Archive for Relationship with Food

Relationships 101 Week 3

Flags in a RelationshipThis article is part of a series: Relationships 101Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4. Okay folks, we’re at Week 3 of what could (but won’t) be a 52-week series! We’re going to tackle the key bits of any relationship and how to make yours hum in 6 weeks (or so). This week we’re specifically going to explore flags in a relationship. If you’re not into this series as it’s just not where you’re at or what you’re needing at this time, I highly recommend you spend the next few weeks reviewing the “Complete Recovery Series.” This is a series I wrote that lays out the key tools you need to begin to experience healing in your relationship with food. You’ll find a listing of all the articles on the left hand side of the blog. If you’re following along with this series however, you’ll have experimented a bit last week with providing for others and for yourself that which you have been expecting or looking for from them. I’ll bet you learned a great deal and that already you have greater empathy for yourself and for others. (more…)

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Relationships 101 Week 2

This article is part of a series: Relationships 101Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4. When you are learning how to improve your relationship it’s important to know how to assess quickly, safely, and respectfully, who is a fit for you and who can’t be. While you’re working on this you need to also think about who you and the other person are at this time and then list the boundaries and unhealthy behaviours in a relationship.

Relationships 101 Week 2: How to Improve Your Relationship

Okee dokee then! How’d last week go? We had some interesting discussion on our web program forum, as the assignment really hit home for a few members. I love hearing how people are working with these tools and beginning to understand more about why things are the way they are and, most importantly, what to do to make things different. Last week, I ran you through a basic process of identifying what you’re really looking for and what criteria (definition) you would use to identify if those traits were present in someone you were considering for a friend, partner or a peer, etc. Then I asked you to consider yourself in relation to that list and identify as best you could, which of those traits you already embody and which need a little tweak in you in order to bring you up to the level of that person you seek as a friend or partner. The key point being, and this is key: You cannot reasonably expect anything from someone else that you are not first prepared to offer yourself. (more…)

