Monthly Archives: August 2015

#MotivationMonday Stage 2- Contemplation


Today we are continuing my seven week #MotivationMonday series on Change.

Last week we talked about precontemplation and the role that denial plays. If you recognized the role that denial played in your attempt to change, then you may already be at the second stage of change, Contemplation.

When you are contemplating change, it means that you have acknowledged a problem. It means that you consciously recognize that a behavior or situation is not serving you. It is working against you, creating psychological and/or emotional problems.

Perhaps you find yourself thinking about why you have this problem, its roots. You may find yourself thinking that if you can just understand why you are doing something then you can change your behavior.

One of the biggest roadblocks to change at this point is fear. Many patients in my practice know where they want to be, they may even know how to get there, but they are just not ready to make the change.


Well, fear of failure is powerful. What if you make a change, and then go back to your old ways? Are you really ready? What happens when it’s four o’clock and for three days, you haven’t binged on candy and then on the fourth day you find yourself sitting in the car binging on a king size chocolate bar? I mean, if you’re just going to end up binging, why stop at all? Many folks with disordered eating use this all or nothing thinking.

But it’s difficult to even consider solutions, when we are so focused on the problem. This stage is almost like a hamster running on a wheel. Around and around we go, chasing the problem, our fear keeping us from getting off that wheel.

Now, if you are thinking about the change you’d like to make in your life, and you are not worrying about how at 4 p.m. you are usually bingeing, then you are ready to go to the next step. Maybe at 4p.m. you are considering doing some lunges, or perhaps you are considering calling a friend and actually trying to decide which friend could you call, and what would that be like. If so, congrats! You are actually at the end of the contemplation stage and transitioning to the next stage of change, Preparation, which we will discuss next week.

In the meantime-  Get Sun. Eat Clean. Be Well.
Dr. Norton

#MondayMotivation series on Change- Precontemplation

Today I am continuing my seven week #MondayMotivation series exploring Change.

The first stage in making a change in your life is Precontemplation. Now, if you read my post last week, and you said to yourself, “I don’t have anything I need to change.” Or you thought of someone close to you asking you to change a certain behavior and then you defensively thought “but I don’t have that problem,” you are probably in the first stage of change. You have no intention of changing your behavior, and typically, you would deny you even have a problem.

Often, this is where a person will show up in therapy because of outside pressures from family or friends. In anorexic, bulimic and bulimarexic patients, the threat of hospitalization is used as a way to get the patient into the therapists office.

I had a consultation like this last week. Because of outside pressure from a loved one, a bulimic patient showed up to discuss her eating with me. Despite an considerable amount of psychological and emotional evidence to the contrary, this patient simply could not admit that there was a serious problem occurring. However, she did notice the medical complications.

Precontemplators are often demoralized because they feel the situation is hopeless.

Change seems impossible, improbable and inconceivable.

So, if your knee jerk reaction when reading my post last week was to immediately think of a behavior that someone close to you has been pressuring you to change, but you won’t entertain that thought- then you are really in the trenches of the first stage of change. Precontemplation.

However, if you read my post last week and thought of something you’d like to change, then the good news is this- you are already past the first stage of change. And closer to the change you’d like to see in your life.

Come back and visit me next Monday, when I discuss the second stage of Change.

Get Sun. Eat Clean. Be Well.

-Dr. Norton

Change- A Seven Week #MotivationMonday series

This week I’m starting a seven week #MotivationMonday series on Change.

If you’ve ever tried to change a behavior, then you will understand just how difficult change can be. But I’d also guess that you would say that change was the best thing you ever did for yourself. Change can be the ultimate act of self love.

There are six stages in the process of change.

If it doesn't challenge youDoes that surprise you?

My patients find it reassuring to discover that change does not happen overnight. I don’t expect them to wake up the following day and be onboard with everything I ask of them.

Often, my first contact with a patient is when they have really hit rock bottom. But that’s when the seeds of change are planted. So if you are reading this, and feeling you are at your bottom, I challenge you to spend the next seven Mondays with me.

For this week, I want to you to answer this question:

What are you looking to change in your life?

