Body Love Wellness

Body Love Wellness is a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Through our non-judgmental, Health At Every Size counseling programs, we help you get off the dieting roller coaster and transform your relationship with your body.



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[caption id=”attachment_7588” align=”alignright” width=”320”]anna guest jelley curvy yoga class Anna Guest-Jelley with one of her classes[/caption]

If you haven’t heard of Anna Guest-Jelley, founder of Curvy Yoga, then you are missing out. She’s a wonderful teacher and now author of Permission To Curve: Inspiring Poses For Curvy Yogis & Their Teachers. Check out my chat with this inspiring woman below!

Golda: Tell me a little about your journey with Curvy Yoga.

Anna: I’m so glad you used that word because it has definitely been a journey! I first started Curvy Yoga (not even with that name yet) for my own practice. I’d been practicing yoga for several years and thought that I would finally “get” it once I lost x amount of weight.

Over time (and as I began my journey toward intuitive eating after close to two decades of chronic dieting), I realized that – hey – maybe, just maybe, the problem wasn’t my body. Maybe the problem was that my teachers had no idea how to help me.

The latter turned out to be true. Very few teachers learn how to assist or suggest modifications for bigger bodied people. As this became clearer to me and I kept learning more, I decided to become a yoga teacher to share the practice with other bigger bodied people.

Yoga can be such a transformative practice – helping you to integrate mind, body and spirit – and it has been kept from fat people for far too long. My goal with Curvy Yoga is to open the door to the yoga room a bit wider.

Golda: What’s the number 1 thing that keeps bigger folks from trying yoga?

Anna: Fear. This shows up in lots of different ways, but I think it’s at the root – and, unfortunately, that fear is too often well-founded. Over the course of doing this for a few years and hearing from hundreds (at least!) of people, I can say the fear usually shows up in one of two ways: (1) Fear of being shamed in some way and (2) Fear of being physically unsafe.

Shame research, from folks like Brene Brown, shows us that it can be a really paralyzing feeling. Once we get in that shame mode, it can be difficult to pull ourselves out, especially quickly. This is why sometimes fat folks go to yoga, have a great experience for most of the class, and then a  (usually well-meaning, but not always) yoga teacher says something that makes them feel like they’re unusual in some way, and the whole experience goes down the tubes. This kind of thing is really what inspired me to start teaching teachers how to make their classes accessible for people of all shapes and sizes. It’s not rocket science, but it does take some intentional thinking about languaging as well as how to incorporate many different pose options into a class and do so in a way that no one feels like they’re not doing it “right.”

Anna Guest-JelleyIn terms of fearing being physically safe, the same is also true. When bigger folks are interested in trying a yoga class, they want to know that they will be able to participate in a way that works for them, not be told to hang out in Child’s Pose for 30 minutes (which is often the default pose teachers give when a student can’t do what is being taught). In Curvy Yoga classes, I never want that to happen. I do my best in my own teaching, and now teaching other teachers, to come up with creative options for every single person so that everyone can fully participate in a way that takes their unique needs into account.

Golda: How do you figure out how to modify yoga poses for different bodies?

Anna: For my teaching, I’ve done it through experimentation with my own body, research and trial and error in teaching. I’ve been fortunate to work with students of many different shapes and sizes, so I’ve been able to develop some tools for my teaching toolbox on what might work.

Ultimately, though, yoga is a dialogue between the student and the pose. A teacher can help facilitate that conversation in a safe way, offering ideas, but the student has to determine what works best for him or her. This is actually what I love about yoga; at its root, it’s a very internal process that can (and will over time) bring you into a closer relationship with your body.

When I’m teaching, I use words like “play,” “curious,” “experiment,” “creative,” “find what feels good,” and “comfortable” over and over. For anyone who is practicing at home, I definitely encourage the same approach. Yoga is just like our life: it changes over time. So something you weren’t able to do yesterday might surprise you today by showing up, and the inverse is true – just because you did something last week doesn’t mean you’ll be able to today. This isn’t because you’re a “bad person” (as we’re so often inclined to think) but because things change – we sat differently at our desk chair, we took a long trip, we’re processing a heartbreak, we just had a really amazing breakthrough in our work, etc. Change isn’t always the result of something “bad;” sometimes it’s just change.

Golda: What’s your favorite pose?

Anna: This is a tough one! I really love any kind of hip stretch, like Pigeon. In my book, I have several different options for this pose. It can be problematic for folks with knee issues if done in the traditional way, but it’s definitely beneficial, so I’ve got five different versions in the book – everything from standing to laying down. That’s the awesome thing about yoga: there is almost always a way to find the intention of the pose in a way that works for you. And that’s really how I teach: if I know that a pose is inaccessible, I think of a way to find the benefits of the pose in a way that’s accessible.

The yoga poses themselves are not some magic key that will only work if done “perfectly.” The power of yoga is in the process and in getting in touch with your body. So do the pose in a way that works for you – pushing beyond your limit is not only unsafe, it’s unproductive. When you go too far, all the muscles around that area you’re stretching grip up, essentially making the stretch pointless. As soon as you come back to neutral, your body will be so relieved that it will recoil and you’ll end up as tight as before – if not tighter. On the other hand, if you move slowly, only going further when you feel your body give you space, you will not only be safer in the pose, your body will absorb and retain the benefit for longer.

Golda: You say in your book that your journey with yoga opened you up to trusting yourself and your body?  Do you see that happen with clients too?

