Two human behaviors explain why we’re still here: engaging in sex and consuming food. Both are inextricably linked by dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with reward and pleasure. It’s what motivates us to read all three volumes of Fifty Shades of Grey or to inhale a plate of mom’s homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. To date, procreative activities have maintained their primal prerogative without too much deviation from nature’s blueprint.
For most of us, being content with what we have, who we are, what we do and what we look like is very challenging. We are flooded with images of people who are better-looking, have more wealth or are better at doing something than we are. And it will always be that way. We can’t control how beautiful, successful or talented others are. What we can do is avoid comparison—and practice contentment with who we are. For those of us who study yoga, that includes contentment with our asana practice and with our physical limitations.
Facebook. You log on to connect with friends and colleagues, post pictures and market your wares. But could that daily networking session be hurting your self-esteem?
According to the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt, in Baltimore, the answer is yes. Researchers reached this conclusion after surveying 600 Facebook users, aged 16–40.
Here are some insights:
When all else fails, appealing to a person’s sense of vanity can often be the most powerful motivator. newsletter_teaser: When all else fails, appealing to a person’s sense of vanity can often be the most powerful motivator. We have all heard the five-a-day consumption rule on fruits and vegetables ad nauseam, but for some, the message just hasn’t penetrated.
In a world where thin is in, scientists are suggesting that thicker thighs could mean better health. A study published in the Harvard Men’s Health Watch newsletter (www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mens_Health_Watch/2012/January) involved 2,816 apparently healthy men and women aged 35–65. Each participant was measured for height and weight and for thigh, hip and waist circumference. Subjects were tracked for 12.5 years on average.
There is little doubt that men and women view the world differently. The same can be said for how they view their bodies, according to a press release from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Researchers studied 1,900 adults, average age 69, participating in a physical activity program, and the results suggest that older men and women perceive their bodies differently. For example, both groups noted that their focus shifted from appearance to functionality as they aged; however, men appeared to place greater importance on functionality than women did.
Individuals with a thin physical appearance take heed: Health is much more than skin deep. A study done at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, discovered that some individuals who appear to have low body fat may actually be at high risk for health problems. The study is published in Nature Genetics (2011; 43, 753–60). The scientists analyzed the genetic code of more than 75,000 people to single out genes associated with lower body fat percentage. They located a gene—IRS1—that seemed to be linked with lower subcutaneous body fat.
A recent study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Nursing (2011; doi: 10.1111/j.1365-27022011.03739.x) uncovered troubling evidence that children as young as age 10 engage in self-induced vomiting in order to lose weight. The survey included 15,716 Taiwanese boys and girls aged 10–18 from 120 schools. Each participant was asked to complete a survey that included questions on topics such as physical activity, diet, sleep, sedentary behavior and self-induced vomiting and dietary behaviors. School nurses then measured each student’s height and body weight.
Eating disorders and disordered eating already comprise very complex sets of thoughts and behaviors. Past studies have shown that women and girls are most vulnerable. Can exposure to media such as Facebook make young girls even more susceptible?