Love Your Body Summer Special!

summerspecialSummer is the perfect time to kick your journey to BodyRespect into high gear. Work with me to take the next step in creating a vibrant relationship with your body and start to enjoy living in that skin you are in….right now!

Book before July 31st and get three 1-hour Coaching Sessions for the price of two! That’s a $50 dollar savings. Sessions available in-person in Saskatoon or via Skype/Google Plus.

Go ahead. Be Awesome.

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Thank you for reading my post!  

To sign up for my weekly BodyRespect e-zine, full of tips, resources and encouragement for you on your body image journey, go here.

If you would like more information about my Body Image Coaching and Counselling practice, check out my website.  I would love to connect with you!   Appointments available either online or in person if you live in Saskatoon.

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What is Body Image Coaching?…

Whatisbodyimagecoaching….and how is it different from counselling?  How do I know which one is right for me?

That is a very good question!  There are many similarities between coaching and counselling and if you are looking for support in developing a better body image, either of these services could be the type of support you need to start feeling better about yourself.  But which would be the best for you, right now?

You might consider engaging in counselling if your negative feelings about your body are overwhelming and negatively affecting your life.  If you have a hard time even imagining feeling positive about your body, or are looking to understand the roots of your body image issues, counselling may be a good first step for you to take.

Coaching might be more appropriate for you if you have done some work in developing body appreciation, but are feeling stuck in fully integrating your emerging feelings of body-positivism in your life and need support in moving forward to a place of fully engaging in and living your life to the fullest.  People who are ready to set goals and make intentional changes in how they live will appreciate the faster pace and intentionality of Body Image Coaching.

In my BodyImage Coaching practice I will work in partnership with you to set and achieve goals for living a vibrant, body-positive life.  Those goals might include increasing the pleasure and joy your experience living in your body, or taking care of your body with improved nutrition and getting active.  I will work with you to make change, supporting you in clearly seeing your strengths and strategizing how you will get your needs and wants met.  You will bring your wisdom and desire for an improved body image and a vital, body-positive life and I will bring tools to support your achieve your goals.

counsellingorcoaching?

Body Image Coaching, or Body Image Counselling…which one is right for you?  Why not connect with me and chat about it?  I am available for a free 30 minute consultation via telephone or Skype/Google+  to help you sort through which of these paths to a positive body image are the best option for you right now.

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Thank you for reading my post!  

To sign up for my weekly BodyRespect e-zine, full of tips, resources and encouragement for you on your body image journey, go here.

If you would like more information about my Body Image Coaching and Counselling practice, check out my website.  I would love to connect with you!   Appointments available either online or in person if you live in Saskatoon.

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e-zine files: Emotional Eating or Diet Backlash?

diet backlashFrom this week’s e-zine.

To get the BodyRespect e-zine delivered to your inbox, sign up here.

 

On a recent recent road trip I decided to give a listen to the audio book version of Intuitive Eating by Tribole &Resch.  Intuitive Eating is an excellent book and has been a major influence on how I view food and eating and I recommend it to anyone who is looking to build a more positive relationship with food.  In the audio book I was struck by commentary on the importance of being aware of diet backlash eating masquerading as emotional eating and I thought I would bring the discussion here.

I think many of us are aware of the concept of emotional eating, when food is used as a tool to comfort us and sometimes as a way to hide from difficult emotions.  Most people engage in some form of emotional eating, which can be normal part of our relationship with food.  Emotional eating becomes a problem when it is the only coping mechanism that we have for dealing with life’s problems, leading to chronic overeating and subsequent embarrassment and shame.  Sadly the shame aspect of emotional eating can be so painful that the emotional eater will end up in a viscous cycle as they turn to food to cope with the shame of over-eating.

However, many people who assume they are engaging in emotional eating are actually over-eating because of what we refer to as ‘diet backlash’.  These are behaviours with food that result the pressures of dieting, or living in a world that is obsessed with dieting.  It is important to understand the distinction between the two.

Some examples of Diet Backlash Eating:

  • “I ate those Oreos and they are bad for me.  I may as well eat the rest of the bag because I will won’t be eating Oreos ever again!” – an example of the “Last Supper” mentality when anticipation of food denials prompts us to get it ‘while we can’.
  • “Damn, I ate way too many carbs today.  Oh well, since I’ve already blown it, I may as well order a pizza for supper”.  An example of the win or lose dichotomous thinking of many dieters.  We’ve either been ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and when we ‘fail’ and have been bad, it is often an excuse for being ‘really bad’.
  • “Screw you, Dr. Oz, I’m having the whole effing cake”.  Tribole and Resch called this the ‘forget-you’ mentality, when our natural human need for autonomy comes kicks in and we find ways to rebel from the strict restrictiveness of most diets.  Human beings don’t like to be told what to do.

All of these are examples of possible over-eating that are triggered not by inability to cope with emotions, but rather backlash from a relationship with food skewered by the diet mentality.

Why is it important?  Because addressing each of these two different causes of overeating required different strategies.   If we are over-eating to cope with emotions we are going to address the situation by learning to identifying our emotions and cultivate non-food coping strategies (more about this in the weeks ahead).  However, if what is happening for you is not so much emotional eating, but rather backlash that comes from restrictive eating as described about, then a different approach is needed.  We need to excise the diet mentality from our relationship with food.

The very first principle of Intuitive Eating is to Reject the Diet Mentality (also a cornerstone of the Health at Every Size framework).  In order to do this, you must be willing to objectively look at diets, how successful they have been for others and for yourself (95% percent failure rate!), the damage they can do physically and emotionally, and even how the seductive lure of thinness they promise is nothing more than the ultimate advertising gimmick that is feeling a billion dollar industry.  The reality that dieting is not a path to health and rarely leads to sustained weight loss is becoming more and more accepted in the health and medical community.  However, intellectually understanding the futility of dieting and accepting it on an emotional level are two different things.  It is hard to let go of what diets promise, and the comfort they (if only temporarily) give.

If you consistently overeat, and you want to make a change it is important to reflect and really understand what is driving your overeating.  Is it is simply habit that gentle monitoring can address?  Are you eating to deal with difficult emotions?  Or, is your overeating a reaction to having been on many diets or living in a dieting obsessed world?  Once you make that determination, you are well on your way to a more positive and helpful relationship with food.

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Thank you for reading my post!  

To sign up for my weekly BodyRespect e-zine, full of tips, resources and encouragement for you on your body image journey, go here.

If you would like more information about my Body Image Coaching and Counselling practice, check out my website.  I would love to connect with you!   Appointments available either online or in person if you live in Saskatoon.

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The gift in changing body/beauty ideals.

ImageThis post is from the first issue of my new BodyRespect e-zine.  Go here to sign up for the e-zine with all it’s tips and resources for cultivating a rockin’ body image to be sent directly to your inbox.

I think many of us, especially women, have a hard time appreciating our bodies, I mean really, truly having gratitude for the all the things our bodies allow us to do, experience and feel. This lack of appreciation is shaped by the disappointment most women feel that their bodies do not measure up to the current beauty ideal. While I think most of understand that our expectations of how our bodies *should* look are shaped by media and popular culture, i.e.: all the images we see of the ‘thin ideal’ body type in magazines, on the internet and in TV and films, I suspect many of us do not realize that beauty preferences change. A beauty ideal is not an inalienable truth, set in stone. Rather, it is subjective and dictated by many forces (cultural and political).

It can seem like ‘thin, young, blond, toned’ is *the* ideal standard, that these standards have and always will define beauty. That is simply not the case, preference for thinner bodies has waxed and waned throughout history and many theories have been put forward as to why – including availability of food and pushback to advancing women’s equality. Whatever the reason for the constant shifts, it is important that beauty ideals change. This constant shifting is a gift, it helps us know we are not obligated to engage in the whims of culture. Sometimes our bodies may be closer to the ideal, and sometimes they won’t.

Taking the time to learn how body ideals are changing and shifting, and looking at images of women who were considered beautiful in their own time expands my own thinking as to what beauty really is, and provides me a mirror to seeing my own beautiful self reflected back at me. I wish the same for you!

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Thank you for reading my post!  

To sign up for my weekly BodyRespect e-zine, full of tips, resources and encouragement for you on your body image journey, go here.

If you would like more information about my Body Image Coaching and Counselling practice, check out my website.  I would love to connect with you!   Appointments available either online or in person if you live in Saskatoon.

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Adventures in HAES: Summer Cycle Challenge

ImageSee my bike? Isn’t it beautiful?  When I see my bike, my heart sings and I smile.  I love my bike in a Pee-Wee Herman kind of way.  If it were ever stolen by my arch-enemy I would embark on a cross county mission to recover it.  
 
Sadly, the last two summers I don’t think I rode my bike more than a few days.  It’s true!  What a travesty that is!  Not only to not for my beautiful bike, sitting on my porch looking pretty and unused but for me!  I enjoy riding my bike and it is definitely something that is good for my body and my health.  It is time for a change. This summer I have resolved to ride my bike most days – even on days when I am going from my one work site to the other! 
 
To be successful in this venture, I’ve spent some time reflecting on what kept me off my bike in the past two summer, and come up with strategies to counter those barriers, including:
  • being creative about what I wear and be willing to carry around a pair of bike shorts and do a costume change once I get to work
  • not worrying about how the helmet might wreck my hair!  I think this may be one advantage of having let my hair grow longer this year
  • nurturing the habit of looking to my bicycle first as an option for daily transportation, my car second.
And, consider the benefits!
  • increased exercise
  • less gas = more $
  • less parking tickets = more $
My goal this summer is to ride my bike to work *most days*.  If I have to drive all over the city, or it is raining, or one of those terrible ‘period days’ may be days that I rev up my car – but other than, my summer health and fun challenge will be to two-wheel it!  
 

breaking news! BodyRespect is growing with Counselling and BodyImage Coaching

website graphicI am excited to be starting a new adventure in my work with women and men in supporting a healthier relationship with our bodies and ourselves.  As of June 1, I will be opening my own Counselling and Body Image Coaching practice in Saskatoon.  I am expanding the work I currently do with support groups and workshops and will now be available for one to one counselling and body image coaching appointments in a newly acquired private counselling space in Saskatoon.  For folks who are not in the Saskatoon area, I am available for online sessions via Skype or Google +.

