Weigh This Instead!

Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

All Shapes and Sizes; “I Jiggle Therefore I Am”

I love this video!!! A colleague of mine, who’s currently teaching in Great Britain, sent me the link. She says this campaign, which celebrates active women of all shapes and sizes, is getting lots of positive attention in the UK. (The only criticism has been that the video does not show enough active older women.) It was produced by Sport England; an organization committed to helping people and communities across the UK create sporting habits for life.

What do you think?

 

When Did Food Become So Scary?

10 grams--OK in moderation

Inspiration and TRUST

Inspiration and trustEvery January I choose ONE WORD I wish to use as inspiration; a guiding goal (an emotional handrail) for my upcoming year.

In years past, I have chosen the words BALANCE, MINDFULNESS, CHOICE, CALM. I incorporate my chosen word into my everyday routines; be it in a brief meditation each day in the shower, or saying the word as I take a deep breath sometime during a stressful day.

Sometimes, I make the word part of my daily intentions when I set them in the morning (Membership Tool #8- PENSO Intentions).

Sometimes, I write the word at the top of my week’s Willingness List (Membership Tool #4, Mindful Living vs. Mindless Eating). Yes, I still make a Willingness List every Sunday. I find it grounds me and helps me stay mindful of the week I wish to create. And my word is always on my Self-Care List (Membership Tool # 27; A New Kind of Self-Care List). I do practice what I teach :-)!

This year I have considered several different words; OPENNESS, ENERGY, FITNESS, OPTIMISM, FAITH. Then, as it always does, the best word for me becomes clear. This year, my word is TRUST.

TRUST in myself; that I’ll consistently and simply do what it takes so I “get to” live my best life possible (Membership Tool #23, “I Get to…”). And trust that when I slip, I’ll recommit and skip those lifelong, well-practiced judgments or recriminations that used to keep the relapses going for weeks, months, even years…

I want to trust that I will be more emotionally vulnerable this year; take more emotional risks. As Brene Brown said in her now famous TED Talk, to live more “whole heartedly”…

I want to reveal more of myself and my recovery to my readers and clients, appropriately. I’ve noticed when I do so, people are willing to take more risks in their own work. I trust that that’s why I’m here…to share and help others who have had emotional eating and binge eating struggles similar to my own. I will trust that those people who are meant to work with me will choose to do so…I don’t have to “sell”, instead, I’ll share all I know, professionally …along with my personal experience and insight as a person recovering from binge eating…

I want to trust that the economy is going to be OK and that, with my financial planner, I can protect my retirement fund. Then, I can relax a bit about how hard I think I have to work.

I will trust that I will exercise regularly and choose healthy foods (most of the timesmile, but not all of the time).  All or nothing doesn’t work for me!

TRUST…that’s my word for 2015…feels right!

What’s you word for 2015? Share it with us in the Comments Section below…

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I’m Ellen Shuman, an experienced Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction, and I trust that those who are ready for my help will find me. I’m the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Go Out Without Makeup?

Ellen ShumanIn the car for three and a half hours driving home from Christmas festivities, I heard Colbie Caillat’s song “Try”, twice. As I listened, it brought to mind her music video—where she and all these women take off their makeup, on camera. It always makes me cry.

Alone in the car, I had some time to think about that..

Go out without makeup, without covering up the dark circles under my eyes…and the occasional chin blemish I still get?  (Tina Fey calls it “Ch’acne”–short for Chin Acne–hearing it’s so normal that Tina Fey gave it a nickname made me feel so much better!)

I’m one of those people who hasn’t left her house in decades without under eye concealer and face makeup. I couldn’t find one single picture of me without makeup (don’t know how to get a selfie from my phone to this website,or I would have posted one here, I swear!)

Wow! On the drive home I realized that, while I’ve done a lot of work toward body acceptance, apparently I left my face out of that picture. Why is that?  Could that be the direct result of all those years of being told, “You have such a pretty face, if you’d only lose some weight…”? So, somewhere along the way did I decide the “face” had to be “prepared” and maximized to compensate for perceived body deficits? Or is it just pure vanity… or fear…getting worse as I age and lose any/all currency related to youth and appearance?

In 2014, I take some credit for not wearing eye shadow and mascara when I’ve run errands. And I only did my eyes twice during Christmas week. And, funny, nothing bad happened :-). Next, I think I’ll experiment with no facial foundation. How scary could that be???

