Cedric Centre for Counselling Inc.


Archive for August, 2011

Mastering The Green-Eyed Monster

how to overcome jealousyI am a specialist who works with those who are frustrated with their bodies and their relationship with food (those who binge or restrict or purge in any way). As you can imagine, in my conversations with clients, the topic of feeling envious of the seeming ease and comfort that others feel in their bodies and with food and then consequently feeling guilty/shameful for feeling envious, comes up daily.

As such, I have, from my own recovery process and countless hours with clients, devised a quick little tool to shift those icky, jealous feelings and the underlying needs that triggered them.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you’ll never, ever again start to feel those stirrings of “Why them and not me!?” around those people/places/things that we would like for ourselves or conversely, “Why me and not them!!!?” around those things that we’d really have preferred not to have experienced in our brief but action-packed lives.


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How thoughts can keep you stuck

How Thoughts Can Keep You Stuck 

…and what to do about it!

It really is true that how you think influences how you feel, how you see the world, and the actions you take in response.

If your thinking, like that of many others in the world, is influenced by old core beliefs, confused interpretations of your childhood life experiences, and a tendency to assume the worst, then no matter what opportunities are presenting themselves your thinking is going to tell you that you’re not worthy, deserving, good enough, lovable, acceptable etc. and therefore those good things couldn’t possibly happen to you. And even if they did they sure won’t last. And even if they last for a while it’s all going to end with you getting hurt and being abandoned and rejected so why even bother!!

Most people have these kinds of irrational but paralyzing thoughts running, like the ticker tape at the stock exchange, just beneath the surface of their conscious awareness, constantly. 

And these thoughts trigger sensations of anxiety or unease which create an even greater sense that something bad is sure to happen, sometime, and lead us to continue to buy in to those old stories and the isolation and insecurity they naturally trigger.

Those old, unconscious stories also create other nasty side effects such as eating disorders, binging, emotional eating, chronic dieting and body image stress, alcoholism, drug addiction, internet addiction, overspending and any other harmful coping strategy you can think of.

They are the root of all the harmful patterns humans behave in as well as the feelings and anxiety, anger and depression that are so rampant in our society.

What if instead of being stuck in those automatic thoughts of doom and gloom and insecurity, you could approach life in a neutral way – in the most truthful way:

You don’t know what’s going to happen or what others are really thinking and feeling; but you are going to do your best to create the outcome that you’d most like to see for yourself in every area of your life.

Which approach makes the most sense? 

Allow yourself to imagine, even for a moment, that beyond the basic laws of our society pertaining to honesty, theft and murder etc., there really is no universal right or wrong. There is no perfect choice. What it truly right for you in the moment is all that matters.

Can you allow yourself to sop and offer this thought to yourself?

And then imagine being able to trust yourself to confidently identify what is truly right for you in any moment and to follow through on doing your best to create that outcome?

What would life be like if you could really trust that you are thinking clearly, seeing things clearly, and capable of demonstrating maturity and respect for yourself and others?

There is a simple step-by-step process that you can learn that will make this your reality.

I’d be happy to teach it to you. Just email me @ mmorand@cedriccentre.com. Or if you’re more of a self-starter sign up for my web program and practice the tools in simple weekly lessons. 

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Anxiety and Eating Disorders

Anxiety and Eating Disorders

This brief article will help you to appreciate the connection between anxiety and eating disorders. Eating disorders of any kind,whether binging / overeating, emotional eating, anorexia, bulima, or orthorexia or others all have an underlying root of anxiety that is triggered by a combination of painful life experiences and confused thinking. 

It is the confused thinking part of the equation that really has the most lingering impact.

Long after the traumatic or unsatisfying event has occurred, the confused thinking will be telling and re-telling us stories of what’s wrong or unacceptable about us that triggered that traumatic event to happen in the first place and how we will always be lacking.

This thinking creates chronic anxiety and insecurity and influences our choices and our interactions with the people in our lives, thus keeping that old trauma and that confused thinking alive and well long after the triggering situation has ended.

