So part of recovery is going to be learning to not trust the negative feelings you have about your body and learning to feed your body as if you did not have these negative feelings, which you will know to be untrue – even though you will still have these feelings for a while. Huh? Clear as mud – right? Don’t worry I’ll try to make this as clear as I can.
Why would you not believe others when they tell you how you actually look? Because our Body Image is not only based on what we think we look like, it’s also based on sensations we have inside our bodies. This is the body’s version of Emotional Reasoning: “If I feel it, then it must be true.”
You have become very skilled at turning emotions and thoughts about other things, people or situations into ‘feeling fat’. In fact you can make yourself feel fat right now. I do this with my clients in my office – I recommend you do this with your therapist or a friend you trust.
Did you feel fat? Yes, you did. You had sensations of that body part getting bigger. But was it real – did your body actually grow or change? No. You experienced real sensations, even though your body did not change at all. The body sensations felt like it, but nothing actually happened. So even though you felt fatter, the feeling is not reflected in reality. I coach my clients to repeat several mantras to themselves every time they feel fat, “I am color-blind. I cannot see myself accurately. I do not look like I feel. I do not look like I think I look.”
I would love to hear your comments or reactions to this excerpt. And I hope you look forward to reading the whole book soon - hopefully very soon!
Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC