Robin Williams you are Already Missed

 

I cried when I read the news about Robin Williams last night. Not a little, but a lot. I sobbed and I sobbed and I sobbed. I just felt so sad about depression. About someone who had such a life dedicated to recovery was suffering with so many demons inside. Here is someone who had everything, who had been in recovery for years, who was known here in San Francisco to often be seen at the Dry Dock going to an AA meeting, known for sponsoring people. He was online at the Red Cross on 9/11 to donate blood just like any of us. He had a big beautiful house, all the money and success he could ever want and was loved by the public. I think that it goes to show you that no matter what you have (or people think you have) on the outside, maintaining inner peace is an inside job. It doesn’t come from wealth or success or anything we can achieve outside ourselves. He was clearly battling some nasty demons and he lost. It’s so sad and reminds us that you never know what someone else is going through. Jealousy, envy, and believing that someone has it better than you is an exercise in futility, because again, you never know. Happiness is an inside job and can’t be reached by losing weight, gaining money, or finding the love of your life. Oh sure, all those things are nice, but turning inside is the way toward true peace.

Friday Q & A- Help I’m addicted to sugar! How can I stop eating sugar?

sugar addictionThis comes to us from a reader in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Q- So I’m pretty sure that I’m a sugar addict. I’ve been in treatment for years to deal with my eating disorder. It started as anorexia when I was in high school. Spun into bulimia when I was in college. When I was 22, I went into  rehab for my eating disorder where all sugar was off limits. When I got out of treatment, I stayed off of sugar for like 4 years. For the past year and a half, I’ve been eating sugar again, and not in a healthy way. I’ve been bingeing on it. I’m not purging, which is great, but every time I try to get back off sugar, I last for like maybe 2 or 3 days, then I’ll have an insane binge. I want to quit again for good. My current therapist says that sugar addiction is a myth and wants me to learn to eat it in moderation. But I can’t! I really can’t. And I definitely feel better when I’m off sugar. When I’m eating sugar, my head is foggy, I’m bloated and tired, I think about it all the time, where to get it, what I’m going to do with it, how to stop eating it,  my skin breaks out, and I’m lethargic. When I’m off sugar, I’m calmer, more relaxed, more focused and happier. Do you think that sugar addiction real?  How can I give up sugar once and for all? -Rebecca

Answer:  Hi Rebecca, thanks so much for your question and I want to tell you that there is no easy answer to this. I understand your therapist’s perspective on this.  Many eating disorder treatment programs shun the addiction model and believe that restricting particular foods is what leads to bingeing, purging, and anorexia. Many programs will even take patients out for dinner as part of treatment and have them order dessert to learn to integrate sweets in a healthy and moderate way.   However, the 12-step model of recovery does believe in the addiction model and programs like OA will support abstinence not just from a behavior, but also from a particular substance (sugar, white flour, etc.)  The recovery community is at odds as to which model to follow.  There have been many studies done,  but there has been no consensus on whether sugar addiction is real or not.

That being said,  there is evidence of sugar addiction.  In a 2003 study published in Brain Briefings, it was found that rats exhibited identical behaviors toward sugar that follow the addiction model in humans, which are bingeing, withdrawal and craving.  They doubled their intake and began bingeing on it after having it restricted from them, which of course it what happens to people when they diet and restrict calories then come in contact with lots of candy, ice cream or baked goods. According to Takash Yamamoto, in his  May 2003 study “Brain mechanisms of sweetness and palatability of sugars” published in Nutrition Reviews, Sugar and the taste of sweet stimulate the brain by activating beta endorphin receptor sites, which are the same chemicals activated by heroin and morphine. However, a literature review published in 2010,  in Clinical Nutrition Journal states that there is no support  that sugar may be physically addictive or that addiction to sugar plays a role in eating disorders.

