The Fashion Police Chronicles – Oscars Style

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“We’re more than just our dresses,” said Reese Witherspoon. Preach it, Reese!

Every year, after the Academy awards, the fashion police nitpick the female participants to pieces. A total meat market – fashionista style. I love fashion and design. For me, fashion invites be to express myself in art. If I had to choose a career outside the helping professions, it might be dress design. Or -drum roll please- shoe design. I mean shoe sales cause me to salivate. What’s not to like?! But the Fashion Police at the Academy Awards situation reinforces the pressure for women to be objects rather than glorious creations as God intended. The pressure of Academy Awards fashion police is over the top. Whether the attendees can voice it or not, the evaluation revolves around the beast called Shame. Comparison is the name of the game of the Academy Awards fashionista chronicles. I adore fashion, but this evaluation process has turned past the vortex of fun. Girls and women get steeped into the stew of comparison so much that the vast majority have body image issues. So I’m done with the process. Although the fashionista diva within me wants to evaluate and choose my favorite, I won’t play the game anymore. Goodbye, Fashion Police. I will miss you, but I don’t like what you represent. IMG_0673 IMG_0648 IMG_0673-0

The Real Roots of Food Addiction: Conquering Binge Eating Disorder

Tooshie: Defeating the Body Image Bandit

“When did you first begin to substitute food for love?”  I asked my client.  (Note:  Names and identifying information have been changed to protect confidentiality.)

“I don’t really know,” she answered, reaching for the Kleenex box.  “I remember in high school when I’d lost a lot of weight, and this really popular guy gave me the eye, if you know what I mean.”

  

My nod encouraged her to continue.  “What did you do right after he gave you the eye?”  I asked, knowing what she would probably say.

“I went right home and raided the fridge.” 

“You’re terrified of your own beauty?”  I asked, althought it was spoken softly and sounded more like a statement than a question. 

“I guess so.  His look made me realize at that second that if I didn’t put a layer of protection around myself – actually a layer of fat – then…

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The Real Roots of Food Addiction: Conquering Binge Eating Disorder

“When did you first begin to substitute food for love?”  I asked my client.  (Note:  Names and identifying information have been changed to protect confidentiality.)

“I don’t really know,” she answered, reaching for the Kleenex box.  “I remember in high school when I’d lost a lot of weight, and this really popular guy gave me the eye, if you know what I mean.”

  

My nod encouraged her to continue.  “What did you do right after he gave you the eye?”  I asked, knowing what she would probably say.

“I went right home and raided the fridge.” 

“You’re terrified of your own beauty?”  I asked, althought it was spoken softly and sounded more like a statement than a question. 

“I guess so.  His look made me realize at that second that if I didn’t put a layer of protection around myself – actually a layer of fat – then I would probably be abused again, or turn back into my old promiscuous self, which is even worse.  So yeah, I guess you could say I am terrified of my own beauty.” 

She grabbed her long, sleek brown hair and began to twist, which I recognized as a sign of anxiety. conversation caused her to  ponder difficult issues – issues that are much more about the heart and her story than calories and fat grams.

I encouraged her to continue therapy to get to the roots of the issues, which often display themselves through many secondary symptoms, including:

  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Drug, alcohol, sex, gambling, shopping and other addictions
  • Promiscuity or lack of sexual intimacy
  • Difficulties in friendships and other relationships

When did you first start to gain weight? is a MILLION dollar question!  I cannot stress this enough.  Something happened to the person at that time in her life.  It may have been the divorce of her parents, sexual abuse, or another extremely painful situation.  Until the pain is dealt with, people trying to lose weight will continue to dance around the symptoms.  They will often lose weight, but then – just as research shows – most of them will gain all of it back, plus MORE! 

  

This client has now lost over 80 pounds and has kept it off for several years.  I ran into her a while ago, and asked her how she lost the weight.  “It was mostly the counseling,” she said.  “You helped me to process through the hardest parts of my story, and then I turned to food less and less.”  She is now much more comfortable with her own beauty, and refuses to substitute food for love. 

