Monthly Archives: February 2018

worrying what others think

Stop Worrying About What Others Are Thinking About You


How much time do you spend on average each day wondering if or what someone is thinking about you?

You’ve likely worried about what “others” will think, where the others are nameless, faceless people you may not even know.

Has someone given you a strange or threatening look that causes you to spiral down into anxiety or even shame?

There’s probably a good reason why we have these worries. Perhaps there was a benefit to this worry that served humans when small groups or tribes were the main social structures in which people gathered and lived.

But today this worry doesn’t have much benefit. Instead, it serves at best, as a distraction from what you were doing in that moment. But worst case scenario, it can ruin an entire day, take you off course or cause you to make changes or decisions that go against your personal values, in an attempt to please someone else or make them like you.

Dr. David Sack, a board-certified psychiatrist and addiction specialist, says in his article, 8 Ways to Stop Worrying About What Other People Think, that our DNA is coded with this need to belong. This becomes problematic, however, when we care more about what others are thinking about us (or what we think they’re thinking) than how we feel and what we think about ourselves.

Diet Mentality & What Others Think

If you have recovered from disordered eating, or if you’re currently in the process of making peace with food and your body, you’ve probably experienced this concern about what others are thinking. It shows up everywhere in your life if you’re dealing with disordered eating or an eating disorder. In fact, our culture encourages girls and women to be worried about what others think.

Have you seen the “tissue test” commercial? It’s brilliant from a marketing perspective. One woman asks another if she’s used the tissue test. She pulls a tissue out of her purse, and a mirror, and tells the other woman to compare her teeth to the tissue. Of course, the woman is horrified that her teeth aren’t tissue-white and wants to know what she can do about it.

The brand has created a new beauty standard with an easy to remember gimmick that keeps women focused on how white their teeth are, so they’ll buy more teeth whitener. It’s absolutely disgusting, but it is an excellent example of how women are trained to worry about what others are thinking about them.

Side note: When I searched Google for the ’tissue test,’ I noticed the majority of first page results were for blog posts by other people that are as disgusted as I am about this commercial. Awesome!

When it comes to dieting, food obsession, body hatred, shame and all the other negative consequences of believing you must be thin to be accepted, there are plenty of examples of worrying about what others think. See if you can relate…

1. I should order a salad, they may think I’m too indulgent if I get a hamburger.

2. I can’t go to the party. I’ve gained too much weight. They will all know I failed my diet and gained all the weight back.

3. I won’t be caught dead in a bathing suit – all those people judging me? I’ll go on vacation after I lose weight. (I’ve heard this more than once!)

4. I’m not hungry, I just ate. But the people I’m meeting with will be eating, so I have to eat something, too.

5. Everyone is just going to stare at me as I walk slowly on the treadmill. I have to lose weight and get in better shape before I work out at the gym.

In case you’re wondering if I’m just being dramatic in my examples, well, no, I’m not. I wish I could say they aren’t real. But unfortunately, I’ve heard these exact statements and several variations many times. It’s heartbreaking to know someone is holding herself back because of her fear of being judged. I also understand this way of thinking because I had similar beliefs and fears of how I was being judged.

What’s interesting about the worry is that many of these thoughts fit into the diet mentality, as described by the authors of Intuitive Eating.

Diet mentality has three main components. They are:

All-or-nothing thinking (or black & white thinking). Comment #3 and 5 represent this thinking.
Believing willpower (or just trying harder next time) is what it will take to lose weight. 
Blaming yourself for your “failures” with dieting. Comment #2 demonstrates how we blame ourselves for not staying on a diet – but it’s the fault of the diet industry! They create the diets to fail.

Some typical comments won’t necessarily fit diet mentality thinking, but they are cognitive distortions – common ways of thinking that are generally incorrect and often have negative consequences for thinking that way. For example, comment #5 is a good example of exaggeration, along with all or nothing thinking. Comment #4 is an example of jumping to conclusions. Other types of distorted thinking show up with perfectionism and the use of “shoulds,” especially when discussing food and eating.

There are several cognitive distortions, and Dr. Sack refers to a couple more in his article.

So what’s the solution to stop this disabling worry that keeps you so stuck?

