Tag Archives: judgement

Session Notes : Fed Up

24 Apr

First off, my apologies for neglecting this blog.

I (Soo), have been swept up by the real world, and what has become a busy coaching practice, and Heather has been jet-setting around the globe as a busy social entrepreneur should.

The issues of weight management, food addiction and all the many other issues which orbit around the subject have, however, never been far from my mind.

I am posting my notes from the last Fed Up (Food Addicts Group Therapy) session, which was held at my offices just short of two weeks ago.

I wanted to post these notes because there is still a fair amount of confusion as to what Fed Up is all about, as well as questions regarding its philosophy and content.  I hope this inclusion helps to answer some of those questions, but I also wanted to point out the following :

  • The attached notes represent only the framework of what was a very inclusive Group Therapy session.  You are looking at the skeleton.  To get the meat, you would really need to be there*.
  • At each session a different hot topic is raised.  In future I will not be sharing the topics in this way (just posting my pre-session notes) but I will rather bring together the learnings and points of view of all the attendees in an after session blog post.  I think the result will be far more interesting to the reader.

*I realise it is not possible for everyone, particularly the international followers of this blog, to ‘be there’.   I am working on a way round that, perhaps a podcast format for some portions of the session, or transcripts (thinking cap needs time to do its work…)

As usual, email me at talktosoopat@hotmail.com if you do not want your comments on the record.




A slimming club

A pity party

A one man show


A safe space

A place without judgement

A place to vent

A place to be real

A place and time to take ownership and responsibility for your life, your communication and your actions


Fed Up is a confidential on-going support system for women struggling with issues related to food addiction and self esteem.  The Fed Up Sessions have a group therapy structure, and offer encouragement and therapeutic advice in your journey to self-awareness, victory over your addiction and the issues which underlie it.  You will NOT be weighed, you will NOT be measured.  You will not be asked to leave the group if you do not lose weight.  You will never be shamed, over praised or treated like a child.  You WILL be heard, understood, and given an opportunity to vent, facilitated by a kind a gentle process.

There are a few rules here, and they are designed to protect and empower us all

  • Never comment on a group member’s weight, whether it be a gain or a loss, unless the information is freely offered, and your opinion is sought.   We do not measure each other’s worth based on kilograms in this space, and this is not a competition.   Please know that I will stop you, if I see you doing this at any time. Feel free however to crow about your achievements, or vent your frustrations during the sharing portion of the session.
  • Do not use these sessions to evangelize about the latest weight loss fad, or to sell anything to anyone.  If the details of a diet or plan are specifically requested, rather offer an email, or a private phone conversation at a later time. I do not want participants of this group feeling they have been tricked into an Amway or direct sales presentation.  Please know that I will stop you, if I see you doing this at any time.
  • Be aware of the time you take up, in proportion to the other ladies in the group.  It is my responsibility as facilitator of these sessions to ensure they do not become focused on, or dominated by, one person and I will take measures to ensure this, if this ever becomes necessary.  If you need more of my time, approach me afterwards to arrange a one on one session.


Each person introduces themselves, speaks briefly of their history with regard to food, and vents something, if necessary.  They can choose to end by reading the fed up affirmation.  Two minutes per person. (These confessional moments will never be shared in a blog.  They are private.  What happens in Fed Up, stays in Fed Up).

“I am FED UP with a world which measures my worth in kilograms.  I am FED UP by the ways in which I have reacted to these measures and judgements in the past.  I am FED UP! Today, I am moving forward, taking charge, and claiming my right to life, love and happiness.  Right NOW”

THE HOT TOPIC (tabled & facilitated by Soo, and discussed by all)

(Please note these are my rough pre-session notes.  I welcome any questions or queries on this topic, which was discussed in depth by the group during the session.)

“I don’t trust my body”

“when I eat too much, food makes me feel polluted and stuffed”

(these things were said by an anorexic, who weighs 73 pounds)

This woman is deliberately attempting to get as fat as she can. Empathy, Disgust or Pity?

