No more diets and deprivation. Eat the foods you love and have a great body image.
Rethink your body
To get the freedom to live the life you want
by Harriet Frew on August 31st, 2017

7 warning signs that your exercise is becoming destructive
 
We know that it is helpful to move more and make exercise part of our daily lives. There are numerous physical benefits to our cardio-vascular system; managing weight; strengthening bones and muscles and reducing the risk of developing diabetes.  The mental benefits are marked also, with improved body image; reduced anxiety; enhanced mood and self-esteem, plus meeting others and engaging socially.  So for most people in the western world, moving more and engaging our bodies in activity is profoundly helpful.
 
However, if you are struggling with your relationship with food, then exercise can start to be used in a destructive way – from pushing your body to exhausting limits when you already feel tired; to being used as a stick to beat yourself with when you are unable to be active, or becoming the sole factor you use in assessing your self-worth.
 
Here are 7 warning signs that  your exercise is not so healthy anymore: -
 
1. You can’t take time off from the gym without feeling guilty or anxious. You constantly worry about potential gaps in activity days ahead. 

2. You instantly FEEL fatter or bigger when you miss a gym session, even when logically you know this probably isn’t possible. The feelings are intense and hard to bear. 

3. Your sense of worth is directly related to the amount of activity you have done. If you are highly active, you feel good. If you haven’t achieved your activity quota, you feel bad. 

4. Your primary motivation for exercising is to burn calories. You train to eat, rather than the other way round. 

5. You compare yourself relentlessly to others at the gym, frequently feeling negative about your body image. 

6. No amount of exercise feels good enough. You have to do a certain number of reps, burn enough calories or lift specific numbers of weights to feel okay. 

7. You feel constantly exhausted from exercise, but feel unable to take a day off. You have lost the joy of movement; it now feels like an obligation. 
 
If you recognise yourself in the above, having awareness is the first point of change.  Be kind and compassionate with yourself, rather than being harsh and judgemental. Take a step back and be curious about ‘why’ exercise has become problematic for you. Maybe you are not feeling good enough about yourself in some way? You are trying to feel better by pushing your body to unhealthy extremes?
 
Think about working to approach exercise for the joy of physical movement and for appreciating what your body can do for you. If you feel very stuck in being able to change your attitude towards exercise, it could be a time to seek support with this through counselling. Counselling can help you understand why exercise has become an unhealthy coping strategy. You can also be supported to make changes and adopt a healthier approach to managing physical activity and improving self-esteem.
 
 
 

by Harriet Frew on July 28th, 2017

You feel alone. In the chattering hubbub of the party, everyone else seems relaxed and at ease. You wish you could feel this way. All you can think about is the buffet laid out before you: the plates crammed with gooey profiteroles; pink laced cup cakes, tasty cheeses and soft pastries. Nothing else in this moment seems that important. You take your second plate and hastily fill it with food. It feels as though an uncontrollable beast has been unleashed inside you taking over all regular self-control and normal sanity. You find yourself eating anything and everything there, even foods you don’t normally like. 

Quickly turning to shame and self-disgust

It is past midnight and you are home. Your stomach is full to bursting point. You are grumpy and irritable, chastising yourself inwardly for losing control yet again. Confusingly, you also are rummaging in the cupboards to eat more, and willing your partner off to bed. Why, you wonder? You feel ashamed and disgusted with yourself. You want to blot the memory of this evening from your mind and start fresh again tomorrow.

by Harriet Frew on June 18th, 2017

Body image anxiety used to be mainly a female concern, unless you were a jockey, body builder or underwear model. However, men are increasingly affected by body image concerns and these are particularly notable in younger men, raised alongside the powerful influence of the internet and social media. Men typically aspire to a lean, muscular ‘ideal’, whereas in women, the desire swings more towards a thin silhouette.


The evidence
A study of 394 British men at the Centre of Appearance Research at the University of the West of England a few years ago showed that 38% of men would sacrifice at least a year of their life in exchange for a perfect body. Some large-scale surveys have found that overall male body image dissatisfaction has increased by 300% over the past three decades, showing a considerable upward change in this trend.

by Harriet Frew on May 16th, 2017


As the temperature is warming, people are gradually shedding clothes and revealing skin, wearing skimpy shorts, vest tops and sandals. For many of us though, the thought of baring flesh and exposing limbs can automatically induce a bout of anxiety. The pressure to have achieved ‘the bikini body’ seems to be pressing from all angles. Instagram is full of pictures of beach-honed bodies and eating plans promising quick results. Conversations at the water cooler from well-meaning friends increasingly focus on holidays and summer parties. You might feel that the only way you can cope with this impending pressure is to opt for a dietary overhaul or liquid shakes for several weeks. However, before, you venture down this potentially damaging journey towards your poor body and eating habits, stop and take a pause. Here are five survival tips for feeling body confident now: -

by Harriet Frew on April 11th, 2017

It can feel like an insurmountable task to ‘get it right’ with your child in helping them to develop a healthy body image and balanced eating habits. On the one hand, we hear daily scaremongering news of the dangers of obesity and eating too much sugar. Simultaneously, we are also terrified of our child developing an eating disorder and becoming too thin.  The culture and environment do not support our efforts, with cheap, tasty, processed food available in abundance, whilst we at the same time we continue to be bombarded by perfect social-media images. This discrepancy alone creates an unhelpful backdrop for trying to develop healthy attitudes towards body image and eating.   

As a therapist, I specialise in treating adults with eating disorders. The seeds of the eating disorder are often inadvertently sewn early on life, and by the time someone comes to see me, it can be a challenge to untangle the complex web of issues that have unwittingly influenced someone in their childhood and adolescent years. I am going to talk here about some of the common themes that arise from childhood around eating and body image, with suggestions for parents for providing positive support.
 





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No more diets and deprivation. Enjoy food whilst looking good and feeling great about your body shape.