Does this mean everyone who is significantly overweight has experienced abuse? Of course not. However, many who have struggled with weight issues have experienced major trauma in their lives.  Usually they will continue to struggle with the weight until they have the courage to face the roots of their issues – the pain in their hearts that grew from seeds of sadness in their stories. 

Being overweight is usually a symptom of underlying issues, and more than likely the weight loss won’t stick until these issues are addressed. To work on the weight alone is somewhat like chopping off the top of a weed in your garden.  The root will be hidden for a whole, but sooner or later the weed will reappear.

Make 2010 the year that you work on your own life story with a licensed mental health counselor who addresses the causes of issues and not only symptoms.  Then you will fight the body image bandit and win because you will no longer substitute food for love.  You will become the person you were meant to be…

© Cherrie Herrin-Michehl, MA, LMHC and Fannies:  Reflections on Cookie Dough, Life, and Your Derriere and Fannies:  Reclaiming the Plunder of the Body Image Bandit, 2007 – 2047. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cherrie Herrin-Michehl, MA, LMHC and  Tooshie:  Reflections on Cookie Dough, Life, and Your Derriere with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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The Million Dollar Body Image Question

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When did you first begin to obsess about your body?  Can you identify what event or events sprung you into yo-yo dieting, starving yourself, purging, binge eating, and/or excessive exercising?

Once you can do that, you’ve identified a major contributor that prevents you from developing healthy relationships with food and exercise.  Draw a time line of your life and place markers at the most eventful times.

Also other changes, such as getting married, divorced, moving, having a friend move, starting or ending jobs, etc.  Remember, any major change is stress, whether it’s experienced as positive or negative.  No wonder brides gain an average of 18 pounds during the first year of marriage!

During these difficult times of your time line, you probably began to obsess about your body.

 

You attempted to self-medicate by dieting, bingeing, purging away your true feelings, and/or overexercising.  This offered you what we call the illusion of control in the 12-step programs.

In other words, your life felt out of control by your parents’ divorce, a move to another city, a difficult break-up, etc. You knew that you were powerless over the situation, so you obsessed about your body and attempted to control it instead.

Body

Eventually your new, dysfunctional way of coping took on a life of its own.  Whether it’s obsessive overeating, bingeing, compulsive dieting, purging, or overexercising you’re struggling with, you’ve probably been looking for a solution for years. It became a beast in your life, and you have desperately tried to tackle it.  And now you’re wondering what really works in the long-term sense, not quick fixes that help you change for a small chunk of time.

“How do people recover?
We   believe an eating disorder is a mechanism for coping with stress. We binge,   purge and/or starve to feel better about our shame, anger, fear, loneliness,   tiredness and ordinary human needs. As we learn to address stress through other   mechanisms, the symptoms of the eating disorder tend to fade away. It is a   process, not an event. In EDA, we share our experience, strength and hope with   each other to help one another come to terms with and change how we deal with   life.

Recovery means living life on life’s terms, facing pains and fears   without obsessing on food, weight and body image. In our eating disorders, we   sometimes felt like helpless victims. Recovery means gaining or regaining the   power to see our options, to make careful choices in our lives. Recovery means rebuilding trust with ourselves, a gradual process that requires much motivation  and support. There are bound to be setbacks and moments of fear and frustration.   Support – professional, group and family – helps us get through such trials   safely, when we are honest about them. Support groups such as EDA provide   inspiration and opportunity for turning the most deeply painful and humbling   experiences to useful purpose. As we learn and practice careful self-honesty,   self-care, and self-expression, we gain authenticity, perspective, peace and   empowerment.”

That is an excerpt from Eating Disorders Anonymous, which provides great results for many people.  I truly believe in 12-step programs ,and have been in Al-Anon (a 12-step program for friends and families of alcoholics) on and off since 1999.

Next to my salvation, my husband, the gifts of attending Multnomah Seminary and Mars Hill Graduate School (now called Seattle School of Psychology and Theology), Al-Anon has been one of the most beautiful gifts God has provided.  (The 12 step programs are not affiliated with any religion.) A true life saver. 