Anna: Oh, definitely! It’s such a lovely process to bear witness to. One of the great things about yoga is that the effects on the mat really trickle off the mat and into your life, too. As I work with my students, they not only experience great physical benefits, like increased flexibility, reduced pain (if they’d been having it) and more strength, they also experience great internal benefits. For example, yoga has supported my students through serious illness, loss, moves, job and relationship changes and so much more.

At first glance, these things may not seem to have much to do with trusting yourself and your body. But what I see is that as students’ confidence on the yoga mat grows, they become clearer about their priorities, boundaries and needs. This applies in a whole host of areas of their life and is especially relevant for people who have spent a lifetime not trusting their body, hating their body, wanting it to change.

In a class with a safe teacher who teaches accessibly, students can definitely come into more equanimity with their body in the moment. Often when people first try yoga, they want to be able to do everything perfectly the first time. Over time, though, that goal can shift more towards listening to the body and seeing where it leads. And as this goal grows during the physical yoga practice, its effects naturally transition off the mat. This is rarely a very obvious process from moment to moment. But what often happens is that sometime down the road, students will come to me and say “You know what? I haven’t weighed myself in three weeks, and I used to weigh myself every day.” Or “I’ve been obsessing about food less; I find myself just eating when I’m hungry and not judging it all the time.” Or “My kids and I had been fighting for months, and lately, I don’t know; this just seem smoother!” These are the moments that make me want to pump my fist in the air – they’re just SO inspiring and awesome!

Golda: Your book is gorgeous and so interactive.  Was it hard to put together?
Anna:  Thank you SO much! It was really my goal to make the book feel like a traveling mat companion, so I’m really glad to hear you found it interactive. The hardest part for me was thinking about how to support multiple learning styles and keep people engaged in the process of learning new poses. Since this book is available digitally, I was really able to make that happen. The book includes photos and written instruction for 60+ poses and it also includes 15 videos for the must-see poses and sequences. In addition, people have the option to purchase an add-on video library that has a video for every single pose. That was a lot of videos to shoot! But making the book (and yoga!) more accessible was totally worth it.
As for the design, I can only take credit for hiring a very talented and savvy designer. Kate Hall is amazing!

Click here to check out Anna’s book, Permission To Curve.  You can also connect with me her Facebook and Twitter.


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As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I broke my wrist. For those of you who’ve had similar issues or other mobility or disability issues, you know how difficult it is to move about the world feeling impaired in some way (and I realize there are way worse things than a broken wrist).  The thing I found is that pain and discomfort are far easier to deal with than the little things like brushing your teeth or putting on a bra.

About two weeks after the injury, I was noticing my uneven manicure more and more.  My left hand, confined to a cast, retained almost a new manicure look, while my right hand, doing the job of two, had almost no nail polish left and altogether scraggly look.

[caption id=”attachment_6544” align=”alignright” width=”300” caption=”Best. Choices. Ever. My newly manicured hand and the proof with a stick.”][/caption]

I realize that there are bigger things to worry about than ragged looking nails.  Truthfully, I usually don’t think about it at all. But something broke in me when I woke up on Thursday morning. I just felt really scuzzy. Showering with one hand in a cast and covered with plastic sort of condom for a few weeks with beat up nails and gray hair growing in and just an all-around sense of the yuckiness had really gotten to me.  Of course, I had a gazillion things to do that day too.  I had to finish writing a teleclass that I would deliver at the end of the day, I had a number of clients on my schedule, and approximately a bajillion e-mails to send out.

I’ve always been a work first/ party later sort of person.  If you had asked me years ago what a person in my position should’ve done, I would’ve said, “Get to work.”  Getting to work is the responsible answer. Getting to work right away might’ve meant getting some more e-mails done or even doing a better job editing that teleclass.

I should have woken up, eaten something and gotten right to work.  Instead, I got dressed as best as I could and went straight to the nail salon. 

As soon as I walked in, it felt like the best decision I’d ever made in my life.  I sunk into a pedicure chair, turned on the massager, and watched whatever cooking show was on the TV there.  The woman who did my manicure was wonderful at working around the cast.  On my way home, I stopped in a drugstore and bought a poof with the stick attached so that I could exfoliate a bit and get to parts of my body that I wasn’t reaching so well one-handed.

The right thing to do would have been to go right to work, but it wouldn’t have been right for me. I felt so good after that mani-pedi and that walk that I approached my work with renewed vigor. When I got back to my home office I answered e-mails, made the calls I need to make, and even started editing that teleclass. I showed up for my work wholly and completely ready and happy and I’m pretty sure that I did a better job for my clients that day because I was feeling good and take care of.

Basically a little self-care (even if it seems frivolous) can go a long way. It’s important to remember that self-care can be a key to not only feeling good but feeling productive, happy, and essentially, nourished.

This concept is something that I touched on in my teleclass last week, The Goddess Path to Healing from Food and Body Image Issues. Essentially, the things that we think of is frivolous in our society, like taking time for self-care, spending a little extra time on our adornment, putting pleasure and happiness and contentment above work, these are the things that really make us happy because they connect us to the goddess and the divine feminine.  Truthfully, I try to live my life from this place as much as possible every day and it hasn’t led to the things that I had initially feared it would lead to, like missing appointments with clients or ignoring my business because I’m out finding my bliss. On the contrary, I find that the more I focus on the things I used to think of as frivolous, the happier and more focused I am and the more able to create the life I really want. These are the tools I’m so excited to be teaching in my upcoming group program The Big Beautiful Goddess Academy.