So, although there’s no real consensus from the scientific community, in your email you state When I’m eating sugar, my head is foggy, I’m bloated and tired, I think about it all the time, where to get it, what I’m going to do with it, how to stop eating it..  That statement alone can describe someone dealing with a crippling addiction.  So, is sugar addiction real? I think that for you it certainly feels real.

So that brings us to another question, do you have to give up sugar completely? I am always hesitant to go for the all-or-nothing approach. I do like to encourage people to learn to eat sugar moderately. Sometimes I’ll have someone bring in their binge food to the office and eat it slowly, very slowly to see what comes up for them emotionally when they eat that food. We then discuss it, and as they s-l-o-w-l-y eat the food, they begin to take the power away from it and reclaim their own power. They then make a plan as to how they will eat the rest of the night and what they will do to take care of themselves. This act of eating sugar in a contemplative way, without the fury and the madness, and then walking away from it, can change your belief about yourself around it. If you can physically walk away from it, even once, then the addiction is broken. Then you know that you have the power, not the sugar.   That’s an exercise in mindfulness.

But it is true that some people find avoiding sugar altogether much easier than using mindfulness to gain power over the sugar. And it’s true, it’s a practice.  But it is possible to find peace around sugar whether you decide to give it up completely or to find some moderation with it.  Below is a list I created to help you to give up sugar if that’s what you would truly like to do.

How to Give Up Sugar

1.)Eat fruit! Your body needs glucose. Some anti-sugar advocates will say that you need nothing but meat. Even our first food, breast milk is very, very sweet. We need glucose to give us energy, rebuild our cells and keep us going. Don’t eschew fruit in attempts to let go of sugar.

2.)Take it one day at a time. Don’t say, “I am giving up sugar forever,” say “I won’t eat sugar just for today.”

3.)Don’t be all-or-nothing about it. Just because you eat one cookie, that doesn’t mean that your body has to continue on a sugar binge. You can choose to make the next thing that you put in your mouth be something healthy, or nothing at all for a few hours until you’re ready for your next meal.

4.)Meditate! Try hypnosis for sugar addiction.

5.)Try to get more healthy fats into your diet. By adding Omega-3 fatty acids, or olive oil to your salads, or even a teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil, you might find that your cravings decrease.

6.)Try supplements:

B-Vitamins help regulate serotonin levels to elevate mood and decrease binge episodes

Chromium 200 mcg per day – when needed for sugar cravings. Helps insulin to get into your cells to regulate glucose so that your hormones stop sending messages to your brain that you need more sugar.

Manganese– 10 Mg per day helps the transport and metabolism of glucose. It stabilizes blood sugar to reduce sugar cravings

Magnesium– 500 mg per day- calms the body and the brain while stabilizing glucose levels which can wildly fluctuate when a person is bingeing on sugar. When magnesium levels are stable, cravings decrease.

Zinc– 15mg- per day- helps to regulate appetite

5-HTP– 200 mg per day in the evening- or whenever you have the urge to binge. The precursor to serotonin will  suppress your appetite and relax you to take the anxiety away from the binge.

L-Glutamine- 500 mg when needed no more than 3 times per day. When you are having a strong sugar craving, take 500 mg of L-Glutamine or open a capsule and put the powder on your tongue. L-glutamine is an amino acid that is converted into food for the brain.

7.)Stabilize your blood sugar by eating protein with every meal and eating bits of protein between meals. When you’re not having blood sugar dips, your body won’t crave sugar.

8.)Drink teas, like peppermint or chamomile when you’re having a sugar craving.

9.)Get support. Consider getting into an eating disorder group at ANAD to address these issues and get support for your mind, body and spirit.

10.)Use fruit like raisins and bananas and spices like cinnamon and cloves to “sweeten” things like plain yogurt or oatmeal.

Thank you for your question, and I hope that this has been helpful.

Do you have a question about binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, or anything associated with eating disorders? Send an email to bingeeatingtherapy  at gmail dot com. All questions will be kept confidential. Include your first name or the name you want to be referred to as and your location.

