Weigh This Instead!

Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Love and Self-Esteem Come in All Sizes! Thank You Rachel Wiley!

I loved this video!

So honest, so raw, so common and familiar, Rachel Wiley so bravely and directly shares her insecurities. She and and her self-esteem triumph as a fat girl in a thin-obsessed, weight-stigma filled world, who just happens to be loved by a skinny boy.

 

“10 Honest Thoughts on Being Loved by a Skinny Boy”

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Ellen Shuman is a pioneer in the field of Binge Eating Disorder; a Life Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), A Founding Member and Past President of BEDA; The Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”. For information about Coaching Services, contact ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

It’s Love Your Body Day; Sound Fun or Does That Make You Anxious?

 

Love Your Body Day

Wednesday, October 16th,2013, is LOVE YOUR BODY DAY

 

 

Love Your Body Day is a campaign created by the National Organization for Women (NOW). Here’s why we need this day!

From the Love Your Body Day Website

“Every day, in so many ways, the beauty industry (and the media in general) tell women and girls that being admired, envied and desired based on their looks is a primary function of true womanhood. The beauty template women are expected to follow is extremely narrow, unrealistic and frequently hazardous to their health. The Love Your Body campaign challenges the message that a woman’s value is best measured through her willingness and ability to embody current beauty standards.”

But let’s face it, after years of living in a culture that tells us that very few of us are OK just as we are, it’s not so easy to wake up one day and say,” I love my body!”. Sadly, it may feel easier, more familiar, to continue to treat it badly; loathing it, starving it,  disconnecting from it, wishing it were not ours.

I hope you can embrace the spirit of Love Your Body Day. But even if you’re not there, yet, what about just going “neutral” today? No body judgment whatsoever today!  Or what about finding just one caring thing you can do for your body today, i.e, put lotion on your elbows, paint your finger nails, brush your hair, adorn your ears with your favorite fun earrings, maybe wear a wilder than usual scarf.

Consider telling your body you’re grateful for all it allows you to do.

Make Love Your Body Day something you feel you can celebrate…

Today, I’m going to wear really BIG earrings and let my hair dry with its natural curl, instead of frying it with a blow dryer…

How about you? What are you willing to do to celebrate? Tell us about it…

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Ellen Shuman is a pioneer in the field of Binge Eating Disorder; a Life Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), A Founding Member and Past President of BEDA; The Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”. For information about Coaching Services, contact ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

How to Stop Binge Eating and Tolerate What Comes Next?

“I’m afraid of the empty spaces that will exist

if I am not filling my head with food thoughts and drama.”

These were the insightful words shared by one of my clients as she began a recent coaching session. These words marked a critical turning point; an opportunity to change the course of her life. She now understands the role her food and weight obsessions play in her life. Her focus on food and weight loss, and the drama that resulted when she thought about her lifelong pursuit to stop binge eating, along with her associated feelings of “failure”, kept her distracted from her real life.

How many of us have a history of filling our head with food thoughts,  diet thoughts, weighing thoughts, “the struggle”, so we don’t have to think about anything else… like our life…or how uncomfortable we feel in our own skin?

If throughout my day, in my mind, my go-to struggle is always food, weight, body dissatisfaction, am I effectively distracting myself from other things I’d rather not think about; like trouble in my relationships (or my loneliness), issues with my mother or my job, bills that need to be paid?

If I could stop binge eating, what struggles would I focus on, instead? Do I need drama to keep me distracted from my inner most thoughts and feelings? I did!

My focus on food, weight, and body hatred served a purpose. It helped me survive some really tough times growing up.  But that focus became a habit. And, over time, even when I was out from under my immediate family’s dysfunction, and my life was getting better and better, I was still creating drama; all over the place.

