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Taking Advice and Suggestions

This blog is for you dysregulated eaters who aren’t doing all you can to help yourself overcome your eating problems. My purpose is to help you learn what stops you, especially why you have difficulty taking advice and following through on reasonable suggestions that will help you recover. Until and unless you’re able to take the steps that are recommended, you’ll be saddled with unhealthy eating and emotional problems that prevent you from reaching your eating—and other—goals.

I’ve learned through my professional experience that clients who succeed follow through on most, if not all, my suggestions. They may not be convinced at the outset that an idea will help them, but they trust that my decades of experience in the field in general and knowledge of them in particular will move them in the right direction. Many are ambivalent at best and scared at worst, yet take a deep breath and read a book I recommend, start writing a journal, join a group, try EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), bring in a partner for couples therapy, or even go inpatient if that’s what’s needed to build them up or put an end to destructive patterns.

Coming to therapy is perhaps the biggest leap of faith of all. To meet with a stranger who will (hopefully) teach you how to help yourself get better is no easy task. Yet the people who enter therapy and stick it out inevitably begin to overcome their food problems. And the ones who follow my suggestions and advice are the clients who make the longest strides. They take risks and are highly motivated—unlike other clients who are more ambivalent—traits which carry them over the finish line.

People who fail to act on my recommendations are usually mistrusting, fearful, or rebellious. Some hate anyone “telling them what to do” and balk at any change. Others are scared due to early trauma or abuse or so anxious they have trouble getting over longstanding fears. My work with them takes longer—before they can take advice, they have to recognize that I’m on their side and am working for, not against, them. Time together also involves helping them recognize how childhood-generated fears hold them back in the present and prevent them from creating a positive future.

If you’re someone who has difficulty taking suggestions or advice from an individual in the know, please think about why and how your refusal prevents or slows down your recovery. You have it in your power to change, but you have to take the necessary steps to do it, which includes having the courage and trust to rely on experts.