I ate a Donut for Breakfast Today

how to find balance with foodI ate a donut for breakfast today. I don’t eat a lot of donuts. But this morning I wanted a donut. So I went and I and got one. And it was pretty good. It wasn’t the amazing thing that I thought it would be, but it was good.  Perhaps it wasn’t amazing because I didn’t prohibit it and tell myself that I couldn’t have it, then get into a battle where my compulsive self finally took over and just bought it and sat in a dark corner and forbiddenly ate it.  No, it wasn’t that high pleasure of “sooooo good” that comes with anguish and emotion and stress and relief after winning or losing a battle with desire and food. It was good. It was a doughnut. Nothing more. Nothing worth life or death or orgasmic  or thinking about too much about. It was just a doughnut. Without any emotion tied to it. And so, it was fine. It was a freaking doughnut.

And then at lunch, I had some avocado and turkey slices over a bed of spinach, because that’s what I wanted.

About 15 years ago, if I’d gotten a donut for breakfast, it wouldn’t just be a donut. It would have been an emotional event. I would have fought with myself and fought with myself and fought with myself about it. I would have asked myself what I was really feeling, why did I want this donut? What was I really hungry for? And I would agonize and try to keep myself from eating the donut and this war would last for awhile. And if I gave in and ate the donut, I would be so angry at myself. And then the rest of the day would turn into a binge day. I’d dive into cakes and cookies and bagels and pasta and bread pretty much all day long.  Because I felt that one “indiscretion” with food ruined the day and it would then be filled with foods that made my body feel unfed and uncomfortable.

I would be so anxious that if I had a donut in the morning that it would set the tone for the day that it would.

But today, I ate a donut without a whole lot of self protesting. Because I knew that just because I had one donut, it didn’t mean that I had to spend the day eating food that made me feel bad. I knew that the donut was not going to throw me off balance and that I could balance it out with a healthy lunch. And I did. And I did it without thinking about it too much.

I thought that I would mention it because today I noticed that my body and my mind were so integrated with intuitive action around food that I was no longer trapped thinking about it all the time. Eating the donut for breakfast and eating the salad for lunch both just happened because it was what my body asked for.  People ask me if you can ever truly be cured of your food issues and not have to think about it constantly for the rest of your life.  My answer to that is yes. There will come a time when you can eat a donut for breakfast. There will come a time when eating a donut for breakfast won’t mean that you are having a “bad day with food,” or that you are undisciplined or bad. There will come a day when  donut (or any other “forbidden food”) doesn’t taste like the most amazing thing on earth, that it just tastes good because food is no longer the center of your universe. Recovery is possible and full recovery, where you are just eating without worrying too much about it, is completely possible.

It’s okay to eat a donut. It doesn’t make you bad or shameful or naughty like some may have you believe.  When you are on the other side of recovery for your food issues, eating a “trigger food,” becomes possible because it won’t set you off because you will be in a place where you have balance with food. The food won’t have power or control over you. It will just be a donut. Nothing more, nothing less. There won’t be meaning or a moral value attached to it. 

 

STRESS EATING!!!!!!!!!

Family Vacations lead to binge eatingI have a friend who has some pretty severe issues with food. We discuss them sometimes, but she is my friend, not my client. She has her own therapist to talk through these issues with and so we don’t discuss these things too often.  This friend, I’m going to call her Angela, is an amazing, beautiful woman who struggles horribly with both depression and anxiety.  Though she has been in therapy for a very long time, her main coping mechanism to deal with her pain is compulsive eating.

Last weekend, we had the occasion to go out of town together with several other friends.  It was great fun, but came with all the stresses that come when four couples spend a weekend in a cabin with 7 children ages 0-6.  On Saturday night, after all the kids had gone to bed, and most of the other adults had gone to sleep, Angela and I and our husbands sat in the dining room talking.  We’d all had a great dinner that we all cooked together, and we were just sitting and relaxing and talking.