Too often we focus on the most obvious issue (the food, what we weigh, how much we’re drinking etc.) and try to make changes to that without understanding that those behaviours are truly just symptoms of the combination of painful past experiences and confused thinking that are triggering anxiety and insecurity that we are then responding to with the food, alcohol, overspending etc.

In other words – when we are stuck in harmful coping patterns we think it looks like this:

Binging makes me feel bad which makes me not like myself and feel insecure and anxious. If I stopped the binging I’d feel less anxious and insecure and things would be better so let’s impose a diet and control my food and it will all work out. Right?

I imagine your life experience is evidence that this is not the case. Mine sure was.

In reality what’s really going on is this:

I have some painful experiences in my past where I felt unsafe or unimportant or unloved. I interpreted these events as being about something wrong or lacking in me. This made me feel anxious and insecure. This led me to interact with others in ways that made things awkward because I didn’t feel safe sharing myself fully with others. This led me to assume that I was right and that there was something wrong with me which made me feel more anxious and insecure etc. etc. etc.  The side-effect of me feeling so anxious was that I reached for food (or drugs, alcohol, internet etc) to cope with my anxiety and to numb and soothe myself. 
Because the thinking and anxiety have been a part of my brain and body for so long they didn’t stand out as the root of the issue – it is the behaviour that is more obvious and the consequence of being overweight or intoxicated that stands out and so I assume it is the problem.
In reality, my thinking and the emotions that those thoughts trigger is my real problem. And if I really want to change my food/drinking etc. I need to learn the tools I need to change how I think.

If you’re ready to learn how to change the way you think and therefore change how anxious and insecure you feel and naturally change the grip food has on you, send me an email mmorand@cedriccentre.com  or visit our web program or products pages and get started learning the tools that will change your life for good, today.

Love Michelle

Posted in: All-or-Nothing Thinking, and Binging, Anorexia and Bulimia, CEDRIC Centre, Complete Recovery, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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The eating disorder struggle begins and ends within

The eating disorder struggle begins and ends within:

I know, I know, it really does seem like the issue is food and what you weigh and all those people out there who seem to judge or criticize you rather than love and appreciate and welcome you. And it’s really frustrating to hear that that isn’t really the issue when you don’t know what the hell the real issue is or what to do about it to make things different.

When people used to say that to me I felt the same level of frustration and stuckness that I felt when I would read the teachings of great spiritual masters and the essence of their message would be ‘be as you are.’ Huh? Ummmmm…Well, at that time, ‘as i are’ was feeling like a total piece of crap 24/7, chronically insecure, binging and hating everything about my body. I was pretty sure that being more of that wasn’t the path to enlightenment or anything for that matter other than the mental institution or a life of loneliness and more binging.

So many times I read books about eating disorders or self-esteem and there were no tools in them – just people sharing their own stories and telling me that I too could get better; I too could love myself one day.  Again, that’s great – thanks! But how exactly? I hated myself and believed everyone hated me (or certainly didn’t think I had any value) too.  

Oh, I tried the affirmations. I tried positive thinking. I tried stopping negative thoughts. I tried diet after diet after diet. I tried therapy. I tried medicine. I tried dieting. I tried killer bootcamps and exercise programs. Did I mention I tried dieting??? Every diet under the sun. I tried it. And I failed. Failed. Failed. Washed out. Couldn’t cut it – didn’t have the willpower; was too lazy; didn’t care enough about myself….at least that’s what the diet people said must be the cause, so I believed it and felt even more insecure, anxious, lonely and unlovable every day.

Then, I met a women named Marie Cochrane who is long retired now but at the time was an innovator in her field and suggested to me a thought which, 25 years ago was a very novel thought indeed: What if my struggles with food and weight loss and self-esteem were not caused by food and weight?


And what if in starting to identify and resolve the true underlying causes of these issues they would, essentially, resolve themselves???

Ummmm….that would be cool! I’d be in for that!