If you’re looking to increase her self-care, make a list of some of the activities that you think of as frivolous but that you enjoy. Make a commitment to do at least one of these things each week, or go even bigger and make a commitment to do one of those things each day. See how it affects your overall happiness.

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight.  She is now enrolling for The Big Beautiful Goddess Academy. Click here for details!


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For most of my childhood, my dad was an avid Aikidoist.  I would sometimes go to the dojo with him, and watched as he and other grown ups would roll themselves into incredibly agile little balls and roll in a circle around the room as part of their warm up.  It always looked fun to me, but when my parents tried to encourage me to take classes with the other kids, I balked.

Even at the tender age of 7, I was afraid of being bad at something.  I had already figured out that I was “bad at gym class” and that I wasn’t good at tumbling, gymnastics, etc.  Taking classes at the dojo felt like it was just going to be more of the same gym class stuff that I was already trying to avoid with timely visits to the nurse.

[caption id=”attachment_6213” align=”alignright” width=”226” caption=”I dig this quote. (Public domain image. Text added by me.)”]George Bernard Shaw “A life spent making  mistakes is  not only  more  honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing  nothing.” quote[/caption]

This fear of being bad at stuff continued for years, reaching its zenith in my first years as a lawyer.  My first job out of law school was at one of the largest law firms in the world, and somehow, I ended up working mostly for the most dreaded partners in my department.  I spent many a late night going back and forth between her office and mine, re-editing simple cover letters ten times over until she was happy with it.

Working for her shook my self-esteem to the core.  I would read agreements and letters over and over again looking for mistakes, but inevitably I would miss something and she would take me to task.  I was so afraid of making mistakes that the stress led me to make more mistakes.  (I later found out that other associates who had worked for her had needed extensive therapy, some choosing to leave the law altogether only a year or so into it.)  Luckily for me, after about two years, the partner I was working for left the law altogether, and thankfully, I was able to begin the work of improving my self esteem and rebuilding relationships with other people at the firm who came to respect my work.

[caption id=”attachment_6215” align=”alignleft” width=”231” caption=”I love this quote. (Image by Tom Palumbo from wikipedia. Text added by me.)”][/caption]

Even so, I was in a pretty dark place emotionally when I leafed through a Learning Annex brochure that included a talk by Albert Ellis.  I signed up for the talk, and while not all of it resonated with me, Dr. Ellis had a line that has been with me ever since.  During the talk, he had us say, again and again, “I’m a fucked up, fallible, human being, just like everyone else!”  Saying that a number of times with a group of 50 people or so whom you just met is incredibly freeing.  I remembered, that I’m human, and humans make mistakes.  In fact, they make lots of mistakes, and my occasionally, arguably misplaced commas were pretty meaningless on the scale of human mistakes.

Since then, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the whole idea of mistakes.  I’ve realized that mistakes are a sign that I’m actually doing something.  I’m trying something.  I’m stretching beyond my comfort zone.  Mistakes are often a sign that I’m taking action on my dreams.  Mistakes show me that maybe I need to do more research, or ask more questions, or get more people involved or just make more mistakes until I get it right.  Or maybe the mistake was the right way to do things in the first place.

Essentially, I’m a firm believer in mistakes.  Looking back, what mistakes have you made that you were glad you made?

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get her NEW free gift — Golda’s Top 5 Tips For Loving The Body You Have Right Now!

When I heard about Medicinal Marzipan’s Teen Week, I felt conflicted immediately.  I wanted to write about what it was like for me as a teen.  I wanted to give amazing advice that I wish I’d heard back then.  But I also thought, does this mean I’m going to have to revisit that really difficult time in my life?

But I’m diving in, so here goes.

I was a pretty solid size 14/16 throughout high school, which, at time, I thought was immensely fat.  Looking back, I realize that a lot of my behavior was about deflecting attention from my fatness. I was funny and always made people laugh (if I didn’t have them laughing with me, they’d be laughing at me, right?).  I also put immense pressure on myself to have perfect grades, which I used to think was all about getting a full scholarship to college.  I realize now that this perfectionist tendency is really typical of people with disordered eating behaviors.  I had been on and off diets from a very young age, so my perception of my body was that it was wrong, bad, shameful etc.  When you feel ashamed of your desperately imperfect body, it would make sense that you would need validation through something else.  For me, it was being at the top of my class and being a leader in every extra-curricular activity that didn’t involve throwing a ball.

[caption id=”attachment_6201” align=”alignright” width=”221” caption=”Good times. Me in the bathroom, senior year. :)”][/caption]

So I wanted to share some tips that I wish I had read back then.  I hope they’re helpful.

1) Being Perfect Is Overrated — Being perfect is not only overrated, it’s impossible.  And you don’t have to be really good at something to deflect attention from your body’s imperfections.  No one’s body is perfect.  No one’s.  Even models get airbrushed like crazy.  Rather than trying to be perfect, try the best you can to be happy.  Do the best you can to study what really interests you, to be around people who are fun and non-judgmental, to be a little different and weird if it’s what you want.  What’s different and weird in high school is often brilliant and creative when you’re older.