But Angela couldn’t seem to get comfortable. She had a graham cracker. Then she had a graham cracker with peanut butter, then she went in for some chips, then she went in for some bowls of cereal. And every time she finished something, she got up and grabbed something else. I recognized immediately that she was stuck doing some stress eating that was unconsciously heading toward bingeing. I knew what she was going through. I’d been there a million times before, that feeling that you just can’t get to that invisible itch. You keep feeling it and feeling it and you try and try and try to scratch it, but it’s just slightly out of reach. I knew she was anxious and I knew she couldn’t get comfortable, and I knew that she and her husband were having some issues, and I knew that she was using food to help her calm down. I didn’t want to say anything and draw attention to what she was doing as both my husband and her husband were there and it wasn’t my place. But we were also all right there with her during her binge. Finally she turns around in this desperate plea and said, “What should I eat? I don’t know what to eat! I keep eating and eating and I can’t get full!” And there it was.  It wasn’t that she couldn’t get full, it was that she couldn’t calm down, and she was using food to help herself relax. But I didn’t say that, I didn’t tell her that she didn’t need to be full, she just needed to be satisfied. The look of desperation and angst in her eyes cut right into me. I knew she was asking me what to do, and that she was asking for help. I said, “maybe get a glass of water and try to sit down and relax for 10 or 15 minutes, then check in with your body and see what it needs?” Her husband said, “yes, that’s what you should do,” and she nodded and sat.  We all went to sleep shortly after and the issue of food wasn’t brought up again. However, I’ve not been able to get the incident out of my mind. I’d seen my friend right in the middle of her compulsion and I felt powerless to stop it, yet I felt that I shouldn’t sit idly by and watch her continue to engage in this destructive episode she was having. And it wasn’t because I was having judgment about what and how much she was eating- I was feeling so empathic to what she was going through- the pain she was in, the feeling that she just. couldn’t. get. enough. food. in. quick. enough. She couldn’t and she finally turned around in desperation saying, “HELP ME! WHY WON’T SOMEONE HELP ME!?”

What I wish I had done in that moment, was put my arm around her and said, “I know what you’re feeling, I’ve had these times before when I felt like I couldn’t get full, no matter what I ate, it sucks. But I know that I when I get like that, I’m just trying to eat away the stress. The food isn’t going to help, no matter how much you eat you’re not going to be full, you’re confusing hunger with anxiety.  When I get into these frenzied eating patterns, I utilize HALT. Am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Can you talk? Do you want to sit down and talk? I’ll support you no matter what you want or need, but I’m here to talk.” Maybe it would have been different if both our husbands weren’t there. It was definitely not the right venue for a deep heartfelt discussion of her innermost feelings. But it’s what I wish I could have done. Not tried to stop her, but helped her find some alternate solutions to her problem of not being able to get full.

I’ve thought a lot about how my clients’ friends and families should talk to them when they catch them in their disorders. We do couples and family therapy on it all the time. But I’ve never quite meditated on what to do when it’s my own family or friend…

Always a learning process for all of us.

Why Do We Really Diet?

Dieting hasn't made Kathy any happier, and she's been doing it for decades

Dieting hasn’t made Kathy any happier, and she’s been doing it for decades

The obvious answer is “to lose weight.”

But is that really, really true?  I don’t think it is.

Think about it, when do you start a diet?  Usually it’s after you’ve had a particularly bad day or week or month or you’ve seen a photo of yourself that you don’t like or someone makes a comment about your weight, or you’ve gone clothes shopping and things don’t fit the way you hoped they would, or you’ve broken up with someone…  Or anything that caused you to feel bad.  So, then you thought, “I’m going to start a diet on Monday…” and you chose the diet you were going to start, thought about what foods you were going to eat and were not going to eat and instantly you felt better.

Why? Why did the thought of going on a diet make you feel better?

Because in a time in your life when things around you felt totally out of control, this felt like a way that you could gain some control. And then you felt on top of things rather than underneath the weight of the world.

