Coping With Body Image
- Months before the release of her new cookbook, “Food Network” star Valerie Bertinelli’s has revealed she stopped counting calories and has a healthy relationship with food.
- The 63-year-old mom of one who shares a son with the late musician Eddie Van Halen, will have her new cookbook, titled “Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share,” out for sale on April 9, 2024.
- “Body image is both the mental picture that you have of your body and the way you feel about your body when you look in a mirror,” Dr. Marianna Strongin, a New York-based licensed clinical psychologist, tells SurvivorNet.
- “As you allow yourself to spend more time looking at all of you, you will begin having a new relationship with your body,” Strongin suggests.
- Positive psychology is a different approach to mental well-being that focuses on a person’s strengths rather than illness & standard treatment. This approach can be really helpful for people living with illnesses like cancer, PCOS, or struggles with mental health due to body image issues.
Bertinelli, a 63-year-old mom of one who shares a son with the late musician Eddie Van Halen, will have her new cookbook, titled “Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share,” which will be out for sale on April 9, 2024.Read More
“All big leaps require baby steps, patience, forgiveness and a desire to grow and change.”
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She continued, “I have stopped counting calories, and I stopped thinking of certain foods as good or bad. I quit saying no and began saying yes. And I let myself indulge.
“I indulge in the pleasures of being alive, and food is one of those pleasures—an essential pleasure.”
Bertinelli explained to People how the cookbook represent the journey that led her to the wholesome relationship she now has with food.
“This cookbook marks the journey that I, and so many of us, have taken to get to this place where I no longer deny myself and instead indulge in the entire experience of cooking and, ultimately, my desire to share what I make with those I love,” she said.
This week, the cover of Bertinelli’s new cookbook was revealed, and it features the smiling chef standing in front of a well-decorated charcuterie board.
Mental Health & Body Image
The New York Times Best-Selling author’s cookbook can be purchased for $35 and includes a “collection of 100 recipes to nourish the body and the soul.”
Bertinelli’s book description on the HarperCollinsPublishers website, states, “When Valerie Bertinelli turned 60, she said ‘Enough already!’ and ended her battle with the scale for good. She stopped counting calories.
“She stopped thinking of certain foods as good or bad. She quit saying no and began saying yes, finally learning how to enjoy the pure pleasure of being alive – starting in the kitchen.”
“In short, she learned how to indulge. With this gorgeous cookbook, Valerie shares her secrets for indulging so you can start living your best, most fulfilling life too,” the description adds. “Whether it’s splurging on fresh produce at the farmer’s market, cooking an extravagant steak dinner for one, or serving an ice cream sundae bar at a dinner party, this book is a reminder that indulging can take many shapes and forms.”
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The cookbook is also dubbed as “a permission slip to enjoy food, and more importantly, enjoy life.” We’re happy to see Bertinelli is staying true to herself and continuing to do what she loves, even after hardship like loss of a loved one from cancer, going through divorce, and dealing with the mental struggles that come with body weight.
Bertinelli has certainly come a long way during her publicized journey with weight, something her fans can easily see after the actress shared video last month of herself in her “before” clothing from when she became a spokesperson for Jenny Craig.
Wearing the iconic pink-buttoned down shirt and jeans, Bertinelli is seen looking into her mirror and saying, “I have done so much emotional and mental work to recover from years of pretending everything was okay. … Health is not a body size, health is not that number you see on a scale.
“Your worth as a human being isn’t dictated by your body. It’s not defined by your body.”
She continued, “I thought I was fat the last time I wore these clothes. I’ve never felt more beautiful, more at peace, more mentally and emotionally stable than I do today and I’m wearing my ‘fat clothes.'”
Self-Acceptance and Body Image
Body image problems are not unusual, especially for so many people dealing with health challenges – whether cancer or another type of illness.
And it’s important you try to work on how you view your body because it can positively impact your emotional and physical well-being as a whole.
“Every day of our lives is really filled with uncertainty” but those facing a cancer diagnosis tend to feel that uncertainty at a more extreme level, Dr. William Breitbart, the chair of the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, previously told SurviorNet.
Dr. Breitbart also said that learning to embrace that uncertainty is a part of living, not just for those fighting cancer, but for everyone.
“What the task becomes is having the courage to live in the face of uncertainty, realizing that you cannot necessarily control the uncertainty in life, like the suffering that occurs, challenges both good and bad,” Dr. Breitbart says.
“You may not be able to control those but you have control over how you choose to respond.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Marianna Strongin, a New York-based licensed clinical psychologist, also has some helpful advice. She encourages people that spending time in front of the mirror can help with body image.
Although “research has found that when looking in the mirror we are more likely to focus on the parts of our body we are dissatisfied with” which can cause “a negative self-view and lower self-esteem,” it’s important to look at the parts of your body that you love and the parts of your body that you don’t.
Eventually, Dr. Strongin says, doing so can help you create a more accepting relationship with yourself.
“Body image is both the mental picture that you have of your body and the way you feel about your body when you look in a mirror,” she said. “As you allow yourself to spend more time looking at all of you, you will begin having a new relationship with your body.”
Whether you are living with cancer or some other type of illness, it’s important to know you’re not alone if you’re having a hard time with how you view your body after receiving a diagnosis or going through treatment.
Learning About Positive Psychology
Another way to cope with body image and mental health is through positive psychology, an approach to mental well-being that focuses more on a person’s strengths and how they can help themselves rather than just trying to curb individual symptoms and/or diagnose a disorder.
“It is a fundamental sort of different way of thinking about patients, thinking about their experience,” Dr. Samantha Boardman, a New York-based psychiatrist and author, told SurvivorNet. “It’s not just focusing on what’s the matter. It’s also asking them, what matters to you?”
Dr. Boardman noted that positive psychology is a reimagined approach to dealing with mental struggles. “Making people feel less bad is not the same as making them feel good,” she said, referring to how this new approach encourages people to try to find happiness rather than just try to stop sadness.
This approach can be a major benefit to people who are dealing with an illness like cancer because it focuses on finding those great parts of life.
“Positive emotions have unique benefits above and beyond managing negative emotions,” Dr. Boardman explained.
“Sometimes you can treat a patient and get rid of some of their symptoms, and it’s not necessarily then that you find a flourishing patient you might even get an empty patient. So, really tapping into those resources where do they find positive emotions? What provides a sense of engagement for them? How can you promote positive relationships?”
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
If you are struggling with body image and mental health, here are some questions you may consider asking your doctor:
- Are there interventions beyond medication for my depressed or anxious feelings?
- How can I go about finding and nourishing positive emotions?
- What can I do if I’m struggling to maintain a sense of positivity?
- What lifestyle factors can I adjust to feel better mentally?
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff