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How Diet Plans And Weight Loss Programs Affect Self-Esteem & Body Image, According To A Former Jenny Craig Dietitian – YourTango



I look back on those years and feel compassion for the young woman I was.

I am sitting in the bathroom on the toilet seat at Jenny Craig eating a Dunkin’ Donuts maple glazed bear claw. There is a knock on the door. I lick the sticky sugar off my fingers.

“Just a minute,” I say flushing the toilet.

There is a poster on the wall of a before-and-after picture of a middle-aged red headed woman.

In the before picture she’s wearing an oversized polkadot tee shirt with loose culottes, her hair is frizzy, she is makeup-less and her skin looks ruddy.

In the after picture she’s smiling proudly with her hands on her hips, she’s wearing a form fitting red dress with white pumps. Her hair is straightened, her eyes shadowed a shimmery blue, lips painted a coral gloss. There’s a tape measure around her waist with a caption below:

‘I lost 25 pounds the Jenny Craig way just in time for my Wedding! Thank you Jenny Craig Team!’

I have been part of that “team” for three months.

RELATED: 15 Ways To Improve Your Self-Esteem (That You Can Do From Anywhere)

I hide the remnants of the donut wrapper in the trash bin underneath toilet seat covers, wash my hands and open the door to the bathroom. My co-worker is standing there.

Her silky blonde hair is pulled back into a high ponytail. She wears a flowery summer dress with a thin red belt that accentuates her slender waist. Is she a ‘normal’ eater? Does she eat pasta for dinner and two cookies for dessert without eating the whole bag?

“Are you feeling okay?” she asks. “You were in there a while.”

“Yes,” I say, my face turning red. “Just cramps, you know, that time of the month.”

“You’re client is waiting for you.”

As I walk back to my office I tell myself, “tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll stop with the donuts.”

If only Dunkin’ Donuts wasn’t next door. Why couldn’t it be Pinky’s Nails or Wells Fargo?  Anything but a donut shop and the warm smell of sugar drifting towards me when I arrive for work every morning.

A stocky mother in khakis and a blue button-up is sitting with her daughter in front of my desk. Before I even sit down she starts talking.

“I keep telling my daughter she’ll lose the weight if she just sticks to the meal plan.”

The girl is a sophomore in high school. She is pretty, a round figure, one that I imagined guys would consider to be ‘yummy’. She seems shy and insecure the way her gaze rests on the floor, her chestnut colored hair falling over her almond-shaped eyes.

Looking at her I remembered my own mother telling me when I was the same age to eat nothing but watermelon for a week. My mother was beautiful. I wanted to be like her, look like her.

‘I’ll eat watermelon for two weeks,’ I told myself. And I did. Day fifteen I sat alone in a booth at IHOP. “I’ll have a stack of blueberry pancakes with extra butter please,” I told the waitress.

RELATED: Why We Need To Change The Way We Talk About Body Image, Health & Wellness (Like, Now)

“Well, the meal plan is important,” I tell the mother and daughter. “There are so many delicious choices. And don’t forget, you can eat all the vegetables you want in between meals.”

What I really want to tell her is the meal plan is stupid and not worth the money and that if I didn’t desperately need a job I would quit tomorrow. And also for her mom to not pressure her daughter, that she’s beautiful as she is.

“How do you maintain your figure?” the mother asks me.  “Have you done the meal plan?”

“I have,” I say.

I wasn’t lying. I had. It was part of the mandatory seven-day training.

Only I didn’t tell her I was starving on it and kept protein bars in my purse to eat in the bathroom during break times or that on the way home every day I stopped for a pint of frozen yogurt.

I also didn’t tell her that my regular method consisted of binging on meatball subs and chocolate malts for days followed by a week of an extensive exercise routine and either the maple syrup cayenne pepper fast or the cabbage soup diet.

Or that I’m sure I would have been a bulimic if I had been able to bring myself to stick my finger down my throat.

Now, a decade later, I look back on those years and feel compassion for the young woman I was. For the negative body image, insecurity and self-loathing I had. The way food ruled and shaped my days. I remembered thinking how desperately I wanted to be free of the obsession but couldn’t ever imagine that happening.

I can’t say when exactly something shifted but over the years I have changed. I don’t hide in bathrooms anymore shamefully eating or obsessively think about food and my body all day every day.

I still don’t consider myself a ‘normal’ eater or someone who can live with chocolate chip cookies and salted caramel ice cream in the house without being worried about staying away from it. And I’ve still been known to pour dish soap on leftover food for fear of coming back to it late in the night but comparatively speaking something over the years has lifted.

I am not consumed by thoughts of food. I don’t binge, do fad diets or exercise compulsively. Yes, I do mainly eat proteins, fruits, and vegetables, but I am able to go out with friends for dinner and share a decadent dessert, eat a cream puff or the icing off a cupcake, or two, and to do so without feeling guilty.

For a woman like me that is far more than I ever expected. Maybe in my fifties, I’ll even be able to live with thickly frosted cake in the fridge and go to bed peacefully without having poured dish-soap on it so I won’t be tempted.