2) Take All Advice With Huge Grains Of Salt (including my advice) — A lot of people with varying levels of authority over you will pressure you to change your body.  One particular scary (and completely wrong) bit of advice that fat kids get is “If you continue to be fat, you’ll be dead by the time you’re __.”  That is complete and total bullshit. Your body, whatever shape or size it may be is not a ticking time bomb.  You have no designated expiration date stamped on your belly.  You’re body is truly fabulous and perfect (see above).  Treat it with love and you will do better than most.

3) Whatever You Do, Don’t Diet  -  I wrote a book with 25 reasons not to diet, and I had to cut down the list.  But in a nutshell, dieting sets you up for weight yo-yo-ing, crappy self esteem, obsessing about food, and general unhappiness.  Don’t start that cycle now.  If you already started it, consider just focusing on eating healthfully, enjoying your food, moving your body, and accepting your body.  This is the basis of a concept called Health At Every Size®, which is a wonderful and healing alternative to dieting, and is the basis of the work I do.

Please comment below and let me know if these tips are having an impact!

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get her NEW free gift — Golda’s Top 5 Tips For Loving The Body You Have Right Now!

Golda Poretsky, HHC
http://www.bodylovewellness.com

Listen to the podcast here:
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The desire to be thin is so ingrained in our culture (thanks, $58.6 billion diet industry) that we don’t often ask the question — Why do you want to be thin?  But what does being thin really mean?  What would being thin mean to you?

People often talk about thinness and the desire for thinness as a given.  We are taught to equate thinness with health, attractiveness, ease of dating, etc.  We’re taught that being thin is a worthy goal, the holy grail of a life well-lived.

So I want to break apart this thinness myth right now.  I want to look at the reality of our collective desire to be thinner, how we’re taught to achieve it, and how using a Health At Every Size approach (the one I use with my clients) can help you achieve the desires underpinning your thinness desires.

Supposed Benefit Of Being Thin Dieting Approach Health At Every Size (SM) Approach
Better Health More and more evidence is showing that the supposed detrimental health effects of being fat are actually the result of dieting and the incredible strain that dieting puts on the body.  Dieting wreaks havoc on the body, affecting everything from your immune system, to your cardiovascular system, to your mental health. Participants in studies of the Health At Every Size approach, which includes intuitive eating skills, appropriate body movement, and body acceptance, actually show more long term improvement in health indicators, such as decreased LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, more consistent activity levels, and feeling empowered and less depressed.
More Attractive A 2004 study of chronic dieters found that they had lower self esteem and a lower appearance evaluation than non-dieters. In other words, even if temporary thinness is achieved with dieting, it doesn’t mean that the dieter feels any more attractive. On the other hand, participants in HAES programs learn to love and accept their bodies, increasing their self esteem and acknowledgement of their attractiveness. When you feel attractive, others respond to it, and see you as attractive.
More Active For dieters, activity is often connected with weight loss. The focus is not on joyful movement of your body, but on calories burned. This focus on activity as a means to an end often leads to abandonment of exercise programs when desired results aren’t achieved, or overexercising, which can result in injuries and other problems. With the HAES approach, participants are encouraged to find movement that they like. Because it’s enjoyable, they’re automatically encouraged to continue. Linda Bacon’s study has borne this out.
Live Longer A recent study found that people who lost 15% or more of their body weight had an increased risk of death compared to people of the same size who didn’t lose weight. Our common knowledge on this topic is completely off base. Studies indicate that fat people live longer than thin people. HAES does not involve this intentional manipulation of body weight, and therefore doesn’t create these detrimental effects.
Eating Better or Healthier It all depends on your conception of healthy eating. Dieting often involves a disconnection from your body, and an implicit agreement to adhere to the dictates of the diet no matter what sort of cues your body gives you. So while you may be eating more reasonable portions and more vegetables you’re also learning to ignore your body’s signals, which usually leads to some bingeing behavior when your body calls bullshit. Also, most diets involve some low-fat or low-cal processed foods which are full of chemicals that probably should not be ingested by anyone. With HAES, you learn about real nutrition, you eat real food, you reconnect with your body, you learn how to listen to its cues and feed it in a way that makes sense for you. You learn to trust yourself and your body. You have bigger portions when you need them and smaller portions when you need them. You let go of restrictions in a new way, so that food loses its power and becomes what it is — nutrition, fuel, pleasure.
Easier To Find Clothes It is true that, if you diet down to a size 14 or under, it is easier to find and buy clothes. However, because diets don’t work in the long term (I’m sorry, but they really don’t), dieting leads to size fluctuation, which means that you end up with a wardrobe of lots of different sizes, costing you more money, time, and aggravation. It’s true that it’s still harder to buy plus-sized clothes, mainly because so many retailers are online only. However, learning to trust your body raises your chances for staying a consistent size, which means that those pants that you loved and bought two years ago may still fit you for a while. Plus, plus-sized fashion has come a loooong way in recent years.
Easier To Date It’s true that it may be easier to date when you’re a smaller size. I don’t know the statistics, but it may be true. But, again, because weight loss via dieting is temporary, you may be feeling the stress of trying to stay thin to stay with a particular partner. And because dieting has a negative impact on body image and feeling attractive, you might not be enjoying dating so much anyway. With HAES, you learn to trust and love your body. You appreciate it, you approve of it, you come to terms with your imperfections, and you locate and connect with your attractiveness. When you feel good in your body, you feel more attractive, and the more attractive you feel, the easier it is to date and really enjoy yourself.
Less Judgment By Others It’s true that society judges fat dieters as doing the right thing by “doing something” about their weight. However, society is wrong. Plus, dieting to improve other people’s judgment of you is a detrimental, approval-seeking behavior. Over-emphasis on others’ opinions of you is a key factor in low self-esteem. When you operate from a HAES perspective, you become empowered. Your self-esteem stabilizes, because you provide your own approval of yourself. Other people’s judgments of you based on your size become less important to you.
Less Discrimination/ Reaping The Benefits Of Thin Privilege It’s true. Fat people are discriminated against and it’s been getting worse in the last few years. But dieting down to temporary thinness to avoid discrimination is not the answer. Discrimination based on your size is not okay. The more people adopt a HAES approach, the more we will have empowered people of all shapes and sizes who won’t find discrimination acceptable. The more that we are educated on the realities of fatness, the more we’ll be able to effect change.

