What’s in the Way?

Be kind to yourself.

Love yourself.

Be yourself.

How often do we see stuff like this on social media? Perhaps we’ve heard words like these from a well-meaning friend when we’re struggling. Maybe we’ve said them ourselves to try to encourage people we care about.

I know I have.

Yes, we should all be kind to ourselves, love ourselves and be ourselves.

It’s good advice.

It’s great advice.

But for many it’s just not that simple.

For some us, because of our experiences and the beliefs we hold as a result, advice like this can feel trite and hollow.

How can you be kind to yourself if you think your needs are immaterial?

How can you love yourself if you feel worthless?

How can you be yourself if you believe you’re not good enough?

While we may desperately want to, we can’t get there.

Because there’s something in the way.

The road to self-acceptance and liberation can feel like trying to roll a heavy boulder up a hill in a rainstorm. The harder we push, the more our saturated shoes sink deeper into the sticky mud.

And that’s where the work is.

Not in forcing ourselves to love and care about ourselves – but in understanding why that’s so damn difficult.

The work is in the mud, the rain and the struggle.

Where life is messy, confusing and difficult.

But with the challenge of exploring what’s in the way comes the possibility of finally meeting ourselves – of discovering that, perhaps, the picture we’ve been given of ourselves doesn’t match who we truly are.

There’s no shame in the struggle and we’re not alone in it by any means.

Let’s not add to our pain by feeling bad because we don’t feel good about ourselves.

Instead, let’s do the work and reflect on our unique roadblocks to happiness.

We can’t force ourselves to be kind to ourselves, to love ourselves and to be ourselves.

But we can work out what’s in the way.

 

Expert Insight: Dieting and the Fear of Famine

“Our ancestors did not have a constant supply of food. When a large animal – a whale, a bison, a woolly mammoth or an elephant – was killed, everyone feasted, gorged… it might be weeks or months before another big kill, so large amounts had to be eaten quickly and then stored in the body for the times of scarcity that were sure to come.  

This is an ancient or atavistic memory that calls us to eat all we can now, even if we are not hungry, just in case there won’t be any food tomorrow… there is something deep in our primitive brain that still fears starvation, scarcity, famine.”

Jan Chozen Bays, “Mindful Eating”

Remember the panic-buying we witnessed when the Covid-19 crisis first hit?

Continue reading “Expert Insight: Dieting and the Fear of Famine”

Food for Thought: Learning Just To Be

“Finding the lesson behind every adversity will be the one important thing that helps get you through it.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Somebody tweeted the other day that if we don’t use our time on lockdown to learn a new skill, start a “side hustle” and gain more knowledge, we lack self-discipline.

I have a problem with this kind of thinking.

My bingeing days may be well behind me but, like many people who binge eat, I have a tendency towards busyness and achievement.

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What Can Lockdown Teach Us About Binge Eating?

I want to start by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to all the medical professionals (both frontline and behind the scenes) currently working, at great personal risk, to care for the sick. I’d also like to thank all those carrying out essential services – collecting our rubbish, stacking the shelves, delivering our orders – for their hard work and dedication at such a difficult time.

Thank you. All of you.

The rest of us are playing our part by staying at home in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease. And it seems that some of us are struggling with the lockdown, while others are enjoying it.

Continue reading “What Can Lockdown Teach Us About Binge Eating?”

Gentle Reminder: It’s Not Your Fault

It’s so easy to beat yourself up when you binge. Especially if you begin to suffer health complications as a result of increased weight.

“It’s my fault”, you say. “I’ve brought this on myself”.

Except you haven’t.

Continue reading “Gentle Reminder: It’s Not Your Fault”

Expert Insight: Seeing the Funny Side of Our Mistakes

“One way to encourage clients to accept themselves is to remind them that it is human to err and make mistakes. This will enable them to see themselves as human and learn to replace self-judgement with humility and laughter, rather than being crippled by shame. When clients are able to laugh rather than become embarrassed by awkward situations, they are able to redefine their experience and maintain social bonds. In this way, good-natured humour and laughter has a positive effect in disrupting the cycle of shame (Scheff 1990). Moreover, shared laughter is quintessentially human and a powerful tool for connecting to others.”

– Christiane Sanderson, “Counselling Skills for Working with Shame”

Continue reading “Expert Insight: Seeing the Funny Side of Our Mistakes”