Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

Ending Your Obsession With Food

By Rebecca Capps | Eating Disorder , Uncategorized

How To End Your Obsession With Food

Have ever been a yo-yo dieter or repeatedly tried to lose weight? If so, then chances are you’ve also experienced some MAJOR food cravings along the way. And when food cravings become constant....they can lead to a full-blown food obsession.

Below are the most important steps I recommend you to follow to overcome food obsessions:

1. Stop counting calories – I am NOT in favor of counting calories (in truth, I'd rather have you counting chemicals and decreasing the amount of GMOs you’re ingesting instead). Plus, if your only focus is on eating low-calorie meals…..this means that you're likely missing out on the satisfaction of ingesting AMAZING fats that also provide you with tons of energy and brain fuel (i.e., avocados, almonds, etc.)

2. View food as fuel and sustenance, not just as some reward – A lot of people, whether they have an eating disorder or not, view food as a "reward" or a "treat." Early on in life, you likely noticed that food could provide you with a sense of pleasure. And at some point, you may have decided that you needed that pleasure in your life....and food was THE solution. Food then became a means to distract yourself from what you *actually* feel.

Instead, begin to view food in terms of how it fuels you throughout your day. For example, if I'm going to do a tough workout, then you better believe I'm going to eat some protein and carbs in order to fuel my body! Or, if I'm needing a little mid-afternoon pick-me-up in-between clients....then I'll make sure to grab a handful of nuts.

3. Eat the real thing – While everything in moderation is fine, work on ditching "fat-free" anything, diet sodas, or anything else that’s loaded with tons of artificial sugar. Again, the goal is not to just get by on as little fuel as possible to survive. The goal is to thrive by giving your body the nutrients and minerals that it craves. I SO wish I had learned this lesson earlier…..because it's contributed to the stabilization of my moods and boosted my energy (I have more energy now than I did when I was in my teens or 20s)! If you ask me, eating organic fruits and veggies = the greatest prescription for happiness!

4. Try to avoid labeling your food or having rigid rules—Try to avoid labeling your food as  being "good" or "bad." I know that I just mentioned how I'm a big fan of fruits and veggies, however, this doesn't mean that I don't allow myself to enjoy tasty treats from time-to-time! The minute you start labeling your food as being "good" or "bad" is when you create rigid rules. As with any kind of restriction, when you forbid yourself from it, your desire for it will only grow stronger. So, stop victimizing your food and work on embracing and enjoying it instead.

5. Do NOT strive for perfection – A lot of clients (especially in the beginning phase of therapy) try to push their eating and/or weight-loss goals off (I’ll wait "until Monday," they say). And no wonder why they feel like pushing things off…..because they talk about eating "perfectly" or "clean" for a few days, but then the minute they indulge in a treat, it’s like—‘game over!’ Again, the secret is in allowing yourself to enjoy tasty indulgences here and there.

Enjoy every single mouthful…..while also remembering you can (and will) return back to your regular foods for your next meal or snack. The "I’ll start fresh on Monday" approach just causes you to obsess over food even more because it means that there's all of this pressure to eat indulgent foods before Monday strikes! It means that you're hoping that you'll *finally* be satisfied by the time Monday rolls around because, by then, you'll need to go back to your rigid and structured food routine—where there's zero room to mess up. Do you see how backward this kind of thinking can be? Life is about progress, not perfection……so why not just allow yourself those little treats along the way? You will be better off practicing this in the long-run.

6. Listen to your body – Your body always knows best. If you work on tuning in and listening to your body’s signals, you can learn so much from it. It takes time to learn how to pause and to really question what the intentions are behind your desires. The next time you experience a craving, choose to listen to your body and notice whether you could be tired, hungry, angry, lonely, or bored, for example. The more you can do this, the less food will control your decisions.

7. Eat the whole thing – This might seem like a silly one, but if you're one to only eat half a cookie in hopes of exercising some self-control when it comes to food, I say…..just eat the whole damn thing! It's a psychological mind game to only grant yourself half of the cookie, which inevitably will lead to guilt or shame when you go back for that other half. This alone creates a bigger obsession with food because, chances are, you’re going to spend the next several hours obsessing over how you ate it all. Instead, give yourself permission to eat the entire thing and try to enjoy….Every. Single. Bite!

