Thursday, October 22, 2009

Weight Loss and Social X-Rays

Everyone wants to know how to lose weight. Well, that's what they say. First question - do you really need to lose weight or are you unhappy with your internal image of your body? If you really need to lose weight, let's talk about it. If you are fitting in your clothes nicely, they are a reasonable size and you still just don't like the way you look in the mirror, chances are it is a body image situation. I recently attended a 50th birthday party for a friend. My friend is a normal sized woman. She exercises, takes care of herself, etc. No problem there. However, a number of her friends are very thin.

When these thin friends realized that I am a hypnotherapist who works with people to lose weight, they became my new best friend. "Please tell me how to lose weight... It is such a struggle for me....Weight has been an issue my entire life, etc."

I empathize. It is clear that this is a priority for the women I was speaking with. They place that issue first and foremost in their minds. It is the beacon that lights their way, and the pain that dogs at their heels. They are all beautiful, but feel like the need help. At first, I felt that they did not need hypnotherapy, psychotherapy or nutritional counseling. After all, they seem to have it under control.

Interestingly, though, when I discussed this with one of my daughters, she had a very insightful perspective. She suggested that maybe they do need some type of counseling. Perhaps their eating could be disordered. Clearly their body image is distorted. Their problem might not be binge eating but it certainly could be a severe lack of self-esteem or obsessive thoughts of some type that drive them toward an impossible or unhealthy perfection.

As we flip through the glossy magazines or watch those very thin social x-rays (Tom Wolfe's term for ultra-thin society women - personified by socialite Nan Kempner, above - they disappear when they turn sideways), let's try to keep in mind that we are beautiful, that beauty is so much more than our flesh. Beauty is in the tone of our voice, the swing of our step, the way we carry ourselves, and, so significantly, in the way we treat others and ourselves.

Be gentle, loving and kind to yourself and to others and you are beautiful.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Still Love My Ovaries

Talk about shock value. I visited with my doctor last week, who suggested I might want to cut out my ovaries. "We just go in through your belly button and snip snip!" What? Did I hear you right? It was that abrupt. She seemed so enthusiastic that I wanted to say to her - "hey, why don't we do it together? We could go get waffles at IHop afterward - make a day of it! Fun!"

Honestly, I am not ready for this. I consider myself a young woman. My mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer at 53. I am 50. So this is what I said to the doctor. "Well then, lets do a BRACA blood test." Now this is a little more reasonable. Let's give it a whirl. I stuck out my arm and the nurse took a couple vials of blood to whisk away to Myriad Labs. Just for the record, my mother did not have BRCA 1 or 2, but another fun variant that the genetic counselor says that 10 years after her death still is not a variant that indicates any increased risk for cancer.

I remember telling my mom at the time that we should call it Jeanne's Variant, after her. She did not find it too amusing. We still are not sure why Mom ended up first with breast then with the ovarian cancer that she struggled with and eventually succumbed to at the age of just 61 in 1999.

There is still so much we don't know about ovarian cancer. If cutting out my ovaries is the right thing to do, I'll do it. Jury is still out.