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Self-compassion is key

Self-Compassion is Key

Self-compassion is key to your self-esteem, confidence, and happiness in all areas of your life. No exceptions – you can’t fake it to yourself or to others.

Try this little exercise and then read on to help yourself explore your feelings and thoughts about self-compassion.

Notice what resistance may be arising to this notion; just do your best to allow those feelings, while being aware of any resistance you may be experiencing. Let it be okay to feel what you feel.

And as you are allowing the resistance and the feelings of fear and doubt, know that what you are really doing is being compassionate with yourself.

This is the key to never again needing to use food to cope.

If there is any resistance in you to the thought of offering yourself self-compassion, ask what you did to deserve to be treated with such disregard and negativity. Whatever the answer, could you just allow yourself to feel as deserving of self-harm as you do? Just sit for a moment and allow yourself to feel as deserving of pain, suffering, and all the grim things you have in your life. You’ve been telling yourself for years that there is something wrong with you and that you’re not acceptable as your are or worthy of love and care. Let yourself really let go and wallow in that thought for a moment. 

Do you notice the resistance? If you’re so undeserving of that love and acceptance that you seek (and everyone else seeks too by the way) why are you resisting that story?

Because some part of you doesn’t think it’s really true! Some part of you doesn’t really think that you’re so undeserving, just that you haven’t yet found the right people/person to love you. Why not give that part of yourself a little air time and let it offer you some thoughts about what is good about you – regardless of whether others see it or not. You know that there is something in you that is competent and worthy, loving and loveable – you just fear, because of past experiences and because of your confused thinking, that you’ll never be seen for the loving, amazing person you really are.

And sweetheart, that’s going to be a self-fulfilling prophesy if you don’t challenge yourself to learn to think rationally and to feel and express confidence in yourself regardless of what others think and feel. That is the true secret to self-esteem and loving, passionate, fulfilling relationships. Don’t wait for someone else to see your worth – see it in yourself and shout it from the rooftops – or at least from your balcony! Then watch as the people around you see it too.

Life is backwards and very ironic sometimes – but it works if you’re thinking clearly. You can create a life for yourself that is peaceful and passionate, fulfilling and enjoyable; a life that has a natural flow or groove to it, rather than that same old rut you’ve been living in.

I can help. Reach out and see how simple and speedy change can be.

Now could you let it be okay to offer yourself compassion and love? Even for a moment?
If so – go for it – enjoy.
If not, what are the thoughts that pop into your head that prevent you from just allowing compassion and love for yourself?
What is wrong with you? What do you have to do, be, or have before you can be deserving of self-compassion and self-love?

Really?
Says who?

Let me help set you straight.

Love Michelle
mmorand@cedriccentre.com

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Alexithymia: The Inability to Really Feel Feelings

Alexithymia: The Inability to Really Feel Feelings

Now bear with me here. I’m going to take you on a bit of a journey in order to explain a very important part of your recovery process. If you were sitting in my office I’d be leaning over and beginning to draw a diagram on my white board to illustrate this piece of information and you’d be laughing at my poor artistic ability. But since we’re not face to face right now and the computer won’t draw what I’d like it to I’m going to do my best to explain it, hence I ask for your patience.

A study was conducted by psychologists about 15 years ago that looked at childhood experiences of trauma (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and verbal abuse, and neglect) and the later development of disordered eating behaviours. What they were looking at was to uncover what the mediating factors were that lead someone with childhood trauma experience to later develop an eating disorder. And what they discovered was that it was a condition called Alexithymia that came hand in hand with depression and the two supported the development of disordered eating on any level.

Alexithymia is characterized by:

(a)  difficulty in identifying and describing feelings in self or other,
(b) difficulty in distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations associated with emotional arousal,
(c) restricted imaginative processes (few positive dreams or fantasies – can have frequent intrusive ideation*), and
(d) thinking that is concrete and reality based.

[Hendryx, Haviland, & Shaw, 1991; Taylor, Bagby, Ryan, & Parker, 1990]

In other words, Alexithymia makes it really hard for us to know what we are feeling or even if we are having a feeling. It makes it difficult for us to tell whether the sensation we think we’re having is physical or emotional. It makes it difficult for us to dream or imagine positive, fun things. And we get stuck in very concrete “logical” thinking which can make us rigid, most often with ourselves.

The good news is that you can learn to distinguish what you’re feeling and move through that feeling very quickly. Even better news is that in order to be able to let go of what you’re feeling you don’t even have to know where the feeling came from.