Dieting is a method that people use to feel as though they have some control. And how long does that last? Usually until you go out to eat or wind up at an event and think, “well just for tonight… then tomorrow I’m back on my diet.” And just like that, you’ve believe that you’ve lost control and you feel bad about yourself. Or worse, the diet controls you. You go out and rather than enjoying your time out, you feel obsessed with staying away from the food you want to eat and then you just can’t stop staring at other people’s food or thinking about what other people are eating or what they weigh or what you weigh.

Does any of this resonate for you?

So how do you gain control and feel better without using dieting? How do you get back on top when you feel that you are underneath the world?

A lot of it is about accepting the place that you are in without trying to make it go away. For example, “Oh, these jeans don’t fit me… I’m so fat, I need to go on a diet so I can fit into these jeans…”  Instead of that saying to yourself, “I’m going to find a pair of jeans that I am comfortable in and make me feel good, I’m not going to let these jeans dictate how I’m supposed to feel about myself and what I’m supposed to do with my time…”  or “I just broke up with my partner and I’m devastated… breakups are terrible and difficult and it’s okay for me to be in pain.”

Being in acceptance of your situation without trying to make the feelings go away is so empowering. It gives you permission to be in your life and be in your feelings without trying to avoid your life and avoid your feelings by dieting.

The next time you are tempted to start a diet, think about what you are trying to accomplish, what feeling are you trying to make go away? (Fat is not a feeling! It’s a description). Is it insecurity? Loneliness? Anger?

This doesn’t mean that you have to sit and dwell on feeling bad, but the irony is, when you accept what is, it makes space for change. Rejecting and not looking at what is real keeps you stuck in it.

I’m Really Impressed by The Blond Vegan

Courtesy of www.theblondevegan.com

Courtesy of www.theblondevegan.com

If you’ve been following eating disorder news or blogosphere foodies at all, you know the story about the blond vegan. If you don’t, I’ll give you a quick recap. A young woman, Jordan Younger, who has been a prolific instagrammer and blogger had spent a year photographing her beautiful vegan meals, her exercise feats, and her shopping trips.  Her photographs and eating became an obsession. Not just for her, but for her 70,000 instagram followers. Ms. Younger then began to get ill. She lost her period, became fatigued and her skin dried up. She then came to the conclusion that she had an eating disorder and despite the fact that she had close to 100k followers, decided to work on letting go on her obsessions and let go of Veganism. Holy fuck that’s brave.

 

The symptoms that are described are very typical of of anorexia.  Ms. Younger discusses having orthorexia, which is basically the obsession with healthy eating.

Her story is very close to my heart. As I describe in my book, I too was a vegan– for many, many years. My mother and I were both vegetarian from the time that I was 10 years old and then we became vegan when I was 20. My mom remained mostly vegan until she passed away when I was 28. It was then that I chose to begin  integrating new foods.  Were we orthorexic?  Mom was, I was more about trying to reject a whole bunch of foods in order to control my eating. I mean, I was smoking and drinking diet coke like it was going out of style. So, I probably wasn’t vegan for health or environmentally responsible reasons. But, having been a vegetarian/vegan for almost my whole life, 18 years, it was very difficult for me to change. It was my identity- both to myself and to others. I was pained about what I believed was contributing to the suffering of animals, I was depressed about wondering who I was.  But you know what, I wasn’t what my eating dictated I was. That wasn’t my identity. And that’s the problem with eating disorders, isn’t it? They become your identity to you. If you are anorexic this is who you believe you are. And everyone knows you as “tiny,” and you want to be that. You don’t want to change who you are to people. If you are bulimic- you have this secret identity, this huge secret that is so hard to let go of because what would you have when you were alone without your binges/purges?    It’s interesting how we allow the way we eat to give us identity and shape the way people see us. I mean, look at Gwenyth Paltrow and her whole Goop cult.  People become obsessed with the way they eat and then other people become obsessed with the way they eat.

