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Calorie Count Blog

Boot the Bully from Your Brain


By michelle_may_md on Oct 20, 2011 10:00 AM in Dieting & You


By Michelle May, M.D.

Bias. Stereotyping. Prejudice. Discrimination. Bullying. 

These ugly words describe a serious problem weight stigma. Our culture is entrenched in the belief that fat is bad, people with fat are bad, people who exceed a BMI of 25 are unhealthy, and that only a narrow range of body sizes are beautiful. Billions of dollars are spent trying to attain the cultural ideal, but the more we diet, the further we move from it.  A recent Calorie Count post talked about new research showing just how damaging weight stigma can be.

Whether subtle or blatant, weight stigma is broadcast into our living rooms and shows up in our classrooms, break rooms, and exam rooms. For many of us, weight stigma hits even closer to home:  right between our ears!


Making the invisible, visible

What beliefs about weight have you internalized? Are those beliefs helping or harming? 

By internalizing this cultural bias, we condemn ourselves to living within its limitations. We allow the bully to move into our brains.

You can only change what you are aware of. Without awareness, you may repeat old, even painful, patterns simply because they are familiar. In other words, you create your own reality.

What is the reality you are creating?

I'm not letting the bullies off the hook, but if you believe them, you become them. For example, you may have old tapes that sound something like this:

  • I’m too embarrassed to be seen exercising.
  • I can’t go to the gym until I’ve lost some weight.
  • I’m trying to eat healthy but I’m not losing weight—it doesn’t matter what I eat.
  • I’ll get diabetes because I can’t lose weight, so why change the way I eat?
  • I can’t eat what I love in public, so I'll binge later in private.
  • I’ll never look like I did in high school, so why bother with healthy eating and exercise?
  • I don’t deserve someone who loves me because I’m too fat.
  • I don’t feel sexy because of my weight.
  • I don’t see how my partner can think I’m sexy so I thwart his/her attempts.
  • I don’t believe my husband when he tells me I’m beautiful.
  • I don’t want to go to the doctor because I regained the weight I lost.
  • I don’t take my blood pressure medicine because I know I should lose weight instead.
  • I won’t buy new clothes until I reach my goal weight.
  • If I was thinner, I would ask for that promotion.
  • I’d love to travel but I want to lose weight first.
  • I love going to the beach but I hate putting on a bathing suit.

Making the impossible, possible

What if? What if you booted the bully from your brain? Ask yourself, "How could my life be different if I didn't buy into those limitations?"

  • I’m exercising.
  • I go to the gym.
  • I’m trying to eat healthy.
  • I’m at risk for diabetes so I’m changing the way I eat.
  • I’ll never look like I did in high school. I’m eating healthier and exercising.
  • I eat what I love.
  • I deserve someone who loves me.
  • I feel sexy.
  • My partner thinks I’m sexy.
  • My husband tells me I’m beautiful.
  • I go to the doctor.
  • I take my blood pressure medicine.
  • I buy new clothes.
  • I’m going to ask for that promotion.
  • I love to travel.
  • I’m going to the beach.

Boot the Bully from the Block

Take your power back. Boot the bully from your brain! Then, lets boot the bully from the block! To learn more about weight stigma, visit: BEDA Online.

Your thoughts...

Are you dealing with a weight stigma?  What steps are you using to change it?


Michelle May, M.D. is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle. Download chapter one free.  Dr. May is also the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Workshops and Facilitator Training Program that helps individuals learn to break free from mindless and emotional eating to live a more vibrant, healthy life.



Comments


Thank you for this article. I have a massive bully in my brain that tells me most of those things and I would love to be able to boot it out. Unfortunately those thoughts are put there because of society's attitudes about how people should look. I'm a couple of stone overweight and am constantly reminded about how I used to look when I was 18, a pretty unrealistic goal to reach at 44!It's like I'm not really 'me' because I'm not the right weight.

I am guilty of putting life on hold until I lose weight, like a new relationship or buying nice clothes, and I know that if I keep that up my life will soon disappear and I will have missed out.

Great article, definitely time for a rethink.



Very good article! The battle is won in the mind, unfortunately we are our worst enemies if we don't recognize these outside influences. YET, as a healthcare provider I can garantee you that being overweight damages ourselves. I've struggle with losing 50 pounds I gained after menopause but I will persist until I lose it all. Don't rationalize that a healthy weight is not "realisitic". Yes it is, any excuse to not become healthy and fit is just that...an excuse not to do it. A person who is good at excuses is good at nothing else...Be good to yourself, love yourself, parent yourself by expecting what is best....and keep trying...we can eat an elephant one bite at a time....



The first list definately used to sound like me,but I'm older and wiser now and I don't bully myself anymore. It's these words that keep you from success. Everyone strives towards the second list, but nowhere on this list is: I'll love and respect myself no matter what anyone else thinks, even if I'm thin or not.



The thing is, this all dates back to evolutionary times and our natural instincts on beauty, choosing a mate, and tribal/individual health. Society finds a certain range of BMI attractive, not becouse we are told to, but because it is within a health range that may be more fertile. Everyone finds different shapes and sizes attractive, my theory on that is because that what we are attracted to may be the best pairing for our DNA, to creat the most successful offspring. So i say weight stigma, is human nature that is geared toward the succes of the tribe.



