Cedric Centre for Counselling Inc.


Archive for March, 2011

Building A Balanced Life is Key to Recovery

Building A Balanced Life is Key to Recovery

It’s possible that you are feeling anxious and insecure often in your life, or that you hear yourself say things about your frustrationg with certain situations and relationship(s) which are clear indicators of unmet needs, and yet you are still ignoring those emotional cues of unmet needs which leads you to feel overrun, unbalanced, and to use food or other substances to cope. If you’d like to stop binging or struggling with diets and weight loss, or drinking, or any other harmful coping strategy then it’s important that you know that building a balanced life is key to recovery.

It’s a simple fact, like it or lump it, that as long as any aspect of your life remains unbalanced or your needs are unmet in certain areas, you will use your coping strategies.

For example. Those of  you who have a disordered relationship with food, unconsciously use thoughts about eating or about what you weigh, and the act of eating or of restricting (and possibly purging through extreme diets, laxatives, exercise or vomiting) as a means of self-medicating and self-soothing. The chemistry you create in your body with the thoughts, sensations, and behaviours associated with your coping strategy of choice (drinking, binging, purging, drugs, t.v. etc.) raises your dopamine level artificially and temporarily triggers feelings of release, peace, nurturing and comfort.

Only problem is, as you know, that sensation is short-lived and soon you’re needing another fix to numb the negative chatter in your brain and the emotional sensations of anxiety and depression that accompany it.

The key to stepping free for good from any eating disorder or addictive behaviour is to have a 2 pronged approach which teaches you how to relate to your substance/coping strategy of choice is a natural, balanced way while also teaching you how to build solid self-trust and self-esteem.

The solution is simple and can be speedy when you have a skilled guide with simple tools. I can help you step free of the chaos and create balance and passion like you’ve never known.

Reach out and let’s discuss what’s going on in your life now that you’d like to change and how we can make that a reality.

Love Michelle

Posted in: and Binging, CEDRIC Centre, Complete Recovery, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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A letter of fact

A great exercise for shifting your old beliefs is writing a letter of fact. A letter of fact is a letter containing only the concrete details of a situation. There is no interpretation or assumption of what the other party was thinking, feeling or intending. Just the physical truth. In other words, if there were ten people in the room at the time of the event in question, they all would have to agree on what was physically said and done. Those are the facts; however, their interpretations of why it happened would differ. This is because their interpretation, through the lens of their own beliefs and perceptions of the world, creates a distortion, and the facts become skewed. They cease to focus on the reality of what happened, but focus instead on their assumption/interpretation of why it happened. This attaches particular emotions to an event, and the thought/feeling loop continues to solidify their perspective of the event as accurate.

Any threat, real or imagined, gets logged away in our brains with powerful feelings attached. The interpretation that was formed at the time of the event, though our distorted lens, becomes a solid, irrefutable fact from our perspective. And this “fact” directly impacts all of our interactions with ourselves, and with others, until such a time as we begin to allow for the possibility that we may have misinterpreted the event. The willingness to challenge this old story requires courage. This requires enough self-love and self-respect to no longer be willing to harm yourself unnecessarily with a confused interpretation of someone else’s actions.

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre

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The Double Standard

The Double Standard

The double standard is a pattern of thinking where we seem to think it makes sense to hold ourselves to standards that we wouldn`t hold others to – or vice versa.

It is not a rational or reasonable thought and will only lead to anxiety and insecurity in yourself and in your connections with others.

It is important to be able to learn to spot the double standard in your thinking and in that of others so that you can question it and step free of it rather than continuing to live your life by irrational and unreasonable standards.

For example:

Allow yourself, for a moment, to gently recall one of the events which you use to support one of your old core belief(s) such as `I am unlovable` or `I am not good enough`.

Now ask yourself if you would jump on the bandwagon and judge someone else if they had had that same experience.

Would you continue, on a daily basis, to reinforce that hurtful message?

Would you rub it in?

Or might you offer them feedback about a more reasonable perspective, or at least an alternative perspective on the situation; maybe you`d tell them about the strengths and beauty that you see in them?

Would it just go without saying that you would be immediately drawn to offer your reassurance and support, and maybe even to feel angry and hurt on their behalf? 

Well? What do you think?

Would you keep pouring salt in their wound? Not likely. That would be sadistic. You are far too kind and considerate for that, so why do you do it to yourself?

You`ve got to learn to be able to assess for yourself what is true and reasonable in yourself and in your relationships with others. If you keep living your life believing those old stories and old assumptions you will continue to feel anxious and to need food or dieting or drinking or isolation to cope with the stress that is, now, in large part, being created by your thinking.

Change can happen simply and quickly when you have good support and tools that work. That`s what I can offer you. 

Reach out and let me show you how to step free of the double standard in your life for good.

