December 22, 2013

Ideas for people with Eating Disorders to Negotiate the Holidays

Need a little extra help dealing with your eating disorder this holiday season? I am reposting this from last year because I think the information is appropriate this time of year. These are helpful ideas from the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) about how to successfully negotiate your way through the holidays. Tips # 6 & 7 can be especially useful in talking about specific ways your support system can help you through this season.

I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, Holiday Season.

If you or someone you love are dealing with an eating disorder, please contact one of our Houston counselors to find out how we can help.

December 18, 2013

Shut down fat talk

I came across this video from the makers of Special K about women using "fat talk." According to the video, 93% of women use derogatory terms, or "fat talk" to describe their bodies. For example, they might say something such as "I look like a fat cow in this outfit."  Words are powerful. When you use "fat talk," it impacts how you feel about yourself. One of women in the video equated it with bullying. Can you imagine what a lifetime of this talk has done to your self-esteem?

This week, pay attention to the thoughts and words you use when thinking about your physical body. Write down any negative self-talk. Then next to the negative words, write down a rebuttal or a positive comment about your body. Sometimes it helps if you think about what you would say to a friend who was criticizing themselves. Battle your inner critic. Be vigilant about not allowing yourself to use bullying, degrading terms about your body. 

By the way, my inclusion of this video is not an endorsement of Special K, or their other campaigns and emphasis on weight loss. I always advocate that people focus on being healthy (emotionally and nutritionally) and not focus on simply losing weight. Some of the least physically healthy people I know are actually quite thin. However, I do think the video shares some important insights that can help all of us learn to be more accepting of ourselves and less accepting of that bullying voice that tears you down for perceived flaws in your body.

December 9, 2013

Learning to forgive: Lessons from Nelson Mandela

We lost a great hero this week at the death of president Nelson Mandela on December 5th. He suffered in prison for 27 years for his role in trying to end apartheid in South Africa. I can only imagine how I would feel if I was unjustly arrested, and forced to spend decades behind bars. I can imagine coming out bitter, broken, and revengeful. But Nelson Mandela understood that bitterness would come at a great price. Talking about his release from prison, he said, "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison."

It is sometimes hard to let go of the bitterness, anger, and scorn we feel for the people in our lives who have wounded us. Very often those people are close family or friends, and the wound is made more difficult when we have to regularly face those individuals. I think about one of my clients who was sexually abused as a child by a family friend. He has struggled in many areas of his life because of the abuse. He has every right to be angry. And yet, that anger has also been a cause of suffering for him.

If you are feeling that kind of consuming bitterness, you know what a prison it can be. To be free of the prison, it will require the courage to give up your right to be angry and bitter. I encourage you to do something radically different in the way you think about those who have caused you to feel bitter. I encourage you to wish them well, to pray for them, to hope for positive and real change in their lives. Little by little, you will feel the bitterness melt away in your heart.

This does not mean you have to spend time with those individuals, or have any contact with them. It is still a good idea to maintain good boundaries with people who are poisonous in your life. But, in your mind, and in your heart you can start the long walk down the path of freedom from anger and bitterness.