Since you’ve very likely been distanced from awareness of your feelings since childhood you may feel some resistance to connecting with them again. You may believe that there will be a great big back log of feelings that will sweep in and overpower you if you were to open the door. That’s just your drill sergeant (otherwise known as your ego) trying to maintain the status quo. He knows that if you begin to connect with your authentic feelings in the moment and learn how to effectively release them you’re going to become more powerful and competent at taking care of yourself than he’s ever been.

Now, again, if you’ve lived your life disconnected from your feelings for the most part you are very likely wondering what the value of being connected to them would be – in fact your Drill Sgt. (a.k.a. your inner critic) may be saying something like: Feelings make you weak; Other people won’t respect you if you let your feelings show; I’m just a cry baby if I can’t control my feelings; etc.

Check in with yourself for a moment and ask yourself where in the past may you have either heard those very words spoken or witnessed  significant people in your life modeling the behaviour of stuffing and discounting or denying their feelings? See, you come by it honestly. Now ask yourself, who in your past would you say was a relatively consistent fixture in your life who modeled the healthy and open expression of emotion and the good solid self-esteem to not be deterred from respectfully expressing their sadness or fear or frustration and hurt no matter what judgement others put forth?  Most likely the answer is a big fat goose egg.

So, cut yourself some slack. If most of your role models for how to be in the world modeled being shut down or overreacting and being scary or withdrawn how can you expect yourself to know how to appropriately feel and express emotions? You can’t. But you can learn now. And when you do, everything will be sooooo much easier in every aspect of your life, guaranteed.

But back to where you are now:

The experience of Alexithymia is what leads us to discount and deny our life experience now.

Have you ever had the experience of suddenly feeling totally overwhelmed, you are certain you’re overreacting and in addition to feeling emotional you’re judging and berating yourself for feeling emotional? You’re certain there is nothing going on in your life to justify you reacting so strongly in that moment. Does that experience sound familiar?

I assure you that if you were sitting in my office recounting a recent experience like that we would be able to put our finger on the underlying trigger(s) within moments – and it wouldn’t be me spoon feeding or forcing those thoughts on you – you would be able to list for me quite clearly all the things that are going on in your life right now, issues with work, home, relationship with others, food and body image would of course be right up there on the list, issues with money, and others would all appear from within you and be highlighted for you to see up on my fabulous white board. At which point you would look at me and say, wow, I guess I do have a lot going on, no wonder why I feel so overwhelmed right now.

At which point I (having brilliantly left enough space at the side and at the bottom of my white board) begin to draw the following.

(Okay, bear with me, I’m drawing a mountain. Just trust me on that.)

So, you’re looking at your list of things that are going on in your life and you’re also seeing a mountain off to the right. This is what I call your “mountain of unfinished business.” It’s all the past experiences that feel unresolved, all the feelings that have been left unexpressed, all the stored trauma and pain of your life to whatever extent it exists is there. At the beginning of the recovery process most people (unless they’ve done a fair amount of therapy or self-work already) have a pretty big mountain of unfinished business. Relax, you don’t have to deal with every thing on your mountain in order for it to dissolve. The solution is much more simple than that. 

Then down at the bottom of the page I draw this:

 

1                                                  5                                            10 …maximum overload

 

I call this your stress threshold scale.

Now let’s say you’re a lucky guy or gal and you experienced minimal trauma as a child, you were taught to have clear and strong boundaries, good self-esteem and you deal with things in the moment as they arise and you have little or no unfinished business in your life (I think there are 5 people like that on the planet.)

If this is you, you wake up every morning and your stress level from every day demands and life events is at about a 2 (probably higher in our society but let’s think the best).

So, if 10 is the point on the stress scale where you get pushed into harming yourself with some unhelpful coping strategy (binging, self-judgement, restricting, drinking etc.), some pretty big events would have to happen all on the same day to max you out.

And because of your self-esteem you would have the self-care skills to be able to attend to yourself before you got to that place anyway barring major ecological disaster. 

But let’s say you’re you. And you’ve got a mountain of unfinished biz.

That means you start the day, before you’ve even got out of bed (here’s where that permeating level of anxiety comes from) at a stress level of 6 (and I’m being generous here – for some of you it may be more realistic to say you’re starting the day at an 9). You know who you are – you wake up feeling anxious and you haven’t even got out of bed yet.

You know what your self-esteem is like and how quickly you rush to take responsibility for everything, including other people’s needs and feelings. Just stepping out your front door is a big deal some days when you’re feeling focused on your body in a negative way and certainly a sideways glance, whether truly directed at you or not, is enough to add a few more points to your stress level. An issue or two with the kids or with work or the car or money or your partner or friend or parent and where are you?

