Weigh This Instead!

Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Love Has No Labels

Love Has No Labels. OK, this one made me cry!

 

How about you?

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! We know the role has its unique challenges these days 🙂 !

Happy Mother's Day

Love in the 21st Century

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!!!

Valentine's Day

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Listening Without Judgment

Binge Eating Recovery Coach Ellen ShumanI was having my hair highlighted recently. My colorist rents one of those tiny salon spaces with just two chairs. The colorist introduced me to her other client and told this woman what I do for a living.

Then, as a captive audience in hair foils, I listened to this other client give me her opinion about why people eat too much and what they “simply” need to do to “gain control”. People just need to “…use a little discipline”, she said in numerous ways…

My ego, my patience, and my emotional regulation skills were put to the test.

She had that air of all-knowing-ness that in the past I would have assumed was because she was “naturally thin”, had no understanding about eating disorders, no empathy, and very little emotional intelligence. (No judgment on my part, huh?)

I tried my best to calmly explain that, often, it’s NOT that simple. I attempted to educate about emotional and binge eating; how some people overuse food to self-soothe and avoid uncomfortable feelings, people, tasks, etc. I might as well have been trying to get through to the chair she was sitting on. So, I just stopped talking.

At first, I felt dismissed, frustrated, angry, and trapped. My internal dialog went something like this, “Hey, I’m the expert; the researcher, the founder of an eating disorder program; a coach with decades of experience in this field and you don’t have a clue. Why aren’t you listening to me?”

Then, I stepped back and observed my own thoughts and feelings. I quieted my ego, my judgments, my need to be right. I decided to just be present; to listen to her with my heart…not easy, as this is a loaded subject for me… and, at that moment, I didn’t like the woman. But here’s what I heard.

I heard her talk about her own very rigid food and exercise rules. Then, she started talking about depression; saying “women need to fend for themselves, pull themselves up by their own bootstraps”.  Then, she went on to say”…depression is all about women in a man’s world, in the wrong job”. A few minutes later I asked her what she did for a living. She spoke openly and honestly about how frustrated she is with the male power base in her corporate job and about all the politics at work.

Now, I was truly hearing her story. This woman was actually sharing her own defenses, her own pain, how she used rigid food and exercise rules; “weight control”, to manage her own depression, dissatisfaction, and disappointment with her career!  In truth, what I was sharing about emotional eating challenged her survival strategies. So, of course what I had to say was of no interest. My insights were not welcome; likely they were even threatening to her…at this moment in time.

Looking back, I’m so glad I stopped trying to get her to “hear” me. I learned something very important. She wasn’t interested in what I had to say. Not everybody is or will be :-).  She was in her own pain. She just wanted to talk about her own pain…

Knowing that… and removing myself from the equation, was very freeing…

I wished her well!

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I’m Ellen Shuman and like everyone reading this post, I am a work in progress! 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 am the founder of A Weigh Out  Life Coaching & Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), and a Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012),  ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

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