Posted on January 21, 2015 by Dr. DeahThis is the second part of a three part series on one approach to treating the clinical diagnosis of Beeinurbonnettopathy (soon to be included in the DSMXXXV). If you didn’t read part one you may want to do so by clicking here. We last left our protagonist Cora (not her real name) learning how to vocalize the chatter in her head about how she compares herself to others and how much energy that takes. We also saw that the persistent act of this "measuring" herself against others keeps her from noticing things in her world that may NOT be worth missing. Here is another video example of how many of us use comparisons to establish our self-worth (or lack of). One of the focuses of the Calmanac Approach™ is CALMing and replacing the buzzing in our minds. It isn't easy. It takes practice. Calculating our self-worth based on comparing ourselves to others is something we were taught to do from a very early age. Here is what Cora's next session was all about: For last week's "homework" I asked Cora to draw or collage a timeline of when she started noticing that she was feeling "less than" others in terms of her body, appearance, or any other skill or personality trait. I asked her to be as specific as possible and to also include what she remembered about her thoughts and actions before the comparative thinking kicked in. I also explained that these were most likely very early memories and may present themselves in smells, sounds, and quick images and not to worry about whether they made sense or not. Just find a way to express them on paper and bring the timeline or a summary of it to our next session. The focus of doing this exercise was primarily to point out what was replaced by these new learned behaviors. Typically, and Cora was no exception, we start off living our lives in concert with our bodies and what we do. We are playing, we are spontaneous, we are mastering skills, and learning what we like and what we don't like. We are seekers, explorers, and for the most part integrated people. There isn't a sense of a mind body split. We are one. Once the comparisons are introduced and we feel we have to be as good as or better than another person or standard; THAT is when a separation begins to happen. We no longer set our own goals or standards for feeling competent and happy. Learning becomes more competitive instead of about growth. And negative feelings about our bodies and sometimes food begin to grow like weeds in our self-image and the buzzing in our bonnets gets louder and louder. As we walked around the lake for our Walkie Talkie Session, Cora spoke about her memories before the comparisons took over. Her affect fluctuated as she rediscovered the sense of excitement about what she could do now if she didn't compare herself to others and anger at how she had lost track of herself in the process. As Cora continued, she realized that she appreciated so much more about her body than she knew; and as we walked, she vocalized gratitude for what was uniquely her. She remembered some of things she enjoyed doing as a child that she stopped doing because she was told that only thin girls could do that. She talked about how there was no middle ground in her family for accomplishing something. For example, she loved to dance. But if she wasn't going to be able to be in a professional dance company there was no reason for her to take lessons just to enjoy herself. The same was true for gymnastics. As we finished our walk, Cora noticed how much less than last week she had compared herself to the other "lakewalkers"and that she felt better about her body and herself as a whole person. This active practice of gratitude had replaced the buzzing even if it was only temporary. (Remember, it takes practice to change old ingrained habits.) For homework I suggested she try to find a way to to engage in one of the things that she had loved as a child but stopped doing because of the intrusion of competitive and comparative thinking. We parted ways both of us feeling excited about what was to be discovered next. So what was the next step with Cora? Find out in my next post of this series...The Bee's Knees. Til next time! Dr. Deah P.S. IMPORTANT EVENTS TO KNOW ABOUT. This week is Healthy Weight Week. It is not a week about losing weight to find the healthy weight for you. It doesn’t even really focus on weight per se. In fact, it needs a new name. But until that happens, here is the mission of HWW and each day there is a focus for participation that you can find HERE. Today’s focus (January 20, 2015) is learning about the Slim Chance Awards. These are symbolic awards presented to the worst weight loss ideas of 2014. It is infuriating to see the desperate measures that companies promote in order to boost their profits and eradicate the horror of having a single fat person living joyously on the planet. I know it takes sanity points to read about some of these procedures and products, but what I do is transform my feelings about them into an opportunity for activism. I write letters to the companies, or programs. I blog about them. I do what I can to expose them for what they are…fraudulent and bigoted. So perhaps you can do the same, it feels very empowering!
January: 28th: 8 am Eastern / 9 am Central / 10 am Mountain / 11am Pacific HAES® University: Bringing a Weight-Neutral Message to Campus with Dawn Clifford, PhD, RD, Patti Watkins, PhD, Rebecca Concepcion, PhD CLICK HERE for more info.February 5-7: Please join me as I present with an outstanding line up of professionals in the fields of Eating Disorders and Expressive Arts Therapies at the EDRS Conference. This year’s theme is: Creative Methods Get Spotlight on Treating Eating Disorders: New tools bridge art and science in eating disorders treatment. Creative Methods--from ancient wisdom traditions to modern expressive therapies. February 13th is Natural Day. Sanah Jivani started this campaign when she was 16 years old as a way for all people to celebrate themselves without feeling the need to change something about their bodies or appearance in order to fit in or be considered “beautiful.” Watch this moving video to find out more about Sanah’s project. It is worth your time and it is NOT a coincidence that it is happening the day BEFORE Valentine’s Day! And speaking of body acceptance, redefining beauty, and moving on to a different attitude about body types, check out this fantastic article by Clarissa Sebag Montefiore about dancing. Imagine the CHUTZPAH!!! A fat woman dancing????? "The Horror The Horror!" Here is the link: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150116-can-fat-be-beautiful