Well, Marie had a great idea and some great ways of helping me to check that idea out for myself. I picked up that ball and I ran with it. I created 2 simple step-by-step tools to streamline the process of identifying what is really triggering you and what you can do about it. I created simple step-by-step information sheets for how to start relating normally to food again. 

Put the two together and you have a simple, effective, speedy approach to changing the way you relate to food and to building solid self-esteem and great relationships with other people.

Clients often tell me that they can’t believe how easy this approach is. After years of struggling and stressing 24/7  it can feel strange to be experiencing greater peace and confidence with just a few minutes of effort each day.  But the truth is change doesn’t have to be hard – it’s only been hard to far because you’ve been trying to achieve change in ways that just don’t work.

I’m here to help if you’re ready to experience confidence and happiness that lasts.

Love Michelle

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How to Learn to Eat Naturally Again: The CEDRIC Method Step-by-Step Process

Learn to Eat NaturallyThis week I’m sharing a brief but invaluable tool for any of you who would like to be able to trust yourself to be around any food, in any quantity, any time.  Sound good?

If you follow these steps, you will quickly be able to identify when you’re using food to cope vs. when you are just confused about what to eat and how much, and getting anxious because of that.

If you’re at a point in your use of the core CEDRIC Method tools where you are able to manage your stress in rational, life-enhancing ways, you’ll also be able, in a 2-3 weeks, to trust your body to know what and how much it needs, and as a result, you’ll feel much more peaceful and at ease in your body and around food.

Posted in: All-or-Nothing Thinking

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Coping strategies are crutches

Coping strategies are crutches

The proper definition of a coping strategy is: Any thought, feeling or behaviour that allows us to remain in an uncomfortable situation without being aware of how uncomfortable we are.

When we consider this definition of a coping strategy it becomes clear that if we are using coping strategies something else is going on underneath that is really not feeling good to us.

So often we have been raised to discount and dismiss our feelings; to ignore that we are even having a feeling; and to feel embarrassed and ashamed should we inadvertently express some sadness or anger or irritation to another human being. This training has led to us automatically shutting down our conscious awareness to any emotional sensation we might be having until it gets too powerful for us to ignore. Thus we can believe, even more strongly, that feelings are bad, overwhelming, uncontrollable things and we should work harder to ignore them – and that’s where the coping strategies come in.

If  I’m feeling overwhelmed by feelings of tension, stress, loneliness or frustration, say, when I get in the door from work – which is a natural occurrence as all the feelings we don’t have time to feel or are distracted from during the day naturally come up when things are more mellow and there are fewer distractions – if I’ve been trained to judge my feelings and to judge myself for having them I am naturally going to feel compelled to do whatever I need to do to distance myself from my feelings. 

It isn’t going to occur to me to examine my thoughts and see what’s triggering the feeling, instead I’m heading for the carbs and sugars and alcohol and t.v. and internet and maybe all of those at once to help myself self-medicate and numb and soothe.

Coping strategies are crutches but they don’t aid us to get better as real crutches do – they keep us stuck and often make things worse through the side effects they trigger such as binge eating, eating disorders, alcoholism, debt, isolation and more.

It is truly quite simple to learn how to respond appropriately to your feelings and so often very simple to solve the problems that truly exist in your life – you just need good support and simple tools and that’s what I’m here for. 

If you’d like to stop existing in coping strategy land and instead, feel confident and secure, and happy in your life, let me know. I’ll show you a simple way through.

Love Michelle

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Eating Disorders: The Thoughts – Feelings – Behaviours Link

Eating Disorders: The Thoughts – Feelings – Behaviours Link

In exploring Eating Disorders: The Thoughts – Feelings – Behaviours Link, we must first understand the underlying trigger that leads an individual to binge or restrict rather than listen to the natural cues of hunger and fullness in the first place. 

Eating Disorders are a pattern of thoughts, emotions and behaviours that are borne of a combination of stressful life events and a confused default process of thought that simultaneously generates great self-doubt; a strong tendency to presume the worst; and a chronic sense of being critically observed at all times.

