If you are dissatisfied with your body, you are not alone. While having self-doubts is a normal part of being human, if your self-evaluation is primarily dependent on your superficial appearance, your size or shape, that can lead to shame, negative self-talk, suffering and the use of extreme and harmful behaviors to reach the ever-elusive thin ideal. As well, it’s important to realize that trying to “hate yourself thin” can put stress on your body and increase belly fat and risk for diabetes and heart disease.
In this episode you will learn:
1. What some women are willing to give up in exchange for a thin body.
2. How to stop the transmission of body image issues from one generation to another.
3. Why weight stigma may be the reason for health risks, not size!
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Hi, this is Dr. Carolyn bringing you episode number 1 0 6. How to for once and for all, make peace with your body. We’re going to get into it pretty deep. I hope you’ll stay tune.
Hi everyone Dr. Carolyn here and today, I’m going to be talking about how to once and for all, make peace with your body. Now, if you’re dissatisfied with your body, you’re not alone and I wanted to tell you about a super interesting survey that was done by the magazine Good Housekeeping. And which they surveyed over 4,200 women and 87% of those surveyed said that they had dieted at some point recently in order to change their size or shape, and only a paltry, 6% of American women expressed that they were satisfied with their bodies. What was more astounding to me was that 14% of women said they would be willing to take one to five years off of their life if they could have their thin ideal body. So giving up up to five years of your life to have a thin body that that gives you a cost, doesn’t it. So other findings in the study included 60% of women said that they, how they feel about themselves was very highly influenced by their size and shape. 69% said that being in a larger body is not healthy. 74% had a list of good foods and bad foods that they were always referring to in their heads. And 11% would give up sex in exchange for their ideal body. Oh, okay. While having self-doubts is, you know it’s pretty normal. We all have them. I think what’s really shocking. Is that, or really troubling is that when your self-evaluation is primarily related to a superficial appearance, your size, your shape, that can lead to shame negative self-talk isolation and a lot of suffering, as well as the use of extreme methods to try to reach that ever elusive thin ideal.
So my question is, is the goal of being then and the time and energy it takes up in your life really? The most important thing cause that’s what this survey is really saying to us. Furthermore, in this study by good housekeeping, 51% of women said that being thin or losing weight is a good way to be healthy. This is a hard belief to challenge because it confuses thinnest with good health and fatness with bad health and really size is not the most important determinant of good health, but that’s the bill of goods that we’ve been sold. For most people, with food and body image issues it’s really easier to focus on the external appearance of the body, the way you look rather than internal information, which is the most important factor for good health. So this outside in focus can cause a lot of pain as you know, how you look is almost never good enough. And over time, by shifting from an external to an internal focus, you can reduce that negative self-talk and all of the judgments that we now experience in regard to body image, for example, good health is truly an inside out job. What makes you healthy has to do with how your internal body processes work, your metabolism, your digestion, your heart and lung functions. None of these internal processes are dependent on your being thin.
A study by Janet Tomiyama, I think she’s at UCSF University of California, San Francisco or Los Angeles if I’m not mistaken. Showed that weight stigma or weight shaming is actually bad for your health. And she was able to show that being exposed to weight, shaming caused elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and this led to higher deposition of belly fat and higher risk for heart disease and diabetes. So maybe that risk for diabetes and heart disease and supposedly associated with weight is really more to do with weight, stigma causes and how it affects our health. We unwittingly has sawn these beliefs to our children, our nieces and nephews, other family members, just as many of the women that I work with in the anchor program have told me that they were put on their very first diet, whether it be at age five or 10 or 11, by a mother or auntie or someone in their family. And, you know, continuing to, to really focus on this exacting and unachievable standards for health, beauty, or self-worth is something that you can pass on, even if you’re not trying to, to the next generation. And then that can then be passed on to the generation afterwards. So that’s intergenerational transmission of the diet mentality, and body hatred and, you know, food issues.
Well, parents may feel that they’re doing their kids a favor, but trying to get them to lose weight. In fact, if you examine in your own life, the impact of that diet, culture and diet mentality has had on you. You may realize how much yo-yo dieting food obsessions, body dissatisfaction have all costs you. Why would it costs any less to your daughters? So I know that we don’t want to pass this on to our children. So it’s really important to take active measures to keep that from happening. Because while you’re looking in the mirror and saying negative things about yourself, your children are listening, or when you get infatuated with the next fad diet, lose weight and then regain it, all your children are listening.