The list mentioned used to be a huge part of me and honestly a part of it still is with me inside.  At one point in my younger life I was over 400 pounds and dropped down with a good diet to about 175.  However, menopause thrown on you immediately after surgery really puts a hitch in your giddy with being able to stay down and lose weight.  I am so lucky to have the most wonderful support system in my partner and grown children.  They have always thought I was beautiful no matter what weight I have been at, after all beauty comes for who you are inside.  They have supported my weight loss efforts because I have developed degenerative arthritis and to keep the wear and tear on my joints down I really need to drop a large amount of weight.  I am doing this for me and my health.  I work one full time job in the days, one part time job 4 nights a week and we just started a collectible business at a Flea Market on the weekends and with all this I am actually losing weight by counting calories thanks to this site.  Being aware of what I take into my body is making a huge difference.  Thank you all for your comments as I read them and they also mean so much that I am not alone.



Yikes. The bully section read my mind. The First 5 sound like my mind on a daily basis. The remainder was me a year ago (which at the time caused a nice mess between me and my husband). It took a year and depression to feel great (between me and him). The exercising part is still hard. I don't have the guts to do that one in a gym, but even worse in front of my husband. Guess we gotta kick the bully.



yup. this is me too. i'm happy to say though, that i have become aware of this bully and have been making these same steps to get rid of her. the hardest one for me though has been the:

- i'm not going to buy any new clothes till i lose the weight.

in the meantime, mainy of my jeans and work pants have come in dire need of replacement! time to go shopping :)



Not too long ago ... less than 100 years, it was more attractive to have a little fat on your body. Look at the models and movie stars from the 40's & 50's...even the beautiful bodies that are in some of the most famous paintings of all time! A little fat meant that you were prosperous and healthy! Some how we have morphed into a society that embraces what I call the "starvation" look. We also live in a world where people create an "artificial" look of thinness through plastic surgery nips & tucks...or added padding and photo shopped photos to enhance thinness. 

At some point you have to take the perspective of : I am better than some, worse than others BUT most importantly I am healthy. 



Original Post by: bertrice

Thank you for this article. I have a massive bully in my brain that tells me most of those things and I would love to be able to boot it out. Unfortunately those thoughts are put there because of society's attitudes about how people should look. I'm a couple of stone overweight and am constantly reminded about how I used to look when I was 18, a pretty unrealistic goal to reach at 44!It's like I'm not really 'me' because I'm not the right weight.

I am guilty of putting life on hold until I lose weight, like a new relationship or buying nice clothes, and I know that if I keep that up my life will soon disappear and I will have missed out.

Great article, definitely time for a rethink.


No, those thoughts are put in your brain by you.  You can choose to remove them.

My choice to lose weight was basically motivated by one underlying concept - that if I didn't lose weight, I would almost certainly die at an earlier age.  Once you achieve some success, the process of losing weight can actually become almost fun.



Original Post by: rawfoodie123

The thing is, this all dates back to evolutionary times and our natural instincts on beauty, choosing a mate, and tribal/individual health. Society finds a certain range of BMI attractive, not becouse we are told to, but because it is within a health range that may be more fertile. Everyone finds different shapes and sizes attractive, my theory on that is because that what we are attracted to may be the best pairing for our DNA, to creat the most successful offspring. So i say weight stigma, is human nature that is geared toward the succes of the tribe.


Nice try, but not quite true, actually.  It used to be quite fashionable to be cherubic (plump) and thin women were NOT considered good "breeders".  It is Madison Avenue's depiction of the PERFECT woman that has turned our generation into self-loathers.  DNA pairing is a relatively new idea: hormones probably play a much bigger role in attraction to the opposite sex than the idea that beauty is the benchmark for choosing a perfect mate. 



I agree with you rawfoodie123! That was my point exactly.

 



Original Post by: vchambers1

I agree with you rawfoodie123! That was my point exactly.

 


I think I agreed with the wrong person? I agree with the response made to the original comment.



Original Post by: hobbbs

Original Post by: rawfoodie123

The thing is, this all dates back to evolutionary times and our natural instincts on beauty, choosing a mate, and tribal/individual health. Society finds a certain range of BMI attractive, not becouse we are told to, but because it is within a health range that may be more fertile. Everyone finds different shapes and sizes attractive, my theory on that is because that what we are attracted to may be the best pairing for our DNA, to creat the most successful offspring. So i say weight stigma, is human nature that is geared toward the succes of the tribe.


Nice try, but not quite true, actually.  It used to be quite fashionable to be cherubic (plump) and thin women were NOT considered good "breeders".  It is Madison Avenue's depiction of the PERFECT woman that has turned our generation into self-loathers.  DNA pairing is a relatively new idea: hormones probably play a much bigger role in attraction to the opposite sex than the idea that beauty is the benchmark for choosing a perfect mate. 


Hobbbs, you are correct.

The easiest example is to look at paintings of the renaissance era. The rich, the beautiful are full figured. Even painting of Goddesses were full figured women (and some really full :) ). It's only this day and age where fitness is beautiful. Big hips on a woman used to be men's major thrive point due to reproduction. (Big hips carry children easier, thinner women had better chances of dying during childbirth). I mean, even for a bit, look at Marilyn Monroe? Size 14. At the time what man would have said no to that? I would like to know however at what defining moment did we become obsessed with a small waist line? My personal belief is the 70's. Skirts got crazy short, legs were out in the open, and the celebrities seemed to be thin. I would like to study when exactly did this happen...



i look upon my daughter and her family with one look, sorrow. my daughter is 38 yrs old, 5'4" tall and weighs 355lbs. my son-in-law is 42, is 6'1" tall and weighs 335. my grandson is 14 yrs old, 5'9" tall and weighs 300lbs. i have tried everything to get them eating right and exercising to no avail. i have asked them to do it not for me but for themselves as i can see very big health problems coming. my daughter and grandson are both on depression pills, my grandson is on high blood pressure pills already. i am 70 and i exercise every day with bad knees and a bad back for about 60 minutes. it is hard for me to see how people can be so lazy and let their health go so badly. i am sorry but i just do not understand it.



