Expert Insight: Losing Weight Naturally

“When you do start to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full after years of being on one scheme or another, you will most likely go down a size or several sizes.

Unless you have been eating drastically less than your body needs for years, your weight should stabilise at its natural set point, which will be lower than what you’ve achieved through dieting and bingeing”.

Susie Orbach, “On Eating”

When clients first seek help for their emotion-driven overeating issues, they often think if they can sort out their weight, everything else will be OK.

In this way, therapy can be seen as another weight-loss initiative.  There’s sometimes a sense of disappointment that we’re not focusing on weight during sessions and, as a result of this, some clients assume I’m anti-weight loss.

I’m not.

If your additional weight gets in the way of you being able to fully live your life, and you want to reduce in size to feel better, I’m all for that.

What I’m not in favour of is putting pressure on yourself to lose weight while you’re trying to normalise your relationship with food.

There’s a simple reason for this:  it doesn’t work.

If a part of you is entrenched in the diet mentality and pressures you to lose weight, you’ll always judge what you’re eating.  You can’t normalise your relationship with food if you judge what you eat.  You won’t listen to yourself about what you really want and will perpetuate shame about your food choices and your body.

But equally I don’t believe that if you’re no longer dieting your eating has to be chaotic and unstructured, and it’s up to you to find the structure that feels right.

I believe our bodies know what size and shape we’re meant to be and it’s our job to work with them and respect their wisdom.

I don’t believe we’re all meant to be thin.

I refuse to conform to the idea that women’s bodies in particular are supposed to look the same.

I believe in appreciating and valuing our bodies, whatever size they are.

I think the pursuit of body perfection is pointless and a waste of one’s life.

I feel we need to focus less on appearance and more on knowing who we really are.

That’s where the work is.

It’s not about looking good externally so we can feel better about ourselves internally.  It’s about working out why we struggle to regulate feelings appropriately and why we don’t feel good about ourselves.  It’s then about acting on our own behalf to heal and take care of ourselves, physically and emotionally.

Any weight loss then is a result of improved self-care and valuing ourselves.

That’s how we lose weight naturally and keep it off for good.

Are You Committed to Your Destination?

I remember the day I wanted to give up.

I was at home.  It was a warm, bright morning and sunlight was streaming into the study.  I was heading towards the door but, as I passed my desk, something stopped me.

A simple thought.

“This is too hard”.

I’d worked so hard to understand my issues with food and myself but, despite my efforts, I couldn’t make enough sense of them to consistently affect my eating behaviour.  Although my bingeing had stopped, I was still eating when I knew I wasn’t hungry.  It felt like an impossible struggle with no way out.

Continue reading “Are You Committed to Your Destination?”

Food for Thought: Anything is Possible

“What you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass” – Paul J. Meyer

It’s the adverbs that make this sentence so meaningful.

He could have said “what you imagine, desire, believe and act upon” but that doesn’t have the same power.  Instead, Meyer colours in the specifics – we must vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon.

It’s not enough to hope for the best, plod along, see what happens – we have to want it, believe it and make it happen.

Continue reading “Food for Thought: Anything is Possible”

Gentle Reminder: Be Sensitive to Yourself

You’re walking back from the shops one day when, out of the corner of your eye, you sense movement in a nearby alleyway.

As you approach, you realise it’s a little child, about 4 years old.  As she turns her face towards you, you see that she’s crying.  Her expression is a mix of anguish and fear.  She’s alone, save for a small teddy which she’s clutching with both hands.

You bend down in front of her.

Then, you reach into your shopping bag and remove a tube of Pringles, a packet of 12 doughnuts, a family pack of chocolate bars and a large tub of ice-cream.

“Eat these until you feel sick”, you tell her.

Continue reading “Gentle Reminder: Be Sensitive to Yourself”

Expert Insight: What Makes You Truly Happy

“The more you know about what makes you truly happy, the better you will be at finding it. Pleasure, joy, contentment and satisfaction may be sitting on your doorstep, but they’re not going to reach up and ring your bell!”

Karen R. Koenig, “The Food & Feelings Workbook”

Ironically, pleasure, joy, contentment and satisfaction will be ringing my doorbell this afternoon in the shape of two of my best women friends.  We’ve known each other for decades and, although we only get to see each other once or twice a year, we always seem to pick up where we left off.

I have no doubt that during the two days we’ll be together we won’t stop talking unless we’re asleep.  We’ll cry, we’ll talk utter nonsense and we’ll laugh until it hurts which, for three 50-something women, is – let’s face it – a risky endeavour.

In short, we’ll have an Utterly Good Time.

Continue reading “Expert Insight: What Makes You Truly Happy”

What Mask Do You Wear?

As I was showing her into the room for the start of her session last week, a client asked “how are you?”.  I launched into an extensive account of what was going on in my life, including my concerns about my cat’s digestive issues and my feelings about Brexit.  Half an hour later, she got to talk about her stuff.

Of course, this didn’t happen.

Although I strive to be authentic and transparent in my responses to clients, it would be highly inappropriate and unethical for me to talk about myself in this way.

I simply replied “I’m fine, thanks”. Continue reading “What Mask Do You Wear?”

Food for Thought: The Risk of Authenticity

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real.  The choice to be honest.  The choice to let our true selves be seen”. – Brené Brown

It’s a lovely idea, isn’t it?  We have the choice on a daily basis to be genuinely who we are.  It’s often what we yearn for – to have the courage to be ourselves, regardless of what other people think.

But…

What if.

What if people don’t like us?

What if people tell us we’re wrong?

What if we risk being ourselves and we get hurt?

Continue reading “Food for Thought: The Risk of Authenticity”