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Relationships 101 Week 1

This article is part of a series: Relationships 101Week 1Week 2Week 3Week to have a great relationship Well, it is February after all, so, I thought I’d make this next series of articles dedicated to the top of how to have a great relationship. I am guessing that you have at least one relationship in your life? And I’m guessing that you might like to know how to feel more confident, secure, trusting, open and intimate in that relationship?? And maybe you want to be able to know the difference between what is your “stuff,” i.e. what you have responsibility for and what you have control over, and what has nothing to do with you at all? What about learning how to discuss sensitive issues with the greatest ease and to the highest possible resolution? That would be a good thing, no? What about learning how to know when you’ve truly done your best and how to let go of relationships that can never meet your needs without feeling guilty, bad, like a failure, responsible, ashamed or at all uncertain that you’re doing the right thing? Yes, it’s possible. In fact, when you follow these basic steps that we’re going to explore over the next few weeks, you’ll see how there is a method to being successful in relationships. It’s not a secret. You didn’t miss the class where everyone else got shown how to do relationships. We all need to be shown this one way or another.  And there’s no time like the present, right? Right! We’ll tackle each of the above core relationship issues as we go through the next month or so, and by the end of it all, you’ll know exactly how to create and maintain the relationships you seek in all areas of your life.  It may take a little practice but you’ll at least have a lay of the land, know what you’re shooting for, and what to do to reach your goals. And in case you haven’t put this together for yourself yet, let me reassure you that when you begin to work with these tools you will also naturally be building your self-esteem and sense of equality with others as well as naturally loosening the stranglehold that food and harmful all-or-nothing thinking has on you. For this week we’re going all the way back to the beginning of any relationship, back before there were two, to just you. Now, I realize that you’ve already likely got a couple of connections in your life if not many, and I’m not suggesting that you abandon them and start from scratch. I’m suggesting that until you step back from your connections for a moment and get very clear with yourself about what it is that you are looking for from others and what it is that you bring to the table, you can’t even truly begin to assess the quality of the connections you’ve got now, let alone begin to do your part to make them as strong and healthy as they can possibly be and hold others accountable in the same way. So, for this week, to make the best use out of this series and start creating the relationships you desire, there is a little time and energy required of you. It will pay you off in spades, I guarantee you.
  1. Allow yourself to imagine the key people you’ve had in your life, however briefly or far removed, that you really felt safe with and really felt respect for and respected by. If no one comes to mind, as can be the case, use characters from Hollywood movies, cable TV shows or books that you liked (I confess that when I began to explore this concept for myself in my search for healthy female friendships and healthy romantic partnerships, I was so starved for healthy female role models that I clung to the integrity, confidence, self-respect and courage that Angela Lansbury’s character, Jessica Fletcher, portrayed in the “Murder She Wrote” TV series (she’s got serious values and chutzpah, that gal!). In other words, feel free to use anyone that comes to mind as your foil for a respectful, healthy, grounded person.
  2. Make a list of the characteristics and traits that those people embody in your experience of them.
  3. If you’re stuck, ask yourself the reverse question: What has been/is present in your relationships in which you have felt unsafe, insecure, and /or disrespected? Now turn that around and that’s what you want, i.e. a past partner of mine would threaten to leave every time – literally – I held him accountable to his commitments (that relationship didn’t last long!). If I were to turn that very unsafe pattern around into what I want, I’d say I need friends/partners who have integrity; who are committed to honouring their word and who are respectful and accepting of the consequences of not doing so; someone who can apologize openly, learn from their mistakes and express their anger or fear in ways that aren’t shaming or blaming but rather bring us closer together and deepen my respect for them. To me, these pieces are fundamental to any healthy relationship.
  4. Now, add to that list, any additional traits, characteristics, values, and principles that are important to you in order for you to feel safe and respected and trusting of another person. **Notice how your inner critic (the Drill Sgt.) may chime in about what you can and can’t ask for; what you are deserving of; what you are entitled to; what the unlikely chances are of you actually getting this and simply use your Drill Sgt. dialogue tool: What is your intention in saying that? And what is important about that? And what is important about that? And what is important about that? And what is important about that? And what is important about that? And when you get to the end, just thank your Drill Sgt. for his intention, tell him how he could achieve that outcome with greater respect and enhance your self-esteem instead of trashing it. Remember your inner critic loves you, he just is very confused about what love is and how best to show it…remind you of anyone from your past??
  5. This is your list of traits and values and principles that you need someone to have in order to feel safe, trusting, and respected in your relationship with that person. Regardless of whether you think it’s possible for you or whether you worry that that person doesn’t even exist, this is what you need! No other connection is going to feel safe to you, so don’t settle. We ALWAYS get what we are willing to settle for. Don’t be willing to settle for anyone who doesn’t create a sense of respect, safety and trust with you. (And don’t be willing to settle for anything less in your relationship with yourself either!)
  6. You may want to add a few additional traits for that special someone….but otherwise, you are looking for people who fit these characteristics and you’re not going to waste your time and energy trying to build a relationship with someone who isn’t capable of these core traits and behaviours, not unless you want to continue to feel insecure and use food to cope that is.
So, a few things to deepen your awareness once you’ve made your Healthy Traits (HT) list: First, now it’s your turn. Take a look at your HT list for what makes a person feel safe, trustworthy, respectful and just plain downright cool! And…..take a nice deep breath…..and ask yourself honestly which of these traits you can say that you embody towards the people in your life, including the grocery store clerk, the bus driver, the server at the restaurant, your parents, partner, siblings, friends, co-workers, etc. Yes, you! It’s never appropriate for an adult to expect things from others that they aren’t first willing and able to do for themselves. In fact, I have discovered over the past few years that when I am feeling a wee bit resentful or annoyed with someone, if I just ask myself what I’m needing from them/expecting from them, and if I’ve offered them that, I find the answer is usually, “Ummmm, well, no, actually.” The act of getting clear on that in myself and then committing to offering first what I’d like from others usually takes care of my need entirely because in holding myself accountable to be the person I expect others to be, a funny thing happens. First, I feel instantly less resentful, more open-hearted and strong. And guess what? The other person responds in kind and naturally starts to open their heart more, and very often, to meet the need that I am now meeting for them. It’s quite remarkable actually and flies directly in the face of the co-dependent training to just get bitter and resentful and make snide comments or freak out (or binge!) when people don’t read our mind and meet our needs without us having to ask! It is important to acknowledge the characteristics and traits from your HT list above that you already bring to bear to all of your connections and give yourself a hug of appreciation for this. Then make a list of the traits on your HT list that you are asking for / wanting from others that you don’t embody fully yourself. In what ways and with whom can you begin to challenge yourself to be for others the person you would like them to be for you? And, the last piece I want you to do this week is to make a list of the key connections in your life (partner, friends, family, co-workers, etc.) and identify any of the traits from your HT list of things you need in order to feel safe, peaceful, trusting and respected, that are currently missing in this connection (or seem to be) from that person towards you. Okee dokee? So now, you have a list of the Healthy Traits in a relationship; the things that allow you to feel (or you imagine will allow you to feel) safe, trusting, respected, and peaceful in your relationships. You have a sense of where you’re at in your own safety, trust, respect and peace meter and where you need a little support or focus in order to hold yourself accountable to the standards you’re setting for others. And you have a sense of the connections in your life that need a little work (or a lot) and what specifically needs to change in order for you to feel happy in them. That’s a great piece of work! Tune in next week for the next instalment. And don’t worry about it if you don’t get it all done this week. Do what you can / feel ready for and just keep on reading. You’ll do it when you’re ready. In the meantime, gather the data, and help yourself to see more clearly what’s working and what’s not. I’m here (and so will this series of articles be) when you’re ready to dive in. Have a fabulous week. Love The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, newsletter, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, Relationships 101

