Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Body, My Enemy?

Not only do professionals lack knowledge of the physical reasons for overeating but society in general does as well. We are socialized to be preoccupied with weight and physical appearance and, in the process, we often cut ourselves off from our physical selves. We can maintain a negative image of our body within our subconscious mind while, in fact, having little actual awareness of ourselves as being in a body that feels and performs and moves about for us all day long. Many women look in the mirror only from the neck up. They apply creams and make up and often give little attention and nurturance to the rest of their beings. From the neck down is regarded as “the enemy” – that body which adamantly refuses to cooperate and conform to society’s unrealistically thin image. How can we expect to love and care for our body if we detach from it and think of our body as an enemy?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Overeating is not all psychological either

Many of us, perhaps particularly in the profession of psychology, fail to realize that overeating is only partly psychological, that there is a strong physical component to our behavior. Our clients may think, and we may join them in thinking, that if we can only find that one old emotional wound that needs healing or that one major conflict to solve, eating issues will magically disappear, as if that knowledge and that process alone are powerful enough to put a stop at last to the years of food-abusive behaviors.
It is true that much research has been done on the effects of various foods on our emotions. What does it mean emotionally if we eat too much or too little salt or fat? What happens inside our body if we choose only refined foods instead of whole foods? We may wonder why we race around in search of potato chips or chocolate with such fervor: what is our body trying to tell us that we are unable or unwilling to hear? Where can we acquire the knowledge we need to figure this out? Here is a good reference for you. In their best selling book, Make the Connection, Bob Greene and Oprah Winfrey offer clear explanations of some of the ways our body works. Some topics they address are: natural “set point” weight, water retention, ways we burn and store fat, metabolism, effects of different types of exercise and substances on our body and ways to manage compulsive eating behaviors and weight. Their presentation is clear and comprehensive and I highly recommend their book to learn more about these topics.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What Do Clothes Have To Do With Overeating?

What do clothes have to do with it?

Have you ever stopped to pay attention to the ways men and women are expected to dress? I’m not talking about casual wear. Fortunately, much of that is “gender friendly.” I am talking about clothes for work, for a date, for the office or an evening out, for example. Have you ever looked at a fashion magazine and compared images of both genders? The men are seen standing comfortably in some combination of pants and shirts or jackets. Women, on the other hand, are often found in various uncomfortable positions balancing precariously on shoes with high heels that offer no support to their feet.
These women often appear in tight skirts or dresses and, unless they are as thin as pencils, they may have tight undergarments on that pinch when they exhale. In some outfits women look and feel constricted. The clothes they have on just don’t fit. Now this is a sensitive area for some people and I am not saying there is anything wrong with wearing the latest styles. What I am saying is that some of these styles are not a comfortable choice of clothing for many of us. It is hard for us to relax and feel okay about being ourselves. In clothes that make us uncomfortable on the outside it is even harder for us to feel comfortable on the inside. And when we are uncomfortable within, that so often leads to overeating to soothe our discomfort.