Thursday, May 9, 2013

Food obsession: Two sides

Mika Brzezinski, co-host of the MSNBC "Morning Joe" show, has just written a new book titled Obsessed: America's Food Addiction—and My Own. It was just released this week. I heard Brzezinski talk earlier this week, together with her co-author and friend Diane Smith, about our struggles with food issues in America—and about her own "disordered eating patterns," as she calls them. We women are especially prone to food issues since there's so much pressure on us to have slender, beautiful bodies.

Smith and Brzezinski talked about coming from different ends of the weight spectrum: Brzezinski has done awful things to her body to maintain low weight, and Smith had let her weight get away from her. After a particularly honest and raw conversation one day, they agreed to work together on their own weight and food issues—and to write a book in the process. Smith would lose 70 pounds (more as it turned out), and Brzezinski would gain 10 or more pounds and try to be OK with a larger dress size.

The book chronicles their journey to these goals and what they learned in the process. It is a reminder to me that there are two sides to a coin. When a person is thin, you and I should not assume they have no food or weight issues. And when someone is overweight, we also should not assume they are lazy and undisciplined. Here's where we can really encourage one another, no matter where we fall on the eating or weight continuum. Skinny women aren't the enemies of overweight ones. Or vice versa.

It's important to refrain from judgment, either toward ourselves or others. If you struggle with food and weight issues and want to make some changes, consider finding a friend to set goals with you. A year ago a friend and I joined Weight Watchers together. We've commiserated and also encouraged each other. As a result, we've each lost some 25 to 30 pounds. It helps to have that support!

And, as always, if you would like some coaching around this issue, please do contact me. Remember, I always offer a no-obligation, complimentary strategy session first.

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