Posts Tagged triggers

The Solution to Nighttime Binging

Solution to Nighttime BingingFor this week’s article I am responding to a question from a reader, Anna, who, after reading last week’s article, Back to Basics, wanted some more specific information on how to overcome nighttime binging. “I get an overwhelming sense that I need to eat at bedtime.  It is almost like an obsession.  I have not figured out what thought is triggering this yet. (At other times of the day it seems easier to figure out the thoughts that precede such events.)  If I assume it is really hunger and decide to have something small, I am right into a binge and cannot stop with a reasonable amount. Any ideas?” (more…)

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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Stay with Yourself

A topic that comes up often enough in my sessions with clients is that of not really believing or trusting the “reassuring” and “supportive” comments of the Drill Sgt. (your inner critic/champion). What I mean is that, once you’ve identified that your Drill Sgt. is criticizing you for something and have used one of the CEDRIC tools to figure out what he’s really on about, it is common early in this healing process to want to reframe his well-intentioned but poorly-communicated support into a strong, confident statement of absolute belief and trust in our ability to succeed. This actually backfires, believe it or not, and we end up feeling just as estranged from ourselves but now we believe we don’t even have a tool we can use to help because we tried it and it didn’t work! Not quite true. (more…)

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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Setting Reasonable Goals

setting reasonable goalsI’ll bet you know something about goal setting. I’d actually be willing to bet that you’re very good at setting yourself goals each and every day about what you’ll eat, what you won’t eat, when, how much exercise you’ll do, how much sleep you’ll get, whose call you’ll return and how much you’ll get done at work or around the house. Chances are, you’re really skilled at setting goals. But…how often do you actually follow through with them? How often do you get to the end of your day feeling peaceful and relaxed that you achieved what you had asked of yourself that day? If, more often than not, you reflect on your day,  and hear the Drill Sgt.’s critical voice in your head pointing out your shortcomings, it’s a good indication that you did not achieve the goals you set for yourself that day. Same goes for those of you who wake up in the morning to the Drill Sgt. telling you what you will and won’t do that day to make up for what you did/didn’t do the day before. (more…)

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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Afraid to Make Mistakes?

Afraid to Make MistakesEver feel afraid to make mistakes? You can’t expect yourself to do something perfectly the first time around. In fact, you won’t be perfect (i.e. never make mistakes) right out of the gate (or ever for that matter). If you expect that or believe that there are others who are able to do that, you will sabotage yourself and you will never move forward. If you carry the belief that you have to be perfect and that if you can’t be perfect and guarantee that you’ll not make a mistake you’re not even going to bother trying something, not only are you going to experience a very stifled and rigid existence but you’ll probably feel anxious and on the verge of a breakdown most of the time. That kind of thinking is supreme all-or-nothing thinking and it is what is keeping you stuck in all areas of your life, guaranteed. If you use food to cope, you likely had a primary caregiver or mentor in your life who did not allow mistakes, someone who shamed, blamed, criticized or judged you for not doing something perfectly – or rather the way they thought it should be done. (more…)

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Natural Eating 101, Relationship with Self

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Review Time – Overcoming Your Problems With Food

Overcoming Your Problems With FoodThis week’s article is a brief review of one of the most important, fundamental, basic concepts in the entire recovery process. The faster you grasp this the faster your process goes. It’s that simple. When we work with clients, whether individually, on the phone or in person, at workshops, and through our amazing, interactive web program that help you with overcoming your problems with food, we always repeat this point, and repeat it and repeat it. It is key! Write it out, paste it to your mirror, your fridge, and your forehead! You might get some strange looks, but in a week you will be so much farther ahead in your own healing and your self-esteem will be so much greater, you won’t care! (more…)

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Self, workshops

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What are You Telling Yourself?

