Your breath is both a complicated and conveniently simple process that weaves together the communication between your body and mind. Linked to your nervous system, your breath has the capabilities of keeping you alive, soothing your body and mind and increasing energy. Your breath holds a wealth of resources for you. All you have to do is attend to it. Here’s some ways to access its usefulness.
Give yourself a break: when you compare yourself to people in magazines, remember that these people don’t actually look like that. They are photo-shopped and air brushed and have had their hair and makeup professionally done.
Focus on appreciation: Take 3 deep breaths and ask yourself ‘what do I love about my body’? Maybe start with things like: ‘I love the way my arms are able to hug people’ or ‘My legs get me places and help me close drawers when my hands are full’. See how many things you can find about what your body DOES that you can appreciate.
Reduce the criticism: Sometimes people believe that if they focus on what they don’t like, it will motivate them to change. The opposite is true. If you notice yourself measuring and pinching parts of your body that you don’t like, see if you can get yourself to STOP these actions. If you notice you’re in front of the mirror or critiquing your selfies often, commit to yourself that you will avoid the mirror and/or stop taking selfies for 1 week (or 1 day if you need to start there). Journal about this experience: what did you notice? Were you as critical?
Breathe into Compliments: If you receive a compliment, see if you can breathe into it rather than brushing it away. Take a few moments to really savor the compliment. Give yourself a few moments, even if you don’t believe it, to just pretend that it’s true. How would your life be different if you believed the compliments you received?
Project: You are on a search for body love. Look for images of people who are beautiful but are not perfect – whatever that means for you. If you feel that you need to be very thin, look for images of people who are NOT thin, but are beautiful anyway. Get at least 20 images. Gather these images in a place where you can look at them often – weather you have a paper copy or a Pintrest Board – put them all somewhere you can look at them at least daily and notice what you appreciate about these bodies. You might be surprised how your view of perfection shifts.
To learn more about how to love your body, call now to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation: 610.314.8402
At times, all of us have eaten a bit, or a lot more than is comfortable in our bodies. Holidays, celebrations or sometimes mindless eating in front of the TV can leave us feeling overly full. For some, this way of eating is more common and happens more frequently than we’d like. The new DSM-V, the Psychiatric Association’s manual on diagnosis, has created a diagnosis under the eating disorder umbrella called Binge Eating Disorder or BED. Whether you meet the criteria for this disorder, for bulimia, anorexia, or you just find yourself overly stuffed at times, these tools can be helpful:
1. Notice what types of foods you’re binging on and write them down.
It helps to look at your behavioral patterns. Some people find themselves eating excessive sweets, some are more geared towards fats or starches. Some people with emotional eating tendencies excessively eat any kind of meal including vegetables. See if you can find a pattern in your binge choices.
2. Notice what you DON’T binge on.
Are there any types of foods that you’d never consider in a binge or never feel the need to over-eat? In a recent session, a client was relaying the guilt and shame he felt after a binge. He reported that he doesn’t usually allow pastries in the house, but was feeling strong recently and thought it’d be okay. He found himself finishing off the pastries he had in one sitting. Upon further investigation into what foods he was allowing himself to eat regularly, the client determined that he felt very satisfied when he ate waffles and allowed himself to eat waffles multiple times per week. I asked him if he ever binges on waffles. He was shocked when he thought about it and said that – no – he never binges on waffles. Ok, great, so there’s no waffle binging going on, but how does that help? Follow me here.
3. Take a look at what you ‘allow’ yourself to eat regularly.
What foods do you consider safe? In an attempt to be healthy, lose weight, or just get control over your food choices, you may be very rigid or restrictive about what you allow yourself to eat on a regular basis. Perhaps your choices look benign enough like chicken and veggies multiple times per week. Write down what you’ve eaten over the past 3 days to 1 week or track your food for a week. What do you notice?