Recovery from eating disorders of any kind requires the development of a new default thought process based on reason which builds self-trust, an openness to looking for solutions, and a sense of peace that one is in the process of becoming the best that they can be, and the confidence that they are equal to the task.

Recovery from binge eating, anorexia, bulimia etc. also requires a simple guide for how to relate to food in a natural, relaxed and trusting way.

These 2 pieces of the eating disorder recovery puzzle, when taught simultaneously, create a strong positive synergy that leads the individual to naturally step away from their extreme and limited thinking and stressful behaviours  and towards this more reasoned, simple, satisfying way of thinking and relating to food.

Thoughts trigger emotions and then emotions trigger actions – also known as behaviours. Our action /behaviour gives us sensory data which triggers another thought which triggers another emotion which again, leads to a behavioural response. And this is the experience of human life in a nutshell.

What makes a life a happy and fulfilling one is a combination of actual life events and our experience of them.

Our experience of these events is comprised of a combination of the actual event that has happened/is happening and our interpretation of it.

Ultimately the interpretation or perspective or spin we put on an event has the most to do with what we feel and therefore with how we will react. We must therefore have a way of  having reasonable confidence that our perspective is that of reality and  not of what anyone else, including our own mind, says/has said about what has happened.

An Example of The Thoughts-Feelings-Behaviours Link

Let’s say my new friend Melanie is 20 minutes late to meet me for coffee.

Unless she has texted or called or in some way given me a message to indicate why she is late and when she will arrive, any speculation about that is purely that – speculation. 

And yet, depending on how I feel about meeting up with Melanie today, how I’m feeling today in general, and what else is going on in my world, I could have any of the following reactions:

1. I could tell myself that Melanie is rude and inconsiderate and that I deserve friends who have at least got the courtesy to call if they’ll be late. This would trigger feelings of irritation and anger. Which could trigger the behavioural response of  me getting up and leaving or perhaps just sitting there, stewing about her dismissive behaviour and planning what I’ll say when she walks in.

2. I could tell myself something may have come up, who knows why she isn’t there – she’ll likely reach out when she can – maybe I’ll call her later this afternoon if she doesn’t make it and see what’s up. In the meantime I’ll just sit here and enjoy my latte and reading my BBC newsfeed. If she makes it great, if she doesn’t I’m still happy. I feel confident and happy and I engage in the behaviour of reading and sipping.

3. I could tell myself that something must have happened and that she is in trouble – something is wrong. This will trigger anxiety /worry and tension and I will respond behaviourally by trying to text or call her; by tapping my foot, biting my nail, sighing heavily, maybe even pacing. Or my behavioural response might be to sit tight – probably still tapping the foot, bobbing the leg, fiddling with the thread on my skirt, and cycle around into another thought that perhaps she’s not coming because of something I said or did?  Or did I get the day or time wrong – or the place??? Is she mad at me?? My emotional response will be an escalation of anxiety and tension and my behavioural response might be to leave ….  

You get the point? I don’t know any more about her lateness in scenario one than I do in two or three. And yet, my emotional state and my subsequent behaviours very greatly depending on my interpretation of events.

What is the Reality of the Situation: Not Just What I Think is True

Let’s say my friend got the location wrong and has been waiting on the next block for the same 20 minutes. 

Depending on my automatic default thought process I might just laugh and ask who’s walking to meet whom,

I might get defensive, thinking she’s going to make it about me getting it wrong.

I might feel hurt because this scenario triggers thoughts of mistrust: If this person can’t be trusted to get a coffee shop right how can I rely on them in a relationship!!?  Or I might feel hurt because it triggers stories of being unimportant or doomed to have stupid friends.

Or I might get angry because I wanted to have a nice long visit and now, because she screwed up on the location, we have half an hour to catch up. Maybe I’ll respond to this anger by telling her not to bother; by hanging up; by affecting a tone to my voice that ‘let’s her know’ that I’m not impressed; or maybe I’ll respond by suggesting we touch base before the coffee next time so we don’t lose out on precious time together.

