"I Hate Myself": Irene"

"I Hate Myself": Irene"

"Even though I lost 80 pounds, I still see the 200-pound girl," says 19-year-old Irene. She now motivates herself to lose weight by circling every body part she hates with a red marker, an idea she got from the plastic surgery show Nip/Tuck.

Although Irene is the skinniest she's ever been, she is still unhappy with her figure. "At 200 pounds, my mom said no man would marry me," Irene says. "But now she says I'm too skinny. Even though I weigh 120, I'd like to lose more weight."

Another motivating tactic Irene has is posting her overweight pictures on her bedroom wall and writing "sea monster" or "Sit down fatty" on them. "I don't think I'm beautiful," she says. "My inner self confidence hasn't changed."

She turns to Dr. Phil for advice. "When I look in the mirror, I hate the person that I see. Will you help me?"

Dr. Phil asks Irene what she doesn't like about her body.

"My thighs. My stomach," she says. "It still feels the same. It looks the same as if I was at 200. I don't see a difference."

"What do you think you should weigh?" he asks.

When Irene tells him she'd like to weigh 105 pounds, Dr. Phil says, "Do you think that it matters in terms of who you are and what you offer to the world?"

"I think I'm a good person inside, but I could stand to be a better person on the outside," she admits.

Dr. Phil points out that this is a superficial point of view. "Does that seem illogical to you when you hear it said?" he asks.

Irene admits that it does, but says that if she weighed less, she'd feel better about herself.

Dr. Phil asks Daisy Fuentes, who has joined him for this discussion, what she thinks.

Daisy addresses Irene. "I think the reason you feel the same way is because you've lost the weight and you changed the outside, but you haven't changed the inside," she tells her.

Dr. Phil concurs. "I know a number of models and actresses who are reed thin who absolutely hate themselves," he says, telling Irene that we tend to confuse body image with self-image. "Do you think those two things are blurred for you?"

"Absolutely," she says.

When Dr. Phil asks Irene if her behavior is changeworthy, she says, "I think if I lost the 15 pounds, I would want to lose 15 more. I think I do need something to change the way I feel."

Dr. Phil explains that when Irene weighed 200 pounds, her negative internal dialogue and labeling helped motivate her to lose weight. "So as a result of that, you're continuing to tell yourself you're fat, you're ugly, you're picking your body apart. You're being hyper-vigilant on your body because you're afraid that if you ever relax, you'll balloon back up."

"That's my biggest fear just to go back to that, and calling myself that, and seeing myself at that weight or worse," Irene confesses.

"What if instead of controlling yourself that way, you decided instead, 'I'm going to accept myself. I'm going to raise the bar of what I expect from myself high enough that lifestyle-wise, I'll never go back to where I was'?" Dr. Phil suggests. "If you truly had a healthy motivation and a self acceptance, and you created a lifestyle that was totally inconsistent with going back to being overweight, wouldn't that be a lot more quality life experience than what you're living now?"

"Definitely," Irene says. "I don't want to live off of diets every day. I want a life change."


Dr. Phil advises her to read The Ultimate Weight Solution as a non-diet alternative, and also as a way to change her lifestyle.

 

"The time to stop this is now," he warns. "You let your body image get distorted and you spin into anorexia and you're life quality will be in the ditch before you know it. You need to stop this now and I want to give you the tools to do it."