Cedric Centre for Counselling Inc.


Archive for June, 2011

How Sexual Abuse Triggers Binging

How Sexual Abuse Triggers Binging

This article will explore briefly the dynamic of how sexual abuse triggers binging. I hope it helps you to feel more understood and supported and hopeful that you can change this pattern of binging in your life, no matter what you binge on or how long it`s been happening.

Many people consider the term “sexual abuse” to refer to the assault of a child.

The reality is that sexual abuse can range from any unwanted verbal innuendo, gesture, or physical contact, to rape.

Many people who use food and body-image focus to cope have had one of these experiences. Many do, but not one-hundred percent, so don’t rack your brain trying to recall an assault if you aren’t already aware of this in your history.

The most harmful byproduct of sexual abuse is that it turns us against our bodies.  It makes us feel like our body is not our own, that others have more right to it than we do and thus it undermines our sense of safety in our very being. 

Sadly, many humans, after a sexual assault violation naturally default to a though process we call self-blame. In this form of thought we play and replay the event(s) in our heads looking for ways that we could have changed the outcome and looking for details about what we did that caused it in the first place.

`I shouldn`t have sat next to that person`.

“I shouldn`t have walked down that street.“

`I should have screamed louder.`

`I should have screamed.`

These thoughts are the brain`s way of helping you to feel some degree of empowerment over the situation so that you don`t feel so scared and overwhelmed. If you had some power then you can feel more confident that you can prevent it from happening again and that makes you feel better. So the brain sets about finding all the ways you may have been at fault.

This is fine for a day or two but any longer than that and your brain really starts to believe you were at fault which sets you up to have a very confused perspective on relationships, on your body and sexuality, and on other people`s rights to your body.

People typically head for one of two extremes in these situations – they become withdrawn and intensely sensitive to any potential sexual innuendo and avoid any physical intimacy in relationships; or they give themselves away to anyone who shows the slightest interest or expectation.

It is natural to feel insecure and anxious if you`ve been attacked or abused and you haven`t yet come to understand what your part in it really was and how to trust yourself to take good care of yourself now.

And it`s natural to binge or get preoccupied with weight and dieting as a way of coping with feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Those feelings are not about your body really, they are about your thinking. Change your thinking and you will find that your relationship to food, and therefore,naturally your weight, will change without effort.

I`ve been there – I know. And I`ve helped many other men and women to get past this and live truly satisfying lives in which they feel confident and secure.

Reach out and let me show you the tools to create the change you seek. You deserve to feel confident in yourself and trusting in your ability to relate to others and take good care of yourself. I can help.

Love Michelle

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Releasing All or Nothing Thoughts

Releasing All or Nothing ThoughtsOkay folks, we’re coming to the end of this series of Natural Eating Q&A articles and today I want to focus on releasing all or nothing thoughts.

This week, we have a little twist on the theme, with a specific focus on how our learned helplessness and the irrational, all-or-nothing thinking that’s at the root of it, makes this process of recovery so much harder and longer than it has to be. In fact, if you put even a few minutes of effort a day into catching the all-or-nothing stories we’ll be reviewing over the next few weeks, and responding as I suggest, you will see an immediate – I mean immediate – shift in your anxiety level and in your focus on food and use of food to cope.  Not only that, but those stories just won’t come up anymore. You’ll never have to hear them again!

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, Natural Eating 101

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Airports are Emotional Places

Airports are Emotional PlacesIf there’s one place, where, even more so than at insanely packed and over stimulating amusement parks like Disneyland, one will witness the entire spectrum of human emotions, it’s a large airport like good ol’ LAX.

As a counsellor and woman who has always been naturally predisposed to empathy and curiosity, perhaps it would even be more apt to say, hyper-vigilance, when it comes to the emotions of others (this I attribute to my years of trauma – vicarious and otherwise – as a child, where adeptly reading the emotional state of my father could often mean the difference between an evening without abuse and one with), I seem to be unable to be out and about anywhere without being acutely aware of the energy, emotions, and needs of the people around me.

