Inspiring you to find peace with food and your body image
Inspiring you to find peace with food and your body image
by Harriet Frew on January 14th, 2019

by Harriet Frew on January 4th, 2019

​The button on your trousers is prodding uncomfortably into your stomach. You look guiltily at the shiny wrappers in the waste bin, a sombre reminder of the late-night Celebrations binge. Self-loathing seeps through every pore as you finish off the final three: ‘I’m fat anyway, so why not?  You consider that you might as well, before the healthy eating regime begins.

This regime it is not a diet – it says that in the marketing spiel. It’s a ‘transformation plan’ and it seems to include a lot of green vegetables. Said plan looks promising, enticing you with high expectations of success. You picture yourself, lithe and lean-limbed, showing off your new bod by Valentine’s Day. You can already hear the comments of ‘oh you’ve lost weight, you look amazing’ sweetly ringing in your ears.

You have momentarily forgotten the quantities of hard-earned cash spent on previous diets and the many hopes squandered in the process. If the truth be known, you have lost and gained the same 10lbs more times than you care to remember. In fact, your weight might have crept up a pound or two in the last few years.

With a new year dawning, it is seductive to prioritise weight loss and body transformation as a passport to renewed confidence and self-esteem. Sadly, the plans that promise, often cannot deliver long-term, being wholly unsustainable and impractical. Crucially, they have the potential to disrupt your relationship with food whilst exacerbating the critical voice, that damns self-esteem and judges eating.

What if you ranked your mental wellbeing more highly?  

by Harriet Frew on December 17th, 2018

​If you are feeling a bit despondent and negative about your body as we head into this cold snap, I am sure you are not alone. It is the time of year to be bundled up in layers whilst simultaneously searching for comfort food to survive through the winter days.  If you relate to this and you would like to feel better about your body image today, then read on.

1. Thoughts about your body
We have 60,000 plus thoughts per day and many of these are repetitive. Just imagine the powerful ripple effect of a sabotaging critical thought that is whirring through your brain every hour. Start to notice, what your body image mantra actually sounds like. ‘You’re so fat; you’re ugly; you have no self-control; you’ll never lose weight; you’re tummy is flabby’. I have heard all these thoughts before from clients and from friends in daily conversation. So be aware of your thinking and start to question it. What might be a more supportive way to speak to yourself?

2. But what if I don’t believe the supportive helpful thoughts
Counsellors often work with people who profess to feeling fat and hateful of their bodies on a daily basis. These comprise people of all shapes, weights and sizes. The ‘fat feeling’ can be a powerful conviction from the thinnest girl in the room. But what does this mean though? If you feel that something is true; even if you feel it with extreme certainty, it does not and cannot mean it is always the truth. So start to distance yourself and question your thoughts. Maybe, just maybe you are being a little bit (or possibly very) hard on yourself.

3. Body checking
When you look in the mirror, how do you observe your body? Do you immediately zoom in on your perceived imperfections? Or do you view your body as a whole and notice the parts you can be more accepting of? How you observe your body is very significant and will affect your mood and thinking. Sometimes you may check your tummy size or leg width numerous times a day, to almost confirm your absolute worst fears. Often you might even feel that you can immediately see a change in your least favourite body part after you have eaten. Is this really possible? Really? Be aware of how you are viewing your body and then thinking about it. Notice the body parts you can be more accepting of and pay them compliments.

4. Selfies and social media
Another research study recently showed the link between an increase in the prevalence of Anorexia Nervosa and the exposure that people have to ‘selfies’. The Internet is crawling with pictures of thin or super-fit bodies. The body has become a construct to be perfected and admired. Photoshop and airbrushing are the norm. No wonder that looking at this stuff regularly affects self-esteem massively and erodes confidence. Reduce your viewing time of these types of images and you will feel better.

5. Comparisons with others
Do you walk into a room and immediately compare yourself with other people? If you are doing this, you are in a no-win situation. Even if you are a 6ft supermodel, there is always possibly going to be someone younger, prettier and thinner coming along. Comparisons are fruitless. They stop you being the best version of yourself. They keep you locked in a cage of inadequacy that is hard to break out of. Notice if you are doing this regularly; make efforts to curb it.

6. Look at real bodies
If you walk down your local high-street tomorrow and have a genuine stare at the bodies around you, I promise you, very few, if at all, will have your definition of a perfect body. Sometimes we are so bombarded by the media that we forget what real bodies actually look like. Take a thorough look; I bet you that you might notice your body is actually okay.

7. Is attractiveness just about thin?
When you are doing your high-street perusal, look about and notice who looks good? Who looks attractive and vibrant? Is it really all about body shape? What other things make someone look appealing and what can you learn from this? Make-up, clothes, posture, confidence – they all play a vital role.

