Body Image, Self-Talk, and the Diet On/Off Switch

Have you noticed that women often sprinkle conversations with comments such as:

  • “I really need to lose weight!”
  • “Do these jeans make my butt look big?”
  • “I can’t buy cute clothes until I’m (drum roll, please)skinny!”

Comments such as these only help perpetuate what I call the Ferocious Foursome, which include:  dieting, bingeing, over exercising, and purging.

 

Almost all dieters lose weight, but research shows that over time, the majority gain it all back – plus more!  This is because dieting is not a committed way of life, and because dieters feel deprived due to all-or-nothing thinking.  They get into the thinking pattern that they are either 1) dieting or 2) not dieting.  These deprivation feelings often lead to binges.  I’m so sick of this diet, I’m gonna forget the whole thing.  So instead of learning to enjoy treats in moderation, they flip off their “diet switch” and eat everything except the TV.

This plummets them down the elevator shaft, into the abyss of shame and self-contempt.  So they begin verbally assaulting their bodies with their friends.  The cycle of abusive language continues with the types of comments discussed earlier,” My thighs are bigger around than the Space Needle.”  They feel disgusted with themselves and go back on a diet, starting the cycle of captivity again.

How can we break the chains of captivity to dieting and bingeing? Here are three important ways:

  • Get rid of your diet on/off switch:

  • Think more in terms of trying to aim for the middle, allowing yourself some treats periodically in moderation. Mix them into an overall sound lifestyle of eating and you won’t feel deprived

  • Stop making negative comments about your body (or anyone else’s, for that matter) because it only makes the problem worse.

These techniques will help you enjoy more peace in your life as you focus your attention to the positive instead of the negative and celebrate the person God created you to be.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Ephesians 4:29

Body Image and Skinny Jeans

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Last week I saw a woman in her late eighties wearing skinny jeans. But she didn’t look like the picture.

She had a bad case of lumpy, bumpy, muffin top-itis.  Oh Lord, stop me if I try to wear something like that when I’m in my 80s. But later I changed my mind. Good for her. She’s not all caught up in the drama of, ‘Do these jeans make my butt look big?’

This woman felt comfortable in her own skin. She wasn’t obsessed with her body and appearance.  On the other hand, I’ve heard stories of women who continued to obsess about their appearances until they died in their nineties.  They never lost their  food-fat-fanny mentality. Their self-talk consisted of such questions as:

Do these jeans make my tooshie look big?

Can I eat a cupcake, or will it land on my thighs?

Is the woman in front of me at Safeway fatter or thinner than me?

Obviously I don’t know if this lady suffered from dementia or poverty, which may have contributed to her wearing skinny jeans.  I didn’t get that impression, but who knows?  I hope that she was of sound mind, and that she thought:

I like these jeans.

I want to buy some ice cream.

I can enjoy food, enjoy life, and think about other things instead of obsessing about  food, fat, and my tooshie.

Driving a few blocks further, I celebrated the old woman who had the courage to live boldly. You go, girl!  Good for you for being free to wear what you like.  But oh Lord, please let me like looser clothes and not skinny jeans when I’m old!