You know that precious time in the morning when you lie in bed or you’re brushing your teeth or in the shower and you start to feel excited and energized about the fantasy you’re having about how much you’re going to exercise (later that day, and every day thereafter), or how much you are or aren’t going to eat that day (and every day after)? You know, those moments when you know what you need to do to be the physical form you want to be, and therefore (in your head anyway…) to be happy finally, once and for all.  Only problem is, if nothing has changed in your schedule and your inner thought process and self-regard since yesterday, all you are doing when you engage in those fantasies is setting yourself up to take a brutal beating from your Drill Sgt. when you crawl in to bed at the end of the day. Think about it. If you weren’t able to find the time or the energy or the positive self-regard to make honoring choices about what you ate, whether or not and how much you exercised, and whom you spent time with and how you spent it yesterday, why on earth would today be any different? Unless you’ve actively changed your schedule and set reasonable goals based on the reality of how much energy you’ll have at the end of the day; learned to set boundaries about what you do and with whom (both at work and at home); committed to and gained skills for eating naturally (eat when hungry, stop when comfortably full)….why would anything be any different from yesterday? Yesterday you wanted to be healthier. Yesterday you wanted to exercise. Yesterday you wanted to talk to so and so about such and such. Nothing has changed in your goals from yesterday to today. So if nothing has changed in your expectations of yourself but you weren’t able to honor them yesterday, you really are beating your head against a brick wall to continue to expect that of yourself today. It’s self-harm on a major scale to continue to expect something of yourself that you aren’t yet able to do consistently without changing your approach and gaining some new skills. If this sounds like you, it’s time to stop. This is the old, Drill Sgt., irrational, motivation through criticism approach to healing and it hasn’t worked in your entire life so far, so it’s not going to work now. Accept it, let it go and actively seek a solution that does work. What would that be you ask? Well, what does work is to take a look at what you are expecting of yourself on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis in all areas of your life: primary relationship, kids (if you have them), family, friends, work, volunteer, school (classes/crafts, etc.), and your relationship with yourself.  What is it that your Drill Sgt. tells you you should be doing in each of those areas in order to finally be acceptable, loved, safe, and happy (oh, and don’t forget drop-dead sexy!). Now stop for a moment and look at what you’ve written. How many hours in a day would you need to fulfill those commitments as your Drill Sgt. says you should in order to finally be “good enough?”  30? 50?…. When exactly are you supposed to get that perfect 8+ hours of sleep he expects of you?…Right. Now what if you just stopped, breathed, really – stop and breathe – be here, now, with me. Notice what you are telling yourself right here in this moment about yourself, about your expectations, about how there’s no point doing this exercise…etc. Take a moment and write out all the stories you’re telling yourself right now – even the one about how you don’t have time to write out all the stories you’re telling yourself … Now, at the end of each story add the words “and that means.” Now see what pops into your head. Keep adding “and that means” to the end of each statement until you feel like there really is no further to go. Chances are you’ve just hit the jackpot of all-or-nothing thinking. Go on, try it. If you’re reading this article it’s because you recognize you need a hand in getting to a peaceful and easy relationship with food and with your body. Why bother reading the article and acknowledging you need help if you’re not going to try and do anything new? Usually, the answer to that question sounds something like: “Because I don’t’ really think I can change or that I will be successful…it’s better to not try because if I try and fail I’ll feel like crap – at least now I can still imagine it can work…” Of course the only problem with that is that it’s not true! Nothing changes when you keep doing the same old same old. Our clients know firsthand that everything changes for the better, and quickly too, when they just say, “Enough already! I’ve got to do something!” and they reach out to us for some guidance, support and tools. If you’re tired of the morning fantasy that turns to evening self-abuse, start now to write out the process above and give yourself the gift of seeing firsthand what you’re expecting of yourself. Then ask yourself: Within the context of a balanced life, where I have time for my self-care (and energy to follow through on eating well and exercising moderately), what is reasonable to expect of myself in each of the key areas of my life? Do that for this week – let me know what comes up – and next week, we’ll talk about how to put that awareness into action. Always remember, this process isn’t hard. It’s simple. What makes it seem hard is all the time you have spent shaming and berating yourself for not being perfect and the automatic default to bad body thoughts and the use of food to cope that ensues when we feel criticized and “not good enough.” It’s time to learn how to step free of the inner power struggle and start living. Have a great week. Do your best with this piece. It will be worth your while. Love The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand Whether you prefer one-on-one counselling (in-person, by phone, or email), our intensive and transformative workshops, the self-help approach with the book, or our Food is Not the Problem Online Membership Program, take action today to have a stress-free relationship with food. Sign up for our free newsletter today (see the left top side of your screen). Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive product discounts and are first in line to get on all the latest new at CEDRIC. © Michelle Morand, 2010

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Self, workshops

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CEDRIC’s Weekly Update for Week 18, 2010

CEDRIC Centre Weekly UpdateWelcome to the CEDRIC Centre’s blog. This is the best place online to make lasting and complete changes to your stressful relationship with food, as well as any other stressful circumstances whether in relation to your self-regard, your relationships or your career. Many would say that we are the experts in getting you from “I’m stuck” to unstuck. Our very simple, quick, and effective method for removing all the barriers to your success, while simultaneously teaching you new ways of approaching food and other stressors, works for every harmful coping strategy and for every age, male or female. So whether you overeat, restrict, purge, drink, procrastinate, get stuck in harmful or unsatisfying relationships, feel unfulfilled in your career, or struggle with family connections, our method will show you, simply and speedily, how to create the change you seek in all areas of your life. Don’t waste another day feeling stuck and stressed out. Regardless of what you may have tried in the past, I can guarantee you, you’ve never tried this because if you had, you wouldn’t still be seeking a solution. Guaranteed! CEDRIC’s Weekly Update Welcome to another fabulous week of the CEDRIC Centre’s on line ezine!  This week’s article adds a few more pieces to one of the 3 core tools for recovery: The List of Stressors, and next week, we’ll finish it up and move on to a chat about perfectionism. Good stuff!! I’m on TV this week!: This Wednesday, the 12th I’ll be on the Fanny Keifer show (Studio 4) in Vancouver on Shaw @ 9:00. A new experience for me!  I’ve done quite a few TV appearances to share information about disordered eating, overeating, dieting, orthorexia, and about the Centre’s services too. So the experience of being in front of the camera isn’t new or scary, not like it was the first time or two. I was just chatting with a client about the tendency we have to judge ourselves for feeling anxious or insecure in new situations. It is perfectly appropriate to feel some degree of anxiety and insecurity in new situations. Everyone does. And anyone who says they don’t is not being honest with you or with themselves. There certainly are different levels of anxiety, and some people may approach new situations with a fairly low level of distress while others may be downright panicked and may not even be able to follow through on their plans as a result. The difference, with no exceptions between Person A and Person B is the degree to which they still get hooked into old core beliefs, negative self-talk and worst case-scenario thinking. The 3 core tools take care of any of those concerns in moments. You can’t expect to live life to the fullest and never feel at all anxious or unsettled. But you can expect that once you recognize that you are unsettled, you can use your 3 core tools, in moments to remove any old stories and future ideation (worst case scenario fantasies), and therefore be left with the natural, healthy appropriate niggle that any new situation calls for. This appropriate niggle is usually less than 10% of the distress that most people feel. 90% is the story, the future thinking and old crud that gets triggered simply because of the link you’ve formed, long ago, between feeling at all unsettled and automatically defaulting into learned helplessness (I can’t, I’m not good enough, It’s too overwhelming, etc.). That means, in a few short minutes, once you’ve mastered these tools you can bring yourself from overwhelmed and needing food to cope to pretty darned peaceful and enjoying the little anticipatory energy in your body when you’re in a new situation. Very fun!! Very freeing!! Victoria May Workshop: Next weekend is the Phase I workshop in Victoria, the 14 – 16 from 10 – 5 each day. We have 2 spaces free if you’d like to come. Here’s a little more feedback from past participants to give you a sense of what you can expect from attending. “The weekend workshops are amazing!  The Phase I is such a great way to learn/affirm the tools and help you focus on what you need to focus on.  The one tool that Michelle helped me with that REALLY made an impact for me in this workshop was the drilling down to determine the real reason or energy or thoughts behind the statements we make or those that are said to us – “and what’s important about that . . . ” I learned that it’s not about me, and that it’s ALL about me . . . depending on the situation.  That’s where I became VERY clear that, for me, it’s where my brain is at, and what my beliefs in myself are and what my story is.  The group situation was great – we all bonded very quickly – and everyone had ample time for individual work.” “The workshop was amazing. Michelle is a gifted facilitator and I got so much more out of the workshop in 3 days then I had in 3 months of reading her book. I’ve been watching the forums (on the web program) for the past week and have felt very strong in my understanding of the issues being discussed and the underlying issues of PLA, Alexithymia, All-or-Nothing Thinking, etc. I came away from the workshop feeling at peace for the first time in years. There were 6 participants plus Michelle. Michelle was able to meet everyone’s individual need to be heard while translating their situation to include all of us. I remember thinking when I was sharing that I was using up too much group time (my Drill Sgt. was firmly entrenched), however, as the weekend continued and we shared outside of group time, it became apparent that we were all feeling the same self-doubt and were all benefiting from each others stories. I was struck by the other participants; they were all intelligent, strong, beautiful and caring women who were deserving of all the good things that life has to offer. Yet, they struggle with the same demons that I struggle with; the nasty Drill Sgt, sky-high PLA, not trusting themselves to make ‘good’ decisions, etc. It became clear to me over the weekend that I was one of them, that I am as strong, as intelligent, as caring and maybe even as beautiful as they are. WOW!! That realization was worth the whole weekend. I decided to join the online program to keep my focus on my recovery. I have attended countless work-related workshops and know that all the best intentions to implement whatever you’ve learned are quickly put on the shelf if there is no follow-up. I’m not willing to shelve any of the things I learned during those 3 days and I’m definitely not willing to shelve this peace that I feel.” Have a fantastico week!!! And a special welcome to all of our new web program members. Our online community is growing. The dialogue is fantastic, and I’m thrilled with how everyone is making the program their own! A dream come true! Love The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, The CEDRIC Centre Weekly Update, workshops

