Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Self-respect is the fruit of discipline... ~Abraham J. Heschel

A few days ago, I was asked the following question:

"On Guiltless, you promote self-love despite a person's perceived shortcomings. Does that mean I can eat cake all day and never exercise again but still be content with myself?"

Interesting thought. Let me explain why self-love does not equal the end self-care.

The root of the message here is actually self-respect. When we respect our bodies, we take care of ourselves, both physically and mentally. The self-love we promote is an inner thought process leading to true friendship with oneself. If a dear friend said to you, "I didn't exercise today, so I'm not going to eat dinner," how would you reply? I would tell my friend to allow him/herself to take a break physically and to eat in a way that will nourish his/her skin, muscles, bones, and blood. I would say, "Friend, you are being way too hard on your beautiful self."

Too often do we beat ourselves up over decisions we make according to what our bodies tell us. Sometimes, our bodies will tell us that we are tired and we need a break. Or sometimes, we may want a treat or what we once thought of as a "guilty pleasure." It's the response we have to these desires that tests our self-love. Instead of becoming angry with ourselves and setting out to achieve extreme, unrealistic, and often unhealthy goals, we should be guiltless and mindful and honor the needs of our bodies. But this doesn't mean we should eat cake all day and stop exercising. It means we should nourish our bodies with good food and physically exert ourselves in a way that makes us feel good, while also allowing to break when we need it and indulge in moderation without judgment.

Therefore, once you know what self r-e-s-p-e-c-t means to you, it will be easier to let yourself flow in life. That's why I love yoga so much. During the yoga flow, you never know what thoughts may arise or what aches and pains might come up, but you keep going, striving for inner peace. The yoga flow is just like life in this way. We come across thoughts, emotions, and sore spots throughout life which often create obstacles to our objectives, but like the popular saying goes, "If you fall, get up and try, try again."

How will you honor yourself today?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Eat Naked

Eat Naked-Food That is! I recently interviewed Margaret Floyd, author of the new book Eat Naked about her philosophy on food and body image! I think you'll really enjoy reading her responses!

* What is "eating Naked"?

Eating Naked is all about eating clean, whole, unprocessed food. This means eating food without the ‘extras’ that are expanding our waistlines and making us sick: pesticides, toxins, preservatives, all those ingredients you can’t pronounce on the side of the package. When you take out this stuff, you’re left with nutritious, whole, real food, which is exactly what our bodies need to thrive.

* Why should we "eat naked"?

There are so many reasons!

#1 – for your health. You’ll give your body what it needs to heal itself and stay healthy. If you’ve got extra pounds to lose, the best way to do it is to eliminate processed foods from your diet.

#2 – for the environment. Growing food without pesticides and synthetic chemicals means less pollution, and less soil degradation (a real problem with industrial agriculture). Also, often naked foods come without all that fancy packaging, so there’s much less waste.

#3 – for the animals. If you eat animal protein, then it’s ultra important to eat naked so that you’re ensuring the animals lived in conditions in which they can thrive and engage in their natural behaviors, eating food they’re biologically designed to eat, and being treated with respect and humanity for the duration of their life. Not only is this better for them, it’s better for our health and the environment, too.

#4 – for the farmers. The ones who really suffer from use of pesticides and synthetic chemicals in our industrial agriculture are the farm workers who are handling mass volumes of the stuff on a daily basis. Cancer rates are abnormally high among these workers. Organic farming means you can feel good about what you eat.

#5 – and most importantly – because it’s truly delicious.

* What inspired you to start your blog and write your book?

I had a very powerful experience with food when I was in my early 20s. I had a bunch of chronic health issues (low-lying stuff, but still annoying), the most challenging of which was a skin condition I’d had since my early teens. I’d been treated for it by my Dr., but it was getting worse and the prescriptions were just getting higher. I ended up going to a Naturopath – I’d never heard of such a thing before – and she focused entirely on my diet. She took out all processed foods, identified a couple of food sensitivities, and I went home with a whole new way of eating. A month later, that skin condition and all the other little niggly stuff was gone, and it has never recurred.

