Archive for All-or-Nothing Thinking

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  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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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. (more…)

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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! (more…)

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Lunch and All-or-Nothing Thinking

Lunch and All-or-Nothing ThinkingHere’s a quick story about All-or-Nothing Thinking. So today, I was leisurely driving along on my way to an appointment, having left myself ample time to get from point A to point B. I had packed a lunch to take with me – a whole, skinless chicken breast that I had cooked the night before in garlic and sesame oil, (naturally making a few extra than I needed last night so my husband and I would have an easy, healthy lunch prepared); a container of fresh strawberries, washed, (I rinsed them well before I left the office this afternoon); an avocado; an apple and banana. Noticing I was feeling peckish and that my appointment was 90 minutes long, decided to eat something. I had one hand on the wheel and one hand on a chicken breast as I munched happily, listening to my favourite pop tunes playlist, which, at that point was serenading me with some vintage Fleetwood Mac, and enjoying more of that fabulous sun we’ve been having. (more…)

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A Personal Exploration: All-or-Nothing Thinking

all or nothing thinkingAs I was walking from my friend’s house the other morning on my way to work, my mind had time to muse. It started to wander to you, my readers and the work we’ve been doing on all-or-nothing thinking. I was enjoying the warmth in the air at 8:00 am. The sun was shining. It seemed that everyone I passed had a bounce in their step as we welcomed each other warmly and celebrated the long-awaited arrival of summer. As I walked down one quiet street, a young couple emerged from their home and waved at the elderly lady next door who stood, watering her garden out front. After thanking her profusely, for what I do not know, they got in their car and zipped off down the street. (more…)

Posted in: All-or-Nothing Thinking, CEDRIC Centre

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Feeling Safe is The Key to Eating Disorder Recovery

Feeling Safe is The Key to Eating Disorder Recovery

It is a fact that feeling safe is the key to eating disorder recovery. And the key to feeling safe is to have a way of trusting that you are thinking clearly, seeing the situation / person at hand clearly; that you have a set of values that are reasonable and principles that make sense that guide your actions towards yourself and others and which you see yourself turning to whenever you feel anxious or unsettled or have sensitive decisions to make.

If you don’t have that package of trust in your clear thinking and values that ground you you will continue to feel insecure and anxious in the world and in your relationships with others and you will continue to lean on coping strategies – confused stress management tools like eating disorders, binging, dieting, drinking, isolating and procrastination to try to numb and soothe yourself.

Invite yourself, if you feel up to it to ask yourself what you remember about your younger years (childhood, adolescence, young adulthood). Who were your primary role models for relationships?  What kinds of things did they do and say to you, themselves, or others when they were angry or sad or scared or wanted you or someone else to do something for them?

How respectful, direct and clear were they?

And how did they respond to requests from you? Did they shame you, berate you, judge you? Or did they acknowledge your need and discuss the different ways that they would be willing to meet your need, in a respectful, calm manner?

Verbal and physical abuses are traumas.

Most everyone has experienced the humiliation and damaging effects of verbal abuse.

If our ego strength and our sense of esteem are solid when these events occur (ie. we are an adult, solid in ourselves; or a teen with very good support and these events are an extreme exception and not the norm), we can slough it off or work through it with some help.

If we are already feeling a lack of security and acceptance in our world, every experience of verbal abuse, for example: Judgements, name-calling, put-downs, and yelling will constitute a drama.

Physical abuse; slapping, hitting, spanking and outright beatings, or threats of the same, regardless of their purpose in the eyes of the punisher, are traumatic events.

Neglect is trauma. The act of having your needs and your Self ignored or devalued is traumatic.

So, don’t tell yourself that you were never abused or traumatized. Sexual assault or beatings are just the most extreme forms of trauma we experience as young and powerless people. There are many forms of behaviour that will not meet our needs for safety and respect and which will lead us to feel hurt and traumatized. 

The more dependent on the person we are, the greater the experience of the trauma and the more our mind will seek to both self-blame (make it about us) and to numb ourselves from the situation (through the use of coping strategies like binging, dieting, eating disorders, drinking etc.).