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The Third Step to Recovery

Third Step This post is part of a series about Complete Recovery on our blog. If you’d like to read all of the blog posts in the series, see The Three Steps to Complete Recovery1, 2, 3. All-or-Nothing Thinking 101 After exploring Step 1 and Step 2 as outlined in the last 2 articles from me it is highly likely that you are more tuned in than ever before to:
  1. The signals that let you know that you’re feeling anxious;
  2. The fact that when you’re anxious it’s not a bad thing, it simply means you have needs that aren’t being met in that moment; and
  3. The absolute causal relationship between feeling anxious because your needs aren’t met and your immediate focus on food and body in a stressful, self-harming way.
If you haven’t got a sense of trust that that is the pattern; if you don’t yet know in your gut that this is the mechanism by which your food stress gets triggered and remains in your life, you must, for your own healing and freedom, read Step 1 and Step 2 and explore those exercises for a few days at least. This process doesn’t work if you just listen to me – you have to prove to yourself, to that very doubtful, critical voice within, that the problem isn’t you, it’s your training in how to respond to (or not) your appropriately occurring feelings and needs. Without your own confidence, through experience, in this process you won’t bother to do the next steps of homework and you’ll just come away from this process believing you tried and it didn’t work – which is the farthest thing from the truth. This process works 100% every single time. It can’t not work.  We are helping you to learn to apply rational adult thought to all areas of your life and when you do that, you naturally feel more adult, less fraudulent, more relaxed and peaceful in your own skin and genuinely capable and desiring of taking great care of yourself.  Once you begin to really “get” the process, the speed of your recovery is up to you in terms of how often you use your tools and therefore, how long it takes for them to become second nature in the way the old “if I feel anxious, let’s numb out” mentality is currently second nature to you. Where my team and I come in is to help speed you on your journey with support that is specific to you and your unique life experience; we provide examples and tools that are just right for where you are and what step you’re on.  But the basic mechanism is the same for all people and I’m sharing it with you these past two weeks and for the next two or so because I want you to understand completely what’s going on when you reach for food and you’re not hungry or don’t allow yourself to eat when your body needs nourishment. If this article resonates with you, then it’s time to allow yourself to get a little support and to finally step completely free of food and body stress. I have found, through my own longstanding and complete recovery from binge eating/exercise bulimia and the underlying triggers that led me to that coping strategy in the first place, that it is much easier to change a behaviour when you truly believe you can. That means, if you don’t understand why it is you do what you do, you are likely to blame yourself and see yourself as faulty and feel stuck and keep trying the same old thing. I remember the feelings of despair that used to overtake me after a binge. That sense of waking to reality to discover that I’d just done, yet again, the very thing I promised myself all day that I wouldn’t do. Every single day my trust with myself was compromised in this way and every single night I felt that familiar sense of urgent need for numbing and shortly after, the despair and depression of failure. I also remember that the only thing that brought me any sense of light, however momentarily was falling asleep to the story that tomorrow I would be different, tomorrow I would stick to my diet, tomorrow I would not over eat, not a bite more than I needed, maybe I’d even undereat and exercise to make up for tonight and in a few days the damage would be undone…….zzzzzzzzzzzzz. And then waking up to the anxiety in the pit of my stomach that signaled memories surfacing from last night, the bloating, the ‘fatness’ and feeling gross in my body, the self-loathing as I got dressed in one of the very few outfits that fit me at all – something resembling a red potato sack if I recall correctly.  The self-beratement and shame followed me through my morning preparations and on the skytrain to work and as I sat down at my desk, I was already so unhappy (yet externally smiling widely earning me the nickname of “sunshine” from my co-workers…if they only knew!), and, at that point, nothing had even really happened that day. I had no room for anything to transpire between me and the world as I was already maxed out from my own past pain and present self-loathing and ineffective solutions, yes, I remember that sense of stuckness, hopelessness and despair very, very well. By coffee break I was across the street getting a giant cinnamon bun and consuming it so quickly, so as not to be observed. Who did I think they thought I was buying it for? And why did I think anyone ever cared about what I ate?….because my family had been extremely preoccupied with what I ate and what I looked like, my weight and acceptability appearance-wise, it never occurred to me that my family had distorted priorities and confused ways of being. I assumed everyone was like them, just perhaps a little quieter about their judgement. For the record, my years of recovery and 17 years as a specialist in this field have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only people who care what you eat and what you weigh are people who are as confused and preoccupied with food as you are – and believe me, you do not want to try to live your life to make them happy – that’s their job. Your job is making you happy! And it’s much, much easier to do than you can imagine. You just have to try something that works rather than variations on a theme that never will. Where was I, oh yes, coffee break. Well, you get the point. The day did not go well as long as I was focusing on food and what I weighed and looked like rather than on why I felt so bloody shitty all the time. I just assumed I