Weigh This Instead!

Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Biggest Losers Regain–Plus Consequences!

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.

My Relationship with Food Made My Life Small

Relationship with Food

Back when I was using my relationship with food for everything– for entertainment, for comfort, disconnection, self-soothing, often just for something to do to keep me from thinking or feeling; to keep me from being present, I had an epiphany. My life had become very small.

I did very little other than work…and think about what I could get to eat on the way home. Weekends, when I didn’t have to work, were filled with DVD’s from Blockbuster–picked up Friday nights on the way home, along with lots of ice cream, m&ms, diet coke, donuts, etc.

I had started reorganizing my days to accommodate eating alone.  I turned down invitations so I COULD be home eating alone. I stopped connecting with friends, except in a superficial way. I stopped planning trips. Actually, I stopped planning adventures of any kind. I went to fewer and fewer movies in movie theaters (this was long before Netflix), or plays, or concerts. I no longer paid attention to what exhibits might be coming to museums in my city. I stopped planning walks, bike rides, or white water rafting trips with friends.

All of my creative energy went into making food plans. Which restaurants delivered? Which ones had drive-throughs? My only adventures were to be found in food. I was miserable! My biggest challenge…how could I NOT think and feel while I waited 30 minutes for the pizza delivery guy to arrive?

Now I know these behaviors were all symptoms of a full-blown binge eating disorder

Does any of that sound familiar?  If it feels like your relationship with food has taken on a life of its own, you’re certainly not alone. And you deserve help! (If you’d like to hear more about what I wrote about above, please consider listening to a recording I just posted; a TeleSeminar with Psychotherapist Trisha Rubin, “Do We Turn to Food Because We Lack Adventure?”. It’s all about how common this is and what we each can do to get our lives back. Anyone can listen for free–just take advantage of a 21 Day Free Trial I offer to visitors.)

How small has your world become? I promise you, it does NOT have to stay that way!

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I’m Ellen Shuman and I have been through it all, personally and professionally! For the past couple of decades, I have been a Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. I founded A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present). I am also a Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and one of its founding board members.  Questions about phone coaching?  Feel free to contact me, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Barbie Makeover; A Sign of Progress!

Ellen Shuman when she got her first Barbie

Ellen Shuman

A Barbie Makeover is in the news…all over the news…

I was about five when I got my first Barbie

I still have all of my Barbie Dolls; Barbie, Ken, Skipper– in a box somewhere in my basement, along with their very glamorous clothes. I loved playing Barbie; dressing her in her best sparkly black strapless gown, striped bathing suit, and pencil thin peddle pusher pants!

My First Barbie

My First Barbies

But ALL I could identify with were her eye and hair color. No one in my family had a body built like Barbie’s. I admit I envied my friends whose Moms could wear skinny pants. My Mom and I could not.

As I watched media coverage this past week about the launch of a new more diverse Barbie line, I took in all the criticisms. Most reports pointing out that Mattel was motivated by “declining sales” since 2012. OK, if more and more of today’s Moms have stopped buying their children dolls with bodies that do not represent real women… and Mattel listened… that’s progress! “There’s still too much emphasis on appearance and fashion.” Likely true, but as a woman and an anti weight-stigma advocate, I’ll take a Barbie makeover as movement toward mainstream body diversity and that’s movement I’ll take anywhere I can get it!

There’s a “Curvy” Barbie! YES! It’s a start…

Barbie Makeover

Curvy Barbie

 

I love that the next generation of little girls (and boys) will grow up seeing some increase in diverse body types, skin colors, and hair textures in their toys. It’s a sign of changing times and it is progress! There will be critics…but I’ll celebrate progress where I can get it…and in my lifetime! Yes! More change needed, but this Barbie Makeover is a good start!

Here’s a video/commercial that shows the toy company’s repositioning of the Barbie brand…

 

I’d love to hear what you think…

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I’m Ellen Shuman; an anti Weight Stigma advocate and a Coach who specializes in helping people overcome 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”, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Enough with the Dieting Resolutions!

Judith Matz, LCSW on Dieting

Judith Matz, LCSW

It’s January and constant talk about New Year Dieting Resolutions surrounds us.  This can be a tough time of year for emotional and binge eaters…a tough time for anyone who feels uncomfortable in their own skin. (Oprah’s Weight Watchers commercials don’t help!)

Psychotherapist and author Judith Matz ( who has contributed to this blog in the past),  offers an antidote. She has wrtten a wonderful  new post called, ” 8 Reasons Why I Don’t Want to Hear About Your Diet”.  Click here to read it. 

 

What do you think?

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I’m Ellen Shuman and based on the harm I see resulting from dieting, I have nothing good to say about dieting! Instead, I focus on recovery from dieting…and from binge eating disorder treatment. I am a  Coach who specializes in helping people overcome binge eating, binge eating disorder, emotional eating, compulsive eating, and food addiction; the 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.