Remember This Important Truth

I share an important truth with my clients when they get caught up in worry about what others are thinking. Make sure to read and remember this:

When you’re worried about people looking at you and thinking bad thoughts about you or judging you, remember…

They are much too busy worrying about other people looking at them, thinking bad thoughts or judging them!

Everyone is so caught up in worrying about how they look, what people are thinking and how they are being judged that they have little opportunity or interest in thinking about or judging you!

Not sure if you believe me? I have proof!

I’ve worked with hundreds of women privately, in groups, and in conversations by phone, email or chat. Every single one of them has had this concern. Many have since let go of the worry of what others are thinking about them as they make peace with food and their bodies. But this doesn’t mean they now have the time to judge other people. One of my favorite things about putting an end to judging yourself is you tend to no longer judge anyone else, either.

The next time you’re in a situation where the usual worry about what people are thinking sneaks up, stop for a moment and remember that most, if not all of the people around you are doing the same. This would be a great time to feel some compassion for those still suffering from this mindset. You’ll feel good and your positive energy could have a positive impact on another person!

Create a New Mindset

There are several strategies for letting go of the worry and the constant anxiety it produces. What I’ve shared above is an effective strategy that will appeal to some. However, Dr. David Sack’s article has a total of 8 ways to work on your mindset in order to let go of your worry. Imagine the freedom you will have when you let go and can assume the best of people you’re around!

You’ll enjoy yourself more and you’ll probably discover many people are interested in getting to know you (which is what you really wanted in the first place, right?). The fear and worry usually represent that natural desire we have for people to like us. It will never be everyone, so let that go, and embrace your new freedom!

Make sure to check out Dr. Sack’s article for ideas you can start using right away:

8 Ways to Stop Worrying About What Other People Think

Let me know what strategy you try out and how it goes in the comments below!


play with your food

It’s OK to Play With Your Food… This Way


One thing I love about the internet is how it has become a showcase for creative people to share their work with the world. There are many artists we’d never discover if the internet didn’t exist.

Case in point is Helga Stentzel. The other day I found myself on the website called Bored Panda, and her cute food creations caught my attention. She is so creative! She takes food and turns it into a work of art. I would love to see the possibilities for transforming an everyday object into something amazing, it’s an exciting talent!

Here’s one of my favorites from those shown on Bored Panda:

elephant made from a banana

I don’t think I could eat this one after she turned it into a bird. It’s too pretty!

red bell pepper transformed into a bird

Now I love snowmen – the majority of my Christmas decorations are snowmen. But this pasta snowman (?) is extremely cute. I wonder if I could get her to decorate my house for Christmas?

pasta man

Who wouldn’t love to eat a nice green clump of… gummy bears? This is a sure-fire way of getting kids more interested in grapes, too!

gummy bear grapes

I’m not much of a tea drinker, but this guy is pretty cute…

tea bag

This is so adorable, I don’t know if I’ll ever see walnuts the same way again.

walnut bear

I love how well-matched the lego is with the corn! I’m glad corn kernels don’t usually have faces… I’d have to stop eating corn!

corn lego

If you’re like me and can’t get enough of Helga’s work, you can see the article on Bored Panda here:

Take a look at her Instagram account, too. She’s got tons of pictures and several fun videos. You could be there all day, so make sure you have the time before clicking over there!


sugary ice cream

Some Sanity About Sugar… Finally! Now Go Enjoy That Cookie…


The “sugar is evil” hysteria (that’s right, I called it hysteria) is driving me crazy. Everywhere I turn, it seems, someone is spouting off about the horrors of sugar. I’m not saying that sugar is a health food, but I would like to restore some sanity about sugar and have a discussion using facts, not random thoughts of some random guru trying to sell another diet book. Rarely do you hear actual facts backed up by real science in the news, on talk shows or in articles, books or on the internet.

I will write a post all about sugar, including how the body uses it, its effects on the body and your health, and the actual real-life conspiracy that kept the dangers of consuming excessive amounts of sugar and the sugar-heart disease link hidden for decades. (Spoiler alert: Sugar industry insiders paid off the researchers to hide the bad news about sugar and only release information about the link between dietary fat and heart disease!)