 

I'm going to be 50 in December. I have dealt with my weight for 35 years, I am tired of it! All I want is to be healthy. I have a multitude of inspirational reminders all of the place, most day's my bully doesn't bother me but when she does, she really sabotages my efforts to stay true to myself. I know what I need to do, my trouble is I need to have the switch turned on and my mind set redirected to a healthy path. I want so much to stay on track, but when I have a lot of stress in my life, I find it very hard to focus on anything but what is happening at that very moment.

I'm a work in progress. My saving grace is my 19 year old daughter, she is my support system and a huge inspiration to me and the people around her. I know I will get back on track, my goal is to be FABULOUS at 50! I know I can do it!  :o)



Original Post by: dcslanderson

 

I'm going to be 50 in December. I have dealt with my weight for 35 years, I am tired of it! All I want is to be healthy. I have a multitude of inspirational reminders all of the place, most day's my bully doesn't bother me but when she does, she really sabotages my efforts to stay true to myself. I know what I need to do, my trouble is I need to have the switch turned on and my mind set redirected to a healthy path. I want so much to stay on track, but when I have a lot of stress in my life, I find it very hard to focus on anything but what is happening at that very moment.

I'm a work in progress. My saving grace is my 19 year old daughter, she is my support system and a huge inspiration to me and the people around her. I know I will get back on track, my goal is to be FABULOUS at 50! I know I can do it!  :o)


dcslanderson - I know you can, too!  One look at your smiling pic and I can tell you that you're already fabulous at 49!  50 doesn't stand a chance!!  Wink

 

I've been battling for 30 years, too... and this article is bang on!  Society's attitudes I can't change - but I've been battling myself - my doubts, my fears, my insecurities.   Success for me lies in changing my OWN attitude.  Found a great book... the Amen Solution - that talks about killings ANTS  (Automatic Negative Thoughts)  GREAT book, and it's empowered me to begin to change my own life.   Highly recommended reading for anyone who struggles with their weight.

- Carolyn



Original Post by: dap1941

i look upon my daughter and her family with one look, sorrow. my daughter is 38 yrs old, 5'4" tall and weighs 355lbs. my son-in-law is 42, is 6'1" tall and weighs 335. my grandson is 14 yrs old, 5'9" tall and weighs 300lbs. i have tried everything to get them eating right and exercising to no avail. i have asked them to do it not for me but for themselves as i can see very big health problems coming. my daughter and grandson are both on depression pills, my grandson is on high blood pressure pills already. i am 70 and i exercise every day with bad knees and a bad back for about 60 minutes. it is hard for me to see how people can be so lazy and let their health go so badly. i am sorry but i just do not understand it.


PLEASE read chapter one of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. It will help you understand the differences between what you do and what they do. (You can download it free from here: http://amihungry.com/eat-what-you-love-book.shtml.)

You cannot change their decisions - but with awareness, they can!



Comment Removed

Those internal thoughts are actually very true, so why should I pretend that they are not?  Interesting how us fatties try to deny our truths just so we can look in the mirror and not be disgusted. I look at myself and see something I hate.  I look at the way others react and obviously they feel the same way.  Why pretend that this is not reality when many of these are indeed the truth? I have no illusions.  I am what I am (yuck!) and apparently no amount of self delusion, exercise or starvation will change that.



I have the "appearance" bully in my head.  Can't stand photos of me, and avoid looking in mirrors except from very far away.  My huge body always makes my head look small, and I ALWAYS appear fat in photos, no matter how good the photographer is.  Because of that, I have very few photos of myself from after I got married.  We are getting ready to begin world travel next year, during which I am going to blog with pics.  I can guarantee you most of those pics will be of places/things I see, not me in front of those places/things.  I am hoping to lose enough weight by then to not look huge in photos, so I can prove I was There!



Most people believe fat people are fat, because they over-eat and are lazy.  In my journey of discovery on low carb knowledge I have learned about why people get fat and it is not because of over-eating and laziness.  I found that hard to believe at first because I knew I was over-eating and did not have much energy to do anything.  But now I know it is true because I am living proof.  People get fat because of hormonal imbalance between insulin and glucagon.  The over-eating and laziness of fat people only starts after they start getting fat.  And once that is started, it can spiral out of control if the person is too weak to resist and has no knowledge on how to stop the cycle.  Then you end up like me, morbidly obese.  Now that I know what is happening hormonally, I have corrected those hormones through the low carb diet.  I have lost over 150lbs now and still have 100s to go.  Even though I am still obese, I feel 100 times better energy wise than I have ever did.  That is because my body is no longer dominated by the insulin hormone.  I no longer dread going out and walking to places being tired and out of breath and being seen by people in public.  One, because my energy level is so much higher that I don't get tired and out of breath, and two, my guilt of being a fat guy is gone.  I realized it is not totally my fault for getting like this.  It really was the insulin domination in my body that drove me to be fat and kept me fat.  We are all different and some people are more luckier than others hormonal wise.  I now know that the skinny sucker over there sneering to his buddies about my fatness is most likely no different from me other than being luckier to be born with genes that are more able to accept the high carb American diet.  Knowledge is key, and I only wish I discovered this knowledge 20 years ago.

