Stop Playing Diet-Binge Ping Pong!

How many times have you gone “on” a diet and then “off”? You know, that all-or-nothing thinking.

It’s also called black and white thinking.

Deep in your heart, you know that –

DIETS DON’T WORK AS LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS.

You’ll most likely lose the weight.

But you will eventually

gain it all back – plus more!

So- what can you do?

Sorry  – I’m not suggesting you quit your job, lie on your sofa and gorge yourself with chocolate chip cookie dough!

  
Instead:

1. Admit that your issues with food and body image are really about

the pain you’ve experienced in your life story.

2. Begin to work on your heart that has been crying out by self-medicating with food or the control of it.

Then you will begin to work on the

real issues behind your self-medication.

After all, your crying heart is what pulled you into Diet-Binge Ping Pong.

Because food and body image issues are really

issues of the heart.

 

 

Body Image and Fat Talk

“I’m tired of the way women talk so much about food, diet and fitness issues,” Cindy said.  She sipped her chai tea Starbucks latte as she played with the wrapper from the straw.

“I know, ” I said. “Sometimes I wonder if women could go a whole week without talking about 

                diets,

                                    workout plans,

calories,

fat grams, and

sizes.”

She glanced out the window at the pink snow from the cherry tree. 

“Why don’t women just get on with their lives instead of obsessing about their bodies? I really don’t get it.” 

We had just hiked one of the St. Edward’s Park trails down to Lake Washington.  The Seattle sun smiled on us and people laughed and told stories as dogs, kids, and trail runners met and then passed us. 

“I think the windfall of media poisons our thinking, causing us to compare ourselves to photoshopped and airbrushed images.  And since we see over 250,000 ads by the age of seventeen, we’re drowning in a tsunami of lies.”  I ignored the beep my phone made to signal I’d received a text message.  “It leads to a lot of comparing and coveting; wishing we had bodies that are not actually real.”

“That’s true,”  Cindy said.  She reached into her backpack to find her phone.  “This whole business of coveting can drive us to despair.  When we compare and covet something someone else has – like an image in a magazine that has been photoshopped- we buy into the lies of the Body Image Bandit. I heard a clip of Cindy Crawford saying, ‘I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.’ She was talking about how the pictures of her in magazines don’t resemble her because of all the photoshopping.” 

“Wow.  That’s unbelievable,”  I said.  I noticed two kayaks paddling down on the waterfront.  “Hey, want to go kayaking on Saturday?” 

“Sure.  Sounds fun.  Let’s see if we can go on the Hood Canal to check out the seals you’ve been telling me about.”  She got up and put her cup in the recycle bin.  “I’m going to write a challenge to my Facebook friends to go a week in their real lives without talking about diets, sizes, workouts, and foods.  I bet they’ll have better weeks because they won’t get into negative thinking patterns.”

“That sounds interesting,” I said.  “Can’t wait to hear how it goes.  See you Saturday.” 

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17

Body Image and Fat Talk

“I’m tired of the way women talk so much about food, diet and fitness issues,” Cindy said.  She sipped her chai tea Starbucks latte as she played with the wrapper from the straw.

“I know, ” I said. “Sometimes I wonder if women could go a whole week without talking about 

                diets,

                                    workout plans,

calories,

fat grams, and

sizes.”

She glanced out the window at the pink snow from the cherry tree. 

“Why don’t women just get on with their lives instead of obsessing about their bodies? I really don’t get it.” 

We had just hiked one of the St. Edward’s Park trails down to Lake Washington.  The Seattle sun smiled on us and people laughed and told stories as dogs, kids, and trail runners met and then passed us. 

“I think the windfall of media poisons our thinking, causing us to compare ourselves to photoshopped and airbrushed images.  And since we see over 250,000 ads by the age of seventeen, we’re drowning in a tsunami of lies.”  I ignored the beep my phone made to signal I’d received a text message.  “It leads to a lot of comparing and coveting; wishing we had bodies that are not actually real.”

“That’s true,”  Cindy said.  She reached into her backpack to find her phone.  “This whole business of coveting can drive us to despair.  When we compare and covet something someone else has – like an image in a magazine that has been photoshopped- we buy into the lies of the Body Image Bandit. I heard a clip of Cindy Crawford saying, ‘I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.’ She was talking about how the pictures of her in magazines don’t resemble her because of all the photoshopping.” 