Now it is understandable that in our fat phobic society, those in larger bodies would want to be thinner from a social justice standpoint, living in a larger body in our diet obsessed fat phobic society is a trial it’s it’s brutal for many, many people. Everywhere you look, diet culture, exhorts you to lose weight, the medical profession hammers you to lose weight. And as we know, the medical profession is the number two cause of weight stigma with number one, being family.
So what is true is that most people who have struggled with food and body image issues most of their lives will probably not find a perfect diet or be able to reach their thin ideal. So what can you do? Well, if you are able, and I know this is counterintuitive, but keep hoping that if I say enough. It will start to sink in for everyone who’s listening. If you’re able to accept yourself just as you are, if you’re able to allow yourself to feel valuable and worthy, no matter your size. If you’re able to surround yourself with people who are supportive, no matter your size, including supportive people in the medical profession, wouldn’t you be happier because what it gets down to is what is your priority in life? Is it to be happy, productive, and healthy, or is it to be thin? And those really are the choices it’s either one or the other. Can’t do both because yo yo dieting cost you in terms of your health. It can raise blood pressure dieting in general and weight stigma increased cortisol and risks for diabetes and the list goes on and on. And I’ve talked about that in previous videos.
The decision made from body hatred, any decision made from the point of view of, I hate my body is doomed to fail. Now, obviously you choose it’s your body, and if you choose to change how you eat you so after you’ve come to at least some feeling of neutrality about your body. Don’t do it because you hate your body. Whatever you do spend the time and the therapy, whatever you need to care, the learn to care about yourself no matter your size. Take time to begin to see yourself as worthy and unique as you are no matter your size and take care of yourself no matter yourself.
The first step towards greater satisfaction with your body is to stop seeing your body as a separate entity to be controlled and manipulated. Your relationship with your is the very first relationship you ever have. You know, we come into this world in this body. We leave this world in this same body, your body is the longest lasting friend you have, and it performs miracles for you on a day to day basis. Without you even thinking about it. It’s helped you survive illness, injury, surgeries, and other difficult times, and may have even helped you in the birth of a child. Your body may have also survived abuse, trauma, or substance use disorder. So if we can just start looking at our bodies as a little more of an ally than an enemy.
So Maya Angelou says, if you can’t change something, change your attitude. And I love that. It seems that the most important accomplishment you can have, at least in my view is to become the most authentic version of yourself that you can, to be able to become fully expressive, to not let your size or your food and body image issues, keep you from expressing who you truly are and bringing that out into the world.
What would it take for you to focus away from the number on the scale and instead to change your attitude and put your focus on expressing yourself to the fullest extent possible to the world, how would that change your life for the better? I hope this has been helpful, and I look forward to seeing you next time we have coming up. Help, I’m stressed to the max and I can’t stop eating. Hope you’ll join me for that one. Thanks for listening.
I hope that was helpful for you, and that helped you to stop and think about something that we automatically do. If you have food addiction, binge-eating compulsive overeating or emotional eating, you may just automatically, without even thinking about it, have negative self-talk towards your body or negative thoughts about your body. And may think that you can whip yourself into shape. If you just keep shaming yourself. And I hope this has helped you to see a few things. First of all, wait, shaming, even if it’s done by you, not just by someone outside of you, but that too. So if you’re shaming yourself like saying negative things to yourself about your size, then that is stressful for your body. And it has a consequence that I mentioned that in the podcast. So think about that and think about what your priorities are. And also ask yourself if you special, if you have children, are you willing to pass this problem on to the next generation? Do you want to see your children suffer in the ways that you have suffered, trying to reach this unrealistic, thin ideal that society tells us we have to do.
So please give us a rating some stars, how many stars you can. Next episode number 1 0 7 is coming up dietician and internal family systems, expert, Betsy Thurston. And she’s going to talk about how internal family systems work can help heal trauma. And then episode number 1 0 8 is all about stress. And the title of that one is help I’m stressed to the max and I can’t stop eating. So join me for both of those podcasts coming up soon. Be sure to schedule your free consult. If you’re interested in the spring anchor program, which will be starting soon, you can look in the show notes for the link to that calendar to schedule a free consult. And also just a little bit of time left for the free book offer either the free hard copy of my book, the food addiction, recovery workbook, or a free copy of the ebook digital copy. And there’s a shipping and or handling charge. I paid for the book you pay for shipping or handling. So I hope you’ll take advantage of this before we end that promotion. I look forward to talking with you next week. This is Dr. Carolyn signing off. Thanks for listening.