For the purposes of this post, I’ll share two facts:

  1. Carbohydrates, simple or complex, are the most important source of energy for the body. Everyone wants to know how to “burn fat” while exercising. First, eat carbs! The body cannot use fat for energy unless there are carbs present in the body as well. This is the case for carbs found in any food – pasta, rice, donuts, cookies, whole wheat bread, fruits, vegetables and even sucrose (table sugar).
  2. Yes, sugar can be harmful to the body. But it’s about the amount. Ask any toxicologist about harmful or deadly substances – they aren’t poisonous or deadly as substances. It’s always about the amount of the substance. Our bodies need iron, we can’t live without it. But if we take too much, it can make us very sick or even kill us. The same goes for any fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E or K. Deficiencies of any of these cause horrible problems, such as rickets due to insufficient Vitamin D. But too much Vitamin D can cause calcium to build up in your blood, leading to nausea, vomiting, weakness, and more. As with most things in life, there’s a certain amount that improves health, but more doesn’t always mean better! It’s the amount, that cookie will not make you a diabetic!

Just about everything I’ve seen, heard or read lately about sugar is full of doom and gloom. You’d think sugar is some kind of ax murderer or something!

I was very excited to come across an article actually dispelling myths about sugar. Written for Business Insider, the author interviewed cardiologist Dr, Jennifer Haythe, from Columbian Presbyterian Hospital in New York. Here are a few of my favorite myths busted in the article, “8 Myths About Sugar You Need to Stop Believing,” along with my own thoughts about each myth as well.

MYTH: Some types of sugar are better for you than others.

FACT: All ‘types’ of sugar have the same effect on your body.

“There’s this idea that there are different types of sugar, but that’s a myth,” Haythe said. “Brown sugar, white sugar, honey… they are all ultimately broken down into the same thing: glucose. All forms of sugar are carbohydrates that can be used as glucose.”

I know some people will read this and tell me I’m ruining people’s health (I’ve actually been told this by someone who didn’t have a clue about nutrition or disordered eating). They may say there are other types of sugar that are processed differently in the body, like fructose, or the other “evil” sugar known as high fructose corn syrup. All things being equal, I’d rather have sucrose-sweetened soda than HFCS. And I do agree that regular Coke with sugar is way better than Coke with HFCS, but that’s what is used in the US. (In Mexico, they still use sugar and occasionally you can find it in the US, but not often).

There’s no grand conspiracy behind changing so many processed foods and drinks from sucrose to HFCS. Can you guess what is really behind it? It’s money. HFCS is cheaper than sugar. But the big uproar over HFCS is that it contains fructose. On the surface, the argument makes sense. Fructose has to be processed by the liver before it can be used for energy, while glucose can be used immediately.

However, what no one talks about is the molecular makeup of sucrose compared to HFCS. Both contain glucose and fructose. Sucrose is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. HFCS is 45% glucose and 55% fructose (in some products containing HFCS, the glucose content is higher than the fructose!). Looking at these facts, it’s  about as useless as arguing over the difference between 1% and 2% milk. It’s 1% difference! Just drink whichever you like better, and stop arguing. (Note: When we were all crazed over cutting out fat because it was so “bad” for us, some new mothers were feeding their babies non-fat milk. If you know anyone who is doing this, tell them to please stop and let the baby have full-fat milk already! They need it and your baby isn’t overweight!)


MYTH: Sugar is as addictive as hard drugs.

FACT: There is no conclusive evidence that sugar is addictive.

“There’s no evidence that sugar can act as a gateway drug,” Haythe said. “You can’t get high from sugar, and there’s no conclusive evidence that sugar is addictive.” There are multiple conflicting studies concerning the subject of sugar addiction. One French study published in 2013 links cravings for sweets with the ‘reward’ center of our brains that are induced by addictive drugs. The study concluded that sugar can be even more addictive than cocaine.

But other doctors and researchers contest that study’s findings, stating that you only see addiction-like behavior in rodents when the animals are restricted to eating sugar for a certain time frame each day. When the test subjects are allowed to eat sugar whenever they want – like humans – the addictive properties vanish.

