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Podcast: When I Use My Tools, They Work

When I Use My Tools, They Work

Listen to the Podcast  or if you prefer the written version, Read the Archived Article.

I’ve posted a snippet of the article here for you to read. Just click on the link to read or listen to more:

“When I use my tools, they work! Things are easier, more peaceful. I just don’t feel the need to use food to cope when I use my tools.”

I hear this a lot from clients. And it’s true.

However, from clients who are a little new with the process, there is usually a “…but” attached to the end of it and the rest of the statement sounds something like, “…it’s just so hard to use my tools.” Or “….it takes too long and I don’t have the time or energy to do anything other than eat.”  Or even “….what if they stop working? I need to hang on to my use of food to cope just in case my new tools stop working.”

Okay, for starters, under what circumstances could increased awareness and compassion for yourself and others ever stop working for anything? They are the key to the happiness in every single happy person. That last statement, “…what if they stop working…” if you’ve ever thought it, is a great indicator that your Drill Sgt. is in charge of your healing in that moment and not your adult self.  The all-or-nothing thinking; The doubt; The belief that coping with food actually helps you in any way and would be a good thing to hold on to are all indicators that your mind has kicked into one of the basic characteristics of the Drill Sgt.: Learned Helplessness.

In essence you’re saying to yourself “I don’t really think anything but food can make me “feel better” and I don’t really think I can learn to resolve my underlying stressors so I have to keep my numbing tactics at the ready.”

If that’s the mindset that you are bringing to this process – which it is – because no one who uses food to cope ever does so from any place other than learned helplessness – this process can feel hard and like it takes a long time. My role in your life is to shift you out of that stuck, all-or-nothing headspace asap and get you into a possibilities mindset where you genuinely realize the many options in each situation and you don’t default into that stuck, sinking feeling that makes you believe the only solution is to restrict, or binge, or purge.

Common learned helplessness statements sound like this:

  1. I can’t do anything about X;
  2. Life will always be like Y;
  3. I will always be stuck/lonely/unhappy/insecure;
  4. Change is too hard;
  5. It’s too overwhelming;
  6. There’s too much to do;
  7. Others will be upset with me;
  8. I don’t even know where to begin;
  9. I can’t!!

When you think of not using food to cope and you feel sad and scared and disappointed, it’s only because the part of you that is thinking about using food to cope in that moment is the part of you that believes that you can not truly feel peaceful and nurtured and safe and comforted without food. Thus it imagines that what’s really going to happen when you use your tools instead of eating is that you’ll still feel anxious and overwhelmed but you won’t let yourself comfort yourself with food. So of course it resists using the tools. Who wouldn’t!

That’s the same part of you that believes that using your tools is a lot of work, that it’s hard and that it won’t actually lead to any lasting change anyway. We call that the Drill Sgt. and his characteristic “learned helplessness.”  

Read more of Tools for How to stop binging, overeating, emotional eating and dieting.

Posted in: 2012, All-or-Nothing Thinking, Audios, Podcast, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Self, Self-Checklist

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How to Let Go of Self-Judgement

How to Let Go of Self-Judgement

Hi Everyone,

The easiest way to let go of self-judgement and set about the sometimes challenging but also fun and exciting experience of truly living life to the fullest, is remind yourself daily of the following premises until they simply become the way you live your life; no reminder necessary.

  1. The truth of human nature is that there is always a valid reason for why we feel and behave as we do.
  2. Your feelings are always perfectly appropriate for what you are telling yourself about the situation or person that seems to be triggering them.
  3. Your behaviours are always just a reaction to what you’re feeling, which, as I’ve said above, is just your natural response to what you are thinking/how you are perceiving the situation at hand.
  4. Therefore, it makes no sense whatsoever to judge or shame yourself for how you feel or what you do.
  5. What does make sense however is to learn:

a)     To immediately identify what you’re thinking (ie. what’s triggering you to feel and behave as you are) and then;

b)     How to quickly assess whether your perception is accurate or not, or whether you need more information to decide.

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Posted in: 2012, All-or-Nothing Thinking, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Self

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How To Get Free Of The Diet Mentality Part IX ©

Get Free Of The Diet MentalityHello!

This is Part IX in our Diet Mentality series. Can you believe it!!? We’ve almost covered all the key points of the diet mentality and now you’ve got some clear and specific suggestions of what to do to change and let go completely of each of them.

In case you’re new to our community you should know that my mission statement as an author/educator and counsellor is to ensure that anyone who wants to change their stressful relationship with food, regardless of where they live or their financial situation, gets the tools they need to step free!  So this series is just another in a long line of articles, stemming back over 10 years, that I have written every week to provide you with tools and information to change your relationship with food.

The CEDRIC Centre and our counselling and support team offer personalized healing retreats, individual counselling and group support, workshops, an interactive web based program and books, workbooks and many other resources like cd’s and video clips to help you step free completely from any stress around food and body image.

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Posted in: 2012, CEDRIC Centre, Natural Eating 101, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others

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How To Get Free Of The Diet Mentality Part VIII ©

Get Free of the Diet Mentality

Hello! This is Part VIII in our How to Get Free of the Diet Mentality series, (visit The CEDRIC Centre blog for immediate access to all articles in this series).

If you’re new to our community, welcome! You’ll fit right in here if you are an emotional eater, or find that you binge, restrict, or struggle with anorexia, bulimia or some other stressful way of relating to food and want to learn how to stop.

Last week I shared with you about what a diet mentality approach to exercise looks like and asked you to be on the lookout for it in your own approach to fitness/exercise and body image.

This week I want to teach you about what a balance, life-enhancing and sustainable and, gasp… FUN, approach to exercise looks like.

This is an approach you’ll enjoy so much you won’t even know you’re exercising! You’ll become one of those folks who just naturally enjoys moving their body and seeks to bring movement into their lives, not because they need to lose weight or feel crappy about their body, but because it’s fun and feels good. Really!

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Posted in: 2012, CEDRIC Centre, The Diet Mentality Series

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How To Get Free Of The Diet Mentality Part VI ©

How To Get Free Of The Diet MentalityHello!

This is Part VI in our Diet Mentality series (visit The CEDRIC Centre blog for immediate access to all articles in this series).

If you’re new to our community, welcome!

You’ll fit right in here if you are an emotional eater, find that you binge, restrict, or struggle with anorexia, bulimia or some other stressful way of relating to food and want to learn how to stop.

All righty! In the past few weeks we’ve covered:

  1. The perils of both just arbitrarily restricting the amount of food you’re “allowed” to have regardless of your true hunger levels; and
  2. Of feeling obligated to eat what is placed in front of you – whether or not you like it and whether or not it is too much.
  3. We’ve also addressed the stress of labeling foods as good/bad legal/illegal and the nasty consequences of doing so.
  4. And we’ve talked about what happens when we get stuck in rules about when we can eat rather than just listening to our body’s natural cues of hunger and fullness.
  5. My last article discussed the biggie of engaging in all or nothing thinking regarding food and meals.

This week we’re going to explore the topic you love to hate: Your weight!

In the diet mentality perspective on life your weight is the central focus of your life.

You base decisions about what you can have, do and be on how much weight you have lost or gained.

Therefore, if you have gained a bit you feel deserving of punishment and will attempt to restrict yourself or isolate yourself.

If you have lost weight you feel more deserving of “treats” and feel more positive self-regard.

The truth is, once your self-esteem becomes attached to a number on a scale or a particular pant size you’re in big trouble. This is because now you’re attaching all your worth to one thing which makes any human obsessed about that one thing, which means we get in there and micro-manage that one thing and pretty soon we forget how to just be normal and natural and let our body do what it naturally does (eat when hungry, stop when full and be a natural healthy weight without effort).

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Posted in: 2012, Relationship with Food, The Diet Mentality Series

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Fear of Making Mistakes – Review

Fear of Making MistakesThose of us who use food to cope, or drugs, alcohol, shopping, procrastination, isolation, busywork, and even more socially-sanctioned strategies like over-exercise, co-dependency and workaholism, use those strategies in an attempt to distance ourselves from the constant sense of anxiety we feel within.

The anxiety that we feel is borne out of harmful all-or-nothing stories that I call “learned helplessness.” The learned helplessness stories sound something like this:

 

  • I can’t
  • It’s too big
  • It’s too much
  • I’m not capable
  • I won’t be able to do it
  • I’m not allowed

And, those learned helplessness, all-or-nothing stories (that trigger our anxiety and our use of harmful coping strategies) are triggered by a naturally and appropriately occurring sensation in our bodies that I call “the niggle.”

The niggle arises when we have needs that aren’t being met.

If you used food to cope as a child (or any other of the strategies listed above), it is extremely likely that when you felt that little niggle inside that let you know you needed something and you tried to get that need met through your words or actions, you were unsuccessful, or perhaps even berated or shamed or physically harmed.

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Posted in: 2012, All-or-Nothing Thinking, Relationship with Self

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The Process of Lasting Change

Process of Lasting Change

Repeated patterns are a window to your needs and the process of lasting change will help you address those needs. For every pattern you repeat, for example: overeating, purging, or restriction, there is a need which is being met within you. Your inability to change the undesirable pattern has nothing to do with lack of willpower or discipline. The pattern is merely a symptom of a deeper problem. If you direct your efforts only at attempting to eliminate the symptom without putting effort into understanding and dissolving its cause, you are setting yourself up for a very fatiguing and defeating battle.

Understanding the Process of Lasting Change

Awareness is the first step in changing any behaviour. You must first become aware that you are doing something which is detrimental to your values and life plan. Resistance is often your immediate reaction to becoming aware of what you are doing and why. This makes perfect sense. You have lived your life with a certain set of behaviours and beliefs. Given this, change, even if desired on some level, often feels less like innovation and more like annihilation of your entire existence as you know it. You wonder what will be left of you, your relationships and the life you know, when you have made the changes necessary to free yourself of this debilitating behaviour. This really means: when you are fully aware of the underlying need that led you to execute this behaviour, will you still choose the people and things you have chosen thus far? From this perspective, change can look very scary and the outcome very lonely. This is why so many of us have to hit our own personal “rock bottom” before we are ready to challenge old, harmful patterns of thoughts and behaviours. You must reach a place where you say, “I don’t care what the outcome is. Just make it stop!”

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Posted in: 2012, CEDRIC Centre, newsletter, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, Tips for Natural Eating

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All or nothing thinking

All or nothing thinkingThis week we are reviewing the theme of ‘all or nothing thinking’ and the simplest way to help our readers to shift out of their old, deeply ingrained, all or nothing thought habits and into a more open, expansive and peaceful state of being and thinking.

In a nutshell, if you’re not feeling compassion for yourself and the others that you’re interacting with in that moment (whether in your mind or in reality), you’re in all or nothing thinking. It’s that simple.

You may want to read that last statement a few times to make sure it sinks in.  Then read on.

You can test this theory for yourself over the next few days any time you notice that you’re feeling anything other than peaceful.

Whenever you notice you’re feeling anxious or unsettled; judgmental of yourself or others; blaming; resentful; impatient; etc., or using your food coping strategy (which is a clear indicator that you’re overwhelmed) simply stop and ask yourself:

“What am I telling myself about this situation or person that is creating this distress?”

Then stop and think, really think, about what you just told yourself.  Is it true?  Are you certain?

You will always identify that you have just been telling yourself an all or nothing story.

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Posted in: All-or-Nothing Thinking, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Self

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The Secret to Making Your Dreams Come True

Making Your Dreams Come TrueToday, (11/21/11) for me, was one of those days that we might dream about for years and years, hoping it will come true but truly wondering if it ever would. Perhaps from our little girl selves at the age of 8 or 10, and then again, with greater emphasis and clarity in our teens, and then early 20’s and maybe during some dark times too, that dream would keep us plugging along, one seemingly cement-laden foot in front of the other.

Today I had the experience of educating a group of 160 nursing students on The CEDRIC Method. Now, that in and of itself is rather frickin’ cool! Getting to educate up-and-coming front line health care providers on a respectful, simple, effective way of perceiving and supporting their clients who may struggle with eating disorders or substance abuse issues is an incredible honour. Period. That’s a pretty cool day.

But, it gets better!

It was at a college that I went to many years ago. At that time I was a grade 10 drop out. A pot smoking, binging, isolating, depressed, anxious, insecure, totally – and I mean to-ta-leee – codependent young woman who couldn’t make eye contact with anyone without breaking out in hives!

I used to literally slink onto campus, keep my head down in class and try not to interact any more than necessary with any other students.

I could relate to the teachers amazingly well – even was asked and agreed to attend staff functions (aka pub crawls!) from time to time. But I felt so totally fat, gross, and just plain geeky with my peers (aka the cool people), that I didn’t make one friend in 4 years. Not one.

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Posted in: newsletter, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, The Law of Attraction

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Making sure your basic needs are met – Review

Making sure your basic needs are met

The only reason you ever use food to cope, no exceptions, is because you have needs (See Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Basic Needs Chart on the left) that aren’t being met in some area of your life and you’ve told yourself that you’re not allowed, not deserving, or just not capable of getting them met, no matter what you do. These stories you’re telling yourself lead you to feel depressed and anxious, lethargic and frantic, in other words, they overwhelm you.

And when you’re feeling overwhelmed about something you believe you can’t do anything to change or resolve, the only thing to do is to find a way to diminish or discount the impact of that thing: to numb out.

 

In comes your primary coping strategy.

Is it binging?

  • Is it restricting calories, certain kinds of foods, or times of eating regardless of whether you’re hungry or not?
  • Is it purging (through an hour or two of exercise, through laxatives, or vomiting)?
  • Is it an attachment to a certain weight or way of looking?
  • Is it drinking?
  • What about drugs; shopping; gambling; the pursuit of that perfect relationship?
  • Do you take responsibility for what others feel, or what others need?
  • Do you procrastinate to cope with overwhelming things?
  • Do you isolate yourself?
  • Do you avoid certain people or places?
  • Do you resist downtime?
  • Do you resist going to bed at a reasonable hour?
  • Are you a clean freak? Or just the opposite?

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Posted in: newsletter, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, Relationships 101, Tips for Natural Eating

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