Love Michelle

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre

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Making it safe to be conscious

When you live from the old pattern of buying into those old all-or-nothing thoughts, then use the coping strategies of denial and unconsciousness, you compromise yourself. Please know that there is no benefit to judging yourself for this choice. Just recognize and support it as a choice. It’s all right to say, “I know I’d really like to do…, but right now, I just feel too scared or too overwhelmed at the thought of asserting this need, so I’m choosing to go along with Mary Jane.

Speak it. Name your choice. Be proud that you are making a conscious choice which best meets your needs at that time, and let it be all right to take care of yourself in this way. You can also add a piece that says, “I’m working to get to a place where I can respond differently to this situation, and, for now, this choice feels as though it will best meet my needs.” In other words, cut yourself some slack.

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Mad: What Is Anger All About

Mad: What Is Anger All About

In this brief article: Mad: What Is Anger All About,  I’m going to share about what anger really means and how to begin to express it, and receive it in a healthy ways.

In a nutshell feelings of anger mean you, or the person expressing it, are feeling threatened in some way.

It could be a physical threat. More than likely, your anger will be triggered by some threat, real or perceived, to your sense of power and control in your world.

So your anger could be triggered in the moment by someone taking your job, cutting you off in traffic, ending a relationship with you or showing up late.

These are examples of a need for control (also known as security) which does not feel met in that moment.

A great way of perceiving anger, which helps to shift it almost instantly, is to get in the habit of reminding yourself that when you feel even the slightest bit perturbed, anger is just the surface emotion.

What is beneath anger is always the same: feelings of sadness and feelings of fear.

Knowing this, you can immediately diffuse your anger, or that of others, by acknowledging the sadness and fear that lie beneath it.

When you notice you’re feeling angry, frustrated, resentful, impatient, irritated etc. (all expressions of anger), simply ask yourself:

What is actually, factually happening right now? (In other words, what would anyone watching agree is happening now?)

And what is it about that that might be making me sad or scared?

And what am I telling myself that means? (What stories/interpretations/assumptions are you adding in here to the reality of the situation?)

And what is it that might be making me feel sad or scared about those stories and assumptions?

Is my feeling of anger coming more from the reality or the story of the situation?

If I could set aside my stories and instead either let them go entirely or ask questions to clarify whether they are accurate or not I could release a lot of my anger, or I’d know that there really is a true threat to me and I’d be better informed and prepared to respond to the reality of the situation.

Remind yourself of this series of questions – print them off, write them down. And ask them of yourself when you next feel angry or some facsimile thereof. Also use these questions in your head and maybe even out loud, when someone else is angry with or around you. It will help you to stay grounded, not take it personally, and to respond more effectively to the situation.

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre

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Natural Eating 101: Week 1 The Diet Mentality

The Diet MentalityWelcome. This is the first article in a series entitled Natural Eating 101 where we will focus on the diet mentality. Natural eating refers to an easy and peaceful relationship with food where you simply eat when you’re physically hungry, stop when you’re comfortably full, make honoring choices about what you eat overall, and have any food in moderation. No guilt. No shame. No sneaking, hiding, binging, restricting, purging. When you eat naturally, your body comes to its natural weight without rigorous exercise programs and without dieting or restricting. And it stays there.


Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, Natural Eating 101, newsletter, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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The Core Belief Experiment

The Core Belief Experiment

This article will introduce you to a valuable tool that I call the core belief experiment. It will help you to see with greater clarity what is keeping you stuck in your efforts to change your binging or dieting or weight loss struggle or any stress you have because of drinking or procrastinating or social anxiety.

So often what is really triggering us to overeat, diet, drink or isolate ourselves is not the reality of the life we live at this time but the stories we are carrying about what is right or wrong; good or bad about us that we picked up in our childhood. The problem with this is that developmentally we are unable to see the world clearly and fully as children and so any event is going to be naturally skewed to be all about us and will also be coming from a perspective of a little person who knows they are powerless to take care of themselves and therefore is dependent on the key people around them to care enough about them to care for them. This creates a natural hyper-vigilance towards the behaviours of others that again, gets interpreted as being about us.

That means that no matter how healthy or functional or reasonable the behaviours of the key people in our lives as children we will take it personally, assume we did or didn’t do something to cause it and form solid belief systems about our worth or lack thereof based on those observations.

I say if you’re over 21 you are developmentally able to see the world differently now (your brain has developed to a point where you truly can see the big picture if you just get the chance to learn how) and it’s time for you to free yourself from those old beliefs that keep you stuck feeling anxious and insecure.


Okay! Here’s how it goes.

You know how scientists come up with a theory they want to prove and they set about ‘proving it’ by doing whatever they can to disprove it? Well I want you to be a scientist with yourself for one day and see what happens.

First, identify one of your key old stories. For example maybe you believe ‘I am not good enough’ or ‘I am unlovable’ or ‘There is something wrong with me’ or ‘I am not smart’ or ‘No one likes me’ etc.

