Guest Post By Andrea Wachter, LMFT

It’s human nature to seek approval and avoid criticism. So, living in a culture that is obsessed with thinness, fitness and perfection, it’s not surprising that so many of us end up feeling like our bodies don’t measure up. The daily bombardment of diet-talk coupled with countless images of unrealistically thin bodies has created an epidemic of body-dissatisfied people. For some, body hatred is an occasional pastime; for others it’s a full-time job.

I started hating my body when I was 12. It was then that I got teased for the first time about the size of my thighs. (I refer to this as a “Dart in the Heart” moment.) Not only did this lead me to hate my thighs but it also led me to embark on my very first diet. And that led to a decades-long, torturous battle with my body and food. Not being a big fan of moderation at the time, I also abused alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and caffeine.

Looking back now, I know that all of those addictive behaviors stemmed from the pain I felt about my body. And all of that pain stemmed from the belief that I wasn’t good enough, or loveable, or acceptable. Unfortunately, in this image-obsessed culture, not looking like a cover girl leaves most girls feeling like they aren’t good enough (including the cover girls!)

From our first fairy tale to the current magazines at the checkout aisle, we have been set up. We have been taught to walk around with an internal mantra: Be thin, eat less, exercise more. Most of us think that this is how we will get love, attention and praise. Or, the flipside of that mantra where we think: Forget it. I give up. I’m eating everything I can get my hands on; everything I’ve been told not to eat.

Many people live in one extreme or the other (I call it Diet or Riot). And many people bounce back-and-forth between the two. I was a bouncer. For decades, I vacillated between anxious dieting and hopeless binging, and my weight and self-esteem fluctuated right along for the ride.

When I finally recovered from all the emotional and physical chaos, it seemed only natural that I would help others heal from theirs. And it has been my great honor. For 25 years now, I have worked primarily with teens and adults. In recent years though, I started to notice a new and very distressing trend. Concerned parents, colleagues and doctors began calling me regarding very young children with negative body images. Imagine a six-year-old kid who no longer wants to get into a bathing suit because she feels “fat.” Or an eight-year-old boy who has decided to completely “cut out carbs.” Or an eleven-year-old girl who is refusing to wear dresses or sleeveless shirts.

We have known for awhile now that something is very wrong with the fact that vast amounts of people are spending vast amounts of time lost in body obsession, but now young kids, too? I knew I needed to do something.

So, I began combining the concepts from my first book, The Don’t Diet, Live-It Workbook, with the skills and tools I had learned over the years (personally and professionally) to develop a kid-friendly method of body image recovery.

When I started seeing amazing results (kids seem to heal much more quickly than adults), I simply knew I had to share what I was doing with more people. I asked my business partner and co-author, Marsea Marcus, to join me, and we birthed our new book, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Breaking the “I Feel Fat” Spell.

Click here to check out Mirror, Mirror

About Andrea Wachter

Andrea Wachter is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and co-author of Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Breaking the “I Feel Fat” Spell as well as The Don’t Diet, Live-It Workbook. She is also author of the upcoming book, Getting Over Overeating for Teens. Andrea is an inspirational counselor, author and speaker who uses professional expertise, humor and personal recovery to help others. For more information on her books, blogs and other services, please visit: www.andreawachter.com

 

 

 

 

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