You’re at about a 25 on the scale of 1 – 10.

And you didn’t even realize that you were feeling anything until you suddenly break down crying or you develop a killer migraine or you begin to get very short and tense with everyone or you find that you’ve just eaten an entire box of cookies or all of the above. Even then, the Alexithymia would make it hard for you to appreciate that you had any “good” reason for doing what you’ve done. Your Drill Sergeant will go to town on you, adding to your stress level and before you know it you’re eating again or having terrible thoughts about your body.

So, the unfinished business, plus the disconnect from your feelings that comes from Alexithymia sets you up for overload day after day. Until you begin to acknowledge and validate how much you’ve got going on and begin to develop some strategies for lightening your load (past and present) you will continue to need food to cope (or whatever seems to be your current coping strategy of choice…isolation, anger, internet, t.v., procrastination, shopping, alcohol etc.), in whatever way you use it currently it will remain because it’s the only way you get release.

If you’ve been exploring The CEDRIC Method for a few weeks you’ve likely noticed a lessening of your use of your coping strategy as you have begun to see your underlying stressors more clearly and respond to them more appropriately.

I could go on for hours here because there is so much to say about this point – wait for the book! Two things I want to add:

1. If you read this and said: I wasn’t “abused”; or what happened to me wasn’t that bad; or my parents did the best they could I just have to get over it. Yes your parents did the best they could and I’m not about blaming them – for me assigning responsibility to parents or caregivers for the appropriate and healthy care of a child is not blame. And the only reason I attend to that time in your life is not to blame ma and pa but to support your awareness that there is a legitimate reason for why you are the way you are and for why you do what you do – so your Drill Sergeant will ease up on you, which you deserve, and you can have the space to start to learn to do things differently.  

About the abuse part, the study I mentioned above discovered that the form of abuse that impacted children the most wasn’t physical or sexual – although they had a profound impact on one’s locus of control and self-esteem – it was actually the emotional abuse and neglect that had the most dramatic and lingering impact. This is stuff like “the silent treatment” or withdrawal of love and affection as punishment (This is truly traumatic to a child – nasty stuff, which naturally leads to great anxiety and insecurity and doubt about your loveability, acceptability and worth as a human being). In the section in my book: ‘Food is not the Problem: Deal With What Is!’ on healthy vs. unhealthy relationships you’ll get more information on this.

Intrusive Ideation:

2. In case you haven’t heard of it before, Intrusive Ideation is a thought pattern – borne out of trauma (such as the silent treatment, ostracism and rejection as a child) and a key component of post traumatic stress disorder.

It is a state of mind where you receive a message that your partner is going fishing and before you know it you’re imagining him falling out of the boat, drowning, you feel the sensations of pain and suffering, his panic, your loss and grief, you imagine calling his family to notify them – who first and how to tell them, the funeral, the bills, how you’ll feel what you’ll wear and say and do and ultimately how you’ll cope.

Now your partner has just gone fishing and he’s having a great time – but you’re traumatized and feeling anxiety – you’ve just lived his death very vividly. And depending on where you’re at you may have these experiences countless times a day – where really everything is just fine but you’re taking yourself on a journey to hell with these intrusive fantasies about death and abuse and suffering.

The worst case scenario of every event you and your loved ones experience gets played out before you and you feel it, you live it – and that adds to your stress level for sure. This pattern comes from a misdirected attempt at being in control and prepared for any eventuality, often borne from a time in our lives when we needed to be able to foresee potential worst-case-scenario outcomes and protect ourselves from them, because at one time in our lives those things were happening. You no longer need that kind of thinking or those contingency plans to keep yourself safe.

You really harm yourself in continuing to think that way because not only are you feeling anxious and overwhelmed when you don’t need to be but you’re also consistently taking yourself out of the present moment where your really are safe and in control and instead re-creating that feeling of panic, trauma and powerlessness.

If you’d like to learn more about how to overcome these patterns of alexithymia or intrusive ideation and let go of the mountain of unfinished business in your life, please reach out and I will help you figure out the approach that is truly best for you.

Remember change can be fast and simple when you’re using simple tools that work. 

Love Michelle

 

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How Your ‘All or Nothing Thinking’ Impacts Your Eating and Weight

How Your ‘All or Nothing Thinking’ Impacts Your Eating and Weight

This article ‘How Your ‘All or Nothing Thinking’ Impacts Your Eating and Weight’ will help you to understand exactly that, and I’ll give you some specific examples for how you can start to trust yourself to think clearly and make choices that you really feel good about.

