Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Groups Forming

The next sessions for my two groups, are set to start the week of March 15th. If you haven't been to my website, or aren't familiar with my groups, here are some brief descriptions: ATHENA A Support Group for Young Women Ages 14-18 The goddess Athena symbolizes wisdom, courage, warfare, power, divine intelligence, skill, and creativity. During the teen years, young women are faced with a fierce internal battle between who they are and who our society, family and friends expect them to be. Amid this internal war, it is easy to lose touch with, and confidence in, these aspects of themselves. Athena is a therapist-led group where young women come together, in a safe place, to discuss any issues that they are facing in their daily lives. They learn that they are not alone—that every young woman faces this conflict in her own way. Together, they can gain confidence and pride in their own identity, wisdom, power, intelligence, skill and creativity. Among the issues we tackle are: Food and Body Image Dating, sexuality and intimacy Bullying Poor self-esteem, lack of confidence Shyness, loneliness and isolation Anxiety and Depression Academic Pressures Or anything else they need help with… and Healthy Mind – Healthy Body A support group for women struggling to create a healthy relationship with food. This therapist-led group provides a safe, supportive place where you can figure out why food became so much more important in your life than just sustenance. You’ll share your struggle with other women locked in the same battle, learn the tools to change, and together, internalize a new, healthier relationship with food. Discussion topics include: •How food became a substitute for love and affection •Using food to shove down/numb out feelings •Building the mental muscle – becoming more mindful of your food choices •Journaling to discover the roadmap of how you use food, so that you can make more conscious choices. •Family and cultural messages about food and body image •The vicious cycle of Depression and Anxiety that results from using food as a drug, perhaps momentarily feeling better, and the self-loathing, regret, shame and panic (or defeat) that follow •Sexuality and Intimacy (as effected by your relationship with food) •And anything else that makes it hard for you to heal... Each group costs $40 per session with an 8 week committment. If you are interested in either group, please contact me as soon as possible.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Stress Eating and Depression

People are under more stress these days. Perhaps you're underwater on your mortgage, unemployed, or underemployed. Jobs have been offshored and those that are still here are more and more stressful. With the economy not quite recovering, companies are failing, stretched thin, barely holding on and every employee is expected to produce results no matter what the market dictates. You may say, I can't possibly have a healthy relationship with food now. Either you are too stressed to eat, or too stressed to stop eating. But the reality is, for someone with food issues, sticking to a healthy eating plan is critical to surviving the stress intact. What happens when you stress eat? You feed the saboteurs. Usually it starts off in a seemingly inoccuous way. "I can have one Cadbury egg, it's so small." But then you've stepped onto the slippery slope. You know what I'm talking about. It starts with something small and then there's something after that. Your "crack foods" find their way back into your house. A little here and a little there, you may even truly believe you're still within your meal plan, because you've convinced yourself they're not that big a deal. But on another level you know these little variations ARE a big deal. You start to feel less capable, it may be harder to get up in the morning, the dishes pile up in the sink. And you wonder, what's wrong with me? What's wrong is that your internal saboteur has taken over and pulled you down into the black hole of depression. Often I hear, my anti-depressant stopped working, or I think I need anti-depressants, or a new one, higher dose. When really what's happened is little by little you've fed the saboteur and given it so much strength that you now feel incapable of fighting back. That's not to say that it isn't possible you would benefit from an antidepressant re-evaluation. A good antidepressant can put the floor back under your feet and give you the strength to fight back. But what MUST happen along with every other approach, is that you must get your structure back. Sticking to a healthy meal plan is phase one. Each time you make a good food choice, you strengthen the healthy, nurturing voice in your mind. And the stronger that voice will be to help you fight the depression. If you are unemployed or underemployed, you have to get up at the same time each day. Set goals for yourself--writing out a list of things to do each day can help keep you focused. And lastly start keeping a food and mood diary where every day, you write down what you eat and how you are feeling that day (before or after meals). This will help you see how your mood affects your eating, and also makes you acutely aware of how big of an impact those "little" treats really have on your mood. And if you "forget" to keep your food and mood journal, that's the best clue that you've stepped onto that slippery slope and are giving the saboteur your power. Just start journaling again and you'll find your strength again. The hardest thing for most people to accept is that your therapist, psychiatrist, nutritionist, wellness coach, cannot "fix it" for you. Certainly they can provide help and support, but you have all of the power. YOU are the only person who can get control, and you're going to have to make that choice every day. Keeping your structure in place makes it easier and easier for you to make the healthy choices. Getting up on time, making lists to keep you focused, getting regular exercise, and keeping your food journal are not "options." These are the basics. Non-negotiables.