EATING LOVE GUIDE - 2



<< PREV                                                                                                                        NEXT >>

Guide - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Emotions 1 - Emotions 2 - Emotions 3

CHAPTER 2 - WEAKNESS & SHAME



"The more one judges, the less one loves. - Honore de Balzac"

There is nothing worse than a fat person in our culture. Better to be corrupt, selfish, a bit mean, lazy, spineless or even narcissistic than be fat.

I'm serious.

Our culture hates a fat person and there is no end to the ridicule it will inflict upon people who are big.

Fat jokes are still being used on television, movies and in media in general, during a time when we are supposed to be much more sensitive to the plight of others. We no longer bash women, gays, people with varied skin tones and those with different religious beliefs.

But for some reason, overweight individuals are fair game and we take a type of cruel pleasure in our jests toward them, and, do it with a smile.

Main characters on television or in books are rarely if ever overweight. When we watch these heros or heroines on TV or in movies, we identify with them as we share their journey throughout the film, and in doing so, we are told that their standard of body type or beauty or status, is what we should be or aspire to be. That is the unconscious assumption we all agree to when we either make or watch movies/shows.

Again, we don't consciously think about it that way when watching TV but in an instant we automatically know. This happens over and over again, many times per day, reinforcing this very idea about you and how you should be.

GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE LOSER

Fat people are good enough to 'support' the main characters. Supporting characters that are overweight generally have personality traits that are seen as weak or undesirable. Perhaps they are over anxious or have no other focus in life except the endless pursuit of food. They are the friend that tags along and never gets noticed, simply feeling priveledged to just share the same space as the hero. The supporting character is there for contrast and by being so 'repelling', the main character seems that much more appealing.

At school, children and adolescents who have weight issues enjoy far less acceptance and have fewer friends in general. They are also bullied more frequently and experience higher levels of depression than their slimmer peers.

TV commercials show people who take a strong liking to the product being advertised, as almost always slim. Overweight people in commercials are used for contrast once again, or to represent the competitor product (think of the popular Mac- PC commercials.)

We torment and lament the fat person and for some reason this is seen as acceptable. People who struggle with weight issues have either genetic, biochemical or psychological causes at the core of the issue and we either don't know but don't care anyway - or we know but still don't care.

If you read many of the current weight loss and fitness blogs online, you'll see that many of the authors have little understanding of the psychological aspect of weight gain, and talk mainly about controlling calories. By focusing on that alone they're saying, yet not saying, that they've presented you with the answer to weight gain and so if you won't implent it then it's because you're either unintelligent or ...

"Fat People are Lazy."

That's really what's being said underneath it all. The abuse, the well written and well intentioned blogs all are saying that you have the character flaw called 'laziness' and if you just got off your behind then you wouldn't have that problem anymore.

While it's true that for some people laziness is a factor, I don't believe that to be the case for the majority. If so, the diet industry wouldn't be as big as it is, with so many people spending hard earned money and time and effort to change themselves.

Why mention all this?

Because I want it to be clear and out in the open that people who are overweight face a tougher challenge than many. That a double standard exists and that it is not fair.

That their already low self-esteem is being clobbered even more by the hour, and that this generally causes THEM TO CONTINUE TO BASH THEMSELVES. We internalize the messages and continue the work on our own.

It's important that this be acknowledged and that it stops. To do this, the external AND internal abuse has to be witnessed consciously. We have to be able to become aware of the thoughts we have about ourselves, which are unconscious much of the time.

We also have to call out the abuse every time we see it on TV or in a social setting - even if it's just in our own minds. It doesn't mean we stop watching TV or participating in the activity. What we are doing is taking notice and mentally fighting back by not accepting it. Doing so puts us in a more powerful place and leads me to the second reason for mentioning this dynamic (abuse of fat people).

If unchallenged and un-witnessed, it becomes a barrier between our pain and our getting better. Simply put, if we take no notice, the shame will make us turn away from ourselves and the problem will never be attended to.

Shame and Emotional Eating


YOU'RE NOT WEAK

One should recognize that in the emotional eater there exists a very powerful, psychological pull to overeat. That she doesn't do it because she's weak, she does it because she is up against a monster that most everybody (skinny people too) can't or won't face.

They see that their deep pain is the same as most everyone else's, and that they simply cope with it differently. They are more 'like' everyone else than different. Once they alleviate the shame, they have more control over their behavior and a better ability to make positive changes. This tiny success can be built upon so that each bit of internal work, reflection and outward action can eventually lead them slowly toward a more permanent change. That of a healthier, potent and more confident person.

...

<< PREV                                                                                                                        NEXT >>

Guide - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Emotions 1 - Emotions 2 - Emotions 3