RELATED: How Your Poor Body Image Is Killing Your Sex Drive (And How To Fix It)

Hannah Sward is a writer in Los Angeles. She received her BA in Creative Writing from Antioch University.

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Diet Plans

This Popular Diet Shuns Tomatoes, Peas & Other Healthy Veggies. So Why Do People Swear By It? –




More and more research is showing that inflammation is a main contributor to chronic diseases. So it’s no surprise that a diet came along intending to address this. The main benefit that the Plant Paradox Diet claims to offer is that it will—you guessed it—reduce inflammation.

So how exactly does the Plant Paradox Diet reduce inflammation? It removes lectins, a protein found in many fruits and vegetables, from your diet, which Dr. Gundry says are edible enemies. Lectins are actually one of the defense mechanisms within certain plants that are intended to keep predators, humans included, from eating them. Among other foods, lectins are found in all nightshades—a popular family of plants including potatoes, peppers (bell as well as hot peppers like chili and jalapeño), eggplants, goji berries, and tomatoes.

So what havoc can these pesky proteins wreak on your body? Potentially a lot.

“A lectin is a type of protein that forces carbs (sugars, starches, and fibers) to clump together and even attach to certain cells in your body when you eat them,” explains Dr. Gundry. “Often, lectins can get in the way of important cells communicating with one another. And when that happens, the body’s response is usually inflammation or some other type of reaction to toxicity, like nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting. A break in cellular communication can also result in symptoms like fatigue or forgetfulness.”

A piece of older research suggests that a diet high in lectins may contribute to autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease, celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Thus, the benefits of following the Plant Paradox Diet and cutting out lectins may include a reduced risk and better management of autoimmune disease and chronic disease—however, there are no clinical trials demonstrating this just yet.

While the goal of the Plant Paradox Diet is to reduce inflammation, weight loss may be an added benefit. There have been many claims of individuals shedding pounds on the Plant Paradox Diet. Many say that it’s not simply the lack of lectin content in the diet but the focus on mindful and healthful eating that results in weight loss. (The diet shuns many processed foods and refined carbs, which doesn’t hurt!)

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Diet Plans

Osteoporosis warning – Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, warns over ‘ridiculous’ diet plans – Express




Osteoporosis is painful condition that makes the bones more fragile, and likely to break, according to the NHS. It develops very slowly over a number of years, and is often only diagnosed after a fall or bone fracture. People with osteoporosis are more likely to have wrist fractures, vertebrae fractures, and hip fractures than other people. Camilla Parker-Bowles, 71, warned the public that certain ‘fad’ diets may be depriving them of calcium.

Diet plans that include cutting out dairy and other minerals could be bad for your health, warned The Duchess of Cornwall.

Calcium, which is found in dairy foods, is a key mineral that’s essential for life. It helps to keep bones healthy.

Camilla’s warning came after her mother died from osteoporosis 25 years ago, she said.

She urged children to avoid “ridiculous” diet plans while speaking at the Science Museum yesterday, at the launch of the newly-labelled Royal Osteoporosis Society.

“It was 25 years ago that my mother died as a result of osteoporosis,” she said. “In fact, she was exactly the same age as I am now.

“My family and I were completely devastated, but also, we didn’t understand how somebody could be in so much pain, and we were unable, and the doctors seemed unable, to do anything about it.”

Common fad diets are depriving people of the calcium they need to keep their bodies healthy, she added.

“It’s the fad diets, they are the worst thing to do,” she told the Daily Mail. “You are depriving your bones of calcium.

“It is this ridiculous dieting, cutting out dairy and all the things that are good for your bones.

“We need to find a way of educating children that they need to take care of their bodies now instead of aspiring to look like someone they see in a picture if they want to protect themselves in old age.”

It’s crucial to encourage young people to start exercising to boost their overall health, she added.

Osteoporosis is more likely to affect women than men, due to hormone changes during the menopause, said the NHS.

But, you’re also more at risk of the condition if you have a family history of osteoporosis, a body mass index of 19 or less, or have long periods of inactivity.

You could lower your risk of osteoporosis symptoms buy doing regular exercise, it added.

Everyone should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.

It’s also important to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and to make sure you’re topped up on vitamin D.

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Diet Plans

Dietitian at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox discusses latest diet trends – The Herald-News




[Photo courtesy of Timothy Baran]

“They make people mindful of their food choices,” DeAngelis said.

For 30 days, dieters are allowed no alcohol, dairy, grains, legumes or sugar. They may eat moderate amounts of eggs, meat, seafood and some types of fruit. Vegetables are encouraged.

They may also eat nuts, avocado and herbs.
Mayo Clinic said the diet’s founders say this diet may help with the digestive and skin issues, as well as chronic pain and low energy associated with food sensitivities.

DeAngelis said she’s “not a fan” of this diet, even though it does eliminate sugar, “something we all consume a lot in this country.”

“But it is pretty restrictive,” DeAngelis said. “It cuts out entire food groups. It’s missing calcium, and it cuts out legumes and whole grains, which provide a lot of fiber, vitamins and minerals.”

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