“Wanna a Coke with That?”

Coca-Cola has been in the news a lot this week. They know their days are numbered and that the end of Coke is near. Now Coca-Cola is funding scientists to spend their time performing studies that confuse consumers into thinking that soda is not a primary contributor for the epidemic rise of obesity and metabolic disorders in our country.

I think that we can agree that there is more pressure than ever before, for parents to participate in the processed food insanity in the grocery store. Between the sugar laden processed foods that we know are not good for us, and the organic processed foods that are masquerading as “healthy,” the right choice isn’t always obvious.

A huge misconception in my line of work, that I am still surprised to encounter, is that people think exercise is responsible for weight loss. Exercise really expends far fewer calories than one perceives. In the New York Times Well article this week, it was pointed out that “A 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola, for example, contains 140 calories and roughly 10 teaspoons of sugar. ‘It takes three miles of walking to offset that one can of Coke.’” That’s one can. One of those small bottles of Coke, which is roughly 2.5 servings, would have 25 teaspoons of sugar.

Now, am I saying that you don’t need to exercise? No. I’m not. Exercise really has an important place in keeping our minds and bodies healthy. There are so many health benefits to exercise, that I cannot list them all here. But exercise alone will not help people lose weight. I tell my patients that weight loss is 80% food and 20% exercise.

I think that people really underestimate just how powerful clean eating can be in battling obesity. And it’s not just obesity- autoimmune disorders and chronic disease patients also can see a remarkable turn around when clean eating is applied.

So today, I thought I’d tackle the Coca-Cola issue by sharing something that I really enjoy drinking. I want you to know that you have delicious options if you are eating clean, and you can find them in the grocery store. This beverage gives me the satisfaction of drinking soda- the fizz, the flavor, the feeling of having a treat- but I’m staying within the sugar guidelines that I have set for myself.

Eating clean isn’t about deprivation. Eating clean is about the freedom to eat as much nourishing food as you need to feel satisfied, with no processed food health hangover later in life.

Get Sun. Eat Clean. Be Well.

-Dr. Norton

Want to Lose Weight? Eat Clean and Get Some Sun!

The problem is polluted food. The solution is to avoid the polluted food. But that isn’t enough. You must also get out into the sun and find  foods rich in sulfur.

Let’s start with the clean eating.

Monsanto has changed the DNA of soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, and alfalfa by putting the insecticide DDT into it.  Bugs bite into the plant and the DDT splits their abdomens open.  It should go without saying then that DDT is not safe for human consumption.  Unfortunately though, we unknowingly consume a lot of it in this country,  through this type of DDT infused crop. You can be sure, that if you are eating a processed food, it goes without saying that it is probably from a genetically modified crop with some sort of DDT insecticide. Want to lose weight 1

Although we do not immediately suffer the same fate as the bug, we apparently do pay a price as the number of gastrointestinal disorders has increased significantly over the past twenty years in the U.S. Once DDT gets into our gut, it appears to stay there for good.

Many of patients I treat for disordered eating are driven by a tendency to eat too much processed and/or polluted food in an effort to cut back on fat. This results in gastrointestinal problems that result, such as bloating, constipation, and weight gain.

According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine regarding GE foods “…. it is clear that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment.” Although the role this problem plays in the field of eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating is not even on the radar of researchers, the impact that GE is having on the obesity epidemic is beginning to gain some traction.

Impact of GE Grains on Obesity and Other Eating Related Illnesses

Researcher and professor, Åshild Krogdahl, and her colleagues at the Norwegian Veterinary College, conducted a 10-year study to determine if eating genetically modified grain had any adverse effects on animals including rats, mice, fish and pigs. The work was a multi-national collaboration with researchers from Austria, Hungary, Ireland, Turkey and Australia. The results confirm the obvious:

  • According to the findings, feeding rats, mice, pigs and salmon genetically engineered feed causes obesity, along with significant changes in the digestive system and major organs, including the liver, kidneys, pancreas, genitals and more.want to lose weight 2
  • Animals fed genetically engineered Bt corn were less able to digest proteins due to alterations in the micro-structure of their intestines. This fact that “they were less able to digest proteins” has huge implications in that the biochemistry of amino acids is necessary for all life processes. It not only explains the rise in obesity, but may explain increases in many modern diseases that are currently on the rise and/or reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S. including diabetes, digestive disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, autism spectrum disorders, autoimmune diseases, sexual dysfunction, sterility, asthma, and many more.
  • Perhaps the most important finding, from the perspective of what is and isn’t safe to eat, is the finding that the animals that ate fish that had been raised on GE grains also became obese and suffered the same gastrointestinal disturbances and immune disorders as those that werewant to lose weight 3 fed the grains directly.
  • Finally, the project did not just focus on weight gain but looked at the effects on organ changes too. Researchers found distinct changes to the intestines of animals fed GMOs compared to those fed non-GMOs. This confirms observations by other U.S. researchers. Significant changes occurred in the digestive systems of the test animals’ major organs including the liver, kidneys, pancreas, genitals and more.

The animals in this study were fed a diet of GE corn and soy, which contained toxic proteins from the bacteria Bt or Bacillus thuriengensis. As mentioned previously, Bt is an insecticide that works by killing larval insect pests which damage corn, soy, cotton, canola and other crops. By inserting and gene-stacking various Bt toxins, along with herbicide resistant gene sequences, the plants DNA is altered or genetically engineered for the specific purpose of killing the offending pests.

want to lose weight 4In essence, “The entire plant is made into a pesticide factory which is also resistant to herbicides..  Roundup, is such a product and is produced by  Monsanto…….It is the most popular herbicide used on herbicide tolerant  crops. [1]

In view of what we do know from these animal studies, there is a shocking lack of data on the effects of GE foowant to lose weight 5d on humans. There are very few studies to begin with, and as the American Academy of Environmental Medicine states,  Not a single human clinical trial on GEs has been published. A 2007 review of all published scientific literature on the “potential toxic effects/health risks of GE plants” revealed “that experimental data are very scarce” in general. The author of the review concludes his paper by asking, Where is the scientific evidence showing that GE plants/food are toxicologically safe, as purportedby the biotechnology companies?  Famed Canadian geneticist David Suzuki awant to lose weight 6nswers, “The experiments simply havent been done and we now have become the guinea pigs.”

Another researcher, Dr. David Schubert[2] agrees, “If there are problems, we will probably never know because the cause will not be traceable as many diseases take a very long time to develop.”  He postulates further,  “If GE foods caused immediate and acute symptoms, with a unique signatureperhaps then we might have a chance to trace the cause.

However, that is what happened during a US epidemic in the late 1980s with a genetically engineered brand of a food supplement, L-tryptophan. The disease was fast acting, deadly, and caused a unique and measurable change in the blood.  It still took more than four years to identify that an epidemic was occurring and what the source was. By then it had killed about 100 Americans and caused 5,000-10,000 people to fall sick or become permanently disabled.

No Data Is Data

As discussed earlier, there is almost no research being done for the express purpose of scientifically establishing the links between GE foods and the dramatic increase in the specific health problems that US citizens are experiencing in comparison to citizens in other countries where GE crops are regulated or prohibited. But what we do have to go on is the unprecedented downturn in the health of one of the wealthiest developed nations in the world and what we can predict for the future based upon studies on the effects of GE on animals. If, as the biotech and food industries would have us believe, GE is safe, why are there no studies showing this?

The Link Lack of Sun Exposure and Obesity

Our skin produces huge amounts of cholesterol sulfate, which is also water soluble and provides a healthy barrier against bacteria and other potentially disease-causing pathogens that might otherwise enter the body through the skin. Cholesterol sulfate can enter both fat cells and muscle cells with equal ease. Dr. Stephanie Seneff proposes that, because of this, cholesterol sulfate may be able to protect fat and muscle cells from glucose and oxygen damage, which is known as glycation or more commonly inflammation.

She also argues that when you’re deficient in cholesterol sulfate, your muscle and fat cells become more prone to damage, which subsequently can lead to glucose intolerance; a condition where your muscles cannot process glucose as a fuel. As a result, your fat cells have to store more fat in order to supply your muscles. The more damage, the more fat that accumulates.

