Thursday, August 18, 2016

Haters Back Off

Ever heard of a YouTube show called Miranda Sings? 

My 8 year-old daughter is completely obsessed with Miranda, who wears baggy red sweats with a button-down striped shirt, plus horribly smeared lipstick.  She’s obnoxious.  She’s a horrible singer but believes she’s FABULOUS.   

To her detractors, Miranda declares, “Haters back off.”

Miranda Sings is on tour this summer, so we went to see her.   The venue was filled with young fans (known as “Mirfandas”) dressed in Miranda’s signature baggy red sweats, button-down striped shirts, and smeared lipstick.

“Inexplicable,” I thought, settling in for what I thought would be 90 minutes of torture.

Turned out I was wrong.  I was SO wrong. 

Miranda’s show is self-help on steroids.  With a madcap mix of song, dance, and the most bizarre stage props ever, she:
  • ·      Promotes self-confidence
  • ·      Encourages body positivity.  She urges fans to dress appropriately instead of provocatively (part of what she refers to as “porn”)
  • ·      Teaches girls how to pick a boyfriend, instead of being picked by a boy (or in Miranda-speak “bae”)
  • ·       Takes a strong stance against haters
What does this have to do with food, weight and body image issues?

#1) Let’s start with self-confidence.  When you feel good about YOU, you won’t use food to numb, cope or distract yourself from painful or upsetting thoughts, conflicts or emotions. 

What prevents you from feeling good about yourself? 

Where did you learn to relate to yourself this way?

What would you say to a friend who felt as you do?

#2) Body positivity.  When you feel good about your body, you don’t objectify yourself and make yourself a thing. 

What determines what an attractive body is?  After all, voluptuousness was preferred in the era of painters Rubens, Titian and others.  Marilyn Monroe would be considered plus-size by today’s standards.   Who defines beauty?

What do you think is wrong with your body?  Why?Challenge that idea.  What would Marilyn say?

3) Pick, don’t be picked.  So often we take our cues about our worthiness from what other people think.  If a “bae” likes you, you’re worthy.  If not, you’re not good enough.

Wrong!  The only person who decides your value is YOU.

The bathroom scale doesn’t decide.

Other people can’t decide your value.

Only you determine whether you are good enough.

4) Haters back off (especially if the hater is you).  There will always be people who don’t understand you, who point out your so-called shortcomings, and who generally try to make you feel bad.   If they’re not targeting your weight, they’ll find something else about you to pick on.

Are you self-hating?    Why?

Where did you learn to hate your body or criticize yourself?

Would you criticize others the way you criticize yourself?

When you accept yourself – fiercely and completely – you will feel good.  And when you feel good, you won’t use food to escape, numb, or reward yourself.  And that's how you make peace with food!

This was taken during the concert.  The "Self Help Seminar" that truly rocked!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Is it ALWAYS emotional eating?

Ever wonder something like THIS:

“If I’m overeating or bingeing, is it always about something emotional?  Can’t it just be about the food?”

First, it’s important to distinguish between and overeating and bingeing.

Overeating means, “eating to excess” and that’s different from bingeing.     There are reasons you may overeat that has nothing to do with feelings:

Many Americans overeat on Thanksgiving, which has to do with food, not feelings. 

If you don’t eat enough and you get to the point where you’re starving, you may not be able to stop once you start eating, and end up overeating.

Binge eating is different. 

Binge eating is a way of coping with something psychological through the physical action of eating.

Whatever that psychological piece is, is the root of the behavior.  It may be emotional, or it could be something else. 

I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of emotional eating – which means you turn to food to avoid uncomfortable emotions.   But that’s only part of the story.

But it can also be…

A way of translating emotional pain to physical.

When emotional pain is too much to bear, painful feelings can be unconsciously converted into physical sensations.   

Linda’s Story

Shortly after Linda broke up with her boyfriend, she ordered a large pizza because that’s all she could think about.  Over the course of the next few hours she ate the entire pizza by herself. 

“I ate so much it hurt,” she reported.  “I was in so much pain I literally couldn’t move.”

Linda was more focused on her painfully full stomach than on the heartache she felt about the breakup.  By eating until she was in physical pain, she converted emotional hurt to physical hurt.

Also, she made herself very full, which symbolically filled the void she felt at the loss of the relationship.

Makes sense.  Now what?

If you find yourself in physical pain from eating, ask yourself what is hurting your feelings.

That needs to be your focus (tough to process, but practice makes progress).

When you heal your heart, you won’t feel the need to use food to cope.  When Linda grieved the end of her relationships, she no longer expressed the ache of loss of the wish for fulfillment through food.

And that's how she made peace with food (and you can, too!).

Food For Thought:
  • What is hurting your feelings right now?
  • How are you deprived?
  • What are you conflicted about in your life?
  • If you weren't thinking about food, weight and body image, what thoughts would occupy your mind?
When you identify and process what's weighing "on" you, you won't be as focused on what you weigh.  And that's how you make peace with food!