Weigh This Instead!

Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Embrace; A New Documentary About Body Diversity

I’m hearing really good things about this new documentary, EMBRACE. Have you seen it? God knows we need more opportunities to spark discussion about body image; embracing body diversity !

In her own words, here’s what creator Taryn Brumfitt says about her film.

“EMBRACE is a social impact documentary that explores the issue of body image. The project has been supported by nearly 9000 Kickstarter pledgers who responded to a fundraising trailer I released in 2014, which has now had over 25 million internet views.

The inspiration for EMBRACE came about after I posted an unconventional before-and-after image on the internet in 2013 that sparked an international media frenzy. The image, which embraces body diversity, was seen by over 100 million people worldwide and led to hundreds of interviews and articles. But I soon realized how restrictive 4-minute TV interviews, 800 word articles and 140 characters on Twitter can be. This issue needed a louder voice on a bigger platform, so the idea of creating the documentary EMBRACE was born.” – Embrace Director Taryn Brumfitt

 

To find out where to see the documentary, or how to host a screening, click here.

I Eat as a Reward; My Brain Tells Me I Have To…

Brownies I eat as a reward“I eat to zone out. I eat for the pleasure it gives. I eat as a reward for working so hard.”

Sound familiar? That’s what one of our newest Members just wrote about in our Support Circle. I so understand. I used to eat for the same reasons!

I used to think I lacked “willpower”. But how could I be so hyper vigilant in other areas of my life and still fail at every single attempt to fix my emotional eating? I ended up thinking I must be self sabotaging. Why else would I keep doing this; eat as a reward, eat to disconnect, eat to self-soothe…and hate myself for continuing to do so?

Something just didn’t feel right. Something was missing from my understanding of this!

No one yet knew what neuroscience was about to tell us. The brain held the secrets to why I felt out-of-control with food.

My life experiences, to date, had programmed my brain to FEEL I had no choice BUT to turn to food when the emotional intensity went up. Some situation, or exchange, or time of day would trigger me, often out of my conscious awareness, and I’d get this automatic FIGHT – FLIGHT – FREEZE feeling. The EMOTIONAL – ACTION SYSTEM that resides in my BOTTOM – PRIMITIVE BRAIN suddenly was telling me I had absolutely NO CHOICE BUT TO EAT and I believed it.

Over the years, the bottom part of my brain had become programmed; those programmed, well-traveled neural pathways in my bottom brain told me “I MUST EAT NOW or I WON’T SURVIVE”. My bottom brain was running the show. But it doesn’t have to…

Today, I know how to stop those old programs from running my life. I know… and more importantly no longer FEEL I have to turn to food to survive the uncomfortable moments of my life. I don’t have to eat as a reward. I have learned how to stop those false feelings. I have learned how to step back and get my TOP BRAIN – EXECUTIVE FUNCTION – PREFRONTAL CORTEX to run the show.

I am no longer driven by bottom brain, by that fight- flight- freeze feeling.

Now that we know how to change brain programming; how to make new neural pathways in the brain (that’s called neuroplasticity), we understand how to use our brains to reduce the habit of emotional eating…it’s very exciting!

Our brains are amazing…I’ll be talking more and more about this in future posts…

Want to learn more?  Join me for one of my live Sunday classes…

 

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I am Ellen Shuman, a pioneer in the field of binge eating disorder treatment; a brain-based 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 & Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present). I was also a founding board member and a Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), Contact me, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Love Food But Had It with Being an Emotional Eater?

Love Food PodcastWho doesn’t love food?  But have you ever had food talk or write back to you?

That’s the premise behind Julie Duffy Dillon’s Podcast, “Love, Food” ! A mutual colleague recently introduced me to Julie. It’s so exciting when you find someone else who truly “gets it”! That’s why I said yes, immediately, when Julie asked me to respond to one of her listener’s letters.

This listener, like so many of us, has had a long history of struggling with binge eating and emotional eating. Sure, most people enjoy eating and love food but, as any compulsive overeater knows, this problem goes way beyond what we do when we merely love food.

If you’d like to listen to the full recording of Julie’s and my advice to this person, CLICK HERE. Once on the page, scroll down past the Key Points and Show Notes and you’ll see the audio player.

I’m also pleased to announce that Julie will be my guest in the A Weigh Out Members’ Circle. A brand new TeleSeminar with Julie and I will be posted on December 15th, 2016, on my TeleSeminar Page . Wearing her hat as a “Food Peace Promoter”, Julie will help us define, “What is Normal Eating?”, and we’ll touch on many topics relatable to anyone who struggles with emotional overeating, including some great new information about managing PCOS and Binge Eating.