If you are struggling to lose weight and have not, you might start thinking about reducing your carbs more to get your body hormones in tune.  For some people just going on any diet is enough to reduce their insulin domination (any diet is going to reduce your carb intake), and they will lose weight.  If you are like me, though, you will need to take extra effort and reduce the carbs even more to lose weight.  

In case you doubt what I say, any research on the insulin hormone will show you that insulin is the hormone that tells your fat cells to absorb fat.  Does it not make sense that if your body is insulin dominated, you will get fatter.  A lot of fat people usually end up diabetic.  Diabetes is a disease involving insulin.  Fat people become diabetic because their whole insulin process has been worn out because of this full time insulin domination.  Message me if you want to know more.  My whole fat family is losing weight now based on this knowledge.  I like talking about it.



Yea, apparently you do like talking about it.  Sorry, no sale on my side.  I have tried this carb starvation nonsense and it does not work for me and many other people.  There is no such thing as a one size fits all solution.  For some of us there is no answer, just more frustration.



Original Post by: fluffbutt

Yea, apparently you do like talking about it.  Sorry, no sale on my side.  I have tried this carb starvation nonsense and it does not work for me and many other people.  There is no such thing as a one size fits all solution.  For some of us there is no answer, just more frustration.


Yep, eliminating carbs from your diet is very difficult.  Many people can't do it and won't do it.  But, you will lose weight if you are capable of doing it, that I have know doubt about.  It is not nonsense.  It is basic metabolic process your body uses for energy:

Eating carbs causes insulin release -> fat cells absorb fat 

Lack of eating carbs causes glucagon release -> fat cells release fat

That is scientific fact that you can not argue with.  However, we are all individuals and how well your fat cells listen to the insulin and glucagon hormones will differ.  That is why you can find skinny people who can eat as many carbs as they want and won't get fat.  Their fat cells just do not listen to insulin too well.  You can have the opposite true too, where a person's fat cells will not listen to glucagon too well (glucagon tells the fat cells to release fat for energy).



Where I understand the need to not allow the Ken and Barbie body-type mentality society places on men and women to be a deterrent to working out, going to the beach, etc. I have a real hard time with the underlying message here: It's OK to be fat.

Oprah Winfrey [and other "feel good" talk show hosts] was famous for that concept by disavowing the hazards of being over weight in favor of just "accepting who you are." Which everybody knows is code for "I don't have to try to lose weight anymore." Personally, I am embarrassed of my gut and will not wear a swim suit in public under any circumstances. The difference though is I'm in the gym two to three times a week in an attempt to get it under control. It is also why I'm here, too.

But I refuse to allow myself to think it's OK to be fat...because it isn't. That is the inherent danger of any article along these lines.



GOOD ARTICLE. GOOD COMMENTS. All i wanna say is i am not going to waste money buying new clothes all the time in these tough economic times! I have learned to knit & readjust my clothes to my current size...taking clothes to a taylor will also do. I will only buy clothes once i attain a major size drop! That's all y'all! Let the journey continue......



Original Post by: fluffbutt

Yea, apparently you do like talking about it.  Sorry, no sale on my side.  I have tried this carb starvation nonsense and it does not work for me and many other people.  There is no such thing as a one size fits all solution.  For some of us there is no answer, just more frustration.


Hiya fluffbutt (cute moniker) :)

You're absolutely right, there is no one size fits all solution.  But I disagree when you say that for anyone there is no answer - that's a cop out.  You're giving yourself permission to give up.  Don't.   You just haven't found the answer yet, and that IS extremely frustrating - but it's no reason to buy the lie that you (or anyone else) can't be healthy.   Seriously, if you've got time read the Amen Solution.  Good, solid, medically researched and effective advice...  jus' sayin'! Smile



Original Post by: fluffbutt

Yea, apparently you do like talking about it.  Sorry, no sale on my side.  I have tried this carb starvation nonsense and it does not work for me and many other people.  There is no such thing as a one size fits all solution.  For some of us there is no answer, just more frustration.


I will tell you why fat people get fat.  It isn't carb overload.  It's not sweets.  It's not anything external: we got fat because we did not pay enough attention to ourselves.  Whether we got caught up in marriage, our careers, our family dramas or other peoples' pain, it makes no difference.  Bottom line is...we did not give ourselves the love and care we would have given to any other important person in our lives.

We are always there for our friends, our family, our co-workers.  We are caregivers, nurturers, problem solvers, counselors, go-to guys: responsible, reliable, sturdy.  And somehow, we never saw ourselves as being just as worthy of our attention as the people around us.  Think about it: we would spend all day making soup for a sick friend, but not fifteen minutes preparing a "real" meal for ourselves.  Instead, for ourselves, we would rip open a frozen meal and throw it in the microwave for 5 minutes.  Because we don't think enough of ourselves to make the simple effort. 

The day you come to the realization that you, yourself, are just as worthy of your time and efforts as anyone else in your life, you will make a great leap forward in your weight loss journey.  You won't have to give up carbs, or sweets, or alcohol, if you treat yourself as if you were your own best friend. 