As I enjoy the peace, the safety, the trust and confidence I feel in my body and in my world, the warmth and love I share with my colleagues and friends, and the time…..yes, the time, it seems so long ago, that there was a time when I truly felt like I had no time. I wasn’t on death’s door by any means, but I sure lived as though a demon was chasing me.

Before my own recovery from emotional eating (some may prefer to call it binge eating disorder or overeating, whatever you call it – that’s what I did – 24/7!), I lived in a state of chronic, high-level anxiety.

I also felt so fat and ugly that I believed that if someone, anyone, saw me eating anything, they would judge me as fat and gross and bad, and they would be right. Of course, when I examine that story now, it’s just silly. What did I think? Did I think that because I had extra weight on my body I wasn’t allowed or entitled or needing of any food whatsoever? Well, actually, yeah. I did believe that I should just starve myself until I was “good enough” and then I could eat something.

Of course I couldn’t actually sustain my self-imposed hunger strike for very long. It always ended, as it would for any human on the planet as studies have shown, with a great big binge. This is where my insecurity and low self-esteem turned into a full blown eating disorder with me trying to control my anxiety and insecurity through restricting food in the hopes that I would one day be thin enough to be acceptable and lovable and to never, ever, no matter what, be abandoned or rejected or judged by anyone.

Of course, being thin was going to bring me the love and security and accolades that I so desperately sought. Everything would be better when I was thin. Right?

Not exactly.

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Posted in: 2013, All-or-Nothing Thinking, Uncategorized

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Video: Help for Overeating, Emotional Eating, and Weight Loss

Video: Help for Overeating, Emotional Eating, and Weight Loss

Click here to watch this video (or click on the image below) and learn what keeps you stuck overeating and overweight or struggling with body image and dieting stress and what you can do to get a grip on food and on your weight for good.

Michelle Morand will help you understand why you can’t seem to get a grip on food and why your heartfelt commitment to change how you relate to food never seems to stick. She’ll give you some very simple questions to ask yourself to begin to create awareness in yourself for what is really triggering you so that you can begin to change the grip that food and body focus have on you, for good.

In this video: Help for Overeating, Emotional Eating, and Weight Loss, you’ll get the answers you’ve been seeking to help you begin to understand what’s been keeping you stuck and what you can do about it to start to feel confident in your body and trust yourself around any food, in any quantity, any time – even when no one is watching!

I’ve been there – and for over 20 years I’ve been enjoying a stress-free relationship with food and a stable and sexy weight for my body without any focus on diets or rigorous exercise programs. Eating is a natural thing, it doesn’t need to be difficult or at all stressful.
Let me help you to understand what’s gone sideways for you and why, and let me teach you the simple steps that will change every aspect of your life for the better.

Thanks to Fanny Kiefer for the opportunity to share this information with your T.V. audience and for being such a great host!

Love Michelle

Eating-Disorder-Expert-interviewed-on-Vancouver-Talk-Show

Posted in: 2013, Complete Recovery, Uncategorized, Video

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Life Mastery Workshop Schedule and Details

Video~Life-Mastery-Workshops~CEDRIC-Centre-Help-for-Eating-Disorders

Life Mastery Workshops – Feb. 22nd to 24th in Vancouver & March 8th to 10th in Victoria, kick off our 2013 Schedule.

If you struggle with behaviour around food and other coping strategies, join us for one of our ‘Master’ Series Intensive 3-day Workshops and learn why you have been stuck in a stressful relationship with food and the steps to take to achieve to maintain a natural weight for your body, for life, without dieting and exercise regimes.  We focus on Mastering Behaviour, Balance and Relationships and empowering you!

See the details below for each of our 3 day events that are sure to change your life forever!

2013 ‘Master Series’ 3-day Weekend Workshop Schedule

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Workshops

Master Series 3 Day Eating Disorder Workshops:

– ‘Master Your Brain – Master Your Behaviour’:  Feb. 22nd to 24th, 2013 in Vancouver and March 8 to 10, 2013 in Victoria.  Our ‘Master’ Series of workshops is designed to help those who are emotional or stress eaters, struggle with bulimia, anorexia or binge eating, or are caught in the diet cycle with no lasting results, find peace and freedom with food and maintain a natural weight for their body, without the need for chronic dieting and rigorous exercise programs.  CEDRIC Counsellors teach everything participants need to know about what is triggering their frustrating thoughts and behaviours around food and other aspects of life, and how to change them once and for all!