8. Value your body for more than aesthetics
It is easy to spend much time evaluating and judging the outer body whilst the inner body might get less respect and attention. Remember to value your body for what it can do for you. Take care of your body from the inside out. Nourish it with wholesome healthy foods, moisturise, have luxurious baths, do some exercise, breathe and be kind to your body. One day you might well long for the body you have today. Appreciate it now.

9. What’s underneath?
Is your drive for weight loss or a better shape, an attempt to boost self-esteem? There is no doubt that being healthy and taking care of your body is going to enhance self-worth. However, when it is taken to an extreme and you only allow yourself to feel good when a specific weight or shape is achieved, then you are in dangerous waters. How are you feeling deep inside? Are you trying to plaster over this feeling of possible inadequacy by directing your energy into changing your body?

10. Keep perspective
Okay your tummy might not be as you would like it. However, for most people reading this, your body is likely to be healthy; full of movement and agility and strength. We all forget what a fantastic quality of life we have in this country compared to many other parts of the world. Spending time beating yourself up about your body is a waste of time and stops you fulfilling your true potential and making a real difference in the world. When you look back on your life (at hopefully ninety plus years old!); you are not going to worry about the size of your thigh gap. Other things will feature as far more important.

Have a go at taking on my top ten tips and here’s to feeling good about your body image into 2019!

by Harriet Frew on December 3rd, 2018

by Harriet Frew on November 25th, 2018

10 lessons 10 principles of intuitive eating 10 tips 10 ways therapy can help 10 ways 12 days of christmas 20 ways to stop bingeing now 3 steps 5 things to learn 5 ways to silence inner critic 5 ways Bingeing Christma Control ELLEUK ELLE Eating Disorder Eating problem Inside Out Louise Chunn Managing emotions New Year Parenting tips Perfectionism Sleep Spring about counsellors action alcohol all or nothing anorexia nervosa anorexiarecovery anorexia antidiet anxiety eating anxiety appetite assertiveness assertive beach body beautiful people behaviours being authentic being kind to self bikini body plan bikini body binge eating disorder binge eating bingeeating bite by bite body confidence body dysmorphia body image workbook body image body love body neutrality body positivity boost self-esteem breakthrough buimia bulimia nervosa bulimiarecovery bulimia cake can counselling help caring what others think cbt challenging negative thoughts change childhood children and eating disorders children christmas clean eating cognitive behaviour therapy comfort eating comparing self to others comparing with others comparions comparisons compulsive eating compulsive exercise confidence conflict about body size connection contribution counselling criticism dads deception developing awareness developing healthy relationship with food dieting diet disordered eating does self help work dolphin early experiences eating disorder prevention eating disorders eating when hungry eatingdisorder eating elizabeth gilbert embracing change emotional eating emotions envy evening eating exhaustion expectations feelings florence and the machine florence welch food obsession food freedom with food friendship fulfilment fullness fun geneen roth giving up dieting giving goals guilt habit happiness healthy eating healthy food healthy weight helpful help hope how counselling can change your life how to stop binge eating how to stop bingeing how to stop emotional eating how to stop overeating hunger identity improve body image improving body image inferior insulin intuitive eating iphone is your weight your worth janet treasure jealousy jellyfish joy judgement kids and eating disorders kind to body letting go lies listen to body listen to your body loneliness lose control around food lose weight losing control food love body low self-esteem male body image manipulation maudsley model media meeting your needs men and eating disorders mental health mind body connection mindful eating mindfulness mirror mood mothering motivation mums mum new year diet new year resolutions ninja warrior nodiets nodiet not dieting obesity obsession with food obsession on eating orthorexia ostrich over-eating over-exercise overcoming fear overeating parenting people pleasing perfect pixar film pleasure poor body image positive preoccupation with food pressure problem psychodynamic psychological approach psychology reading about eating disorders reading recovery relapse relationships resolutions restriction rest rhino role model root of problem rules about eating rules around eating sabotage satiety saying no secret eating self awareness self conscious self esteem self help books self worth self-acceptance self-awareness self-awarness self-care self-compassion self-confidence self-criticism self-esteem self-help book self-help self-kindness self-loathing self-love self-worth selfcare selfesteem shoulds social anxiety social eating social media and body image social media song starve stop binge eating stop bingeing stop comparisons stop dieting stopping dieting stress striving success summer support for carers support surviving Christmas susie orbach tablet television therapy things you didn't know thinking about food thinking styles thinking thinner self thin thoughts about food thoughts tips to boost self-esteem tips to love your body tips tired to my client who is struggling tv and body image ulrike schmidt undereating unkind to self validating emotions values value weighing scales weight conflict weight loss weight wellbeing what is counselling what is therapy when food is love when therapy is hard work
Inspiring you to find peace with food and your body image