Sulfur also plays an important role in glucose metabolism. She hypothesizes that if sufficient amounts of sulfur is available, it will act as a decoy to glucose, effectively diverting it to reduce the sulfur rather than glycating and causing damage. This would have the beneficial effect of reducing inflammation, as sugar (glucose) is highly inflammatory and wreaks havoc in your body.

What to Do

Dietary Sources of Sulfur

  1. Sulfur is derived almost exclusively from dietary protein, so eat fresh caught fish and organic grass-fed beef, and poultry
    1. Meat and fish are considered “complete” as they contain all the sulfur-containing amino acids you need to produce new protein. Needless to say, those who abstain from animal protein are placing themselves at far greater risk of sulfur deficiency.
  2. Coconut oil and olive oil also contain sulfur (and are ideal sources of healthful saturated fats too).
  3. Other dietary sources that contain small amounts of sulfur IF the food was grown in soil that contains adequate amounts of sulfur, include:
    1. Organic Pastured Eggs, Legumes, Garlic Onion, Brussel Sprouts, Asparagus, Kale, Wheat Germ
  1. Another reason that we gain weight is that any diet high in grains and processed foods is likely to be deficient in sulfur. It turns out that once whole foods are processed, sulfur is lost.
  2. Eating organic helps to insure that the soil is richer. Additionally, soils around the world are becoming increasingly sulfur-depleted, resulting in less sulfur-rich foods overall.
  3. Drink water, such as Fiji water, that has minerals still in it. Soft water is easier to use for cleaning, but Hard water also tends to contain more sulfur than soft water, which, according to Dr. Seneff, may be why people who drink soft water are at greater risk of developing heart disease.

In addition to making sure you’re getting high amounts of sulfur-rich foods in your diet, Dr. Seneff recommends soaking your body in magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) baths to compensate and counteract sulfur deficiency. She uses about ¼ cup in a tub of water, twice a week. It’s particularly useful if you have joint problems or arthritis.

[1]The Cornucopia Institute Obesity, Corn, GMOs July 24th, 2012
Anthony Samsel.

[2] Dr. Schubert

News You Can Use Week of August 3rd-9th

“As an Eating Disorder Professional, I know that many of my clients that are in treatment for Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, Binge Eating Disorder or Obesity are overwhelmed by all the information in the news about our health. In hopes of relieving some of the stress this can inflict on both my patients and readers, I’ve highlighted some of the weekly health news that was of particular interest to all of us at The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity. From my eating disorder and obesity treatment center in Cincinnati, here is your weekly news update for the week of August 3rd-August 9th, 2015.

NEWS: Why Coconut Oil Trumps Vegetable Oil

Every time we cover research indicating that fat hurts your body, the immediate response is, “What about coconut oil?!” Now, we have a great answer for you: Yes, it is a better option than the fats you’ll usually find lurking in processed food, according to University of California, Riverside researchers. LEARN MORE

NEWS: 5 Ways to Celebrate Your Body Today

I know at times it’s tough to appreciate your body for its true brilliance and to celebrate all that it does for you. As I outline in Whole Body Intelligence, you may have concerns about how it looks, or you may not like how it performs in certain situations, or possibly not like it because of pain you feel from living in it. LEARN MORE

NEWS: 20 Names for Nasty MSG

Food manufacturers just love it when you can’t stop with a single serving. For them, it is the sound of cash registers ringing in sales. But what does this mean to us? It means that somehow the food is now in control. Somehow it has been manipulated to cause you to overeat. LEARN MORE

NEWS: 10 Reasons to Avoid Toxic High-Fructose Corn Syrup

High-fructose corn syrup is a sugar that begins as a corn starch and through processing becomes a very sweet syrup. Processing the corn converts glucose into fructose, creating a very concentrated sugar. While table sugar and HFCS have molecular similarities, the way the human body processes HFCS can lead to many health problems. High-fructose corn syrup is destroying both the bodies of humans and the honey bees. LEARN MORE

