In this Thursday Therapy episode, Glenn Mackintosh helps you understand whether you should acknowledge the “truth” that you are fat and aim to lose weight, or look to take care of yourself from a place of acceptance.
LINKS FROM VIDEO:
Read Glenn’s Blog – 5 Simple Steps to Body Acceptance
- Viewer question about being confused about their body image. [00:41]
- On if you should be critical of your body if you’re a particular shape/size. [01:09]
- The “truth” of an ideal body is an illusion. [01:20]
- On body image issues predicting poorer self care. [02:26]
- Disliking your body and extreme eating and exercise behaviours. [03:13]
- Taking care of yourself from a place of love and acceptance. [04:45]
- About Dietitian Connection. [05:20]
- On the “normative discontent” we have with our bodies in today’s society. [06:12]
Hey everyone, welcome to Thursday Therapy. It’s Glenn Mackintosh, the weight psych, and the question we’re answering today is about body image. Almost everyone has some issue with body image in this day and age, so I think it’s a brilliant question for Thursday Therapy. The question comes from Pam, who says, (Pam actually asked a couple of questions but I’m going to answer the second one. I hope that’s cool, Pam) “Another biggie and probably more significant is self-image – when I look in the mirror I see a woman who is overweight but I think I look great… most of the time! Am I a little delusional?”
That is an excellent question, Pam. What I would start by saying is that there would be no time that I would encourage anyone, of any shape or size, to be really critical of their body. We have this illusion out there that there is a truth that some people are the right level of thinness and some people are too fat and there is some truth out there, but the ideal shape and size, it changes from culture to culture, it changes from time to time and we’re actually in this really freaky time right now, where the ideal is that of someone who probably has an eating disorder or has some freaky kind of a body that is sort of looks like the body of a young girl and can somehow maintain that into adulthood. So, that’s the “truth” that we’re faced with. But even if it is the truth that you are carrying a lot of weight and that you’re a bigger person, I don’t want you to focus on that and that’s because it doesn’t work.
As a psychologist, we’re trained to base all of our recommendations on evidence and if it helped you to realize, ‘Yes, I am being delusional, I’m really fat, I’ve got to lose weight’ then that’s what I’d be doing in my therapy with people. But the reality is that body image issues actually predict poor self-care. So, what that means is the worst you feel about your body the less not more the less you’re able to take care of yourself. Just some examples of that is; emotional eating. So, we know that people with body image issues they tend to emotionally eat more, which makes sense because it really gets you down when you you’re so critical of your body.
Also, people with body image issues they exercise less and that makes sense too. Why would you want to go out even if you need to, why would you want to go out and move your body if you’re worried about how people are going to judge you and you feel really disgusting and you’re really you know embarrassed to go out and move your body. The other thing that it does is disliking your body to a great extent, it pushes you into these extreme behaviours and for ninety-five percent of people, those extreme weight loss behaviours that ‘I’ve gotta lose weight fast, I don’t like my body, this has got to change really quickly’, it’s not sustainable. For a lot of people are harmful and even if you do get it right you put yourself at risk of being someone who has an eating disorder or it is addicted to exercise. So, for all of these reasons and many more, the more you hate your body, the worst you’re going to do.
So, what I want to do is, I want to provide you with a link to one of my blogs which is called “Five simple steps to body acceptance” and more than that, what I want you to do is actually comment below on something that is lovable about your body. I did this with my psychology of eating wait movement and body image support group and I’ll actually provide a link to that if you want to join, it’s a wonderful group, and I said, “Guys, write something that’s lovely about your body” and I know a lot of people, especially if they’re bigger people, and most of the people in that group are bigger people, they struggle to find these things and I thought they think, “Oh yeah Glenn, righto!” and I didn’t think we’d get much uptake, but a few hours later I was pleasantly surprised to see people writing all of these beautiful things about their body. So, what my real wish for you is that you can start to take care of yourself from a place of love. Start to take care of yourself from a place of acceptance and that’s going to be great for you personally and that’s why I want you to do it, but the other thing is it’s actually going to work a lot better.
So, thank you for listening to Thursday Therapy. You might notice I’ve got a dietician connection shirt on. Thank you, guys, for your feedback, telling me you like me more casual, that’s good because I like being more casual too, so that works for everyone. I’ve got this shirt on because I don’t want to keep wearing the same shirt. I’ve only got a few t-shirts and I don’t want to be like Bart Simpson, who’s just only got the one uniform. It’s going to get boring for all of us and so, I’m going to wear some shirts of some groups that I love and one of them is dietitian connection. It’s a great progressive, dynamic, exciting group for dietitians and I really like them because they’re forward-thinking enough to know that this problem is so complex and so multifactorial that, especially dietitians and psychologists, need to unite and talk about the best way forward. Guys, please give me more questions.
If you’ve got a few questions, pick your favourite one or send me a few different emails and please you know we live in this world where there is this what we call a normative discontent with our weight, meaning that people of all shapes and sizes I’m not happy with their weight. So, if you are someone who accepts themselves at the moment in the current environment you’re like the weirdo, so what I want to do is I want to create a whole bunch of weirdos who love their bodies and take care of themselves from that place of love, so, don’t forget to share this with anyone that you that you think might value from it and please subscribe to us if you want to get more of the Thursday Therapy, but most of all take the time and think about something lovable about your body. See you in our next Thursday Therapy.