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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. 

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How to End Victim Think

Many clients were victimized in their dysfunctional families when they were children or adolescents. They had no choice. Even if they wanted to run away, they lacked the means or ability. Children and other powerless people are true victims. Though the Oxford Language Dictionary defines victim as someone “harmed, injured, tricked or duped,” are you really a victim as an adult when you can avoid something happening?  Perhaps that’s where the confusion comes in. Some people put themselves in situations where they’ll more than likely get “harmed, injured, tricked or duped” and choose to do so repeatedly. There’s a difference between a car veering off the road and hitting you and standing squarely in front of the car so it can’t miss you. In the former case, you’re not choosing to put yourself in harm’s way by standing at the bus stop with everyone else, while in the second you’re going...

The New Science Behind Changing Habits

Some people assume they can’t change habits because they’re lazy, unmotivated, undisciplined or lack will power. This assumption is dead wrong, and if you want to change behavioral patterns, you must give up these inaccurate beliefs and be open to learning about what works to rid yourself of old habits and develop new ones. Ready? “How to Conquer Your Primitive Brain” by Adam Piore (Newsweek, 2/17/23, pp 22-31) debunks myths about destructive habit formation and advocates scientifically proven strategies for constructive habit replacement. Some of the article’s major points: “Research suggests that habits, which operate below conscious awareness, usually cannot be tamed simply by resolving to resist them . . . we need to reverse engineer the chain of behavior that precedes them, and then either remove the cures that set us off altogether, or take the time to build new habits that will replace them.”“Habits are an essential tool of...

What to Do with Thoughts and Feelings

Many people don’t know what to do with thoughts and feelings. A thought pops up and produces a reaction—aka a feeling—and they’re off and running. But what if we were to think about these internal processes differently: as sensations which are simply there for us to give meaning to and tell us what, if anything, to do?  For example, what if you were to consider thoughts and feelings as gifts? When someone gives you one, do you automatically know what to do with it, or do you sometimes need to ponder and decide: keep it, give it to someone, or toss it away?  There was a time back in the seventies when I loved wearing neck scarves and, because of my obvious craze for them, I received many as gifts. At first I wore them all, but when I accumulated too many and as my life and fashion taste changed, I...

Do You Have Enough Emotional Intimacy in Your Life?

Talking about her marriage, a client said her couple’s therapist told her she and her husband lacked emotional intimacy. My client told me how they worked well together in their real estate business and how much fun they had when they went on vacation, with or without the kids. I responded that they seemed to have “work” and “play” intimacy but not the emotional kind the therapist was talking about. She reluctantly agreed. Emotional intimacy is something you never may have thought about or maybe it’s something you crave and long for, but never feel you have with anyone. It’s “a feeling of closeness and connection with someone . . . a sense of being deeply seen, known, and understood. It requires vulnerability, empathy, a high level of trust, and finely-attuned communication skills.” Sadly, many of my clients have never found or enjoyed true emotional intimacy. Some consistently choose friends or...

10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

Looking for guidance on intuitive eating? Here are “10 Principles of Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDS-S, Fiaedp, FADA, FAND, authors of the book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach.   1. Reject the Diet Mentality Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you the false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at diet culture that promotes weight loss and the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet or food plan might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating. 2. Honor Your Hunger Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy...

Time to Think about the Future—Really

We’re told to live in the moment, but if you don’t use some of them planning for the future, what will happen to you down the road? I don’t mean for you to worry which is not planning. I’m talking about realistically thinking about how your life will be 10, 20 or 40 years if you continue on your same path and don’t move healthfully forward. Specifically, what will middle or old age be like if you don’t change habits or face fears? My client Grant , 41, was perfectly comfortable living at home with his elderly father. Grant worked part-time, had no health benefits and prided himself in spending his time as he wished. When his father, who had Medicare and social security, had a heart attack and needed more care than he could afford, Grant had no savings to help out. Although he had a college degree in political...

What Do You Really Want from Your Parents?

As an adult, what exactly are you looking for from your parents? I don’t ask this question idly, as not a day goes by without at least one client lamenting problems they’re having with Mom or Dad (or both). Occasionally clients know just what they want from them, but much of the time, they’re kind of vague. So, here are some possibilities. You want: Attention: Mom and/or Dad never seem to want to spend quality time with you. She only calls you when she’s driving and he makes dinner plans with you but cancels about half the time because “something’s come up.”Approval: You want them to value what you do and to support your efforts. Say, you’re an adventure-seeker and your widowed mom is a homebody who can’t fathom why you’re dying to see New Zealand. Or you dropped out of business school because you want to be a school teacher,...

Beyond Weight-loss Drugs

Warning: This blog is not trying to entice you to take a weight-loss drug. Nor is it meant to dissuade you from taking one. My purpose is to share what ED recovery and 35 years of experience as an ED therapist tell me about these hot new drugs.  For a while I’ve been working with two dysregulated eaters who are, respectively, on Ozempic or Mounjaro. Both have lost significant weight, suffer few side effects, and for the first time in recent memory are enjoying ongoing feelings of regulated hunger and fullness. To say their inner lives have changed dramatically is no exaggeration. Unless they don’t intend to rely on either drug for life because they don’t care to take medication they absolutely don’t need, or because the cost is prohibitive (or both), consider what might happen when they stop taking it. From what I’ve read, hunger and fullness and dysregulated eating...

Why I Love People Who Think They’re Wrong

Attempting to Zoom with three college friends, I twice tried and failed to get into the session. I assumed I’d done something wrong ‘til I received a text from one friend who was having the same difficulty and another from the Zoom “inviter” who couldn’t get the link to work. We each thought we were the ones who’d messed up. Then the ”inviter” re-sent the link and three of us got in, but the fourth kept texting, “I can’t get in. Help! What am I doing wrong?” She eventually used the re-sent link and there we all finally were laughing at how pathetic we are at technology. These are my kind of people: their first thought is they must be at fault. Why, you might ask, would I be such a fan of people who automatically think they’re wrong? Because back in social work school, one of my professors explained how...

When People Lie to You

Like most therapists, I’ve had many clients come to harm because they believed someone else’s lies over what they knew to be the truth. The term for when someone intentionally tries to invalidate or undermine our beliefs or feelings is gaslighting. This subtle power grab to make us mistrust ourselves is manipulation meant to convince us we don’t or shouldn’t think or feel a certain way and are wrong about our facts. Here’s an example. My client Dawson was planning to take his family to visit his parents in another state. Dawson had a strained relationship with them and hadn’t seen them in a long time, but his children were excited to see their grandparents. Speaking to his mother the day before their journey, she confessed she and his father felt “a little sick,” but she swore they’d tested negative for Covid so it was safe for the visit to proceed....