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Podcast: When I Use My Tools, They Work

When I Use My Tools, They Work

Listen to the Podcast  or if you prefer the written version, Read the Archived Article.

I’ve posted a snippet of the article here for you to read. Just click on the link to read or listen to more:

“When I use my tools, they work! Things are easier, more peaceful. I just don’t feel the need to use food to cope when I use my tools.”

I hear this a lot from clients. And it’s true.

However, from clients who are a little new with the process, there is usually a “…but” attached to the end of it and the rest of the statement sounds something like, “…it’s just so hard to use my tools.” Or “….it takes too long and I don’t have the time or energy to do anything other than eat.”  Or even “….what if they stop working? I need to hang on to my use of food to cope just in case my new tools stop working.”

Okay, for starters, under what circumstances could increased awareness and compassion for yourself and others ever stop working for anything? They are the key to the happiness in every single happy person. That last statement, “…what if they stop working…” if you’ve ever thought it, is a great indicator that your Drill Sgt. is in charge of your healing in that moment and not your adult self.  The all-or-nothing thinking; The doubt; The belief that coping with food actually helps you in any way and would be a good thing to hold on to are all indicators that your mind has kicked into one of the basic characteristics of the Drill Sgt.: Learned Helplessness.

In essence you’re saying 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.”

If that’s the mindset that you are bringing to this process – which it is – because no one who uses food to cope ever does so from any place other than learned helplessness – this process can feel hard and like it takes a long time. My role in your life is to shift you out of that stuck, all-or-nothing headspace asap and get you into a possibilities mindset where you genuinely realize the many options in each situation and you don’t default into that stuck, sinking feeling that makes you believe the only solution is to restrict, or binge, or purge.

Common learned helplessness statements sound like this:

  1. I can’t do anything about X;
  2. Life will always be like Y;
  3. I will always be stuck/lonely/unhappy/insecure;
  4. Change is too hard;
  5. It’s too overwhelming;
  6. There’s too much to do;
  7. Others will be upset with me;
  8. I don’t even know where to begin;
  9. I can’t!!

When you think of not using food to cope and you feel sad and scared and disappointed, it’s only because the part of you that is thinking about using food to cope in that moment is the part of you that believes that you can not truly feel peaceful and nurtured and safe and comforted without food. Thus it imagines that what’s really going to happen when you use your tools instead of eating is that you’ll still feel anxious and overwhelmed but you won’t let yourself comfort yourself with food. So of course it resists using the tools. Who wouldn’t!

That’s the same part of you that believes that using your tools is a lot of work, that it’s hard and that it won’t actually lead to any lasting change anyway. We call that the Drill Sgt. and his characteristic “learned helplessness.”  

Read more of Tools for How to stop binging, overeating, emotional eating and dieting.

Posted in: 2012, All-or-Nothing Thinking, Audios, Podcast, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Self, Self-Checklist

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How to Let Go of Self-Judgement

How to Let Go of Self-Judgement

Hi Everyone,

The easiest way to let go of self-judgement and set about the sometimes challenging but also fun and exciting experience of truly living life to the fullest, is remind yourself daily of the following premises until they simply become the way you live your life; no reminder necessary.

  1. The truth of human nature is that there is always a valid reason for why we feel and behave as we do.
  2. Your feelings are always perfectly appropriate for what you are telling yourself about the situation or person that seems to be triggering them.
  3. Your behaviours are always just a reaction to what you’re feeling, which, as I’ve said above, is just your natural response to what you are thinking/how you are perceiving the situation at hand.
  4. Therefore, it makes no sense whatsoever to judge or shame yourself for how you feel or what you do.
  5. What does make sense however is to learn:

a)     To immediately identify what you’re thinking (ie. what’s triggering you to feel and behave as you are) and then;

b)     How to quickly assess whether your perception is accurate or not, or whether you need more information to decide.