8. Commit to NEVER dieting again – I sort of talked about this already, but I just want to reiterate the fact that diets don't work. They only make you more obsessed with food, numbers, and your perceived flaws….causing you to feel like a total failure. Your relationship with food suddenly comes from a negative place, causing you to feel deprived, which naturally will make you lose control in the end. So, instead, work on building balanced habits that you can uphold for the long-haul.

If you are seriously struggling with food and body image issues right now, I can guarantee you that falling in love with nourishing your body and learning how to savor your food will be what helps you to heal and to stop negatively obsessing over food once and for all.

How to Feel Better in Your Body

By Rebecca Capps | Eating Disorder , Healing , Uncategorized

How To Feel Better In Your Body | Blog Post featured image | Mind Body Holistic Counseling | Santa Barbara, CA 93101

I suffered from an eating disorder when I was a young girl. When I looked in the mirror, I hated what I saw. I wanted to scratch myself out of my body. Every minute felt uncomfortable, and my life felt out-of-control. I viewed starvation as a tool for control and to escape the realm of my emotions. I remember how difficult it was to feel centered back then.

Thankfully, a lot has changed since my youth. Today, I don’t run from my life; I run into it, and you can dive fully into life, too. If you are wanting to feel better in your body and to cultivate an inner sense of calm, try following the tips that I’ve presented in this post that have helped me with my own recovery.

 

Feel Better in Your Body Through Mindfulness and Meditation

Many women do self-destructive and harmful things to mask how they feel in their body and mind. For example, you may refuse to eat because you enjoy the feeling of control and power that come with self-denial. Or, you may drink excessively and do drugs in an attempt to anesthetize your emotions. Whatever is true for you, honor this truth and then start by committing to practicing a daily mindfulness routine. Meditation can be exceedingly helpful to individuals who are plagued by negative thoughts and feelings, or obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Based on my own experience of practicing meditation and deep breathing, I can honestly say that mindfulness has helped me to better deal with my negative emotions and self-destructive urges. Through mindfulness, I feel more optimistic about my life now than ever before.

The beauty of mindfulness is that it involves expanding your awareness of your internal thoughts and emotions, focusing on the now, and on becoming aware of your habitual patterns of responding to life stressors. Mindfulness teaches you to simply observe your thoughts, emotions, sensations, and memories without immediately labeling them as good or bad. By stepping back and observing, instead of being ruled by your emotions, you will be more equipped to choose how you wish to feel and act when faced with adversities.

 

Feel better in Your Body Through Relationships with Thoughts

Negative thinking patterns keep women focused on controlling themselves as a way of coping. Pressures to be thin, coping internally with stress, or feeling overly empathetic toward others causes many women to develop maladaptive ways of thinking about themselves and the world. For those who suffer from a full-blown eating disorder, controlling the body is a way of relieving distress and providing a sense of safety; however, this style of coping is unhealthy for many reasons, including the fact that it is a ripe breeding ground for cognitive distortions to occur.

The eating disordered voice is a cruel, never-ending dialogue that plays in the mind of the sufferer and causes her to think only in black-and-white terms. This negative voice also encourages sufferers to continue following their eating disorder behavior, so it’s easy to see how such pronounced negative thoughts can lead to depression and feeling not-good-enough. If you’re wanting to feel better in your body and mind, then, I suggest keeping a journal with the goal of keeping a daily written record of key events (i.e., situations in which you find yourself feeling sad, negative about your body, etc.), including how you feel about them. This will train you to be a witness to your thoughts, not a puppet.

 

Stop Judging Thoughts, Witness and Observe

The critical eating disorder voice is one that tells you that you won’t be happy until you are thin and that your worth is measured only by external merit. However, you will not feel happier or better in your body until you learn how to truly love yourself, which ultimately, requires developing healthier relationships with your thoughts. If I asked you to finish the sentence, “My body….,” what is it that immediately comes to mind? If you’re like many people, your initial thoughts will involve something related to how your body looks. To gain a more balanced perspective, try shifting the focus from how your body looks, to what it can do. Try writing one thing per day about your body that you’re grateful for in your journal. Notice any thoughts that cause you to feel down about your appearance and begin to reframe them with thoughts related to the overall functionality of your body (i.e., “I appreciate that my body enables me to give birth, to walk, etc.”).