felt crappy because I was crap and would always feel that way. I believed, because of my familial training, that if I looked a certain way I could at least fake it and perhaps lead some semblance of a decent life. Only problem of course was that I had some very confused perspectives on myself and on others that led me to feel anxious most of the time whether alone or in a giant group of people and the way I dealt with my anxiety was the same way you do: I ate, I restricted, I purged through excessive exercise (at times). Now if I’m telling myself  I need to lose weight and stop overeating in order to be peaceful and happy and finally “acceptable” but the thing that I do when I feel anxious about anything is eat, I’m stuck. It wasn’t the food that had me stuck either. Not at all actually. It was my all-or-nothing thinking. I was absolutely fixated on only one possible explanation (I was lazy, lacked willpower, flawed and faulty) and, in my mind, only one possible solution: Keep trying the thing you’ve been trying for years that had never worked because it’s you that’s the problem and not the diet! So you see. The underlying all-or-nothing story that I was the problem never allowed an opportunity for me to even open my mind to the possibility that something else was actually the problem. That perhaps there were actually things that were legitimately painful or stressful and that perhaps the calming and soothing and numbing of myself with food would naturally shift if I learned how to identify and attend to those other stressful things. Perhaps even my self-esteem would increase and I genuinely wouldn’t feel so faulty and bad after I got to see myself being successful in taking care of some of those stressful situations in ways that were dignified and respectful and led to a solid sense of closure. This would mean I would feel less and less anxious and insecure and therefore need food to cope less and less, naturally! Well of course that’s exactly what was true and exactly what happened. And that’s what happens for all our clients. But I couldn’t make that shift myself because of the annoying dichotomy that the mind that actually needs to make the choice to try something new is absolutely imbedded in the story above: I’m flawed, it’s me, it always will be, I’ll never get it right, so why bother trying.  I just couldn’t clearly see where I was going wrong and why I always ended up right back where I had promised myself I wouldn’t. I needed someone outside of me to catch my thoughts for me and show me where I was taking that nasty wrong turn at Albuquerque again. Someone to help me step out of my old perspective of fear and self-doubt and into the present moment, into reality, where there truly are a multitude of possibilities to every single situation, regardless of what your old all-or-nothing mindset tells you.  As Albert Einstein so wisely said: No one can solve a problem with the same mind that created it in the first place. Back then, the cycle of anxiety – binging/restricting – feeling guilty and shameful and loathing of myself and feeling greater anxiety was at play in my brain 24/7. Of course I still believed that the solution lay in controlling my food and in me looking a certain way. I never once had any other notion put to me.  There were no other solutions presented, and believe me I searched! My psychiatrist (only went once); psychologist (likewise); 3 separate GPs; and countless diet centres; OA; etc., etc., ALL FOCUSED ON THE FOOD! ARGH! Even the “experts” were steeped in all-or-nothing thinking! I knew in my gut that what they offered wasn’t the answer but no one could tell me what was. I was blessed to stumble upon a lady who had been a psychiatric nurse and seen many women and men on her ward with eating disorders who were drugged, given diets and sent home, only to return shortly thereafter. She realized something was missing in this treatment and began to explore other options. She helped me to understand some of the basic principles of natural eating and showed me how to notice when I was coping with food and gave me a few tools to begin to do things differently. It was such an eye opener. In the 17 years since then, I have committed my life to making your complete recovery easier, speedier and most importantly, lasting. The last thing you need is another process that doesn’t work. You need something that works like a hot damn, right away.  And that’s what our program does.  I wrote an article a while back called: When I use my tools they work! I wrote that article because that’s the feedback I get every single time from clients. This stuff works. The process I have created for you relies on you exploring step 1 and step 2 from the previous week’s articles (or reading my book, joining our web program, etc., to get the full tool kit) and then, when you have proved, beyond doubt to yourself, that there is something more going on that laziness and lack of willpower on your part, you’re ready to take the next step and begin to actively explore change where it needs to happen first: What is really making you anxious and what can you do about that, fast! So, as always, email your questions and feedback and stay tuned for next week when we explore all-or-nothing thinking in greater detail and I’ll give you specific examples from many clients sharing how all-or-nothing impacted them and how it doesn’t anymore. For now, be on the lookout for the desire to use food to cope, and the accompanying feelings of anxiety and when you notice them, just stop for a moment and ask yourself what it is you were just thinking. Continue to prove the connection between some stressor in your life and your current, automatic default to food focus. Have a productive week! Love The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand Whether you prefer one-on-one counselling (in-person, by phone, or email), our intensive and transformative workshops, the self-help approach with the book, or our Food is Not the Problem Online Membership Program, take action today to have a stress-free relationship with food. Sign up for our free newsletter today (see the left top side of your screen). Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive product discounts and are first in line to get on all the latest new at CEDRIC. © Michelle Morand, 2010