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Want to learn more about intuitive eating and the science of Health At Every Size?  Then join me for the Body Love Revolutionaries Telesummit!  Click here to learn more and register for FREE.

Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. is a certified holistic health counselor who specializes in transforming your relationship with food and your body. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/stay-in-touch/ to sign up for her newsletter and get your free download — Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!

© Golda Poretsky 2011

pin curl retro setting pattern

Golda Poretsky, HHC
http://www.bodylovewellness.com

Listen to the podcast here:
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Recently, I was really sick with a stubborn bronchitis that lingered for about 2 weeks.  I had no energy, and the sinking feeling that I was missing out on everything.  And I sort of was missing out on a lot — from out of town friends to the Re/Dress Indie Fashion Show to the client appointments I moved so that I could lie on the couch and cough.

Missing out on these things felt almost worse than the awful sensations in my lungs; so much so that my emotional state started to get dragged down by my physical state.

In other words, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Being the researcher that I am, I can say with a degree of certainty that the following helped me heal from bronchitis:

  • Er Chen Wan (awesome Chinese herb combo)
  • Approx. 1,000,000,000 gallons of hot tea with honey and lemon
  • Sleeping a lot
  • My immune system, generally

And, being the researcher that I am, I have determined that the following got me over the emotional hump of being so sick and tired:

Um, yes, you read that right.  Pin curling tutorial videos helped me out of the mega emotional slump that I had fallen into.  It wasn’t my usual arsenal of affirmations, gratitude lists, or other forms of self care.  It was methodically watching pin curling tutorial videos on youtube, trying it out on my hair, liking how it looked, watching some more videos, trying it again, etc.

black and white hair pin curlsBut since we’re being scientific about it, I’d like to think for a moment about why watching pin curling tutorials helped so much.

  1. Fun — Learning about pin curling and trying it out on my own hair was really fun.
  2. Easy — If you get deep into setting patterns and complicated hair styles, it can get really complicated, but I avoided the really complicated stuff.  Plus, all I really needed was some bobby pins and a bit of time on my hands, and I had both.
  3. Novel — Pin curling, for me, was new and novel.  Learning about it didn’t remind me of anything else.  It took my mind off of not feeling well, but was easy enough to do that it seemed manageable while not feeling well.
  4. Low Stakes — If I didn’t like the way my hair looked, it didn’t matter.  I was home all day anyway.  The secret of my terrible hair would be kept safe by my boyfriend and the occasional Chinese food delivery guy.
  5. Self Care That Was Unrelated To Being Sick — After not feeling well for so long, not wearing makeup, etc., it felt good to see myself kind of “dolled up”, even if it was only from the neck up.
  6. Seemingly Completely Frivolous — I probably could have gone my whole life without learning how to do pin curls.  And with the energy I spent on learning about pin curls, I could have been more clearly productive, for sure.  I could have written marketing materials for my business or read another book on intuitive eating or cleaned my office or approximately a gazillion other things that may have been more productive.  But none of those things would have been the right combination of the other 5 elements above that we have determined were so essential to actually feeling better.

So, I want to encourage you to sometimes pursue something that might seem frivolous or pointless or unproductive for the sheer fact that it may be fun and make you feel good.  Not everything has to have a specific purpose.

[caption id=”attachment_6165” align=”alignleft” width=”210” caption=”pin curl results!”]pin curl hairstyle[/caption]

I want to encourage you, too, to spend time on seemingly frivolous “beautifying” treatments too.  And let’s be clear, I’m not suggesting that you do those things because there’s anything wrong with your appearance, because you need to hide anything, or because you should do it.  I’m only suggesting that you try those things that sound fun.  If glamming yourself up appeals to you, but it’s maybe a little outside of your comfort zone, check out youtube or ask a glam friend what s/he suggests.  You may just knock yourself out of a bad mood, or even become that glam friend that your other friends ask for advice.  Just remember to be a kindly researcher toward yourself if things don’t go exactly according to plan.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Struggling with food and body image issues? Looking to transform your relationship with food and your body? Then sign up for your free Body Love Breakthrough Session by clicking here.

Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. is a certified holistic health counselor who specializes in transforming your relationship with food and your body. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/stay-in-touch/ to sign up for her newsletter and get your free download — Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!

© Golda Poretsky 2010


by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C.
www.bodylovewellness.com

Listen to the podcast here:
[display_podcast]
Just by reading my blog, you, dear reader, are taking your life into your own hands!!!

You’ve probably seen the recent pseudoscience reports that obesity (gasp!) is contagious (double gasp!!) and by having fat friends and relatives you’re increasing your risk of catching THE OBESITY!!!

ZOMG SCIENCE!!!

*  *  *

Sorry, I just fainted from fear!  But worry not, I’m back.