Fast forward to several years ago when I realized I wanted to study nutrition and help people in the way she helped me. In my work as a nutritional therapist I’ve realized the thing that is the most important and most effective at making change in someone’s health and weight is to take the processed foods out of their diet. When they eat clean, whole, unrefined foods (what I call “naked foods”), they lose the weight, their energy comes back, and their chronic nagging health complaints improve.

This book is my way of sharing the key principles of eating naked in a way that’s accessible, fun, and most importantly, doable. I want folks to realize that the simplest and most sustainable way of looking and feeling great in their bodies is to eat naked.

* What is your top tip for tuning into your body and becoming a more mindful and intuitive eater?

Join the meal. Sit down, turn off the TV/Computer/misc distracting device, and be present for the meal. Smell it, take it in visually, and then really taste it. You can’t tap into your instincts around food unless YOU are there for the meal.

* How do you get rid of guilt about your body and food?

Our bodies are biologically wired to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. Eating is one of the ways that we give ourselves pleasure every day – several times a day. If we’re stressed about what we eat, berating ourselves for poor food choices, and questioning our own instincts around food, we’re not letting our bodies relax into the experience of eating. Then we’re not really tasting the food and we’re totally disconnected from our bodies’ response to the food.

When you can remember that pleasure is one of the key reasons for eating, and that to experience pleasure from food you have to be present to actually enjoy it (no mindless eating the jar of m&m’s while watching TV, that’s not pleasure, that’s habit and distraction), then you can give yourself permission to sit down to eat, to take a few big breaths before you take that first bite, to really savor every mouthful, and to experience the feeling of the food in your body. When you’re eating from this place, you can’t make a poor decision about your food.

Thank you Margaret! Want more? Her book is available on Amazon.com and also check out her website Eat Naked Now

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

National Swimsuit Confidence Week!

It's that time of year again when swim suit season is right around the corner! And sadly enough, many women across the country will miss out on the beautiful weather and beach days because of lack of confidence in the bathing suit. But this Memorial Day weekend, don't let bikini body anxiety overwhlem you. Join Guiltless as we celebrate Lands' End's National Swimsuit Confidence Week from May 23, 2011 - May 27, 2011.
We are beautiful when we feel beauitful, and when we appreciate ourselves, it truly shows! Feeling confident in that swimsuit will surely have you shining in the sun! That's why we LOVE this new campaign which was created in order to encourage women to feel confident and sexy in their own bodies.

Lands' End, an American lifestyle brand that sells clothing and home goods, partnered with Curvy Girl, a community for real women with real bodies, to create the Curvy Girl Guide, a website of 21 writers who collaborate to inspire women across the country by posing and posting photos at Lands' End's Facebook Fan Page. This is a fantastic resource for all of you, and I encourage you to visit their Facebook page and share some of your own confidence boosting words of advice, or post your own fabulous picture!

Being sexy is feeling sexy. So don't let the bikini blues get the best of you! Take this National Swimsuit Confidence Week and turn it into a lifetime of feeling good! After all, practice makes perfect.

Be well, and enjoy your body!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Think Thin

RD Sarah Butler dropped this little bar called Think Thin landed on my desk the other week and asked me what i thought. ThinkThin bar promising "deliciously natural weight management"- a gluten free, high protein bar with 0g of sugar. Turning it over to read the ingredients label on this "Chocolate Covered Strawberries" bar I counted 38 ingredients, 4 different types of soy, malitol (a sugar alcohol that cases gastrointestinal distress for most people) and not a single mention of strawberries. It must be hidden in that "natural flavor" part.....The sample serving size looked anything but satiating

Can you have you cake and eat it too? Yes I may have a blog called Don't White Sugar Coat It, but I truly believe you can enjoy your favorite desserts and indulgences in moderation. It's a lot easier too thoroughly enjoy a bite of something real, delicious, homemade, than to try to find a substitute, that's loaded with refined and processed protein, and supplements. Want "deliciously natural weight management"? Reach for a piece of fruit, and add some more veggies to your day. There's a lot to be said for real food and that satisfaction that can be garnered from that.
I highly doubt this bar will make you thin, not matter how much you think about it. The only way to have sustainable life-long weight loss and maintenance is through an overall healthy diet and exercise, that includes balance, and yes maybe even a cookie or two. And even if by some total miracle it did make you thin, would you be better person? Would you have more friends? Would you save the world?