So feeding mice only sugar for a length of time each day makes them eat more than if the sugar is available at all times. Sounds just like intuitive eating! When you take away the restriction, the sugar isn’t something you can only have occasionally. You dream about it and want it all the time. Have it around all the time, your mind knows you can have it whenever and you usually end up eating it only when you really want it, which isn’t often.

I love the argument that says, since sugar lights up the reward center in our brain, it must mean sugar is addictive. It’s this flawed “logic” that perpetuates this myth that you can be addicted to sugar!

You know what else can light up the ‘reward’ center of our brains?

• Listening to music
• Checking off an item on your to-do list
• Having sex
• Meditating
• Getting into flow state
• Most things that make us happy

Yes, dopamine is absolutely related to drugs and other addictions. This doesn’t mean that everything that increases dopamine in the brain causes addiction. That’s ridiculous.  Studies conducted on rats (or mice), when testing a substance to see if it is safe for humans often give the mice huge amounts of the substance. Quite often these substances given to the test subjects are in amounts so large no human could ever consume the equivalent amount.

Sugar addiction and general food addiction do not exist. There may be an addictive quality to the actual act of eating certain foods, or in obtaining the foods. But the dopamine response to food, even in someone that binge eats, is much weaker compared to the dopamine response for a narcotic or barbiturate type of drug. Besides, if you thought you were “addicted to food,” how would you feel? Would you have much hope for recovery? The stigma of addiction future complicates overcoming food issues.

Could you give your food issues to your higher power? Not when you have to eat 3 or more times a day. No one can abstain from food, therefore 12-step and other addiction recovery models do not work for long-term recovery from disordered eating. I understand why people think they are addicted to food, but even if it were a possibility, it serves no positive purpose to believe it could happen.

MYTH: You should eliminate all sugar from your diet.

FACT: Humans need glucose to survive.

Of course, having too much sugar will lead to the problems we discussed above, like weight gain and long-term health problems. But, glucose is essential to our body.

“This idea that sugar is inherently bad for you is a myth,” Haythe said. “We all need sugar; that’s the basic block of what runs our bodies. It’s necessary to survive.”

But this perspective is heavily contested in the medical community. A 2015 research widely-distributed paper from Robert Lustig – who famously has spent his career debunking the “fat is evil” myth – concluded from a series of studies that “sugar is toxic” in any form, regardless of calories or weight.

That said, eliminating all sugar from your diet would be almost impossible. Fruit, potatoes, and other starchy foods all have high glycemic indexes, so you’d have to eliminate all of them before your sugar intake was whittled down to nothing.

Glucose is the ‘sugar’ in blood sugar. As mentioned above, glucose is essential if we want to walk, talk, eat and especially think! Fat (body fat or fat in the bloodstream) cannot be used to produce energy without carbohydrate available in the body to start the complicated processes that extract energy from nutrients. Plus, our brains can only run on glucose, the brain does not use fat for energy.

On the high-protein diets so popular these days, carbohydrate intake is often dangerously low. This forces the body to break down protein for energy. Protein is used by the body for repair and generation of all body tissues and structures. It’s not an ideal energy source. When used for energy (which sometimes includes the breakdown of your own muscle tissue to obtain protein), the end result is ketone bodies. This creates the state of ketosis that low-carb people get so excited about. Yay! I get to feel like garbage for the next few days, awesome!

My point is breaking down protein (or catabolizing) from your body’s tissues or using dietary protein for energy is not an ideal state for the body. The brain wants glucose, not ketone bodies. They are just a backup system in the case of emergency. Ever wonder why your mind feels fuzzy while on a high-protein/low-carb diet? Now you have your answer. Of course, you may be so sick with the “low-carb flu” that you don’t notice your mind is running on fumes.

Another issue not mentioned in this article is that cutting out sugar, or just the thought of doing so, will cause many to quickly descend into diet mentality. Sugar becomes all you can think of, day and night. Once you break and allow yourself to have some, overeating or binging usually follows. What comes next? Yes, it’s our old friends guilt and shame. You’re back in the diet-binge cycle because you thought you were doing the “healthy” thing for your body.