I’m not going to go into the details (because more fabulous researchers than I have already debunked these reports) but, in a nutshell, these reports about “contagious obesity” are based on faulty science that infers causation from mere correlation.

In other words, as Dr. Jon Robison pointed out in his review of this b.s., it’s like finding that bald men have more heart attacks, assuming that baldness is causing the heart attacks, and then prescribing rogaine as prevention against heart attacks.

Just to give the Fatty Contagion Theory some social context, using contagion (or germ) theory to make a particular group appear threatening and “other” is part of a longstanding and hideous tradition.  It’s been a popular principle behind insidious social crusades like anti-gay discrimination and racial segregation.  Whether the theory is that you’re going to catch a perceived illness or lifestyle or whether a particular group are carriers of a harmful illness, contagion theory just paints a thin veneer of “concern for your health” over a much nastier sentiment of “I hate your group and I’m going to find a reason to cast you out of society.”

Personally, I have a theory for why the Fatty Contagion Theory is getting some press lately.  You see, us fat folks are getting extra loud and proud.  We’re holding Kiss-In's, creating awesome fashion events, winning Oscars, telling diet pushers to suck it, and variously telling the world that one can be fat and all manner of awesome all at once.

What’s obvious to me is that the real contagion of fatness is Fat Pride.  I get emails from people every week who have caught a virulent strain of Fat Pride.  It’s a dangerous contagion for sure.  It’s resistant to all the known remedies for Fat Pride, including diet pills, surgery, and even shaming.  It is sweeping the nation and if we don’t do something about it soon, we will all be consumed by these horrendous symptoms.

Symptoms Of Fat Pride:

  • liking ourselves
  • thinking fatness is hot
  • stopping dieting
  • wearing awesome clothes
  • creating awesome clothes
  • liking how we look
  • fighting fat shaming
  • fighting fat discrimination.

These are just some of the symptoms.  There have been other reported cases involving yelling “Kiss Me.  I’m Fat!” but such reports have not been corroborated.

Please leave a comment below if you believe you have become yet another statistic in this dangerous Fat Pride epidemic!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Struggling with food and body image issues? Looking to transform your relationship with food and your body? Then sign up for your free Body Love Breakthrough Session by clicking here.

Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. is a certified holistic health counselor who specializes in transforming your relationship with food and your body. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/stay-in-touch/ to sign up for her newsletter and get your free download — Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!

© Golda Poretsky 2010

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C.
www.bodylovewellness.com

Listen to the podcast here:
[display_podcast]
This post originally appeared a few months ago, but not as a normal, Monday post and without an associated podcast.  I hope you dig it and share it with friends!

Recently, this blog has gotten a lot of new readers who may be new to Fat Acceptance & Health At Every Size.

As a consequence, I’ve been fielding lots of comments of the “how can you be promoting fat?!” and “haven’t you heard of type II diabetes?!” variety. So, rather than trying to respond to these commenters individually (and as a way to provide support to people who want to respond to these comments in their own lives and blogs), I’ve decided to write this post. I’ve outlined 9 typical statements by commenters, together with an explanation of why each statement is wrong, wrong, wrong.

1) Fat is unhealthy. Fat is not inherently unhealthy. In fact, being underweight, in many ways, is more dangerous than being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese. Furthermore, a great deal of evidence suggests that health problems linked to fat are actually a result of dieting, and the incredible strain that dieting puts on the body. A recent study found that people who lost 15% or more of their body weight had an increased risk of death compared to people of the same size who didn’t lose weight. In addition, fat people live longer than thin people and are more likely to survive cardiac events and not suffer as much blood loss due to treatments such as angioplasty. Fat has even been shown to protect against a variety of problems, including “infections, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.” Fat people also have lower rates of emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hip fracture, tuberculosis, anemia, peptic ulcer and chronic bronchitis.

If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard any of this before, that’s because this information doesn’t make anyone money. It doesn’t support the $60 billion a year diet industry nor the multi-billion dollar weight loss surgery industry nor the multi-bajillion dollar pharmaceutical industry.

2) Fat people all have eating disorders, eat poorly, and don’t exercise. No study has ever supported this conclusion. And let’s just get clear on something. You cannot tell anything about a person’s eating habits or fitness level or relative health from their size. I have 300-pound clients who eat all organic, whole foods and train for triathlons, and I have 120-pound clients who are generally sedentary and have binge eating disorder. People of all different sizes have all different habits, and a quick survey of your friends and relatives will show just that.

3) If fat people would eat properly and exercise, they wouldn’t be fat. Contrary to popular opinion, people come in all shapes and sizes. Just like people are short and tall and in between, people are fat and thin and in between.It’s called diversity. It’s called genetics.It’s called, in some instances, the result of constant dieting.

4) Weight loss is a healthy goal, deserving of promotion. Not true at all. First of all, diets don’t work. They really don’t. The one or two people that you know that lost weight on a diet and kept it off for more than 5 years are statistical freaks. Dieting wreaks havoc on the body, affecting everything from your immune system, to your cardiovascular system,to your stamina and mental health, to your stress levels to your body image. Oh, and don’t get me started on the incredible dangerousness of weight loss surgeries. If anyone tells you that their plan promises long term weight loss, they are lying to you. If they promise weight loss and fail to mention whether it will be long term or not, they are deceiving you.