A Possibilities Mindset is Key

Again, so many paths, so many possible interpretations / stories and so many possible emotional responses leading to a plethora of potential behavioural responses triggering more experiences (sensory data) which triggers more emotion and more behaviour etc.

If my default thought process leads me to assume that people are judging me; that I am unlovable or fundamentally flawed in some way; and/or that it is just a matter of time before I am rejected I am going to feel chronically anxious and insecure and I am going to desperately seize on whatever behaviour I can take to feel safe as quickly as possible. 

Some people drink. Some people binge on carbs or sugar or fatty foods. Some people go for control – restricting ignoring the needs of their body in favour of the sense of empowerment they get from controlling their basic needs – regardless of the ultimate consequences.  Whatever your poison, if you’re thinking in that extreme and limited way you’re going to need something to help you numb out to your brain and to your perception of present day reality.

The really sad thing is, almost all the time those worst case scenario stories of intentional rejection and ridicule are not the case at all and we are often walking through a world that, in this moment, could be exciting and fun and fulfilling and comfortable, and yes, safe, but instead, because of our thoughts in the moment we are feeling insecure, anxious and depressed and setting ourselves up for an even greater need to numb and soothe ourselves with our coping strategy of choice.

If you’re struggling with binging or restricting or weight loss or body image stress, or drinking too much or drugs, or spending too much time on the internet or watching T.V. , or you can’t seem to stick to that new exercise plan or that back room is still a pigsty even though you swore you’d tackle it last year….if any of this sounds like you or someone you know then it’s safe to say they’ve got a dose of this confused thinking triggering emotions triggering behaviours thing.

The more extreme and intense the behaviour the more intense and frequent the confused thinking. 

Tackle the confused thinking and the behaviour naturally changes.

Don’t Allow Yourself to Tell Stories

Stop telling yourself Melanie meant to stand you up or that you said something to upset her or that you got the place wrong and instead remind yourself of the reality – you don’t have a clue.

Either reach out to her and find out or let it go and let it sort itself out. That’s rational and reasonable and mature and functional. Anything else is a pathway to stress and tension and a diminished experience of life.

Stop telling yourself that you are unlovable because your stomach has a bulge, or even a full blown roll or two or three and instead ask yourself to be real with yourself about whether you are only open to loving people with perfectly flat stomaches or cellulite free legs.

There is no rational thought in a double standard so either you dump everyone from your life who isn’t naturally an airbrushed perfect 10 or you hold yourself to a more reasonable standard. 

Stop telling yourself that you must be flawed because you can’t make a relationship work, or even find one for that matter. And instead be open to looking at what your part in creating a healthy relationship is, do your work to have confidence that you can be and do that, and look for someone who is capable of and willing to do the same.  

If you can hear this. If you can take these thoughts into your mind, but the tension and doubt and pain inside you doesn’t shift that only means that your confused thought pattern just kicked in again and told you another story about what’s going to happen if you let go of your current expectations for your body or let go of the story that you are a flawed human unworthy of love and acceptance. 

Ask yourself – What am I telling myself will happen if I try this rational, reasonable thinking stuff?

Are you doomed to fail so you may as well not bother trying?
Will it take too much time and maybe not even work anyway?
Is it too good to be true?

Whatever you’re telling yourself. It too is just a story, and frankly you deserve a lot better than to live your life inside a doom and gloom story.

If you agree, come and join me and learn how to shift your thinking and watch how everything else in your life naturally shifts for the better.  And no you won’t blow up like a balloon or spend the rest of your  life in therapy.  See how trixy those thoughts are. You deserve better.

Send me an email any time: mmorand@cedriccentre.com

Love Michelle

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What will it take for you to think you are okay?

What will it take for you to think you are okay?

Where did you get the message that you weren’t okay?

What will it take for you to trust that you are okay just as you are?

Often times when we are beginning to explore recovery and still struggling with food and weight stress it is too hard for us to think in terms of what we do want or what we’d most like to see. But ask us what we don’t want in ourselves, our bodies, our relationships with others and anywhere else in the world and we’ve got an answer for you.

