Posts Tagged eating disorders

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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Exercising or Not Can Be a Crutch

Exercise is often a key component of the cycle of eating disorders and using food to cope. We feel so inherently flawed and unacceptable when we struggle with disordered eating in any way, that our body becomes our worst enemy and therefore, we believe, it is deserving of as much mistreatment verbally and physically as we can dish out. Thus we may choose to simply abandon our body altogether and not exercise for years and years. Or we may choose to exercise for hours a day regardless of the signals our body is sending us in the form of fatigue or pain. Either way, we’re creating more stress physically and psychologically and we’re nowhere near dealing with the real issue that triggered this behaviour in the first place.

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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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Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa

Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa (Physiological)
  • Over-excessive concern with body image
  • Extreme weight loss due to reduced food intake
  • Feelings of being fat in spite of increasing thinness
  • Obsessive Behaviour: With food, with dieting, and with exercising
Other physiological symptoms may include: weakness, swelling of the neck, cessation of menstruation, low pulse and blood pressure, ulcers, loss of tooth enamel due to repeated vomiting, thyroid dysfunction, insomnia, hormone and electrolyte imbalances, potassium deficiency, and others.
Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa (Psychological)
  •  Loss of self-esteem
  •  Fears of growing up
  •  Difficult parent/child relationships
  •  Feelings of inadequacy and inferiority
  •  Peer and parent pressure
  •  Perfectionism
  •  Deep feelings of guilt and shame
Anorexia is also often accompanied by extreme over-activity, panic, anxiety, and sometimes drug abuse.

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When I Use My Tools, They Work!

“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.

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The CEDRIC Philosophy

At The CEDRIC Centre we believe:
  1. Food is not the problem.
  2. Food is just a coping strategy; regardless of whether you overeat, under eat, or binge and purge.
  3. Until you identify and heal the underlying concerns from your past, your present and/or your future that are triggering you to use food to cope you will continue to overeat, restrict or purge.
  4. Any effort to control your use of food through restriction, without a clear understanding of why you are using food to cope in the first place, can not be successful for any length of time.
  5. Complete and lasting recovery from restriction, overeating, and bingeing is possible. Regardless of how long this pattern has been a part of your life, you can anticipate achieving complete freedom from the use of food to cope.
  6. A natural relationship with food means you eat when you are hungry and you stop when you are full. Barring any medical condition, it is impossible to be anything other than a natural and healthy weight for your body if you are eating in response to your body’s natural signals of hunger and fullness.
  7. Our goal is to support you to achieve a natural relationship with food and to heal the underlying triggers that have led you to use food to cope in the past.

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Food Focus is Directly Related to Emotional Pain

When we focus on calories and losing weight, we keep ourselves in a state of denial about painful experiences in our lives. We have a strong need for acceptance from others and will go out of our way to please others, even if it means sacrificing ourselves. This need for acceptance, coupled with feelings of low self-worth, keeps us stuck in a world of perfectionism, where our primary focus is on our body, how unacceptable we perceive it to be, and what life will be like when we finally have the body we desire.

As long as we believe that our body is the source of our unhappiness, we are able to stay in denial about the underlying causes of our distress with an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa. What we fail to understand is that we are capable human beings, who can safely be responsible for our emotions and experiences, and who can learn to show respect for ourselves and our needs, without losing the support and respect of others.

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Oneness and Peace

If we’ve never felt the sense of peace and flow that comes from being completely in the moment through meditation, prayer, or some activity which has captured our full attention, it is likely that we will confuse the sense of connectedness and happiness that we can sometimes feel with friends, family and peers with the sense of oneness and peace that comes from a higher, spiritual connection. It is this confusion that inevitably leads us to believe that in order to be happy and to feel peaceful we need the approval of someone outside of ourselves. This mindset makes us exceptionally vulnerable. In order for us to feel truly happy and confident and secure in ourselves and in our world, we must come to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are capable of meeting our own needs for connectedness, peace and happiness.

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Reset Your Inner Alarm

Reset Your Inner Alarm

Want to stop automatically reacting to stress by binging and feeling insecure and crappy about yourself. Then try the Reset Your Inner Alarm exercise.

What sense would it make if every time your alarm went off to wake you in the morning, you said “Oh, there’s my alarm. I guess that means I’ll go back to sleep?” Not much sense in that at all.

Well, every time you notice you’re feeling anxious or depressed or starting to think about using food to cope and then actually restrict, binge, or purge, you are doing exactly that.

You are, in essence, noticing the alarm (your anxiety, your depressed feelings, your thoughts of using a coping strategy) and then going back to sleep through numbing out and focusing on food.

That’s why, despite your strong desire for things to be different you find yourself staying stuck going round and round in circles with food and weight loss struggles.

How about you try this instead?

The next time you notice a. you’re hungry but aren’t letting yourself eat or b. you aren’t hungry but you’re wanting to eat or you’re binging and can’t stop, just ask yourself – 

a. What’s going to happen if I allow myself to eating something now? Is that the only thing that could happen? What else could possibly happen? What would I like to see happen?

b. What’s going to happen if I don’t have something now or if I stop eating now? Is that the only thing that could happen? What else could possibly happen? What would I like to see happen?

Take the time to start to notice the stories you are telling yourself about food and about you and to question them – that will make it almost effortless to side-step them and begin to relate normally to food. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, everything in moderation and handle stress from other aspects of life in rational, functional ways not by denying your body food or by force feeding yourself.

Make it safe to check in and try this experiment by reassuring yourself that no matter what the answers to your questions are you are not going to force yourself to do anything any differently. If you naturally want to eat or stop eating that’s fine, if you don’t that’s fine too. The key for now is to start to understand what is driving you to do what you say you don’t want to do.

The behavioural change will come naturally once you have developed a good understanding of yourself.

I’m here to help. Reach out for some individual sessions or for some information on our workshops and web program. Change is speedy and simple when you have a supportive, knowledgeable guide and simple tools to follow. And that’s what I will provide for you.

Love Michelle

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