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CEDRIC Centre - Grieving for Steve-oLast Monday, the 17th of January, 2011, my step-father Stephen Patton died suddenly. All last week I was actively engaged in supporting my mom, family members (my son was so very close to Steve or Steve-o as I called him) and myself through the process of funeral arrangements, services, wills and other related bits and pieces. And don’t let me forget – grieving. I think you might like to know that I didn’t feel the slightest bit compelled to use food to cope or alcohol etc., etc., rather I felt grounded, centred, grief-stricken, grateful to have known Steve-o and to have had the many wonderful moments with him that I did. (more…)

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Don’t Binge – Try Natural Holiday Eating

Don’t Binge – Try Natural Holiday Eating

If you look forward to the holidays with feelings of anxiety in the pit of your stomach at the thought of the food and the many opportunities to overeat that will be presented to you in the weeks to come, don’t fear and don’t binge – try natural holiday eating instead.
If you eat naturally, you have no genuine cause for concern about gaining weight or being a weight that is higher than your natural body weight at any time of year. If you’re a natural eater, you feel safe being around any kind of food in any quantity anytime because you know that you will:
  • Eat when you’re hungry;
  • Stop when you’re full;
  • Make honoring choices the majority of the time (choices that enhance your health and overall wellbeing);
  • And make choices to have the processed and refined treats that abound at this time of year in moderation.
That’s the natural eater’s experience of the holidays, they’re no big deal. Food is a fun, tasty part of the holiday package not some horrific peer-pressure test looming in the distance.

So, here’s how to get to the fun, peaceful side of food and the holidays.

1. Invite yourself to ask yourself before you eat anything: Am i truly hungry? yes? Then eat. No? Then ask yourself: What might just have happened or what might I be thinking about that is making me feel anxious or unsettled and therefore triggering me to want to eat or focus on food and my weight to distract, numb or soothe myself?

2. What is one thing I can do to take action towards resolving that stressor and to feel more peaceful in this moment?

Let’s say you’re thinking about going home for the holidays and seeing Uncle Jim who is a complete, mysoginistic ass and always has a snide comment to direct your way. And you’re naturally feeling anxious anticipating being the same room with him, let alone speaking to him. 

What can you do to feel more peaceful now?  

You could reassure yourself that you’ll simply ask him, whenever he lays his line on you: “What is your intention in saying that?”; or “I’m not sure I understand what you mean can you say that again?”  – Make him repeat himself – make him explain himself – don’t just absorb it – make him do his work and in so doing make him look like an ass!  Ahhh, I feel better already!

Of you could reassure yourself that he’s really just a dick and it doesn’t matter what he says – everyone thinks he’s a jerk, no one has the courage to say anything but no one takes anything he says to heart either. So, maybe we steer  clear of him and if he does happen to catch up with you we lay our line on him and let him know that things have changed. 

You could also just choose not to go if there isn’t enough in the way of warm, loving encounters to be had to warrant putting up with Uncle Jim.  That is a great act of self-care and will make you feel peaceful right away. 

If you choose this option you’ve got to call the host and let them know right away – don’t make excuses – just say you’re not feeling up to the social event at this time and you’re going to take some time out for yourself and just rest.