Who is that lost, unhappy person in the mirror?  Wouldn't you help that person achieve their goal if you could?  There is someone right there who needs the kind of help only YOU can give: would you deny that individual your best efforts?  Wouldn't you forgive them for making mistakes?  Aren't they deserving of your compassion?  Don't you think they would love you for saving their life? 

I do.



Thank you for this. I needed to hear it.

There are so many reasons, excuses, diets, and plans attached to weight control issues. And they all come down to...

How can I get in touch with what I really need to be healthy in body, mind and spirit? What is my body asking for in nourishment? What is my heart asking for in the realm of love, and a loving relationship with my self? What does my spirit crave?

Thank you again. I'll get back on to the business of saving my life.



Thank you Carolyn, I think I will check this book out  :o)  Your kind words are very encouraging and inspiring. I wish you the best in your efforts to "Change your life!"

~Connie



Thank you Carolyn, I think I will check this book out  :o)  Your kind words are very encouraging and inspiring. I wish you the best in your efforts to "Change your life!"

~Connie




"I’m too embarrassed to be seen exercising."

That's me. That's ALWAYS been me. No matter HOW much I weighed, I would have to exercise in secret. I still only exercise when there's no one watching me.



I'm the "not going to the beach because I'd have to wear a bathing suit" one along with the "not buying new clothes until my goal weight" along with not feeling sexy because of my weight... I've never been really skinny, even when I was a kid and I used to dance. Alot. Competitively for like 2-4 hours a day for about 8 years. As soon as I quit, I gained weight. 115lbs to 180lbs in less than a year. Almost all of that weight went to my thighs. So even though I'm down to 154-ish, my thighs still look kinda big to me. But I'm working on it and hoping I get down to 125lbs sometime soon. I don't feel sexy at all but my boyfriend has told me a few times he doesn't want a twig. And there's no way I want to look like walking stick so I'm not even trying for that.  I do eat what I love though. I can't see how people can pretty much kill their own happiness just to lose weight. Only salads every single day for a year for every meal? I don't think so lol.



Way awesome subject and comments. In an all inclusive summary, this is what my education, experience and maturity have taught me;

1.) Health should be first priority, not astetics. This includes physical, mental and spiritual/ emotional. If we strive for wellness the beauty within comes naturally.

2.) Be completely honest and pay real attention to what you eat and exercise, activity level. Some have a very difficult time- I struggled with weight for YEARS, then had an awakening, got really real and educated myself with REPUTABLE information, food journaling and letting go of the mirror.

3.) Do not make any excuses. If you say you can't, you won't. If you say you can, you WILL.  Believe in YOU. Do you think that person- if thier is someone besides self beating you down- goes home and worries about how you feel?



Lol I noticed we're like the same stats, around 152 and wishing for 125. Lol. Guys tell me I look good where I'm at, but honestly, I just don't believe it. I know my thighs and stomach are big and evrything overall could use some toning. 
It's been slow losing weight though,  and I'm definitely with you on the swimsuit and no new clothes vices :/



Ahhh, this article was great! I'm in the process of fixing these things. I've been overweight my whole life, but I've always been very social. After I graduated 2 years ago, I lost lots of my friends, and it's a little harder to be social in college. I got pretty down on myself and blamed it on my weight and I felt just disgusting. Normally, when my boyfriend would tell me I looked good, I'd smile and agree, but I got to the point I just didn't believe it. Now where I'm at, I'm trying to do exactly what this article suggest. I have a mindset now, after months of misery, that I am sexy, and I am beautiful even at 245. Now I'm simply losing weight to be healthy, not to be "skinny".



Three weeks ago I decided that it was time to take control of my body and begin a weight loss and health regime. The next morning I awoke with a pinched nerve in my neck and extreme pain. I've been trying to carry on with my plans regardless but exercise has been very difficult. In my quest to fix my neck problems I have been visiting my chiropractor regularly. Yesterday she asked if perhaps I was having some emotional issue that was linked to the beginning of my neck problem. I mentioned the irony that it started the very day of my new journey. Of course it is my inner bully that is behind it all sabotaging my efforts. It has me spending some time examining my issues with my weight and my fears of failure. Thank you for a timely article.



I tried...

To exercise with my husband in the room. I really tried. I bent over, and all he said was "well look at that" in a sexy voice. I was done. Goodnight!.

All I wanted was a simple workout, no words, not one from my husband, good or not, I got shy and said Screw it. (I used the 4 letter-word).

I'm even too shy to go out walking because the neighbors will see me (small French town, everybody talks).

Beating the bully seems to be easier said then done...Maybe some advice on how, or an article on how to get past insecurities could be the next post?



Original Post by: peebeegee

I tried...

To exercise with my husband in the room. I really tried. I bent over, and all he said was "well look at that" in a sexy voice. I was done. Goodnight!.

All I wanted was a simple workout, no words, not one from my husband, good or not, I got shy and said Screw it. (I used the 4 letter-word).

I'm even too shy to go out walking because the neighbors will see me (small French town, everybody talks).

Beating the bully seems to be easier said then done...Maybe some advice on how, or an article on how to get past insecurities could be the next post?


Could you maybe get a dog? That way you've got the perfect excuse to be out walking and the attention from your neighbours would be on the new family member rather than asking why you're out walking? 

I have an 8 month old cocker spaniel and thanks to him I'm out walking twice a day and loving it.

Couldn't agree more about exercising in front of your husband...



Thank you for all of your comments. Many of them underscore the reason I wrote this article, and believe in the importance of the message, heart and soul.