Thank you, Colbie Cailatt. I love your video and I am going to take your advice and Try, Try, Try…

Anybody else have thoughts or issues about going out without makeup? Would love to read your comments…share below…

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I’m Ellen Shuman and I am a work in progress, just like everyone else I know! I am also a pioneer in the field of binge eating disorder treatment; a Coach who specializes in helping people overcome binge eating, binge eating disorder, emotional eating, compulsive eating, and food addiction. I founded A Weigh Out  Life Coaching & Members’ Circle, and Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present). I am a Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and I started the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”. Questions? Get in touch with me, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Family Dysfunction; The App

Christmas Family Dysfunction

Wishing you and yours a very HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON (with or without immediate family dysfunction nearby :-) !

Warmly,

Ellen

Body Shame; Give it Back!

Body ShameI cried as I watched the video posted below…for all the times in my life when I felt body shame; because I had decided one part of my body or another was not thin enough, not sexy enough, my breasts not perky enough, upper arms too fat for sleeveless shirts and dresses, my legs not shapely enough for shorts, too tall, hips and thighs too wide, stomach too protruding, posture not good enough, hair not straight or shiny enough, nose too big (plastic surgery on that one), ankles too thick, toes ugly in sandals, head too small on my large body and neck not long enough to wear pretty scarves, face too long, ears too big, teeth not white enough or perfectly straight.

You get the picture? I decided my “imperfect parts” made me less than everyone else, unacceptable in a thin-obsessed word, unloveable…all of which, ironically, drove me to more emotional eating.

But it wasn’t the whole picture!  I was taking my body, one disembodied part at a time, and vilifying it. Body dissatisfaction; body shame was a habit that started for me as I watched my mother do the same. Body shame is learned.  It grew to be a habit that distracted me from my life and from more interesting gifts and pursuits on which I could have been focused.

Today I know I am so much more interesting and am of much greater value than even the sum of my individual parts and my outward appearance…and so are you!

I hope you’ll watch this video and share what it evokes in you?

What did you feel as you watched? Leave a comment below…

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I, Ellen Shuman, am in recovery from Body Shame! I’m also a Coach who specializes in helping people overcome negative body image, emotional eating and binge eating. I am the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size“. Have a question or need help. Please get in touch…ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Weight Loss Supplements; The Ugly Truth

Weight loss supplements will helpEver been tempted to buy “Magic” or “Miraculous” dietary Weight Loss Supplements? I have to admit I’ve been guilty of that in years past.

I don’t care how much recovery one has from binge eating and/or dieting disorders, of course some of us are still vulnerable to allegedly respectable doctors who claim weight loss could be “easy”. (You know who you are, Dr. Oz!)

I’m all about size acceptance! I’m a card-carrying member of the “Health at Every Size” paradigm. I believe healthy bodies come in all shapes and  sizes. I have no judgment about anyone’s size, including my own!!! Still, I admit it. If weight loss were easy and safe; didn’t require I sell my soul, rearrange my organs, or harm my health to accomplish it, I’d be game. I know very few people of size who wouldn’t. (Sometimes, saying that feels like a betrayal of the size-acceptance movement. It’s not! It’s just honest and based on wanting a body that is as physically comfortable to live in as possible and has as few physical limitations as possible in  a world that’s not designed to be plus-size friendly.)

Even a couple of  years ago, when Dr. Oz said Raspberry Ketones were the miracle we had all been waiting for, I had a momentary lapse in sanity and looked those up on the internet. (Then I found my sanity, again, and stopped myself before I bought a single supplement!)

I don’t have Cable TV, so I’ve never seen HBO’s late night talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. But after watching this commentary about dietary weight loss supplements; a challenge to the nonsense we’re fed by popular TV shows, John Oliver has a new fan; ME! In this brilliant segment, which aired this past spring, we hear the financial and political truths behind why no one protects us from the unrelenting hawking and false claims about weight loss supplements. (Salty Language Warning!)

 

What do you think and feel when you hear about the latest diet pills or weight loss supplement claims?  Do you get hooked; feel tempted? Share you thoughts with us by leaving a comment…

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As a tireless advocate of truth in advertising and sanity, I, Ellen Shuman, work with people who struggle with emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. I am the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”. Need help, get in touch, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

 

We’re Not Alone in Our Eating Struggles!

Eating StrugglesI know we sometimes think we’re all alone in our eating struggles; we see ourselves as emotionally or binge eating challenged. We think, “It would be so nice to be able to just sit down and enjoy food rather than always fearing we’re one bite away from feeling out-of-control”.

But I don’t think we’re alone out there. A friend of mine just sent me this amusing (and so true) video about everyone’s food issues or preferences these days. For some it’s no dairy, or no gluten, low sodium or low carb. Some have a shell fish or nut allergy. Some avoid foods that lead to bloat or are fermented, not to mention foods or drinks that might clash with medications.  (Vegans got thown into the song in the video below. Please don’t take offense).