Your identity isn’t what you eat or how you eat and it’s none of anyone else’s business.  Which is why I’m so impressed by Ms. Younger’s bravery.  She not only had to make a decision to change her eating to save her health (which is rough) she had to do it to a hundred thousand followers- people watching her and looking to her for guidance on how to be healthy. She did a great thing by admitting to all those people that she was not balanced. I think she will help many, many people who think that they have to be perfect. She made it alright to let go of an eating disorder.

Jordan, if you read this, I want you to know that I think you are so awesome. You have totally gotten the word out there that recovery is okay and possible. You sent an amazing message. You have done a great thing for the eating disorder recovery community. I’m so impressed! And I know that recovery is difficult, and changing and letting go of obsessions is extremely difficult. I hope that you have a great supportive community to support you through this transition.

What Causes Binge Eating Disorder?

diet concept. woman mouth sealed with duct tape with buns

Someone asked me yesterday why people have binge eating disorder,  as if there is one answer, she said, “is it trauma? or is it the media’s preoccupation with being thin? or what?”

Okay, so clearly there is no one answer, there are like 100 or one million reasons and they’re all mix and match. But let me tell you here the ones that I’ve come across most often: 

1. Backlash from dieting- A long time ago, somebody said that you were unacceptable. Maybe it was your Mom, maybe it was a teacher, or maybe in fifth grade, the boy you had a crush on said that you had a big butt, maybe in seventh grade your five best friends all decided that they didn’t like you anymore and you ate lunch all by yourself on a bench for the rest of the year and then everyone else followed suit and stopped talking to you. Maybe you couldn’t figure out why and so you blamed it on your body.  Whoever or whatever caused you to think that you were unacceptable, you blamed it on your body, and so you decided to do something to change it. You decided that if you lost weight, you couldn’t get hurt anymore. You could hide, be invisible. But one day, you went off your diet because there was a big piece of  birthday cake in front of you. And then, eating that birthday cake symbolized everything that was wrong with you. All the hurt, all the bad things everyone ever said about you. That birthday cake told you that you were going to be abandoned, alone, lonely for the rest of your life. And it was too much to take. So you ate more to make the pain go away. And then you hated yourself. And so you ate more. The next day you ate nothing. And you were hungry. But still you ate nothing. The day after that, you were so hungry that you ate 5 bowls of cereal for breakfast. Bam. There’s your Binge Eating Disorder. 

2. There was abuse– Someone, along the way, did something that hurt you. Hurt you so much in fact that you decided that you needed to hide. And so you covered yourself and protected yourself by eating and putting on weight. The weight kept you safe and the food kept you sane. It was your coping mechanism and the way that you protected yourself physically from being abused or hurt by people.

3. Depression– You weren’t the type to use alcohol when you were sad, and drugs weren’t your thing. But you could free-base sugar and snort lines of white flour like Grandmaster Flash. Food became your anesthesia, it became your prozac. Bingeing on starchy, sugary foods raised your generated a dopamine response  which lit up the pleasure center in your brain. But the dopamine signal regulated and you became depressed again and more concentrated sugar and processed carbohydrates were needed to make you happy, although ultimately, your depression got worse because you didn’t want to be binge eating. The cycle became vicious. 

4. Overstimulation- Used to be that food was hard to get. I don’t even mean back in the paleo times, I mean like, when your Mom was a girl. You went to the fish market for fish, the fruit stand for fruit and the butcher for meat. There wasn’t a bodega on every corner with cheap processed food for grabbing and eating on the run. Food became less food like and more chemically, addictive substances that your body became addicted to.  Food became so processed and so concentrated that it was no longer food, it was your chemical laden drug. Funyuns and Hohos got you high. You began going on benders and felt that you couldn’t stop. You were addicted to the chemicals and to the high. 