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

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Free Yourself to Live Life to the Fullest – Educational Seminar

March 27, 2010 11 am – 1 pm

At The Ayurvedic Wellness Centre: 3636 W. 4th Ave., Vancouver, BC

Michelle Morand, Founder and Director

of The CEDRIC Centre Presents:

Do you or anyone you know engage in:
  • Food (overeating, restricing, purging)
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Gambling
  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Relationship obsession
  • Isolation
  • Avoidance
  • Procrastination
  • Weight stress and preoccupation
  • Angry outbursts
  • Blaming or shaming others
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
This list identifies many coping strategies common to humans. Chances are you (or someone you know) are engaged in a number of these harmful patterns each day. What most of us don’t realize is that many of these coping strategies lead to increased stress and therefore, a greater need for more coping strategies to deal with that newly created stress as well as the old stress that has yet to be resolved. In other words, use of these strategies is not a solution to any problem, it just creates more problems. But, if like most people, you’re not sure what to do to solve the underlying problem and how to stop turning to harmful ways of coping, you really don’t have much choice but to keep on doing what you’ve been doing and hope it resolves itself in time. This solution isn’t likely to be successful, hence the millions of people in North America alone who struggle with chronic weight and substance abuse issues as well as anxiety and depression, not to mention the high divorce rate. Join Michelle Morand, Author of “Food is not the Problem: Deal With What Is!” and Founder and Director of The CEDRIC Centre for Counselling, to learn why people turn to harmful coping strategies, and some very simple steps to create lasting change. Saturday, March 27th, 2010 from 11am – 1pm for an introductory educational seminar and to find out how to begin to change old patterns and free your self to live life to the fullest in every way. Contact Michelle Morand at The CEDRIC Centre for more information:

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Self

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How to Avoid Having “THE” Conversation

