Weigh This Instead!

Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

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.

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.

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.

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!

I Am NOT My Binge Thoughts!

Binge Thought Free Girl on bikeWhat was it that allowed me to finally overcome my binge thoughts and binge eating? That’s a common question my clients ask.

First, I finally understood that I had grown addicted to a behavior; I was using eating as a distraction from my life. I used thinking about food, binge thoughts, and then eating, for various reasons. It was something to look forward to, a reward, excitement, a way to transition from one part of my day to the next. But mostly, I focused on food to avoid feeling—anything. Food became my only way to self-soothe. Eating became the focal point of my life. Emotional eating became a deeply entrenched, self-defeating habit.

But those important insights were NOT enough to help me change. When I had powerful food thoughts and I felt out-of-control, I thought I had absolutely no choice but to act on those food thoughts. Change did not come until I grasped the following.

I am NOT my binge thoughts!

Once I learned  how to OBSERVE and MANAGE my thoughts and feelings, I stopped feeling controlled by them. I worked on getting more mindful; increasingly, I could recognize what was going on in my mind without feeling overwhelmed…or feeling the need to judge or avoid my thoughts. I learned what I call “emotional handrails”. When uncomfortable feelings hit, I noticed those feelings and then I reached for my emotional handrails to help keep me in the moment… instead of flipping on the old “mindlessness- eating switch”. Soon, the food thoughts began to lose their power over me.

Author and psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel puts it this way. “…a great transformation begins when we look at our minds with curiosity and respect rather than fear and avoidance. Inviting our thoughts and feelings into our awareness allows us to learn from them rather than be driven by them. We can calm them without ignoring them; we can hear them without being terrified by their screaming voices…”

Frankly, after so many years of overusing food for emotional reasons, I didn’t know I could calm a feeling without ignoring it…or  tolerate my thoughts and survive the moment. Surprisingly, it turned out it was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I  just had to learn how…and be willing to practice the heck out of my new skills and behaviors–just as I had practiced the heck out of my binge thoughts and overeating :-).

If you’d like to learn more about the “Emotional Handrails” I’m speaking about, be sure to register for one of my free phone seminars. Find my next Binge Eating Recovery Seminar dates and Register Here.

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I’m Ellen Shuman and for the last two decades I’ve specialized in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. 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”, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Health Commitments; All In…or Maybe Not :-)?

Cholessterol Pill

Halloween Candy; Binge Eating vs. Self-Care

Halloween CandyI did something this year I have NEVER done before. I decided NOT to buy or give out Halloween Candy. Here’s why.

For the past two weeks I have been listening to my coaching clients talk about their anxiety about Halloween Candy; buying and then eating it before, during, and of course after Halloween (there’s usually leftover candy because we always end up buying too much). I have even heard this from people who say they rarely get trick or treaters at their door but buy candy every year “just in case”. Hmm, a set up for binge eating on candy?

I admit. I identified. In years past, Halloween Candy has led to many a binge for me. In recent years, in recovery, I have addressed this by buying candy I did not like; instead of bags and bags of mini chocolate bars, I’d buy DOTS or Smarties. But by the time Halloween night was up, I’d be so stressed from the dog barking for hours and trying to keep her locked in my bedroom that I be into the candy; picking rubbery DOTs from between my teeth ;-).

So, this year, I choose to put my self-care first! Just because I have a home does not mean I HAVE to buy and give out candy! The kids in my neighborhood will not be deprived if they do not get candy from me! So, rather than sequester the dog and be surrounded by candy before, during, and after the two hours designated for Trick or Treating in my neighborhood, I will be in my room watching a movie. The front of my house will appear dark, so I doubt many kids will ring the bell.  If they do, they do. (I am lucky that I can easily make this choice –no kids at home). What if I were out of town, or at a friend’s Halloween Party? In truth, I do not need an excuse to practice self-care! That’s recovery!