If you’re stuck still, feeling a lack of confidence in yourself or in relationships that trigger you to feel unsafe or insecure, let me help you step free of that pattern of thinking that is keeping you stuck.

Change can be fast and simple when you have simple tools that work and a skilled guide.

Reach out and let’s get started creating healthy relationships, solid self-esteem and get you trusting yourself to see the world clearly and handle things fairly.

Love Michelle

Posted in: All-or-Nothing Thinking, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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Body Focus Hides Emotional Pain

Body Focus Hides Emotional Pain

When we automatically focus on what we are eating or shouldn’t be eating, calorie counting, and losing weight, whenever we start to feel anxious or unsettled about anything we effectively keep ourselves in a state of denial about painful experiences in our lives. Your emphasis on body focus hides emotional pain that you don’t want to feel or aren’t sure how to manage.  If you want to stop feeling so anxious, insecure and stressed about your body and food or any other harmful coping strategy like eating disorders, binging, drinking or drugs you’ve got to change the way you’re thinking about yourself and the world around you and not allow your instinctive brain to run free telling you stories of doom and gloom and of what’s wrong with you.

If you’re using any of those coping strategies I mentioned above it means you have a strong need for acceptance from others and will go out of your way to please others, even if it means sacrificing yourself.

This need for acceptance, coupled with feelings of low self-worth, keeps you stuck in a world of perfectionism, where your primary focus is on your body, how unacceptable you perceive it to be, and what life will be like when you finally have the body you desire.

As long as you believe that your body is the source of your unhappiness, you are able to stay in denial about the underlying causes of your distress.

What you fail to understand, because of past life events and your confused interpretation of them,  is that you are a capable human being, who can safely be responsible for your emotions and experiences, and who can learn to feel confident and secure in yourself and to show respect for yourself and your needs, without losing the support and respect of others.

Trust this. Just because you haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or that you can’t create it. You don’t really believe you know everything there is to know do you?

You may be afraid that you can’t change but that fear is very different from an absolute fact and I know from my own experience and 20+ years as a counselling specialist that if you just show up and you’re willing to try something new, you will be amazed with how quickly and simply patterns that may have plagued you for decades change for good.

Reach out and let me show you how.

Love Michelle

Posted in: All-or-Nothing Thinking, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Self

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Don’t Give Your Power Away

Don’t Give Your Power Away

It’s easy to say ‘don’t give your power away.’  But if you’ve never really felt entitled to asking for what you need; if no one taught you to value yourself you wouldn’t feel you have any power to begin with. So, let’s me explain a bit more and then maybe the statement  -Don’t Give Your Power Away – will make more sense.

Who wouldn’t struggle to feel confident if the key people in their lives didn’t model and reinforce good communication, self-respect, solid boundaries , and good self-care?

Who on earth wouldn’t feel increasingly anxious when their approach to the world is to tune out automatically to their feelings; to numb themselves from their awareness of stress and insecurity and confusion with food, drinking, drugs, t.v., internet etc.?

You’re not broken, simply misinformed and under-educated in the basic life skills we all need to feel solid and confident in ourselves. And judging from the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who struggle with addictions and dysfunctional relationships you’re not alone.

If you just bury your head and hope for the best because you’ve told yourself there’s nothing you can do – or because perhaps others have told you you’re not worthy or capable of the things you most desire you are allowing yourself to stay stuck in irrational thinking that has nothing at all to do with the present day and what you could truly achieve. 

Your life is out of control when you live from this mindset.

You’re putting your happiness and joy and peace and fulfillment in the hands of everyone you come into contact with, which, inadvertently, is the reason that those who use food to cope also often use the coping strategy of isolation and avoidance.  It’s easier to not have to deal with people if you don’t trust yourself to take care of yourself when you feel the niggle arise.

I want to encourage you to stop at least twice a day and just ask yourself:
  • “Am I feeling at all unsettled (or thinking of using my coping strategy or actually using it right now)?”
  • “What might be triggering that feeling or the need to check out?”
  • “What am I telling myself about that situation or about me?”

And if you’d like to get help and support and good solid simple tools to change the answers let me know.

