Psychotherapist

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Robin D. Stone is a New York City based psychotherapist, coach and consultant who works to help you achieve your most optimal self. 

Posts tagged diet
Do You Have Multiple Eating Personalities?
 

One client often ordered what her guy did when they dined out. Ribs and mac and cheese was a once-in-a-while treat, she reasoned. Plus, she’d vow to get right back on track.

Whenever another went “home” to visit relatives, she forgot all the newly adopted strategies that helped her eat cleaner, lose weight and feel better. Her pedometer went from 6000+ steps a day (three miles) to fewer than half. She wondered why she returned to her real home feeling heavy, sluggish and sad.

Not wanting to be the subject of colleagues’ constant commentary about her diet, a third client ate typical on-the-road fare whenever she was on the road for work. 

All three suffered from a similar syndrome: multiple eating personality. All three struggled to lose weight.

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The symptom is clear: like a chameleon, you conform to your environment, instead of making your environment conform to you. You morph into co-worker eater, sweetheart eater, or family-size eater, feasting on foods and portions that the new, improved you would you’d never touch. 

Could that be you? Consider the situations below. Then review the counter-intelligence to realize the power you have to control how well you eat and feel.

1. It’s easier to go with the crowd so you don’t have to explain or defend yourself.

Don’t let peer pressure get to you. Ignore comments from the folks who have something to say because your plate has mostly greens and fruit or just a palm-size of chicken (that’s really one serving). “That’s all you gonna eat?” Somebody will ask, and quite loudly too. “Yep,” is all you need to say – if you say anything at all.

2. You can eat like everybody else because you deserve a “treat” now and then.

Find other ways to “treat” yourself that have nothing to do with food. And change your perspective: don’t think about what you can’t eat, but what you can eat because it’s good for you. You’re more likely to stick to healthier eating habits when you feel it’s your choice. So powerfully choose to eat what’s good – and you’ll find it easier to avoid what’s not.

 3. You tell yourself “I’ll make up for it,” or “just once won’t hurt.”

Don’t sabotage your progress. If you haven’t had extra servings of anything in a month, don’t take a second – or third – helping just because that’s what relatives do.  Think before you eat: What does your body need? Note how that’s different from what do you crave or what just looks good. Keep up your exercise routine – invite your fam to come along.

Remember that you you take you wherever you go. So wherever you are, eat “cleanly” – whole, fresh, unprocessed foods with lots of water. Move consistently – cardio, flex, resistance. Cultivate these habits until you do them without a second thought.  The only way to get there is to remain consistent regardless of what changes around you.

If you become a chameleon, you veer off track of your eating and exercise goals. Then you have to start over and work your way back. That can lead to frustration and unhealthy yo-yo dieting and giving up. By forcing your environment to meet your needs, you stay on the path to your goals.

Recently I met a friend for breakfast at a soul food restaurant. After almost a year of eating wheat-free, I no longer have an appetite for pancakes or toast or even grits (made from corn, of course, but they often make me feel as stuffed and sluggish as when I eat bread). Instead of adapting to the environment – really, how can you have a soulful breakfast without grits? – I asked for o.j. and salmon cakes with a green salad and vinaigrette on the side. Yes, a salad at 10 a.m. My body doesn’t know that lettuce and tomatoes and cucumbers are off limits before noon – that’s all in my head. I ate heartily and left satisfied with the protein, fat and carbs I needed to start my day.
Losing weight for good is not easy or simple or quick. It’s a slow, steady process in which each step forward should make the next one easier. Those multiple eating personalities get in your way. Ditch them and you’ll reach – and keep – your goals.

Do you conform to your environment or take your healthy habits wherever you go?

 
My New Film Highlights Black Women's Stories about Stress & Self-Care
 

I was honored to premiere my mini-documentary "THICK: Black Women Weigh In on Body Awareness, Food, Stress and Self-Care"  recently at the Black Women’s Life Balance and Wellness conference at Spelman College in Atlanta. Featuring the stories of nearly 20 Black women nationwide – myself included – the film asks how can we take care of ourselves in the face of stressors like job demands, relationship issues, family drama. 