Even though some recovery experts will say people in recovery from emotional or binge eating should be able to have even old triggers food around the house without bingeing, here’s what I think. If you have a history of feeling triggered by having lots of candy in your house, it is what it is. If so, is there anything you can do to make this Halloween less stressful for you? If it feels like self-care to do so, do you have a plan to get rid of leftover candy…even if that means throwing it out—in the garbage can outside 🙂 ?

No where is it written that we HAVE to buy and give out Halloween Candy!  My comfort in recovery comes first! So does yours!

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Ellen Shuman is 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. She is the founder of A Weigh Out  Life Coaching & Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present). She is 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.

At Risk for Emotional Overeating

emotional overeatingDo you know that feeling? You wake up and know you’re at risk for emotional overeating today? That’s how I felt yesterday.

It was Saturday and when I woke up all I wanted to do was NOTHING. I had planned to run several errands but I didn’t feel like doing any of what I said I was going to do. I needed to go to the post office to return some things I had ordered online. I said I was going to a glass & mirror store before it closed at 1pm to order a new bathroom mirror. I needed to pay some bills, take the dog for a walk, do some posting on this website. But I didn’t want to do anything; not even take a shower, get dressed, or eat breakfast.

That feeling, that resistance, was very familiar. I recognized I was facing several of my “setback warning signs”. I knew those at-risk signs well because I have them on a list (SetBack Warning Signs; A Weigh Out Membership Tool # 21).

But I also did not want to careen out of control with food; an old habit I’d practiced for years, whenever I didn’t want to face a day…or deal with any obligation I preferred to ignore . I was quite mindful of that! So, I compromised; mindfully, planfully. I paid attention to what I wanted and could do, without any real negative consequence, and what I really needed was a day to do “almost” nothing. That was self-care. So, I made a new plan.

I got out my schedule and decided to go to the post office after work on Monday. My anxiety about returning those clothes stopped immediately. I decided I could order the mirror this coming Thursday afternoon. There really is no big rush on that.

Then, I made myself an omelet for breakfast. I let my dog run around the back yard for a while. I spent most of the rest of the day reading, watched movies online, and catching up on emails and calls to friends. I posted on the website forum in the afternoon.

I also got on my exercise bike for 30 minutes before I made dinner (watched a movie while peddling). I knew I needed some physical activity, following a sedentary week. I had that flat feeling; a warning sign that a little depression was coming back. That was a contributing factor to my lack of motivation yesterday.  I also knew if I caught that feeling right away, I could stop the depression from coming back. That’s what I did.

That’s what I am willing to do yesterday. I did not judge myself for changing my plan. Therefore I did NOT need to go numb though emotional overeating. Even if I do nothing I had planned to do, I did so consciously; mindfully. When I am mindful, the need to use emotional overeating; to use food to go mindless, goes away…

How about you? Do you know your Setback Warning Signs? Do you know how to regroup and practice self-care when you feel unmotivated?

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Ellen Shuman is a pioneer in the field of binge eating disorder treatment; a Coach who specializes in helping people overcome binge eating, binge eating disorder, emotional overeating, compulsive eating, and food addiction. She is the founder of A Weigh Out  Life Coaching & Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present). She is 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.

What Pressures Drive Your Emotional Eating?

No doubt, we live in stressful times, full of expectations…societal …and self-imposed. So many of us buy into the pressure…

How often I hear people say they feel they have to be “perfect”; to impress, to act in a certain ways, and most certainly, to look a particular way….thinner! Living with all of those expectations is exhausting! Goes without saying that all of those “shoulds” contribute to emotional eating, stress eating…even to binge eating.

What are we losing in all of our years of judgment, emotional pain and struggle; waiting to change, waiting to “lose weight” so we can be “happy”?

When I saw this video, it really resonated with me. How about you?

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I’m Ellen Shuman; a work in progress when it comes to relaxation, breathing, and learning how to just let go. 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), Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”,  Get in touch if you’d like to learn more, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

New Food Label for Emotional Eaters: 22 Grams of Mind Your Own Business

17grams shut up

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