What I really want to achieve tonight is a possible re-frame on some of these issues.  When food is the weapon are we really so different, in the ways we harm ourselves? Do we have double standards?  Do we have less sympathy, or more sympathy for different kinds of eating disorders?  Do we feel ok about ripping off a skinny person, in the way we would never consider doing to a fat person?  Or perhaps vice versa?  Do we admire the extremely skinny on a level, even anorexics, while we are disgusted by the obese? Aren’t they both killing themselves?

Anorexics can be mean and controlling to get what they want.  They lie about what they have eaten.  This is well documented.  Can fat people also be mean and controlling to get what they want?  Do they also lie about what they have eaten?  Does an anorexic person seem meaner to you?  Does a fat person seem sadder?  Does one have more of a reason or excuse to lie, than the other, in your mind?

Anorexic documentary : family describes when she ‘gets ugly’ she is ‘like a monster’.  How would it feel to be described this way, based on your weight?  Have you been described in this way, based on your weight?

This woman has deliberately attempted to get as thin as she can. Empathy, Disgust or Pity?

Anorexics have interventions and are told ‘you are killing yourself!” or are taken on Dr Phil, or sent off to treatment centres, where they are forced to eat the ‘right’ amount… but this is not done for the obese.  Why the double standard.  Who is getting short-changed?  Are the problems of the obese not taken seriously?  Does Anorexia get more ‘sympathy’?  Does it get less?

Anorexics often seek to dictate the terms of their treatment, or want to quit.  Do the obese do the same?  Are you able to relinquish control (and should you), even if this control is related to wanting to be left completely alone to self abuse, or insisting on following a crazy diet of your choosing, rather than following the advice and help of others? (Dr Phil to anorexic ‘You don’t get to be calling the terms of your treatment’.  ‘You are not equipped to deal with how this should be handled’)

Anorexics insist on exercising, or do it secretly.  The obese refuse to exercise, feel persecuted about being forced to exercise, and don’t stick to exercise programs and resent them.

Anorexics eat secretly for fear of being judged.  The obese eat secretly for fear of being judged.

Others say to anorexics “you don’t have to do this, stop right now.  Why are you being so selfish?”.  Does that seem reasonable.  How would you feel, if the same thing was said to you, as an obese or overweight person?

Anorexics are asked to stand in their underwear and to lift their shirts and show their bony ribs, and these clips are shown on national television, to show ‘the extent of their disease’ and how it has ‘ravaged her body’.  How do you feel about this?  How would you feel if you saw a clip of an obese person, who was asked to lift their shirt and show their fat rolls, or to stand in skimpy underwear to show the world ‘the extent of the disease which has ravaged her body’.  Are you more sympathetic to one, over the other, in terms of this humiliation?  Are you more sympathetic to one over the other, in terms of their disease?

Not Enabling Means :  Your disorder is not allowed in the house, in the same way as an abusive boyfriend.  No special accommodations are made (such as : ‘this is my food’, ‘this is my mustard’, ‘no one must watch me eat’, ‘no one is allowed to comment when I go off the rails’)

Anorexic’s say “I feel as though I am trapped in this body, while others are having fun and having a life”.  Do the obese say the same thing? (Particularly regarding hobbies and interests).

TONIGHT’S POWER TOOL (explained by Soo, and then workshopped by the group)

Do you know how to take a compliment?  Really take it and integrate it?  Do you know how to deliver a compliment?

Would you like to have a tool which allows you to take a compliment at face value, and to feel bolstered by it, no matter what it is?

Receiving a compliment :

Example :

“You really look fantastic.  Something is different.  What is it?”

Steps :

  • Internalise – do you believe it? Give them the benefit of the doubt.  Take it in equal measure (the example of the tot glass vs the pint glass – they are offering you a pint glass worth, but your current self esteem results in you receiving it in a tot glass)
  • Smile.  Don’t grimace or squirm!
  • Respond and pay it forward.  The practice of giving genuine compliments must be rewarded!  Be sincere.  Dig deep.