Why is it that we lust after thinness so much, that we buy into weight loss scams, hoaxes, and snake oils? That we fill our bodies with "weight-loss" junk food, and ban away all healthy fruit, starches, nuts and seeds, because oh they're too high in sugar/carbs/fat?

I don't know the answer, but I'm hoping to open up some eyes.

What is the most ridiculous weight loss claim you have heard lately?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Let's give them something to talk about...

"The finest thing in the world is knowing how to belong to oneself." -Michel de Montaigne

Throughout my research and observation of eating disorders, I've discovered something more social than scientific. It appears to me that years ago, eating disorders were very hush-hush. They were rarely discussed or analyzed, and more so swept under the rug. I believe keeping this condition, which is the number one killer of all psychiatric conditions, under the radar will escalate the prevalence of the illness. It's my belief that spreading eating disorder awareness directly contributes to the recovery of thousands.

I've been talking a lot lately with women and girls who are suffering from or have previously lived with eating disorders. The number one thing I hear over and over is, "I just want to get better," or in the case of those who have long been on the road to recovery, "I just never want to get back to that place in my life." And the major contributor to accomplishing these desires I've noticed is talking about it. By discussing the feelings and triggers related to an eating disorder, you are able to identify the root cause of the obsessive thoughts and actions surrounding food and weight. Once the initial trigger is realized, you are more able to cope with and understand the condition. And that's why seeking treatment is so important. So if you are unsure whether you have an eating disorder, or if you feel like you may be at risk for one, or if you know you are currently suffering with one, please don't hesitate to reach out and tell someone. Because talking about it is the first step toward fighting it, and you are not alone.

Between women's magazines with headlines like, "HOT BODY FAST," or news stories about mothers giving their young daughters injections of botox, we are up against a serious army of body image sabotagers! And that's why we're here...to join together in an unstoppable force to remind people everywhere that it's not a magazine or plastic surgery that makes us beautiful...it's the respect and love we have for ourselves which radiates from within.

That's why I am so proud of the body image revolution we are pioneering along with some incredible recovery warriors such as Voice In Recovery, Marci Anderson, Rebecca Scritchfield, RD, Nourishing the Soul and We are the Real Deal among many others. In addition to these inspirational body image activists, here are a few resources for those who would like to learn more about treating an eating disorder:

Please share your favorite foundations, organizations and/or blogs that you believe are inspirational and helpful on the road to recovery!

Thanks for reading. You are beautiful!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Growin Up

I've said it before, but I am very lucky to grow up in a home where we were always beautiful. Where my mother wasn't on a diet, where weight wasn't emphasized, where our brains were praised before our pretty faces.

But I think it gets hard to grow up every single year. The world young girls and boys are growing up in now is one loaded with self-esteem landmines, where "perfect" is more important than ever.

I don't pretend to understand the ins-and-outs of parenting, and I completely sympathize that is not an easy task.

But is Sketcher's Shape-Ups for 7 years olds a great idea?

Let's start that food guilt and fat talk really early! And totally ignoring the fact that studies have shown that "Shape-Up"/Toning shoes don't work. oh and let's also ignore the fact that apparently Boys don't need them, Girls only. Absolutely outrageous. (don't worry a petition has already been started to pull this item. You should sign it too)

If you want to vomit, watch this news special on a Pageant-Mother who gives botox injections to her 8-year old daughter. Because dimples are simply unacceptable when you look in the mirror. I almost started bawling when I realized this little girl can never again frown or smile.

We need less Sexy Troll dolls, and more Girls on the Run.

We need less kid's push-up bras and more BodiMojo

It's a scary world out there for pre-teen and teenagers, what can we do to make the world a little bit of a better place for them to grow up in? I'd love to hear your ideas!! also what ridiculous things have you seen marketing to kids lately?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

10 ways to bring a little joy into your life...

Ten things to do when you're feeling down to pick yourself back up! These things cost little to nothing, but they can make all the difference...

1.) Turn on your favorite song and dance it out.
2.) Call up your best friend and talk about one of your favorite memories.
3.) Hit the grocery store and make your favorite homemade soup.
4.) Take a time out and go to that yoga class you've been wondering about.
5.) Indulge in guilty(less)-pleasure reading (celebrity news junkies? I'm talking to you!)
6.) Call someone you love and tell them why you appreciate them.
7.) Look at yourself in the mirror and smile at yourself.
8.) Read some of your old writing. Maybe you will rediscover an old topic that you still love!
9.) Reorganize your closet and put on your own fashion show with clothes you haven't worn in a while! Donate whatever you no longer want.
10.) Walk to your favorite coffee shop and get the most delicious cup of coffee or tea you can think of.

It's easy to get lost in feeling lost. Keep these ten things nearby for times when you might need a little boost!

Be Guiltless, and enjoy the day!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Help for Eating Disorders: Interview with Nina

I recently had the honor of speaking with Nina-an eating disorder survivor who wanted to share her story. She truly believes that complete recovery IS possible: "When you are in the middle of an eating disorder, you don’t often hear this. Whether it’s the disorder that blocks you from hearing it, or a lack of understanding in the medical community and a lack of sharing of recovery stories, the fact is that full and complete recovery is possible. I have been there, in the depths of eating disorder hell, and I am now on the other side. That is my only qualification but it is the message of hope that I wish to spread to all those suffering with this disease." Read on for Nina's thoughts on Guilt, dieting, and eating disorders!

Tell us a little bit about yourself Nina!

I am a 30 year old woman living in New York and I love this city, yoga, writing, spirituality and meditation. I come from a background of journalism and marketing and I love learning new things and being able to help others.

My website Help for Eating Disorder came about after a long history of struggling with various eating disorders and never being able to find a permanent and lasting solution. I would go on and off diets, meal plans and I had tried various types of therapies but nothing really ever stuck. I reached a real rock bottom place but I still had a glimmer of hope that I could COMPLETELY recover from all eating disorders. By complete recovery I mean freedom from the entire obsession with food and weight and being able to eat like a “normal” or “intuitive” eater.

I promised myself that if I ever did achieve this sort of recovery, and it lasted, that I would do all that I could to help as many others who are suffering to achieve the same sort of full recovery that I now have. So I posted my story online and ended up receiving hundreds of emails from people asking about how I recovered, tips, advice and just generally wanting to open up about their own eating issues. After spending a lot of time responding to these emails, I thought it would be a great idea to set up my own site where I could post about specific questions that people were asking and offer all of the advice and assistance that I could.

What inspired you to start Help for Eating Disorders?

My main inspiration for starting Help for Eating Disorders was the miracle that I had experienced in my own life. After so many years of hell, hospitalizations, job losses and isolation, I was finally free. I knew this was a gift and one that I could keep by giving it away to others. I waited for a few years to make sure that it was REAL and FULL recovery before I started offering information and advice.

What does recovery from eating disorders look like? Is it the same for everyone?

I think that the most important thing that I have learned is that eating disorder recovery is completely different for everybody and it is an individual and personal path. What works for some people may not work for others. Readers who are attracted to my site are probably attracted to the path that I have taken. There are no accidents – what ever you are searching for is also searching for you.

However, I don’t think that my way is the ONLY way and just like the Buddhists say, there are 84.000 paths to enlightenment. I believe it is the same with eating disorder recovery. There are a multitude of paths to recovery; the challenge is finding what works for you and having the determination and courage to make mistakes, get back up and never give up.

