Archives for Relationships

Body Image

Rediscovering and Remembering What We’re Grateful For

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who's celebrating! So I was away a bit longer than I thought (apparently revising almost 70,000 words takes some time). But we'll be back to regular programming next week. :)

Every year for Thanksgiving I write a post about what I'm grateful for (like last year). This year, however, I'm sharing some questions to help us rediscover and remember what is meaningful to us -- from the super small stuff to the really big things. (You guys know by now I'm all about asking questions.)
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Body Image

Supporting Ourselves and Others with Love Letters

My good friend and Curvy Yoga founder Anna Guest-Jelley recently told me that she reads a love letter before she starts writing. Every morning. It's a love letter that she penned herself. Because, as anyone who writes knows, writing is a beautiful process, but it's also vulnerable and intimidating. Very intimidating.
So it's very easy to stop. It's very easy not to show up in the first place. (Oh, there are dishes in the sink. Better wash those! The tub is filthy. Gotta clean that! My to-do list is overflowing. I'll just work on all that stuff instead. )
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General

A Few Questions that Might Transform Your Self-Care

You might put yourself last on your list. Work. Housework. Bills. Kids. Spouse. It's as though everyone and everything deserve care and tending except for you. Or you skimp on sleep regularly and ignore your needs. Or you berate yourself for most things. Or for everything. Or you let people walk all over you. You let people into your life who don't have your best interests at heart. Or you don't let yourself sit down and rest, because you think you're only worthy when you're being productive and efficient and crossing off tasks.

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Body Image

Setting Boundaries When Loved Ones Comment on Your Weight


What do you do when someone close to you comments on your weight? Makes a snarky remark about your looks? Makes a joke about your recent weight gain?

When this happens, you might be shocked, startled and really sad. It can be downright painful.

Maybe you've been working on embracing your body for a while, but these kinds of comments still bruise you. Or maybe you're in a shaky relationship with your body. And these comments certainly don't help.


Recently, a reader asked me for advice on navigating these kinds of situations. She's going home for the holidays and her family tends to focus a lot on weight and appearance. So I reached out to some of my favorite clinicians for help. I shared one excellent response last week.

Today, I'm sharing Judith Matz's valuable suggestions (along with two more therapists). Judith, LCSW, is a clinical social worker who helps people make peace with food, their bodies, and themselves. She's the author and co-author of the fantastic books Amanda's Big Dream; The Diet Survivor's Handbook; and Beyond a Shadow of a Diet. You can learn more about Judith at her website judithmatz.com.
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Body Image

What to Do When Your Family Comments on Your Weight


Recently, a reader, Jen, left an excellent question on my post about what to do when you gain weight. She wrote:

"Also, I was wondering if you could write on the topic of family members commenting on weight gain. I grew up in a family that focuses a lot on weight and appearance, and doesn’t care to discuss emotional health. I’m visiting family over Thanksgiving this year, and have been ruminating and ruminating and ruminating about what my family will think of me. Some of them I haven’t seen for 3 years, so they’ll certainly notice if I’ve changed; and they’ll comment on it, too. That’s what I’m most afraid of, and why I keep thinking about Thanksgiving, and dreading it very much in the process.

Currently, I don’t have tools that I can use to deal with the emotional pain of them commenting on my appearance, if they do. I’ve learned to handle my own mean comments, but comments from family members just seem too difficult to manage."

Of course, she's not alone. This is a common, very common, issue that we face, whether we're recovering from an eating disorder, working on embracing our bodies or trying not to focus on weight at all. Our families might comment on how much weight we've gained or lost. They might comment on how much we're eating or not eating. They might make other comments about our appearance, which hurt us.

And they might make these comments at any time, at any gathering. Which is why I wanted to explore this topic right away. (Plus, the holidays are right around the corner.)

I've asked a few different experts to chime in. Today, I'm sharing an excellent response from Amy Pershing, LMSW, ACSW, the founding director of Bodywise BED Recovery Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. She's also the clinical director of the The Center for Eating Disorders in Ann Arbor, and a past Chair of The Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA).
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Books

Simple, Clear-Cut Ways to View Boundaries — Especially for People-Pleasers

Boundaries can seem like a big (and intimidating) word, especially to people who haven't set many limits throughout their lives. If you're a people-pleaser, you know what I mean. However, the good news is that setting boundaries is an acquired skill. We can learn some tools and then practice them over and over. We don't have to resign ourselves to doing things we're uncomfortable with because that's what we used to do. We can make healthy changes.

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Culture

Different Ways to Listen to Ourselves

This week on "Make a Mess," my creativity blog, I wrote about looking outside myself for answers. I assumed that other people knew better what I needed and wanted. And I assumed that those people also deserved to have a say. (Many of them did not.)

Unwittingly, I placed the power that belonged to me in their hands. Not only did I often remove myself from the discussion, I removed myself from the entire room.

But here's a vital realization: We have the answers inside us. They are within. We just need to listen.

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Body Image

Finding Lessons in Trials, Triumphs and Everyday Life

One of the things that helps us avoid bashing ourselves and getting bogged down by life's challenges is to have a learning mindset. To look at everything (or at least most things) as a lesson to be learned. For instance, just yesterday, I read this excellent piece by Todd Henry. In it he recounts all the frustrating things that happened after he gave a talk in Colorado: dealing with a delayed flight, missing his connecting flight home, having to stay at a hotel overnight, missing the hotel shuttle, only eating breakfast all day.

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General

Your Unmet Needs May Be Hiding; Find Them Here

This week I wrote an article about what to do if you're falling for your therapist. In short, you share this with your therapist (as awkward as it is). That's because your feelings for your therapist often reveal your unmet needs. A woman who imagines her therapist as the ideal husband, because he's patient and understanding, wants those qualities in her own marriage. A man who loves his therapist because she's nurturing may be missing this nurturing in his own life.

Together, the clinician and client explore the unmet needs that underlie these feelings. Then they work on finding healthy ways to met these needs (since a romantic relationship with the therapist, of course, is off limits).

I think this applies to all of us.

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