If you struggle with binge eating, emotional eating and food addiction, you may also have body image issues. Your body image issues may keep you from doing what you want to do in life and keep you from being the best you can do. Think of your body identity as a role or archetype you have chosen to play in your life for the time being until you are able and willing to be your best self. This is the way you’ve learned to cope with being in a bigger body. Are you the rebel, wounded child or sexy mama? Whatever role you’re playing it may be covering up the truth of who you are.
In this podcast, you will learn:
1. How identifying your archetype may help you to see your authentic self.
2. How negative self-talk just makes binging, food obsessions worse
3. Why you can’t “hate yourself thin.”
Homework: Ponder this question then use the guided imagery to tap into your natural body wisdom:
Question: Describe how your weight and food issues led you to play certain roles in your life, to choose certain careers, or even to marry or have relationships with certain people.
(Example: As a kid, I was bullied about my weight. This led to my desire to protect other kids who were teased. I am a teacher, and I love my work. I also have a firm stand in my classroom against bullying. My lack of self-confidence, however, led me to marry the first person who showed any interest in me, and it wasn’t a good match for me.
Imagery: This is a guided imagery exercise which is about remembering who you are at your essence and recapturing the dreams you may have lost or thrown away because of limits you or others placed on you because of your body size. Before you begin, remember to take three deep breaths and reconnect with your body sensations. Imagine your body floating through air like a balloon—free and clear to move about wherever it wants to go. You can imagine your body floating on a cloud or floating into space. Experience the sensation of your body being free, not constrained by gravity or by the gravity of others’ or your own expectations. With that feeling and staying in connection with your body sensations, describe the dreams you want to remember and bring back into your life.
If you’re interested in learning more about food addiction, enter the book sweepstakes to win a copy of The Food Addiction Recovery Workbook.
Schedule a free consult to discuss your food and body image issues: https://findingyouranchor.as.me/CONSULT
To learn more about The Anchor Program a 12-week non-diet program offering ONLINE group and individual sessions for the treatment of binge eating, emotional eating, food addiction and compulsive overeating. Want to learn more about the Anchor Program? https://AnchorProgram.com
Hi everyone and welcome to the show Dr. Carolyn here, bringing you episode 92. Today we’re going to be talking about body image, but not in the usual way. I’m going to be asking you questions that will help you identify your body archetype. Are you a sexy mama? Are you a do gooder and there’s so many more, so stay tuned.
I hope you guys are doing okay. In this second year of the pandemic, on the off and on quarantine we’re at this point, dealing with Delta variant it’s I think it’s wearing on, I know it’s on me and probably wearing on many of you as well. So, I just want to encourage you to get the vaccine if you haven’t so that we can put this all to rest and get back to our day-to-day lives. And I know the vaccine has been politicized, but the bottom line is we don’t want any more Americans to die. And the people who are getting sick and dying are the ones who haven’t gotten the vaccine. So, I hope that you have gotten it and if you haven’t that you will reconsider and get it as soon as possible.
Well, let’s start talking about our topic for today. I mentioned that we’re going to be talking about body image and I don’t know if you knew, but our body image is usually established by the age of six that’s the time in which children are aware of how they look. And they’re also aware of how other people think about how they look and then during adolescence in the teenage years, body image changes a lot because obviously our bodies are changing a lot. So, you know, when we talk about body image, we’re just talking about the picture that you have in your mind about your body. So one of there’s a lot of things that are outside of ourselves that can have an impact on our body image, such as trauma and we’ve talked about that in the past that when you have trauma, trauma is held in the body, there’s also the issue that when you’ve experienced trauma you may become alienated from your body and you make become disconnected. You may develop an adversarial relationship, or you just may numb yourself to any of body sensations because of the pain you’ve experienced in your body. So there are also things like cultural influences, you know, if you’re Latinex or African-American or a Pacific Islander. All of those cultures have different, you know, desired body image ideals. So the media can be a, a factor, particularly social media, because we know many people, especially if you’re struggling with food addiction, binge eating or emotional eating you may go on social media and compare yourself to the people on social media. I just want to remind you that those people have been airbrushed to within an inch of their lives. They have all have personal trainers every day of the week and they have personal chefs. So I think most of us could do better with our body image if we had all of those advantages.
