Tag Archives: self-esteem

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.

FED UP, SESSION NOTES : APRIL 12TH 2011

WELCOME (Soo)

WHAT IS FED UP NOT?

A slimming club

A pity party

A one man show

FED UP IS :

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

THE FED UP MANIFESTO :

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.

INTRODUCTION & VENTING (All)

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”.

THE PROCESS FOR GIVING A COMPLIMENT IS THE SAME!  Make sure you are not :

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.

CLOSING COMPLIMENTS

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.

Bands and Ties and Other Things Which Bind

24 Jan

Suzanne’s Perspective

At the end of last year, my big sister (in all the ways that count, and some that don’t) underwent a surgical procedure, and had a weight loss device – a lap band – inserted.  She now has a teeny little inner tube circling her stomach, which when inflated will squeeze tighter and more efficiently than any iron-fisted willpower she has been able to summon to date and limit the amount of food she can comfortably eat in one sitting.

Inside my 15 year-old sister (pictured here) was always a fat person, fighting her way out. Slim and pretty, but in her mind fat and clumsy. Hiding under bulky shorts, arms covering a belly she didn't have. Eating until years later, her outside matched her inside.

Two earth-shattering, conscience jarring, where-the-hell-do-you-stand-on-anything-actually parcels of life found their way to my door step at the end of last year.  Both of them, in terms of my contribution to this blog, struck me dumb.

Continue reading

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.

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