Binging happens because you’re stressed and not handling it well. End of story. Learn how to respond appropriately to stress and how to diminish it in your life and the binging disappears and you lose weight naturally – without effort – without diets.

I’ve been there and I’ve done it and so have many clients I’ve counselled over the past 20 years. Let me show you how. 

Love Michelle

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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I Don’t Binge Anymore

I Don’t Binge Anymore

I Used to Binge but I Don’t Binge Anymore

aug to xmas 09 069I don’t binge anymore. It’s been over 20 years and I don’t diet or focus on food, my weight is stable and healthy – I wear the same clothes from year to year instead of needing to have 3 wardrobes to keep up with my yo-yo dieting and ricocheting weight. I don’t binge anymore.

Back when I used to binge to cope, I felt incredibly afraid and lonely, bad, wrong, impossibly screwed up and believed that everyone who saw me, saw that.

With these beliefs in my head 24/7, it was exhausting to leave the relative safety and privacy of my house, and so of course, upon arriving home, I needed to do something to decompress; to detach from the pain, sadness, loneliness and fear that was always threatening to break through and overwhelm me.

So, out came the food. It was something to do; something to distract myself with; something to soothe myself with; and then, later, as I came to, something to focus on, beat myself up with and to make dire resolutions to do things differently the next day. So completely absorbed was I in my use of food and subsequent self-loathing that I never had the time or the clarity to look beneath it and question why I did it.

I was just fat, ugly, stupid, lazy, unlovable and unworthy. That was the reason. Or so I thought.

In reality, I was sad and lonely and scared because I hand’t been treated very well as a child and I had terrible role models for how to create solid relationships. I was doing exactly what I had seen my parents do but for some reason no one was sticking around to be my friend or partner or those that did were people with anger management issues or difficulty being honest and reliable. 

This led me to believe I was flawed, fundamentally broken and therefore doomed to be unlovable. It led me to hide my true self from others which led me to attract people that didn’t fit and to me feeling like I couldn’t be myself in the relationship du jour.

It was these ideas I was carrying about myself and about how to be in relationships that led to me being so alone and anxious and those things led me to use food to soothe myself.

Once I got clear on that and started thinking more clearly about myself and the world around me, food became a non-issue; or rather it became what it should be an enjoyable, pleasurable experience of nurturing and sustaining my health.

If you’d like to experience that kind of true and lasting freedom from binging or dieting or any weight loss or body image stress, email me and I’ll show you how.

Love Michelle

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

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Conscious Competence

Conscious Competence

The healing journey begins with conscious awareness. We must be aware of what we’re doing in order to change behaviours, thoughts and feelings that are not serving our goals for health and happiness. Conscious Competence is a key step in this process.

Initially, frequently our awareness will come after the fact – after the binge or after the purge or after the bad body thought.

That’s not a failure or a sign of your ability to recover, it’s simply the natural process of changing human thinking and behavioural processes. Like it or lump it – that’s how it goes.

We start out in a place of unconsciousness and we don’t really even know what isn’t working for us.

Then we come to a place of consciousness about what isn’t working – for example, our way of perceiving ourselves and our relationship with food – but we still don’t seem to be able to change anything about it just yet. This is a very uncomfortable stage of change called “conscious incompetence.”

Even the term “conscious incompetence” makes our Drill Sgt. want to cringe and deny that anything is wrong – he’s such a perfectionist! But, hang in there. If you can allow yourself to admit that you do not have a perfect grasp on yourself when it comes to self-esteem and your relationship with food, then you can actually be successful in changing those patterns and step into a wonderfully esteem-enhancing place called “conscious competence.”

And as long as you don’t let yourself buy into the story that there is something wrong with you because you’re thinking and feeling and behaving as you are you’ll find it much easier to open yourself to getting help and change will come more rapidly.

Once you get tools and support to understand why you do those harmful behaviours or feel so anxious or insecure or depressed in the first place you can begin to change the way you think and respond to life.

This is the stage of conscious competence. In this stage your conscious effort is required in order for you to use new ways of thinking and behaving instead of the old default ones, but it gets easier each time and soon becomes your natural approach to life (unconscious competence) and the old one just doesn’t fit or make sense any more. 

If you’re ready for change and you want to make sure you’re not wasting your time or energy – reach out and let us help you.

Love Michelle

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Complete Recovery, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Self

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