Curious about what Body Image Coaching is all about?  It is an opportunity for you to do some exciting and intentional work on improving your relationship to your body and no longer letting feelings of bodyshame keep you from doing all the things you want to do in your life.  My coaching approach is grounded in the principles of BodyRespect, which include:

  • recognizing the impact of the thin ideal and popular media on how you view your body
  • healing your relationship with food: addressing emotional eating and learning to recognize and honour feelings of hunger and fullness.
  • finding ways to move your body in joyful ways
  • living in the here and now, not waiting for a fantasy future when we think we might look a certain way to do the things we want to do.
  • appreciating our bodies, no matter what our size
  • developing a respect for body diversity, ours and the bodies of others
  • understanding and embracing Health at Every Size

In our work together I will support you in understanding why you have the relationship with your body that you have and support you in finding ways to feel good about your body, right *now* ..at whatever weight or  size you happen to be.  You no longer need to allowing bodyshame to rule your life! Stop waiting until your body meets some predetermined shape or size before you start living your life the way you’ve always wanted to.  I am here to talk with you, provide resources, support you and cheer you on.

For more info (including how to contact me), check out my website and send me a note, or give me a call.

The adventure continues!

 

Emotional Eating isn’t always about feeling sad..

ImageThe topic for last week’s BodyRespect support group was Emotional Eating.  In our session we talked about how for many of us eating has become our main tool for coping with emotions.  I personally believe that some level of emotional eating (eating for comfort, not just for sustenance) is normal and most people engage in it at varying levels.  Whether you are someone who cries into a pint of Hagen Daaz on a regular basis, or is occasionally comforted by a bowl of soup made for you when you are sick, or even have had celebratory piece of wedding cake, we all eat food for more reasons that just to give our body energy.  Food is the giver of life and that we sometimes derive comfort from taking in nourishment is not a problem, in fact I think it is to be celebrated…food is a wonderful thing!

In my quest for health, I strive to mostly eat (or not eat) in response to hunger cues and honour my body by eating when I am hungry and stopping when I am full.  Still, I have no desire to reduce food to the necessary nutrients needed to survive (remember Seven of Nine in the TV Show Voyager?).  Along with giving my body energy and nutrients I enjoy eating for the pleasure of the taste, the experiences of the different textures, and yes sometimes to comfort me when I am blue.

However, for many of us food has become one of main, if not only source of comfort.  This reliance on food for comfort I believe leads to a disordered relationship with food, which is for many a confusing and dichotomous love/hate relationship.   Especially when the amounts of the food that we eat can be an influence on our body size which everybody is under much scrutiny for. For those of us who routinely eat emotionally to the point where it is negatively affecting our self esteem and health we must be willing to spend the time to uncover the emotional root of our upset while at the same time cultivating additional (non food) comforts and coping mechanisms.  Unfortunately, many people who regularly overeat due to emotional eating turn to diets or restrictive food plans to try to address their over-eating, and for many people this is a disaster.  Why?  Because, emotional overeating is, in the majority of cases, not a problem with food!  It is a deeper problem that must be addressed on that level.  An excellent resource for people who are feeling overwhelmed with emotional eating problems is Eating in the Light of the Moon by Anita Johnston.  Ms. Johnston is very clear in her approach that restrictive diet plans are not the answer for emotional eating, and provides a framework for digging into what is really going on when we excessively overeat to soothe our emotions.  Chapter 9 of Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon also provides some helpful tips in addressing emotional eating including becoming more mindful in our eating, identifying and sitting with our emotions and cultivating self care.

But What About Good Feelings?

In our group discussion, one of the group members suggested people engage in emotional eating when experiencing happy feelings, not just sad ones. Whoa!  A light bulb went off for me…this is so true!  With roots in traditional celebrations like eating cake at a birthday, we also have a habit of including eating when we are feeling good!  Why?  As I indicated earlier, food can be and is celebratory!  But I think there is also a shadow side to this ‘celebratory eating’ phenomena.  All emotions can feel overwhelming at times…even happy ones. And if we use food as a tool to cope with emotions, I don’t think it is too big of a stretch to think we might engage in emotional eating when we are feeling happy or excited.  I shared with the group my habit of having snack when I get home from work.  Mostly this has been a habit over the years, but also kind of celebratory ‘yay I ‘m home’ type event.  Also, it has been a way for me to transition from my work day to the at home part of my day.  So, part habit eating and part emotional eating.  Now that I am aware of it, I will be able to more often check in with my hunger when I get home and see if I am truly hungry and need a snack or if I can find another way to celebrate and transition into being home (play with the dogs, listen to music).

What it comes down to is being aware, being aware of what we are feeling and how we are coping with those feelings.  And it is a process…we must be willing to walk along side ourselves and be our own cheerleaders.  With determination, support and self care we can learn to find that balance of eating to nurture our bodies and our souls without compromising our health.