Posts Tagged core beliefs
What 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.
I want to share a tool I discovered to deal with the guilt I felt about eating. But, before I do, I must digress for a moment and ask you if you have ever been in a relationship with a person that commits to doing something and then does not follow through? If you have, then you know that your relationship with that person weakens because with each breach of commitment, it indicates that they cannot be trusted. We are inclined to ask ourselves to overlook “small” things and not to be “too sensitive” or “needy” or “demanding”. We force ourselves to detach from our own authentic self and his or her appropriate feelings. We align more with the untrustworthy person than we do with ourselves.
What message do you think this sends us about our perception of our own worth and about our perception of the validity our feelings? Well, it simply reinforces that old story about you not being good enough or deserving enough of honesty and integrity in your relationships on all levels. It sets you up to expect relationships to lack follow through and to force yourself to accept less than you deserve and need in the way of trustworthiness.
I want to make you aware of the feeling you get when someone breaks a commitment, regardless of how small or large it is. It is the same feeling each time you tell yourself that you are going to eat a certain thing or not eat a certain thing, or that you are going to eat only a certain amount or only at a certain time and you don’t follow through on that commitment. You are breaching your own trust in yourself, undermining your own self-esteem and sense of safety within you.
This week we instead of bringing you Michelle’s message in print, we are introducing our CEDRIC Video Blog.
Please click on the image provided to hear a few minutes of Michelle explaining the importance of the ‘Drill Sergeant’ and some steps to take to retrain your thinking and have an immediate and powerful influence on your behaviour.
I chose the ‘Drill Sergeant Dialogue’ to kick off our monthly video series because it is such an important concept to grasp. Self-esteem is one of the very biggest areas to work on for complete recovery from your stressful relationship with food. It is the solid foundation from which the rest of our life practically falls into place.
Just recognizing the dynamic of the ‘Drill Sergeant’ dialogue is helpful and I thought this clip explained it well. After you watch it, you may find just having a quick flashback to Michelle encouraging you to deal with your D.S in a different way will help you adjust your thinking that much faster when you are being down on yourself.
After absorbing the material at the weekend workshop myself, I practiced the process of rephrasing things to be more positive and encouraging and now when I want to quickly zap myself into coming from a positive place of love, patience, understanding with lots of great options in front of me, I just say “Be Kind.” Then I can quickly remember to adjust my thinking to override the negative thoughts. It really does work if you practice the correct phrasing to play in your head to replace the negative stuff that is hindering you on so many levels. After all positive breeds positive and vice versa. So do whatever you can to stay in the positive, even if it feels like just a baby step!
Have a watch of the video and then really get to know your own ‘Drill Sergeant’ so you can integrate that well-meaning but confused aspect of yourself and truly support yourself in ways that are kinder, more patient, forgiving and encouraging.
If you want to read more about the ‘Drill Sergeant’ just search that term on our blog and you’ll find lots of great articles that help you to change the way you relate to yourself. From there it’s a hop, skip and a jump to forever changing the way you related to food.
Enjoy the Video Clip! You can see more clips at CEDRIC’s YouTube Channel
For the next few weeks in my articles, I’m going to be exploring each of the key points of what we call ‘The Diet Mentality.’ Each week I’m going to briefly explore one key characteristic of this harmful way of thinking and offer you a suggestion of something you can do that week to begin to directly address this issue if it something that you recognize in yourself. For this week though we’re going to start with an exploration of where The Diet Mentality comes from and some background on diets in general:
The Origin of Our Diet Mentality
The Diet Mentality is a way of thinking that has been ingrained in us by messages we receive predominantly from our primary caregivers and our peers. These messages are then often reinforced and enhanced by teachers, coaches, advertisements and media messages, and from diet and exercise programs that we may have tried in the past or may currently be pursuing.
It is easier to understand how we came to be where we are when we keep in mind that as children and adolescents, because we were limited by our brain’s inability to realize that not everything is about, or caused by, us, and because we had no other frame of reference than that of the family in which we were raised (and the community surrounding us), we had no contrast and therefore no ability to see clearly when our parents and peers, teachers and coaches were, themselves, confused in their thinking. We just believed that they were right and we followed blindly and innocently along. (For a more detailed article on brain development and its impact on our lives , and our relationship with food please see: http://www.cedriccentre.com/blog/lets-talk-about-your-brain/)
Why is it so Hard to be Honest?
One of the hardest things for people to do, especially people who have received any co-dependent training, is to hold themselves to the core value of honesty. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Read on to find out why honesty is so challenging some times and what you can do to start feeling more confident in your ability to be honest with everyone, all the time.
The answer to the question ‘Why is it so hard to be honest’ is twofold:
1. We often (usually) don’t even know what we truly feel and want and need. We might know something doesn’t feel right or good or okay but we have our inner critic immediately judging our feelings and so we mistrust our emotions just as we mistrust our hunger and fullness cues.
2. We are scared crapless to piss people off! Let’s just admit it! We don’t want to upset anyone. We don’t want to be the bad guy. We don’t want anyone saying anything about us that isn’t nice and warm and fuzzy. And so we bail on ourselves.
And just in case you’re still wondering if this applies to you: If you have any food and body image stress, or if you binge, or struggle with restriction (dieting or anorexia or orthorexia (an obsession with eating “clean”), or purging (through exercise, laxatives, or vomiting) or with drinking, drugs, too much t.v. or internet; feeling overrun by your relationships or frustrated in your career, you can guarantee that you have a high dose of co-dependent training.
This week we are reviewing the theme of ‘all or nothing thinking’ and the simplest way to help our readers to shift out of their old, deeply ingrained, all or nothing thought habits and into a more open, expansive and peaceful state of being and thinking.
In a nutshell, if you’re not feeling compassion for yourself and the others that you’re interacting with in that moment (whether in your mind or in reality), you’re in all or nothing thinking. It’s that simple.
You may want to read that last statement a few times to make sure it sinks in. Then read on.
You can test this theory for yourself over the next few days any time you notice that you’re feeling anything other than peaceful.
Whenever you notice you’re feeling anxious or unsettled; judgmental of yourself or others; blaming; resentful; impatient; etc., or using your food coping strategy (which is a clear indicator that you’re overwhelmed) simply stop and ask yourself:
“What am I telling myself about this situation or person that is creating this distress?”
Then stop and think, really think, about what you just told yourself. Is it true? Are you certain?
You will always identify that you have just been telling yourself an all or nothing story.
This 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.
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:
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.
- 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.
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:
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.
- Tell yourself: “Oh, I’m using my food coping strategy right now – that means I have a need that isn’t being met.”
- Ask yourself what you were just thinking or experiencing that may have triggered that unmet need.
- 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.
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!
This week, I’m writing in response to a question from a web program participant as part of a web program forum discussion about establishing a normal relationship with food. Since my answer to her question was rather lengthy and detailed and, I believe, relevant to you all, I thought I’d share the question and answer here for this week’s “Tools for Recovery” article.
If we’ve spent years using food to cope and stuck in the Diet Mentality, how the hell do we have a clue what is normal around what to eat and how much?
In my own personal recovery and my 17 years as a specialist in this field, if there’s one thing I have learned, it is this: In the early stages of recovery, it is not helpful to focus on food in a structured way or to get caught up in some external meter of what to eat, when or how much.