Counselling and Psychotherapy for
Body, Mind and Spirit

Ina Stockhausen, MTC

Ina Stockhausen R.P.C. offers spiritual counselling and body psychotherapy or somatic counseling in Burnaby and North Vancouver.

healthy weight

In Canada, we have our own “James Oliver”. Rose Reisman is one of this country’s leading authorities on the art of eating and living well.
She recently discussed her desire to change the way Canadians eat in the Vancouver Sun.

Her goal is timely. Canadians today are heavier than ever before with the rate of obesity skyrocketing. According to the Canadian Health Measures Survey, during the 2007-to-2009 period, just fewer than 38% of adults were at a healthy weight. About 1% were underweight, 37% were overweight and 24% were obese.

In some ways, this is a curious phenomenon, because we live in a society that has an obsession with weight. Thin is in, Fat is out!  Public sympathy is offered to those suffering from Anorexia while Bulimia and Binge Eating are motive for public shame.

Might one assume then, that potentially every third person struggles with feelings of frustration, low self-esteem or shame because they are overweight?

That is a possibility. There is a societal stigma attached to obesity.  Being fat is synonymous with laziness and a lack in willpower. Being fat means being visible and invisible at the same time.

Many individuals who struggle with weight have no lack in willpower and are certainly not lazy. In fact, most of them have gone and successfully completed numerous diets and exercise programs. They have deprived themselves of pizza and cake and have run many miles on the treadmill.

And they have lost weight. Over and over again…. because in between their periods of dieting and exercising, the pounds lost somehow piled back on … and then some.

I am thrilled, when I see authors like Rose Reisman affirm that losing weight is not about dieting.

Losing weight is about healthy nutrition and exercise….AND it is about addressing the root cause of what happens during those “in between” periods of dieting.

95% of diets fail because of Emotional Eating. In order to lose weight, it is necessary to re-evaluate one’s relationship with food and weight. Someone who uses food to cope with life’s challenges and stress in their life, has to find other ways to deal with overwhelming emotions.

Over the years of working with and supporting clients who struggle with Emotional Eating and Eating Disorders, I have found that most issues are in some way connected to a lack of communication.

Pain and grief aren’t expressed, boundaries aren’t articulated, feelings of loneliness are stuffed down, a desire for recognition remains in the realms of silence and anger is repressed for the sake of harmony.

Sometimes these emotions aren’t even expressed to the Self. An excellent first step to stop emotional eating is a conversation with yourself. One way to engage in such a dialogue is journaling.

The next time you are standing in front of the fridge, hoping to find something that will make you feel better, consider grabbing some pen and paper and start writing.

What is going on? What emotions are you feeling? What have you wanted to say to someone but didn’t because you wanted to avoid negative consequences? There are many resources available to help you learn express your needs, desires and feelings in a safe and healthy way.

Coaching and counselling are other options to help heal old wounds or fears connected to communicating with others and setting boundaries.

Silence can make you fat. To make Canadians more healthy, Rose Reisman recommends sharing at least one wholesome meal a day, with upbeat conversation. I second that and encourage many conversations upbeat or serious, where everyone has a voice, and speaks and listens with an open heart.