They say to try 6 meetings of a 12-step before deciding if the program works for you.  (Like life itself, you can find groups like people.  Some of them you really click with, and others you think, “holy moly, I feel so sorry for their mothers!”  So don’t give up.  Try different meetings.  Also, find a good therapist who is knowledgeable about your issues.

 from www.Eatingdisordersanonymous.org

Another great resource, also a 12-step: www.oa.com (Overeaters Anonymous) (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!)

Also www.celebraterecovery.com (for Christians)

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Bulimia, Drinking,and Abuse: One Woman’s Story

When my friend Candy and I went on a hike, she told me that she had struggled with bulimia from her late teens until her early thirties.  Now in her early fifties, I invited her to share her story.

She graciously told me she would be honored to share the story if it would help other people.  Knowing that many readers have been enticed by the beast of bulimia, I assured Candy that others would gain courage and strength from her story.  And most importantly, they would begin to understand that when darkness and despair envelop them, hope still prevails.

“I totally get why another name for Satan is the Father of Lies.  Bulimia is the perfect example of this,”Candy said, as we hiked among the cedar trees and ferns.  ” After getting brainwashed by the media, you literally can’t think straight.  The lies saying you are not beautiful unless you are concentration camp thin invade every cell of your body.  And your brain gets re-programmed to think that your value comes from your packaging.”  I nodded in agreement as we stopped and listened to the sweet songs of birds.

“So the lie of bulimia, on the surface, seems like the perfect promise of satisfying your appetite while not paying the price for the calories.  A win-win situation. But actually purging only gets rid of about half the calories anyway, which many people don’t realize.  And once the cycle gets started, the bondage of bulimia casts a dark shadow over your life.  I used to think it was the magic cure, the great equalizer in the sense of calories.”  She took a deep breath as we gained elevation.

As we walked up the path, Candy told me about her background.  “My parents argued a lot.  They had a lot of fights – not physically, but my brother and I huddled together when they yelled.”  When Candy’s life felt out of control due to the yelling, she felt extremely out of control.

People often deny this and say it wasn’t a big deal because other people had it much worse.  While that may be true, it is minimizing the problem and helps to deny the depth of situation.  Living in a toxic environment is much more harmful than most people realize.”  I nodded my head in agreement.  It changes brain chemistry and causes damage to our immune systems.  And just as weighty is the fact that it teaches us yelling and screaming is ‘normal’ and that is what relationships are like.

Then she started to explain her first romantic relationship.  “It was never a good relationship,” she continued.  “I just didn’t have any good role models for relationships.”  Due to the rockiness of her parents’ relationship, her own dating relationships were rocky.  That’s what she knew.  Candy started dating Brad in her later high school years, and eventually they married and moved to Germany because he was in the Air Force.  They moved to a remote village so Candy felt isolated. She and Brad began to drink a lot each evening.  (We now know that bulimia and heavy drinking, including pre-alcoholism and alcoholism, often go together.)  He picked on her and called her fat even though she was only a size 6.  He controlled her  and often told her not to laugh or behave in certain ways.  All this negativity squelched her and made her go deeper inside herself.

Candy started to gain some weight because she felt bored,depressed and isolated.  She often cried herself to sleep at night.  Although she was still a size 6, Brad said, “I will not tolerate an obese woman.”  He also often said, “Boy, you eat a lot.”  At some point, she started to throw up because she felt ashamed of what she had eaten.  She had a history of self-abuse, and looks at her bulimia, in some ways, as an extension of the abuse.   “All I could think about sometimes was throwing up, and threw up 3-4 times per day.”  The bulimia took over her thinking, and she was caught in a vortex of shame due to the bingeing and the purging.  A squirrel crossed our path as she continued.

Brad’s control of Candy is very common to abusive relationships. (For more information on the warning signs of dangerous relationships, click here.  http://www.notjustsymptoms.com/clientimages/45365/newsletter%202_warning%20signs%20of%20dangerous%20relationships.html

Eventually she gave birth, and while Candy nursed little Connie, Brad tried to turn the mattress over on her.  Another time he said something about going to get a gun, and that’s when she left.  She came back home, and prayed a lot about her situation.  Candy learned about abuse and bulimia and learned how to deal with her feelings.  My bulimia was as much about purging feelings as purging food. “I can understand why you feel like that,”  I said.  “After all, stuffing is for turkeys

and teddy bears – not for feelings.”

“Feelings have to be expressed in healthy ways.  If not, they stay inside us and lead to self-medication including workaholism, drug abuse, alcoholism, food addiction, or something else.”  We stopped to admire the glorious view of Mount Rainier.

It wasn’t easy, but Candy was able to crawl out of the black hole of bulimia.  She wishes she would have received professional help back then, and that she would advise anyone who struggles with bulimia to get good help.  God created us to be in community, and when we live lone ranger lives, we rob ourselves.  Candy is eternally grateful that God helped her out of Bulimiaville.  Every once in a while she still gets an urge to purge, but she doesn’t follow through on it because she figures out what is really eating at her.

Decades later, Candy is happily married to a kind man.  No, life isn’t perfect because there will always be struggles this side of heaven.  Her three kids are doing well and one will graduate from college this year.  Tears welled up in her eyes as she remembered the contrast of her old life and her new life.  Several years ago, she asked Jesus to take control of her life.  She told some people about her secret life of struggling with bulimia, and gradually she was released from its power.  Even so, Candy strongly encourages others suffering from bulimia to seek professional help. “The 12-step programs such as Overeaters Anonymous are great, too,”  she said.

I asked Candy if there is anything else she would like to say to other people who are struggling with bulimia.  She said, “Yes.  There is help!  Get professional help.  You don’t have to be this way forever.”  Well said, Candy.

The Scoop on Childhood Obesity

When it comes to body image, causes of childhood obesity consist of much more than the icing on the cake.  Hardly a week passes when we don’t hear about the epidemic of obesity among Americans.  About 1/3 of adults are obese, and 17% of children and adolescents are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The stat that chips my teeth, however, is this:

Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children has almost tripled.  That is frightening.

Besides eating away at a positive body image, obesity can contribute to:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • type 2 diabetes
  • certain types of cancer

Those four conditions are some of the leading causes of death.

Childhood obesity has received much discussion.  Top reasons for the problem include sedentary lifestyle which replaces physical play with technology  play.  Kids are stuck to their computers, phones, and televisions like chocolate chips 

in cookies.

Not that technology is bad, but it’s time to consider limiting tech time and adding physical play.

Another entree in the smorgasbord of childhood obesity is a diet loaded with fat, sugar and white flour.  Fast food and easily prepared foods are usually are high in calories, fat grams, bad cholesterol, and sugar.  Our fast-paced society leads to children and adults grabbing whatever is easiest to eat.  Drive-through food has become a main staple in the American diet.  If you haven’t seen it yet, rent the movie Supersize Me and you’ll understand what most fast-food food does to health.  (Thankfully, we now have wonderful alternatives at fast food restaurants which are more nutritious and lower in fat and sugar.) 

But the one factor of childhood obesity that few people are talking about is…..(drumroll, please):  Story. If you draw a timeline of a child’s life, what are the significant events that caused some degree of pain?Sometimes it’s moving.  Other times it’s the separation or divorce of parents.  (No, I’m not saying that divorce causes obesity, but I am saying that  bumps along the road of life can cause people to self-medicate with food and other substances.)  It could even be losing a pet.  If you look at your own story, you’ll  probably see that if you have body image/food issues, they started or took deeper roots during the bumps along your life story.

We must address the obvious issues of childhood obesity such as exercise and food choices. However, if we don’t address the pain in our children’s stories, we will likely miss a main course of the weight gain equation.  Good counseling can help.  Children can work through the pain in their stories and stop using food as their drug of choice. I have seen many clients lose weight they needed to lose by working on the pain in their stories. (I don’t work with children, but this principle applies to all ages.)

So there you have it…a recipe for improving the problem of childhood obesity.  It’s definitely not quick or easy, but certainly well worth the efforts.  And the garnish on top is an improved body image.

Photo by Chelsea Panos

Your Body Image Time Line

When did you first begin to obsess about your body?  Can you identify what event or events sprung you into yo-yo dieting, starving yourself, purging, binge eating, and/or excessive exercising?  Once you can do that, you’ve identified a major contributor that prevents you from developing healthy relationships with food and exercise.  Draw a time line of your life and place markers at the most eventful times.  Also other changes, such as getting married, divorced, moving, having a friend move, starting or ending jobs, etc.  Remember, any major change is stress, whether it’s experienced as positive or negative.  No wonder brides gain an average of 18 pounds during the first year of marriage!

