to 10,000 yards in one practice. My freshman year I literally would eat, swim, and go to school. I was too tired to do anything else. My body was pure muscle- what today I would call lean, toned, and beautiful. Back then I saw myself as big, bulky and fat.

We all know the dangers of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. But did you know it is dangerous to get too much exercise? I was starting to exhibit symptoms of exercise bulimia. or compulsive exercise, and suffered inwardly from guilt, anxiety, depression and body image issues. Getting fit is an American ideal but I was secretly on a path to self-destruction.

When I was growing up, the concept of exercise bulimia wasn't ever addressed. When you are an athlete you get a free pass that prevents you from confronting it because people expect you to exercise at near-compulsive levels.

How can there be such a thing as too much exercise? Isn't exercise a good for you?

When exercise becomes compulsive, it is simply another way to "purge' the goal of exercise becomes burning calories and relieving the guilt from eating (or binging), or giving yourself "permission"to eat. ("I can't eat unless I've exercised or know I will exercise.")

For me, this became a continuous cycle. Counting calories in my head, trying to go to the gym (where machines would tell me how many calories I was burning), trying starvation diets like eating only carrots for a week, all the while analyzing and obsessing about what I looked like in the mirror. I had a drawer of jeans in my room and I can't tell you how many times a day I would try them on to see how I looked. I used to pat my hips and dream they would go away so I could be stick thin like the models. I hated myself, I hated my body and I hated the anxiety and depression I was dealing with as an exercise bulimic.

As with all other disordered eating behaviors, the surface goal of burning calories and losing weight was only part of the picture. Ultimately, compulsive exercise gives each sufferer a sense of temporary power, control and/or self-respect. It is an underlying emotional issue and to relieve the guilt and pressure of stress. Some will continue to exercise with the feeling that it is a chore or a punishment; others will be addicted to the sense of power and self-respect they feel from the activity. This puts the individuals physical safety, emotional health and other areas of their life in jeopardy.

What should you do if you suspect you or your child has crossed the line from a healthy desire to exercise to an unhealthy compulsion?

Many compulsive exercisers need therapy. To get started, call your doctor to ask for a referral.

Warning signs of Exercise Bulimia...

  • Does the person exercise so much that they are missing out on life's events?

  • Is the person choosing to exercise over going out, going to work, going to social events, etc.?

  • Does the person continue to exercise even if they have an illness?

  • Does the person workout for hours at a time?

  • Does the person seem to get depressed or anxious if they have to skip an exercise session?

  • Does the person talk about exercising a lot?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A time of recession

We have been in a recession for a while now. This often leaves people with the feeling of anxiety and fear. Several people have lost jobs and many businesses are closing the doors. At this point it becomes personal. It is having effect on all of us.
It is easy to get caught up in the negative energy that looms and dooms around us all. It is easy to talk about the problems in the grocery line, the bank line, on the phone with friends and family. It is easy to get swept away with the negativity and the depression of what is around us. People tend to start hoarding their things and their energy. Saving everything they have for themselves and their families.
Nonetheless, it isn’t as easy to look for the positive and to reach out in a time of desperation to others. However, helping the community at large or another person in need can often help your soul in return.
As a small business owner and a single mom, things can get busy and stressful, but the ethic of volunteering in the community and teaching my son the value of giving back to the community is important. The sense of love and joy that fill our hearts with volunteering our time and energy is so rewarding. At 5 years old my son commented to me one day how much he loved feeding the homeless people. He said with a huge smile that it made him feel full of love in his heart. It touched me by how profoundly that had affected him and that moment will never be forgotten.
I was in Whole foods a couple of months ago and ran into my favorite art teacher from ASU. It had been 20 years since I had her but she still looked the exact same. I called out her name and we began to talk. It turns out she was getting let go from her position with all the layoffs going on at ASU and I offered to help her find something. A week later she started to volunteer with my business. She is hands down one of the most amazing people I have ever met and the amount of help she has given me is priceless. Her heart is filled as she feels like she is giving back and my heart is filled as I have someone miraculous in my life that is helping take my business to a whole new level. My son and I continue to volunteer and the beautiful cycle of love and joy is in all of our hearts.
This story is shared as an opportunity to make a difference in your community, especially when the chips are down and we are all fighting to keep our head above the water. This is our chance to create a cycle of love and to put the recession behind us and create something beautiful when we come together for the greater good.
Take the challenge to see where you can make a difference in the world or someone’s life and don’t be surprised if get something valuable in return.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Are you aware that childhood obesity is affecting your community?