“Thank You.  I feel good.  Life is good.  I really appreciate how you have picked up on my improved attitude.  I respect and admire how in tune you are with people”.


Giving a back handed compliment and that you don’t have any urge to ‘put them in their place’.  Even seemingly perfect people need compliments.  It is meaningful compliments they would prefer, ones which do not relate to their looks.


compliments : I'll take em!

Each person gives a compliment to the person next to them.  It is not allowed to be based on their size. (post- meeting note :  This was an experiment and it ROCKED.  It may sound silly or superficial, but it was actually wonderfully moving and affirming, as we were all sincere and digging deep.  It ended the session on a high note)

Meeting closes.


ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT : Fed Up! Group Sessions

2 Feb

The Fed Up Manifesto :

“I am FED UP with a world which measures my worth in kilograms.  I am FED UP by the ways in which I have reacted to these measures and judgements in the past.  I am FED UP! Today, I am moving forward, taking charge, and claiming my right to life, love and happiness.  Right NOW”

Date : Tues 1 March 2011

Time : 6 to 9pm

Place : Group Lounge, My Coaching Office, Melville, Johannesburg

Session Topic : Weight Loss Surgery

A frank discussion on elective weight-loss surgery.  An opportunity for clarity and enlightenment for anyone who is considering a weight loss intervention, anyone opposed to this surgery but seeking with honest intent to understand it, or anyone conflicted on the issue. The discussion will be facilitated by myself (Suzanne ‘Soo’ Patterson), an NLP Life Coach.  All attendees will have an opportunity to participate, without pressure to communicate beyond their comfort level.

This group is for you if :  You are a woman.  You currently struggle with your weight AND/OR you have struggled with your weight in the past and still consider your relationship with food to be complicated and tenuous AND/OR you consider yourself a food addict AND/OR you are in a relationship with a food addict AND/OR you are part of the loving support system of a food addict.

Special Guest : Heather (my sister and co-blogger here) (37 yrs) – 3 months after lap-band surgery

Fed Up is NOT a slimming club.  Fed Up is a confidential on-going support system for women struggling with issues related to food addiction and self esteem.  The Fed Up Sessions have a group therapy structure, and offer encouragement and therapeutic advice in your journey to self-awareness, victory over your addiction and the issues which underlie it.  You will NOT be weighed, you will NOT be measured.  You will not be asked to leave the group if you do not lose weight.  You will never be shamed, over praised or treated like a child.  You WILL be heard, understood, and given an opportunity to vent, facilitated by a kind a gentle process.

To book contact me, Soo Patterson 071  177 7030 or email talktosoopat@hotmail.com.
To preserve the group dynamic, places are limited.  R80 per person, includes 3hr group therapy session, session notes, Coffee, Tea & Biscuits.

We are all one pay-cheque away from chubby

21 Sep

If you are “a normal weight”, you walk a very fine line between fat and skinny.

One bout of a 3 day tummy bug would be enough to have you knocking on the door of skinny, and a one week beach holiday at a hotel with a buffet is sufficient to push you into chubby land.

fighting the beast within?

We walk really close to the edge and it may be partly responsible for why and how we lash out at people on either end of the weight spectrum.

Anyone who has seen “American Beauty” knows the guy who is the meanest to gay men, is like that because he is terribly fearful of the inevitable weak moment he will try to stick his tongue down the throat of Kevin Spacey.


REAL women have curves?

20 Jul

Suzannes Perspective

I recently came across a support group for women struggling with self esteem issues, called ‘REAL Women Have Curves’ (unrelated to the film, starring America Ferrera, with the same name).

I have a couple of questions.

What the ferking hell is a REAL woman?

If your answer is “dem ones that have curves!” then I can only assume flat chested athletes are fake women.  I could also assume fat men are real women, as they have curves too.  A fake woman can become real by getting fake tits I suppose.  How nice.

