Friday, August 13, 2010

The Oxygen Diet-Try it on yourself first!

I’m not a frequent flier but each time I have been on a plane I’ve been struck by the following flight attendant speech: “In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop down from above you.  If you are traveling with young children, secure the mask on yourself first. Then place it on your children.”

What? Place the oxygen mask on myself first, not on my kids? What are they thinking? As a mother, it seems so counterintuitive to meet my needs before my children’s. How could my safety and wellness come before theirs?

Well I finally get it. It’s not that my needs or my survival is more important than theirs.  On the contrary. It’s just that in order for me to be of any use to them I need to have my oxygen. I would be in no position to care for my children and make the decisions necessary for their care and wellbeing if I am without oxygen.
Now let’s substitute food for oxygen. Unless you are well fueled you are not in the best position for taking care of others—your kids, needy family members or even close friends. Maybe no one relies on you in this way. But perhaps you babysit, or work in a service profession, where others are dependent on you and your good judgment. If you are restricting your intake it becomes a challenge to make wise decisions and to be successful in whatever you do.

Sounds like I’m just speaking to my eating disordered readers? Think again. Even those of you who do not fit that category can set yourself up in the same way. Perhaps you’re overweight and struggling to move to a healthier place. You may find yourself restricting your food intake, going long periods without eating. You may feel low energy, even a bit foggy headed as a result. And certainly we have all experienced the irritability of the restrictive dieter.

There are two key messages to leave you with.

1) Struggling to motivate, to get healthy for your own sake? While making change for you is ideal, you may find it challenging. Consider finding the strength to make change for the sake of those you care about and may even care for!

2) Changing your weight, even if it is appropriate and necessary for health reasons, doesn’t require suffering. Change, yes. But not suffering. And it shouldn’t compromise your wellbeing. You should not be feeling cranky, lethargic or starving. And if that’s what you’re experiencing, you need to be tuning into your hunger, trusting it and responding to it better!


  1. I have been meeting with Lori for over a month now and love this blog. I am eating healthy and am not hungry any more. I used to diet but now I am learning how to eat normally.

  2. Thanks for sharing! And no, this was NOT a paid endorsement! Keep up the great work, stockies!

  3. Good points! I wish I could get my mother into a program like yours. For YEARS I watched her yo-yo diet out of control, and I told myself I would never, never, NEVER diet. I ended being an overweight teen and young adult, but my weight always stayed stable, and I’ve always been a pretty active person, not much of an exerciser until about 2 years ago, but pretty active in every day life ( i have a very physical, labor intensive career). 2 years ago I got a membership to YMCA, and I started weight training (2x a week) and swimming (4 x a week). The swimming is great activity and relieves a lot of stress and tiredness out of my overworked body. About 6 months ago, I made a resolution to finally get in touch w/ my eating and hunger. I changed my diet to mostly vegetarian and began to eat only when hungry and eat until I was physically satisfied. Meals always contain a lot of veggies, and I eat a ton of salads and green smoothies. Some meals I have to practically stuff myself because I need the calories. I refuse to ever go hungry, and I refuse to skip meals. I love to cook and food has always been a great love of mine. In the last 3 months, I’ve lost close to 30 pounds, and all I am doing is eating healthier and paying attention to my body--when it actually needs food and when it doesn’t. My tendency to overeat in the past has been out of boredom or wanting to avoid things like doing housework, and that I have acknowledged and am working on--one day at a time!

    Anyway, thanks for your great blog!

    BTW: Have you read The Diet Myth by Paul Campos? Excellent reading. In college, I did a research paper for a sociology class on America’s diet culture and dieting obsession, and Campos’ book had a huge impact on me.

  4. Hi Roxanne,
    Sounds like a major shift in your eating and activity. Just be careful; in an attempt to eat only when you're hungry, you could start leaning in the other direction. Beware of your use of high volume, low calorie density items that will fill you in the short run, but not sustain you. Sometimes we can replace one set of unhealthy behaviors with another. I will definitely take a look at the book you mentioned. Thanks!

  5. My first rule of thumb for every meal is to make sure the meal is sustaining and satisfying. Because I am so active, I can’t feel hungry all the time. Breakfast is my number one concern of the day. On purpose, it’s my highest calorie meal of the day, if it isn’t, I regret it later. I make sure it has a satisfying portion of protein (I love eggs and fish and tofu make nice breakfast choices--surprisingly!) balanced w/ enough fiber and nutrient rich sides (fruit, veg, or grain) to make the meal energizing and filling.

    I don’t restrict food, but I make my food choices based on nutrient density and questioning if the meal will energize and satisfy me or leave me lethargic and wishing for something else.