A friend contacted me the other day to talk about something disturbing. Long story short, a medical doctor told the mother of a 140 lb., 5’9” tall 14-year-old girl (while the young girl was present) that her daughter “was a breath away from being overweight.” He continued to tell the mother what to do about the “problem” by suggesting she feed her less and hide the food in the house, because the daughter will get hungry and most likely search it out. Let me say again, this advice came from a Doctor. My mouth dropped open, and I was left speechless for a moment. Then, I felt very uncomfortable inside, scared, sad, and confused. How could anyone be so highly educated and so ignorant at the same time? Is there nowhere safe from the debilitating degradation of our bodies by un-educated people? Get with the times, Mr. Doctor! I, personally, would have wanted to know exactly what chart he was using to label my daughter as overweight. My guess is he was using the, ever so popular, antiquated BMI chart. I found this article written by David Belk on the Huffington Post I feel explains why the body mass index charts should be thrown out the window. I will let you read his article for more information on that point, as I want to continue my rant on the mixed up world our children are growing up in.
Another story of young people getting the wrong message from a trusted adult is from a 2nd grade classroom, during a Valentine's Day celebration. The teacher told the children she could eat none of the treats at the party, because she didn’t want to get fat again. Why even bring this up? It is crazy to think our kids, at this very impressionable age, can already hear messages that convince them they must be of a certain weight to be loved. Then, just this morning, I heard on the radio a story about Amy Schumer being labeled as “Plus-Sized” in Glamour magazine. Amy is a size 8! ( Here is the link to an article about this story on Today.) All three of these stories are examples of how we are programed to think we are too big and being big is not ok. What’s not ok is my kids hearing these stories, thinking a size 8 is plus sized, or about just the term “plus sized.” What does that even mean? Why does there need to be a label for someone over a certain size, anyway? Are they not still just a human, like the rest of us? Do we need to call them something different? No! Amy Schumer should be called Amy Schumer. Period. We have to stop labeling, and start loving all shapes, sizes, colors, and personalities. I have tried my hardest to protect my kids from stereotypes and other evils of the world, but I cannot keep them in my little 18-acre bubble forever. Society has taken its toll on my family, just like yours, and it saddens me. I don’t think I fully understood the heaviness of the toll until I had children of my own. The love I have for my babies is unconditional, and the thought of someone thinking they are any less than perfect every single day of their precious lives is heartbreaking . We are all someone’s children and deserve to be thought of as perfect, as is. We are all perfect in The Lord our God’s eyes. The word “perfect” is also troublesome for some, but can you see that my use of the word here doesn’t require you to change yourself to achieve it? We are perfect now, already. The next level of perfect will only be achieved when God rescues and restores us to His perfect, which we will never reach by spending our time, here on Earth, judging others and ourselves, instead of spreading love and peace.
OK, OK, I know that I am hypersensitive to this topic. I struggled with an eating disorder for much of my young adult life, but I hate the thought of anyone else ever falling into that pit of despair because of what we are told we should look like or what shape we should be. Stop “shoulding” on yourself! I believe in a life full of enjoyment of food, while striving for a balance of healthy eating and chocolate. Funny, but I mean it. If you have ever struggled with a full blown eating disorder, or just disordered eating, you know the minute you make something off limits to yourself, it becomes the center of your universe. Dieting is a word I would like stricken from all of our memories. I will just say it; diets DON’T work. I know there will many of you who will disagree with this statement, but I will not back down on this one. Sure, people have benefitted from reducing and/or improving their food intake. However, unless they also went through some inner psychological or spiritual change, along with the new “diet,” I would bet the results did not stick. The word “diet," has a negative connotation, which is punishment. There must be a bigger, more significant change in someone’s life to make it a lasting change. During my courses with The Institute for the Psychology of Eating, I learned many great life changing lessons. One was that anything done from a place of hate or distress in the attempt to create something better is counterproductive. You cannot hate your body into one you love. You cannot hate your husband into a man you love. You cannot hate your job into one you love. You will never reach that happy place, because you are already there. You only need to recognize it. I read this quote the other day, and it is too good not to share.
“Beware of Destination addiction-a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are”
This is where I start with all of my clients. Find your “happy” right where you are, with what you have, and who you are with, now, not tomorrow. In my work as an eating psychology coach, my 1st act of business is my client must let go of ALL diet mentality. Once we do that, we can get started on the good stuff.
I don’t know what the best answer is to change the world’s viewbut I believe in God and the power of prayer. Change is possible. So, I will continue to encourage my children with all the love I can give them, and I will pray for all of us struggling with finding our true “happy.” I’ll also be praying for those who are lost, believing the lies so wholeheartedly that they cannot see the beauty on the other side, such as the doctor, teacher, and the writers of Glamour, amongst many others. I will pray every day, unceasingly, until I see change. If we all do this, the love will spread further than our minds can imagine. Will you join me?
“10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Eating Psychology and Nutrition Coach