You’re sitting in a café having coffee with a friend. Every few minutes you surreptitiously tug at your top so it doesn’t cling to the contour of your stomach.
You receive an invitation to your school reunion. You’d love to go but feel you can’t because you’ve put on weight and you worry about what people will think.
You regularly scan your body in a full-length mirror, thinking “God, look at my thighs/belly/insert other body part here”. When you’ve examined all your “defects”, you mutter a conclusive “ugh” before walking away from your reflection in disgust.
Continue reading “Why Should We Be Ashamed of Our Bodies?” →
“In my work with women who experience despair and conflict in their relation to food, I have found that in the first hour they talk about eating. By the second or third hour they tell me they feel confused and do not know what to do with their lives. They have little sense of who they are or what they believe. They are lost, empty, restless, confused and dissatisfied. They are struggling with all the questions of identity their mothers also faced”.
Kim Chernin, “The Hungry Self”
In many ways, little has changed since Kim Chernin’s book was first published over 30 years ago.
In my work with clients with overeating issues today, I’d say the majority are struggling with questions of identity. They also feel lost, empty, restless, confused and dissatisfied. If food is an escape, it’s the discomfort of these feelings they’re often attempting to escape from.
Continue reading “Expert Insight: Questions of Identity” →
It’s a beautiful, sunny day and you’re taking a stroll. A group of girls approaches. As they pass you, they burst into a fit of giggles.
“They’re laughing at me” is your immediate thought, as grey clouds descend in your mind.
You’re having a meal at your favourite restaurant. You look up mid-mouthful and catch the eye of a fellow diner who’s frowning.
The food instantly turns bitter in your mouth, preceded by the thought: “He thinks I shouldn’t be eating this because I’m fat”.
Continue reading “What Do Other People Think Of You?” →
“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 just lose 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, some clients assume I’m anti-weight loss.
Continue reading “Expert Insight: Losing Weight Naturally” →
“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 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” →
“I started each new diet with burning enthusiasm – this was going to be the diet to beat all the others, this time I was really going to lose weight and keep it off forever. I never did. Every single diet ended with me regaining all the weight I had lost, plus a few pounds extra. What I did lose, I had not intended to lose – I lost time, I lost energy, I lost me”.
Dr Cherie Martin, “Naturally Slim Without Dieting”
It breaks my heart when I see a young woman on Instagram hating herself for not being able to stick to her slimming club’s diet plan, dreading her next weigh-in and vowing to do better tomorrow. What will tomorrow bring for her? More of the same and, in all likelihood, a life-long messed-up relationship with food.
Perhaps you were once that young woman.
Continue reading “Expert Insight: What We Really Lose When We Diet” →