4. What is missing from your regular eating habits?
Take those same meal journals and notice what you don’t have there. If we consider all the food groups: protein, fat, starch, veggies, fruits and dairy – are there any food groups missing? Are there lots of repeated meals without much variety?
Now I know this might seem completely insane and a bit scary, but HERE’S THE KEY to quit binging. Ready?
5. Allow yourself to eat the foods you binge on.
Try adding a portion or 2 of the foods you don’t allow yourself to eat and some of the most common foods you binge on to your regular meal schedule. I know this might seem counter-intuitive. Our society tells us to resist, have discipline, diet harder, avoid sugars and carbs and fats and this may be the only voice you’ve ever heard that encourages these things, but just give it a try for a month or even a week and see what happens. If you are on the anti-carb kick, but then you find yourself binging on carbs, try adding a normal amount of carbs to each meal and see what your body craves after a while.
Here’s the rub – We are creatures of desire.
Food is part of life! It’s nourishing and delicious and sensual. When we restrict ourselves from eating foods we love, we may lose weight in the short run, but this does not happen without consequence. Our animalistic nature, our Id, it craves pleasure and passion and vigor. If we force ourselves to live inside a rigid box of rules around food and body, we will always desire to break free and stepping outside of that box causes immense shame and fear. I am not telling you to overeat or teaching you how to binge differently, but what I am suggesting is that you try to take the power out of the foods that haunt you.
If you regularly binge on entire cartons of ice cream, see what happens when you have a cup every night for a week. What emotions come up when you eat it? Can you journal about them and bring them into your therapist? What do you find yourself craving after that week of glorious freedom with ice cream?
If you live near The Main Line of Philadelphia or West Chester and want to learn more about binging and how to quit, or you’re not sure where to find support for your feelings around food, you’re not alone. Please feel free to contact me at 610.314.8402 – I’d be happy to help you find support.
Here are some tips you might find helpful when working with clients with Eating Disorders, or Disordered Eating:
1. Find a registered dietician who specializes in Eating Disorders. It is important that your belief systems and theirs align when working together to treat a client. For example, most people in the eating disorder recovery field believe that there are no "bad" foods and we work with clients to neutralize food. However, some people believe in "abstinence" from certain foods or food groups. When I am looking for a dietician, I make sure that they're not of the school of thought to tell my clients to restrict food groups as it would go against the work we are doing clinically.
2. Buy large desk calendar and different stickers and create a behavior chart for meals and snacks well done according to their meal plan. Celebrate successes elaborately!
3. If age appropriate, work with parents on making "no Foods bad". Everyone in the family can join in on recovery by coming together to share with all food groups.
4. If age appropriate, look into the Maudsley Method for re-feeding process.
5. Work with your client to create an art project around beautiful people, models, actresses, friends or family and others in Pinterest or print outs who are not super skinny. Process what they find beautiful about these people. Encourage clients to post up these images on their wall so that they get used to seeing ideal beauty images and other than emaciated models.
6. Make a list of all clients fear foods and safe foods and medium foods and use CBT to debunk myths of fear foods.
7. Eat 'normal meals' together in session - especially with fear foods - exposure therapy.
8. Find studies that show that whatever fear foods are - are not 'bad' i.e. - sugar is not as evil as everyone says.
9. Use ego state work to find out which 'parts' in clients psyche are telling them not to eat and have conversations with them using Gestalt Chair Work.
10. Use the books Life Without Ed by Jenni Schaefer as a guilde book, everyone involved should read and the book 8 Keys to Recover from an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin can be used for treatment and interventions as well.
11. The therapist can have client draw their body in the size and shape she believes it's in, then have therapist actually trace clients body and process the difference.
12. If there's one body part the client is upset about like their waist, have client draw what they believe is their waist size, then use a string to measure (not using numbers) the actual size and trace THAT onto the paper and process the difference.
Hope this helps!!
What else do you use as interventions for clients? Please comment below!! As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at 610.314.8402 or through www.TiffanySpilove.com