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January 16, 2024

🌿 Intentional Living: A crucial piece of advice for 2024

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In This Issue:

Featured Wellness Message: A crucial piece of advice for 2024

Recommended Resource: From a landmark Harvard Health study, what keeps us healthy and happy? (a short video)

My Psychology Today Article: Dieting ignites hunger hormones and suppresses fullness hormones. What can you do about it?

My Featured Post: The American Academy of Pediatrics weight guidelines. Kids and teens deserve better.

A crucial piece of advice

woman in blue cap and red sleeveless dress

Hi, friends!

The diet industry and our weight-obsessed culture are mean. If you embrace their myths, you might end up spending your precious time chasing their ideas of perfection and inadvertently passing along the never-good-enough messages to the next generation.

That's why I want to kick off 2024's first newsletter with a story — and a very important piece of advice.

First, a clinical note: this story is a composite from my professional experiences and does not depict any one person or family. However, the situation is all too familiar:

A 12-year-old boy and his parents came into my office, struggling for a plan for what to do next. Unfortunately, the boy already met criteria for anorexia nervosa, a life-threatening illness.

But how did it all begin?

The boy told me about a routine visit to his (well-respected, well-meaning) pediatrician. The doctor had told him his weight was trending up faster than his height.

It might be time to make some lifestyle changes, the doctor said.

The boy — who is a very proactive, conscientious child — took that message to heart. He started by cutting down carbs. Then sugar. Then he started exercising. A lot.

At first, the boy’s loving, devoted parents — who had heard the doctor’s recommendations — didn’t see anything wrong.

But, his eating became inflexible. His growth stalled. He experienced significant weight loss.

Things spiraled out of control, fast.

When something like this happens, it breaks my heart.

That’s why I want to alert our Intentional Living community about the BMI-based guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. For more specifics, read this month's website blog post.

Trust me, these are dangerous guidelines.

This focus on weight may increase the risk of kids and teens developing eating disorders. For a 12-year-old who comes into my office — and so many like him — these diseases are life-threatening.

But, now is not the time to be hopeless.

My crucial advice for 2024 is this:

Use your power for good.

Physicians will ask the parent’s permission to speak to a child about these issues.

So, you can choose whether a doctor brings up your child’s weight, eating habits, body shape or exercise activities. Communicate your preferences with your children's doctors.

If you don’t have young children, please share this info with friends and family who are parents.

Kids look to us as guides.

It's up to us to create intentional, psychologically safe spaces that foster growth and development.

Speaking of promoting true wellbeing and supportive environments …

let's share Harvard's research about what brings about genuine health and happiness – and longevity. To learn the surprising findings, watch the video in the resource section below.

I wholeheartedly wish you a year filled with kindness, compassion, abundance, connections, and joy. Oh, and don't listen to mean messages. Instead, here is my suggestion for a 2024 intention:

xoxo Dr Gia

How to Overcome Emotional Eating

Planning to make your eating healthier in 2024?

Check out my no-dieting, science-backed digital course. See if it's the kind of guided self-help you have been looking for to support you on your journey.

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”— Frederick Douglass

What keeps us healthy and happy?

You may be surprised.

It isn’t weight loss, thinness, or a magic medicine. So, what keeps us healthy and happy?

Appetite Hormones: The Disruptive Effect of Dieting

Feeling hungry, hopeless and constantly tired after dieting?

It’s no wonder.

Dieting causes enduring changes in crucial hormones that regulate appetite, leaving you hungrier than usual and less satisfied and full after you eat.

On top of that, most people who lose weight from dieting eventually gain it back.

This weight cycling can have negative health effects over time.

Furthermore, even after weight loss treatment brings about initial health improvements, some studies show a deterioration of health, back to starting values six to eighteen months after treatment. But,

— it’s not because of lack of self-control.

Your body may be dysregulated and your appetite signals may become unreliable indicators of how much and when you need to eat — even up to a year after you give up your diet.

The good news: you can regain control.

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We are failing kids and teens.

“Stop trying to fix your body. It was never broken.” — Eve Ensler

Nearly every pediatrician I know and have the honor of collaborating with is genuinely passionate about supporting whole health in children, teens and families.

I hold them in high esteem.

However, pediatricians have demanding jobs. Due to changes in healthcare, many work long hours outside of the office, so they can reserve plenty of time to spend with each patient.

And unfortunately, recent BMI-based intervention guidelines from The American Academy of Pediatrics may increase physicians struggle to keep kids’ and adolescents’ best interests at heart — and chart the right path forward.

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