Diets and Bodies Are Not All the Same!

Not all bodies are the same …and different people will react differently to different ways of eating. As discussed in this New York Times Report, finally, we’re starting to see evidence that the tide is turning away from blanket dietary recommendations for all. Hopefully, what will follow will also be a move away from blame if you happen to be fatter than you were before you started dieting…

YES! Acknowledgment and proof that bodies are not all the same! Finally, researchers are starting to ask the right questions! Hopefully, we’ll see more and more research moving in this enlightened direction.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll use this new information to eliminate years and year of self-blame and shame…

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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 and this report made me very happy! Finally, some sanity when it comes to diets! I am also 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.

My Guiding Word for 2016; “Centered”

My 2015 Word: "Trust"

My 2015 Word: “TRUST”

Each new year, typically on New Year’s Day, I choose a new word. It’s one word I wish to use as a guiding goal for the upcoming year.

In 2015, my word was TRUST. I made huge progress using that word! I am so much more trusting than I was last year…mostly of myself. I trust that I am and will continue to be free from my Binge Eating Disorder because now I know how to live my life without using food to go numb, mindless, and as my primary way to self-soothe. Instead,  I have learned how to live mindfully; how to replace self-defeating emotional eating with Self-Care. Now, I trust I know how to keep that going…

I just searched in the Members’ Forum, to see what I said about TRUST when I first set it as my word one year ago today. Here’s what I wrote…

“I will Trust in myself; that I’ll consistently and simply do what it takes so I “get to” live my best life possible (Members’ Empowerment Tool #23, “I Get to…”). I get to trust that, when I slip, I’ll recommit, without those lifelong well-practiced judgments or recriminations that used to keep my 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 says, 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 I will exercise regularly and choose healthy foods (most of the times :-), but not all of the time). All or nothing doesn’t work for me!

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

Turns out, TRUST was a great word for me in 2015!

In years past, I have chosen these words; MINDFULNESS, SELF-CARE, CHOICE, BALANCE, CALM. I find ways to 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 intentions when I set them in the morning (“PENSO”-Members’Empowerment Tool #8).

Sometimes, I write the word at the top of my week’s Willingness List (Empowerment 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 (Empowerment Tool # 27; “A New Kind of Self-Care List”).

This year I considered several words; FAITH, EXERCISE, PROGRESS, CREATIVITY, SOCIALIZE, FUN! As it always does, the best word for me becomes clear. This morning, I chose CENTERED. When I am centered, I have faith. I have access to my creativity. I am more willing to choose to exercise, be more social, plan more fun, make more progress in any arena of my life where I so choose. So, for 2016, CENTERED it is!

What’s your word for 2016? Would you benefit from creating one? How would you use your guiding word?

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I’m Ellen Shuman and I choose to be CENTERED, in both my personal and professional endeavors. I will be centered as I Coach people; help them overcome 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”, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242. If you would like to explore how I might help you, please get in touch!

Reflection and Gratitude

I was mindlessly watching videos on Facebook a few weeks ago. These days, I do that when I’m bored. I find it to be a much more productive activity than heading to the kitchen looking for something in the fridge to “entertain” me, so to speak.

As always happens, one video leads to another, and another, and then I happened upon this one. It touched me, really got me thinking about the power of reflection and gratitude. See what you think…

I know reflection and gratitude have a positive impact on my life!  Still, I just get so busy I forget to use those activities to my advantage. It’s so easy to reflect and feel grateful! It just requires the willingness to connect!

And that’s why reflecting and feeling grateful are so important to me in my recovery from emotional eating? When I do reflect, I connect. When I connect, I am mindful; in the moment. When I am mindful and in the moment, the need to use food to go mindless just stops. I do not have to eat mindlessly if I choose to be mindful, connected to my thoughts and feelings, and feeling grateful!

I’m thinking I can modify this a little to fit my life. I don’t need to take actual pictures. For me, that feels like too much work. But I am willing to write a gratitude list more often. I already post in the Members’ Support Circle, under the thread “3 Good Things Today”, but not consistently. (Learn more about the Members’ Circle Here)

If curious about whether making a short gratitude list will be helpful to you, try it. Just grab a piece of paper and list 3 Things You Feel Good about Today. (Small things count, i.e., I slept in an extra hour today, I got my bills paid and in the mail, I connected with an old friend via email, I decluttered the family room).

How does that feel? Experiment! Make the list when you have compulsive food thoughts.  Make a short gratitude list first thing in the morning and see if it helps get the day off to a better start. Consider making a short gratitude list anytime you feel anxious, stressed, or depressed.  You get to decide when this activity would be most useful to you.

Let us know what happens…

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I’m Ellen Shuman, a pioneer in the field of binge and emotional eating recovery since 1993; 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, 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”. Have questions? Feel free to get in touch,  ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Wishing You a Guilt-Free Christmas!

Christmas Kitchen Guilt

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