It is easy to turn your back on childhood obesity, especially if you are not directly dealing with it in your home or family. However, the alarming rates in which this preventable disease is growing tells us that we need to stop and pay attention.

Childhood obesity doesn’t affect any one demographic, it affects ALL of them. Approximately 15 percent of children and adolescents are overweight, compared to just 4 percent a few decades ago, and another 15 percent are at risk for being overweight. Childhood obesity is a growing concern in today's world. A frightening number of children are obese and developing diseases normally seen in adulthood.

Weighing too much may increase your risk for developing many health problems. If your
body mass index (BMI) indicates that you are overweight or obese, you may be at risk for many of obesity's health effects. These include:

Type 2 diabetes
Heart disease
High blood pressure (hypertension)
High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)
Certain cancers
Sleep apnea
Gallbladder disease and gallstones
Fatty liver disease (also called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Psychological and emotional effects.

The good news is there are things that can be and are being done to combat this epidemic. Here in Arizona there many coalitions, grants and businesses working together to bring awareness and shift the paradigm that currently exists.

How can you help prevent childhood obesity?

  • Get out and play. You don’t have to be an athlete or into sports to get out and be active.
  • Limit your screen time. Video games, computers, and TV are all easy ways to become sedentary and lethargic. This is also an easy time to eat more than you anticipated.
  • Become educated in health and nutrition. You don’t need to be a master, but try to learn how to read labels, and understand the importance of whole food health.
  • Eat MORE fruits and veggies.
  • Try to sit down when you eat and be as present to your food as you can.
  • Become aware of your emotions when you eat. It will help to understand why and when you eat what you do.

    What can you do for your children or those in your community that are currently overweight or obese?
  • Health education awareness that teaches you about food and nutrition
  • Healthy eating plans that reduce calories but do not rule out specific foods or food groups
  • Regular physical activity and/or exercise instruction
  • Tips on healthy behavioral changes that also consider your cultural needs
  • Slow and steady weight loss of about ¾ to 2 pounds per week and not more than 3 pounds per week (weight loss may be faster at the start of a program)
  • Medical care if you are planning to lose weight by following a special formula diet, such as a low-calorie diet
  • A plan to keep the weight off after you have lost it.

    What are some of the things being done in various communities to fight childhood obesity?
  • In March 2008 the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) received a grant funded by the Centers for the Disease Control-Division of Adolescent and School Health (CDC-DASH) to develop and implement a statewide Coordinated School Health program. The administration of the AzCSHP is a collaborative effort between ADE and the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). AzCSHP will be focusing on three areas: Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Tobacco Use Prevention. To learn more about Coordinated School Health
  • There are several coalitions that are specifically working on childhood obesity such as Action for health Kids, South Phoenix Health Kids Partnership, Arizona Public Health Association School Health Section, etc.
  • There is currently an active group that is specifically helping the South Mountain area through organic community gardens. These gardens will not only bring healthy foods to an area that does not have readily access to grocery stores or healthy eating, but also bring beautification and sustainability to the community.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done to help our children and young adults become healthy, happy and successful. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I believe it takes a community to shift the paradigm of childhood obesity. It isn’t easy to change things of comfort but it can be done. One step at a time, with the awareness, communication, and support we can change the lives of many children.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

An astounding 1 in 6 people have been medically misdiagnosed

An astounding 1 in 6 people have been medically misdiagnosed

A poll commissioned by the National Patient Safety Foundation found that one in six people have personally experienced a medical diagnosis error.

