Tag Archives: junkfood

Welcome to America, Would You Like a Grilled Cheese?


Of all the things we associate with our ethnicity, food is probably at the top of the list.

American immigrants may be eager to eschew their ethnic dress, music, and language for the sake of acclimating to this culture… but their food? They’ll hang on to that, thanks.

The resilience of ethnic cuisine is much to our benefit, too. The choices in many
American towns used to be limited to ordering a burger or chicken wings  but now customers are in line for bibimbap or chicken masala coorg.

Unfortunately, a recent study suggests that this exchange between the U.S. and its newest residents is a two way street that might be leading immigrants’ kids to obesity.

The study showed that when Asian-American students were made to feel insecure about the American part of their culture- even if was only on a subconscious level-they tended to choose foods that were typically “American cuisine” (fried chicken, grilled cheese etc.) and shy away from traditionally Asian dishes.

The logic by the researchers is that the children of immigrants are so concerned with fitting in, that they are willing to order highly caloric foods to do it.

Getting fat to fit in?

They are willing to get fat to fit in.

I question that logic. American society looks down on heavy people far more than it does on people who enjoy the occasional plate of chicken feet.

Still, it is troubling that children perceive the unhealthy choice to also be the American choice.

So what’s your order?

Emotional Eating

Dr. Judith S. Beck

This is a guest post by Judith S. Beck, Ph.D., author of “The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person” and President of Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research.

Chronic dieters often have beliefs about emotional distress and eating that interfere with losing weight or keeping it off. They express the ideas in the following ways: “If I’m upset, the only way I can calm down is by eating.” “If I’m upset, I deserve to eat.”

Woman Eating to much food while a man stands behind her while condemning her for her actions

Are you an emotional eater?

To address the first idea, I ask dieters about people they know who don’t have a weight problem. What do they do when they’re upset? Dieters frequently feel stymied–they simply don’t know. After polling hundreds of people, I’ve found that people who don’t struggle with their weight do lots of things when they’re upset: they try to solve the problem that is leading to distress, call a friend, take a walk, tolerate the feeling and return to whatever they were doing, practice relaxation or mindfulness exercises–or they distract themselves (surf the web, write emails, play a video game, do a puzzle, listen to soothing music). This group has a different idea about emotional distress: that it is temporary, normal, tolerable, and will diminish.

To address the second idea, “If I’m upset, I deserve to eat,” I get across the message that dieters deserve to feel better but that eating will only give them temporary relief. Once the food is gone, they’ll still have the initial problem that led to distress plus they’ll feel badly about having overeaten. I help them see that they have a choice: They can eat whenever they’re upset (and fail to lose weight or keep it off) or they can tolerate their distress or actively work toward reducing their distress in other ways (which greatly increases the probability that they will lose weight and maintain their weight loss).

I then work with dieters to create a list of compelling activities they can engage in when they’re upset and they quickly find out that they can self soothe in other ways. Many of these activities are described in the newsletters and blogs at www.beckdietsolution.org.

A Bridge Over Troubled Water

With the flooding of my media room the other day, I really did not know if I would turn to food.  But even with all of my precious belongings ruined and under water with weeks of replacing and rebuilding ahead of me, I will persevere.

Of course food does seem like a very tempting offer right now. But I will continue to try and eat right because short -term satisfaction turns into long- term failure. Why mitigate the damage by doing more? I just need to find a way to do something else.

Besides, there were so many other people that have lost so much more in far worse situations.

It has been a very hard last number of days. Having a aunt die, losing your best friend and then most of your material things, really makes you have to count on yourself.

I like to think I am stronger then other people emotionally, though the truth is that I usually cut people off and turn to the worst foods for comfort…one of the reasons I know that cost me a dear friendship.

I think what I have learned is to turn inwards instead of out. This way I can make the most out of me and learn how to cope with unexpected life.

There has to be a better way. My diet is myself. It has to be my choice how to deal.

If I have learned one thing from my three years producing ‘Finding Thin’, it is to turn inwards first. There is always another day to look forward and learn more about myself. And I’ll outwardly show it as I persevere.

Halloween: A Scary Time for Childhood Obesity

Halloween is around the corner and grocery stores have their shelves full of costumes and special treats. It is probably the worse time of the year for me because I have trouble finding costumes my size, I am afraid to go out because of the way I look, and I need to stay away from sweets.

Growing up it was my favorite time of the year: I used to get so many candies that they would last me for a month or two. I would even be happy when only a few trick-or-treaters would visit my house; it meant more candies for me!

Even as an adult, I would wait until the morning after Halloween to get all the half-off candy bargains. Actually, now that I am thinking about it, I followed the same ritual for most holidays. The years went by, the pounds piled up and I thought nothing of it.

Now that I have researched a lot about childhood obesity, I see things differently. I have this vision of candy companies filing their pockets with money, and weight loss groups and dentists happily waiting for their next client/patient.

I almost want to hand out small bags of fruits and vegetables. I have a few issues with that: One, it might be a joy killer to children who’ve been waiting for that day all year. Two, it might not be fair to fit children who exercise enough not to gain weight. Three, it might point out to heavy kids that they are “different”, thus ruining their holiday…

I am still debating on what to do. Let’s see what happens. If your children come back with loads of candies, make sure you monitor the quantity they eat and how much they exercise to stay out of trouble. If you’re coming back from trick-or-treating, I hope you walked enough to deserve these treats. 🙂

Trick or Treat safely and healthfully! Happy Halloween!

Looking for Healthy in a World of Junk

What should I eat?

These days, everything I see or read has something to do with eating healthy. From Michelle Obama to news stations and even at schools, the new message is “be healthy”. My problem: I find it overwhelming and even crushing sometimes.

When I go shopping at my local grocery store, I don’t know what to get anymore. I have discovered that whatever I used to buy is unhealthy. I was told not a long time ago that my favorite yoghurt was very bad for me. I have just realized that most of my diet was full of chemical garbage.

Then, if I try to buy healthier products, the prices are so high that I feel powerless about what to do. Fruits and vegetables have become a luxury item I cannot afford, and the few coupons I get are always for unhealthy foods or things I don’t like.

I  don’t know how to shop healthy and affordable. I don’t like cooking. My fridge is either empty or filled with junk and I often end up ordering in. I was told to get control over what I eat, I find is very hard to do.  I don’t even desire the so-called healthy foods really.

I feel like everybody is telling us to get out there and eat healthy, but nobody is telling us how we can pay for it and switch our lifestyles. I’d like some inputs…