How many times today:
have you thought about food, eating or being fat?
have you disrespected or cursed your body?
have you criticized or judged your own or someone else’s body?
have you blamed your body for feeling miserable?
Living in a fat-shaming society, it’s tempting to think that our bodies are the problem, but that’s not at all true.
It’s Not What You’re Eating; It’s What’s Eating You. Stress!
Remember, the “problem” is not that you’re overeating. It’s that you don’t yet have a comfortable way to tolerate your emotional challenges.
The real problem is the negative way we’ve been conditioned to think about our bodies and the self-critical and disrespectful ways we’ve come to talk to ourselves.
In their new book, “Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out and Just Plain Fail to Understand About Weight,” Drs. Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor discuss how respecting our bodies can transform our health and the relationship that we have with ourselves.
Emotional Eating and Body Respect
Do you find yourself attacking a pint—or gallon—of ice
cream when you’re lonely, depressed, or merely bored?
Overeating helps many people to cope with their emotions because it takes the edge off, making us temporarily numb to whatever is upsetting us.
According to Linda and Lucy, “The drive to eat when you are not physically hungry means that you need something—and food is either the stand-in while you figure out what the underlying need is, or the substitute means of meeting that need if it remains unidentified.”
Here are several tips from their book to respect your body and manage your emotions:
Become aware: Recognize that everybody overeats sometimes, but if your overeating has become a habit, it’s a signal to you to be sensitive to understand that your body is feeling the pressure of being under stress.
Your brain has learned to associate eating with comfort and being safe, so eating is your body’s way of caring for you in the absence of having other more effective methods of stress-relief.
Don’t beat up on yourself: After you’ve overeaten, don’t add insult to injury by putting yourself down or mistreating your body. You’ll only intensity the negative emotions you’re experiencing by focusing on punishing yourself for the overeating.
Be compassionate with yourself – You can shift your self-hating perspective by realizing that your habitual overeating means that you are reaching your emotional limits. To break the cycle of guilt, shame and self-loathing, be intentional in treating yourself more gently and respectfully.
Explore your emotions – Learn to identify and own your emotions by choosing to take a non-judgmental approach to analyze how you are feeling. Be curious and dive beneath the surface to explore what situation or person is irritating you and what you can do to satisfy your need and change the way you feel about the upset. For example: If you’re angry at a friend, if you tell her you’re angry, how does that make you feel? Does that change your drive to eat? Now, what else can you do differently?
To neutralize the hurt you feel about your body, you’ve got to start by acknowledging how important it is to take care of yourself. Thank your body for doing what it has known to take care of you. Show appreciation for the help you have gotten in the past from food. Be grateful and recognize how resourceful you can be. Be open to finding new ways of caring for yourself.
I’d like to invite you to join the discussion. On 11/24, I will be interviewing Linda Bacon, Ph.D and Lucy Aphramor,Ph.D, R.D., the authors of the book, “Body Respect” in my “Pledge Body Respect Google+ Hangout. Click below to check it out on Google+.
Andrea Amador, Body Respect, The Juicy Woman, Pledge Body Respect, fat, Linda Bacon, Ph.D, Lucy Aphramor, Ph.D, RD, body dysmorphia,