I am so honored that the National Eating Disorders Association (nationaleatingdisorders.org) selected a story I wrote about my experience with Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) to be featured on their website! I’m hoping that others suffering from BED will be inspired to get help, know that they aren’t alone and realize that it can be overcome.
Please read my story here and please share it with others! Thanks so much!
I’ve been thinking about the topic of weight loss. It is a sensitive subject for me because, for most of my life, I haven’t been able to sustain weight loss for a prolonged period of time. I haven’t ever liked to talk about it because I much preferred to deny that I was carrying around extra weight and didn’t want to explain my failure if I didn’t stick to whichever crazy diet I was on at the time. Truthfully, I still don’t like to talk about it but I think I need to.
I believe that my desire to lose weight was the “divine symptom” that finally made me face my unhealthy relationship with food and to make necessary changes in my life. If I didn’t need to lose weight, I would never have sought binge-eating disorder treatment or undergone a transformation that is allowing me to have a healthier life, body, mind and soul.
Weight loss, in and of itself, is not “bad” but becomes so when it is held as a toxic goal where achieving the “perfect” weight defines the value of the person. The distinction is that the motivation for weight loss be pure and non-toxic and the way in which it’s achieved be through kindness, compassion and soul-searching, not through deprivation, self-loathing and willpower.
People’s desire to lose weight is a reality that must be acknowledged and embraced because it serves as a tangible catalyst to seek a solution. This is great because, during the search, they will eventually realize that their weight loss journey is not about shedding pounds (as most people think) but about gaining self-acceptance and reclaiming one’s true self. Getting rid of the weight is just the “icing on the cake.”
Greetings from Old Lyme, Connecticut!
Expand your horizons…enjoy a different state!
“The truth without kindness is not the truth.”
~Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating
Since Dr. Oz testified, I’ve been more interested in finding out what he says about weight loss so I went to the source…his website. I don’t watch the show because I always felt that he didn’t know what he was talking about regarding weight loss and I’ve heard that some of his shows contradict each other. But, I was curious and I should be checking out the competition 😉
On his website, he lists “100 top weight loss tips” and, as expected, there are some really helpful tips that will work and some that won’t work for most.
His helpful tips include (they probably sound familiar to my faithful readers!):
- Slow down while eating
- Don’t eat while distracted
- Enjoy life
- Eat seasonally
Not so helpful tips include:
- Watch your weight and weigh yourself. Yikes – see my earlier blog post about this.
- Identify triggers and picture your goal weight when they hit to resist temptation…um, if it were that easy, we’d all do it!
- Use a tape measure instead of a scale….really?!?! That will only serve to throw us into a bad body image day.
Just like everything else, there are pros and cons to everything and that is why no one plan works for everyone. You need to be discerning when it comes to what will work for you and your body, YOU know what is best. The challenge is that there is so much contradictory information out there that it’s hard to know what to do or where to start. That’s where I come in!
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I’m sure everyone has heard about Dr. Oz testifying before the US Congress regarding comments made on his TV show about some products being “magic weight loss cures.” During his testimony, members of Congress scolded him for purporting that these products are miracle cures or quick fixes for weight loss stating that it misleads the American public. I don’t disagree but I think Congress was making an example of Dr. Oz that can apply to companies and people who claim to have the magic cure.
I have to ask myself what the true motivation is for people to lose weight. Is it to look better, avoid disease, contain healthcare costs for obesity related illness or to be healthy? Maybe it’s a combination. However, the way in which most people go about losing weight through starvation diets, extreme exercising, drugs, supplements and radical surgery isn’t working. Yet, there are more and more claims that these types of approaches are the next miracle. In fact, the diet and diet related industry is a $50 billion a year enterprise yet we still seeing rising obesity rates. Additionally, 98% of people who go on a weight loss diet gain the weight back (plus more) within 1 year.
There is something inherently flawed with either the motivation or the way in which we attempt to shed weight. Clearly we need a different approach, one that is uniquely tailored to the individual, based on self-love instead of self-hate and includes uncovering the emotional reasons for over-eating, maintaining macro nutrient balance, high quality food and joyful movement. This is how the field of Eating Psychology approaches weight loss which is considered the secondary result of exploring the emotional factors. It’s a kind and gentle approach and one that succeeds in helping people create a joyful life and healthy mind, bodies and souls.
So, I’ve been cleaning out my closets. How did I end up with 2 of everything, especially coats…2 raincoats, 2 wool coats, 2 leather jackets, etc? Oh yeah, I had them in 2 different sizes because this is what happens when you gain and lose weight, you need duplicates in different sizes. Many people who gain weight will not buy new clothes because they refuse to buy stuff in bigger sizes but it’s hard to avoid with coats because you need to keep warm in cold climates. So, I ended up with 2 of everything.
I write about this in a “flip” way but, when faced with this situation, it is very anxiety provoking and painful. Breaking down to buy the bigger size feels like failing. Failing to keep the weight off, failing ANOTHER diet and failing to be good enough. What’s worse is that the new item represents and serves as a reminder of that failure.
But how do we stop yo-yoing between weights? We do it by not dieting, through normalized and mindful eating, addressing the root cause of the emotional overeating and through self-love. That is what I’ve done and why I just got rid of the bigger size 🙂
A good friend sent me this quote last summer and she was right, I am getting there…in my own time over which I have no control. What I mean is that being frustrated over things not going fast enough (i.e. losing weight) is futile because it will happen when it happens, when you’re ready and not a moment before. There is a Divine flow to things in life that can’t often be explained – it just is. This is a great test in patience for me but when I “relax, breathe, and be patient” a sense of calm comes over me and everything is OK again.
I went to a wedding a very long time ago where the parents of the bride gave this advice: “Be Kind To Each Other.” This is brilliant advice which is why I remembered it for all these years when I can’t remember what I did yesterday! Why not be kind to yourself? We are rarely kind to ourselves when it comes to our weight, body image or eating habits. We are filled with self-loathing instead. What would happen if we were kind regarding our eating? Would we start to eat better quality food and eliminate the processed stuff? Would we start listening to our body wisdom? Would we take the time to educate ourselves about all of the different ways of eating to craft our own unique eating plan? The ideas are endless but it all starts with being kind to ourselves.
What will you do today to be kind to yourself? Head to the comments and let me know!
When I was in the throes of my eating disorder, I isolated a lot meaning I spent a lot of time alone instead of going out to socialize. I used to think this was because I wanted to stay home and eat but I think it was really about trying to avoid the anxiety and discomfort I felt when I went out. Since I expended so much energy on numbing my feelings through bingeing, I didn’t realize that I was anxious about going out at my current weight (whatever it was at the time).
Over the last week, while on vacation, I socialized each day with varying levels of anxiety. Some days the anxiety was low and others it was high. It wasn’t until I began to look at this that I realized I always had this anxiety but, this time, I didn’t numb through bingeing so I was aware of the feelings. I love how I’ve been transforming for almost 2 years now and am STILL learning about my disorder. With each lesson, I’m a step closer to a healthier relationship with food.