conversationOkay, for starters, we all know intuitively what “THE” Conversation means. It’s that big, heavy, sit-down convo that you avoid like the plague. You’ll try every other angle to get the point across and get your needs met before having “the” conversation, and if they all fail you might still not actually do the deed. If you’re anything like most folks who use food to cope or other harmful coping strategies, before you actually approach someone directly about an issue you’re having with them, you’ll try:
  • Hinting about what you want;
  • Making jokes;
  • Using sarcasm;
  • Talking to others in the loop about it, in the hopes that they will have “the” conversation or that at least it will get back to that person how you’re feeling and you won’t have to tell them yourself;
  • Avoiding the person;
  • Using body language like eye rolls or lack-of -eye contact, and crossed arms to let the person know you’re not a fan of something that they are doing;
  • The silent treatment (simply ignoring them);
  • Using a particular tone with them designed to get them to ask, “What’s up? Have I done something?” Depending on the issue, the tone may range from disappointed, to frustrated, to downright contemptuous.
The only problem is, all of these techniques will fail if the other person is either unwilling to accept responsibility for their behaviour or if they just don’t know that they are doing something to upset or offend you. Unfortunately, this is usually the case. That’s because people typically don’t engage in behaviours that they know consciously offend or upset other people. Don’t get me wrong. People definitely do play head games at times but usually that behaviour is pretty easy to spot, and I do believe that those folks that are intentionally messing with our minds are fewer and farther between than you may imagine. The truth is, the person who is frustrating you or hurting your feelings or downright scaring you with their behaviour or demeanor, is very likely completely unaware that they are having that impact. They are very likely working from a perception of themselves that puts their behaviour in the best light, where, at least to them, it makes perfect sense and is completely acceptable. So, imagine their shock when you sit down with them and have “THE” convo! If you’ve tried the techniques listed above to try and give them the message prior to “the” conversation, you are likely to be sitting across from someone who is less than comfortable with you because you’ve been behaving a little weird or downright standoffishly, but they don’t know why. You’re also far more likely to elicit a defensive reaction (a closed mind or an angry retort) when the person is, in their mind, hearing about your problem with them for the first time in a fairly intense way. From your perspective in this situation, you’ve tried to give them the message, they haven’t got it, so you have to have the big sit-down. From your perspective you may be sad or feel hard-done-by should the recipient of “THE” conversation not appreciate your “patience”, “maturity”, and overall intention (to avoid conflict at all costs and to not upset the other person) and instead become angry and defensive. This dynamic is the reason that most people avoid “THE” conversation like the plague. It’s not that sitting down with someone to resolve issues is actually that big a deal when certain basic steps are followed, it’s just that most people who use food to cope are scared to death of letting anyone know that they have a need and so resist or avoid taking care of issues as they arise in favour of the magical thinking that, if they wait long enough, they may just…..go away.  And often they’re scared to admit to having needs because they carry that old, annoying co-dependent training that says:
  • You are responsible for everyone else’s feelings and needs;
  • You are needy if you have needs;
  • You are only allowed to take care of yourself when everyone else is happy;
  • If someone is at all unhappy or even has the potential to be at all unhappy it’s because you’ve done something bad or wrong and that makes you a bad person.
Well, actually, none of those stories are true. That training is a pile of phooey folks. Trust me! Now, just imagine, sitting down to have “THE” conversation with someone when you’re coming from an adult, interdependent mindset that doesn’t believe those ridiculous stories, but instead believes:
  • You have a right to be treated with dignity and respect;
  • You are not responsible for others feelings and needs, you are only responsible for your own;
  • You have a responsibility, not just a right, to meet your own needs in all areas of your life;
