Many of the people I work with – whether it be with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, food addiction or emotional eating – see their bodies as separate from their lives (and never the twain shall meet). Like the separation of church and state. They don’t realize that negative body image is often directly related to what’s happening in their lives or what has happened in their lives.
In this episode, you will learn:
1. Why I say “fat is not a feeling.”
2. Why the size of your body is not the REAL problem.
3. Why fixing your body won’t fix your life.
STUDY GUIDE : HOMEWORK
1. List situations in your life that are stressful. Some examples might include:
– dissatisfaction at work
– relationship issues (relationship with parents, siblings, partner / spouse, friends)
– parenting concerns and fears
– other – add in any other stressful situations in your life right now
2. For each of these situations, make a list of behaviors you have around food that you are recognizing are a response to these life stressors. For example: I was laid off from work and have been worried about finding another job. Looking back, I’ve noticed that I’ve been eating lots of junk food “because it’s cheaper” but really because of wanting to be comforted.
3. List 1 statement (affirmation) you can say to yourself the next time you “feel fat.” For example: I can ask myself “what are you really feeling?” or I can remind myself that I can use another skill to deal with stress rather than food or body hatred.
Schedule free Anchor Program consult: https://findingyouranchor.as.me/consult
Here is the link to my #TEDxPleasantGrove talk on intergenerational trauma: https://youtu.be/ljdFLCc3RtM
Hi everyone Dr. Carolyn here today and my topic is I feel fat. Like many people I’ve said that about myself. I know that many of the people that I work with, whether they have anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, food addiction, or emotional eating habits, some point in their lives and often on multiple occasions said, “I feel fat”. And many, this can stemfrom something where we see our bodies as separate from our lives and never the twain shall meet kind of like the way it should be separation of church and state. So there may not be when they think about it, looking in the mirror and saying, I feel fat. That’s over here and then their lives are over here. That’s why I say never the twain shall meet. But point of fact, most people don’t realize that what they feel about their body is often directly related to what’s happening in their lives or what has happened in the past.
So when you say, I feel fat today, if you’re struggling with food and body image issues, the statement above maybe something that you just take for granted is it’s like a fat when it really is not. So for many people saying, I feel fat is them expressing a feeling that just kind of comes out of the blue and hits them. Smack in the face. I feel fat and of course comes along with a lot of distress, you know, like I need to do something what’s wrong with me. Why can’t I fix it? Why can’t my body be like I want it to be et cetera, et cetera. And often it’s seen as being related to that number on the scale or whether it comes about whether or not you can fit into your skinny jeans, for example. But honestly, fat really is not a feeling. So, if that is not a feeling, then what does it mean when you’re having a bad body image day or feeling fat? Well, to answer that question, it’s really important to look deeper, to look not at your body but at your life. When you look deeper, you may find that you’re stressed about work or worried about a relationship issue, or feeling bad about a breakup or an event or an argument with your boss, feeling worried about finances during these, you know, troubling and unsettling times. So, or it may just be feelings of sadness, overwhelm or anger, but it is these emotions or feelings along with the beliefs that usually accompany them that make you put all of that onto your body.
So when I talk about the beliefs, I’m talking about something we’ve talked about in previous videos and that’s, you know, the belief that I’m not good, good enough, or I’m not worthy or I’m not lovable, unless I look a certain way or am a certain size. And so those then are put onto the body and they really don’t belong on the body instead of feeling your feelings you may realize when you take that deeper look. That, what that, what feeling fat means is that it’s a way of distracting your mind from all those emotions that you don’t want to feel or even acknowledged. Right? So it’s important to take your mind off of your body and put your mind on your feelings of taking your time, mind off of your body. So instead of getting lost in the mirror and the thoughts about feeling fat, you know, it’s we need to look to that deeper level. It’s fine to distract yourself from feelings now and then with food and so on. But for many people, this distraction has become a way of life. And that’s what leads to binge-eating compulsory eating, emotional eating, and food addiction.
What if every time you feel fat? You were to ask yourself, what am I really feeling? Feeling fat just keeps you stuck in the diet mentality because that’s the thing. That’s the next thing you think about which bad diet I’m going to jump on. So when you continue to focus your attention on what’s wrong with my body, there’s no no way for you to actually solve the problems in your life that are causing you to feel sad or angry or overwhelmed. You may think that losing weight or fixing your body will make you feel better. I hear that all the time. If I could just lose 10 pounds, everything would be better. However, if you do feel better, this is only temporary. Just think back to all the times where you have lost weight and your life has still been problematic. So fixing your body will not fix your life. Fixing your body will not fix your life. Losing weight or fixing your body won’t fix the problems you have at work. It won’t help you change those negative core beliefs about worthlessness or unlovability and often come from childhood adversity. Losing weight won’t make an abusive spouse, changed their behavior, nor will it guarantee that no one will leave you. So to solve the problems in your life, you have to know what the problem is and the problem is not your body. Your body is the result of the problem, not the cause of the problem, the cause of the things you don’t like about your body or a result of all the emotions that you’ve been pushing down with food and with behaviors such as binge eating or obsessing about food or body dissatisfaction. So when you push down those feelings, when you use behaviors to blunt your emotions, you actually keep yourself from dealing with those emotions and situations in your life. When you use food to deal with your problems, it will have an effect on your body. Absolutely. But fixing your body, won’t solve your problems. It’s important that you first become aware of what problems you are trying to fix by using food and body dissatisfaction. So I invite you to explore the homework that I’m going to give you now, and that will take you a little deeper into this problem. So you’re not stuck on the superficial level of, I feel fat and I’ve got to fix my body.
So the first thing is list situations in your life that are stressful. So here’s some examples, maybe it’s loneliness, dissatisfaction at work, perhaps it’s relationship issues could be a relationship with a spouse or partner, their parents, children, friends, coworkers. What about parenting concerns and fears, financial issues may be a big stressor for you right now. And then there could be lots of other stressors. So make a list at first step to making a change is becoming aware. Right?
And then the second thing to do is for each of these situations make a list of behaviors you have around food that you’re recognizing now, now are actually a response to these stressors or these emotions. For example, you might recognize it. You were laid off from work and you I’ve been worried about finding another job or money and then you think about it. Take that a little deeper and realize you’ve been eating a lot more junk food, but you justified it to yourself by saying, well, it’s a lot cheaper. I’m going to save money. That’s all I can afford. When in point of fact, you’re really using the junk food for comfort. Okay. So that’s what it looks like to take this. I feel fat, a little deeper.
And then finally, number three in the homework. List one statement, like an affirmation that you can say to yourself the next time you feel fat. For example, you can say, you can ask yourself, what are you really feeling? Or you can remind yourself that you can use other skills besides food or body hatred to deal with your stress. So I hope that’s been helpful for you. And I hope that you use the homework to help you move to a deeper level on this, on your relationship with food and your body.
And, you know, if you’ve been looking for a way out of the constant body dissatisfaction and that trap of trying to whip your body into shape as a way to fix your life, then set up a free consult. Look in the show notes below and just click on that and set up a free consult to discuss your own personal food and body image issues and how the Anchor Program might be helpful for you.
That’s the end of the video today. I want to remind you please, to subscribe to my channel so that you can be notified right away of upcoming events. The next video that you’ll see is actually going to be a very unique one is the first time I’ve done this, but it’s an interview with a graduate from the anchor program. And she’s going to talk about her journey to making peace with food and her body and how it’s looked. And some of the things that have surprised her about that journey. And she’ll talk about her experience of being in the anchor program. So be sure and again, subscribe to my channel and that way, as soon as that interview is posted, you’ll get a notification of it. Thank you so much.