My intention for this message is to share my personal experience and to remind you to be your own personal advocate for your health and well being.

I considered myself to be a very healthy person up until the last 2 years. It took everything in me to get through my day of being a single mom, starting a business, and working full time. I wasn’t sleeping well, I felt dizzy and nauseous, I was thirsty all the time, and had absolutely NO energy. My mind was still me… energetic, positive, and ready to conquer the world but my body felt like someone had hijacked it and took me on a slow, bumpy, dark ride.

Life was definitely not what I had expected it to be at age 34. I have always believed in holistic health but I had such amazing health insurance as a state employee, I thought I should use it. I sought out a renowned endocrinologist as I was quite certain from all my googling that my hormones, thyroid, and adrenals were the cause of it all. After six months of urine testing, blood work and lots of driving to my “renowned” doctor what finally came about was a misdiagnosis of diabetes insipidus and a 911 call.

I will never forget it. It was Monday August 13th, my 35th birthday. I couldn’t sleep the night before but was excited to go to work and celebrate my birthday with friends. I figured it was just my body getting used to the new prescription that I would be on for the rest of my life for the diabetes insipidus. The only problem was when I got up I felt like I was having a heart attack. My body was so swollen I thought my limbs were going to pop like a balloon filled with too much air. I have never been so nauseous, dizzy, and shaky. Was I having a horrible anxiety attack? I couldn’t breath and my heart was fluttering outside my chest. I managed to take a shower and tell myself soothing thoughts. It was only 5 am but I thought the shower would help. I was scared and not sure what to do. I thought I better call 911. Then there were thoughts of what if there was nothing wrong with me. Finally I was just too sick and scared. I called 911. They came and started checking my vitals. My hair was a mess, looking like Medusa from not having done anything after my shower. Amazingly, as sick as I was, I was still vaguely able to check out the cute paramedics.

My son Skyler, rubbing his eyes as he slowly was trying to wake up, walked into my room to chaos and started crying, “Mommy, are you dying?” I was so sick and weak but managed to tell him that I was going to be ok. I called his dad and he came to get Skyler to take him to school. I left in the ambulance.

It was 115 degrees that day. I was in my pajamas, no socks or shoes, bumping around in the back of the incredibly hot ambulance with men I didn’t know. It was horrible. I was scared, alone, and very sick. I have never thrown up so much in my whole life! It seemed like eternity to ride a short 7 miles.

I was weak when they got me to the emergency room. All I remember was being wheeled and dropped off in the waiting room, barely coherent, and very alone. Finally Isaiah, Skyler’s dad, came into the lobby where I was hunched over in the wheelchair with glazed eyes and an overwhelming feeling of terror. I asked him to check to see when I would be looked at. It turns out the paramedics dropped me off and never signed me in. Wow, I had been sitting there for about 45 minutes and I wasn’t signed in yet!!!! With all my might I begged Isaiah to get them to take me back.

As I was being wheeled to the exam room so many scary thoughts were racing my mind. What was wrong with me? Was diabetes insipidus deadly? Why was this happening on my birthday? Was Skyler scarred for life after seeing all of that?

I got into a tiny curtained area with Isaiah sitting about 2 feet away from me. I was instantly hooked up to IV’s but not before continuing to throw up. Talk about vulnerable. I was practically sitting in Isaiah’s lap while puking my brains out. What a sight. I remember in between puking, quietly, and weakly apologizing to Isaiah for the lovely view. Thank God he didn’t care.

Eventually the IV’s kicked in and I became relaxed and the nausea went away. The ER doctor, whom was actually very nice, took a plethora of tests and found that my blood sodium levels where extremely low. I had water intoxification from the medication that was given to me.

