Skip to main content

BLOGS

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational, and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life. Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

No unsolicited guest blogs are accepted, thank you!

Why We View Parents Differently Than Other People

I had an interesting discussion with my client Alexandria about how she often allows her mother to mistreat her. She’s been changing her thinking about their relationship lately, though, because she’s finally decided that she doesn’t want to be intentionally hurt repeatedly by anyone. Then again, if we felt the same way toward parents as we do toward others, there’d be no need to discuss the issue in therapy or elsewhere. A shift in thinking is natural as we grow older. Remember that our brains only fully form in our late twenties, so our emotional response to parents is based on a brain lacking adequate executive functioning: we don’t understand ourselves, others, or the world because we don’t have the cognitive ability to do so.  By the time we’re teens and making friends, we have a stronger (yet still incomplete) capacity to assess how we’re treated and decide if it’s acceptable....

Why Must We Get Over Something?

I confess that I’ve blogged about letting go until I finally realized it’s just another nonsensical phrase that we have no business using. Another is to “get over” something. Really, where do people come up with this stuff?  I tried to find the origin of “let go of” without, as they say, taking a deeper dive, but I came up with nothing. It appears that way back in the 14th century “get over” meant to recover from a physical illness. It’s unclear when it began to mean to stop being a ninny and start controlling your emotions. The phrase felt wrong to a client who shared her reaction to responses to the recent death of her mother. Though no one actually said, “let go” to her (thank goodness), one person implied that she needn’t feel grief because her mother’s death was “God’s will.” What a subtle way of telling someone to...

Quit Making People Projects

Do you make fixing others your life’s work? Do you find folks with problems—the more the merrier—and feel such immense pressure to make things better for them that they become your “pet project”? While people are teaching English as a second language, refinishing a table or learning to meditate, are you spending your time fixing others? This behavior stems from co-dependence, your need for others to be okay for you to be okay. Learned in childhood, this dysfunctional dynamic makes you ignore your needs and problems and focus instead on fixing troubled and troubling people. Take Sarah-Jean who almost lost her rental apartment because she was treating it like an Air B&B. She was a magnet for people who’d been evicted or kicked out of their living quarters and swore they only needed a bed for a night or two. Never mind that they ran the gamut from substance abusers to...

Watch Out for Breadcrumbing

I’m sure many of you read the title of this article and had no idea what I was talking about. I’d never heard the term “breadcrumbing” either until I read How to Tell if You’re Being Breadcrumbed in a Relationship, Friendship or at Work by Amy Beecham but I certainly recognize the behaviors described. I bet some of you will too. Breadcrumbing is a manipulative technique used by unhealthy (often not nice) people to keep you hooked into them or your relationship with them. It involves giving you just enough love, praise, time, attention, good will to make you happy, but not enough to really satisfy you. In clinical terms, it’s called giving you intermittent reinforcement.  According to Beecham, “‘breadcrumbing’ involves leading someone on, and keeping their hopes up through small and superficial acts of interest. A breadcrumber might be flirtatious, complimentary or seem engaged with you at first, but will...

Book Review: The Eating Disorder Trap

Although The Eating Disorder Trap by Robyn L. Goldberg, RDN, CEDRD-S was written as “A Guide for Clinicians and Loved Ones,” much of it is equally useful to people with dysregulated, dysfunctional eating. So, feel free to learn from this book, pass it on to your therapist who may know little about the specialty of treating eating disorders (EDs), and encourage intimates to read what Goldberg has to say from her decades as a registered dietitian helping clients and their loved ones make recovery happen. Full of valuable information and insights, chapters are short and to the point with simple graphics, case examples, and research data and conclusions. The book begins by explaining how lack of accurate information about EDs in our culture lays the traps that unwittingly snare people into them. Goldberg shares the truth about BMI, what “normal” eating entails, why diets fail long-term, and how to decide the...

Words to Measure Progress

The words you use to describe your progress are key, so you’ll want to know which ones will move you forward and which will keep you stuck. Here are ways to think and talk about how well you’re doing. I’m guessing they might be quite different than the thoughts and self-talk you’re using now. Small steps. Describe progress as modest changes rather than looking for success in one fell swoop. The discussion of how to phrase progress came up with a client who said that she’s not doing any big things differently but is making small changes which are adding up. She’s going to the gym when she can, pacing her work to be less stressful, encouraging her children to be more active, not keeping juice easily accessible to them, and giving them more responsibility for thinking about consequences and taking care of themselves. Recognize success. I’ve written how the word...

So What If It’s the Truth

I sometimes know what clients will say before the words are out of their mouths. This happened with my client Antoinette. After doing well in many ways, she succumbed to an urge to binge which led to a “medical” diet, weight loss, and rebound eating. After discussing what she’d learned, she lamented, “But, I’m fat again. It’s the truth.” The phrase, “but it’s the truth” is the one I want to call your attention to as I did to her. I believed her. It was the truth: she had regained a portion of the weight she’d lost and now her clothes were tight again. I couldn’t argue with her, but—here’s the point—since when does something being true mean we need to dwell on and obsess about it? I reminded her it also was no lie that there’s a horrible war going on in Ukraine; poverty, guns and COVID continue to kill...

Why It’s Okay to Waste Food

Teaching Clients Why It’s Okay to “Waste” Food (reprinted from Gürze-Salucore Eating Disorders newsletter, July 29, 2023) A client and I had an interesting chat about wasting food. She was raised on a shoestring budget, with her grandmother insisting that everyone finish the food on their plate. I understood: My father would sit with me and read the New York World-Telegram until every morsel on my plate was in my stomach. He acted as if unfinished food was reason enough for the major crimes unit to haul me away. Though he was raised during the Depression when money was tight, by the time I came along he’d become a successful Manhattan podiatrist. I understand how old habits die hard, if at all. Now, I go out of my way to explain to dysregulated eaters that what we came to believe as children when we were told not to waste food was...

Thoughts About Food That Make No Sense

Did you ever stop and analyze what drives your dysfunctional eating? Specifically, whether your thoughts about food are rational? I bet not. Irrational thinking is the major cause of dysregulated eating. Here’s one common example. My client Jonah described how he always wanted to eat or buy two of everything. We hadn’t talked about this issue before and he explained that, for example, getting two hamburgers for a bit more than the price of one felt so right. For example, he thought the idea of paying $6 for two burgers when he’d have to pay $4 for one was terrific.  I told him that would work if he were buying them in a store and was planning to have two meals for the six bucks. He said, no, he ate whatever he bought at once, whether he was hungry for the second one or not and was tickled pink knowing how...

Better to Be Concerned Than to Worry

Because I believe that self-talk determines our mood and actions, a while ago I started replacing the word “worry” with “concern.” So, instead of thinking, “I’m anxious we may need a new roof” (which we do), I’ve turned it into, “I am concerned we may need a new roof” or even “I have a concern we may need a new roof” which brings more detachment from my thoughts because it’s something I “have,” not something I “am.” Concern shows that something is important to you and you want to put attention on it. It matters enough to think about; it’s on your mind. It’s on one end of a continuum whereas, “worry” or “anxiety” is on the other. It’s a mental note of something to consider. Worry ratchets up concern to a higher level. It’s concern on steroids. Whereas concern shows fleeting and mild attachment to a thought, worry makes it...