I recently came aware of therapist Amy Pershing via a blog post on psychcentral.com in which she was interviewed. I found a lot to agree with in what she said — that binge eating isn’t diet failure but is an eating disorder deserving of treatment, not societal scorn, for example.
But one passage bothered me enough to track her down for a few more questions. Here’s the passage, which came in response to interviewer Margarita Tartakovsky’s question: “What are common challenges that make it tougher to overcome BED or problems with overeating?”
”From a cultural perspective, we begin to teach people to distrust and dishonor their bodies from childhood. We do not, as a society, value size or shape diversity; in fact weigh bias and stigma fundamentally underlies any eating disorder. “Thin” has to be presumed more valued for the symptoms to coalesce. We are taught to distrust our food preferences and our appetites, especially as girls, from early in life. We are taught to “exercise,” but not to play. Children learn their bodies are to be controlled, not honored. So the ability to hear cues, to really feel the positive impact of playing and eating well, typically must be relearned.”
Additionally, weight and being “fat” is so completely vilified now that the idea of body wisdom is more remote than it has even been. We have a “war on obesity.” Literally now people are encouraged to be at odds with their bodies. Then, we are sold a profound “bill of goods” by the diet industry (with a 95% failure rate over 6 months), further removing us from simply listening to our needs. The current system makes recovery a veritable act of defiance. You have to be a renegade just to be in your body.