Thursday, 12 December 2013

Judging those who already judge themselves

Some people believe that judging people who "should" lose weight will help them to make the changes necessary to lose weight. Of course, those people are dead wrong but that is not the point of this post. The point is that judging others is useless since they often judge themselves more than can be imagined. 
This is especially true of people who suffer from binge eating disorder. Having a greater than normal concern for ones weight and shape as well as an over-evaluation of their weight and shape (meaning they feel they have more control than they actually have over their weight and shape) leads to much pain. These negative views of ones body and weight can be quite destructive as well as self-perpetuating. Having what is called a disturbed body image maintains an eating disorder and can actually predict success with therapy in resolving an eating disorder. 

As a dietitian, I rarely work directly with clients to treat a body image disturbance but I do work closely with many amazing psychologist who do just that. However, body image often comes up in nutrition sessions when clients insist they "should" or "must" lose weight. Losing weight before resolving an eating disorder (for those people who have a high BMI) is never recommended but many clients are convinced that losing weight will help increase their self-esteem. The basis for many people with an eating disorder is low self esteem or basing ones self worth on their weight, so does losing weight actually increase self-esteem? No. Surprisingly, despite the many protests from clients, losing weight does not miraculously increase their mood or self-esteem. Instead, dealing with what perpetuates negative thoughts, how to come to terms with ones body and how to enhance positive body image is what helps people feel better. 

Guess what else it helps with? You got it- weight management. Weight shaming, guilt-tripping, judging and all those other negative abuses DO NOT HELP. Loving and accepting ones body and shape helps people eat healthier, move more and just live healthier lifestyles. It may be hard to accept or change the way you think at first, but change is possible! Professional help from a registered dietitian and psychologist speed up recovery from an eating disorder and help you feel happier.
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