5) Promoting fat acceptance makes people fat. No studies have ever shown that approving and loving your body causes one to gain weight. In fact, Health At Every Size practices, which include body acceptance, actually make people healthier. When you can show me that shaming people about their bodies improves health, then we can talk. And by the way, the way we shame fat people has led to an exponential rise in discrimination against people in the workplace, health care and education.

6) There’s an obesity crisis going on and obesity is on the rise. Actually, it’s not. Also, see item 1, above.

7) Childhood obesity is a serious problem. Actually, it’s not. Childhood life expectancy continues to rise. And every attempt to make kids thinner has failed. And, you might want to follow the money behind Michelle Obama’s obesity initiative to see how corporations are benefiting from the b.s. The real danger for fat children is the threat of bullying, and the toll that that takes. Finally, access to healthy, organic food and safe places to play are important for all children, not just fat ones.

8) BMI is an appropriate and scientific way of determining health. If you consider the way BMI works for more than a minute, you realize that it so flawed as to be completely useless.

9) But all of this goes against the conventional wisdom that fat is bad and deadly! Your “conventional wisdom” has been paid for by the diet industry and pharmaceutical companies for decades and decades. It’s time to get over it and start thinking critically. I encourage you to read this blog and other fantastic fat acceptance blogs and begin the process of unraveling your internalized and externalized hatred.

Additional Recommended Reading:

P.S. This post was inspired by Kate Harding's excellent post “But Don’t You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy?”

Want more size positive info? Get great body love tips and more when you subscribe:

© 2010 Golda Poretsky. All rights reserved.

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C.
www.bodylovewellness.com

Recently, this blog has gotten a lot of new readers who may be new to Fat Acceptance & Health At Every Size.

As a consequence, I’ve been fielding lots of comments of the “how can you be promoting fat?!” and “haven’t you heard of type II diabetes?!” variety.  So, rather than trying to respond to these commenters individually (and as a way to provide support to people who want to respond to these comments in their own lives and blogs), I’ve decided to write this post.  I’ve outlined 9 typical statements by commenters, together with an explanation of why each statement is wrong, wrong, wrong.

1) Fat is unhealthy. Fat is not inherently unhealthy.  In fact, being underweight, in many ways, is more dangerous than being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese.  Furthermore, a great deal of evidence suggests that health problems linked to fat are actually a result of dieting, and the incredible strain that dieting puts on the body.  A recent study found that people who lost 15% or more of their body weight had an increased risk of death compared to people of the same size who didn’t lose weight. In addition, fat people live longer than thin people and are more likely to survive cardiac events and not suffer as much blood loss due to treatments such as angioplasty.  Fat has even been shown to protect against a variety of problems, including “infections, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.” Fat people also have lower rates of emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hip fracture, tuberculosis, anemia, peptic ulcer and chronic bronchitis.

If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard any of this before, that’s because this information doesn’t make anyone money.  It doesn’t support the $60 billion a year diet industry nor the multi-billion dollar weight loss surgery industry nor the multi-bajillion dollar pharmaceutical industry.

2) Fat people all have eating disorders, eat poorly, and don’t exercise. No study has ever supported this conclusion.  And let’s just get clear on something.  You cannot tell anything about a person’s eating habits or fitness level or relative health from their size.  I have 300-pound clients who eat all organic, whole foods and train for triathlons, and I have 120-pound clients who are generally sedentary and have binge eating disorder.  People of all different sizes have all different habits, and a quick survey of your friends and relatives will show just that.

3) If fat people would eat properly and exercise, they wouldn’t be fat. Contrary to popular opinion, people come in all shapes and sizes.  Just like people are short and tall and in between, people are fat and thin and in between.It’s called diversity.  It’s called genetics.It’s called, in some instances, the result of constant dieting.

4) Weight loss is a healthy goal, deserving of promotion. Not true at all.  First of all, diets don’t work.  They really don’t.  The one or two people that you know that lost weight on a diet and kept it off for more than 5 years are statistical freaks.  Dieting wreaks havoc on the body, affecting everything from your immune system, to your cardiovascular system,to your stamina and mental health, to your body image.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the incredible dangerousness of weight loss surgeries.  If anyone tells you that their plan promises long term weight loss, they are lying to you.  If they promise weight loss and fail to mention whether it will be long term or not, they are deceiving you.

5) Promoting fat acceptance makes people fat. No studies have ever shown that approving and loving your body causes one to gain weight. In fact, Health At Every Size practices, which include body acceptance, actually make people healthier.  When you can show me that shaming people about their bodies improves health, then we can talk.  And by the way, the way we shame fat people has led to an exponential rise in discrimination against people in the workplace, health care and education.

6) There’s an obesity crisis going on and obesity is on the rise. Actually, it’s not.  Also, see item 1, above.

7) Childhood obesity is a serious problem. Actually, it’s not. Childhood life expectancy continues to rise.  And every attempt to make kids thinner has failed.  And, you might want to follow the money behind Michelle Obama’s obesity initiative to see how corporations are benefiting from the b.s.  The real danger for fat children is the threat of bullying, and the toll that that takes.  Finally, access to healthy, organic food and safe places to play are important for all children, not just fat ones.

8) BMI is an appropriate and scientific way of determining health. If you consider the way BMI works for more than a minute, you realize that it so flawed as to be completely useless.

9) But all of this goes against the conventional wisdom that fat is bad and deadly! Your “conventional wisdom” has been paid for by the diet industry and pharmaceutical companies for decades and decades.  It’s time to get over it and start thinking critically.  I encourage you to read this blog and other fantastic fat acceptance blogs and begin the process of unraveling your internalized and externalized hatred.