The good news was that I didn’t have diabetes insipidus. The bad news was it was my birthday, I was checked into the hospital and no one knew what was wrong with me. I remember feeling relieved. I started to feel human again about 12 hours later at 6pm and told my mom, who was worried and in Michigan, that I was glad I was in the hospital and I would finally get some answers.

I didn’t get much rest that night as I was continuously being monitored, poked, and prodded. I wasn’t allowed to drink anything except to suck on some ice chips. The hospital completely ignored my request for food. Yes, I was actually hungry after all that throwing up. Finally I got food… I think that was what it was but it looked so gross to me I ate saltines instead. The nurse, out of convenience for her grouchy old self, put a catheter in me. She said it would be better so I didn’t have to keep ringing for her when I needed to go to the bathroom. I was nice at first and agreed until I couldn’t stand the catheter anymore. I wised up and realized this is her job! I didn’t need to be nice to appease her. I requested the catheter to be removed. I did manage to get some sleep the rest of the night.

The next morning I had a series of doctors come in to check on me. The final doctor came in and said, “Well, here are your release papers and you do not have diabetes insipidous.” “What do you mean?” I exclaimed!!! The doctor suggested that I had adrenal and thyroid issues and to follow up with a doctor when I leave.

I was shocked and confused but quickly caught on that this is the world we live in. Once they had stabilized me there was no reason to keep me there. I wasn’t their responsibility anymore.

Amazing how fast the panic and feeling alone kicked back in. How did I know it wasn’t going to happen again? That horrible sick feeling could easily come back.

I went to work 2 days later weak and exhausted but needing the pay. I did manage to find a naturopathic doctor who helped me in many ways. Over the next year and a half I continued to feel better but still not myself. My life was about to take me on another journey of challenges. The path of discovering I had Lupus.

Our health is a sacred and special part of us. Although doctors are trained and schooled for years, they are not gods and do make mistakes. It is imperative that you do as much research about your health as you can. Ask the doctors several questions and make sure that you feel comfortable with the direction they are taking you. This is your life and your body and for no reason should you feel like you need to be nice or that they know best. Misdiagnosis happens often and the only person you can truly trust is yourself. I encourage you to seek your inner wisdom, do your research, and express your concerns if you have any. There are certainly wonderful doctors out there but the best advocate is you!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Consider that Our Old Patterns/Habits are in the Way of Optimum Health

Love is often given to our loved ones using unhealthy food such as an old-fashioned cookie, ice cream, soda, or candy. It is considered a treat or a reward. It means we are being good, we deserve it, or perhaps it is an act of love for no reason. If done too regularly this old way of thinking is hurting our bodies and creating patterns in our youth that is unnecessary and harmful.

Many in our society today are obsessed with and confused about food and our children are suffering because of it. *Between 8% - 45% of newly diagnosed cases of childhood diabetes are type II, associated with obesity, whereas 4% of childhood diabetes was type II in 1990. That number has risen to approximately 20%. Depending on the age group (Type II most frequent 10-19 group) and the racial/ethnic mix of group stated and of children diagnosed with Type II diabetes, 85% are obese.

We use food as a reward, as a means of numbing our pain, and to get our kids to behave. One of my biggest concerns is when I see children with sugar dripping from their mouths because mom wants them to behave while shopping, driving in the car, or even getting their haircut. It’s an easier out to treat your child with unhealthy sugar. This ultimately has the opposite effect on children’s behavior than what you want. I say there are other ways of rewarding, like an acknowledgement, a sticker, an apple or carrot, or better yet a hug or a high five. It’s easier to start good habits with a very young child before he knows what candy, McDonald’s, or other junk food is. If they are already exposed to “the sugars” and fast foods, it’s certainly worth your child’s health and well-being to teach them about how nutrient-dense foods make them healthier and strong and how processed foods can make them sick if they have too much.