The way that my eating disorder recovery looks like is this:

I eat exactly what I want when I want
I know what hunger feels like and I know what I am hungry for
I have not had an urge to binge, purge, starve or diet for over 4 years
I eat out with friends and am more interested in the social aspect than what I am eating
I never feel guilty about what I have eaten
I have no obsession with food or my weigh
My weight has been normal and stable for several years and does not fluctuate

The most important thing that I think many disordered eaters are searching for is the FREEDOM. Above all else, it is the mental torture of an eating disorder that is the worst manifestation. I want to share with everyone that I live with complete freedom with any type of obsession, mental preoccupation, guilt or concern about food or my weight.

How big of a problem are eating disorders/disordered eating in this country? Why do you think it is such a problem?

Estimates show that up to 10 million females and 1 million males in the United States have an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. Millions more have binge eating disorder Also, sadly, only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment. What is more concerning is that 35% of "normal dieters" progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders. (Shisslak & Crago, 1995) 25% of Americans men and 45% of American women are on a diet on any given day (Smolak, 1996).

What is even more alarming in my opinion is the 35% of “dieters” end up developing an eating disorder. I believe that this is where the root of the problem is. We are so obsessed with dieting, calorie counting, restricting and eating “healthy” food that we have become out of sync with what our bodies really want and need.

Add that to the fact that diets have 98% failure rate and you end up with millions of people who are using diets as a way to control their weight, when the inevitable result is that they will fail. The failure causes more starving, deprivation, overeating and eating disorders. The guilt, sense of failure and depression that result from the diet failure drive people to unhealthy disordered eating behaviors such as purging, over exercising, complete obsession with food and weight loss and binge eating to cope with the stress of this problem that has become so unmanageable.

What is one thing everyone can do to help start to put an end to disordered eating?

The main thing that everyone can do to start to put an end to the disordered eating is:

Reject the diet mentality
Learn to eat intuitively
Let go of rules and rigid planning
Understand and identify your triggers (weight loss sites, scales, etc)
Eliminate the triggers

And most importantly, have a desire to recover above all else.

What does guilt have to do with eating disorders

The guilt that comes with eating disorders is a cumulative effect from years of classifying food as good and bad, and thereby yourself as good or bad depending on what you ate that day. It is embedded into our psyche and is a loud, negative and self defeating voice that will always lead to more hopelessness, further guilt and no recovery. It is crucial to develop ways to fight off the guilt when entering recovery as it is one of the main driving forces of the disorder and prevents full and complete recovery.

What is your top tip for letting go of guilt, and freeing yourself from disordered eating?

In order to let go of the guilt I had to have a complete mental shift regarding diets, weight loss, my eating behavior and a recognition of my triggers. I came to a point where I knew deep in my heart that the dieting mentality was fueling my disordered eating and that I would never be able to beat the eating disorder beast. The only way to win was to let go. I started practicing “normal” or intuitive eating almost 5 years ago when my body and mind were completely done with the whole diet-binge-restrict cycle. I had to be at this place of total defeat.

I started to legalize all food – slowly at first, but I was persistent and I was getting results which made me even more determined. I stopped isolating so that I could either eat my special “diet” food or binge. I ate out with people, I tried food that I actually liked and I gave myself the permission to eat the way that I did as a child.

I strongly believe that rejecting the diet mentality and getting in tune with your own body’s hunger and satiety signals is the key. Any externally imposed eating plan will always fail in my experience and will trigger off the guilt and obsession.

I had to dedicate myself to challenging every single guilt thought, realizing that is was not true, that it was the eating disorder talking and trying to get me back in its death grip.

I followed the example of other normal eaters that I knew and slowly the guilt subsided, I reached a normal weight and had the obsession removed. It is the results that speak for themselves. I knew that I wanted COMPLETE recovery, not just a way to “manage” the eating disorder through eating plans and rigid rules. I wanted to be completely in tune with my own body and that is the way that I live today.

