"I feel fat…why is this always on my mind?"
We are so self-conscious about our weight, so much so that we are obsessed with it. Our thoughts weigh us down with the ‘heaviness’ we feel about this all too common female issue. There isn’t a woman I have known that doesn’t watch her weight.
Women spend billions of dollars every year trying to find a weight loss solution. According to ABC 20/20 News on May 8, 2012, the annual revenue of the U.S. weight loss industry, including diet books, diet drugs, and weight loss surgeries is $20 billion (watch the full story on “Losing It: The Big Fat Trap” on “20/20” on-line). The compelling numbers tell us just how anxious, frustrated and sometimes desperate women become when their weight defines who they are. What’s interesting, however is that weight is very often a self-esteem issue or a fear of intimacy issue, and not an “I’m just eating the wrong foods” issue.
Here’s why killing yourself at the gym just isn’t going to work, and dieting will fail you. When we look at weight from the outside we are looking in the wrong place. We need to look at weight from the inside in order to get a different result on the outside. If you believe what advertisers tell you about their products, then the only thing you are going to lose is your hard earned money! This very delicate issue is not as simple as counting your calories or taking a pill. Weight is a big deal for women because we measure ourselves by it–not just with a tape measure, but also with our own internal police station. We measure our competence by it, our value and worthiness by it, our femininity and how desirable we are to someone by it, and the list goes on. Weight becomes who we are, how capable we are, how lovable we are, etc.
How can therapy help me if I am depressed or anxious about my weight?
If you are like most women who have tried everything to battle their discomfort about their weight without much success, then chances are your weight is not likely to be the problem. It is the symptom. In other words, our weight may be the first thing we see as we look at ourselves in the mirror on a daily basis, so we are visually reminded of our discomfort. Or, if you are the woman who has to get on the scale daily, then what you actually weigh will be a painful reminder, unless you realize your clothes are not fitting. These are the ways women torture themselves.
What you don’t see lies hidden on the inside of you, and that is where help begins. Your discomfort begins from the inside out! If you have never explored how your self-esteem is very much related to your “heaviness”, then this is where your story really begins. Body Image and self-image are tied together like peanut butter and jelly. When we throw in genetics, exercise and aging, we have a casserole like no other. Weight problems then are very complicated, and since we have not developed a way to put self-esteem in an over the counter product, I am suggesting that looking at your feelings may be the key to a happier you! Psychological roadblocks lead to weight gain or weight loss. Could this be the reason why dieting just doesn’t work for you? I am suggesting that when we begin to look at family patterns, how you were rewarded as a child, how your mother soothed you with a cookie, or how you soothe yourself in general on a daily basis, we begin to put the puzzle pieces together that tell us how food has become or always has been very, very important in your life! (Beyond hunger)
So, what am I really hungry for?
This is of course what I think is the million dollar question. I am not talking about Mexican vs. Italian for dinner. This question pertains to being able to have an emotional connection with yourself regarding what is calling to you. Simply put, emotional eating does not lead one to healing. We must then ask: How fulfilled are you in your life? Are you enough? Were you starved emotionally as a child? In therapy, a woman can search deeply for the dynamics, which have brought her to her discomfort. The experience can be truly life changing. In a safe environment, and with another woman, you can face yourself and the areas of your life that need to shift. Emotional shifting is like defragging your computer; we are shifting the moving parts-making room for the new, putting the old to rest, or doing a little of both. A dietician, a green tea supplement, and eating organically will not do this! A physician telling you to exercise more will not help. In fact, if you are a woman who has been on a roller coaster of dieting her whole life, chances are you will feel too vulnerable and be put off by someone who tells you what to eat, when to eat, and how to eat, etc. I will help you find the fullness in your life you are looking for. I will help you to think about the big picture so you can be your best self, so you can stop obsessing and torturing yourself about your weight. Your chances for success increase if you really understand what’s eating you!