Anyway, life experiences can also have an impact on body image and can, has can, relationships, healthy relationships can do a world of good for body image. But abusive relationships can really be painful. And I’ve had so many patients who are in abusive relationships, who, who’s a partner will call them names and say things about them that make their body image worst. And that had that, that happened many, many times where I had clients, both in my private practice and in the anchor program.
So, if you have food addiction, are you struggling with, um, emotional eating or binge eating? You may be also have an, you know, probably have a lot of body image issues and this could be include things like, uh, negative stereotypes that you have internalized from society, or you may have feelings of shame about your body. So this is important to recognize because you know, as I said, there are many sources of weight bias, particularly in the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers are the number two source and then friends and family members remember one, but other people like your employers, teachers, coaches can, may also have had, have said things to you or implied things, or looked at you a certain way and that may have been internalized. And now when I say internalize, that means that you have taken in these attitudes, these negative attitudes and made them your own. And now you’re beating yourself up about your size or shaming yourself about something about your body.
So this, if you have this kind of internal negative self-taught or hateful feelings towards your body sometimes, maybe consciously or unconsciously, you may feel that you can motivate yourself by saying, “oh, you’re fat”, “you’re lazy”, “you’re disgusting”. And through that, you could force yourself to change your behaviors. You know, there’s so many negative stereotypes though, and we know that from the research that the, you know, this negative self-talk has the opposite result of what you expect. It actually makes you less likely to take care of your body or to want to take care of your body. So if you believe, believe in these negative stereotypes, you may be trying to whip yourself into shape by using this negative self-talk. But, one of my clients who have mentioned, I think a number of times before came up, she realized that you cannot hate yourself. So if this strategy were effective, then we wouldn’t be dealing with the body image issues that we are dealing with. And research has shown over and over that if you believe in these negative stereotypes, and if you’re engaging in this negative, self-talk, you’re less likely to change your behaviors and more likely to binge or obsess about food, or, you know, it’s kind of like that. Well, I’m already, you know, my thighs are already too big. I might as well just fill in the blank.
So again, body image is the picture you hold in your mind of your body. Maybe you’ve had this experience as you’ve gotten older, where you may be a certain age, but inside you feel like you’re a much younger age like, uh, you feel like you’re 25. But then you look in the mirror and you realize, oh my goodness, 45 or 65. Well, the same can happen with body image that picture that you have in your head may stay there long after your body has actually changed. So when you hold a negative picture or you’re dissatisfied with your body, that is, you know, a problem because that image can stay there even as you’re getting more fit, even as your, you know, your behaviors are decreasing even as you’re becoming, healthier in many ways. So. We know that that negative picture is a significant predictor of ongoing compulsive over eating, binge eating, emotional eating, and also depression and problems in relationships. So if you can change the body image, if you can change the picture you hold in your mind about your body this may also help you change your behaviors. And I know that’s difficult so many of my patients say, well, of course I know that intellectually, but what about society? And what about, you know, the practicalities of living in a larger body? Well we know that in our culture, in particular and in most of Western culture, this is just filled with images of the thin ideal. But it is something that can be accomplished over time. You know, despite the overload of media images, promoting them this, then this, there are also increasingly a surprising number of media images that are coming out of women and men in larger bodies who are refreshingly and courageously being themselves without regard to their body image, you know, their YouTube videos of dancers living in larger bodies. I know that a lot of people, a lot of my patients in the anchor program have mentioned that Lizzo has been such an inspiration for them because she’s so incredibly herself, it seems like.
So anyway, I encourage you to look for these healthier images of people living in larger bodies and yeah. Because they show you that smaller size is not a prerequisite to being all you can be. And isn’t that what we should be all about being all that we can be? When we think about the place of appearance in our overall life, on your death bed, you know, how they always say on your death bed, are you going to look back and say, I wish I had gone on yet another diet? I don’t think so. But you might’ve said, I wish I had been brave enough to be in a relationship. I wish I had had children. I wish I had gone after that career that I always wanted to. To do, but was afraid to, um, so it’s, it’s really important to put these things in perspective. And I think finding images of people who are being all they can be in the media is, is really helpful instead of always going to the Angelina Jolie’s or the other, you know, the models who are over thin, too thin. Let’s look for somebody who’s real and in a real body. And you know, obviously when the media portrays people different sizes and not just in the stereotypical roles that tend to diminish them, like, you know, That people living in larger bodies are always comic figures and sitcoms that they can, you know, that changes that will be helpful, but you can now even now find those Lizzo, those find those other people who are in the media and doing something incredible and living in a larger body.