Additional Recommended Reading:

P.S.  This post was inspired by Kate Harding's excellent post “But Don’t You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy?”
P.P.S. There is an updated version of this post, that you can check out here!

Want more size positive info?  Stay up to date with the Body Love Wellness blog by joining our newsletter.

© 2010 Golda Poretsky.  All rights reserved.

Last week, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention came out with a statistic that obesity-related health care costs the U.S. $187 billion a year. Despite the fact that this number is inaccurate and based on utterly faulty math, it keeps rearing its ugly head in the debate over health care.

Even if this $187 billion number were right, I would like to pose a separate question: How much of those costs are actually caused by the way the medical profession treats its patients?

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the NAAFA Convention. Aside from meeting such brilliant Health At Every Size heavyweights like Linda Bacon and Marilyn Wann, I heard again and again from fat people about the poor treatment they received from their medical professionals. I heard about the pain, the discrimination, the over-medicating, the under-treatment. I hear these things again and again from clients too.

Wherever I can, I send people to other fat friendly professionals, like me. But oftentimes it’s too little, too late.

The debate over health care and obesity have stirred two issues in me. The first is that all patients, regardless of size, need access to health care along with fair and respectful treatment. The debate over health care and size diversity should be framed in this way, instead of denying people access to health care due to faulty numbers over the cost of obesity. By scaring insurance companies even further away from providing insurance to fat people, the CDC is perpetuating the problem of health care costs rather than addressing it constructively. Regarding this first point, I ask you this week to email or call your senators, congresspeople, and local politicians in order to impart your feelings about preventing discrimination in health care on the basis of body size.

Secondly, we must start talking about proper coverage and the inclusion of alternative medicine.

I’d like to share with you my personal experience with alternative medicine. I used to believe that Western medicine was the only right way to treat people and that alternative medicine — acupuncture, chiropractic, energy healing, reiki, etc. was hooey.

I thought that right until a few days after my 19th birthday, when my right ankle swelled up to at least three times its normal size. I was in so much pain I couldn’t walk. I ended up going to a rheumatologist who followed the usual protocols: cortisone shots to bring down the swelling, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, x-rays, etc. The diagnosis was inconclusive — no one could decide if I had psoriatic arthritis or fibromyalgia.

The winter came on and I found myself struggling and in pain constantly. I was dragging myself with a cane to my college classes. I would try to study and the NSAIDS would make my stomach feel like a baby tiger was trying to claw it’s way out of my body. I started taking drugs to mask the pain in my stomach. At one point, I was taking 5 different medications a day, including NSAIDS, zantac, allergy drugs, The Pill and a pain killer. I felt like I was sinking in quicksand. I felt like there was no way out and that I was staring down a life of excruciating pain, pharmaceuticals, drugs and more pharmaceuticals to mask the drugs.

On top of that, I was fat. I had spent a lifetime (short as it was at that point) dieting - and I was still fat. I had done everything to lose weight — calorie restricted diets, diet drugs, (shockingly disgusting) meal replacement shakes, and so much more. I had done this all through the advice of actual doctors. So on top of the pain of my condition, I was constantly being told that if I could just lose some weight I’d get better, even though doctors had never actually “solved” my “weight problem.”

I don’t know if it was divine intervention or maternal intervention or both, but a few months after my initial diagnosis, my mom ran into an acquaintance who told her that she had been seeing a chiropractor who was helping her greatly with her arthritis. After years of bashing alternative medicine, I was ready to seek it out. I started going to this chiropractor, Dr. Michael Balas, and within a week I felt 50% better. I kept going, getting adjustments, taking foul smelling herbs, changing my diet, etc. Within a year I was no longer taking pharmaceutical drugs. I was able to walk for at least a mile without pain. I was healing. I started to see an acupuncturist, Eric Adler, who introduced me to books that changed my thinking about my ability to heal. Eventually, I started seeing a massage therapist, Steve Cocoros, who helped me heal further and supported so much change in my body.

As I healed more and more from these modalities, I felt pulled to deepen my learning of alternative medicine and nutrition, which led me to my degree from The Institute For Integrative Nutrition.

I often think of what might have happened to me if my Mom hadn’t run into that acquaintance. Would I have found alternative methods? Would I have learned all that I have? Or would I have stayed in pain, taking more and more pharmaceuticals until I ended up addicted to painkillers or immobilized?

So, my dear readers, after you email your governmental officials, will you consider adding a little alternative to your medicine? If you’re thinking about trying acupuncture or chiropractics, let me give you a gentle nudge and suggest that you follow through with that inclination. (If you’re looking for a fat friendly and reasonably priced acupuncturist, try my friend Geleni.) If you want to work with someone on changing disordered eating or having a more loving relationship with your body, would you give me a call?

Please check back here and let us know who your representative is and how it went when you spoke with him/her. Also, let us know what alternative medicine modalities you’ve thought about using, used or try this week.

Please stop by my Facebook group and become a member of the Body Love Wellness Group! Also, I would love it if you would follow me on Twitter!

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor with a degree from the Institute For Integrative Nutrition. Through her fun, simple, stress-free approach, Golda specializes in transforming her clients’ relationships with food and their bodies.

Want some individualized attention actualizing this week’s tip? Check out www.bodylovewellness.com to set up a consultation with Golda!