I am often surprised at how I get treated for making sure my three-year-old son eats healthy and balanced meals minimizing the sugar and junk in his diet. I get called a mean mom, a sugar-Nazi, and a health freak while these parents are loading their children with chemicals and sugar that they were taught to believe was giving their child a treat. Love is caring about your children’s well being even if it causes you to take an unpopular stand for better long-term health. A big part of this comes from educating ourselves as parents about nutrition. We can’t pick up a newspaper or a magazine today that doesn’t emphasize the importance of good, healthy, whole-food meals with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Balance and variety are the key. Food is yummy and there are lots of ways to incorporate good tasting foods into your diet and enjoy life. I think it is completely fine to have cake at a birthday party… as long as there isn’t one every weekend. Most importantly there are plenty of pure foods that taste just like the ones filled with the unhealthy ingredients.

Consider that the younger we can train our children’s taste buds the better the chances they have to grow up with fruits and vegetables in their vocabulary and their tummies. As parents we must educate ourselves so we can offer our children the best and healthiest lives possible. All the statistics show that healthy, whole food eating effects our mind, body, and spirit in such a positive way. Bottom line…the next time your child is throwing a fit in the grocery store, think of another way to calm him rather than to pop a sucker into their mouths.

*References: National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and website
Consider that Our Old Patterns/Habits are in the Way of Optimum Health

Thursday, May 7, 2009

ATTENTION all Parents… do you really know what is in those lunchables?

I ran a summer camp this past year at a large school and I was SHOCKED at what the kids were bringing to lunch everyday. LUNCHABLES!!!!! I realized at that moment how powerful marketing really is.

So parents a little health education for you. When you read the ingredients in a label, the fewer there are the better. Also the more ingredients you recognize even greater. I challenge you to read a lunchable the next time you go to put one in your cart. You have to be a scientist in a lab that makes them to be able to recognize any of those ingredients. Worse than that you need glasses to read them because the print is so small to fit all the ingredients in and you might as well sit down because it will take you a while to read the box. In a CNN health article, Dr.
Clarence Grim stated, “The packages should carry a warning label.” There, that should give you a clue how horrible these fun, cute, easy to do lunches are that we are giving our beautiful, nutrient deficient kids.

Marketing and advertising wins kids over all the time. They see how cool they look, and all their friends have them so now they have to too. What they don’t tell you is really hurting our children. So when your kid wines and cries and throws a temper tantrum because they have to have one of these cool lunches think twice about what is more important… your child’s health or how cool they think the lunchables are?

My suggestion is take them to the grocery store with you and teach them about label reading. The more organic the better and remember to look at the ingredients on a label first. Fat, calories, and sugar content is second to ingredients. When something says low fat in big letters on the front of it, it is the marketing ploy to get you to buy it. What they are not telling you is that they have replaced the fat with chemicals that will be stored in the body as fat because they won’t be digested.

Food truly can be fun, easy, affordable, tasty and healthy. It is just a matter of the proper education and your attitude. Try making your own lunchable by buying a reusable lunch box with compartments just like the lunchables and add things like organic chicken nuggets, carrots and celery with organic peanut butter, vitamin water that tastes great, and two organic small cookies. Real ingredients. Real good.

How it all began...

“Growing up, I struggled to figure out who I was, where I fit in, and was obsessed with my body. I was an exercise bulimic, meaning if I thought I ate too much, I would go work out until I felt I had burned enough calories.

I also constantly compared my body to everyone else. I hated that I had a healthy, muscular body. I just wanted to be skinny like so many other girls I saw. I also went through many changes in my life and was confused a lot. It took me the majority of my life to get to where I am now – at peace with who I am. Now I am passionate about helping others feel good about themselves and strive toward peace and health in their own uniqueness.

EVERYONE is a precious individual and deserves to feel good about themselves, yet we are bombarded all the time with exterior messages that make us believe we don’t deserve it. Kidz for Life is designed to give people the tools to finally come to peace with themselves, as well as accomplish health goals. Life isn’t always easy, but with the right tools you can overcome any situation and come out a healthier, happier person. A reflection of your self-esteem is everywhere. We work primarily with self-esteem educating on choices. This is my passion and I want to share it with you.”