    Black Women's Life Balance and Wellness conference, Sept. 19, 2015.   

 

Black Women's Life Balance and Wellness conference, Sept. 19, 2015.
 

THICK centers on healthy weight, as Black women contend with weight-related health concerns like heart disease, diabetes and fertility problems in disproportionate numbers. This project was a part of my master's thesis, which focused on using narrative techniques like storytelling and writing to promote healing among Black women.

Joining us were two of the sisters featured in the film who are from Atlanta. They loved seeing their stories on the big screen. One, Elizabeth Montgomery, shared that she was thrilled to go from "homeless" -- a reference to her tenuous life as a young adult -- "to Hollywood!"

We followed the film with a powerful writing workshop focused on the body and self-care. The women gathered, wrote and witnessed, and some shared from deep within their hearts. 

I now incorporate narrative techniques in my coaching work. A beautiful thing about writing for healing is that it is a way to get your “stuff” down on the page. Sometimes you don’t even know what you’re struggling with until it’s there in front of you, talking to you, telling you about itself. And once you name it, whatever it is, you can begin to deal with it. 

I look forward to showing "THICK," to writing and sharing our stories, and to continuing conversations about what it takes to be healthy and whole.

Click here for a preview of "THICK," and let me know what you think at robin@robinstone.com.

 
Thinking of Detoxing? 4 Ways to Do It Right
 
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With New Year’s resolutions fading fast in the rear-view mirror, you might be considering a detox diet to balance out holiday binge or jump-start a commitment to more healthful living.
 

Detox diets, also known as colon-cleansing diets or cleanses, promise benefits like reducing fatigue and alleviating ailments like allergies, asthma and arthritis. Detoxes can also brighten your appearance: A nutritional detox rich in superfoods like leafy green veggies (Vitamins A and C, calcium, iron), salmon, seeds and nuts (Omega-3 fatty acids, B and E Vitamins), chicken, turkey and beans (protein, zinc, iron) and whole grains (zinc, iron, B Vitamins) promotes healthy skin and growth of strong, resilient hair.

The theory behind detoxing: Strictly limit and control what you eat and drink for a period of time to help your digestive system get rid of internal and environmental toxins – and to help identify possible allergy triggers. Though there’s little scientific evidence that detoxing works any faster or better than your body's own natural cleansing system, some health care practitioners and detoxers swear by it.

Detoxes range from the “Master Cleanse” cayenne pepper/lemon juice/maple syrup fast to juice or soup cleanses to a “nutritional cleanse” of high-fiber shakes and supplements and simple meals made of fresh, whole ingredients. Detoxers beware: any eating plan that severely restricts nutrients for an extended period of time can be detrimental to your health. And even in the short run, a detox diet can backfire if you rebound to old habits.

I consider a healthy detox a way to reset your eating habits, rid your diet of foods that aren’t good for you and try new foods that are. A couple of years ago I completed a 21-day nutritional cleanse. It left me with lots of energy, “recalibrated” taste buds and a few pounds lighter. Because I ate whole, fresh, flavorful foods, I didn’t feel as if I was depriving myself. Today when I’ve been super indulgent, (say, Christmas through New Year’s) I return to the principles of my cleanse to get back on track.

If you want to detox, check with your doctor first, especially if you have chronic health issues and take medication. Figure out what type of detox will work for you, your level of patience and your lifestyle. Then be sure to do the following:  

1. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily.
2. Avoid all processed foods. Prepare your own meals as often as you can.
3. Give yourself at least 12 hours’ digestion time between evening and morning meals (snacks too).
4. Commit and stick to it. But be mindful of your body’s mental and physical changes. Temporary side effects, depending on the cleanse, might include tiredness, headache, acne and constipation. If they are prolonged or worsen, stop and see your health professional.

Once you’re done, maintain your results by eating a well-rounded fruit-and-veggie based diet with whole grains, beans, nuts and legumes and lean protein.