NEWS: The Top Reasons to Avoid MSG: An Industry Secret Ingredient For Food Addiction

Most people have seen signs in Chinese and other restaurants proclaiming that their food is “MSG free” or a note on the menu letting diners know that is it possible to have their food prepared without monosodium glutamate. One of the big reasons that consumers became aware of this artificial ingredient that is widespread in the food industry is that there have been cases of people having severe – and sometimes even fatal – allergic reactions to it. Once a few horror story of diners going into anaphylactic shock in the middle of the meal reached the media, the public in general became much more aware of the potential threat that MSG can pose. However, as serious as the possibility for a reaction is, it is not the only danger of MSG. Read on to find out more about its role in food addiction and why the food industry continues to use it. LEARN MORE

NEWS: Dealing With Teens’ Weight and Shape Issues

“Dad, am I fat?” asked my daughter when she was 13 years old, as she stared at her middle in the mirror. I would sigh to myself, when I heard that often-repeated question. If I said no, she would tell me that I was lying because I’m her father. If I said yes, then I have sentenced her to the worst fate of adolescence — “fathood.” LEARN MORE

Sign up for our newsletter HERE!

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Xylitol-A True Natural Sweetener

What Is Xylitol?

  1. Xylitol is a substance that is categorized as a sugar alcohol
    1. Has nothing to do with alcohol and is safe if you need to avoid alcohol
  2. Natural sweetener
    1. Small amounts found in many fruits and vegetables
    2. Humans even produce small amounts of it via normal metabolism
  3. Common ingredient in sugar free chewing gums, candies, mints, diabetes friendly foods and oral care products
  4. Xylitol has a similar sweetness as regular sugar, but contains 40% fewer calories:
    1. Table Sugar: 4 calories per gram.
    2. Xylitol:4 calories per gram.
  5. Glycemic load of xylitol is significantly less than that of sugar
    1. Will not cause weight gain
    2. Most of them do not raise blood sugar levels and therefore don’t count as “net” carbs, making them popular sweeteners in low-carb products

Health Benefits of Xylitol

  1. Numerous studies show that xylitol has powerful benefits for dental health and prevention of tooth decay.
    1. Bacteria responsible for plaque, feeds on the glucose found in food and does not like xylitol
    2. It can significantly reduce plaque and cavities
    3. Study: using xylitol-sweetened chewing gum reduced levels of the bad bacteria by 27-75%, while it had no effect on the friendly bacteria
  2. Xylitol also increases absorption of calcium in the digestive system
    1. Good for your teeth and may also protect against osteoporosis
    2. Increases production of saliva. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which get picked up by the teeth and aid in remineralization
    3. Reduces the acidity of saliva, which helps to fight acid-driven degradation of tooth enamel
  3. Xylitol has a very low glycemic index
    1. Doesn’t spike blood sugar or insulin.
    2. Doesn’t cause weight gain
    3. Doesn’t lead to insulin resistance like fructose does
    4. High Fructose Corn Syrup is the primary cause of diabetes today
    5. None of the harmful effects of sugar apply to xylitol
    6. In rats xylitol reduced belly fat and the symptoms of diabetes
  4. Xylitol reduces ear infections in children
    1. The mouth, ears and nose are connected and bacteria in one cavity can easily migrate to another
  5. Xylitol fights the yeast Candida albicans, reducing its ability to stick to a surface and cause infection
  6. Xylitol may increase the production of collagen
  7. Xylitol may also be protective against osteoporosis
    1. Led to increased bone volume and bone mineral content in rats
  8. Xylitol can also feed the friendly bacteria in the gut
    1. Functions kind of like soluble fiber

Side Effects of Xylitol

  1. Xylitol can be highly toxic to dogs, leading to hypoglycemia and/or liver failure
  2. Some people get digestive side effects when they consume too much
    1. Gas, Bloating, Diarrhea
    2. Introduce slowly so your body can adjust

Note: If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or an intolerance to FODMAPs, (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols) that cause gas and bloating, then be extra careful with sugar alcohols and consider avoiding them altogether.

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.