Thank you Nina for your wise words of advice! Nina writes a blog at Help for Eating Disorder and has recently published an EBook about Recovery From Eating Disorders. You can also follow her on Twitter @helpfored and "Like" the blog on Facebook!

Friday, May 6, 2011

I love my Eyes

I Love my Eyes -Keating Simons

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

You & Your Yoga Mat - Interview with Yogi

Today, I want to share with you a conversation with Sherry Pefine - Yoga teacher in training, life long best friend, and an incredible source of inspiration. For years, I've had the pleasure of having conversations just like the one below with Sherry. It's how I've picked myself up from being down, and it's how she's done the same for herself for over 10 years. That's why I wanted to share her voice with you. Join us as we talk about how yoga can change the way you see yourself, but maybe more importantly, how you appreciate yourself...

What made you decide to become a yoga instructor?

This was something that I've wanted to do now for about four years. I felt that my practice had plateaued some and wanted to take it up a notch, and was really uncertain if I would teach or not, to me this would be something personal in my practice and in my everyday life. However, here I sit more than half way through my training and am eager to get out there and "get my hands" on people! Yoga has helped me in so many areas in my life. It never failed me. It has given me strength when I thought that I didn't have any, and also grounded me when I got ahead of myself. It's this constant state of flux that has helped me see things for what they are, good, bad and ugly (you get the point), but it's helped me channel my energy and allowed me to really focus on what it is that needs my attention NOW. This is the message that I want to help spread. I think it's so important for people to find that within themselves. I just find it to be so beneficial in everyday living.

How has yoga shaped your body perception and how has this changed over time?

Like most women, I've always been WAY too hard on myself. Nothing seemed good enough. "I'll just lose 5-10lbs and everything will be so much better. I'll be so much happier." And then what, I could conquer the world? I mean come on, it's just ridiculous, and these were some, I say some because there were and sometimes are worse thoughts that run through my head. But really, what good comes out of putting yourself down? Nothing. By practicing yoga, I've learned to ease up on myself and not take things too seriously. I've also become much more grateful for my body & amazed at what it can actually do!!

How has yoga influenced your eating habits, if at all?

Health and nutrition have always been a huge interest of mine. I'm all about it. I tend to think that my eating habits are quite normal. I try not to deprive myself, but I'm also mindful of the foods that I put into my body. Yoga has definitely had a role in that. By practicing yoga I've gained this sense of inner awareness which has helped me in all aspects of my life. I know of the foods that my body can tolerate and am also more sensitive to the foods that I can't.
Through out your self-exploration via yoga, what is the most surprising thing you've learned about yourself and learned to love?

Interestingly enough, I've realized that I'm much stronger than I ever thought I was, physically, mentally and emotionally. My practice is solid and I feel strong. I think at some point I was ashamed to admit this, but I've learned to embrace it.

What is it about yoga that makes us so much more mindful of ourselves? Why is it important to be mindful of ourselves and of our choices?

During a practice, it's you & your mat. No distractions, you're strictly focusing on your posture, the position of your body & most importantly your breath. This requires such a focus that you may not even be aware of at the time, but the more you practice the more this comes to the for front. You start to pay attention to the details. By noticing these subtle changes, you begin to make better choices in your life. This is important because life should be lived fully, being true to yourself & others.

Thank you, Sherry! You are amazing! Once Sherry finishes her yoga teacher training, we will be sure to let you Guiltless readers know where you can find her classes! Be well & mindful, and enjoy the day.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Things I had wished I knew at 20 about Food and my Body: Part II Interview with 40:20 Vision

As a 20-something who is constantly looking to women older and wiser than I for mentorship, support and guidance I was struck by the utter brilliance of Christina Vuleta's website 40:20 vision. 40:20 Vision is "an experiment in sharing the wisdom of 40-something women with 20-something women." With everything from advice on relationships, careers and body image, the site is a godsend for those of us looking for a little bit of guidance. Last week I posted part I of this interview, and now I'll reveal all of Christina's wisdom!

