karen header 3

Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life.Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

[No unsolicited guest blogs accepted, thank you]

It’s Time to Stop Our Body Critiques

dance class

I have eyes, ears, a nose and a mouth that all are in decent working order. I proclaimed this aloud one night after waffling about whether I looked okay to attend an evening dance class of people I’ve known for years. My proclamation was my way of saying I’m done worrying about how I look. I really want to be free of this ridiculous pre-occupation.

As I tell clients, sometimes we just need to get fed up with our own silliness. Especially as women, we need to stop our obsession with self-grooming. Because I don’t think in all-or-nothing ways, I’m not suggesting that we give up caring about our appearance. It’s fine to care but, as with eating, we need to be able to say when enough is enough. 

We acquire this mistaken idea that we need to look a certain way from our personal family experience growing up and from the culture we live in. For most of us, the culture educates us about how to look through the media and celebrities: our goal should be to look young, fashionable, thin, lean and healthy at all times in all places. We’re not actually taught how to take care of ourselves except in superficial ways like massages and facials. We’re taught that self-care is predicated on how we look in the mirror.

Add to culture having parents or other significant care-takers who were over-focused on looks, and it’s almost inescapable not to succumb to this fixation. Sometimes, however, we go in the opposite direction, which is saying and acting like we don’t give a hoot what we look like. This kind of sad rebellion doesn’t come from maturity but is our I’ll-show-you way of pretending to our parents that we are independent from them and can think for ourselves. Except that truly thinking for ourselves does not necessarily mean being the opposite of what they are or want us to be.

You are at risk of an appearance pre-occupation if you had parents (like mine) who fussed over their own appearance beyond what was necessary, or if they fretted over how you looked when you probably looked fine. The message they gave you—the one I got—was that at all times you must be concerned with your hair, posture, neatness, clothes, and in compliance with whatever was in fashion. You couldn’t throw on any old thing if you were leaving the house. Sometimes you couldn’t even wear it in the house. No place was safe from the appearance police. 

There is hope for us. One day a client showed up to session in a totally mismatched outfit. In fact, each item of clothing or accessory clashed with all others. She did it to prove it’s possible to survive such a thing and to feel free. I hope to follow in her footsteps someday, perhaps wearing a pair of mismatched shoes which I once did by accident in downtown Boston—and no one even noticed!

Best,

Karen

 

http://www.karenrkoenig.com/

https://www.facebook.com/normaleatingwithkarenrkoenig/

http://www.youtube.com/user/KarenRKoenig

http://twitter.com/KarenRKoenig

APPetite on Facebook

 

Balancing Emotions
Were You Raised with the Best Tools for Success?

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.karenrkoenig.com/

shelf new

EBProfessionalBadgeLarge

This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.  Privacy Policy