Anxiety, Trauma and Body Image

Trauma

A trauma can be any event that affects us negatively. It could be physical or emotional. It could be a sexual assault, divorce, loss of a loved one, incest, emotional or verbal abuse, job loss or many other things. Following is one story and how we turned a trauma into a triumph!

Sarah came to me with unconscious binge eating and a great deal of emotional and physical pain and weight gain. She told me “Alice, I hope you can help me! Every morning when I wake up, I notice empty food cartons all over my house. My stomach hurts, I have a headache, and I feel disoriented. I don’t remember eating all this food, but who did? I’m getting really worried. Can you help me?!”

Binge eating is a DISCONNECT with mind and body, with relationships, with a healthy way of coping. This woman demonstrates one example of how this can occur. I did some digging into what her life was like a few weeks prior to this and we uncovered some possible causes and triggers to this unfortunate behavior.

As it turns out, Sarah experienced the loss of a loved one during this time. She unconsciously began to cope with this by bingeing on food, because it was so stressful. At the time, she didn’t know other ways to cope positively with grief and loss.

[I mentioned this story when Steve Klein interviewed me on his PlayMakers KLIF 570 AM Radio show on May 5, 2013].

We worked on some core issues related to this, personalized a meal plan to lose weight without feeling restricted or dieting, and I taught her healthy new skills to deal with her grief. Before long, Sarah was back in control of her eating and life, she lost weight and was a happy woman again!

Anxiety

“Alice thanks for showing me how to address stressors in my life so I can stop using food as a source of relief. And you showed me how to accept myself and treat myself well. When my needs are met, I don’t need to eat to fill a void!” Karen

Anxiety and stress often play a role in the development of a weight or eating disorder. Life may get really busy or overwhelming. We might have unrealistic expectations of ourselves. Ask yourself these questions to see if your life may be out of balance:

1. A pattern for balance gets disrupted (new job, new move, sick family member, job loss, decrease in income, loss of a loved one, start a new business, dating someone new, trying to find out who you really are?)

2. Sources of anxiety increase and mindset becomes more negative (do you notice yourself saying “I can’t, I hate, I wish, I should, I won’t?”)

3. Types of stress and its effects increase

4. Work gets busier with fewer workers; job loss affects self-worth and families

5. How do you stop stress and use it positively – you know, turn lemons into lemonade?

Attitude is everything. A key factor in managing anxiety and stress is learning how to use your MIND over MOOD so that you get what you want. If not, overeating, bingeing and other negative responses can occur.

There is HOPE though. Learning new skills like how to change your mindset and stop using food to cope (as Karen did above) are entirely POSSIBLE!

Consider the benefits of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and medical and analytical hypnotherapy too! Alice’s book EAT UP THE GOOD LIFE!™ is filled with numerous ideas, and she personalizes her approach for you in her office or with phone sessions (locally or nationwide).

Body Image

Body image is simply your individual experience of how you view your body. It may or may not be correct depending on distortions you’ve carried around for years.

The mental picture you carry of your body and the associated thoughts, feelings, and judgments go with this image of yourself.

There is one study I remember that continues to shock me about the negative image of watching television on self-image and eating disorders. The lovely, remote Pacific island of Fiji was a place of home values and good eating. Traditional Fiji culture emphasized men, women and children with a robust look and nutritious eating patterns overall.

However, all that changed dramatically once television was introduced to Fiji in 1995. Within only a few months of watching the usual American TV shows, there was a 500% increase in girls vomiting to lose weight! In addition, there was an enormous increase in girls dieting and feeling fat—just from watching the thin-look obsession on TV.

How devastating! Does it seem like we all need to do something more loving and accepting of ourselves and others? It does to me! There are many ways to improve your body image in my program. Learning how to use media, advertising and discovering old family messages are just a few of them. The bottom line is that you CAN learn to improve your body image. It’s very much tied in with your self-worth!