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Complete Recovery – Step 6

This post is part of a series about Complete Recovery. If you’d like to read all of the blog posts in the series, see The Three Steps to Complete Recovery1, 2, 3, 3 1/2, Step 4, Step um, I dunno…, and Step 5.

Step 6: More of the List of Stressors – Your simple key to freedom!

Hello All,

Continuing on with the theme from the past 6 weeks – here we go with more on the 3 core tools for complete and lasting recovery. My gift to you! I do hope you’re taking advantage of this opportunity to begin to explore these tools and see how they can benefit your life in all areas. If you’ve tried them once or twice and noticed subtle shifts, even for a moment, just imagine how profound those shifts will be once you have more familiarity and trust in these tools to alleviate any stressful thoughts and any need to use food to cope. If you can appreciate the power of these tools and want support to get “there” faster, just email or call and let us know – we’ll arrange a session for you or you can attend a workshop or join our web program. All are fabulous ways to create a life that is completely free from food and body image stress.

Last week I shared the first two steps and urged/encouraged/begged you to explore them before you went on to this week’s steps. I hope you did. But if not, just pick up with this week and if it feels like it’s not clicking, just let it be okay to go back to last week and do that for a day or two – it will suffice. Then come back to this week’s assignment and you’ll be good to go!

I’ve added the first steps that I shared with you last week here so you can see the flow of the process more clearly. So, if you’re savvy with the first 2 steps skip to 3, otherwise, take a mo’ and read them over before moving on – not a bad idea for us all to be repeatedly reminded of the basics.

So, encourage yourself to take 10 minutes each day to work down to step 5. Next week, I’ll share the last few steps with you and you’ll be good to go!  I really want to hear from you about your experience with these steps, particularly if you’re having a challenging time identifying the all-or-nothing in your thinking (stories). This is to be expected and is nothing at all to judge in yourself – we all struggle initially with separating the fact from the fiction, and that’s what I and my staff are here for.

List of Stressors Handout:

Note: This process needs to be written down the first few times, not done in your head. If you try to do it in your head your Drill Sgt. and his all- or- nothing thinking will get in the way and you’ll end up feeling more stuck. When  you write out a list of stressors you will end the process feeling free and peaceful and will be able very soon to just do this process in your head automatically whenever you feel the slightest bit anxious – you won’t need to wait until you’re already overwhelmed and binging, purging or restricting to tune in and release yourself from the stress in your life.

1. Notice when you are engaged in any of the following coping strategies:

  1. feeling that anxious (P.L.A.) feeling in your tummy; or
  2. a sinking/depressed feeling; or
  3. when you are restricting; or
  4. thinking about binging or purging; or
  5. you are in the middle of binging or purging; or
  6. have just finished; or
  7. hearing critical thoughts in your head; or
  8. wanting to isolate; or
  9. wanting to procrastinate; or
  10. having a bad body thought; or
  11. wanting to act out in anger (towards yourself or others).

These are all coping strategies. They are nothing in and of themselves. They are signposts and they exist to let you know one thing and one thing only: You have needs that aren’t being met. The proper response to noticing any of these cues is to take the following steps to seek to understand what needs have been triggered for you and what action you can take to meet that need in a way that enhances your self-esteem and all aspects of your life.

And, if trying to be mindful of them all seems a tad overwhelming (as it did to me when I was first learning this process), just pick one or two to be on the lookout for – it will be enough, I promise.

2. When you notice any of those thoughts, feelings or behaviours kicking in just acknowledge aloud:  “I am kicking in to using one of my coping strategies and that absolutely, no exceptions, means I’m in all-or-nothing thinking. Every time!”

3. Ask yourself: “Just prior to me feeling that sinking feeling or kicking in to the coping strategy of binging and purging, what just happened or what was I just thinking that might be stressing me out?  Invite yourself to make a note of the first 3 things that come to mind.

If you’re drawing a blank or you are absolutely convinced that the only thing that’s stressing you out is food and/or your weight, trust me, it isn’t! And try this: Consider the Matrix – past, present, and future – not just what is apparent to you in this moment. Ask yourself : “What was I just thinking about from my past or what might I have just been imagining in my future that could have triggered stress for me?”

Write down your answers (these are your stressors). If you still struggle to find an answer (and you may as you’ve likely been disconnected from your emotions and thoughts for some time), try this: Write down all of the key roles you have in your life (daughter, partner, individual, professional, volunteer, student, etc.) and identify the things that you are or aren’t doing in those areas that you have judgement of (things you should/shouldn’t be doing).

