Advertisers have created a culture of toxic body insecurity. I got the message that my body was flawed and you might have too. For years, I told myself that I could have what I wanted when I lost 10 pounds. I missed out on so much. I’m grateful that one fateful night, I challenged that. It changed my life forever. Read More
“I feel fat.” I never liked saying it, but based on how much I used to say it, either out loud or to myself, you’d think it was one of my favorite phrases. The expression spreads like a virus from woman to woman. It pops up at preteen slumber parties, in high school locker rooms, at suburban dinner parties, downtown bars and black tie awards shows. “I feel fat.” Read More
Step Forward, Step Back for a Better Body Image
“You are not as fat as you think you are.”
That is my favorite line from a wise essay written by Mary Schmich called Wear Sunscreen, because it’s true. Most of us hold an image of our bodies that is quite distorted, even if we’re otherwise healthy-minded.
I realized that my body image was distorted in a yoga class some years ago. Read More
“After years of weight fluctuations and yo-yo dieting, I discovered that pushing and prodding myself to lose weight was, paradoxically, a weight gain strategy.” – Alison Ross, LMFT
It’s January, the month of dieting. You signed up for a diet, got to the gym, shopped the perimeter of the market where the lean meats and produce are and spent the time to chop up and prepare a nutritious meal. Let me be the first to congratulate you on a job well done!
Making your nutritional needs a priority is no small feat. Especially when it’s a struggle to find time to brush your teeth! A “congratulations” might seem like a little thing. So little, in fact, that you didn’t realize you needed it. Sure, you went bonkers for the sweet, crayon scribbles that your daughter made. And you showered compliments on the co-worker who helped with that colorful graph. You generously validated and praised those around you. But were you on the receiving end of your own kindness?
Most dieters get into a bad habit of acting with disregard or even cruelty toward their bodies. They rage at themselves for wanting cake, deny themselves food when hungry, tug at their sides to see if they’re still curvy, push themselves into pants that are too small, avoid social situations or other activities until they reach their goal weight and put themselves on the scale to measure their worth. Read More
Weight loss is the most common new years resolution. But in my office the other day, I heard a weightless resolution that was music to my ears. “I just want to heal,” she said. “I want to stop wishing I lived in someone else’s body. I want to stop abusing myself with food.”
“You’ve come to the right place, “ I replied with certainty. Most people need a bit more convincing that an internal shift in the way they see and treat their bodies is a more effective way to get healthy than the usual cut-out-carbs-and-get-to-the-gym resolution. Read More
When I was twelve, Kelloggs ran an ad campaign that suggested that if I could pinch an inch of skin on my body, I had a weight problem. Kelloggs is just one tiny gear in a massive marketing machine that has fundamentally changed the way we think about our bodies. They dress up illness (extreme thinness) and call it beauty. By skewing what is normal, they put the majority of the population into a state of insecurity. It’s a strategy that’s good for the economy but bad for the consumer. We buy more to fix our perceived flaws but lose our sense of worth. I wrote this letter to Kelloggs because I didn’t want this legacy of body hate to be handed down to the next generation. Read More
The Jenny Craig representative whispered my weight in my ear and wrote it down in the first box on my weekly weight log. The number rang like a death sentence in my 12-year old ear as I joined my mother for my first official attempt at dieting. The trip to the diet center was my mother’s loving and well-intended response to my growing body anxiety.
I was called an “elephant” at my new school and it broke both of our hearts. The obvious answer seemed that I should learn how to eat right so that I could lose weight and never again be bullied. What neither of us realized was that the diet actually colluded with the bully. It was a subtle and unintended message from my mother that the bully was right. He was simply pointing out my obvious flaw and I was the one who needed to change. Read More