So, try it this way:

What don’t you like about yourself?

What do you think that others judge in you/don’t like about you?

What makes you think that you are not okay as you are?

Easier right?

Now ask yourself:

If I could change those things that I don’t like and think that others don’t like about me, how would I feel about me and about life?

And what gets in the way of me doing that?

Is it that you don’t know how? Think you don’t have the time or the money? Think you can’t ever change those things because you haven’t been able to yet?

All of those stories about why you can’t succeed in being who you’d most like to be are what I call all-or-nothing or ‘extreme and limited’ thinking.

None of them are true.

Just because you don’t know how doesn’t mean you can’t. Do you know everything? Have you really tried everything? No you haven’t. You’ve likely tried the same thing over and over, expecting a different result because you thought it was you who was failing and not the approach. 

My favorite quote on this topic is from Success Coach Barbara Sher: ‘When too many people fail a requirement, there is nothing wrong with them,there is something wrong with the requirement.”

I’d say when you have a society that is obsessed with looks and weight loss and people are increasingly insecure and depressed there isn’t anything wrong with those people – there is something wrong with the obsession.

If you’d like things to change and you’re ready to feel good – really good – about yourself, email me and I’ll show you how in simple steps that will just make sense to you and change the way you think and feel forever.

Love Michelle

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Yoga and All or Nothing Thinking

Yoga and All or Nothing ThinkingWhen I think back on the incredible insecurity and self-consciousness I used to feel just leaving my house in the morning, I think it’s truly remarkable that I was able to take part in classes such as yoga and meditation and personal growth workshops, etc., before my recovery from binge eating and exercise bulimia.

There was something in me that knew, as there clearly is in you if you are reading this, that there had to be some way for me to be in the world without feeling so bloody small and anxious all the time. I mean, others could do it. Or at least it seemed like they could. So maybe, just maybe, I could too. And so the 20-year-old me existed with fingers crossed; breath held; hoping for the best but fearing the worst, sheepishly inching forward. Ahhh, but at least I was moving forward!

Posted in: All-or-Nothing Thinking

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I’m Lonely, How Can I Find Connection?

I’m Lonely, How Can I Find Connection?

This week I’m sharing a question that came to me through e-mail about why we might not reach out and create relationships even when we’re feeling lonely.

Hi Michelle, Thanks for sending your book, and also for the CD. I’ve read about 2/3 of it, and I am VERY impressed. I’ve always clicked with the Geneen Roth/Hirschman & Munter approach, and it has helped me in the past. But I’ve gotten stuck in certain areas, and I find your book expands on this approach and also gives such a point-by-point roadmap.

I’d also like to say what a positive experience it has been, the little amount of contact I’ve had with you and in perusing your website. I’ve made the circuit as far as e.d. treatment goes (St. Paul’s, individual counseling, VGH intensive program), and you convey such a warmth and non-clinical/non-patronizing manner. It’s very refreshing, and makes me feel hopeful.

One question that I’d be interested in your thoughts/feedback on, is with regard to unmet needs, I would say my #1 unmet need is for connection/companionship. I have no friends in my town (and only 2 friends farther way; 1 I see every couple months). And my family is not supportive/doesn’t “give” emotionally in any way. So, basically, aside from co-workers, I am completely isolated.

And yet, I don’t actually do the things I know would bring me in contact with other people and potential friends (e.g. joining a hiking club, book club, adult ed class, volunteering, etc). Sometimes I’ll push myself to do these things once, but then won’t follow through b/c I get discouraged, or don’t like it, or find it takes too much energy. I know that sometimes I don’t want to go b/c it means less time for bingeing /purging, but that’s not always the reason. I think it’s mainly a sense of hopelessness/defeat at attempting to build new friendships. Plus, to make a good new friend takes time.

So, would you say that this issue is an issue for therapy (i.e. why I don’t do what I know would result in making new connections)? Or, am I missing something? And, in the meantime, how can I learn to soothe/comfort myself with the sense of isolation? There’s not many substitutes for other human beings, even when you’re okay with alone time sometimes.Curious as to your thoughts, if you have the time to respond.K.

