Women and men come into my office every day with eating struggles and woes. They say things like “I feel fat;” or “My doctor says that I need to lose weight;” or “my spouse criticizes me about my weight.” These men and women feel judged by society. They feel ashamed and out of control. They come in to my office because diets have failed them. They have tried all of the diets and are probably about as knowledgeable about calories, nutrition and exercise as most nutritionists. But unfortunately, all of this knowledge has not helped them lose pounds or maintain their desired weight. As a therapist I know what most of the current research shows: DIETS DON’T WORK! (To learn more about the science behind this bold statement, check out my blog post entitled, Dieting . . . A Vicious Cycle.
So, what is a therapist to do? How can I help my clients (and friends and family) who struggle with the weight loss battle?
I decided to check out what the “Stars” say. I mean, come on, aren’t they the ones we are comparing ourselves to anyway? Are any of them sharing tips about how to address the mental and emotional blocks or are they just giving food tips? I read an article by Lisa Iannucci entitled 50 Weight Loss Tips From Celebrities Who Have Lost More Than 30 Pounds.
Here are some of my favs and why they appeal to my therapist-head:
Jordin Sparks suggests thinking before eating. She says, “Ask yourself, ‘Am I really hungry, or am I having this because it looks good?’” Excellent question Jordin! Slowing down to check in with your body is a really good first step. It also ties in with the wisdom of learning how to eat intuitively. First we need to get back in touch with our hunger signals that can be super out of whack from years and years of dieting. As a dieting culture, we have learned to practice depravation and ignore hunger signals, which usually leads to the sea-saw effect of starving, binging and losing control. Sometimes it’s just fine to eat because food looks good but it is also important to know when you are eating out of hunger for food versus hunger for something else like love, companionship, or to relax.
Actress Sara Rue suggests that we let go of the guilt experienced when we don’t strictly follow our diet. Yep, great advice Sara! So often the guilt from 1 slip can trigger a cascade of self-doubt and self-hatred. This then makes us want to eat more as a way to alleviate the stress and pain caused by the guilt. SHUT DOWN THE FOOD POLICE IN YOUR MIND! When you deviate from your plan, remind yourself that you are working on developing new eating habits, not aiming for perfection!
Actress America Ferrara has long been a role model for young women precisely because she does not conform to the undernourished Hollywood starlet look. America told Cosmopolitan For Latinas, “Take your time and your talent and figure out what you have to contribute to the world, and get over what the hell your butt looks like in those jeans.” I think this is great advice, America! Each of us are more that our jean’s size, and coincidentally when you stress-less about weight, less of the stress hormones pour into your body and you will have less of a need to “comfort-eat”.
And finally, Christina Aguilera found that taking some time off work to focus on herself reduced her stress and helped her lose weight.
Do you see a theme here? I do! Each of these celebs are reminding us to practice self-care. We can do that by listening to our bodies, letting go of guilt and the need for perfection, remembering that we are more than our jean’s size, and letting go of stress. Reaching your best weight where you are most comfortable comes from loving and accepting yourself, not carrying the excess baggage of shame and guilt. So as you embark on the journey of taking care of your body, remember to practice self-love, self-care, and self-compassion!
To begin your self-care journey, I am here to help. You can reach me at 818-309-7780. Or KimScottMFT.com.
I am a licensed marriage, family and child therapist in private practice in Porter Ranch, CA. I have been licensed for over 30 years and am passionate about working with women on improving their self-esteem and self-care.