Just for one day make a commitment to yourself that you will only interpret events from the perspective that your old belief is untrue.

Yes, that’s right!

Don’t get caught up in the authenticity factor.  So what if you really think you’re not good enough. For this one day you’re going to invite yourself to approach the world and to interpret the events of the day and the actions of others through the lens of ‘I am good enough.’

You’ve been lying to yourself for decades. I’m giving you an invitation and an opportunity to free yourself from the old bogus story and to allow yourself to see what is true right now.

So for the next 24 hours, notice the things that happen to and around you, and, whatever your standard old story is, offer yourself exactly the opposite. Interpret everything in the reverse of how you typically would.

For example, if you would normally make everyone’s behaviour about you, challenge yourself on this day to make it about them, or to step back from having an opinion about it at all, and see what happens when you don’t take it on.

If your belief is that you are not good enough, see what happens if you interpret events of the day through the lens of this belief: “I am great,” or “I am deserving of good things.”

It’s just one day – you can go back to thinking you’re flawed and unlovable tomorrow if you like. But for this day, give yourself a chance to see if perhaps that old story might just not be true.

Love Michelle

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre

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Trust yourself to know when to trust

My rule of thumb to assess my comfort and trust in a relationship is this: if I can’t bring myself to tell someone that I have a certain need in my relationship with them and ask them if they would be willing to meet that need for me, I know that I don’t feel safe with this person, and for some reason I don’t trust them to respectfully respond to my request. But if I don’t trust this person to respect my request enough to listen and try to find a win-win solution (one that meets both our needs), then that tells me a lot about my connection with them at that time.

Sometimes this might simply mean that it’s too soon to ask or share that piece of information with this person, and my fear is natural. There has not been enough time to build the trust necessary to safely share this piece of myself with this person. In that case, I can just acknowledge it, and let it be okay to wait until more time has passed and I do feel safe – even if that is weeks away. If I feel such urgency to share something that I am willing to override my sense of comfort and security, this is a sign that I am in a co-depending connection and feel that I must share to meet the other person’s need. I need to shift my focus from the needs of the other person back to me. If you do this, you will immediately feel less anxious and much more grounded.

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Relapse is Part of the Addiction Recovery Process

Relapse is Part of the Addiction Recovery Process

Relapse is a very common phenomenon in addictive behaviours. In fact, relapse is part of the addiction recovery process. It doesn’t mean something is wrong or that the thing you’re trying isn’t working or that you can’t be successful, it most often means that you’ve forgotten your new tools, or still need education in how to use them and so you’ve naturally defaulted to what is familiar in your approach to deal with stress or painful feelings at that time.

It takes time to develop the familiarity and trust required to implement new methods of coping.

In time it will be natural for you to respond rationally and reasonably to stressful situations rather than reverting to your old coping strategy.

But until you have the strength and trust in yourself to cope effectively in the new way, you will often utilize the coping strategy which has worked best for you in the past, even if you have a strong desire to behave differently.

What is most important is that you appreciate that relapse is to be expected and welcomed because it provides you with clear information about the situation at hand.

The process of recovery is going perfectly if, when you default to old coping strategies like drinking or binging or dieting you stop and take the time to identify what triggered you and take action to resolve that trigger. There is no need beat yourself up – in fact that just makes you feel worse and leads to greater stress and more likelihood of abandoning the recovery process all together.

You must remember that you use your coping strategy to cope with stress and until you have other more effective ways of managing stress and you also are able to greatly reduce the overall stress in your life you will naturally need your coping strategy.

So, cut yourself some slack. When you find yourself binging or getting caught thinking about how quickly you can lose weight just remind yourself:

“That’s my coping strategy and that means I’m stressed. What, separate from my coping strategy is stressing me out right now and what can I do about that?” 

True, lasting recovery is build on solid self-esteem and clear, reasonable thinking. And you don’t get that by beating yourself up for using a coping strategy.

If you’re ready to change and you want to make is simple and fast, reach out and let me show you how we can help.

Love Michelle

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre

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Stress and overeating

We are eating compulsively when we feel we have lost control of our relationship with food. We can no longer stop eating when we choose. We often feel compelled to eat until we physically can’t eat any more. We focus more and more psychological and physical energy on losing weight, and on negative thoughts about ourselves (I am weak, I have no willpower), and about our body (I am fat and unattractive). This cycle of restriction, binging, and guilt is compulsive eating behaviour.

When we eat compulsively, it is hard to see that binge eating is serving a very useful purpose. While we are eating, we are able to focus solely on food and weight. For that brief moment, we don’t have to worry about any feelings or experiences in life that are scary, overwhelming, or out of our control. It may feel foreign to acknowledge that the painful and frustrating relationship we have with food really is serving a purpose for us. The truth is that until we find an alternative method of addressing life’s stresses and our need for comfort, we will always come back to food.

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre

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