What do you worry about?

Worrying is using your imagination to create what you don’t want.”

~Abraham-Hicks

I’m a worrier and it’s no wonder because I hail from a long line of worriers. I’ve 12498953_sworried about my weight, about what I’m going to eat and what others think of my body. Are you a worrier too?  What do you worry about?

During my own recovery from Binge-Eating Disorder, studying for my Emotional Eating Certification and reading tons of books on spirituality, I’ve come to realize that worrying is not healing the very things you’re worrying about and the quote above states this perfectly.

Worrying is a normal part of life, right? Well, yes and no. We need to think about potential pitfalls so we can avoid them but we need to be mindful of not letting these thoughts invade our mind to become negative beliefs. On the other hand, constant worry about the same things day in and day out has the potential to become a self-fulfilled prophecy. We’re actually manifesting our worry into reality. Who wants that? After all, we’re worrying to avoid the situation about which we’re worried!

When it comes to weight, eating and body image, we’re in a constant state of worry. We’re negatively focusing and worrying over how much we weigh, what diet we’ll try next, if we’ll get into that “skinny” outfit for the big event next month, if we can attract a significant other or get the dream job. Whatever you focus on grows so worrying attracts that which you don’t want.

Here are 3 things you can do to stop worrying!

  1. Write a list of your chronic worries.

  2. For every worry on the list, write something for which you are grateful. For example, “I’m too fat” turns into “I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to get to know my body better in order to achieve a healthier weight.”

  3. Practice, practice, practice! This is not an easy shift to make when we’ve been mired in worried, negative thoughts for years. It takes effort to think about life differently because the comfort of beating ourselves up through worrying about our weight, eating and bodies is familiar and what we’ve been conditioned to do. Read the lists you’ve made in steps 1 and 2 daily until the worry starts to lift and becomes a manifestation of the positive.  Don’t worry if it takes time for this practice to become habit!

It’s unreasonable to expect that we will never worry again. But, we can channel that worry into something positive that can heal our relationship with weight, food, our bodies and even other areas of our life. Eventually, your worries will decrease and you’re life will be happier, more fulfilled and with a lot less frown lines 😉

If you’re not familiar with Abraham-Hicks and the Law of Attraction, visit their website here.  

FREE Webinar

This week, I wanted to remind you that I’m hosting a FREE webinar called Webinar-Art-April-14,-2015“Nourishing Weight Loss for Binge Eaters” on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 8pm EST.

This webinar topic will benefit anyone who wants to lose weight, not just binge eaters (I know…the title seems a bit deceiving!). I will be sharing weight loss strategies that are nurturing, free from deprivation and filled with self-love, not the self-hate that typically accompanies traditional weight loss diets.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried many weight loss diets that have worked for a short time but never found the long-lasting strategy that heals your relationship with food and your body for good. We start a diet and beat ourselves up if we’re “bad”, if we don’t lose 5 pounds the first week and if we can’t fit into our “skinny” jeans by {insert your event of choice here!}.

One of the traps we’ve fallen into is that the intention behind our desire to lose weight isn’t a long-term motivator.  We need to want to lose weight for the right reasons and that means re-setting our intentions.

What if I told you that the most effective intention is to gain a normal relationship with food and weight loss takes a backseat? Seems weird, but it’s the only way I (and many others smarter than me!) have found to be successful.

To that end, I’ll cover three main things in this webinar:

  1. Re-booting your mindset around eating, bingeing, losing weight and your body.
  2. Acknowledging the science behind weight loss without becoming obsessed with the “counting” and “numbers” of it all.
  3. Increasing your awareness and understanding of eating principles and helping you uncover who you are as an eater.

I’ve tried all of these strategies and they’ve worked for me and others I’ve coached along my journey.

This is a journey…it’s wonderful and often frustrating and torturous but once you “flip the switch” and realize that eating issues are symptoms of a life unfulfilled, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier relationship with food and yourself. Oh yeah…and you’ll likely lose weight in the process!

Enter your email address to the right to get the replay for FREE!

FREE Webinar: “Nourishing Weight Loss for Binge Eaters”

When I entered treatment for my Binge Eating Disorder (BED), I 35689240_mlearned that I wasn’t a failure because I couldn’t stick to a diet and exercise program to lose weight long-term. I realized that I was going about losing weight all wrong because it wasn’t about the weight, it was about WHY I was eating and bingeing. So, I started my journey of transformation by stopping my binge behavior and trying to establish normal eating patterns. You see, I was taught that establishing normal eating patterns would allow weight to melt right off as a result. It sounded great!

Two years later, I was 20 pounds thinner (Yay!) with over 100 more pounds to lose (Sigh…). I knew I had to step up my transformation because my weight was still affecting my health, not to mention that I was truly ready to feel and look better.

But, how do you lose weight with a Binge Eating Disorder when the topic of weight loss seems to be off-limits in the eating disorder community? When I asked my therapist or nutritionist about it, I felt that concerns about my weight were not addressed to my satisfaction so I just stopped asking.

I had to find my own way and it started with facing the reality of what I was eating. Although my bingeing was almost non-existent, I was still eating emotionally and I wasn’t eating intuitively to make my body feel good. This increased awareness helped me craft a strategy to lose weight while still honoring the fact that I was a binge eater.

So how’d I do it?

Well, it was trial and error but I finally found a balance between weight loss and bingeing and I know I can help others do the same. The trick is to combine the things we learned to curb our binge eating with the science of weight loss in a gentle and nourishing way. It’s definitely not our mother’s diet!

I’m so ready and excited to share this information with others that I’m hosting a FREE webinar called “Nourishing Weight Loss for Binge Eaters” on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 8pm Eastern. In this webinar, I’ll be sharing my strategy, helping you craft your own strategy and giving you tools for success! We’ll be talking about mindful, intuitive and emotional eating principles and will do a lot of soul-searching to dig deep and find what it is we’re really hungry for. Only then can we get the life, eating habits and body we want.  

Most importantly, I want to bring the fun and enjoyment back into eating because it doesn’t have to be a struggle all the time.

To register for this FREE webinar, simply enter your email address to the right —> and I’ll send the logon information right to your email. 

Please get this on your calendar and share with others you think may benefit from this webinar. If you can’t make it, don’t worry, I’ll record it and send you the access info. I’m also planning to host additional webinars. What topics would you like to learn more about? I’d love to tailor the webinars to YOUR interests so drop me a line at mw@mwilsoncepc.com if you have any suggestions.

I look forward to connecting with you on the 14th!

Michelle

Question Those Beliefs

We often want to lose weight, stop binge-eating or follow a particular diet (i.e. gluten-free, question-markAtkins, etc.) for the wrong reasons. The motivating factor usually is to hit a certain number on the scale, look like the latest swimsuit model or join the “in” crowd following the newest diet fad. We don’t want to be judged if we eat a piece of bread from the bread basket. We follow these diets because the pressure from external forces brainwashes us into thinking they’re right and our instincts about WHAT’S RIGHT FOR US are wrong. Hardly ever do we question those beliefs or stray from societal norms because it’s too hard to go against the grain.

It isn’t until we hit a certain weight that’s judged harshly, reach a level of hopelessness or realize that the new fad isn’t working that we start to question if it’s truly right for us.

What would happen if we did question? Have we ever stopped to think that going along with the crowd is harder than being different? If we’re expending so much energy fitting in, we are denying ourselves the energy to follow our instincts and eliminate the suffering that doing something unnatural causes. This suffering creates negative thoughts that morph into branding ourselves not good enough or unworthy only because a particular “norm” isn’t right for us. Wouldn’t it be much easier to search inside ourselves for our truth, follow it and achieve (with little to no effort) a fulfilled life free from the suffering of molding ourselves into something we’re not? I’m not saying wanting to lose weight is bad. I’m saying that the motivation, reasons and ways to achieve weight loss or a normal relationship with food be questioned to achieve the results we want.

How do we determine what’s right for us? If we’ve been trying to lose weight, stop bingeing, yo-yo dieting or whatever, why haven’t we achieved it yet? What has our strategy been?  Is our goal weight realistic?  Maybe we’re going about it in the wrong way and need to look inward to find what feels more natural. If we’re bingers, lifting the restriction off of food will probably lessen our binges. If we’re emotionally eating, identifying our emotions will allow us to deal with them without food.  The most important question is how do we FEEL when we’re following the latest diet craze?  For example, does eating a gluten-free diet (if we don’t have gluten sensitivity) feel right for our bodies? Are we losing our hair because we’re missing vital macronutrients due to a weight loss diet? Are we following the diet to the letter and still not losing weight?

The answer to these questions can go one of two ways. One, we find that following the new fad is in keeping with our truth and we see the weight melting off. Two, we discover that following the path that strays from the crowd is the way to a joyful life and optimal health. Whatever the answer, go ahead and become the next swimsuit model or hit that number on the scale, just be sure to question if that’s what you’re really hungry for!

Nourish and Flourish

The “N” in the KIND Approach to eating stands for nourishment. One definition of nourish is “to cause (something) to develop or grow stronger” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. You may be surprised that I didn’t list the more conventional definition of nourish first which is “to provide (someone or something) with food…”

Honestly, we need both definitions of nourishment to gain a healthy and KIND relationship with food. Nourishment of the mind, body, heart and soul is the key to finding fulfillment, pleasure and joy in life which eliminates the need for emotional eating. Most importantly, it creates balance in life that serves to keep us emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy. I always say “it’s not about the food” and the below concepts of nourishment clarify what I mean by that.

