Posts Tagged self esteem

Just Where Is the Dysfunction in “Dysfunctional Eating?”

shutterstock_165652964Our body weight does not define the degree of dysfunction in our eating. Anytime we use food to ease our despair rather than nourish our bodies and support our well-being, our eating is dysfunctional.

It may appear more obvious that someone needing to lose one-hundred pounds suffers with eating and food issues more than someone needing to lose fifteen, but body weight hardly defines the degree of despair we hold about our lives.

When food and despair become entwined, we lose sight of feeding ourselves and try to feed the despair, instead. Feeding despair is often a driving force behind our misuse of food and becoming entrapped in harmful eating patterns. Eating is “dysfunctional” when it leaves us on the other side of good health and loving our lives.

Using food in an effort to hide anguish from ourselves or others does not eliminate ease  pain or heal it. Understanding and accepting our vulnerabilities and difficulties as valid and endearing aspects of who we are is the foundation for true healing. Everyone comes face- to- face with all kinds of seemingly external obstacles that stand in the way of self-discovery. If yours are about your relationship with food, these obstacles are your calls for healing your life. They represent the turmoil within to know and accept everything about yourself, even the parts you don’t yet understand.

It may be sobering to admit the psychological, emotional and spiritual burdens that our body and food issues can impose on our lives. For some of us, decisions about food and eating are so layered and complicated that they become a source of on-going tension that never lets up. We become so caught up in the daily struggle that we don’t fully grasp that our lives don’t have to be this way. Before we know it, tomorrow is already upon us and the struggle begins again. A different paradigm for thinking about food can free you from thoughts about being or becoming fat, and all the other related issues that have taken a stranglehold on your life. What Part of You Is Hungry?

 

INVITATION TO HEAL

dreamstime_m_34879771Food, in its broadest sense heals. Our hunger is an invitation to healing. Our thoughts and feelings about our foods, our hungers and how we feed ourselves reflect a great deal about our identity as women. Our behavior around food says something about how well we love ourselves, how we relate to others and what we do with our lives. It’s that important.

For some of us, decisions about food and eating are so layered and complicated that they become a source of on-going tension that never lets up. We become so caught up in the daily struggle that we don’t fully grasp that our lives don’t have to be this way. Before we know it, tomorrow is already upon us and the struggle begins again. A different paradigm for thinking about food can free you from thoughts about being or becoming fat, and all the other related issues that have taken a stranglehold on your life. What Part of You Is Hungry?

Unhealthy attitudes about our bodies and how we feed them prevail. Some of us use food as a buffer between layers of pain and heartbreak, exhausting our will. Too many of us starve, no matter how much we eat. Every woman should take a close look at her relationship with food because it is perhaps the most intimate barometer of self-worth and how we live our lives. As we heal our relationship with food, we heal our relationship with ourselves and come as close to living “happily ever after” as we can get.

A Message To Ourselves and Our Children

“Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.”        Leonard Cohen

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Do I Look Too Fat? 3 Insights to Transform How You See Yourself

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Thinking about your body in terms of how “fat” it is can erode your self-esteem and keep you at a distance from your real beauty. Here are three insights to help you reframe how the word “fat” operates in your life by changing the focus from body image to self image:

1. When you say “I feel fat,” what precisely do you mean? This is an important question because “fat” is a word many women use as a stand-in for a wide-range of authentic emotions. What is the feeling, the mood or the experience that is the driving force behind your “I feel fat” statement. Do you feel undesirable or socially anxious? Do you feel inferior or unlovable? Are you sad or hurt or angry and don’t quite believe that you belong in the world today? Shift your focus from chronic preoccupation with your body’s size and weight to what you are really feeling about yourself in the moment. 

2.  “Do these pants make me look fat?” How often do you suppose this question is heard in women’s dressing rooms? How many times have is asked it yourself?  Realize that no article of clothing makes you look fat. Your clothes do reveal other important information about yourself. A dress can emphasize how gracefully you age; a pair of shoes might say something about your sense of humor. But most often, the clothing you choose to wear is a statement about how you feel about yourself:

“I feel pretty” or “Don’t look at me.

“I’m comfortable and secure” or “Go away.”

“I’m a winner” or “I’m hopeless.”

“I mean business” or “Shoot me now.”

The colors, patterns and fit of your clothing can draw attention to you or help you hide, but no article of clothing “makes” you look fat. See if the clothes you feel drawn to give you insight about your internal landscape.

3. When you stand before the mirror, shift your attention from the critical eye perpetually judging the relative size and shape of your body. Remember that the amount of space you occupy is not a reflection of your self-worth. The size of your backside is not in proportion to your capacity to give and receive love. Your body’s silhouette does not limit or increase your integrity or your courage. Keep in mind that even the most dramatic weight loss does not promise an increase in self-esteem. A shift in your self-esteem, however, can support anything you want to accomplish.

 

 

How to Improve Your Body Image in 3 Easy Steps

 

If we can’t experience the reality of our innermost beauty, losing weight won’t bring us any closer to recognizing how lovely we are.

320756_2545702681966_1101898257_nMany of us have struggled with body image for most of our lives, but this battle doesn’t have to define our future. Transforming our body image may not be an instant fix, but beginning the process is far simpler than many of us realize.

Here are 3 doable steps that will undoubtedly improve your body image and lead to greater self-love.

1. Rethink Your Flaws.

Often there’s a body part that steals our focus. For some of us, it’s our thighs. For others, it’s our stomach. Many of us are preoccupied with a part of our body we’ve designated a “problem.”

Yet, the very fact that we see our body as a problem tells us more about the state of our mind than the state of our body. Often our lens is shaped by popular culture and fashion trends. Start working on your perspective. It’s the one that matters most.

Do some investigative work and find a culture or a historical period that celebrates round stomachs or thick, full thighs. It may make a difference in how you think about your own body parts. When you find yourself focusing on your “flaws,” remind yourself that seeing your body as a problem is simply a matter of perspective.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/04/perfect-female-bodies-no- such-thing_n_4726196.html

2. Go Grateful

Feeling truly grateful for our body heightens and reinforces connection with ourselves and with others. Our amazing body manages a legion of complex human functions and interactions to maintain its balance and health with loyalty and resilience. We depend on our body to make courageous efforts to compensate for physical and psychological maladies as they occur.

Our bodies are first and foremost functional. Our legs are our primary means of support and movement. Our torso protects vital organs. Our hands help us complete the essential tasks of every-day-life and embrace our whole world.

When we’re focused on what we “don’t like” about our body, we miss out on one of its most remarkable aspects – Our body is a “communication specialist” bar none. It takes in and responds to everything we think, say and do. Everything takes place in our body. It maintains a continuous stream of communication-whether we are aware of it or not.

There is a powerful, inseparable connection between our minds and our bodies. The more grateful and kind our inner dialogue is, the more positive the corresponding physical responses. We can linger in our bodies longer and feel safe in them.

Make a gratitude list featuring your body. Describe the abilities you treasure, the ways your body supports you, the health you savor. Take an inventory of your senses and appreciate each one for how it enriches your life. Close your eyes and listen to your body’s extraordinary language. It can be an unprecedented meditative experience for as long as it lasts.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Learn-to-Listen-to-Your-Bodys-Signals#ixzz3TtwRoZPz

3. Treat Your Body As A Dear Friend.

Poor body image can lead to incessant internal unrest in which our mind, body, and spirit are disconnected and adrift. When we’re in conflict with our body, we are far more likely to succumb to unhealthy behaviors. Instead of thinking of your body an adversary, try treating your body as a dear friend. Try to embrace a spirit of hospitality and kindheartedness on its behalf. Nothing is closer to you than your own body.

11532_20120923_193954_dandelionsWould you prepare a beautiful and nourishing meal for a dear friend who came to dinner, or would you pass them a paper bag from a drive through restaurant? Would you rush a dear friend through a story, or would you be patient and empathize? Imagine what your daily life would look like if you treated your body as a friend and listened to the messages it gives you with compassion and warmth. Transforming your body image isn’t going to happen overnight, but never underestimate your capacity to change your perspective from one moment to the next.

Every subtle shift in how you perceive yourself can transform how you see everything else. Seeing your thighs as too fat or your upper arms as unattractive is more likely to prescribe your behavior on the beach trip, not your appearance. Can you relate?