The sense of a lack of safety that triggers emotional stress arises from a real or perceived threat to our physical, psychological, emotional and/or spiritual well-being. In other words, as long as we lack trust in our ability to keep ourselves safe with anyone or in any particular situation, we will experience emotional stress, which then, if left unchecked, can trigger the use of food to cope.
Archive for 2010
Warning Signs & Strategies for Disordered Eating
As parents, you are on the front lines with your children, who are being bombarded constantly by peer and media messages that tout the thin ideal. Unless you emigrated as an adult from a culture with more realistic feminine and masculine ideals, you also will have been inundated with messages about what is right, and what is wrong, regarding food, body size and shape.
The Food and Travel Dilemma
Traveling with an eating disorder packs a triple whammy for the already beleaguered spirit in desperate need of true rest and relaxation. We refer to this as the food and travel Dilemma.
We are often reluctant to speak up and ask for certain foods and certain quantities, or even to ask for food at all if no one else is eating, when visiting friends or relatives because we feel we would be drawing attention to our weight and our relationship with food, an area of our lives around which we already feel quite conspicuous and self-conscious.
So we end up eating things that trigger bad body thoughts and self-judgement, and/or eating at times when we’re not at all hungry because that is when the meal is being served and we don’t want to stand out by not eating. Honoring ourselves and our needs is a challenge in these situations, but it is possible to travel and feel in control of our food choices rather than the other way around.
Here’s a snippet of an article series I wrote about Travelling with and Eating Disorder. Have a read and get some understanding and tools for how to stay grounded and feel good about food and about your body while on vacay and when you return.
In this 3-part article, I will not deal with the obvious stress of the obligatory attempts at dieting in anticipation of any vacation that requires the baring of any skin above the elbow or knee. That is a topic for another day. Instead, I will address the 3 key ways in which traveling can challenge the tenuous grip most disordered eaters have on their relationship with food and weight: limitations/abundance of choice; change in routine; and the emotional impact of traveling. As I explore each of these confounding circumstances I will provide you with some suggestions on how to approach them in the most simple and life-enhancing way so you can relax and enjoy your well-earned vacation.
First let’s explore the physical constraints of choice and their impact, depending on where you’re traveling and where you’re staying. Many vacation destinations (all-inclusive resorts and cruise ships for example) have an abundance of choice that does include, if you commit to looking for them, choices that are healthy: foods low in processed and refined flours and sugars and trans fats. But these types of resorts, for the disordered eater, are typically disasters waiting to happen. The abundance of foods and the temptation of fattening desserts and entrées will lead even the most healthy and natural of eaters (those who eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full and choose life-enhancing foods overall) to tune out to the natural rhythms of their body and overeat at most meals. The natural eater will often return home from one of these vacations with a few extra pounds but they won’t carry a lot of energy and guilt about that. They will simply return to their normal routines of eating when hungry, stopping when full, exercise in moderation, and find themselves back at their natural weight within a few weeks. No muss, no fuss.
On the other side of the equation we find the individual who has an uneasy relationship with food, doesn’t trust themselves to eat naturally, and has no confidence in their ability to return to a natural weight. They will be devastated by a few extra pounds and will become convinced they’re doomed to fall down the slippery slope back into uncontrolled weight gain again. For this person, these all-inclusive / buffet-style holidays become not about fun and play, sightseeing and rest and relaxation, but about food and what they will or won’t allow themselves to have, plus the guilt, shame and Drill Sgt.-self-loathing that follows the consumption of any “forbidden” food.
Make a commitment that if you feel any anxiety or resistance to something, even leaving the house to get groceries, you’re going to stop and dialogue with yourself about what needs you have that you’re telling yourself won’t be met in doing so, and you’re going to ask what needs would be met in going.
In this case you should pretend that you think you’re wrong but really believe that you’re right and begin to carry resentment towards that person and distance from them emotionally if not also physically. In the co-dependent manual you are being bad if you assert your beliefs or rights, regardless of how respectfully you do it. That’s not exactly a recipe for fulfilling relationships with yourself or with anyone else. But it’s in the manual so you have to do it. Or do you?
Good Enough for You is Good Enough
Your good enough-ness can’t be dependent on anyone else – it can’t ride on you being the best looking, the smartest, the fastest, the richest, the kindest, the nicest, the most generous, etc. Good Enough for You is Good Enough.
It has to be determined by you clearly identifying your core values and principles; the key roles in your life that you have now or would like to put in place; and the goals that you have for yourself in each of those roles.
Once you are clear on what is reasonable to expect of yourself, rather than just desirable, in all areas, given the goals you have (including those for balance and self-care), you will be able to set reasonable goals to maintain or attain your highest ability in each of those areas.
You will never be good enough if you try to set goals or identify standards in any other way.