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Self

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As fragmenters, we might feel proud of this talent: we can get along with anyone is the way we see it. Hey, that’s great. You can get along with anyone. At what cost to you? What is the payoff if you must keep your Authentic Self hidden and feel that you cannot truly bring all of yourself to a relationship? What benefit is there to being friends with someone who you believe won’t accept you as you are? On some level, if you fragment, it is because you believe that who you really are is unacceptable. You would rather have this person in your life and be inauthentic and squash your true self than have them possibly reject you.

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The When to Eat Dilemma

The When to Eat Dilemma

One of the biggest problems people have when they are trying to stop binging, dieting, eating disorders and – or weight loss struggles, is the pattern that I call the when to eat dilemma.

Basically, if you`ve been dieting or binging or both for any length of time to the point that you feel anxious and preoccupied with food and – or with your weight, or you feel guilty about what you`re eating or what you`d like to eat, you are stuck in what I call The Diet Mentality.

In the Diet Mentality you are supposed to listen to people and cues outside of your body to decide how much to eat and when. Aside from being completely irrational this is also completely unhelpful.

How can anyone outside of you know how much you need to eat, of what foods and when

The Drill Sgt. and his Diet Mentality will always tell you that you really should not be eating unless it is a socially prescribed mealtime. It doesn’t matter how little you may have eaten beforehand or how many activities you have performed that require the energy and sustenance which food provides, he operates from the outside in, and every good Diet Mentality follower knows that you only eat at certain times, and certainly not just before bed! So restriction continues to be enforced, even if just in the mind and not the behaviour. If this is the case and you choose to override the Drill Sgt. and eat anyway, unless you do this from a place of deservedness and knowing that it is okay to take care of your body, you are going to feel as though you are doing something dishonest. You will feel as if you are being bad and lack integrity simply because you chose to nourish your body when you were hungry.

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Creating Safety Around “Those” Foods: Natural Eating Q&A

Hello all.  We are moving through our series of questions on the in’s and out’s of Natural Eating with this week’s question:

How can I trust myself around certain foods when every time I get around them or have them in the house I binge?

This is such a common question in my work with clients. Regardless of whether they restrict, binge or purge, I am confident it will hit home with anyone who uses food to cope.

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, Natural Eating 101

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Changing behavior feels awkward at first

With any behavioral change, the process is the same for each of us. If you were a hunt-and-peck typist and then learned to type properly, you would go through this process of initially feeling forced and uncomfortable, to arriving at a place where the new is so much more peaceful, effective and life-enhancing. You will choose to use it exclusively, and it becomes second nature to the point where hunting and pecking takes too long for it to even be considered an option. This is the exact process which you will experience with food, body image, substance abuse, co-dependency, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and other common coping strategies of our society.

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How to check your triggers in the moment

When you notice that you’re thinking about eating and you’re not hungry, you’re hungry and you’re not allowing yourself to eat, or when you eat out of true hunger and eat beyond being full, do the following:

a) Stop and take a deep breath. Really. Stop…Breathe…
b) Invite yourself to be aware of what your thoughts are. Do not get carried away by them, just notice them.
c) Notice what you’re feeling in your body and any emotions you can identify.
d) Now ask yourself: “What just happened?” “What might I have just experienced or thought of from the past, present or future which could have impacted me and led to feeling the need to use food to cope?”

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Having needs doesn’t make you needy. It makes you normal.

Coping strategies like overeating, restricting, binging and purging, dieting, drinking, smoking, toking, shopping, gambling, procrastinating, isolating or ruminating come from having needs that aren’t being met in some or many areas of your life.

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How Do I Learn To Trust My Body? Natural Eating 101: Q&A

Hello, and welcome to another instalment of our Natural Eating Q&A series.

This week we’re exploring the following question:

“How can I trust my body to know what it needs when, in the past, I always ended up binging? Clearly, I can’t trust myself to just let myself have whatever I want, right?”

Posted in: Natural Eating 101

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