When I look back on my own struggles and recovery, I’m clear I created all sorts of  drama in my own life…and not just food and weight related. I made big hairy deals out of all sorts of little things just to give me something to focus on; to keep me safe from my innermost feelings and thoughts.  I didn’t think I could survive being alone with   my thoughts and feelings. But back then, when I was creating all that drama, I wasn’t aware I was doing this. So, I didn’t know why I was such a mess, nor did I feel like I could stop. Until I learned how…

I literally learned how to stop binge eating. I learned how to identify, manage, and shift my thoughts and feelings, even the uncomfortable ones…and I discovered that doing so wasn’t really that hard, once I knew how.  I learned that being mindful and confident was certainly easier than being mindless with food and always feeling insecure; worrying about being out of control with food and hating being in my own body.  When I learned how to match what I say I want with the practices that will get me there, I discovered the life I was meant to life, free from all that food and drama. I found my life was waiting for me…

Want to learn more?  Register for my Free Phone Seminar about how to stop binge eating.

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Ellen Shuman is a pioneer in the field of Binge Eating Disorder; a Life Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), A Founding Member and Past President of BEDA; The Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”. For information about Coaching Services, contact ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Why Are We Fat? Here are 82 Possible Causes

Group of teenagers raising their handsLooking for an answer to the question, “Why are we fatter than we want to be”? Always hoping someone will come up with a clear concise reason for obesity and then you’ll have your solution and your struggle will be over?  Get in line. Me, too! If we’re hoping for one simple explanation and corresponding cure, I’m afraid we”ll be in that line for a long time to come.

Any single reason for fatness that you or any one else proposes, i.e.,  foods have been engineered to make us want more, we eat over family conflicts or overwhelm at work, chemicals in the environment are making us fat, we’re watching too much TV and living sedentary lives in front of our computers …credible or not, the theory has likely been considered; even studied.

A colleague of mine recently drew attention to this blog post, The DOWNY Obesity Report, The Putative 82 Causes of Obesity (I’m not endorsing this guy but I think he did a great job here).

After reading his list of 82 possible causes of obesity, knowing what I know, here’s my take away. There’s more we don’t know (for sure) about what cases so many of us to be fat than what we do know for sure.

If you are losing lots of sleep over the question, “Why are we fat?”, here’s my suggestion. Stop sweating the ‘fat’ stuff!  Refocus your attention on creating and living a wonderfully, fulfilling life. Start taking better care of whatever size body you happen to have today; physically, emotionally, nutritionally, and spiritually!  In my humble and extensive experience, SELF-CARE reaps so many better rewards than SELF-LOATHING!

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Ellen Shuman is an experienced Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. She is 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.

Remember When We Slept in Pajamas that Matched?

PajamasIn April, I was away with three close girlfriends, staying in a condo in Northern Michigan. After a big wonderful pasta dinner (thank you Monica), we couldn’t wait to get out of our now tight jeans and into our pajamas.

We all headed to our bedrooms to change. When we were back in the living room, each dressed in some mish-mash of comfortable, well worn loose sweatpants, T-shirts, and hoodies, my friend Robin laughed and said, “Remember the days when we only wore pajamas that matched?”  We all laughed. I said, “Remember when we wore robes over our pajamas?”  We laughed, again, and reminisced about how we once wore pajamas AND robes. Our mothers told us no well-mannered, respectful girl would travel without a bathrobe!

As a little girl, I remembered how exciting it was to get new cotton baby doll pajamas every summer, or in winter, a pair of new plaid PJs that looked like the ones my older brother got to wear. But my favorite, ever, were yellow flannel with little flowers on them. They were gathered at the wrist with a band of elastic, leaving an inch of ruffled flannel sitting on the back of my hand. I felt warm and loved in those pajamas!

One of my very earliest memories involves those PJs. I was three. It was the wee hours of the morning. I had just arrived at a hospital to have my tonsils out. My parents brought me there in those yellow flannel pajamas. When the nurse tried to put me in a blue hospital gown that had cowboys and Indians on it, I screamed bloody murder. Then, they gave me a shot. Next thing I knew, my tonsils were out. I was eating ice cream and could have cared less what I was wearing.  (I was food-focused, even at age three.)

Recently, I was watching Sunday Morning on CBS. There was a story about a University of Notre Dame professor who teaches a fashion history course. Students were shown wearing their flannel pajama bottoms to class. Her conclusion; we have all become slobs.

That may be so. Today, I don’t own a pair of pajamas, let alone a pair that match. I’d have to look high and low in my closet to find a robe of any sort. I own several pair of flannel pajama bottoms (but I do not wear them to run errands or to go to friend’s houses. That’s where I draw the line).

When I think about how comfortable my friends and I were just sitting around that condo in Michigan, in front of a roaring fire, with a view of the the bay just beyond our balcony… all four of us in mismatched sweats that we would sleep in that night and then wear as we leisurely drank coffee or tea the next morning….if that’s contributing to the downfall of American fashion and etiquette, truth be told, I’m really OK with that. Sometimes, change is good.

Do you remember wearing matching pajamas? Do you own a pair today? Did you have a favorite pair of PJs as a kid?

Plus Size Power…Diets & Weight Loss Products?

Weight Loss Industry Statistics

Diets don’t work! Why do I keep thinking they will?

Today, I was reading some news about projected revenues for the Diet and Weight Loss Industry. It has just been reported that the North America Weight Loss/Obesity Management Market was worth $104 billion in the year 2012 and is expected to reach $139.5 billion by 2017. (This includes diet foods and beverages, supplements, fitness and surgical equipment, as well as weight loss services sold.) The U.S. is the largest consumer, followed by Canada.

No surprises here for me; just a great deal of sadness and frustration that the dollars spent keep rising, despite the failures we see with both dieting and bariatric/weight loss surgery. When does the truth about a “fantasy”, that’s rarely realized, come to light?  When does desperation stop driving empty pursuits and outrageous spending?

Here’s the real driving truth…as long as there’s desperation to be thin, people will make and sell weight loss products and services that don’t work…and people will buy them.  Couple that will a general misunderstanding about what drives emotional and binge eating (nope, not about willpower or appetite suppression!), and we have a weight loss market that will keep getting larger. Read more about the latest Weight Loss Market forecast in the Wall Street Journal.

Right after I read that press release, I came across this Wall Street Journal video about the power of the plus size consumer and a rise in the fashion industries interest in the Plus Size market. I’m having some trouble reconciling the two? Aren’t you?

Although it seems they are being dragged, begrudgingly, into the real world, the fashion industry is finally starting to recognize the buying power of both the average consumer; woman size 14-16 (laughingly referred to as the “plus size” by the fashion world), and those who are larger. Size 14 and up, “plus size” accounts for half of the buying consumers in the US.

So, the fashion industry is going after the substantial pocketbooks of the plus-size consumer, while simultaneously, a thriving weight loss industry is still trying to sell us everything it can to make us feel and be less.

As we know the greatest predictor of weight gain is a history of weight loss attempts (need proof…do you weight more today than you did when you went on your first diet?), I guess the weight loss industry is ensuring the success of the plus-size clothing market.

I just wish we could just have great plus size clothes without all the layers of failure heaped on top first!

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Ellen Shuman is a pioneer in the field of Binge Eating Disorder; a Life Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), A Founding Member and Past President of BEDA; The Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”. For information about Coaching Services, contact ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

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http://live.wsj.com/video/kate-upton-and-the-rise-of-the-curvy-customer/5608BF9C-697E-490E-A1F3-54C233955E9A.html?mod=WSJ_article_outbrain&obref=obnetwork#!5608BF9C-697E-490E-A1F3-54C233955E9A

Is Body Judgment Limiting Your Life?

Worried Mother Holding Baby In NurseryWhat’s your first reaction when you know someone is about to snap your picture? Is it, “Oh, no! Don’t. I look too fat.”

What do you see when you first look at yourself in a photo? Do you immediately go to judging your body?

When you look at yourself in a candid picture, one you did not know was being taken, do you ever look at your facial expression—to see if you were enjoying that moment in your life. When you were in the moment that was captured in the candid photo, were you immersed in that experience, free from the body judgment that comes when you see a photo later on?