After listening, let us know if you have any other questions! Julie has agreed to do more with us…so, stay tuned. Much more to come…

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I am Ellen Shuman, 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 & Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present). I was also a founding board member and a 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.

Happy Halloween Laughs

I love Halloween and I love dogs! Put the two together and I’m giddy. So forgive the deviation from topic but this just made me smile from ear to ear. Oh, what our dogs tolerate!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Too Thin Cartoon People?; Secret Life of Pets

Too Thin Cartoon Character

Can a cartoon character be too thin? A friend who loves her cat as much as I love my dog went with me to see “The Secret Life of Pets”. Just a few seconds into the movie, she gasped, turned to me and said, “Would you like to leave now?”

She and I both had an immediate reaction to the stick thin, TOO THIN body of “Katie”, owner of “Max”, the dog.  Those red sticks you see in this picture are her legs. For the full effect, to see why we gasped, play the video below. Then freeze it 12 seconds in.

 

Katie appears to be a totally cool young working woman with her own apartment in Manhattan and a great dog; a real role model for millions of impressionable young girls and young boys who will see this movie (not to mention the middle-aged pet enthusiasts like my friend and me). During the story-boarding, animation, and market-testing phases of this movie project didn’t anyone stop and say, “Is there a reason why we’re making this character so thin some people might think she has anorexia? Is this a good idea for a kids movie?” It’s not like there was a subplot coming where the dogs help Katie overcome an eating disorder.

In the past couple of years France, Israel, Spain, and Italy have passed laws cracking down on the use of too thin, unhealthy looking models. Some of the laws require that very skinny models have a doctor’s notes before they are allowed to work.

Lawmakers in California proposed similar legislation earlier this year but I haven’t been able to find news about whether it did or did not pass. I read this quote on The Today Show website, “California Assemblyman Marc Levine, the Marin County Democrat who introduced the bill, says studies show that up to 40 percent of fashion models have eating disorders and as many as 50 percent of girls in 5th to 12th grade think that they’re not thin enough because of the images that they see in magazines.”

Can’t common sense rule? Or do we have to pass legislation banning too thin cartoon characters in movies for kids?

The weekend the movie was released, I read several reviews. Not a single one I read made a reference to Katie’s extreme thinness.

Check out the movie trailer above, 12 seconds in. See what you think. (At least the dogs and cats are shown in all shapes and sizes, as is acceptable for cats and dogs in real life!)

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I’m Ellen Shuman and I believe we all feel impact from what we see on TV and in the movies, whether we acknowledge it or not. I’m a Coach who specialize in helping people achieve recovery from binge eating, binge eating disorder, and emotional eating. I am the founder of A Weigh Out Life Coaching & 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”. Interested in working with me on your recovery? Please get in touch, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

New Weight Loss Surgery

new weight loss surgeryI saw a report on the 6 o’clock news last week about a new weight loss surgery procedure, touted as” less invasive”(really???). This surgical procedure would involve a tube placed directly into the stomach. That tube will come out from the stomach through a port to the outside of the body. Then, right after eating, the person simply empties the contents of their stomach and throws away the predigested food they just ate….so no weight gain.

Doesn’t that sound like Bulimia; just with a new purging method…this one medically sanctioned???

As I understand more and more about why people overeat; emotionally eat, binge eat, feel addicted to food, I am more and more disheartened by the main stream medical community’s lack of understanding, prejudice, and suggested interventions.

Doctors don’t know what to do with people who don’t or can’t comply with repeated recommendations to lose weight. It’s no secret that weight stigma is alive and well in the medical profession (I have co-authored reviews of that literature)…and I know coming up with THE new weight loss surgery is a BIG money-maker for surgeons and hospitals…but what happened to “First, Do No Harm”?

I fully understand the desperation that would make any weight loss surgery seem like a good option to someone who feels out-of-control-with-food and/or with life. I have to admit, even after all these years of being a recovering binge eater, on the surface the idea that I could eat everything in sight, when desired, and not pay for it with weight gain, has its appeal. But then I remind myself that my binge eating was not about food. It was about going numb…and no amount of weight loss was going to fix that. I know that to be my truth because I lost a lot of weight, many times, and I still felt like I couldn’t tolerate being in my own skin. Of course emotional eating and the weight came back, with a vengeance!  Back then, turning to food was the only tool I had to self-soothe. Eating was about comfort and escape, not about food! Understanding that was critical to my recovery!