During these difficult times of your time line, you probably began to obsess about your body.

You attempted to self-medicate by dieting, bingeing, purging away your true feelings, and/or overexercising.  This offered you what we call the illusion of control in the 12-step programs.

In other words, your life felt out of control by your parents’ divorce, a move to another city, a difficult break-up, etc. You knew that you were powerless over the situation, so you obsessed about your body and attempted to control it instead.

Body

Eventually your new, dysfunctional way of coping took on a life of its own.  Whether it’s obsessive overeating, bingeing, compulsive dieting, purging, or overexercising you’re struggling with, you’ve probably been looking for a solution for years. It became a beast in your life, and you have desperately tried to tackle it.  And now you’re wondering what really works in the long-term sense, not quick fixes that help you change for a small chunk of time.

“How do people recover?
We   believe an eating disorder is a mechanism for coping with stress. We binge,   purge and/or starve to feel better about our shame, anger, fear, loneliness,   tiredness and ordinary human needs. As we learn to address stress through other   mechanisms, the symptoms of the eating disorder tend to fade away. It is a   process, not an event. In EDA, we share our experience, strength and hope with   each other to help one another come to terms with and change how we deal with   life.
Recovery means living life on life’s terms, facing pains and fears   without obsessing on food, weight and body image. In our eating disorders, we   sometimes felt like helpless victims. Recovery means gaining or regaining the   power to see our options, to make careful choices in our lives. Recovery means rebuilding trust with ourselves, a gradual process that requires much motivation  and support. There are bound to be setbacks and moments of fear and frustration.   Support – professional, group and family – helps us get through such trials   safely, when we are honest about them. Support groups such as EDA provide   inspiration and opportunity for turning the most deeply painful and humbling   experiences to useful purpose. As we learn and practice careful self-honesty,   self-care, and self-expression, we gain authenticity, perspective, peace and   empowerment.”

That is an excerpt from Eating Disorders Anonymous, which provides great results for many people.  I truly believe in 12- step programs ,and have been in Al-Anon (a 12-step program for friends and families of alcoholics) on and off since 1999.  Next to my salvation, my husband, the gifts of attending Multnomah Seminary and another graduate school, Al-Anon has been one of the most beautiful gifts God has provided.  (The 12 step programs are not affiliated with any religion.) A true life saver. 

They say to try 6 meetings of a 12-step before deciding if the program works for you.  (Like life itself, you can find groups like people.  Some of them you really click with, and others you think, “holy moly, I feel so sorry for their mothers!”  So don’t give up.  Try different meetings.  Also, find a good therapist who is knowledgeable about your issues.

 from www.Eatingdisordersanonymous.org

Another great resource, also a 12-step: www.oa.com (Overeaters Anonymous)

Also www.celebraterecovery.com (for Christians)

body image

Body Image: What’s Really Eating at You?

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You want to tackle your body image issues, but you fall off the wagon.  What causes this?  How can you fight the Body Image Bandit and win?

The first thing is to learn to identify what’s really eating at you.  Whether you’re battling an eating disorder or compulsive overeating (now called “Binge Eating Disorder”), if you can learn to figure out what’s bothering you at any given time, you will be much more successful. If you’re eating and you’re not hungry, something is going on in your heart, most likely.  You’re stuffing your feelings.

Stuffing is for teddy bears and turkeys.

When we stuff our feelings, it makes us much more prone to an addiction or eating disorder.

Many of us don’t even know what our feelings are if we grew up in a dysfunctional household in which the three rules are: 1) Don’t tell 2) Don’t trust, and 3) Don’t feel. 

So we lost touch with our feelings and are unable on most occasions to explain how we really feel.  And remember, “fine,” “Okay,” or “good” are not feelings.  Feelings are divided into six main categories: 

Mad   Sad   Glad   Fear   Lonely   Shame

Since my menopausal memory is slim, I’m thankful that three of the the four main feeling words rhyme!  Google “feeling lists” and you will find a lifetime supply of feelings.