Love Michelle

Posted in: All-or-Nothing Thinking, CEDRIC Centre

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Peaceful thoughts = present moment

Peaceful thoughts = present moment

Any thoughts of food that trigger you to feel anything other than peaceful are all or nothing thoughts. Don’t let them run your life – Don’t let yourself spend one more day stuck in anxiety and tension in your life that doesn’t need to be there. Peaceful thoughts = present moment – that means if your mind is peaceful you’re in the present and not stuck in stories about the past or worries about the future. 

If you notice you’re beginning to feel that old familiar sense of push/pull, I love you/I hate you, just this once….I’ll start again tomorrow…., what is really happening is you’re into coping strategy mode and not in the present moment. Something has stressed you/ overwhelmed you and you’re reverting to old, instinctive responses to stress that are not rational or helpful and that will only serve to make you more anxious and have bigger problems.

The majority of your conscious and unconscious energy in that moment is either in the past or the future ie. this happened last time and that means it’s going to happen again… or…I wasn’t able to do X last time so I won’t be able to this time. Those are all or nothing thoughts because they are not allowing for the reality that something that hasn’t happened yet could clearly happen any number of ways not just the way it happened before or the worst case scenario way that your brain has attached to.

It’s all part and parcel of the instability and insecurity that is all-or-nothing thinking that stems from unmet needs within you for connection (with yourself), for reassurance (from yourself), for validation and acknowledgment of your feelings and needs (from yourself) and safety and trust (with/in yourself). Did you notice a theme there?

All of the unmet needs that trigger you to binge or purge or restrict can be met by yourself, easily.

You might not know how but don’t doom yourself to a life half-lived simply because you don’t know how to change something that is not working for you.

Reach out, get support and simple, easy tools that you can apply any time anywhere to change the way you think and behave for good.

Love Michelle

Posted in: 2010, All-or-Nothing Thinking, CEDRIC Centre

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Learned Helplessness and Eating Disorders

Learned Helplessness and Eating Disorders

What you’re eating or how much isn’t the real problem when it comes to eating disorders. Neither is what you weigh. The connection between learned helplessness and eating disorders is really what keeps you stuck stressing about food; binging; dieting; struggling with eating disorders and other forms of harmful coping strategies like drinking, drugs, internet addiction and isolation.

When you start to think about changing your relationship with food and then immediately feel a stuck, sinking sensation inside – that is the sign that your mind just told you a learned helplessness story such as:

It’s too hard;
It’ll take too long;
I can’t change;
I’ll fail;
It might work for others but it won’t work for me;
There’s no point in trying;
I’m not smart enough / deserving enough of good things;
Better not to try than to try and fail;
I may as well not even bother.

Or, when you say to yourself “I don’t really think anything but food can make me feel better and I don’t really think I can learn to resolve my underlying stressors so I have to keep my numbing tactics at the ready,” that too is learned helplessness.

The fact is, no one who uses food to cope ever does so from any place other than learned helplessness. But there is a quick solution to that auto-default way of thinking that will free you to move forward towards the fulfillment of your goals.

The irony is that the thing that keeps you stuck in your efforts to be free of  binging, dieting, and weight loss stress is that same thinking that tells you there’s no point in trying something new to change.

You’re being driven by an irrational, limited and extreme – also known as all-or-nothing – way of thinking. That’s the same thought process that makes you think it makes sense to eat more than you’re hungry for to solve a problem at work or in a relationship; or to not let yourself to eat when you are hungry as a means of building self-esteem. Irrational? Definitely! Common? You bet!  Curable? Absolutely.

Let me show you the simple steps to change that learned helplessness thinking and free yourself to stop binging, stop dieting, stop weight loss frustrations and any other pattern that keeps you stuck feeling crappy about yourself and out of control.

Love Michelle

My role in your life is to shift you out of that stuck, all-or-nothing head space asap and get you into a possibilities mindset where you genuinely realize the many options in each situation and feel trusting of yourself to respond to the stresses in life in ways that are reasonable, respectful, fair and healthy.

Posted in: 2010, All-or-Nothing Thinking, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Self

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