Eat the cookie and enjoy it! Without deprivation, the overeating and binging won’t be as much of a problem, if at all.

MYTH: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

FACT: Both types of diabetes are caused by a mix of genetics and environmental factors, but a sugary diet cannot directly cause it (alone).

“Eating sugar does not cause diabetes; it’s a complicated problem involving your pancreas and metabolism,” Haythe said. “When you have diabetes, you don’t produce enough insulin. Insulin helps the glucose get absorbed into your bloodstream and liver as usable energy.” 

“… This makes a diet heavy in sugar an indirect, rather than a direct cause of type 2 diabetes.”

In this article, much to my disappointment, the doctor they interviewed, Dr. Jennifer Haythe, did claim being overweight or obese can lead to insulin resistance, which can then lead to diabetes.

I really take issue with this statement. In The Intuitive Eating Workbook, written by the same authors of the book Intuitive Eating, Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, cite a study in which “overweight” patients with type 2 diabetes were put on diets for weight loss and followed for six years, along with a similar group not given a diet or any eating instruction.

At the end of the six years, the researchers were quite surprised to find that the prognosis for the dieting group was worse than the group that did nothing and remained overweight. In other words, the dieting group did not improve their health or diabetes status, but the group that didn’t diet or make any attempt to lose weight were now healthier than the dieting group.

In fact, while health professionals frequently say that weight loss is the most important factor in improving health for type 2 diabetics, a mere 10% reduction in weight has been shown to improve health. Many people just give up because losing a large amount of weight seems impossible. They haven’t been told that 5 to 10% is really all that’s needed.

Of course, everyone is different and only your personal health team will be able to advise you. But it is still important to know about the research and discuss these things with your doctor. Many of the general practitioners and even the specialists these days are getting most of their education from the drug representatives that visit the office on a regular basis. Make sure you’re informed. No one else will care about your health as much as you do!

There are 8 total myths discussed in the article. They are all well-worth reading and thinking about. You can read the entire article on Business Insider right here:

What do you think about these myths? Are you relieved to learn a belief isn’t true? Maybe you’re not convinced despite having read the article. Have questions? Please feel free to comment, leave your opinion and ask questions in the comment section! I would love to hear from you and get your thoughts!

be good enough

Your Life Will Be Perfect When… You Allow It To Be ‘Good Enough’


If you’re reading this, you’re likely somewhere along the journey to making peace with food, your body, or both. OK, it’s not really an amazing guess, since that’s the topic of this blog! I’m willing to bet you are or have been a perfectionist at some point in your life as well. You and your body could never be good enough.

I know and understand (and experienced) several things you’ve likely gone through, and may still be working through now. Many clients have told me I can read their minds. But sadly, I don’t have any special powers. I’ve been through the yo-yo dieting that never resulted in long-term weight loss. Not to mention the additional weight I would gain along with what I had lost.

Beating myself up. Punishing overeating with overexercising. Binging as a reward. Binging as an escape. Binging as a way to cope. Binging because I hated myself for binging. (I’ve never claimed any of this behavior is logical!)

Having been there for 25 years and recovered, I know without a doubt that you can recover, too.

But there’s something important to understand about making peace with food and your body…

The Problem Has Little to do With Food!

Food is a symptom that when properly recognized, can alert us that something is going on – emotionally, mentally, physically, even spiritually.

But we’ve been brainwashed to believe overeating is a moral failing… we just need more willpower. If we were stronger, tougher, more virtuous, perfect… we’d never overeat. And, all the weight issues would miraculously disappear. (Thanks for that, Diet Industry!)

Perfection… I see it every day with my clients. I still see it in myself. It doesn’t show up with food anymore, or my body (OK, 99% of the time for my body), but it shows up in many other areas of my life. This is something you’re better off knowing now than when you’ve recovered from dieting and overeating…

When you’re able to eat that full-fat, full-sugar ice cream – for dinner – without guilt or worry about “making up for it,” diet mentality may surprise you by showing up in another area of your life.

Have you heard the saying, “How you do one thing is how you do everything”?

Our relationship with food often mirrors other parts of our lives. For example, if you hoard certain foods, worried you’ll “never eat them again,” you may have problems letting go of your “stuff.” This now becomes a clutter problem.

This is easy to see when you compare your behavior with food or your body to other parts of your life. And perfectionism is a perfect example (sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

In my own life, perfectionism shows up frequently with my work. I’ll spend too many hours trying to get something “just right.” I’ve kept myself from releasing several helpful products and courses because letting them be good enough was unthinkable.

Recently I read an article by clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo. She has her own publication on the website Medium, called, “On the Couch.” Everything I’ve read is insightful, and I love her sense of humor. This article is about moving beyond perfectionism and it’s absolutely brilliant.

It’s called, “The Pocket Guide to a ‘Good Enough’ Life,” and it was written as a response to a client who asked for ‘words of wisdom’ during her final session of therapy. Nimmo says it’s her, “version of all that really matters,” but to me, it’s a roadmap to letting go of perfectionism once and for all.

She shares 10 pieces of advice, all excellent and worth reading. I’ll highlight a few that stood out. These points are essential for making peace with food and your body. Here they are, along with some brief thoughts about using them in your journey.

#3 Keep your past behind you.

Live in the momentIf you’ve dieted for any length of time, you probably can list all diets you’ve done. For each one, you also experienced what you called, “failure.” But you kept going back, hoping the next one will be the magic bullet.

(By the way, you did not fail the diet. The diet failed you, and many are designed with that intention.)

By the time someone wants to talk with me about the non-diet/intuitive eating approach, they are sick and tired of failed diets.

I often hear, “I don’t know that this is going to work for me, nothing else has that I’ve tried.” 

I understand this concern, but this thinking is just living in the past and allowing the past to dictate the future. It’s smart to look at the past to determine what you can learn from it. But dwelling on it and letting it influence your decisions today keep you stuck and unhappy. Note in the quote below she doesn’t say to “wait” for the future… she says to plan for it, but live in the moment.

Life is right here, right now, so commit to being in the present while planning for the future.
~ Karen Nimmo

When you focus on losing weight, you can’t fully live right now. You put real living on hold, waiting for the future (when your weight, and therefore your life will be “perfect”). But all you’re really doing is missing the present. It’s so sad to see someone putting off fun, meaningful or important things until they lose weight. That’s a guaranteed recipe for never losing it. I know, because I’ve done this myself.

#8 Your body is not a temple.

I love this! She writes, “Your body is just a body. So don’t get all obsessed with it…”imperfection is beautiful

The idea that our bodies are temples just adds to the obsession we have with our external appearance. Get a group of women together, and what do they talk about? Their weight, how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ they’ve been, or all the calories they managed to avoid (as if this is deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize or something).

The last time I was caught in one of these discussions, it was about some new diet. I wanted to scream, “Shut up, no one cares!” But under the circumstances, it wouldn’t have been the best option. I did remove myself from the group and went to see what the men were talking about. Anything is better than diet and body talk.

Feed it well, move it and treat it with respect and it’ll pay you back with strength and energy (and by fitting into your favorite clothes).

This is the heart of the Health at Every Size approach and eating intuitively. Feed your body food that makes it feel good. If you do, YOU will feel good. Feeling good makes it very easy to continue! You don’t have to be on a “maintenance” phase or eat a certain way one week and change it up the next. Learn what works for your body. Know what food you truly love to eat. Combine the best of these two groups and you’ll know what to eat that’s 100% right for you!

The idea of respecting your body, to me, is easier to achieve than, “I love my body!” Many do come to love their body. For the rest of us, respect feels much more attainable.

Respecting your body means you feed it when it’s hungry (most of the time – no perfection!). You don’t overfeed your body (most of the time). The clothes you wear fit you well right now (not too baggy, and not super tight). And you don’t think or say mean, horrible things to or about your body. Respect is awesome!

Abuse it at your peril — it may just seek revenge.

Need I say more? We all know what dieting has done to our bodies and how our bodies have responded. Respecting your body is much easier than dieting and trying to beat your body into submission!

#2 Date yourself.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean don’t date anyone else, but she makes a great point. It’s important that you become comfortable with being with yourself. Someone shared with me an excellent point about this concept. To paraphrase, if you don’t want to be alone with yourself, why would anyone else want to be with you? I can’t really add much more to that!

