We discussed on Monday the subject of Emotional Eating. The exercise involved marking emotions that you felt you experienced regularly, both good and bad, then naming the foods you associated with those moods. You were then asked to name the activity you might associate with the moods, for example if you think about being happy, you might think about dancing, so dancing is the activity you associate with being happy, if you think about being angry, you might think about punching something, so either punching out a pillow or joining a boxercise class might be a good activity for Anger.
We then discussed crossing out the list of foods, and linking the moods directly to activities, to see if anyone would be able to replace a food with an activity when they feel a certain way.
How have you been getting on with this exercise?
Has your awareness of feeling a certain way, or wanting to eat when you feel a certain way, increased?
Have you been able to stop and at least consider doing something other than eating at that time?
Have you been able to not eat and do something else instead?
What else has been happening for you since the group on Monday?
We also talked about "Mind Reading in the Shops" - the experience of believing you know what everyone else in a shop is thinking about you when you go to buy food for a binge. We discussed how putting your thoughts about what you are doing "out there", or Externalising your feelings, prevents you from having to really connect with your own feelings about your behaviour.
"I don't care what other people think about me"
"I really do care about what I think of myself".
Has your awareness of "mind reading" increased since Monday? Have you been able to do anything differently about going to the shop, when you are in the shop, or after you leave the shop?
Mind yourselves this week, and take good care. Emma
Points to Remember
All of you are seeing change occurring week to week. Whether it is simply more awareness of your behaviour, or your negative self talk, or it's a bigger change such as a reduction or a stopping of a particular negative behaviour, change is occurring, and you have all experienced small successes since commencing this process, so well done to all of you. Remind yourself of these small steps each time you feel wobbly.
We discussed goal setting and the importance of setting a realistic, achieveable goal:
- Do not link the goal to either weight loss or direct food behaviour
- Find a better motivator for the goal - e.g. I will exercise this week. Not to lose weight, but to feel good about myself and begin to improve my health.
- Use the Goal Setting page to test out your goal and your realistic chances of achieving it. If you are not going to achieve it, then CHANGE THE GOAL. YOU are not the problem, the GOAL is. It's simply not a good goal for you.
- Remember it is as important to feed back to the group about failures, as it is to tell everyone about success, this is how we all learn from each other and get better at setting good goals.
Emotions About the Past & Present
We discussed last night the fact that everyone is experiencing a heighening of emotion. This is normal during a group process such as ours. Please ensure you have a couple of strategies to give yourself time and space to reflect on the thoughts you are having, sit with them if you can, and you may find writing things down helpful. A half an hour in an epsom salts bath can be just as therapeutic as a walk or a chat. Add six drops of lavender oil for a really relaxing experience, I find this helpful for having a good night's sleep.
Writing is very therapeutic. Our brains do not differentiate between talking and writing, the effect is the same, a release. So if you can talk to someone, please do so. If not, then write down how you are feeling, or the memories you are currently remembering. Remind yourself that you have the support of the group and somewhere to bring your experiences to, where there is support and encouragement. Keep a notebook with you, and particularly beside the bed, it can be helpful to write things down before bed, then give yourself permission to stop thinking about them, because you have recorded them and can go back to them later. You might also find you are having more vivid or unusual dreams, this is also common during a therapeutic process, and you might also want to write them down.
Points to Remember
Time is not always simply chronological, a span of time, for example "now", includes anything from the past that is still influencing you or not yet resolved, it is not yet "in the past". "Now" also includes your future, worries, hopes, plans, dreams.
Unfinished business is important to attend to. Imagine you are carrying around a large suitcase full of your unfinished business. The suitcase doesn't have wheels, it's pretty difficult to carry, and it's getting in the way of you getting on with your life.
We can never truly get rid of our 'baggage', but we can find easier ways to carry it. Processing it, and thereby reducing it down, may mean it now fits in a small back pack, easy to carry and not getting in your way. Still with you, but not interfering in your day to day life any more.