And how about that word “curves”?  Don’t you love a lame euphemism?  Fat people generally get round, past a certain point of weight gain, and most curves are eliminated.  Instead of boobs going out, waist going in, and butt going out, it all pretty much goes out.  So maybe “curve” would have been better than “curves”.  Unless of course, you deliberately wanted to exclude the extra supersize large fatties from the self esteem class.  Only Anna Nicole porny looking curvy types please.  No round people or flat people because they surely aren’t real women either.  Yucky!  Send them away!

Keira was so grateful the hollywood magic men could make her into a "real" woman...

We need to consider the way we talk about how people look, in order to make a point.  If you are dissing the opposite of those you seek to build up, you are doing it wrong.  Let me give a few examples of statements I found on the web this evening :

“American men actually prefer a woman who is somewhat meaty over the anorexic bimbo types”

It doesn’t sound too bad at first glance.  Its motives are sympathetic, and it is written in the same tone as one might use when telling a child “don’t worry about those silly bullies”, when they return home from school with a black eye. The writer is attempting to make an overweight blogger feel better, by letting her know that not every man is looking for the thinner physical ideal.  I get that.  But then SAY THAT.  It is not necessary to use insult to comfort, even if you feel as though insulting the “lucky” or “privileged’ (the Thin) can’t really be considered an insult.

Consider flipping this statement to :

“American men actually prefer a woman who is somewhat boney over the bingeing moron types”

Can you see where the line was crossed?  If my adapted quote had been posted anywhere by anyone, it would have been flamed by several horrified respondents.  Interestingly, the real comment didn’t manage to solicit a single response from anyone who felt strongly enough to leap to the defense of the underweight.  Attaching personality traits and intelligence levels to physical characteristics is offensive.  You do not get a free pass because you are ripping off thin people.

Beth Ditto - a certain recording artist?

Here’s another quote I found :

“Study after study has shown that men prefer women who have meat on their bones to those who resemble a certain hotel heiress”

How do you feel about this flip :

“Study after study has shown that men prefer women who have more muscle than flab to those who resemble a certain recording artist”

Why is it necessary to make other people feel inferior, in order to feel good about ourselves?

I would like to point out to the creators of groups like “REAL women have Curves” that there is NOT a big pot of self esteem somewhere, that we all have to share, and which isn’t quite big enough to provide us each with a decent ration.  Me having a bit,  does not deprive you of the chance to have any.  It really isn’t necessary for you to beat me over the head to try to grab mine.  Look in your pocket.  DON’T ARGUE WITH ME. Look in your pocket!  See it?? Yes exactly.  You have your own self esteem.  Same as me.  You just have to take it out of your pocket, and pin it on your chest.


Weight. The Final Frontier. These are the voyagers of the starship supersize.

6 Jul

Suzannes Perspective (this rant originally posted on Facebook)

It is the nature of human beings, to find a friendlier face, for our socially unacceptable afflictions.

Alcoholism has become a disease, which means the victims now include those who hold the bottle, instead of just those who hide from those who hold the bottle. Promiscuity is the manifestation of a tragic childhood, instead of just a love of sex and attention and a lack of interest in the consequences. Violence is the fault of TV, pc games and plastic guns, instead of twisted being what twisted does.   We molest, because we were molested. Tossed about by circumstances and genetic predispositions – we are molded into the beasts we are – like so much helpless clay.

“You did the best you could.. considering”.

Give a fucked up person an excuse, and they will grab it with both hands. Give a fat person a pie, and they will grab it with both hands.

google search for "funny fat girl" - result 1

This is one socially unacceptable affliction that doesn’t get to have a friendlier face – by its very nature, obesity is stuck with the chubby face that it’s got. You are fat. Who to blame that on though. Hmmm. Can we perhaps attribute your problem to a syndrome or a disease? Well, not really, because you Sir, have a thin twin sister, and you Ma’am, had a perfect childhood. Your own fist lifted it to your mouth.. we all agree on that, so there isn’t an imaginary stranger to blame that on. You didn’t do it? Yeah right. You wear the evidence on your hips.