5. Perfectionism- You were trying to be perfect, look perfect, act perfect, eat perfect. And you did this perfectly… in front of everyone. But when you were home and alone, you just cracked. You had to stop being perfect even for a moment. You sat by yourself bingeing in peace and for a moment, you could drop that perfect facade. And it was a relief. 

Try not to clean your plate challenge

Clean Plate
I recently gave a challenge to one of my clients to try for one week to leave a little bit of food on her plate at each meal. It didn’t have to be a lot of food, she didn’t have to leave over half her meal, just a bit of food, like one last forkfull, just symbolically to not clean her plate. When I gave her the assignment, she said that she was extremely nervous and anxious even thinking about it. However, when I checked in with her after a week she said, “It’s going really well, it helps me not to be obsessive about whats on my plate & in also to stop eating past my full point…” so I’d say it was a successful exercise for her in dealing with her compulsive eating issues. Is there anyone who would like to try this challenge for a week? Leave over a bit of food on your plate for each meal. Then you can come on here or onto the facebook forum and say what it’s been like for you. Did it make you anxious? Upset? Empowered? If you are interested in joining in, please do!  This is an exercise in mindfulness, because most of us mindlessly clean our plates. They have lots of feelings about not, they don’t want to be wasteful, or their compulsive eating habits take over. What if you had to be mindful at every meal to leave some over? It might really start to change the compulsion around your behaviors.

How Potty Training is Like Recovery

recovery from binge eatingI read this article on NPR.org the other day that discusses how we change behaviors. The author of the article, Tania Lombrozo, a cognitive researcher at UC Berkeley poses the question, “Why don’t we do what we know we should be doing?” She discusses in terms of parenting why it is so difficult to integrate knowledge. But I was thinking of it in terms of recovery from binge eating, for instance many people ask the question “I know that I have certain tools that I can use when I’m about to binge, but why can’t I use them? I just go ahead and binge and then I get angry at myself…”

She writes, “…Kazdin and Rotella advocate what they call “reinforced practice” and “positive opposites.” In brief, you can encourage desired behaviors by repeatedly eliciting them (or their successive approximations) and reinforcing them as soon as they happen, and you can eliminate undesirable behaviors by reinforcing the positive behaviors you want to replace them with. (See, I wasn’t kidding about rats and levers.) Punishment in some forms has its time and its place, but it’s rarely effective, and it’s rarely the best choice…”

So what does that mean when we talk about how to stop binge eating?

I’ve heard many people say things like, “I feel like I’ve got it down and I’m doing well for a bit, then I lose it all and I’m right back where I started from.”

But you’re not. You are not right back where you started from. Celebrate your recovery, even moments of it. And don’t give the backslides much attention. Give yourself accolades and love and support. Honestly you will be happier and you will find recovery more exciting and fun.

Think of it like this, you are potty training your toddler. Every time she uses the potty, you jump up and down and hug her and kiss her and tell her that she is awesome. When she has an accident, you hug her and kiss her and tell her it’s okay and that she’ll just try again, you know she can do it, it just takes some practice.

vs.

You are potty training your toddler and she goes on the potty. You say “good, that’s what you should be doing.” No accolades, no celebration, nothing. Then she has an accident and you tell her she’s a loser and now the fact that she made on the potty yesterday means nothing. She’s back to square one. No potty for her, diapers forever.

We don’t do scenario number two obviously, we support our children and help them to succeed.  You were once that little toddler and you still have parts of you inside that feel 2 years old and need love, support, and encouragement.

So be kind to yourself when you backslide and celebrate yourself when you have one good day or one good meal or one good hour. Don’t think about forever, just consider the moment.

Instead of: “I have to do this every day for the rest of my life,”

Try: “today was a great day, I am great.”

Instead of: “I fucked up today, I’m nothing but a fuck up…”

Try: “I love myself and I had a hard day, tomorrow will be better. Tonight I need a little compassion, maybe curling up in a hot tub with a juicy novel, calm myself down a bit.”