  • You are “allowed” to ask for what you need and that does not make you at all bad or wrong or “needy.” In fact, a healthy, interdependent relationship demands that you communicate clearly about what you feel and what you need;
  • You have the tools you need to respectfully communicate to the other person involved what you need and how they can help meet that need if they are willing;
  • You know, in your heart, that if someone is unwilling or resistant to meeting, or even acknowledging your need, it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or your request, it only means that it doesn’t meet needs for them to meet your need;
  • You trust yourself to get your need met. As such, you have the space within you and within “THE” conversation to ask questions and to really listen to the other person’s perspective. You trust that you will not be overrun by guilt, blame, shame or anger but that you will hold steady, with grace and dignity, and that ultimately, you will find a way to have your need met, even if that means, as a last-ditch effort, leaving the relationship.
If you trusted in yourself to truly feel, think, and behave as listed above, how do you think you’d feel as you approached “THE” big conversation? Would it even feel like a big conversation? Would it have the same freaky connotations of failure, neediness and inviting anger and judgement?  Not likely. Rather, it’s far more likely that you would have spoken to this person in more direct and clear ways about the issue as it arose in relationship between you long before it ever got to the need for “THE” conversation. Chances are your sense of deservedness of healthy relationships and respectful interactions would have led you to simply and briefly speak to that person about their behaviour and its impact on your sense of trust, safety and respect with them the first time you felt a little uncomfortable with something they said or did, rather than waiting until you just couldn’t stand it anymore and were about to burst with frustration or walk away from the relationship. From that approach, your energy approaching a conversation is much lighter and usually more readily received by the other person. Remember, usually people have no clue that they’re doing something that is upsetting you. And if they do have clue that you’re a bit miffed about something, they usually don’t know specifically what to do differently to make you “un-miffed.” You are responsible for communicating to others about what you feel and what you need and about how the people in your life can meet your needs if they are willing. When you communicate directly and clearly about what you need you give others a chance to show you whether they are able and/or willing to meet your needs. This gives you direct and immediate feedback as to how much you can safely rely on this person and therefore whether they can be a dear and trusted friend, an acquaintance, or someone you keep at a good solid distance. There is much more to say on this topic so tune in next week for more about communication and some tips for attending to things before they get to the point where it feels like “THE” conversation is the only solution. Sometimes, no matter how well you handle something you still need to have “THE” conversation. But it’s much easier to approach it from a place of peace and security when you know you’ve done your due diligence and given the other person many reasonable opportunities to meet your needs. For this week, just notice where and with whom you’ve been avoiding having “THE” conversation and take a moment to ask yourself why. What are you telling yourself will happen?  Have you done your best to respectfully and clearly let that person know what you need and how, specifically, they could meet that need? Challenge yourself to approach your conversations and interactions with others this week from the adult interdependent mindset and just see what a phenomenal difference it makes! Have a fabulous week! Love michelle-signature Whether you prefer one-on-one counselling (in-person, by phone, or email), our intensive and transformative workshops, the self-help approach with my book, or our Food is Not the Problem Online Membership Program, take action today to have a stress-free relationship with food. Sign up for our free newsletter today (see the left top side of your screen). Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive product discounts and are first in line to get on all the latest new at CEDRIC.

Posted in: 2010, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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