For some who have a hard time accepting that booting the bully from your brain could possibly be helpful, forget that it was about you. Instead, imagine that I was writing a parenting article. Imagine that I was asking you not to say these things to your beloved children:

  • You should be embarrassed to be seen exercising.
  • Don't go to the gym until you’ve lost some weight.
  • You should be embarrassed to eat what you love in public! It's better to binge later in private.
  • You don’t deserve someone who loves you because you're too fat.
  • You're not beautiful.
  • I won’t buy you new clothes until you are thin.
  • I won't take you to the beach because I hate seeing you in a bathing suit.

You see how hurtful and painful these comments are when directed at others? How would that child would feel to hear someone who is supposed to love them say these things?

What do you think that child would do as a result? Become healthier, happier, more successful?

How about you? How do you speak to your inner child, the one inside of you that longs to be loved and accepted unconditionally? The one who is encouraged to be their best, not to conform to society's judgments, but because they are innately unique, special, beautiful, and deserving of love and respect?

And what might you do differently as a result of loving yourself unconditionally?

The truth is, if you can't love and accept yourself now, you'll still find reasons not to love and accept yourself when you lose 10, 50, 100, 150 pounds.



Original Post by: bertrice

Original Post by: peebeegee

I tried...

To exercise with my husband in the room. I really tried. I bent over, and all he said was "well look at that" in a sexy voice. I was done. Goodnight!.

All I wanted was a simple workout, no words, not one from my husband, good or not, I got shy and said Screw it. (I used the 4 letter-word).

I'm even too shy to go out walking because the neighbors will see me (small French town, everybody talks).

Beating the bully seems to be easier said then done...Maybe some advice on how, or an article on how to get past insecurities could be the next post?


Could you maybe get a dog? That way you've got the perfect excuse to be out walking and the attention from your neighbours would be on the new family member rather than asking why you're out walking? 

I have an 8 month old cocker spaniel and thanks to him I'm out walking twice a day and loving it.

Couldn't agree more about exercising in front of your husband...


I have to disagree. My husband HATES dogs, we have two cats (which he had before he met me, if it wasn't for that we would have never gotten the little jerks). That and with two young kids oneunder 3 and the other 6 months old a puppy isn't exactly what I need right now, lol. Maybe when the kids are older.



Raininghoney- hey, go for 140 :) and super strong! Shelbydone- judging from your photo you nARE a pretty chick :)

Loving- at least liking- yourself AS YOU ARE is the best way to start a healthy makeover, weight reduction plan or tone up regimine. Then the focus can be on what really is most important; health!



Original Post by: michelle_may_md

Thank you for all of your comments. Many of them underscore the reason I wrote this article, and believe in the importance of the message, heart and soul.

For some who have a hard time accepting that booting the bully from your brain could possibly be helpful, forget that it was about you. Instead, imagine that I was writing a parenting article. Imagine that I was asking you not to say these things to your beloved children:

  • You should be embarrassed to be seen exercising.
  • Don't go to the gym until you’ve lost some weight.
  • You should be embarrassed to eat what you love in public! It's better to binge later in private.
  • You don’t deserve someone who loves you because you're too fat.
  • You're not beautiful.
  • I won’t buy you new clothes until you are thin.
  • I won't take you to the beach because I hate seeing you in a bathing suit.

You see how hurtful and painful these comments are when directed at others? How would that child would feel to hear someone who is supposed to love them say these things?

What do you think that child would do as a result? Become healthier, happier, more successful?

How about you? How do you speak to your inner child, the one inside of you that longs to be loved and accepted unconditionally? The one who is encouraged to be their best, not to conform to society's judgments, but because they are innately unique, special, beautiful, and deserving of love and respect?

And what might you do differently as a result of loving yourself unconditionally?

The truth is, if you can't love and accept yourself now, you'll still find reasons not to love and accept yourself when you lose 10, 50, 100, 150 pounds.


OK...now I'm confused.

Is this article you wrote about loving oneself or not letting societal body-type expectations keep you from living an active, health giving life? With all due respect, these are two mutually exclusive concepts. Some of the thinnest people I know have a very negative view of themselves.

My wife, like me, is a bit over weight, too. But I tell her every chance I get how beautiful she is and that I accept and love her no matter what. She also knows and buys into the fact we both need to keep hitting the gym and watching our diet. TBH, I/we see no connection to loving each other, in spite of the mutual weight gain, and understanding that being over weight is a major health risk.

In short, if you are trying to encourage us to keep at the weight loss program and not give up on ourselves, I get that. What I don't see is the connection to acceptance relative to societal "bullying" and health/weight. That, IMHO, is what allows us to think it is somehow OK to be fat.



Original Post by: goodspeak

Original Post by: michelle_may_md

Thank you for all of your comments. Many of them underscore the reason I wrote this article, and believe in the importance of the message, heart and soul.

For some who have a hard time accepting that booting the bully from your brain could possibly be helpful, forget that it was about you. Instead, imagine that I was writing a parenting article. Imagine that I was asking you not to say these things to your beloved children:

  • You should be embarrassed to be seen exercising.
  • Don't go to the gym until you’ve lost some weight.
  • You should be embarrassed to eat what you love in public! It's better to binge later in private.
  • You don’t deserve someone who loves you because you're too fat.
  • You're not beautiful.
  • I won’t buy you new clothes until you are thin.
  • I won't take you to the beach because I hate seeing you in a bathing suit.

