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Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Netflix Series Accused of Body Shaming; INSATIABLE

Body Shaming TV Show

Netflix Series, Insatiable

UPDATE: INSATIABLE got a second season on Netflix and I just read a third is planned. Very disappointing.

Body Shaming! Actresses’ character in fat suit has her jaw wired shut, loses weight, is now “hot” and plots revenge on those who fat-shamed her by competing in beauty pageants. What? Are we back in 1980?

Just when I think we’re finally making some progress, at least in some arenas, something comes along that proves body shaming is still alive and thriving in the Entertainment Industry!  In way of full disclosure, I have not yet seen any of the episodes of the soon to be released Netflix series INSATIABLE (August 10th) , but I have seen the trailer! Like most of my colleagues, I have great concerns about the negative impact of what appears to be the series’ fat shaming message. What do you think?

While the fat and body shaming that was so prevalent in TV and movies in years past has certainly not gone away, it seemed to me that it has become a little less PC to seek laughs through fat jokes and body shaming.  (Although the late night talk show hosts certainly never stopped trashing Chris Christie for his body! Maybe the new sensitivity to the damage body shaming can do has only been applied to women??? )

Yesterday, I received an email from nutrition therapist and eating disorder specialist Julie Duffy Dillon, raising an alarm about INSATIABLE and encouraging all of us to become activists. (Julie is amazing. When I was a guest on her podcast, we discussed recovery from emotional and binge eating.  Click here to listen to her Podcast.)

In her email, Julie beautifully outlines why a show like this is so dangerous! She writes,

• It reinforces this horrible rule that those at higher weights can only be acceptable and attractive and worthy of being noticed when at a socially acceptable weight. NO. My fellow humans at higher weights already are worthy. BECAUSE THEY ARE ALREADY HUMANS.

• It reinforces that women/girls/femmes are hysterical if angry. Anger is NORMAL when oppressed. This is gas lighting victims to make them perceive interpretations as self-inflicted or nonexistent.

• It glorifies a form of starvation as a do-able, achievable, noble, HEALTHY way to empower and energize yourself. Eliminating calories is literally the opposite way to energize our bodies. Starvation is the opposite of what our body needs no matter our size.

• It reinforces that SIZE over HEALTH is paramount.

• It reinforces that weight loss is a behavior. NEWS FLASH: it is not.

As I write this blog post, a Change.org petition to “Stop the Release of Netflix’s Body-Shaming series ‘Insatiable’ ” has received close to 122,000 signatures and climbing rapidly…in just 4 days. This issue of body judgement, a TV series not even released yet, is getting lots of media attention! The troops are rallying!  YES! If interested in reading about the petition and deciding if you, too, would like to be heard, Click Here.

When it comes to the media and body-shaming, this VOGUE writer in the UK agrees with Julie and me. Her article is well worth a read, How New Netflix Show Insatiable Is Promoting Fatphobia

Dietland-anto body shamingHave you seen the AMC Series Dietland? It, too, is about revenge for women who are marginalized by their looks, but takes on this challenge in a much different way…to say the least.

“Equal parts revenge fantasy and heartfelt journey to self-acceptance, Dietland, which is based on Sarai Walker’s 2015 best-selling critically acclaimed novel of the same name, is a darkly comedic story that explores a multitude of issues faced by women today – including patriarchy, misogyny, rape culture, and unrealistic beauty standards.”

As of this writing, I have only seen the two episodes (Episodes 1 & 2 are free to watch online until July 31st,  2018 and the entire series can be purchased on Amazon Prime Video). I like what I see, so far! When I watch the rest, I’ll write another post. If you have seen it, let us know what you think.

Check out my other posts about the entertainment industry’s bad behavior when it comes to weight-ism; body, fat, and size shaming.

Too Thin Cartoon People?; Secret Life of Pets

Disney’s Skinny Minnie Mouse & Daisy Duck on a Crash Diet

Message to Disney and BCBS; It’s NOT OK to Stigmatize Overweight Children

What Makes Us Happy?

Robert Waldinger on Health and HappinessWhat makes us happy?

What really makes us happy? When you think of your own happiness, do you dream about money, fame, recognition, time, travel, love, overcoming your struggle with emotional or binge eating?

The answers, says Robert Waldinger, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and Zen priest may surprise you…and he actually knows! Dr. Waldinger is the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history.

For more than 75 years, Harvard researchers have been studying men. Originally, half being studied were Harvard students. The other half were teenage boys from tenements and disadvantaged areas of Boston. Over time, the wives and children of the original test subjects were added to the study.

When it comes to what makes us happy and healthy, the study has revealed fascinating results about the impact of close relationships vs loneliness, the quality of close relationships and the impact of conflict — even the impact of good relationships on our brains as we age.

Check out Dr. Waldinger’s TED Talk and let me know if anything about these results surprised you. Comment below.

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!)


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!


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…


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…


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…


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.

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