“Wow.  That’s unbelievable,”  I said.  I noticed two kayaks paddling down on the waterfront.  “Hey, want to go kayaking on Saturday?” 

“Sure.  Sounds fun.  Let’s see if we can go on the Hood Canal to check out the seals you’ve been telling me about.”  She got up and put her cup in the recycle bin.  “I’m going to write a challenge to my Facebook friends to go a week in their real lives without talking about diets, sizes, workouts, and foods.  I bet they’ll have better weeks because they won’t get into negative thinking patterns.”

“That sounds interesting,” I said.  “Can’t wait to hear how it goes.  See you Saturday.” 

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17

Body Image and Thoughts: Stop the Stinking Thinking!

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I had a professor who once said, “Trying to control your mind is like trying to control a room full of drunken monkeys.”  When it comes to your own body image, I bet you understand.  How often have you had negative thoughts  such as:

  • What size of clothes does that person wear?  She’s probably a size ____.
  • What have I eaten so far today?  What will I eat tomorrow?  (Obsessing about food.)
  • I hate my ______.  (Fill in the blank with waist, fanny, etc.)
  • Is that person skinnier than me?

First of all, it’s not a good idea to hang out in your head.  It’s a jungle in there!  Often it leads to envy, despair, and other types of stinkin’ thinking’, as the twelve step programs say.  But you are a unique masterpiece, created by a loving God.  He created you for other purposes besides obsessing about your fanny.  Who knew?

Try this:  The next time you have a negative body image thought, picture a huge stop sign.  Think of yelling, “STOP!”  Then ask the Lord to redirect your thinking.  If you force yourself to do this it will become a habit.  After all, you have a much greater calling than obsessing about food, fat, and your fanny.

Body Image and Comparison

Two teen-aged girls stood in front of me in the Costco snack bar line.  “Am I fatter or skinnier than the girl in front of the line with the True Religion jeans?”  the blonde asked the brunette. 

“Hmmm…I don’t really know.  It’s pretty hard to tell because you both look kind of about the same size,” the brunette answered. 

“Are you kidding me?  Am I really that chunky around the waist?  Maybe you need glasses.  There’s just no way you could be right!”  She rolled her eyes at the brunette and ordered a triple decker ice cream cone.  “I think you’re forgetting that I work out five days of the week!  What kind of friend are you, anyway?”  she asked, then bit into her ice cream, rolled her eyes at her friend, and walked off.

We’ve all done it, if not aloud then in our heads.  The sick little comparison game, where we envy another person or try to figure out if we are skinnier or fatter than another person.  By the age of 17, we have seen over 250,000 ads.  Most of them shout, “To be thin is to be beautiful, and beauty is almost everything.”  This leads to comparison and propels our heads into stinkin’ thinkin’ in which we compare our bodies with others.  Sometimes we come out better, and sometimes we come out worse.  But all-in-all, it is a lose-lose situation. 

First of all, it’s a bad idea to hang out in your head.   It’s a jungle in there!  Hanging out in your head usually leads to negativity, and you certainly can’t be present with people if you’re hanging out in your head.  Trying to figure out if your hips or ankles or other unassorted body parts are larger, smaller, fatter, or thinner than the woman ahead of you on the hiking trail is truly a waste of energy.  Not only that, but it will eventually lead to contempt – either self contempt or other-centered contempt. 

The run-down usually goes like this:

  1.  Comparison, which leads to
  2. Competition, which leads to
  3. Contempt, which leads to
  4. Stinking-thinking, depression, and despair

 

I love what the apostle Paul said about being content with what you have:  “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”    Phil 4:11  I know he wasn’t talking about body image, but even so,  it is not a far leap to use the same principle concerning how you feel about your body.   

So how can we stop the cycle that leads to despair?  First, recognize what you are doing.  You might try to wear a rubber bracelet or something similar so you can snap it whenever you realize you are comparing your body to someone else’s.  Then you can ask God to help you to re-focus your thoughts.  Replace the stinkin’ thinkin’ pattern of comparison, competition, and contempt with healthy thoughts:  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  (Phil. 4:8) You will note that Paul didn’t say, in this passage, to think about other peoples’ fannies and compare them to your own!  So get over it already, and stop the comparison trap before it gobbles you up.