Allow yourself to identify your stressors using the tools above and just write one or two words to name them. This should be point form, bullets, not sentences at this point. We’re just getting out on paper a simple list of all the topic headings that may be triggering unmet needs and leading you to use one of the coping strategies above.

4. Now, for each one of your stressors ask yourself: “What is the story that I’m telling myself about this?” Ie.What should/shouldn’t be happening? What should or shouldn’t I or others have done? Where should or shouldn’t I be? Etc. etc.

5. For each story/stressor ask yourself is there any all-or-nothing thinking in this story? (ie. can I formulate that story as a “should” statement?). If you’re not sure, or if the story feels true, just add “and that means” to the end of each statement in #4 and see what comes up – is there any all-or-nothing thinking in that story? Circle or put a mark beside the stories that are all-or-nothing.

Take some time each day with these steps, I urge you, and you’ll notice a big difference in your overall anxiety and your urgency to use food to cope.

Have a fabulous week!

Love

The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand

Whether you prefer one-on-one counselling (in-person, by phone, or email), our intensive and transformative workshops, the self-help approach with the book, or our Food is Not the Problem Online Membership Program, take action today to have a stress-free relationship with food. Sign up for our free newsletter today (see the left top side of your screen). Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive product discounts and are first in line to get on all the latest new at CEDRIC.

© Michelle Morand, 2010

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Complete Recovery

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Celebrating client successes. Be inspired…

What an amazing week – or should I say month, or should I say year?! Wow! There has been so much amazing growth for our clients. The amazing feedback just keeps coming. I’d like to share a little of it with you for those of you who are still feeling some reluctance to diving in to this process. It is so important for you to know how fast and how simple this process can be. It’s all the old diet mentality stuff that takes a long time and provides no real, lasting change. The process of healing that we teach our clients at the CEDRIC Centre doesn’t have to take long and provides true, lasting success.

For example:

This morning I had a client in my office who started this process 1 ½ months ago, we’ve had 8 sessions total. After years of struggling and feeling insecure and “less than” and dieting and overeating and dieting and overeating, she’s already had 2 weeks of feeling on top of the world! She wore a beaming beautiful smile. She’s feeling warmer and more loving towards herself, and not feeling that urgent compulsion to eat, and she’s just getting started!!! Imagine what the next 2 months will bring, and beyond!! Oh yeah!!!!

This is not the exception. It is the norm, when people just get started receiving support and start learning how to use the tools. Fast, lasting, complete healing.

I also just received an email from a participant from the last weekend workshop (7 days ago) about the amazing success she’s having in her relationships and with food – no overeating or even feeling drawn to it in a week. When was the last time you had a week where you didn’t even feel drawn to overeat? Where as soon as you felt at all anxious you knew exactly what to do to take care of yourself and to let that anxiety go without using food to cope?  A few sessions or a weekend workshop were all these women needed to achieve that long sought after peace and solidity.

This process doesn’t have to take a long time or cost you a tonne of money. Those are just old stories, or perhaps they are your own lived experience from other things you’ve tried. You can let those stories go now, and just dive in and be completely free in a few short days at our next Phase I workshop (May 14 – 16th) or a few weeks through our worldwide individual counselling. What suits you best?

Here’s one more email I received this week from Lisa who feels solid and secure in her new approach to food through the tools she learned in our work together. Lisa took part in a weekend workshop and did some phone sessions with me to supplement her learning. Now, after decades of feeling controlled and overwhelmed by food she has this to say:

“I am doing really well with the tools that you have given me.  I have not used food to cope in a major way for at least 5 weeks now (I have allowed it to just become a part of my life that I haven’t even written down a ‘start date’ – which is something I definitely would have done before, especially with a diet mentality).  I’ve had a couple of times where it was very, very minor but that’s about it.  I have changed (I guess I just needed to give it a little more time and also allow myself to really try).  I am making really good choices for myself now.  There are things that you have taught me that I can honestly say I think about at lest 1x/day.

I have learned from you, that if I have to ask myself if I am hungry, it is quite likely I’m not so I just ask myself how am I feeling, etc. (I’m sure you know the drill!)

In asking that question to myself, I have allowed it to be okay that when I’m not hungry but want food that I don’t choose food (because it never leaves me feeling good about myself) but that I also don’t choose to “figure out what’s going on” …. I decide to just let it go.  That has honestly been so freeing.  Even in writing this to you I am genuinely reminded that these scenarios just don’t seem to come up like they used too.  I can’t even remember the last time I even thought about using food to cope.

I do remember last night though when I had my snack and wanted a piece of chocolate.  I had a piece of chocolate and I took my time eating it (it was good chocolate), and I really enjoyed it.  What’s cool for me is that somehow (with all of the info you have given), it has clicked in my brain that the chocolate last night is a treat not a meal!

This one has helped me so much.  I remember eating lunch the 2nd time with you and everyone was discussing what they were going to have… I wanted one of everything!  You, on the other hand, were like, ‘Oh whatever, I guess I’ll have this …..’ You knew this was not your last meal, it was food to give your body energy, etc.  I have that now.  I have that natural – it’s food to give me energy!  The last time we went to Boston pizza with the kids (thrilling, eh?) I ordered what I wanted, there spinach salad (you know the kind with eggs, bacon, cheese – really yummy).  The only reason I am saying specifically what I ate is because my other me would have really, really wanted the spinach salad but wouldn’t have ordered it because I would have wanted one of everything, etc. – basically lived like it was always my last meal and when eating out at restaurants or at parties I would let myself use food to cope in such a HUGE way because well, we’re out and it’s a treat (hahaha, a treat that happened 1-2 x/week for sure)

Anyway, I won’t go on and on I just want you to know that you have helped me more than my words could ever say. The day I went online and looked up overeating or something like that online … I will forever be grateful that Cedric Centre popped up and that you are the person behind it all.  I think of you so often.  I know we don’t ‘know’ each other but with a sincere heart, a thankful mind, a grateful partner (that has the woman back in his life he knew was there), kids that are just sooooooooooo happy ’cause well you know the reason….. THANK YOU just isn’t enough.

Thank you.

Lisa AND her family AND her friends!”

Thank you ladies!!  I am always so incredibly thrilled to receive your sharing about how these tools have changed your life. They certainly changed mine and led me to complete and lasting healing from binge eating disorder and exercise bulimia (also known as overeating and exercising like a fiend to keep my weight somewhat stable).

We’re having a great experience of learning and sharing on our web-based program too. So if you’re wanting to start out a little more anonymously, and/or economically, I encourage you to join. It’s just $33.00 a month and provides you with all the support and tools you need to never use food to cope again, and to be a natural weight for your body without effort.

This week the article is on the List of Stressors. The last tool to be shared in the core tool series. The first being the awareness of your sensations of anxiety and the use of the 4-7-8 breathing exercise; the second being the fabulous Drill Sgt. Dialogue that provides such an immediate sense of integration and inner peace!!; and now, the final piece in the healing triad – the list of stressors. Enjoy, explore, and take advantage of the workshops, counselling or web program to cement and expedite your healing! It is completely unnecessary to struggle with food and body image stress for one more week.

Love

The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand

Whether you prefer one-on-one counselling (in-person, by phone, or email), our intensive and transformative workshops, the self-help approach with the book, or our Food is Not the Problem Online Membership Program, take action today to have a stress-free relationship with food. Sign up for our free newsletter today (see the left top side of your screen). Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive product discounts and are first in line to get on all the latest new at CEDRIC.

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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CEDRIC’s Weekly Update – Week 14 2010

CEDRIC Centre Weekly UpdateWelcome to the CEDRIC Centre’s blog. This is the best place online to make lasting and complete changes to your stressful relationship with food, as well as any other stressful circumstances whether in relation to your self-regard, your relationships or your career.

Many would say that we are the experts in getting you from “I’m stuck” to unstuck.

Our very simple, quick, and effective method for removing all the barriers to your success, while simultaneously teaching you new ways of approaching food and other stressors, works for every harmful coping strategy and for every age, male or female.

So whether you overeat, restrict, purge, drink, procrastinate, get stuck in harmful or unsatisfying relationships, feel unfulfilled in your career, or struggle with family connections, our method will show you, simply and speedily, how to create the change you seek in all areas of your life.

Don’t waste another day feeling stuck and stressed out. Regardless of what you may have tried in the past, I can guarantee you, you’ve never tried this because if you had, you wouldn’t still be seeking a solution. Guaranteed!

Latest Happenings

Well! Last week was lovely for me personally as my husband and son celebrated their birthdays at a family dinner. The 4-day weekend for Easter break was a very special treat for me as I rarely take that full weekend off. We enjoyed our standard Easter Sunday egg hunt with our dear friends and their children, this time we had the hunt outside and a fun treasure hunt inside. It was lovely to just hang out with my children and putter (a very rare opportunity!). Of course the puttering included a few games of laser tag for my son’s birthday, meal prep for the big dinner, and the usual laundry, dishes, rides for kids here and there, and the sorting out of smallish family issues. It was, upon reflection, a very busy weekend! Yet, I feel relaxed, peaceful and very content as I sit at my computer on Tuesday morning and prepare for my day.

I think the trick to experiencing a state of peace most of the time is to become adept at recognizing the cues that tell you when you’re feeling not-peace. Cues like a little butterfly or a whole herd of buffalo in your tummy; a tight chest; holding your breath; tension in your shoulders and neck and/or jaw; focusing on food and body image either through overeating or restricting; a very busy mind that is either ruminating on a problem or jumping willy nilly from one thought to another are all indicators that you’re feeling unsettled/anxious and therefore, not peaceful.

Once you recognize that you are doing any of the above and are therefore feeling unsettled, the practice of simply acknowledging that you’re not peaceful will bring you more into the present moment. This instantly creates a greater sense of peace and strength in you as you are more grounded in the here and now. And from this place it feels much safer and easier to simply check in about what might be creating the distress. My latest series of articles speaks more to this process, and this week’s article offers you a deeper and more specific education into the primary culprit within you; all-or-nothing thinking.

As for goings on this week. Sarah continues her Monday night group with a great group of women. I’m excited for them and all of the learning that will come their way over the next 12 weeks.

Upcoming Victoria and Vancouver workshops

I’m busy preparing for our Vancouver Phase I workshop on the 23 – 25 of April (10 – 5 each day). It’s being held downtown at the private office of a colleague of mine, at a lovely character building on the corner of Granville and W. Hastings. If you are tired of food and body distress taking up more of your time than you’d like and robbing you of the quality of life you’d like to have, this event is the event for you. There is no reason to keep feeling stuck and like time’s a wastin’ when in 3 days you can “get” it and move on with a whole new perspective and a whole new set of tools to handle anything life brings your way.

If you’d prefer a Victoria event we are offering our next Phase I in Victoria on May 14 – 16th.

Our Food is Not the Problem Online Program

Also, our amazing web-based program for complete recovery is being offered with absolutely no sign up fee this month. You can start your healing today for the simple monthly membership fee of $33.00! Current participants claim that the daily centering exercises alone are worth well over the full cost of the program but you get so much more than the brief daily meditations. Have a snoop and see all of the tools and resources that are available to you as a member of our innovative program. Email me if you have any questions, I’m happy to help.

Upcoming Events – Come and meet me in person!

  • The weekend of April 30 – May 2 I’ll be at the Wellness Show at the Convention Centre at the Pan Pacific Hotel in downtown Vancouver.
  • Saturday the 1st of May @ 5:45 pm I’ll be presenting a seminar called: Practical and Effective Tools for Overcoming Emotional, Psychological and Physical Barriers to Optimum Health.
  • Sunday the 2nd @ 11:00 am I’m presenting a talk called: Food is Not the Problem: Deal With What Is! where I’ll outline the basics of complete recovery from any stressful connection with food and/or body image.

If you’re interested in complete and lasting recovery from a stressful or unsatisfying relationship with food and with your body, consider joining me for one of the above events or contacting us for an individual counselling session or full semi-residential healing plan. We truly do offer something for every one of every age, financial consideration and level of need.

Contact us today and let us know what you would like to see happening differently in your world. We’ll tell you how we can help you make that vision a reality.

Have a wonderful week!

Love

The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, The CEDRIC Centre Weekly Update

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How Not to Have an All-or-Nothing Conversation

talkingFollowing on the theme of approaching conversations with people, this week I want to invite you to consider a new way of thinking about issues that are sensitive or have the potential to impact your relationship with someone.

In my 17 years of freedom from emotional eating I have come from being a very scared, extremely doubtful, negative, all-or-nothing, insecure little person (who thought she was absolutely the fattest, ugliest person on the planet and that everyone else thought so too) to become the person I am today. I’m certainly not issue-free or any where near perfect as my friends and family will happily attest, but open, loving, happy, optimistic, confident and secure, able to know that, while I may screw up, drop the ball, or hurt someone’s feelings, I am not bad or unworthy of love, rather I am always deserving of dignity and respect from myself and from others.

(more…)

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre

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Before You Have “THE” Conversation, Try This

thinkingFunny thing about last week’s article: I had at least 10 people mention over this past week that they really appreciated that article and felt certain I had written the article on “THE” conversation in response to something that was going on for them personally that they had shared with me. Now, for the record, clients do give me permission to share, anonymously, certain aspects of our work together for educational purposes, but, the truth is, this issue is so incredibly prevalent and key to your healing from emotional eating that it really does pertain to everyone I’ve ever worked with and wasn’t specific to anyone.

Kind of like that article I wrote awhile back on needs which similarly hit home with everyone. Communication issues and our own confused training in relationships really does pertain to us all until we learn to honor ourselves, respect our needs, and ask directly and respectfully for what we need.

This week’s article takes off where last week’s left off. We are going to take a brief look at how to most effectively approach a conversation around a sensitive issue with someone.  When I say “sensitive,” I mean an issue that makes you feel a little uneasy, anxious or resistant when you think about bringing it up. It may be that it makes you feel uneasy because of your part in it or because of what it is you imagine the other person will feel or think about you when you bring the issue up.

The first thing to do when you’re thinking about talking to someone about something that has any emotional charge for you at all (or that you think might be sensitive for them) is to sit down, alone, and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is your intention in speaking with the person about this issue?
  2. What are you trying to achieve in speaking with them about this issue? (often the same answer as above but not always)
  3. What do you want to get out of the conversation? Ie. What would you need to hear/share/experience in that conversation that would make you feel it had been a success?
  4. How do you want to feel when you leave the conversation?
  5. What do you need to say and how do you need to say it and what do you need to hear from them in order to feel that way when you leave the conversation?
  6. What kind of timeline would you want to place on the conclusion of the issue? Ie. How long can you comfortably wait for this person to follow through on what you’re asking for? You must communicate that key piece of information to this person and ask for their agreement on this timeline as well. This is key for both of you to have great clarity on how and when you will assess whether anything has changed; ie. whether your needs have been met and you can therefore let the issue drop completely, forever.

Make notes of these key pieces and take them with you when you speak to this person. Refer to them and challenge yourself to cover all key points before you leave the conversation. If anything seems to be going at all awry or you lose your place just ask yourself questions 4 and 5 again:

How do you want to feel when you leave this conversation and what needs to happen/what do you need to hear or experience with this person in order to feel that way?  That is your grounding and centering piece.

Now, before you get to “THE” Conversation with someone, there is a very interesting phenomenon you will notice when you just sit down to consider these questions before you speak with them: Often just sitting down to reflect on those questions helps you to see something that, if you’re at all interested in not taking full responsibility for your actions and for your life, will really irritate you.

Often in just sitting to reflect on what message you’d like to convey, how specifically you would word it, and what specifically you want to get out of that conversation, you will discover that the issue isn’t really theirs, it’s yours. And usually, though certainly not always, it pertains to your own old-life training to not ask directly for what you need; to not let yourself be vulnerable by exposing that you even have a need; or to not be “selfish” or to burden others in any way.

What I’m saying is that usually, regardless of how things appear at first glance, the majority of our stress in relationship with others exists not because of anything that’s actually happening between us and another person, but because of the old stories and patterns of behaving that we carry within ourselves that have prevented us from either taking action ourselves to meet our needs and/or from communicating earlier, when we first began to feel a little hurt/annoyed/frustrated/resentful/sad/lonely/insignificant/disrespected, etc. with that person.

Our story that we can’t possibly say or do anything that might upset, irritate, or hurt anyone or call any attention to their “imperfection” is really only our own inner co-dependent training that says:

If anyone feels anything other than happy, it’s your fault and you are bad and wrong and unlovable for “making” them feel that way.

Yup, that’ll do it! That childhood training; that old bogus story will shut you down and leave you feeling completely powerless in your relationships every time.

Unfortunately, not only is it completely not true in any way now – it never was – yes, I mean it, it never ever, ever, ever was true. You have never been and never will be responsible for another person’s feelings (barring dependent children, of course). Your complete healing and recovery from emotional eating or restriction and from any unfulfilling jobs, relationships, or self-care, demands that you not only cognitively get this message but that you begin to get it on a gut level; that you begin to trust it, to know it and to embody it in your actions.

The world becomes a completely different place when you make this shift. (Recall the article from a few weeks ago on ELOC vs. ILOC).

Once you sit down and reflect on the questions above and see what’s really up for you and find yourself getting clear on what you want from that person usually you’ll find that what you really want from them or need from them is some reassurance and understanding as you make some changes to your own, perhaps freshly realized, contribution to the dynamic you two share.

You might say:

“This is what I’ve noticed in myself…here’s what I’m planning to do about it…and here’s how you can help me if you’re willing…”

Often your own awareness of what your own contribution to the dynamic has been (which will come about simply by sitting down to ask yourself the questions above) makes it so you are truly comfortable with the choice to not address it with them for now (as opposed to just avoiding bringing it up); make some changes to your own contribution to the dynamic, and see after that, whether you still feel the need to bring it up to them more directly.

Next week we’ll talk about what to do when you’ve done the above piece and, after attending to your own piece of the puzzle, feel that you need to address the other person’s role and ask for a change in their behaviour towards you or towards the situation.

For this week think of someone that fits the “I need to have “THE” conversation” bill and take 5 minutes to ask yourself the questions above. Please email me what you come up with! I’d love to see what you notice and discover about yourself and about how to proceed then.

You might find you recognize that you are playing a role in this dynamic but don’t know what to do on your end to change your part of the dance. That’s what I’m here for!

See you next week.

Love

michelle-signature

Whether you prefer one-on-one counselling (in-person, by phone, or email), our intensive and transformative workshops, the self-help approach with the book, or our Food is Not the Problem Online Membership Program, take action today to have a stress-free relationship with food. Sign up for our free newsletter today (see the left top side of your screen). Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive product discounts and are first in line to get on all the latest new at CEDRIC.

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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Social Isolation and Withdrawal

socialisolationExcerpt from the book Food is Not the Problem: Deal With What Is!

Social Isolation – Why Do I Do It?

First, let’s explore what leads you to isolate yourself. In short, it’s all about how much you trust yourself to set boundaries and to only engage in relationships which are healthful and supportive of you. The degree to which you doubt your ability to assert your needs will be the degree to which you isolate. In other words, if you don’t trust yourself to say no to others, you will likely refrain from much social interaction, or you will find yourself overloaded with social commitments which are unrewarding and lack depth. You may not even be conscious that this is what motivates you to distance yourself from others. Your Drill Sgt. may have tried to explain your behaviour through his old core-belief perspective, telling you all sorts of stories about how weird and unlikable you are; how no one really cares whether you are around or not; how people are only going to judge you; and how unattractive or unintelligent you are if you go out. None of this is at all true. It’s just more of that coping strategy of negative core beliefs and bad body thoughts kicking in. And you know that this is just an indication of unmet needs for security and acceptance.

As you begin to hone your skill of identifying the unmet needs that drive your coping behaviour, you will be presented with many opportunities, big and small, to strengthen your trust in yourself and create more security by validating your needs, setting clear boundaries, and proving how effectively you can care for yourself. It is likely that at the start of this new way of looking out for yourself you will notice yourself feeling anxious and resistant. There are two key pieces at play here:

1. Somehow, your Authentic Self and not your Nurturing Parent is front and centre trying to navigate this new terrain on her own. This is dangerous, because your Authentic Self is still very young and still needs a lot of reassurance and support to behave in a new way and not buy into those old core beliefs. She does not have the capacity to rationalize and empthasize in the way the Nurturing Parent does. She must not be made to handle scary and stressful situations such as boundary setting. You wouldn’t make a five-year-old child go on his own to confront someone about security or approval needs that aren’t being met, so you can’t expect your Authentic Self to have the courage and ability to do so either.

2. Your Drill Sgt. senses the insecurity, fear, and doubt of the Authentic Self and is doing his “motivation through criticism” to try and get you back into a “safe” and familiar place. You will likely hear the Drill Sgt. insisting that your needs are not valid or important. You may be aware of him calling you names, such as, weak, needy, when you are experimenting with acknowledging your feelings and needs to others. I encourage you to acknowledge the Drill Sgt.’s comments and then, as we have discussed, ask him what his intent is. Remember: seek to understand.

The solution? Notice the distress and resistance about boundary setting, and call forth your Adult Nurturing Parent. The Nurturing Parent can then reassure the Authentic Self that her feelings and needs are valid; that she has a right to ask for what she needs and that they, the Nurturing Parent, will take over from here. “Try the hand-on-the-tummy thing here. It really does help to ground you and establish a stronger sense of connection between your Parent and Authentic Self).

Whether you prefer one-on-one counselling (in-person, by phone, or email), our intensive and transformative workshops, the self-help approach with the book, or our Food is Not the Problem Online Membership Program, take action today to have a stress-free relationship with food. Sign up for our free newsletter today (see the left top side of your screen). Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive product discounts and are first in line to get on all the latest new at CEDRIC.

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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How to Avoid Having “THE” Conversation

conversationOkay, for starters, we all know intuitively what “THE” Conversation means. It’s that big, heavy, sit-down convo that you avoid like the plague. You’ll try every other angle to get the point across and get your needs met before having “the” conversation, and if they all fail you might still not actually do the deed.

If you’re anything like most folks who use food to cope or other harmful coping strategies, before you actually approach someone directly about an issue you’re having with them, you’ll try:

  • Hinting about what you want;
  • Making jokes;
  • Using sarcasm;
  • Talking to others in the loop about it, in the hopes that they will have “the” conversation or that at least it will get back to that person how you’re feeling and you won’t have to tell them yourself;
  • Avoiding the person;
  • Using body language like eye rolls or lack-of -eye contact, and crossed arms to let the person know you’re not a fan of something that they are doing;
  • The silent treatment (simply ignoring them);
  • Using a particular tone with them designed to get them to ask, “What’s up? Have I done something?” Depending on the issue, the tone may range from disappointed, to frustrated, to downright contemptuous.

The only problem is, all of these techniques will fail if the other person is either unwilling to accept responsibility for their behaviour or if they just don’t know that they are doing something to upset or offend you. Unfortunately, this is usually the case.

That’s because people typically don’t engage in behaviours that they know consciously offend or upset other people. Don’t get me wrong. People definitely do play head games at times but usually that behaviour is pretty easy to spot, and I do believe that those folks that are intentionally messing with our minds are fewer and farther between than you may imagine.

The truth is, the person who is frustrating you or hurting your feelings or downright scaring you with their behaviour or demeanor, is very likely completely unaware that they are having that impact. They are very likely working from a perception of themselves that puts their behaviour in the best light, where, at least to them, it makes perfect sense and is completely acceptable.

So, imagine their shock when you sit down with them and have “THE” convo! If you’ve tried the techniques listed above to try and give them the message prior to “the” conversation, you are likely to be sitting across from someone who is less than comfortable with you because you’ve been behaving a little weird or downright standoffishly, but they don’t know why. You’re also far more likely to elicit a defensive reaction (a closed mind or an angry retort) when the person is, in their mind, hearing about your problem with them for the first time in a fairly intense way.

From your perspective in this situation, you’ve tried to give them the message, they haven’t got it, so you have to have the big sit-down. From your perspective you may be sad or feel hard-done-by should the recipient of “THE” conversation not appreciate your “patience”, “maturity”, and overall intention (to avoid conflict at all costs and to not upset the other person) and instead become angry and defensive.

This dynamic is the reason that most people avoid “THE” conversation like the plague. It’s not that sitting down with someone to resolve issues is actually that big a deal when certain basic steps are followed, it’s just that most people who use food to cope are scared to death of letting anyone know that they have a need and so resist or avoid taking care of issues as they arise in favour of the magical thinking that, if they wait long enough, they may just…..go away.  And often they’re scared to admit to having needs because they carry that old, annoying co-dependent training that says:

  • You are responsible for everyone else’s feelings and needs;
  • You are needy if you have needs;
  • You are only allowed to take care of yourself when everyone else is happy;
  • If someone is at all unhappy or even has the potential to be at all unhappy it’s because you’ve done something bad or wrong and that makes you a bad person.

Well, actually, none of those stories are true. That training is a pile of phooey folks. Trust me!

Now, just imagine, sitting down to have “THE” conversation with someone when you’re coming from an adult, interdependent mindset that doesn’t believe those ridiculous stories, but instead believes:

  • You have a right to be treated with dignity and respect;
  • You are not responsible for others feelings and needs, you are only responsible for your own;
  • You have a responsibility, not just a right, to meet your own needs in all areas of your life;
  • You are “allowed” to ask for what you need and that does not make you at all bad or wrong or “needy.” In fact, a healthy, interdependent relationship demands that you communicate clearly about what you feel and what you need;
  • You have the tools you need to respectfully communicate to the other person involved what you need and how they can help meet that need if they are willing;
  • You know, in your heart, that if someone is unwilling or resistant to meeting, or even acknowledging your need, it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or your request, it only means that it doesn’t meet needs for them to meet your need;
  • You trust yourself to get your need met. As such, you have the space within you and within “THE” conversation to ask questions and to really listen to the other person’s perspective. You trust that you will not be overrun by guilt, blame, shame or anger but that you will hold steady, with grace and dignity, and that ultimately, you will find a way to have your need met, even if that means, as a last-ditch effort, leaving the relationship.

If you trusted in yourself to truly feel, think, and behave as listed above, how do you think you’d feel as you approached “THE” big conversation? Would it even feel like a big conversation? Would it have the same freaky connotations of failure, neediness and inviting anger and judgement?  Not likely.

Rather, it’s far more likely that you would have spoken to this person in more direct and clear ways about the issue as it arose in relationship between you long before it ever got to the need for “THE” conversation. Chances are your sense of deservedness of healthy relationships and respectful interactions would have led you to simply and briefly speak to that person about their behaviour and its impact on your sense of trust, safety and respect with them the first time you felt a little uncomfortable with something they said or did, rather than waiting until you just couldn’t stand it anymore and were about to burst with frustration or walk away from the relationship.

From that approach, your energy approaching a conversation is much lighter and usually more readily received by the other person. Remember, usually people have no clue that they’re doing something that is upsetting you. And if they do have clue that you’re a bit miffed about something, they usually don’t know specifically what to do differently to make you “un-miffed.”

You are responsible for communicating to others about what you feel and what you need and about how the people in your life can meet your needs if they are willing. When you communicate directly and clearly about what you need you give others a chance to show you whether they are able and/or willing to meet your needs. This gives you direct and immediate feedback as to how much you can safely rely on this person and therefore whether they can be a dear and trusted friend, an acquaintance, or someone you keep at a good solid distance.

There is much more to say on this topic so tune in next week for more about communication and some tips for attending to things before they get to the point where it feels like “THE” conversation is the only solution. Sometimes, no matter how well you handle something you still need to have “THE” conversation. But it’s much easier to approach it from a place of peace and security when you know you’ve done your due diligence and given the other person many reasonable opportunities to meet your needs.

For this week, just notice where and with whom you’ve been avoiding having “THE” conversation and take a moment to ask yourself why. What are you telling yourself will happen?  Have you done your best to respectfully and clearly let that person know what you need and how, specifically, they could meet that need?

Challenge yourself to approach your conversations and interactions with others this week from the adult interdependent mindset and just see what a phenomenal difference it makes!

Have a fabulous week!

Love

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Whether you prefer one-on-one counselling (in-person, by phone, or email), our intensive and transformative workshops, the self-help approach with my book, or our Food is Not the Problem Online Membership Program, take action today to have a stress-free relationship with food. Sign up for our free newsletter today (see the left top side of your screen). Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive product discounts and are first in line to get on all the latest new at CEDRIC.

Posted in: 2010, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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Internal vs. External Locus of Control

codependencyBy request I am writing this week on the topic of Internal and External Locus of Control. Chapter 11 of my book, Food is Not the Problem: Deal With What Is! is entirely dedicated to this topic as it is a key piece in the puzzle of why you use harmful coping strategies and why it’s so hard for you to stop.

One of my favorite authors, Don Miguel Ruiz, in his book The Four Agreements talks about the ancient Toltec philosophy which has four basic tenants:

  1. Always do your best
  2. Always be impeccable with your word
  3. Don’t take anything personally
  4. Don’t make assumptions

He insists in his book that we are all living on a potential “heaven on earth” but, because of our lack of training and adherence to these basic tenants, we are truly living in hell.

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Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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Making Mistakes

mistakesThe theme of “making mistakes” (from the last 2 weeks) seems to have hit home with many readers, and with good reason. One of the main reasons we use food to cope is because we are so anxious all the time about saying the right thing; doing the right thing; being perceived as good and kind and generous and smart and sexy and “together.”

The pressure to perform and to conform to others’ expectations of who or what we should be creates a chronic state of anxiety that I call “the permeating level of anxiety” (PLA) and it is this chronic sense of disease or distress within that triggers us to restrict, or binge or purge.

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Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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Perfection

yourselfLetting go of the dream of perfection doesn’t mean giving up hope of having everything you desire.

It is actually the doorway to finally stepping free of the old all-or-nothing thinking that has kept you stuck in unsatisfying jobs and relationships and has kept you chained to food and body image focus as the answer to your insecurities and dissatisfaction with life.

The story that there is a “perfect” and that you have to be it or else is what keeps you from living happily, passionately, and purposefully in this moment.
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Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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