As I have studied and come to understand the latest neuroscience breakthroughs, and have incorporating those into my work with my clients and into my own recovery from binge eating, I am truly convinced that rearranging one’s organs through weight loss surgery is not the way to fix compulsive overeating, long term. I doubt there will ever be a way to surgically rearrange body parts that will stop that fight, flight, need-to-escape-the-moment-and-go-numb-feeling that takes over right before a binge.

Today, I know that interventions must include how to use our “conscious mind” to change our conditioned brain responses to stress, boredom, anger, fear, loneliness, hurt, etc. The exciting news is that we’re finally learning more and more about how to effectively do this! (Neuroscience looks at the structure and function of the nervous system and brain as they relate to behavior and learning. For more about that, you’re welcome to sign up for my Free Phone Seminar.  I’ll share with you what we’re learning about brain interventions and techniques as they relate to overcoming emotional eating.)

I’ve been told by many people that they’ve felt pressured by their physicians to consider weight loss surgery; to the degree where the patients stopped seeing those doctors. The patient knew surgery was not going to fix what was driving their emotional eating issues, said they shared that with the doctor but the patients felt their doctors didn’t seem to understand what they were trying to explain or didn’t seem to care. They just kept pushing surgery as the best option.

Medical industry insiders have told me that surgical weight loss interventions were originally designed for those who were at great and eminent risk of dying without it vs the way it is sold today. So, it’s critical that we ask ourselves when and why did weight loss surgery, which has little to no data suggesting people keep off the weight long term, become the go-to strategy for improved health (if you can find that data, please let me know)?

($$$$$$$$$$$) Just saying…

 

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I am Ellen Shuman, 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 & Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present). I was also a founding board member and a 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”. Want to know more? Get in touch, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Recovery from Binge Eating

It has been a whRecovery from Binge Eatingile since I’ve had a reason to sit down and write about my own recovery from Binge Eating Disorder; from soup to nuts. I talk about it in bits and pieces all day long; when appropriate with the clients I coach….to illustrate how to use the skills and tools I teach. But that’s not my WHOLE story.

So, about a month ago, when I was asked by the publisher of the Gurze/Salucore Eating Disorders Resource Catalogue to write an Eating Disorders Booksarticle about my recovery from binge eating, for their June ENewsletter, I immediately thought, “Sure, I can do that.” (They gave the same assignment to one person in recovery from Anorexia and one in recovery from Bulimia.)

Then, the more I thought about the assignment I’d accepted, the more time I put into conceptualizing my story, the more anxious I felt. I wasn’t nervous about the sharing part. It was the title they gave me that threw me; “Three Essential Steps in my Recovery from Binge Eating Disorder”.  It was a great title but I had never thought about my own recovery in those terms.

If I had to narrow them down, what were those three critical shifts? I wrote and rewrote until it became clear.

The Three Biggest Milestone in My Recovery from Binge Eating Disorder

 

Critical Insight #1: I realized I shifted my attention to “food-thoughts” whenever I didn’t want to think, feel, or do something else.

Critical Insight #2: If I was going to give up bingeing as my primary way to self-soothe, I needed new emotional regulation tools.

Critical Insight #3: “I am NOT my thoughts and I do not have to be driven them!”

To read the whole article, click here. I hope you’ll find my experience useful as you pursue your own recovery from binge eating or emotional eating. If you’re interesting in learning more about the Recovery Skills and Tools I teach, please join me for one of my Free Phone Seminars.

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I’m Ellen Shuman and I’m a Coach who specialize in helping people achieve recovery from binge eating, binge eating disorder, and emotional eating. I am the founder of A Weigh Out Life Coaching & 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”. Interested in working with me on your recovery? Please get in touch, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Biggest Losers Regain–Plus Consequences!

May 12th, 2016 Update

Be sure to read this very sane, well researched article/opinion piece that was published in the New York Times as a follow up to all the crazy attention that Biggest Loser article received, “Why You Can’t Lose Weight on a Diet; The problem isn’t willpower. It’s neuroscience. You can’t — and shouldn’t — fight back”.   (See info about original article below.)

 

Have you read the New York Times article, “After ‘The Biggest Loser’, Their Bodies Fought to Regain the Weight“?

Biggest Losers regain the weight they lost (lost quickly). Surprising? No! We have known for decades that rapid weight loss signals to the body that there’s a famine afoot; causing one’s metabolism to slow down and signaling the body’s hunger hormones to surge.

Disheartening? Sure. But it certainly explains why maintaining weight loss is so hard….for all of us…not just for Biggest Losers.

If you choose to read the whole New York Times article, I’d like to point out some things that were written that should be questioned. Such as,

“Researchers are figuring out why being fat makes so many people develop diabetes and other medical conditions…”

Cause and effect???? There are many new questions being raised about whether being fat causes diabetes or whether the medical condition diabetes causes the weight gain that gets the blame. Check out this video and article I wrote about in my blog.

Cause of Diabetes; A Doctor Apologizes

Diabetes and Weight; Doctors May Have It Backwards

“They are starting to unravel the reasons bariatric surgery allows most people to lose significant amounts of weight when dieting so often fails.”

Bariatric surgery may help people lose significant amounts of weight, quickly…but do they keep it off? Why don’t health reporters address that half of the equasion when they write that weight loss surgery helps “people lose significant amounts of weight”? (That’s a pet peeve of mine!)  In truth, it is almost impossible to get real stats on the weight regain rate after Bariatric Surgery. Why? Because the people who start regaining weight (researchers I have spoken with say that’s often within a year to 18 months after surgery),  drop out of the studies and because many bariatric doctors/centers are not interested in collecting longterm data, as it would not look good for them.

As we know that much of what is done in the name of weight loss backfires, studies like this one (small as it was) bolster the argument for a focus on health and well-being vs weight and weight loss

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I’m Ellen Shuman, 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 also the founder of A Weigh Out  Life Coaching & Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), as well as a 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.

Pursuit of Perfection

Pursuit of perfection…unless one is attempting to cut an expensive gemstone–I’ve come to see the pursuit of perfection as a waste of energy…and worse than that; often an endeavor that leads to a great deal of emotional pain. There is no such thing as a perfect person; not in the people we love or in ourselves!

Yet, so many of the people I coach are crippled by the pursuit of perfection; this imaginary black or white marker; a determiner of self-worth…applied to self and others.

Holding someone else up to some perfect ideal…or trying, personally, to live up to some self-imposed (or family imposed) impossible standard, feeling driven by perfectionistic thinking, often goes hand-in hand with emotional overeating.

(Excerpt from my Membership Circle Tool # 37 “Do You Feel You Have to Be Perfect?”)

“The pursuit of perfection tends to generate a great deal of anxiety in a person’s everyday life! Emotional eating is intricately linked to perfectionistic thinking. Food thoughts and food quiet the anxiety. Food is also used to manage any unresolved anger and/or disappointment the person may feel about having been a child who was never affirmed for her efforts and was never “good enough”. Additionally, when the person hunts for the ‘perfect’ solution to the eating disturbance, and fails to find it, she uses food to manage her disappointment and pain over this issue, as well.

Often, the person who believes he or she has to do things “perfectly” is aware of this way of thinking and knows the impact it has had on his or her life, but struggles to change it.

Sometimes a person thinks he or she must do everything perfectly, or the world will truly know just how imperfect and flawed they really are.

Trying to be “perfect” is the ultimate cover-up…and an impossible goal.

Perfectionists tend to function under the belief that there is a right and wrong answer to everything in the world – leaving only two possibilities — either a perfect solution or a failure. Since there is often no clear ‘perfect’ solution or response, in most life situations, many perfectionists avoid situations, circumstances, relationships where they will not be able to guarantee success or be affirmed for the effort they puts forth. They tend to not recognize the value of expending effort, even if there is not a ‘perfect’ resolution. They are often unable to own that they did the best they could, given the circumstances, and that their effort was admirable. Everything has to turn out perfectly.”

It’s a tough way to live! I know. I am a recovering perfectionist!

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I’m Ellen Shuman; a proud recovering perfectionist! I work with other recovering perfectionists who also wish to overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. I am the imperfect 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”. Want to pursue imperfection? Get in touch, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Leave Our Appearance Alone!

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham-Photo Source Facebook

OMG! As if we don’t already have enough to feel self-conscious about when it comes to our appearance, now we have to be concerned about how we look when our face is at rest???? Apparently we have a new label, “Resting Bitch Face”? Really?

The Washington Post recently reported that Designer Victoria Beckham, singer Kayne West, actress Kristen Stewart, and the Queen of England, just to name a few, each have one…and that actress Anna Kendrick says she does, too. It’s called a “Resting Bitch Face”. Reportedly, it’s a face that tends to, when at rest, look annoyed judgey, bored, or full of contempt.

Oh, my….it has even been studied! Read about that study here, “Scientists have discovered what causes Resting Bitch Face”.

You should see the look on my face right now! Reading that article just made me feel more anxious…how about you?

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I’m Ellen Shuman and I’m perpetually amazed by how many new ways people can bully others. 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, founder of A Weigh Out  Life Coaching & Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), a 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.

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