You can be successful in every area of your life and fucked up with food. Oftentimes, you can’t even take in that success if “food stuff” is casting a pall. I recently watched an interview Oprah did with songwriter/composer Carole Bayer Sager (pictured above with the “That’s What Friends Are For” crew). Carole described the semi-spiritual way she approaches writing. She spoke of her desire is to help people feel less alone via her songs. There’s a universality to her lyrics that always made her seem like someone who got it. But you can “get it” and not internalize it.
As the interview moved along Oprah, as Oprah tends to do, delved into Carole’s personal history. In her words, she was a cubby child born to a narcissistic mother. Carole shared a memory where her mother said “fatty, walk behind me”. As we know, those comments sting and stick. I watched his (almost 70 year old?) accomplished, beautiful woman say she had never solved her relationship with food. That chatter over what to eat when to eat and whether she’s eating correctly lingered. That residue of being the “fatty” accompanied her to the Oscars and the songwriters’ hall of fame.
The next day, a story about figure skater Gracie Gold circulated. The first bits I read were that Gracie Gold attributed recent, poor performances to weight gain. Now, Gold is an athlete and her body plays an important role in her results. But when I looked at her performance video I saw a slender, graceful woman. Nobody knows if a couple of pounds on a small frame affected her balance or skills. I don’t know the details about her weight history. What I do know is that one of the top skaters in the world was giving a press conference about her weight.
There are no easy answers here. The more body and weight issues are discussed openly, the more they can be addressed. Many of these issues are traceable to a comment or a crisis (Gold also mentioned she had been depressed) and I can assure you most people have them. New clients often talk about “food noise”. My reply and feeling is that having a system for our nutrition can displace some emotion, can quiet things. But I’ve learned that body image and weight issues do not necessarily fade with age. Like our mental state, there’s a range . We don’t expect to 100% happy and I don’t think we can expect to 100% at peace with our food or bodies either.