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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Theory of Expando Thighs

Often times when I share my concerns and distress about losing weight I receive the inevitable, "Why? How is that possible?!" reprimands. I am baffled because my friends and family assume I am at a weight maintenance stage and I should be well on my way to a stable, healthy life. It's frustrating because I wish it were that easy. I wish I could just eat a piece of chicken, or stop exercising altogether. Yesterday my nutritionist and I had a discussion about a proposed theory developed by Karin Kratina. This "Theory of Expando Thighs" helps explain why my delusional thoughts lead to under eating and overexercising. Bare with me--

You get up one morning feeling thin. You put on your thin clothes (the ones you would avoid on a "bad" day.) You drive down the road, look down, and suddenly your thighs are HUGE... you "feel fat". You've heard fat is not a feeling, you know you didn't really gain 10 pounds in the last few hours, so what's the deal?

Imagine you are at a fork in the road. You have a choice of which path to take.
You can take the left path-- What is the solution for "I feel fat?"  To focus and change weight and body.
But by exercising and restricting you are moving away from the solution.
There's also the right path-- What is the solution for "I feel uncomfortable?"
Focus on the problem and reframe the feeling (i.e.Could I feel uncomfortable describe the fat feeling?)
Go back to the fork and look at the problem.
You sit with the feelings, perhaps thinking, "I don't like this. At least when I feel fat I'm distracted."
You look at the problem, moving to the solution as you think, "Hmm. Maybe I'm uncomfortable because..."
"Gee, I really feel overwhelmed lately, my boss dumped another project on me."
The flight to safety would be to think how fat you are and change the body. However, with awareness of the problem you can deal with it.
= No fat feelings
"I feel fat"-->I feel uncomfortable
--> I feel fat--> Lose weight
--> I feel overwhelmed--> Deal with it

When you are on the path to the solution, you are moving further away from the need to change your body. Moving to the solution involves identifying the feeling and dealing with it. So anytime you start to say "I feel fat", translate that into "I feel uncomfortable", and determine the best course of action.

While I do make choices every single day on which path I choose, I must also keep in mind that my brain has been wired a way that creates the disillusioned thoughts. So when I or loved ones become frustrated with my struggles and ambivalence towards recovery, I can not be so hard on myself. I want to be healthy, happy and successful and I'm working my ass off every single day to get there.

Today my team of doctors met to discuss my progress thus far since my termination at Princeton's EDU. Tonight I have a family session in which we will conclude whether or not I will be able to return to University of Pittsburgh in January. Breathe in. Breathe out.

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, 
joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. - Buddha


  1. hey lovie,
    ahh that theory makes so so much sense, i always feel like that, i think i look so thin, and then like an hour later, i am like going crazzzyyy over how "fat" i am...its ridiculous, because noone can change in like 3 hours :P !! its all anxiety and feeling overwhelmed with things, that is so true, we often put our anxieties and stresses onto how we feel about ourselves, when our anxieties have nothing to do with our bodies!
    so insightful Becca, love you, and hang in there with the family session. breath. :)


  2. hey- good luck with the family sesh, i hope you get to return to school triumphantly!

  3. you've got this dear, i'm sending positive vibes to the family session. i know you have the strength to return to school :) just keep breathing (in finding nemo's dory's "just keep swimming" tone)
    now this theory, its what i do, its Ed it makes my stressful times 10 times more stressful and i find myself giving in to Ed, just so i don't have to deal with the stress. i am going to work on the translation from fat to uncomfortable---"I wish I could just eat a piece of chicken, or stop exercising altogether." i completely understand this, i have felt this way for all too long...
    your insight makes me smile, i for one am thankful you're here.
    still sending good vibes :)

  4. That is spot on. My nutritionist used to always ask me 'why do you feel fat?' After we got past the physical aspects, we delved into the emotional/personal feelings I had swirling around that made me 'feel fat.' Feeling uncomfortable was a great cover up for what was really bothering me. I really loved reading this post. Being able to see what's behind 'feeling fat' is so important. Reading this reminded me of when I would feel thin one day and then all of a sudden stepping on a scale and seeing a higher number (even though we all know weight fluctuates every day) I would feel pounds and pounds heavier. The mind is way too powerful sometimes.

  5. Hang in there!!! Hope the session goes well.

  6. Love you girl. I believe in you! <3 Such a great theory, as well. Thanks for sharing--i've heard it before but its SO true and so refreshing to hear again and again. Hope the fam sesh goes WELL! Breathhhhhe.


  7. I hope all went well tonight. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog, such a sweet comment you left me.

    This theory is so true, and you have expressed such incredible insight in the post. That in itself says that you ARE winning this battle!

  8. I so love reading your posts
    you always open my eyes.

    i love you, chicca! you inspire me!

    stay strong <3

  9. i really hope the session goes well, and this post is really moving. i appreciate your thoughtful & helpful comments on my blog as well. i'm glad we share a love for xmas music :)


  10. this is a great post. just this morning i woke up i felt really good in my skin. then i went out to see some friends and they said 'wow you look really good' and immediately i thought 'i must be fat now'. it's crazy how every time we get stressed we start to think 'oh i'm fat' and draw all the attention to our bodies instead of focusing what's really going on right now.
    inspirational ;)

  11. I hope the session turns out OK for what's the best for you and your future life and health!

    xxx Julia (Taste of Living)

  12. good post! i feel so much worse about myself with those negative feelings of anxiety. i just want to control control control. but realising that's what im doing has helped changed my way of thinking.

  13. great post - this message is something we should all think about. its amazing how much our emotions/subconscious wellbeing affects our day to day thoughts and feelings.

    good luck at the family session!
    xo hannah

  14. i hope all went well with your doctors sweetie. this was such an inspiring post--i totally know what you are talking about. it sucks that we have to keep choosing recovery over and over again but eventually, it will get easier and the choice will become second nature again.