You see how hurtful and painful these comments are when directed at others? How would that child would feel to hear someone who is supposed to love them say these things?

What do you think that child would do as a result? Become healthier, happier, more successful?

How about you? How do you speak to your inner child, the one inside of you that longs to be loved and accepted unconditionally? The one who is encouraged to be their best, not to conform to society's judgments, but because they are innately unique, special, beautiful, and deserving of love and respect?

And what might you do differently as a result of loving yourself unconditionally?

The truth is, if you can't love and accept yourself now, you'll still find reasons not to love and accept yourself when you lose 10, 50, 100, 150 pounds.


OK...now I'm confused.

Is this article you wrote about loving oneself or not letting societal body-type expectations keep you from living an active, health giving life? With all due respect, these are two mutually exclusive concepts. Some of the thinnest people I know have a very negative view of themselves.

My wife, like me, is a bit over weight, too. But I tell her every chance I get how beautiful she is and that I accept and love her no matter what. She also knows and buys into the fact we both need to keep hitting the gym and watching our diet. TBH, I/we see no connection to loving each other, in spite of the mutual weight gain, and understanding that being over weight is a major health risk.

In short, if you are trying to encourage us to keep at the weight loss program and not give up on ourselves, I get that. What I don't see is the connection to acceptance relative to societal "bullying" and health/weight. That, IMHO, is what allows us to think it is somehow OK to be fat.


I'm not quite sure where the confusion is but I think it might be the assumption that thinness equals health.

I don't believe that. In fact, not only do "some of the thinnest people have a very negative view of themselves" (as you pointed out), but many thin people have the unhealthiest lifestyles.

Some are chronically dieting, obsessed with what they can and cannot eat, and use exercise to punish themselves for eating.

Others are naturally thin but live on junk food and never exercise.

On the other hand, I know many people "of size" who have very healthy diets, exercise regularly, and are metabolically healthy. They will not die prematurely because of their weight.

My point was that loving and respecting yourself (and others) should never be dependent on a number on a scale (no matter what society or society's bullies say) because, as you've noticed, some of the thinnest people don't love themselves either. The bully still lives in their brain.

Respecting yourself is a choice you make RIGHT NOW, exactly the way you are. Only from that place of unconditional love will you be able to consistently practice loving behaviors toward yourself: feeding yourself well, moving your body, inviting people into your life that love you the way you are, and using your energy to care for your body, mind, heart, and spirit today - rather than obsessing about losing weight and postponing your life until you reach some arbitrary size or shape.

Does that clear it up?

 



Amen, Dr. May, amen...  

Wonderful article and a great topic for discussion.  Smile



Original Post by: michelle_may_md

Original Post by: goodspeak

Original Post by: michelle_may_md

Thank you for all of your comments. Many of them underscore the reason I wrote this article, and believe in the importance of the message, heart and soul.

For some who have a hard time accepting that booting the bully from your brain could possibly be helpful, forget that it was about you. Instead, imagine that I was writing a parenting article. Imagine that I was asking you not to say these things to your beloved children:

  • You should be embarrassed to be seen exercising.
  • Don't go to the gym until you’ve lost some weight.
  • You should be embarrassed to eat what you love in public! It's better to binge later in private.
  • You don’t deserve someone who loves you because you're too fat.
  • You're not beautiful.
  • I won’t buy you new clothes until you are thin.
  • I won't take you to the beach because I hate seeing you in a bathing suit.

You see how hurtful and painful these comments are when directed at others? How would that child would feel to hear someone who is supposed to love them say these things?

What do you think that child would do as a result? Become healthier, happier, more successful?

How about you? How do you speak to your inner child, the one inside of you that longs to be loved and accepted unconditionally? The one who is encouraged to be their best, not to conform to society's judgments, but because they are innately unique, special, beautiful, and deserving of love and respect?

And what might you do differently as a result of loving yourself unconditionally?

The truth is, if you can't love and accept yourself now, you'll still find reasons not to love and accept yourself when you lose 10, 50, 100, 150 pounds.


OK...now I'm confused.

Is this article you wrote about loving oneself or not letting societal body-type expectations keep you from living an active, health giving life? With all due respect, these are two mutually exclusive concepts. Some of the thinnest people I know have a very negative view of themselves.

My wife, like me, is a bit over weight, too. But I tell her every chance I get how beautiful she is and that I accept and love her no matter what. She also knows and buys into the fact we both need to keep hitting the gym and watching our diet. TBH, I/we see no connection to loving each other, in spite of the mutual weight gain, and understanding that being over weight is a major health risk.

In short, if you are trying to encourage us to keep at the weight loss program and not give up on ourselves, I get that. What I don't see is the connection to acceptance relative to societal "bullying" and health/weight. That, IMHO, is what allows us to think it is somehow OK to be fat.


I'm not quite sure where the confusion is but I think it might be the assumption that thinness equals health.

I don't believe that. In fact, not only do "some of the thinnest people have a very negative view of themselves" (as you pointed out), but many thin people have the unhealthiest lifestyles.

Some are chronically dieting, obsessed with what they can and cannot eat, and use exercise to punish themselves for eating.

Others are naturally thin but live on junk food and never exercise.

On the other hand, I know many people "of size" who have very healthy diets, exercise regularly, and are metabolically healthy. They will not die prematurely because of their weight.

My point was that loving and respecting yourself (and others) should never be dependent on a number on a scale (no matter what society or society's bullies say) because, as you've noticed, some of the thinnest people don't love themselves either. The bully still lives in their brain.