  1. MIND NOURISHMENT. One of the best things you can do for your well-being is to quiet the mind which brings about a sense of peace and contentment. This is primarily accomplished through meditation. Sogyal Rinpoche in the book The Healing Power of Meditation writes, “As the mind settles into the practice of meditation, something extraordinary seems to take place. For a start, our restless, thinking mind subsides into a state of deep inner peace, the scattered, fragmented aspects of ourselves come home, and we can become whole. Those contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings that fight for control over our inner lives settle and become friends, the pain and distress of struggling with ourselves dissolve, and a deep and compassionate forgiveness of ourselves becomes possible. Overall, we notice that with regular meditation practice, negativity is undone, speed and aggression are pacified, frustration, tension, and turbulent emotions are defused, and the unkindness, violence, and harm in us are removed, revealing our inherent “good heart,” the fundamental goodness and kindness that is our true nature.” You see, our thoughts, feelings and emotions are fleeting and don’t necessarily reflect our true selves because they often are influenced by external forces. Once our mind quiets these fleeting things, we can truly know a peace that can be sustained through the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Meditation doesn’t have to be hard and doesn’t have to be performed for hours every day. Get comfortable meditating for 2 minutes and then increase gradually and I bet you will eventually experience what Rinpoche describes.
  2. BODY NOURISHMENT. Nourishing the body not only means eating well and moving but refers to self-care that often gets neglected. Massages, manicures (for men and women!), haircuts and luxurious baths are ways to nourish the body. Slowly eating the highest quality food is just as important as WHAT you eat and is one of the most nourishing things you can do to heal emotional eating and extra weight. Moving your body is nourishing only if you feel a sense of embodiment, happiness and joyful anticipation of the activity.
  3. HEART NOURISHMENT. All humans need intimacy and love. I believe the most important intimate relationship you can have is with yourself. Love yourself as you are now, regardless of your weight or appearance. My teacher, Marc David, says, “You can’t hate yourself into weight loss.” This is very true but is a hard concept to practice because we’ve spent so long hating our eating behavior that it’s transformed into hatred of ourselves. De-toxing this belief will deeply nourish and heal your heart.   
  4. SOUL NOURISHMENT. We all have a purpose in life. What is your purpose or passion? What are your deepest desires? Are you in tune with your spirituality (whether it be organized religion or atheism)? Soul-searching to determine the answers to these questions and taking steps to make your desires reality will allow you to live in accordance with your true Self. This is so helpful because living outside of your true Self often leads to emotional eating.  

“Love what is” by nourishing yourself in these 4 ways because it diminishes unwanted eating behavior by promoting a sense of well-being. A heightened sense of well-being paves the way to becoming a mindful and intuitive eater which is the key to breaking free from emotional and over eating.

There are tons of valid reasons why nourishing yourself is not a top priority and we all know what they are. But is putting your nourishment last on the list serving you? Is it time to do things a bit differently because nothing else works? If the answer is yes but it seems like a daunting task, pick the easiest nourishing activity and incorporate it into your life slowly. There’s no rush or stress around these nourishing practices, they are meant for pleasure.  

A more peaceful mind, a massage, loving yourself and achieving your deepest desires sounds divine, doesn’t it? Oh, did I mention that a deep sense of nourishment is metabolically beneficial? So, what are you waiting for? Harness your infinite power NOW and go forth to nourish and flourish!

 

Love Affair With Food

People use food to cope with life for many reasons. One of the ways I used food to cope, when I was in the throes of my Binge-Eating Disorder, was as a substitute for love and intimacy. There was no way I would entertain the idea of dating (due to my physical and emotional state) so I binged instead. It wasn’t until I began my transformation that I realized I was substituting food for intimacy. The best way I can describe this similarity is to compare having a date night with a binge.

DATE NIGHT

  1. Your love interest asks you out on a date and you’re flattered and excited.spice-up-marriage-date-night-800X800
  2. After your acceptance, you immediately begin to plan what to wear because you must have the perfect outfit!
  3. You envision the outfit but nothing in the closet matches the vision so you go shopping to buy the perfect ensemble.
  4. Date night is here and, as you primp, the anticipation builds to an excited frenzy.
  5. Your date arrives and the evening is underway! You’re having fun, the conversation flows and you think the potential for a 2nd date is high.
  6. You’re back on your doorstep, there’s a good night kiss and the promise of 2nd date. 
  7. The excitement of the evening turns into contentment, fulfillment and the possibility of a great relationship.

BINGE NIGHT

  1. You’ve had a particularly stressful day and decide a date with bingeing is in order to release some tension.
  2. Planning for the binge starts and the menu includes delicious comfort food.
  3. You don’t have the food in the house for the perfect binge so you go shopping (sometimes to multiple stores so you’re not embarrassed buying all the food in one place).
  4. You arrive home and start preparing the food or opening packages and work yourself into an excited frenzy.
  5. The food is ready, you start eating and the day’s stress melts away. You can’t get enough so you continue to eat for a few hours or until the food is gone.
  6. After the binge, your excited frenzy gets a reality check and turns into disgust and uncomfortable fullness. That’s when the feelings of shame, guilt and embarrassment start to surface.

Do you see how someone can substitute a binge for a date? The steps are eerily similar but the outcomes are very different. In the date scenario, the possibility exists to have a healthy, meaningful and intimate relationship. The binge night almost always ends in guilt, shame and embarrassment with no possibility of a healthy relationship with food or a significant other.

Both scenarios are inherently scary. What if date night ends in disaster and reinforces the belief that I’ll be alone forever? Binge night will provide feelings of comfort, love and false relaxation in the short term but deteriorating physical and emotional well-being in the long term. The fundamental difference is that the opportunity for a positive outcome only exists in the date night scenario. There is greater risk for rejection but the reward is so much greater.

Taking food as your lover ends up being a poor substitute for the real thing. If you’re missing companionship, intimacy, a partner or soul-mate, face your fear and go on a quest for the real thing because a love affair with food is a recipe for disaster!

How Stress Affects The Body and Weight Loss

Over the past week, I dealt with an unexpected and stressful situation in which I really noticed the affect of stress on my body.  My digestion and eating rhythm were off and my hunger pangs were out of whack or non-existent.  Thankfully, I didn’t have the urge to binge.

It was that situation that inspired this week’s blog because I experienced first hand how stress affects the body, specifically digestion and eating.  The negative affects of stress on the body are well documented and include:  headache, fatigue, sleep interruptions, chest pain, and stomach aches (Mayoclinic.org).  But did you know that stress has a negative affect on the digestive system, decreases metabolism and can lead to weight gain?  These are the little known symptoms of stress!

So, what happens when you eat under stress?  Here are some of the common biochemical burdens of stress on the body (David 35):

  1. Decreased Nutrient Absorption.
  2. Increased Nutrient Excretion (usually as urinary loss).
  3. Increased Blood Cholesterol.
  4. Increased Cortisol (usually associated with weight gain, abdominal obesity and inability to lose weight).
  5. Decreased Gut Flora (healthy bacteria in your gut that aid in digestion).
  6. Decreased Oxygen Supply.
  7. Decreased Thermic Efficiency (this means calorie burning, folks!).
  8. Decreased Thyroid Hormone (decreases metabolic activity).
  9. Increased Erratic Function of Lower Esophageal Sphincter (causes heartburn).
  10. Increased Insulin Resistance (a factor in diabetes, weight gain, heart disease and aging).

The list goes on but you get the idea!  In a nutshell, eating under stress, anxiety or duress causes physiological reactions that impede digestion, nutrient absorption (causing possible malnutrition) and weight gain.  Wow…who knew?

What does it mean to eat under stress?  Eating too fast, eating while distracted (at your desk, while watching TV, etc.), and eating under an anxious or stressed out mood are considered stressful conditions during mealtimes.

With a little practice, you can overcome eating under stress the majority of the time.  Here’s what you can do:

  1. When you sit down to eat, ask yourself, “Am I eating under stress?”  If you are, take 5-10 deep cleansing breaths before you start eating.  This accomplishes a couple of things, physiologically, to decrease stress.  One, carotid bodies (clumps of nerve tissue containing chemical receptors) are fooled into thinking that blood pressure is rising and they signal a message for blood vessels to dilate, which causes an overall drop in blood pressure and diminishment of the stress response.  Two, slow, deep breathing has been shown to increase endorphin release in the body, producing a sense of relaxation and well-being (David 35).
  2. Eat in a pleasurable environment.  Light candles, set the table with the fancy dishes, eat with people who nourish your mind, heart and soul, hold conversation that is free of negativity and use eating as a time to let go of worries (at least for the duration of the meal!).
  3. Be mindful.  Focusing on what you are doing in the moment (in this case eating) allows you to let go of those worries I mention above!

Thankfully, my stressful situation has been resolved and was not life-threatening but I will use this post as my own reminder to slow down when I eat.  After all, I want to be nourished, healthy and well on my way to a well-oiled metabolism!

Reference:  David, M; The Slow Down Diet; pp. 16-42; 2005.