I don’t mean to oversimplify when I say to figure out what’s really eating at you.  Addictions, eating disroders, and body image issues are much, much more complex than simply figuring out what’s eating at you.

However, most people don’t deal with what’s eating at them all day, every day.  Me included.  I’m get much better, still need to work on it.

How do you deal with your feelings?

After you identify your true feelings using real feeling words(like the ones on the lists), then share them in a safe place.  David in the Psalms frequently told God his feelings.  He expressed all four categories of mad, sad, glad and fear.  So of course prayer is a great way to express your feelings.

Another safe place is a journal in which you spill your soul. It shouldn’t be a log about what you did on a particular day.  Rather, it should contain your true feeling words about your life in that moment.

If you aren’t seeing the mad, sad, glad, fear, lonely and shame feelings expressed in your journal, it is less effective.  Safe people like friends, counselors, and spouses (only if you feel safe with them, which many people don’t) are often other safe places.

The purging of feelings is often what we’re trying to do when we attempt to fill the holes in our hearts with food, alcohol, drugs, bingeing, over-shopping, purging, and other addictions.  This is why many addictions begin to take root when we experience hardships in our lives.

Believe it or not, getting your true feelings out will help immensely as you battle the Body Image Bandit.  The release will help you not to stuff your feelings and as a result, you will be much less likely to act out against your body.  Once again, I’m not saying it’s a magic cure in any way.  But if you don’t learn to identify your true feelings and get them out in healthy ways, you will continue to overeat, binge, purge, or starve yourself.  Remember, you’re not a turkey (although you may feel like one sometimes!) or a teddy bear, so don’t try to fill yourself by stuffing your feelings.

Then you can begin to fight the Body Image Bandit and win.

Time Line: Next week, learn how to identify the point when you really started to act out against your own body and what to do about it.

To learn more about how to tackle the roots of food addiction, read my book, Tooshue: Defeating the Body Image Bandit 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00KP2KMPQ/ref=mp_s_a_1_1_twi_kin_2?qid=1452294474&sr=8-1&keywords=body+image+bandit

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00KP2KMPQ/ref=mp_s_a_1_1_twi_kin_2?qid=1452294474&sr=8-1&keywords=body+image+bandit

  

Body Image and Purging: Confessions of a Purging Flunky

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I was a purging flunky.  I remember in high school when I first got whirled onto the merry-go-round called the Ferocious Foursome.

Ferocious Foursome are the gang of dieting, Bingeing, Purging, and Over-exercising.

I had been on a diet (even though looking back I didn’t need to lose weight) and the feelings of deprivation consumed me.  This led to an all-out binge, in which I ate everything except the TV.

I figured there was only one thing I could do –  throw up.  Of course!  The perfect cure-all.  I tried, but was unable able to accomplish the mighty feat.

So I tried again, and instantly remembered why I hated getting sick.

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At first I got mad at myself for not being able to hack the act of hacking up. It seemed like quite a few people were doing it. At the time I didn’t know that 18-20% of people with eating disorders would die within twenty years. 

I thought purging was the new ‘magic weight-loss answer’. I had no idea that years later statistics would flood in about the life-threatening health risks of bulimia.

Many would end up accidentally killing themselves due to the horrific damage on their bodies.  Bulimia would eat up the lives of many girls and women, leaving behind families drowning in tears.

As a purging flunky, I skipped level three of the Ferocious Foursome and went on to the final four. I ended up getting addicted to exercise for a few years.

Maybe you are wondering how anyone could possibly get addicted to exercise.  The biggest reason is that endorphins are produced.  Endorphins are similar to opiates, and provide a natural high.  Another definition describes endorphins as morphine-like substances originating from within the body.


The endorphins, combined with the payoff of looking and feeling superb, attract people into exercising more and more.   If you think of over-exercising in those terms, you may begin to understand how people get addicted.

Bulimia of the purging or over-exercising type often emerges after a young woman’s boyfriend breaks up with her. ( To be more precise, one form of bulimia does not involve throwing up, but is based on over-exercising.)

young woman compares herself to other young women, and starts to believe it was all about the size of her hips.

