Spring 2014 – Diet Survivors Group Newsletter
Welcome to the Spring 2014 e-mail!
(Based on The Diet Survivor's Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care)
Spring is a time of rebirth. After what turned out to be a very long and cold winter for many of us, we're ready to welcome spring and see what blossoms! For us, this spring is the culmination of many projects we've been working on. We're especially excited about the publication of the new, updated edition of our book: Beyond a Shadow of a Diet: The Comprehensive Guide to Treating Binge Eating Disorder, Compulsive Eating, and Emotional Overeating. We'll be sending out a separate email with more information very soon—including some special discounts—but here is a sneak peak at what it looks like:
We just love those juicy strawberries on the cover!
This season, our lesson is about the importance of sharing family meals while staying true to your own appetite. Whether you're celebrating Easter or Passover, trying to feed a family, or getting together with friends to socialize, we hope this lesson will be a helpful reminder to honor your own hunger and fullness. It goes like this:
Sharing food with friends and family is an important part of our culture. It is the being together, rather than eating the same food at the same time, that keeps us connected.
What if there was a simple practice to help you build your positive experiences with attuned eating? We've been so impressed with the work of Rick Hanson, and we've applied his strategy of "Taking In The Good" at our workshops. Take 30 seconds to give this a try the next time you have an attuned eating experience!
Frequently, people who struggle with issues of overeating use all or nothing thinking, so that a "bad" experience may lead to a belief that nothing is going well in your relationship with food. As with other aspects of life, it's important to deepen and embody your positive experiences as they occur. In our updated edition of Beyond a Shadow of a Diet, we adapt them as follows:
- With your eyes closed, think about a time you were hungry, ate exactly what you were hungry for and stopped when you were full.
- Now, savor the experience as you hold it in your attention for the next 10, 20, or 30 seconds rather than getting distracted by something else. Soften and open to the experience; let it fill your mind; give over to it in your body. The longer something is held in awareness and the more emotionally stimulating it is, the more neurons that fire and thus wire together, and the stronger the trace in implicit memory.
- Intend and sense the experience seeping into you, perhaps as a warm glow spreading through your chest.
As Rick so eloquently explains, "any single time of taking in the good will usually make just a little difference. But over time those little differences will add up, gradually weaving positive experiences into the fabric of your brain and your whole being." This is a wonderful technique to use on your journey to become an attuned eater.
Talking about weight stigma isn't always easy. So many people carry shame about their body size, and weight stigma refers to the way that people are stereotyped or discriminated against based on their shape or size.
Weight stigma has a significant impact on people seeking health and mental health services. Rebecca Puhl, researcher at the Rudd Center, reports that weight bias has been documented in studies of physicians, nurses, medical students, mental health professionals and dietitians. One of the many unfortunate outcomes of weight stigma is that because of embarrassment over being weighed and/or fear of being lectured or disrespected, women of higher weights are delaying – or even skipping – preventative services.
If you're a health care provider, consider taking a test online that measures your implicit attitudes toward weight by going to Harvard's Project Implicit at implicit.harvard.edu/implicit. You can also read Judith's latest article in the Psychotherapy Networker: Beyond Lip Service: Confronting Our Biases Against Higher-Weight Clients
If you're someone who struggles with going to the doctor because of your body size, you're not alone. We hear from so many women that they postpone – or never go to – regular appointments because of their anxiety or distress about how their healthcare provider will deal with weight. Because that stigma is often internalized, the shame you feel may keep you from getting the care you deserve.
It's important to keep up with your medical care. If you're doctor either humiliates you about your weight or only offers weight loss as the solution to your problems, consider finding a doctor who will treat you with respect and address your issues without only focusing on weight. Here are a few strategies used by Diet Survivors:
- Let your doctor know that you struggle with an eating problem (or disorder), and that focusing on weight loss is counterproductive for your recovery.
- Ask your doctor if he/she ever sees the problem you're presenting in thinner patients. If so (and the answer will always be yes!), what advice is given to them? Let your doctor know that you'd like to receive that same advice as well.
- If you're starting with a new doctor, you may want to let him/her know about your needs ahead of time. Visit our online appendix to read a sample letter. (If the appendix tab doesn't appear, please check back soon – our publisher is in the process of uploading it.)
- Beyond a Shadow of a Diet: The Comprehensive Guide to Treating Binge Eating Disorder, Compulsive Eating, and Emotional Overeating will be available on April 10th. We've been grateful for the advance praise and will send out a separate email with special discount SOON!
- Binge Eating Disorder Association annual conference, April 24th – 26th in Denver CO. Judith and Ellen will offer the following workshops:
~Body of Wisdom: From the Personal to the Clinical to the Political, April 24th, Judith Matz, Deb Burgard and Carmen Cool [full day, pre-conference institute].
~What A Shame! April 25th, Judith Matz.
~Beyond Measure: An Exploration of Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul and Freeing the Spirit, April 26th, Ellen Frankel.
- Beyond Lip Service: Confronting Our Prejudices Against Higher-Weight Clients is Judith’s latest article in the Psychotherapy Networker magazine.
- A Health Replacement for Dieting is the name of the article in the Harvard Gazette that features Ellen's recent panel discussion for Harvard students.
- Dietitians of Canada annual conference, June 12th – 14th, Ottawa, Canada. Judith will join Maria Ricupero RD to present a half-day pre-conference workshop: Supporting Our Clients On A HAES® Journey Toward Self-Acceptance.
- Amanda's Big Dream will come to life soon! Illustrator Elizabeth Patch continues to illustrate Judith's children's story… and they both look forward to competing this project in 2014. ☺
- Please "like" Diet Survivors Group on Facebook.
Wishing you a light and breezy season,
All the best,
Judith and Ellen
|Judith Matz, LCSW
|Ellen Frankel, LCSW
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P. O. Box 108
Deerfield, IL 60015-0048