In general, how do you think 20-something women and 40-something women differ in the relationships with food?

It’s a lifelong relationship but it does get friendlier. Food is such a part of our lives and our love / hate relationship with ourselves.

In your 20’s it’s about camaraderie and consolation. It’s pizza late night with your friends and overdosing on Entenmann’s crumb cake. It’s getting through your break up with Ben and Jerry’s. It’s eating what’s cheap and available and fast. I look back and realize that all I ate in college was cheese and bread. Pizza, nachos, bagels and cream cheese, cheese fries, mac and cheese and my go-to dorm room fix of cheese melted in a tortilla in the microwave. Yes, I did gain the freshman fifteen. As I entered the working world I graduated to eating a box a cereal or pasta every night for dinner. I was lucky enough to work for a company that had a wellness program at work. I learned quickly that was not a healthy diet and over the years I learned about nutrition. I got reacquainted with vegetables and protein and found that I like the tastes of certain things. I can crave a sweet potato and asparagus now as much as I used to crave a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup. But I also can eat peanut butter everyday without thinking it’s bad because it has “fat” in it. It does take learning and experimentation but you can find healthy foods that you like and then it’s not a battle to eat right.

There are times when you feel like food is your only friend, hopefully you can get to a place where it is something you enjoy with friends. You learn not to beat yourself up over going over the limit…and you give yourself permission to enjoy a special meal without guilt.

Of course there are many 40-somethings who struggle with weight and we all know the stats on obesity in this country. There’s so much working against us from media images to mixed messages from health experts to quick-fix schemes to emotional and financial costs. For the seriously overweight or underweight the relationship is much more complex. For those of us in the middle, it’s a matter of education and commitment to a lifestyle rather than instant gratification. This woman has a strong opinion on the benefits of balance.

It is disheartening that women are so preoccupied with weight and food "management" and not focused on finding a healthy balance of exercise and eating that will maintain weight. So many of us make poor food choices from eating for comfort, overeating, not eating and dieting obsessively when 20 min of cardio work a day and educated food choices would enable you to eat decently without fear of gaining a pound. There is soooo much information about healthy eating choices and exercise - it is something I cannot stress enough that you must commit to for life. It will rid your life of dieting and self-hate.

What is something you wish you had known as a 20-something about food and your body that the wiser older version of you now "gets"?

- That restricting calories too much really does make you get into a plateau.

- That calories in really do equal calories out.

- That nobody is perfect.

- That it’s better to eat something you like than try to make something that tastes like cardboard taste better. You’ll only go back for something that satisfies you or overeat the thing that bores you.

- That it’s okay to indulge occasionally

- That you have to find what works for you. It’s not the same for everyone.

I used to obsess about weight and learned over time to lighten up. When you do indulge it doesn't instantly add pounds and once you learn that, you are less likely to overindulge. When you deprive yourself of something because you think eating it will literally add that pound to the scale, sooner or later you're going to binge on it and then feel bad about yourself. And when you feel bad about yourself, you eat poorly. Try to just eat a little and enjoy it. I used to have a tendency to eat the whole pint of ice cream or if one cupcake was good, then two was better. But then I'd feel sick. So two things work for me. One, if I'm not around these foods, I don't miss them. Out of sight out of stomach. Then when I do feel like an ice cream cone I can go get a cone and enjoy. Two, when I'm around food that triggers overindulgence (the every other week cupcakes someone brings into work or a glass of wine a friends home with the cheese and crackers staring in my face...just one more little slice...adds up) I just tell myself that that particular food is not going anywhere. There will be ice cream tomorrow, next week, next year. Chocolate is not endangered. So have a bite, or two, enjoy and know that it is not your last bite.

Thank you so much Christina for sharing your infinite wisdom! Want more?? Check out 40:20 vision and follow Christina on Twitter!

What is 1 thing you wish you could tell yourself 5 years ago?