Thank you K for the question. 

Just to paraphrase, it seems that you’d like to have life that has more friends and social connections in your town and yet you see yourself behaving in such a way that undermines the creation of those friendships. Your immediate thought, it seems, is that it has something to do with wanting to be able to be alone to engage in your binging and purging behaviour, but I think you’ve missed the mark.

The binging and purging is just a coping strategy. I don’t believe that you want to be alone to binge and purge. I believe that you feel overwhelmed and unsafe in some aspect of your life, and you use binging and purging to numb and distract you from that underlying issue.  Sometimes, early on in our healing, it’s very difficult to see the distinction. But, the difference between believing food is the problem, and knowing that it’s just a coping strategy is huge!

When we’re buying in to the belief that food is the problem, we are stuck. There is no where to go with that except to control (or try to) our food even more and get more and more rigid and obsessed and then get more and more frustrated and self-critical when we aren’t successful with our more rigid guidelines which triggers us to get even more restrictive and self-critical which triggers a bigger “binge” and a greater need for isolation and withdrawal which triggers more self-criticism, and so on, and so on, and so on. 

That’s the only thing that ever happens to anyone who begins to believe that their relationship with food is the reason they are: unhappy; alone; frustrated; “not good enough”; not having the life they desire or the career they desire or the partner they desire……and so on.Mountains become molehills quite quickly with this process when we remember that any focus on food or body image that isn’t about health and wellness is just a coping strategy.  Did you get that? It’s a very important point and makes your relationship with food a very different experience:

Food is a coping strategy for you if you:

  • Eat when you’re not hungry;
  • Eat beyond the point of fullness;
  • Don’t allow yourself to eat when you are hungry;
  • Engage in purging with laxatives, vomiting or excessive exercise;
  • Berate your body shape and size.

And if food is a coping strategy for you, the solution is not to focus on the food. The solution is to look a little deeper and identify what it is that is triggering you to feel that your life, as it exists today, is such that you can’t feel safe being present for it. What are you telling yourself about your life and yourself today that makes you believe that the best solution you have to offer yourself is to harm yourself with the coping strategies of isolation, withdrawal, procrastination and binging? It is those thoughts that need to be explored so that you can find out for yourself whether there truly is something that is going on in your present reality that needs some attention in order for you to feel safe putting yourself out there and creating new relationships.

You may find that the underlying thoughts that trigger you to feel so overwhelmed that you need to use food to cope are old thoughts and really have no bearing on your present day reality. And yet, they are running the show, in large part, because you’re not aware that those thoughts exist, and that times have changed.

So, to begin to create change in your social life, you must start with noticing when you’re using food to cope and taking the following steps:

  1. Tell yourself: “Oh, I’m using my food coping strategy right now – that means I have a need that isn’t being met.”
  2. Ask yourself what you were just thinking or experiencing that may have triggered that unmet need.
  3. Ask yourself if that thought or experience, in any way, undermines your sense of comfort or safety in your life in general or in your relationships with others.

That’s a great place to start. Bringing your awareness around to what is really going on rather than staying stuck on the surface focusing on food is what will create lasting change and lead you to a relationship with food that is truly natural. And if you’re not sure what that is, a natural relationship with food is one where you eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and you don’t have any energy about what you’re eating except to enjoy it.

Take it from someone who used to be obsessed, 24/7 with food – what I should eat vs. what I was eating; how fat and ugly I was; how lazy I was; how I was “never” going to be happy; how I was “always” going to be fat or to be struggling with food; how I was never ever, ever going to like my body and be happy with it; and so on, and so on.

You can have a peaceful and easy and natural relationship with food and be a healthy natural weight for your body without thinking about it. The first step is proving to yourself that your current focus on food and body is just a coping strategy. Once you know that, everything else can begin to change because now you’re looking in the right place for the problem, and it’s much, much easier to find the solution!


The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand

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