Recently, I saw a picture of myself taken years ago, during my orientation day as a volunteer at a local Humane Society Shelter. I was holding the cutest eight week old brown and tan spotted puppy; an Australian Shepherd-Chocolate Lab mix. He was amazing! I was in heaven as this squirmy, sweet puppy licking my face.

In the picture, I had this huge smile on my face. I remember that moment and that puppy like it was yesterday. I really wanted to take him home with me, but the timing was just not right to adopt another dog, especially a puppy. (I called the shelter for several days to be sure he had been adopted. He was.)

When I first saw the picture, my first reaction was an old reaction. Old habits die hard! I was immediately critical of how my body appeared in that picture. But then I shifted my focus–to my facial expression and to my lovely memory of that moment in my life with that adorable puppy.

As I think of that day now, I think if I had stayed home because I “felt” too fat to live my life fully that day, I would never have met that great puppy and had this lovely memory…nor would there have been a picture to remind me of that experience.

Also, it makes me think about all the other experiences I may have missed in years past because I, at times, judged myself too fat to be out experiencing life.

What a waste of time; a waste of a life…no matter what a person happens to weigh. Never again!

How about you? Does body judgment ever keep you from saying yes to a social event, or from meeting an old dear friend you haven’t see in years, or from enjoying a day on a beautiful beach? What do you think you’re missing?

Today, I know that moment with that wonderful puppy could not have been any sweeter. If I had been thinner that day, so what? How sad if I’d missed that moment because of body judgment!

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Ellen Shuman is a pioneer in the field of Binge Eating Disorder; a Life Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), A Founding Member and Past President of BEDA; The Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”. For information about Coaching Services, contact ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.

Overweight and Obesity; More Evidence that Danger is Overblown?

Active senior woman exercising in swimming poolHave you that overweight or obesity will kill you? Who hasn’t? Well, weigh this instead!

“This research provides evidence that focusing on lifestyle modification may be more effective for chronic disease prevention than focusing on weight loss.”

That, from another health publication that’s reporting what those of us who have been preaching and practicing the “Health at Every Size” paradigm have been saying for years!  Fitness is more important than fatness!

See more evidence in this article in HealthCanal.com, a source of medical news; health and medical breakthroughs for researchers, healthcare professionals, , government agencies, students, post-docs, and educators.

Cool!  Even the American College of Sports Medicine is starting to sound like my colleagues and me. Read the article and you’ll see what I mean…

Here’s to you health!

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

A Binge Eating -Anger Alternative

Prevent binge eating by walkingI got a call from a close friend yesterday. She started the call by saying, “Pardon the noise. I’m outside on a walk. I am so angry. I just needed to burn off some of these feelings”.

I knew all about the situation that had her churned up. It was something we were both facing and could do little about. So, I knew there was a good chance I was also going to feel some anger as she shared an update.

But I was also struck by how she was choosing to manage her intense feelings, in that very moment. Instead of  choosing binge eating to stuff her feelings, or doing anything compulsive, she instead put on her athletic shoes and started walking.

Honestly, I’ve never done that. In the past, I have only exercised out of obligation; because I made a plan with a friend or personal trainer and didn’t want to flake out, or I was following through on a commitment to get more physically fit (often, begrudgingly). But I had never, in the moment of intense feelings, said to myself, “I’m feeling some intense emotions here. I think I’ll manage that with some exercise.”

Yesterday, I followed my friends lead and right then and there got on the stationary bike in my bedroom. I peddled while we talked through the issue. It worked!  Just the decision to get on the bike signaled my intention to manage my feelings better than I had been; to remain calm about the situation we were discussing.

It really worked!  Instead of stirring each other up, further, we both felt better at the end of the call. And I got in some mild aerobic activity and boosted some of my naturally-occurring calming brain chemicals. Yes!

 

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Ellen Shuman is a pioneer in the field of Binge Eating Disorder; a Life Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), Founding Member and Past President of BEDA; 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.

Ah, The Illusion of Weight Loss

Burning Fat

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Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Immediate Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, ellen@aweighout.com

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