Saturday, June 14, 2008
People suffering with eating disorders have a distorted view of their bodies. What they see when they look in the mirror is NOT the same thing that you the outsider sees. It doesn't matter how many times your tell your daughter (or girlfriend or wife) that she looks great and doesn't need to lose weight it won't matter. There isn't any way for them to process the information.
When I was growing up Twiggy was THE model. As I surveyed the world in grade school and high school, I noticed that guys were attracted to girls that were builts like Barbie Dolls. Tall, thin, long legs and big boobs. I'm 5'1", with a muscular/athletic build and have curvacious hips. So in my early development I picked up the message that my body wasn't acceptable or normal (for several reasons). Even in my thirties when I dated a couple of guys who told me they loved my curves I didn't believe them. "They were just saying that." No matter how many times I heard it, it didn't match what I knew in my head to be true, (that men wanted women who look like Barbie). So I could never accept the compliment. This stereotype continues to be validated in Hollywood today...
This is only one of the things got plugged into my brain at an early age that distorted my view of the world and contributed to my bulimia. I had pressure from living in the shadow of two older sisters. One was a 4.0 student, on the gym team, played piano by ear and more. All things I couldn't do, or achieve and it seemed all the attention went her way. The "cool kids" in high school didn't give me the time of day. So the message I got loud and clear was, "you don't fit, you aren't acceptable, you aren't good enough, you don't measure up." Ever heard the term perception is reality? We all have filters we use to process what we see and hear. These filters determine how we use the input we get in life.
I spent my life in search of acceptance from other people. I was incapable of accepting myself and knowing that I WAS fine, just the way I was. I did a lot of crazy things growing up (and later) because of my desperate need for acceptance. I pity the guys that knew me in those years! I must have seemed incredibly needy.
One thing that's interesting to me is somehow I've always maintained my independence. I'm a bit of a loner and actually get wigged if I don't get enough space or time alone. The seeds were always there. I was always looking for a way to evolve and overcome this horrific obsession I had. It drove me crazy. Constantly berating myself for things I did, or didn't do. Beating myself up for being so stupid. It went far beyond the bingeing! I had no sense of who I was. What I was about, or for that matter why I was here.
The first big turning point for me was the discovery of an audio series by Jack Canfield, Self-Esteem & Peak Performance. I learned about affirmations and how to plug positive or affirming thoughts into my subconscious which helped me improve my sense of who I was. I kept sticky notes in my drawer that I could read when someone said something hurtful or made me wince. One of these was "No matter what you say or do to me, I'm still a worthwhile person." I referred to it often in the beginning!
Through Jack's tapes I also learned about goal setting, visualizing and achieving what you want. This helped to improve my belief in myself.
Much later in life I discovered the power of body work and meditation. Using Hellerwork (http://www.Hellerwork.com/), Holosync meditation (http://www.Centerpointe.com/) and energy healing I was able to reconnect my mind and body and begin to accept myself. Waking up in my forties realizing I spent the bulk of my life focused on something that in the grand scheme of things is pretty small (my body) was a jolt. Learning how to appreciate the gifts I bring to this life has been very freeing.
So if you, or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder. Realize that no matter how many compliments you throw their way. No matter how many times you tell them how smart and beautiful they are. No matter how many times you try to convince them they they aren't fat. It won't help. In fact you'll only drive them farther away because you're reinforceing to them that you don't understand. You don't get it.
What they need, when they're receptive and know they have a problem. Is to understand what's causing it. Eating disorders are about control and lack of self-esteem. I highly recommend body work as part of the discovery process. It will help them understand who they are, why this is happening and will provide the ground work for quantum leaps in recovery.
For more information on bodywork, please refer to the Resources Section at http://www.Lori-Hanson.com/.
To your health!
Saturday, June 7, 2008
So many people are shocked to hear that I was bulimic for 23 years and never threw up. Many people suffering with bulimia use excessive exercise, strict diets, laxatives or diet pills to control weight gain after bingeing. There are two types of bulimics "purging and non-purging."
I recently attended the Book Expo America (BEA) trade show in Los Angeles and shared my list of “Top 13 Chemical Conditions That Contribute to Binge Eating” at my book signing. Again, many people were unaware that chemical imbalances in our bodies contribute to binge eating and eating disorders. It's not all psychological!
As a young kid I had numerous ear infections. I was on antibiotics many times. Later in high school and college I had seven ear infections in the span of a year and a half. More antibiotics! It killed off my healthy bacteria (or flora) and contributed to a significant chemical imbalance I encountered much later in life.
You’ve probably heard about yeast infections often associated with antibiotics. But do you know about Candida? Candida overgrowth is a silent epidemic and contributes to many physical ailments including: sugar cravings, low libido, fatigue, feeling sick all over, cracking or splitting finger nails and sensitivity to tobacco smoke, perfumes and much, much more. (Visit, http://www.YeastConnection.com/ for more information.) Combined with my continual binges on "white foods" that included pasta, pizza, and ice cream I had created a significant chemical imbalance in my body. But Candida is only one of the contributors.
During my bulimic years I developed a sugar sensitivity. And as I discovered in later years this was often the cause of my cravings and binges on sugar or alcohol. I learned about the amino acids essential for proper brain function while working with an integrative therapist. Without a proper balance of amino acids we have what Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure calls “false moods.” This causes depression, anxiety and stress, oversensitivity to feelings and the blahs. Conditions typically treated with medication that can be addressed with natural supplements. (http://www.MoodCure.com/)
Here is a list of 13 chemicals and ingredients that contribute to binge eating:
- Overuse of antibiotics
- Too much sugar in diet – including high sugar fruit!!
- Sugar Sensitivity
- Low blood sugar (skipping meals)
- Diet lacking in Tryptophan
- Burned out Adrenal glands
- Low serotonin
- Low catecholamines
- Low GABA
- Low endorphins
- Low Zinc
- Caffeine – even decaf!
Fortunately I found an alternative approach to recovering from my bulimia and in the process learned a great deal about health, nutrition, body chemistry and holistic healing. For more information on my approach and my book, It Started With Pop-Tarts®…An Alternative Approach to Winning the Battle of Bulimia visit, http://www.ItStartedWithPop-Tarts.com/.