It’s not even “cool”, like bulimia or anorexia, which although tragic, hold in their grip victims who seem rather brave and noble, and jeez.. pretty flippen disciplined ey?   We want to hear all about it, in endless magazine articles and made for TV movies. We want to see pics of bony asses and hear about the clever ins and outs of how they did it. “Karen, after being rejected by a modeling agency, starves herself into a hospital bed, before finding the strength to overcome”. We can’t get enough of that shit. I don’t see all that many made for TV movies about “Sarah, after being rejected by a boy in high school, ate her way into type 2 diabetes and size 26 pants, before finding the strength to attend a water aerobics class with normal size girls”. Who would want to watch that? What’s so impressive about that “battle”?.. just don’t lift your paw to your mouth you fat pig.. all the regular people yell in unison.. “less food, more exercise!”

Google search for "funny fat girl" - result 2

An anorexic or bulimic is never the monster a fat person is. We all know that anorexics are type A personalities – overachievers. Fat people? Dim witted simpletons. Silly creatures with no self control. Lazy people. The difference has something to do with how society views “greed” (picture the marshmallow monster from ghost busters, blubbering down the road), in contrast to how it views “self control” (virginal, dainty creature says no to pies AND cigarettes!) – even the extremes of which, we can’t help admiring the virtue in.

But here’s the thing.

A fat person ruins their OWN life (a new take on the expression “biting the hand that feeds you”?).  As far as bad habits go, it’s a one victim crime. If you grew up in a home with an alcoholic, all the explanations in the world as to how the drinker in your life was a victim “of the disease” don’t help all that much to patch up the damage done by having them as part of your life, or for the terror and verbal abuse inflicted on you. Did you have a slaggy mom or a violent dad? Great that they get to weep in therapy about their traumatic childhoods, after robbing you of yours. You can love them, you can move on, when you see that they are trying to beat it? Right? Shame? Right?

So.. did a fat person ever chase you down the street and steal your ice-cream? Did the extra biscuits your mom ate in front of the TV cause you trauma?

Not so much?

Google search for "funny fat girl" - result 3

But yet we are ashamed to admit we are related to very fat people. We disown them, we shame them, and we laugh at them. We can’t respect them.

Here’s where I am heading with this : Would you walk into a room of alcoholics and point and laugh? Would you post pictures of their red noses on Facebook, their clammy complexions and little booze paunches? Pics of their diseased livers? I wonder why that isn’t funny. It’s not though. Not a total scream like a pic of a fat chick lying on a bed.. you know. Looking fat. Ha ha! Hilarious! *point point, weeping with joy*

If the only person a fat person is hurting is themselves, why do we have to get on at them so much? Is it just because “we don’t want to have to look at it?” Well, I suppose, in the same way we don’t want to have all those homo’s loving each other in our faces. They can do it if they really have to, behind closed doors, but we just “don’t want to have to look at it”? That’s tricky for fat people, as they have to make their way through the world in their bodies, and they can’t zip them off like a wetsuit, just so that they don’t offend thin folks. I am pretty sure they would be happy to do that for you, if they could.

What they probably won’t do, is have the courage to agree with this post, or even acknowledge they have read it. I noticed an echoing silence from anyone even a single kg over their goal weight when I posted a link to a horrifying article about how some men sexually pursue fat women “for sport”. It’s called “Hogging”.

The only fat woman comfortable responding was my sister (and no.. I don’t need to use a euphemism, she would prefer I said “fat”, not “large”.. not “curvy”). Heather knows who and what she is, and is confident enough to defend her personal boundaries. If it gives her away as being fat? Hell. Denial is a door that is going to smack you in the face sooner or later right?

So… let me raise my glass to every other woman of a certain size.. who will never read this, who would have gawped at the title and assumed my intentions were the regular kind. I think I get it. Gotta pretend that they are cool with it.. got to keep up that happy jolly façade all the time.. gotta do that.

That’s probably the only way to survive.