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Posted in: 2012, All-or-Nothing Thinking, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Self

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Fear of Making Mistakes – Review

Fear of Making MistakesThose of us who use food to cope, or drugs, alcohol, shopping, procrastination, isolation, busywork, and even more socially-sanctioned strategies like over-exercise, co-dependency and workaholism, use those strategies in an attempt to distance ourselves from the constant sense of anxiety we feel within.

The anxiety that we feel is borne out of harmful all-or-nothing stories that I call “learned helplessness.” The learned helplessness stories sound something like this:

 

  • I can’t
  • It’s too big
  • It’s too much
  • I’m not capable
  • I won’t be able to do it
  • I’m not allowed

And, those learned helplessness, all-or-nothing stories (that trigger our anxiety and our use of harmful coping strategies) are triggered by a naturally and appropriately occurring sensation in our bodies that I call “the niggle.”

The niggle arises when we have needs that aren’t being met.

If you used food to cope as a child (or any other of the strategies listed above), it is extremely likely that when you felt that little niggle inside that let you know you needed something and you tried to get that need met through your words or actions, you were unsuccessful, or perhaps even berated or shamed or physically harmed.

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Posted in: 2012, All-or-Nothing Thinking, Relationship with Self

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Travelling with an Eating Disorder

Travelling with an Eating DisorderTravelling with an Eating Disorder – Part I

Travelling with an Eating Disorder – Part II

Travelling with an Eating Disorder – Part III

Part I

Traveling with an eating disorder packs a triple whammy for the already beleaguered spirit in desperate need of true rest and relaxation. Whether you struggle with dieting, overeating, purging or a general dissatisfaction with your physical form that prevents you from settling peacefully into the moment, a vacation can be a stress-filled experience that makes you want to just stay at home instead with the covers pulled high.

In this 3-part article, I will not deal with the obvious stress of the obligatory attempts at dieting in anticipation of any vacation that requires the baring of any skin above the elbow or knee. That is a topic for another day. Instead, I will address the 3 key ways in which traveling can challenge the tenuous grip most disordered eaters have on their relationship with food and weight: limitations/abundance of choice; change in routine; and the emotional impact of traveling. As I explore each of these confounding circumstances I will provide you with some suggestions on how to approach them in the most simple and life-enhancing way so you can relax and enjoy your well-earned vacation.

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

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All or nothing thinking

All or nothing thinkingThis 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.

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

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The Secret to Making Your Dreams Come True

Making Your Dreams Come TrueToday, (11/21/11) for me, was one of those days that we might dream about for years and years, hoping it will come true but truly wondering if it ever would. Perhaps from our little girl selves at the age of 8 or 10, and then again, with greater emphasis and clarity in our teens, and then early 20’s and maybe during some dark times too, that dream would keep us plugging along, one seemingly cement-laden foot in front of the other.

Today I had the experience of educating a group of 160 nursing students on The CEDRIC Method. Now, that in and of itself is rather frickin’ cool! Getting to educate up-and-coming front line health care providers on a respectful, simple, effective way of perceiving and supporting their clients who may struggle with eating disorders or substance abuse issues is an incredible honour. Period. That’s a pretty cool day.

But, it gets better!

It was at a college that I went to many years ago. At that time I was a grade 10 drop out. A pot smoking, binging, isolating, depressed, anxious, insecure, totally – and I mean to-ta-leee – codependent young woman who couldn’t make eye contact with anyone without breaking out in hives!

I used to literally slink onto campus, keep my head down in class and try not to interact any more than necessary with any other students.

I could relate to the teachers amazingly well – even was asked and agreed to attend staff functions (aka pub crawls!) from time to time. But I felt so totally fat, gross, and just plain geeky with my peers (aka the cool people), that I didn’t make one friend in 4 years. Not one.

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Posted in: newsletter, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, The Law of Attraction

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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.
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Posted in: All-or-Nothing Thinking

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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!
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Posted in: All-or-Nothing Thinking

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Establishing a Normal Relationship with Food

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.

Question:

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?

Michelle’s Answer:

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.
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Posted in: CEDRIC Centre

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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.
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Posted in: All-or-Nothing Thinking

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