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Posted in: 2012, Complete Recovery, Upcoming Events, workshops

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CEDRIC Centre 2013 ‘Master Series’ Workshop Schedule

2013 ‘Master Series’ Workshop Schedule

2013 ‘Master Series’ 3-day Weekend Workshop Schedule

Hours: All workshops run from Friday to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.

Cost: All workshops cost $636.00 + tax with payment plans available.

Vancouver Workshops with Michelle Morand, MA, RCC:

‘Master Your Brain – Master Your Behaviour’

Dates: ; Feb. 22nd to 24th; May 17th to 19th; Aug. 9th to 11th; Oct. 18th to 20th

‘Mastering Balance: Creating Solid Self-Esteem and True Inner Peace’

Dates: March 15th to 17th; June 21st to 23rd; Nov. 15th to 17th

‘Mastering Relationships: The Relationship Equation’ – July 26th to 28th; Dec. 6th to 8th

Venue for all Vancouver Workshops: Century Plaza Hotel,  1015 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 3B6

_______________________________________________

Victoria Workshops with Dawn Cox, M.Ed., psych, RCC:

‘Master Your Brain – Master Your Behaviour’

Dates: March 8th to 10th, July 12th to 14th and November 8th to 10th

Venue: Common Room at 1246 Fairfield, Victoria, BC, V8V 3B5

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Calgary Workshops with Michelle Morand, MA, RCC:

Master Your Brain – Master Your Behaviour Dates:July 5th to 7th

‘Mastering Balance: Creating Solid Self-Esteem and True Inner Peace’– Dates: July 12th to 14th

Venue: MacEwan Conference Centre, U of Calgary, 2500 University Dr NW Calgary, T2N 1N4

There is a hotel at the University, if you would like to stay there as well.

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Posted in: 2012, Complete Recovery, News Release, newsletter, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, Relationships 101, Self-Help Services, Services, Upcoming Events, workshops

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CEDRIC Centre Mindful Eating Info Package

CEDRIC Centre for Mindful Eating Info Package

The CEDRIC Centre’s specialized program helps people of all ages to lose or gain weight and to maintain a natural weight for their bodies, for life without diet and rigorous exercise regimes. We teach you how to establish a healthy relationship with food, yourself and others, how to deal with stress, anxiety and depression in ways that boost self-esteem and allow you to feel more secure as you focus less on what you eat and weigh.  See intro video for the CEDRIC Centre Mindful Eating Info Package.

The CEDRIC team provides counselling in person in British Columbia, Canada, as well via skype and phone worldwide.  We offer 3-day Workshops, Hard Copy and Downloadable  Resources sold separately or accessed through our Online Program and incude: CD’s; DVD’s; Workbooks; Teleclasses, Lessons, Assignments, a book entiled, Food Is Not The Problem – Deal With What Is by CEDRIC Founder and Director Michelle Morand, MA, RCC and more!

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Posted in: 2012, Audio CDs, Audio Downloads, Audios, Book Downloads, Books, Content, Product Bundles, Product Bundles, Self-Help Services, Uncategorized, Video, Video, Workbooks, Workbooks, Workbooks - Downloads, workshops

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Calgary Workshop for Food & Weight Stress, 2013

Updated Schedule for 2013 Calgary Workshop for Food & Weight Stress:

Workshop for Food & Weight Stress
Host: Michelle Morand, MA, RCC:

Master Your Brain – Master Your Behaviour  Dates:July 5th to 7th

‘Mastering Balance: Creating Solid Self-Esteem and True Inner Peace’– Dates: July 12th to 14th

Venue: MacEwan Conference Centre, U of Calgary, 2500 University Dr NW Calgary, T2N 1N4

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Why Do Those Foods Keep Calling My Name?

Foods Keep Calling My NameWhat we eat often reflects our culture, our family heritage, our self-esteem and our self-awareness.

Our diet can also be used to directly manipulate the state of our chemistry and hormones.

For example reducing our intake of certain foods will have a direct and positive impact on the severity of our PMS and menopausal symptoms.

Adding certain foods to our diet that balance specific hormones will also have a positive effect on a variety of hormone related human concerns such as depression, anxiety, and again menstrual or menopausal symptoms.

In other words, in addition to fuelling our body for growth and repair functions, certain foods influence the release of certain hormones which in turn have a direct and often immediate influence on our moods.

Chief among these mood inducing hormones is dopamine. Dopamine is the ultimate feel good chemical. It powers the brain’s pleasure centre creating sensations of happiness, calm, and soothing. So, it’s no coincidence that every drug that humans are drawn to abuse (including binge foods) triggers the release of dopamine.

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Posted in: 2012, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Self

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