Saturday, January 26, 2013

Feelings Are All Right

Recently Sloane (not her real name) arrived late. Before our session she had an appointment with a realtor, who got a flat tire and was over thirty minutes late - which in turn made her late for the session.    

“I’m so, so sorry,” she apologized. “I wouldn’t blame you if you were upset. It’s so rude and disrespectful for me to be this late.”

I wondered if she was upset at the realtor who kept her waiting.

“Not at all,” she shrugged. “It’s not his fault that he had a flat tire. I don’t have the right to be upset. I can’t be mad if there’s a good reason for what happened.”

Although she expected me to be upset that she was late, also for circumstances outside her control, she could not give herself the same right.

“You know what really upsets me? The bagel I ate for breakfast. Disgusting!”  She went on to criticize her weight, her lack of control and various other perceived deficiencies.

Sloane did not give herself the right to be angry that she’d been kept waiting, whatever the circumstances, and instead expressed that anger and frustration by finding fault with her body and life choices.
She denied her anger, and then took it out on herself.

Feelings are not rational.  Emotions are outside the purview of logic.   If you deny and dismiss your feelings towards other people, it’s likely that you will turn on yourself in one of the following ways: 
·      Eating to express the feelings via the action of eating (ie, expressing anger by eating something crunchy like chips, an apple, pretzels).
·      Using food for comfort (ie, eating ice cream, cookies, soothing food).
·      Redirecting your feelings by attacking your body (as in the example above).

Here are some other ways people dismiss or deny their feelings:

·      “I’m mad at the situation, not the person”
·      “I shouldn’t feel that way. “
·      “It’s wrong to be angry” or “It’s not nice to be upset”
·      “I don’t want to be an angry (depressed/anxious/) person.”
·      “So what if that bothered me?  Other people have it a lot worse!”

Do any of these statements sound familiar?  If so, give yourself the right to feel what you feel.
Feelings aren’t a reflection of your character or personality.  They are reactions to situations.

Your feelings need your attention, not your condemnation!

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

The 'F' Word:

Dr. Nina talks about the "F" word:  Feelings.  She discusses seven basic feelings that often lead to overeating.  Learn to identify, gauge, and process a range of emotions, so you won’t need food to escape what you're feelings.  Dr. Nina helps you be curious about yourself, instead of critical.  When you can figure out what you're feeling and respond to yourself with words, you're less likely to turn to food.

Check out this episode!

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Being vs. Doing

We’re human beings, not human doings!

Our society values productivity and accomplishment. If you grow up in a family (and a culture) that is primarily or solely interested in what you're doing, accomplishing and achieving, you learn to value yourself by being productive; it becomes the basis of self-esteem. 

When others express interest only in your accomplishments, you learn to value yourself only for what you have achieved.  When others dismiss or devalue your feelings, you learn to do the same.  Feelings become frightening and a source of anxiety. Disordered eating is a way of coping with those feelings.  So is staying busy and focused on achievements.

Doing can serve as a distraction from your emotions.  It can take the form of:

*Working all the time
*Going online all the time
*Going to the gym
*Running errands
*Having the TV on all the time
*Going out and seeing friends all the time
*Thinking about what you need to do next/making lists
*Thinking about calories, fat grams, the number on the scale

Being puts you in touch with your emotions.   It looks like this:

*Being alone
*Staying aware of  thoughts and feelings
*Comforting and soothing yourself with words

How do you keep busy?

How did you learn to use “doing” to escape “feeling”?

What happens if you are alone with yourself?

What are you afraid you might think?

What are you afraid you might feel?

When you can "be" with yourself and process any feelings or conflicts you might experience, you are less vulnerable to turning to (or from) food to distract yourself from those uncomfortable states.

*     *     *     *     *


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