So the most important use of your body is not as a defining and limiting identity, but rather as a source of wisdom, and whenever you use your body size or shape to keep you from being all that you can be, or being who you truly are, you know, that’s, that’s being stuck in fear and it is limiting. It’s a way of keeping yourself small.
So I want to talk about something called archetypes and these are archetypes that I have, uh, that I want to talk about in relationship to body image. So in archetype is a pattern that exemplifies a certain behavior or identity. So, you know, being a mother for example, is an archetype. And when we, when we hear the word mother unless you’ve been traumatized by your mother. You may have this thought of, you know, a mother, someone who’s nurturing and caring and blah, blah, blah. So that’s what an archetype is. There’s so many different archetypes, but we’re just going to talk about a few in relationship to body image. So one would be the sexy mama archetype. You are proud of your curves and feel you have a right to flaunt them. You may show off your body in tight fitting clothes and your sexiness sometimes can be misunderstood because often what you really want is a stable relationship. So that’s a description of what people may see on the outside of the sexy mama archetype, but then there’s a truth that’s in the heart of a person who is in this archetype and maybe the truth is that they just want to be loved for who they are. So the question, if you feel that you’re in the sexy mama archetype is when you’re acting sexy and I’m not talking about inappropriate sexiness, but when you’re acting sexy, what is it that you really want? Because that will give you a clue to why you have adopted the sexy mama archetype. So remember, there’s the external appearance, what people see and perceive about you, and then there’s the truth that lives in your heart. And then you want to try to connect those by asking yourself that question. So the question for the sexy mama archetype again is when I’m acting sexy what I really want is fill in the blank. Okay. What about the rebel archetype? You want to flip off anyone who calls you fat, being angry as your way of coping with fat shaming, and you see yourself as a fierce that activist. The truth for you may be that you want people to pay attention to you, and you want your voice to be heard. Now, the question for you is if your anger could talk what would it say about what you really want? If your anger could talk, what would it say about what you really want? All right, then the next one is the good girl archetype. You are a people pleaser, you prefer to avoid conflict and you want other people to like you. Your heart truth is you want to be accepted for who you are. And the question for you is when you’re saying yes, even when you want to say no, what you really want or need is what. And finally one last archetype, the wounded child archetype, you feel as if life is against you and nothing will ever go your way. Your heartfelt truth is that you want to be able to take care of yourself and stand on your own two feet and for people to see you as competent. The question for you is when I feel as if life is against me, what would help me feel strong?
So we all play different roles in our lives and express different archetypes. These roles can be thrust on us by our parents, or they may have been chosen unconsciously or adopted with full awareness. So there’s no right or wrong about the archetypes that we have in our lives. And it’s just important to be aware of these archetypes and how body size or shape. May have unconsciously shaped your choice of archetype. I hope that was helpful. I’ll see you next time.
Thanks so much for listening. I hope you will explore your body image, archetype a little further. It’s really something that can be helpful if you use it in that way. One of the things that, one of the homework, things that I use with my clients in the anchor program is to ask them to describe how weight and food issues led you to play certain roles in your life to choose certain careers or even to marry or have relationships with certain people. So what is it that you have, how, how have you shaped your life based on your food and weight or body image issues? So, I would suggest you do that as a homework assignment and feel free to share that with me in our Facebook group, finding your anchor. And also the next part of that is just to try to remember the essence of who you are and the dreams that you may have lost or thrown away because of limits that either you or someone else placed on you because of body size, shape, etcetera. So just remember to stay present, to take those deep breaths and reconnect with bodies, your body sensations. You can even imagine your body floating through air like a balloon free and clear to move about, wherever it wants to go. Just imagine your body floating on a cloud or floating into space. Experiences sensation of your body being free, not constrained by gravity or by the gravity of other’s expectations or your own. With that feeling, stay in, in with being connected with your body sensations. Think of the dreams you want to bring back into your life. So those are two little homework assignments. The first one, describing how your food and weight issues have led to you playing certain roles in your life, your career, your relationships. And then the next one is imagining yourself floating on a cloud and then bring back those dreams that you want to remember and bring back into your life.
Okay, please give us a number of stars. Maybe five stars would be good. Please share the podcast with anyone who you think might be interested and join us next time for episode number 93. Alright. Bye