All other approaches put too much emphasis on what others think, feel and do and have an element of competition with others rather than a challenge from within to be the best you can be.
You can`t ever truly hope to feel confident in yourself if you`re taking your cues of right and wrong and okay and not okay from outside of yourself.
You must identify your own set of values and principles and trust yourself to follow through on them. Values like honesty, integrity, reliability must be honoured by yourself first or else they mean nothing and you will not feel good about yourself nor will you feel entitled to expect those things from the people you relate to. Hence you`ll find yourself in relationships that are unsafe or at the very least, unsatisfying and you`ll keep on feeling not good enough and assume there is something wrong with you.
In fact, it isn`t something wrong with you, it`s something missing in your thinking; in your understanding of how functional, healthy, stable, truly fun relationships are established and maintained. And you`re only missing that because you`ve never seen in modeled – no one ever showed you how to make that happen.
If you`d like to start feeling truly good enough and get on with living life to the fullest – whether you`re 25 or 85 – I can help.
I Used to Binge but I Don’t Binge Anymore
I don’t binge anymore. It’s been over 20 years and I don’t diet or focus on food, my weight is stable and healthy – I wear the same clothes from year to year instead of needing to have 3 wardrobes to keep up with my yo-yo dieting and ricocheting weight. I don’t binge anymore.
Back when I used to binge to cope, I felt incredibly afraid and lonely, bad, wrong, impossibly screwed up and believed that everyone who saw me, saw that.
With these beliefs in my head 24/7, it was exhausting to leave the relative safety and privacy of my house, and so of course, upon arriving home, I needed to do something to decompress; to detach from the pain, sadness, loneliness and fear that was always threatening to break through and overwhelm me.
So, out came the food. It was something to do; something to distract myself with; something to soothe myself with; and then, later, as I came to, something to focus on, beat myself up with and to make dire resolutions to do things differently the next day. So completely absorbed was I in my use of food and subsequent self-loathing that I never had the time or the clarity to look beneath it and question why I did it.
I was just fat, ugly, stupid, lazy, unlovable and unworthy. That was the reason. Or so I thought.
In reality, I was sad and lonely and scared because I hand’t been treated very well as a child and I had terrible role models for how to create solid relationships. I was doing exactly what I had seen my parents do but for some reason no one was sticking around to be my friend or partner or those that did were people with anger management issues or difficulty being honest and reliable.
This led me to believe I was flawed, fundamentally broken and therefore doomed to be unlovable. It led me to hide my true self from others which led me to attract people that didn’t fit and to me feeling like I couldn’t be myself in the relationship du jour.
It was these ideas I was carrying about myself and about how to be in relationships that led to me being so alone and anxious and those things led me to use food to soothe myself.
Once I got clear on that and started thinking more clearly about myself and the world around me, food became a non-issue; or rather it became what it should be an enjoyable, pleasurable experience of nurturing and sustaining my health.
If you’d like to experience that kind of true and lasting freedom from binging or dieting or any weight loss or body image stress, email me and I’ll show you how.
Last week I gave you a little task designed to help you begin to quickly get grounded in your right to feel and think as you do and to ask for what you need without guilt, shame, or insecurity and become self confident.
I’ll recap the core message, since I know it’s been a busy 7 days, and some of you may have forgotten, or not have yet got around to reading last week’s article, The Fastest Path to Self-Confidence.
The short version: If you’re using food to cope, you’re out of touch with reality.
There, that about sums it up!
Have a great week.
Just joshin’! There’s more.
Let me fill that statement above out a bit for you and then let’s move on to answering the question: “What can I do to feel more confident in my life as quickly as humanly possible, and in so doing, stop feeling so overwhelmed that I harm myself with binging, purging or restricting?”
“Michelle Morand and the CEDRIC method did for me in a few short months what I have been unable to do for myself in over 35 years of dieting and stressing about food and about my weight. In fact, once I actually put the tools that Michelle taught me into practice in my day to day life, within 7 days I saw immediate and miraculous change to my overall stress level and to my emotional eating. I feel happy, I feel peaceful and most of all, I feel truly free! Thank you, Michelle”
Hello, I’m Michelle Morand, the founder and director of The CEDRIC Centre. The above sentiment is one we hear daily from past and present clients. It is not unusual or an exception to the rule. You can expect the same experience yourself, when you work with us, regardless of whether you binge, purge, restrict, or engage in calorie counting and body image stress, and regardless of whether you’ve been stuck in those patterns for a few years or a few decades.
Here is another quote from someone who has attended our Weekend Workshops, joined our online program and receives individual counselling:
“Michelle, I feel like you’re one awesome lifesaver. I’m sooo thankful to have discovered CEDRIC – it’s revolutionized my world. Truly.”