Comparing and coveting are ugly animals, so it is no wonder that God commanded us not to go there. He knows that comparing and coveting poisons our hearts.

Even so, we have all driven in the fast lane of Coveting Road, probably more often than we realize. The type of coveting I am speaking about in this case is when you see a beautiful, thin woman and you really wish you had her body.

Part of you believes this would give you the perfect life. But since we live in a fallen world, there is no perfect life this side of heaven.

 

The “stinking thinking” (this is a twelve-step phrase) that if only I were skinny, then my boyfriend would not have left me gets programmed into her heart.  So she kicks her dieting into high gear, but later on blows her diet and binges.  So she resorts to purging or over-exercising.  Either one of the two meet the criteria of bulimia if they are entrenched enough, according to the DSM-IV TR, which is the official manual of diagnoses.

Once the stinking thinking takes root in her heart, she feels that if she were thinner, she could have kept her boyfriend.  Sometimes guys throw darts of violent words about their girlfriends’ bodies, but even if they don’t, the girls are often spurred into bulimia.  (By the way, that is called abuse.)

 

The hundreds of thousands of messages in the media that endlessly echo “to be thin is to be beautiful, and beauty is almost everything” shoot darts into her heart until it bleeds tears.

Since they cannot stay on the diet wagon forever, girls and women (as well as a growing number of  boys and men) quickly grasp the idea that they can throw up their food and get away with it.  On the surface, it seems like the only solution, but decades of research shows that throwing up quickly morphs into an addiction.

Bulimia is profoundly more damaging than once thought.  Those of us who were “too sissy” to purge finally realized that it was a blessing in disguise.  My heart cries oceans of tears for those who are entangled with the beast of bulimia. Bulimia is certainly a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as it seems so innocent in the beginning.

What if you could get off the dieting/bingeing merry-go-round forever? What if you could celebrate the body that God has given you, and say goodbye to the Body Image Bandit – the Father of lies? Continue in this voyage of healing as we share in the celebration of kicking the Body Image Bandit out of our lives once and for all.

Body Image and Diets: Rethinking Resolutions and Dieting

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Many Americans will begin another year with a resolution to lose weight.  Most will start out with a bang, but then fizzle out like New Year’s Eve fireworks.

The majority will lose weight, but only a small percentage will keep it off.  Most will gain it all back, plus more.  They will then jump again onto the merry-go-round of dieting, which always leads to the feeling of deprivation.  This usually leads to a binge, which causes shame and despair.  Then the cycle continues and the person hops back on the dieting bandwagon.

The cycle continues until they understand the truth:  Food and body image issues are much more about our hearts and stories than about calories and exercise.  Granted, a calorie is a calorie, and exercise is pivotal (unless it becomes an addiction, which happens to many people).

But food/body image issues (including eating disorders, although they are much more complex than this) are issues of the heart.

This trap of dieting, bingeing, dieting, and bingeing is a vicious cycle.  Sometimes it includes purging and/or over-exercising (which is a relatively common addiction in which people look great on the outside but feel like a 90-year-olds due to all the wear and tear on their bodies).

More recently, research has poured in showing a strong correlation between binge eating, purging, and binge drinking.  The cycle of dieting, bingeing, dieting, bingeing repeatedly is hard on the body, mind, and soul.  And considering that less than 1% of the people who lose weight will keep it off, why not deal with the roots of the problem?

If you are a professional dieter, you probably know so much about dieting you could write a book on it.  But the problem is you have missed the major piece of the puzzle.  I know I’ve already said it, but I want to shout it from the Space Needle:F

Food, weight, and body image issues are much more about our hearts and our stories than about calories, carbs, and exercise.  If you continue to concentrate on the symptoms instead of the causes, it is like putting gas in a car that has a hole in the gas tank.  You will be successful, but only for a while.  This blog (and book, which is almost complete) addresses the underlying issues so that you will have a greater chance of beating the Body Image Bandit. 

Make this the year to address the underlying issues so that you can become the person you were meant to be.

My hope and prayer is that you continue on the journey of changing your heart, working on the causes of your food issues instead