Respecting yourself is a choice you make RIGHT NOW, exactly the way you are. Only from that place of unconditional love will you be able to consistently practice loving behaviors toward yourself: feeding yourself well, moving your body, inviting people into your life that love you the way you are, and using your energy to care for your body, mind, heart, and spirit today - rather than obsessing about losing weight and postponing your life until you reach some arbitrary size or shape.

Does that clear it up?

 


Perhaps, I have expressed myself badly.

First off, I do not equate health with thinness. By way of an example, I have a good friend who is very svelte but has a cholesterol count that would scare any sane person out of ten year's growth. Heart attack and stroke run rampant in his family history and to keep that at bay he takes medication [along with good eating/drinking habits] to combat the problem.

What I am saying, apparently quite badly, is there is a very fine line between accepting oneself or loving oneself relative to being over weight and the grave temptation of allowing the wieght to stay on or, worse, increase....because of an "I'm OK the way I am" self-talk.

FWIW, I completely validate the message of respecting one's own body and to love oneself. However, IMHO, that does not necessarily equate with a better diet or food choices if the message is to accept rather than reject an over weight body.



I totally feel U & 100% agree with U GOODSPEAK! No need to explain Urself any further. The message u are conveying is truth & modest & to be honest balanced!!! I suppose to others what U have been saying is a bitter pill to swallow! Oh well, some of us get what U are saying. Thank U for standing on the truth!!! Blessings:-)



Yeah but it's not what i can force myself to think like. I do have all these "bullies" in mind, i admit; but not even consciously. For example I hadn't started feeling better about myself till I'd lost 11 pounds (my goal being 15), and I'd never even known I feel bad about myself. It's like a cloud that'd been obscuring my self-esteem unknowingly got shattered away, along with it's burden. Undecided So strange....



I saw Joan Baez recently in a concert. I love what she said about herself. "This is my NEW voice." No longer able to reach the super high notes she has embraced the "new" voice that comes with her age. Still so very beautiful.

I am embracing the "new" body that comes with my age. The body that has lived through birthing of 2 children, and weathered broken legs and operations that go with living in this vessel. I have lost 42 pounds, but the body underneath the extra weight is not the young, tight, muscled body of my youth. That's okay. I am strong, healthy, and wise for having lived for 60 years on the planet. I am grateful that my body can move about easily without the extra weight, and that I can carry my grandchildren up the stairs without worrying if I will drop them. All is well.



Original Post by: born2beecreative

I saw Joan Baez recently in a concert. I love what she said about herself. "This is my NEW voice." No longer able to reach the super high notes she has embraced the "new" voice that comes with her age. Still so very beautiful.

I am embracing the "new" body that comes with my age. The body that has lived through birthing of 2 children, and weathered broken legs and operations that go with living in this vessel. I have lost 42 pounds, but the body underneath the extra weight is not the young, tight, muscled body of my youth. That's okay. I am strong, healthy, and wise for having lived for 60 years on the planet. I am grateful that my body can move about easily without the extra weight, and that I can carry my grandchildren up the stairs without worrying if I will drop them. All is well.


There is a lot of truth in that comment...thanks for posting it.

I'm pushing 60 as well and I have resigned myself, years ago, that I will never be the active, thin-as-a-rail individual of my youth. Like you, my body has broken down a bit what with bad knees, bad back, bad hair, bad brain, bad breath, etc. But dropping a fair amount of weight over the last year or so has made getting around much less painful. Walking, for example, is no longer the drudgery it once was when I was approaching 300 pounds.

And, to be perfectly frank, I owe much of that success to this website and the articles they post. Even though I may debate with the authors, it does help me change my mindset relative to diet and being realistic about weight loss.

Thanks to you, too, Dr. May. I appreciate your candor and willingness to converse with a mere HS teacher ;-) 



Original Post by: goodspeak

Original Post by: born2beecreative

I saw Joan Baez recently in a concert. I love what she said about herself. "This is my NEW voice." No longer able to reach the super high notes she has embraced the "new" voice that comes with her age. Still so very beautiful.

I am embracing the "new" body that comes with my age. The body that has lived through birthing of 2 children, and weathered broken legs and operations that go with living in this vessel. I have lost 42 pounds, but the body underneath the extra weight is not the young, tight, muscled body of my youth. That's okay. I am strong, healthy, and wise for having lived for 60 years on the planet. I am grateful that my body can move about easily without the extra weight, and that I can carry my grandchildren up the stairs without worrying if I will drop them. All is well.


There is a lot of truth in that comment...thanks for posting it.

I'm pushing 60 as well and I have resigned myself, years ago, that I will never be the active, thin-as-a-rail individual of my youth. Like you, my body has broken down a bit what with bad knees, bad back, bad hair, bad brain, bad breath, etc. But dropping a fair amount of weight over the last year or so has made getting around much less painful. Walking, for example, is no longer the drudgery it once was when I was approaching 300 pounds.

And, to be perfectly frank, I owe much of that success to this website and the articles they post. Even though I may debate with the authors, it does help me change my mindset relative to diet and being realistic about weight loss.

Thanks to you, too, Dr. May. I appreciate your candor and willingness to converse with a mere HS teacher ;-) 


:) ...a mere HS teacher??? It sounds like you still have a bully in your brain!

As a mom of a college- and high school-aged kids, I admire and respect what you do - thanks!



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