Weigh This Instead!

Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Weight Bias; Are Doctors Driving Patient’s Shame about Seeking Medical Care?

Weight Bias in the Doctor's OfficeHave you ever delayed or avoided getting medical care because of weight bias or because you felt shame about your body? Were you afraid the doctors or nurses at the doctor’s office might judge you based on what you weighed or whether you’d lost or gained weight since your last visit?

Unfortunately, your concerns may in fact have been valid.

I recently co-authored a review article published in a special issue of the Journal of Obesity in which we evaluated “…the Evidence for Prioritizing Well-Being over Weight Loss”. While doing my research, I read some disturbing but not surprising research about weight stigma in healthcare, reported by the Yale Rudd Center (Now located at UCONN).

When it comes to Weight Bias and Weight Stigma, here’s what their studies found…

• 69% of participants reported that they had experienced weight bias by a doctor
• Over half of participants reported bias from a doctor on multiple occasions
• 46% reported bias from nurses
• 37% reported bias from dietitians
• 21% reported bias from health professionals

(Source: Puhl RM, Brownell KD. Confronting and Coping with Weight Stigma: An Investigation of Overweight and Obese Adults. Obesity.2006;14(10):1802-1815.)

Experiencing weight bias in health care settings may lead patients to:

a. Feel discouraged from making positive lifestyle changes.
b. Avoid seeking routine or preventive care.
c. Engage in unhealthy behaviors in response to stigma.
d. Experience negative psychological consequences.

According to the Rudd Center’s research, there is some hope. Weight bias can be reduced and the quality of medical care can be enhanced when healthcare providers become aware of personal biases and adopt effective and sensitive strategies to communicate with patients of higher weight.

(Sources: Puhl, Heuer, 2010, Puhl, Heuer, 2009, Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity Center’s Course, Weight Bias in Clinical Settings: Improving Health Care Delivery for Obese Patients, and Puhl RM, Heuer CA. Obesity stigma: Important considerations for public health. Am J Public Health. 2010;100(6):1019-1028, and Puhl RM, Heuer CA. The stigma of obesity: A review and update. Obesity. 2009;17(5):941-964.)

Have you ever experienced weight prejudice or stigma in a health care setting? If willing, please tell us about it in the comments section below. You’re certainly not alone!

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My name is Ellen Shuman and I am a staunch advocate of well-being over weight! I am 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 am the founder of A Weigh Out  Life Coaching & Online Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), 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”. To learn more, please get in touch, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Mindfulness and Gratitude; A Video Gift

Mindfulness and gratitudeI spend the majority of my days teaching emotional management and mindfulness skills…to people who wish to stop using “food thoughts” to go mindless and numb. And, to support my own recovery from living life on autopilot; disconnected from my own thoughts and feelings, I write a brief gratitude list every day. So, I tend to think of myself as pretty mindful.

Then, Diane, one of my clients, sent me this video. She learned about it from a friend who is battling cancer. I watched…I cried…and I realized I’m still on autopilot much of the time…and that it is within my power to change my degree of mindfulness.

With gratitude (thank you Diane!), I now pass this on to you. It’s a lovely six minute film by Louie Schwartzberg that I hope will impact how you, too, define and create “a good day”.

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I’m Ellen Shuman, a mindful human in process! I’m also a pioneer in the field of binge eating disorder recovery; 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 also served as President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association, 2011/2012, and Co-Founder  the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Emotional Eating Recovery; Gradual, Not Perfect!

emotinal eating recovery challenged when I have so much to do“This morning, I’m feeling so overwhelmed with all I have to do at home, for my job, and the kids! But, on the way to make this call for our session, I’m getting tissues not cookies. I guess that’s what you’d call progress :-).”    ~ A quote from one of my A Weigh Out Coaching Clients

She’s right! Anytime one of my people connects with and expresses a feeling, instead of avoiding the feeling by shifting attention to food, I’m ready to celebrate! YES! That is how we define progress; emotional eating recovery happens one choice at a time…

And recovery from emotional eating or binge eating disorder does not mean you won’t still have STRONG FEELINGS. I think that’s one of the biggest myths associated with recovery from disordered eating. Feelings still happen and sometimes they hit big. What changes in recovery is one’s ability to tolerate and effectively express big feelings, small feelings, any intensity of feeling; boredom, loneliness, anger, frustration, overwhelm, etc., without using a coping behavior that’s counter to what we feel is healthy for us (like emotional or binge eating).

In truth, recovery is a gradual thing. Which is often difficult for people to tolerate, especially the case for those of us who have had a history of judging “success” through the all-or-nothing lens of a diet or “abstinence”. We were “on” or “off”. How many time did I hear myself say, “I’ve been good today”, or, “I’ve been bad today”, which translated into “I’m good” or “I’m bad”.

And, when I labeled myself as “bad”, I had a reason to head right back to the cookies! True recovery is a less judgmental, gentler experience…and such a relief!

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I’m Ellen Shuman, a Coach who has been specializing in emotional eating recovery since 1993. 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, Learn more; join me for my FREE Phone Seminar. Or call me for a free coaching assessment, 513-321-4242.

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Healthy Super Bowl Sunday Foods ( humor)

Healthier Super Bowl Sunday Foods

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.

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