strong is not the new skinny - counselor kate - counseling services - raleigh, nc

Strong is (not) the new skinny

“Strong is the new skinny” is just another number. A level of achievement. A nebulous idea of what “strong” can be with the accompanying visual garbage like #fitspiration. It’s like our thin obsessed culture says, “Look, shiny object to achieve!” But striving for strong (and what we see in those images: healthy/skinny/fit/able-bodied/light skinned/able to afford the gym, “clean food,” etc.) is a distraction from the real issue: our culture says fat folks (and all other marginalized/unseen groups) don’t matter.


I binged! WTF is wrong with me?!

True story:

In the not too distant past, holiday mint M&M’s and I were Netflix and chilling (like, in an actual chilling on the sofa way). Things were going well until the bag was gone. Love affair over. Mindless munching turned into a guilt mudslide of thoughts. My self-worth felt as depleted as a that family sized bag of candy.

My first thought: “What the absolute FUCK is wrong with me?!”

Maybe your binge looks different. Maybe it’s bigger. Maybe it’s smaller. But whatever remains of the food fiasco you’re dealing with, you leave the experience defeated about your chances of recovery, health, and happiness. “My whole future is RUINED because of ME!”

My second thought (and the blessing of some good training and experience):
Guess what? This is a normal part of recovery!


Yoga Will Not Save You

​When I discovered yoga, I was deep in the throes of an eating disorder. I didn’t know it because I believed that what I was doing was healthy. It’s yoga. How can it be bad for you? Besides, I wasn’t binging as much. I wasn’t not eating. I was feeling less anxious, which for me, was an incredible blessing.

The style of yoga I chose was intense: hot, sweaty, fast, difficult…in front of a mirror. The style reflected a lot of how I lived my life: fast, always taking on challenge, always “busy,” consumed by body checking (the mirror, the scale, the pant size).

A lot of what I know now about yoga is this: don’t always pick the style that matches your personality. Intensity breeds intensity.


Taming the Perfectionist

For a perfectionist there will always be one more step. Something that holds them back: another training to take, more education, a better looking body, another diet plan, better grades…whatever the gold star is. Perfectionists often wait until conditions are just right to get going or do nothing at all…and then beat themselves up in the process. Perfectionism is a constant struggle. ​
​”I need to lose five pounds before I feel ready to wear a bathing suit in front of anyone.”

“She’s got 50 more ‘likes’ than me on Instagram. I can’t do anything right.”

“Oh, I couldn’t do that job. I’m not qualified enough. I need to sign up for this certification that takes a year and a half and costs a few thousand more dollars.”

“If I can’t do it in a way that satisfies me (or what I perceive satisfies others), I’m not going to do it at all.”

Stay with that noise long enough and it’s no wonder many perfectionists find themselves anxious, depressed, and disappointed. When perfectionists finally reach their goal, it’s often not satisfying. The striving was what gave energy. In order to displace the anxiety and depression, they come up with another goal.

But you want to know what’s really happening?


Goodbye, Jacket

Dear Jacket,

Today seemed like the perfect time to pull you out of the closet to complete my look. I’m a fan of your patterned sleeves, cinchable waist, and how you keep me warm in my overly air conditioned office. It’s September! Bring on the boots and trendy outerwear!

But I won’t be wearing you. You don’t fit my arms. ​