Watching this video got me thinking. I don’t remember these issues being discussed over holiday dinners when I was in my 20’s or 30s. Do we really know that much more about food and it’s impact on our bodies today than we did say 20 years ago? Or did people eat and then suffer in silence?  Is there something in the food and/or environment that’s making us so much more food sensitive these days? Not all food is ‘engneered’ to make us eat more, so what’s up?

As I suggest to my clients who are struggling with turning to food for comfort or emotional relief, is their focus on food, their eating struggles, a distraction from other life or relationship struggles that really feel out of their control to change? I think it’s a question worth asking.

In the meantime, take heart in the fact that you are certainly not alone in your eating struggles…enjoy!

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I’m Ellen Shuman and I’m all about having a sane relationship with food and our bodies. I’m also an experienced Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction, Founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Tolerating Uncertainty Without Using Food to Cope

Using emotional eating, food to copeUsually, by the time people come to me asking for help to stop emotional eating, they have some awareness that using food to cope has become a habit.

Being food-focused has become a coping strategy they use whenever they want to avoid something else; an uncomfortable thought or feeling, a difficult situation, even a task they’d rather put off doing.

Food thoughts work (don’t I know it)! Food thoughts (and then eating) can effectively distract us from anything uncomfortable; from anything we’d rather not feel or tolerate…at least for a brief time.

Recently, I was coaching a client who was in the throws of a difficult divorce; child custody and financial arrangements still to be worked out (I’m sharing this with her permission). And, despite the fact that her gut told her a job she’d been offered was not a good fit (she feared she did not have the management skills or experience needed and she knew the company was in chaos), she accepted the position anyway because the salary was amazing. About six weeks into a 90 day probationary period, she knew she had made a big mistake and she resigned.

In a coaching session with me, she shared that she couldn’t stop thinking about how horrible that experience had been; the dysfunction at that company, how angry she was at the boss she felt set her up to fail. Over and over again, in her head, she was replaying her experinece on the job…along with thoughts about old and current conflicts with her soon to be ex-husband…

Soon, to shut down all of those thoughts and feelings; the intensity and the ‘noise’, she was binge eating again.

Then, she had an “aha” moment. She got it! Here’s what she wrote in prep for our next session.

“Something you said during our last session very much resonated with me – when I’m ruminating about something, I need to decide whether there is an action that needs to be taken (and then plan what that action is) or if I’m just dwelling and there’s nothing further to be done (and I need to let it go).

Regarding my former job, it’s unproductive ruminating. So now I’ve been redirecting myself to let it go, and trying to focus on the life that I want to create, instead. With my soon to be ex-husband, some of it has been unproductive dwelling, and some of it is an action item (I discussed the action items with my attorney yesterday).

When I’m thinking about past events, it’s been really helpful for me to ask myself, ‘is there an action item here?’, then redirecting my energy and focus.”

This is great example of what I mean when I speak about developing “emotional regulation skills”, even in light of uncertain times. Being ‘good’ at managing emotions does not mean you won’t have strong emotions. That’s a myth!

I know life is full of uncertainty and strong emotions. “Emotional Regulation” means that when strong feelings hit, instead of ignorning or stuffing them, you observe and experience those emotions…without judging them…or trying to inhibit them…without making them bigger by seeing them through the lens of past experiences…and without borrowing trouble from what might or might not happen in the future.

If you can experience feelings, in the moment, you can come to trust that feelings are full of great information…and are survive-able. Instead of blocking feelings with food thoughts, you can use thoughts and feelings (especially the uncomfortable ones) to inform you. Then, you can address them head on; coming to fully trust that you can and will choose to do with them whatever you need to do (including just honoring them as feelings that will pass…).

With practice, I’ve come to tolerate feeling vulnerable; feeling my feelings, mindfully deciding what those feelings are telling me, and then I make a plan for what I want to do next.

I find it useful to think of it this way. Feelings are just information I can use to create the life I say I want. It took me some time, and skill building, and practice to get there, but today I trust that I can handle any feelings that come my way…

What’s the alternative… contining old patterns; still using food to cope? The habit of stuffing feelings down with food just delayed the work I needed to do to live a more peaceful, productive, happy life…

How about you? Are you still using food to cope? Please share a comment–tell us about your experience. What do you think makes tolerating feelings rather than using food so hard? What gets in your way of change?

(BIG topic to cover in a blog post! If you’d like to learn more about emotional regulation skills, be sure to join me for my free phone seminar about overcoming emotional and binge eating.)

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I’m Ellen Shuman, a Coach who has been helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction for more than 20 years. I started A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present). I’m also Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012). I’ve been there, done that. If I can be of assistance to you, please get in touch, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Feeling Empty? Halloween Humor

Eating on Halloween

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