Think about how the painting exercise made you feel. As well as the actual feelings your pictures brought up, think about how you felt painting the picture, how you felt just as you had finished painting and handed the brush back, and even how you felt walking out of the room without your picture. Was this a useful exercise for you? If it was, how might you be able to use this experience for yourself again? If it wasn't, why not? Were you ready to paint your picture? Were you surprised at what you painted? What else happened for you?
Remember to take care of yourselves during this process. Identify and use strategies that help you cope better with painful feelings. Remember the support of the group, you are all there for each other.
Points to Remember
The food pyramid is a guide to a healthy way of eating. Whilst it is not necessary to stick rigidly to it every single day, it is important to try and stay within a good parameter of the pyramid. It has been designed and drawn up by experts, who include the food groups necessary for vital body functioning, in the necessary quantities. Each section has a purpose for your body, even the oils, fats and sweets, although to be used "sparingly", actually have a function, for example olive oil is healthy and good for your heart. If you leave out a food group, you are affecting your health and bodily functioning, and this in turn links back to the medical complications we spoke about last week.
It is helpful to look at how you are eating now, and how near or far you might be to a healthy model, in order to begin to set small, achievable goals that can be built on over time.
NEGATIVE SELF TALK
The voice that speaks to you from deep inside all the time, criticising and putting you down, is not your voice. It is separate, and it can be argued with, drowned out, ignored. Learn to hear this voice as a separate voice, that is not you, and not other people either. Become aware of when you are projecting thoughts into other people's heads, and then use a positive affirmation to counteract the negative thought. Visualise a face, shape or character for your voice, and take it out of your body and onto your shoulder (or wherever), where you can really separate it from yourself and "talk back to it". Challenge its opinions - is it really telling the truth? Do you have evidence that refutes what the voice is saying? If you do, repeat it (out loud it if it helps), and drown out the voice with your opposite opinion.
We are going to start setting goals next week. It would be helpful if everyone comes to the session with one or two goals to work on, as we will be breaking them down and modifying them during the session to ensure they are realistic. Remember, we are looking at learning how to set achievable goals, so non-attainment of a goal is not a failure, it is an experience to learn what was incorrect about the goal that was set in the first place.
Take care of yourselves this week,
POINTS TO REMEMBER
MEDICAL ISSUES WITH EATING DISORDERS
- Your health is important, and the effects of eating disorders may not be immediately obvious. Ensure you have medical check ups regularly and take steps to address any issues raised with your doctor/nutritionist.
- GP's may not have the required training or knowledge to really understand eating disorders and their effects. I can provide a list of the blood tests recommended by Claymon Laboratories Medical Officer if you feel you want to have a check up. Please email me and I will send it to you by return. You can bring this with you to your GP, medical centre or hospital to request these tests to be done for you.
- What messages about food, eating and body shape/size are you still carrying from your childhood? Do they fit with your life and family now? What messages can you now think about letting go, and what new messages do you want to embrace for yourself and your family?
We spoke about affirmations during the session, and Emer kindly mentioned the Louise Hay CD. See details below, it is available from Amazon.co.uk.
Self-esteem Affirmations: Motivational Affirmations for Building Confidence and Recognizing Self-worth by Louise L. Hay (Audio CD - 29 Sep 2003) Buy new: £6.99 £5.49 29 Used & new from £2.64.
We also pinned up some affirmations on the board. Whilst in session with a client yesterday, I brought the board into the room, and my client chose "It's ok not to know (here)" as her personal affirmation for the week. She also suggested two other affirmations that I liked and will add to the board:
1. I can be myself here.
2. I will not be judged here.
Please feel free to post your own affirmations on this board to share with the rest of the group if you wish.
Emma Murphy, Counsellor/Psychotherapist
All Affirmations Emotional Eating Emotions About The Past & Present Externalising Food Pyramid Goals Goal Setting Medical Complications Of Eating Disorders Negative Messages From Childhood Negative Self Talk Painting Exercise Therapeutic Writing Unfinished Business