Summer 2014 – Diet Survivors Group Newsletter
Welcome to the Summer 2014 e-mail!
(Based on The Diet Survivor's Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care)
Summertime is here, and with this season comes beautiful flowers in a rainbow of colors that provides a feast for our senses. The bright reds and pinks of begonias, the deep purple of the iris, the pale pink and blue of the hibiscus – all with their different sizes and shapes – create an interesting and diverse landscape. Imagine if all flowers were the same in shape, size and color. You probably get where we're going with this!
People also naturally come in different sizes, shapes and colors. What would we lose if we all looked the same? As a society, we say that we celebrate diversity, but when it comes to size, there's no doubt we have a long way to go. Whatever challenges you face in accepting – and even embracing – your own body shape and size, keep in mind that your unique body is precious. Like a summer flower, give yourself the right amount of sunshine, water, and whatever other kinds of care you need to blossom and grow into your fullest expression.
Our lesson this season is about how to keep cultivating a positive body image. Judith recently offered a webinar through the Association for Size Diversity and Health on this topic. Whether you're a mental health/health professional or a diet survivor working on your own body image issues (or both!) we hope you'll find the time to view this engaging webinar, and that it will provide you with useful information and support. Enjoy!
Click here to view 5 Keys To Helping Your Client Cultivate A Positive Body Image
Now that Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is an official diagnosis, people struggling with BED have validation that their eating problem is real and that they deserve treatment from knowledgeable professionals. However, there are also millions of people who do not meet the criteria for Binge Eating Disorder, but still have disordered eating patterns.
Because certain behaviors around eating and weight are considered normative in our culture, many people think that the way they approach eating and/or exercise – in both action and thought – is normal and healthy. In Beyond a Shadow of a Diet (2nd edition, p.11), we offer the following definitions of Disordered Eating developed by colleagues in the field:
"Any woman who has some form of an unhealthy relationship with food and her body is a disordered eater. She may be caught in the diet-binge cycle, restricting 'forbidden' foods, feeling guilty after eating or in a semi starvation state from chronic under eating, fasting, skipping meals or over exercising." (Debra Waterhouse)
"Dysfunctional eating is eating is eating in irregular and chaotic ways – dieting, fasting, bingeing, skipping meals – or it may mean consistently undereating much less or overeating much more than your body wants or needs. Dysfunctional eating is separated from its normal controls of hunger and satiety, and it's normal function of nourishing the body, providing energy, health and good feelings. Instead, it is regulated by external and inappropriate internal controls and seeks to reshape the body or relieve stress." (Francis Berg)
Here are some examples of comments typical of people with disordered eating patterns:
- I can't eat that dessert because I'm being good today.
- I'm going to have dessert because I'm off my diet today.
- I consider myself good or bad based on the food I eat (or don't eat).
- I never eat past 8:00 pm no matter how hungry I might be.
- I feel virtuous because I no longer eat carbs.
In these examples, decisions about when, what and how much to eat are based on external rules and the pursuit of weight loss, rather than honoring internal cues for hunger and satiation.
Think about your relationship with food. Which of your patterns feel satisfying? Which of your patterns create anxiety? As you consider your relationship with food, keep in mind that attuned eating doesn't mean being perfect! Here is the definition we offer in Beyond a Shadow of a Diet:
"… a healthy relationship with food means eating in response to physical hunger most of the time. However, normal eating can also include experiences such as eating occasionally because something looks good, eating past fullness at a special meal, eating in response to an emotion once in awhile, or choosing foods based on nutritional content because this feels caretaking. Attuned eating means that eating for satisfaction is predominant, and experiencing deprivation is virtually non-existent. Attuned eating is a natural skill. It can be relearned by people who have lost touch with their hunger and can be reinforced and nurtured with children so that they maintain this healthy relationship with food throughout their lives." (pp. 282-283)
An article in the New York Times reports a study that affirms when exercise is seen as a hard work – as is often the case for people pursuing weight loss – it may lead to overeating.
"Half of the women were told that their walk was meant to be exercise, and they were encouraged to view it as such, monitoring their exertion throughout. The other women were told that their 30-minute outing would be a walk purely for pleasure; they would be listening to music through headphones and rating the sound quality, but mostly the researchers wanted them to enjoy themselves.
When the women returned from walking, the researchers asked each to estimate her mileage, mood and calorie expenditure.
Those women who'd been formally exercising reported feeling more fatigued and grumpy than the other women, although the two groups' estimates of mileage and calories burned were almost identical. More telling, when the women sat down to a pasta lunch, with water or sugary soda to drink, and applesauce or chocolate pudding for dessert, the women in the exercise group loaded up on the soda and pudding, consuming significantly more calories from these sweets than the women who'd thought that they were walking for pleasure."
Of course, not everyone has fun exercising. If you have a difficult time finding joy in movement but want to become more active, consider positive reasons to move your body such as staying flexible or being able to join your friend on a walk. Next, try to find activities that feel good to you so that you can make the experience more satisfying.
- Beyond a Shadow of a Diet: The Comprehensive Guide to Treating Binge Eating Disorder, Compulsive Eating, and Emotional Overeating is now available! We were thrilled to see it become a bestseller on Amazon in the Eating Disorders category as it reached #3! For a 20% discount (and free shipping) you can order from our publisher and use code IRK71 checkout.
- Upcoming Health At Every Size workshops in the Chicago area (Dominican University) on Thursday, August 17, 2014: The Gift of Attuned Eating (Judith Matz and Elisa D'Urso, RD) and Body Respect, For All Bodies (Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor) are half day pre-conference workshops open to everyone at the 4th International Critical Dietetics Conference. Workshop descriptions and registration information is available at http://criticaldieteticsblog.wordpress.com/conference/ (or see the one page flyer)
- Cultivating a Calm Mind for Emotional Overeaters is the title of our feature article is Rick Hanson's May/June Wise Brain Bulletin – the article is adapted from the new edition of Beyond a Shadow of a Diet. This article is a follow up to The Gift of Attuned Eating written by Judith in the March/April Wise Brain Bulletin (see p. 16).
- Amanda's Big Dream is almost done! Elizabeth Patch continues to do an amazing job of creating beautiful illustrations that are sure to please children and their parents.
- Please "like" Diet Survivors Group on Facebook.
Wishing you a breezy and relaxing summer,
All the best,
Judith and Ellen
|Judith Matz, LCSW
|Ellen Frankel, LCSW
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Deerfield, IL 60015-0048