 

Top Ten Myths about Fat or “Obese” Women

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I’m really sick of hearing people talk about how if so and so knew what she was doing to her health, she would just stop eating and start exercising, or why can’t so and so stop eating, or so and so is setting such a bad example for her children.  Let’s set the record straight. Here are the top ten stupid-ass things that I’ve heard people say (otherwise known as myths).

MYTH #1.  Obese women should be educated on how to eat right. 

Not true, In fact, because popular society is constantly reinforcing that being a women of size is undesirable, many women of size have a Phd knowledge of food, calories and exercise. When you are an obese woman, you are reminded of it constantly. Your doctors tell you that any ailment will be solved with exercise and proper diet, sometimes people yell shitty things at you in the street, friends try to be “helpful” by giving you pointers. Trust me, a woman who has been dealing with obesity knows more than her doctor does about nutrition so having information and knowledge about calories, carbs, fat, etc. isn’t what she needs more of.

MYTH #2. Obese women should just get to the gym and exercise. 

Totally lame. First off, there is such a thing as being fit and fat. In fact the Health at Every Size movement tells us that it’s okay to stop focusing on weight loss and let yourself be healthy first and foremost. Many women of size are fit and do exercise often. Why don’t you see many fat people at the gym or out jogging? Gee I don’t know, maybe some people don’t like being stared at, or condescended to, “hey buddy good job, you’re doing great… you go girl…”  Not helpful.

MYTH #3. Obese women are “easy”

This is disgusting. I take a lot of issue with any woman no matter what her size being called easy or slutty or anything like that. I can’t even go into why this misperception makes me so angry. A women of size won’t just take any scraps she can get just because of her size. Why does that stupid idea persist? I don’t know, but I want to go on record saying that a woman of size has as much discretion and intelligence as a skinny woman. Most women want to find a kind, loving partner to be with. And if a woman happens to have a one night stand  with a d-bag (who hasn’t?) the woman of size happens to stand out more. There are no statistics available that obese women have more promiscuous sex than smaller women.

MYTH #4. Obese women are setting terrible examples for their children

Being self-hating, self-berating, and self-critical is setting a poor example for their children. She doesn’t have to be obese to do that. Making an effort to love yourself and love your children and let your children see you love yourself is a great example. When you love yourself you will take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean being skinny, it means eating lots of healthy food often and less healthy food in moderation and getting out into the fresh air and being kind to yourself both physically and psychologically.

MYTH #5. Obese women are very unhealthy

Not true, in fact women who are considered overweight (according to the BMI) with a BMI between 25-30 have the same relative risk of death as women who are in what’s considered a “normal” BMI.  You can’t judge how healthy someone is by looking at them or weighing them. Blood tests, energy levels and quality of life is a better indicator or health.

MYTH #6. Obese women all binge eat

Not true. The research says that 20% of obese folks suffer with Binge eating disorder, which means 80% of obese folks are not binge eating.

MYTH #7. Obese women have no willpower

I’d venture to say that the opposite it true. As I said in myth #1, many women of size have been on multiple diets and willed themselves down over and over and over again. But as we know, restrictive diets don’t  work in the long term. 

MYTH #8. Obese women have a low self esteem

Lots of women have low self esteems, not because they are fat, but because we are constantly bombarded by a media that tells us we are not good enough. Being thin doesn’t make a woman immune to low self-esteem and being larger doesn’t make a woman more likely to have it. Self-esteem is an inside job. It’s a practice of letting go of beliefs about yourself that the outside world has given you that tells you it’s not okay to be you.  You don’t need to let go of weight to let go of beliefs.

MYTH #9. No one will marry an obese woman

That’s just  fucking stupid.

MYTH #10. Obese women should go on diets 

No one should go on a diet ever.  95% of people who go on diets will gain the weight back. In fact, many people who start out at a lower weight go on diets which then creates eating disorders and weight gain.

 

 

 

 

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