Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What drives your binge eating?

When it comes to your relationship with food, does it seem as if you are in the passenger seat, and the driver is completely out-of-control?

I am going to help you identify what is “driving” the behavior of binge eating, and give you the two crucial steps to change, that you can implement right away.

For starters, imagine yourself as a car.  If this seems a bit weird, think about this:  we refer to car “bodies” (why is that?) and we take our cars to the “body shop” for repairs.   

As you travel on the proverbial road of life, keep in mind that you are not alone in the vehicle.  There are usually three basic parts to all of us: the Self, the Critic, and the Soother/Supporter.

·      The “Self” is is the part of you that has needs, wants, wishes, emotions and conflicts.  When you say, “I feel mad/sad/glad/afraid” that’s your “Self” talking.   

·      The “Critic” informs you of all your perceived transgressions.  It is relentlessly judgmental, critical and sometimes downright nasty.  (Hint:  if you refer to yourself in the second person, it is usually the critic talking, as when you say to yourself, “You have no willpower!”).  

·      The “Soother/Supporter” is the part that provides understanding, soothing and support. Often, that’s the part that can show up for other people, but not for you. 

Which of these is in the drivers seat?

Chances are, it’s the critic.

We all need a little bit of an inner critic to make sure we make good choices.  Ideally, that critic should stay in the backseat - or better yet, the trunk!

How does this relate to food issues?

When the critic is at the wheel, it isn’t pretty.  And for many people, the critic strikes exactly when they need the most support. 

That leads to using food for comfort or distraction.  And then the critic is there to judge you (“How could you have eaten that?” or “You failed!”), and the cycle continues. 

If you speak to yourself in a critical way, you feel bad.  And if you don’t soothe and support yourself, you’re likely to use food for comfort or distraction.

Where is the supporter in all of this?  Probably mute.

Here’s what to do:

Step One:  Recognize who’s driving

Does your internal critic remind you of anyone you know?  Who spoke to you (or to others) in that manner?  Where did you learn to relate to yourself that way? 

Is that mean voice really “you” or does it belong to someone else?  A parent, sibling, or teacher, perhaps.

Identify the source of that internal critic.  And, tell it to shush.   It no longer has permission to drive you crazy.  Banish it to the backseat.

Step Two:  Be a friend to yourself

How do you express support for others?   Chances are, you are caring, understanding, helpful and friendly. 

What if you spoke that way to yourself?  Try it!  You’ll see a difference.

Talk to yourself as if you were someone you love.  Be nice to yourself.  You will feel better, and when you feel supported by yourself, you are way less likely to eat.

When you are driven by a wish to be supportive and understanding to yourself, as well as to others, you will stop using food to cope.

And that’s how you make peace with food!

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!!