Nurture your mind, body and spirit — and take yourself out for some fun, sometimes. Yours is the only relationship you can’t leave.

Another good point, right? Once you realize you are all you’ve got for life, it’s time to decide. Are you worth taking care of? Allowing yourself to have fun? Worth the challenging but life-changing work to recover from chronic dieting and/or disordered eating? I know you are. I hope you’ll take this to heart, take a stand for yourself, and let go of perfectionism so your life can be good enough!

To read all of Karen Nimmo’s articles and additional writing by Karen, start here:

Karen Nimmo on Medium

hate your body

Hate Your Body? Here’s A Reality Check Unlike Anything I’ve Ever Seen…

In this fairly new era of body positivity, there are exciting changes taking place. More women, many in larger bodies, are declaring their freedom from the cultural standard of thin-at-all-costs. They’re embracing their curves. Real food is being eaten in public, in full view of other people. The big secret is out – there is nothing wrong with your body, regardless of size. I’ve been saying you can be healthy and fit in a larger body, so I’m thrilled!

Do you still hate your body? Or have you been able to make some peace with it or even better – accept it no matter what?

Despite this positive trend of embracing bodies of all shapes and sizes, I encounter many women every day who absolutely hate their bodies. (More recently, men are finding themselves stuck in this same body hatred.) They tell me they won’t stop hating them until they lose weight.

What’s sad is most of them know – from their own experience – that losing weight won’t make them happy or make you like your body. Most have lost weight only to discover that life isn’t any better. And worse, they now have to eat even less and exercise more to possibly maintain the loss! (But as contestants on The Biggest Loser have proved, it’s nearly impossible to keep off weight lost by dieting. It’s simply too hard on the body.)

Anyone on the diet roller coaster even a short time has discovered so-called “ideal weight” is simply not sustainable.

This leaves two options:

Remain stuck in the diet-binge cycle, dieting and depriving your body. Wait for the backlash when you start overeating and/or binging. This always leads to guilt and shame, and to the next diet, hoping that “this is the one.” Spoiler alert: It’s not. This leaves you with the other option…

Accept your body right now. This is not giving up. This is accepting your body regardless of its size.

I can hear your objections, having had the same thoughts and felt the same way several years ago. My biggest objection was: “I’m a personal trainer, I have to look perfect and be a role model!”

Not only was I wrong, this thinking didn’t stop the dieting or binging (which began at 8 years old). Plus, I could no longer stick with a diet any longer than a couple of weeks. They would end in binges that might go on for days. So much for being a role model!

Body acceptance has been a common and challenging concept for many clients I’ve coached on making peace with food and body. It’s a process and there are several paths to get there. But it is a very personal path that is as individual as the people working towards acceptance.

Recently I came across a TED Talk given by Taryn Blumfitt. You may be familiar with Taryn. She made headlines when she shared before and after photos that look like she got the order of the pictures reversed. Since then, Taryn has become an outspoken and influential member of the body positivity movement. Her documentary, Embrace, was released last year and she has a book of the same title.

I’m a fan of Taryn’s, I love bold women who take a stand for what’s right, especially when fighting against the status quo and damaging cultural beliefs. Taryn begins her TED Talk by throwing insults at people in the audience. She uses words like ugly, wrinkled, and more, and then points out that we talk to ourselves this way all the time.

She shares a story of hating her body so much that she went to a plastic surgeon. This doctor encouraged her hatred, while he pointed out the various body parts he could “fix.”

Halfway through the video, she talks about how we often consider having a less-than-perfect body as a “tragedy.” We believe, “if I can’t have my perfect body then I’ll never have the life I want.” That was a very regular thought of mine. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

Have you ever felt this way? Do you still?

You may experience a huge reality check when you check out Taryn’s talk. It might be enough to push you closer to acceptance. I wish I had heard something like this when I was working on accepting my body, it may have helped me get there faster. Regardless, I do know it will stir up some new thoughts, and that’s often how big changes begin – thinking about a challenge in a different way.

I would love to know what you think – agree or disagree! Leave a comment below and let’s talk about it!