 

Forgiveness Helps You Feel Better in Your Body

You can achieve emotional freedom from your suffering. It has always been with you, however, now you must learn to connect with it. Before you can connect to and feel better in your body, you must first focus on the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not for the faint-hearted, especially when you have been wounded. However, to feel better in your body and to live a more meaningful life, this requires work and sometimes involves doing the harder thing.

Forgiveness is a practice of extending grace, one that takes dedication and courage. If you follow the path to forgiveness (of yourself, others, or both), this will give you room to release any shame, resentment, sadness, or anger and make room for more peace in your mind and body. When genuine forgiveness occurs, you will have a greater capacity to connect with both yourself and others in a more meaningful sense.

 

Fuel Your Body with Nourishment and Movement

It is essential to look after the health of both your mind and body. Fueling your body through healthy practices will allow you to; take charge of your life and feel good about the choices you make; feel energized and more positive; find more enjoyment in life, and; connect to your body’s wisdom. I encourage you to mindfully choose food by paying attention to how you feel instead of using harsh “rules” that promote restriction.

In addition to choosing colorful food and intuitively eating, another great way to fuel the body is through yoga. Yoga teaches you how to connect to yourself from the inside out. It shines a bright light on your core strengths, as well as supports you to take small steps to make healthier choices in your recovery. I know that for me, as I kept showing up to my mat, over time, I learned how to be more compassionate with myself and comfortable again in my own body. Practicing yoga has revealed to me that at my core, underneath my sense of aloneness, devastation, and shadow self, there was an unshakeable desire and capacity to heal. In addition to therapy, yoga gave me my first dose of freedom after feeling isolated for so many years by the weight of trauma.

Remember that any significant lifestyle change is an ongoing work in progress. Start by setting smaller, more achievable goals that are simple to add to your everyday routine. Even though it takes time to make lasting lifestyle changes, taking care of your body is one of the most vital connections you can make in this life. Why settle for an unhealthy and fear-based life when you can feel amazing, from the inside and out?! I wish to give others a way to feel as confident and sure about their recovery as I try to be because I know that it’s possible to live a joyous life without an eating disorder. I have discovered that when you take care of your body and mind, you are more prone to adapt to stress and able to amend maladaptive automatic thoughts, which in turn, leaves room for more happiness. And the more joy that you cultivate from within, the more joy you will grow within your relationships. Ultimately, your relationship to your body is a direct reflection of your thoughts and actions—so be mindful of what you want it to reflect.

Turning Your Wounds Into Wisdom

By Rebecca Capps | Uncategorized

Tragedy and mass shootings have been front and center in the news for a while now. I found myself weeping over the most recent one that occurred in the yoga studio, as that could have easily been you or me.

As we cope with our own struggles and witness other people’s struggles unfold in the news, a typical response is to look for an underlying meaning that might make our devastation a little more tolerable…..and this process of turning wounds into wisdom can be beneficial. For example, cancer patients who find meaning from their medical experiences have been known to find greater psychological adjustment. Likewise, after the death of a loved one, people who make sense of their loss and even see benefits in it experience significantly less distress. In one of my all-time FAVORITE books, Man’s Search For Meaning, author, doctor, and survivor of the Holocaust, Viktor Frankl……wrote extensively about this process after observing that his fellow inmates in the concentration camps had a higher chance of surviving the gruesome conditions if they held on to a sense of meaning.

You might be wondering……How can I find meaning and experience positive changes resulting from a major crisis? My answer to this question is that by actively looking for good in something bad, you can take adversity and use it as a catalyst for advancing to a higher level of psychological functioning. For example, I have worked with people who have survived truly horrific sexual assaults, yet they have been able to heal from this and to find meaning by giving back to other survivors in some way. Though, it is worth mentioning that the timeline and nature of healing can vary from person to person.

Tragedy exposes our vulnerability in a highly unpredictable world and therefore might cause us to feel helpless, yet paradoxically, it can also lead us to see ourselves as stronger and able to rise above the suffering. Some people feel empowered by realizing that overcoming a past challenge = they will be able to overcome any future problems that may arise.

Ultimately, tragedy can shift our perspective, to inspire us to value life more, and to renew our intention to make the most of it. Right in this moment, I want you to try to fully savor and enjoy the things that bring you joy, such as a hot cup of your favorite coffee or tea, your pet, the sunset, or spending time with a loved one.

By focusing on savoring the moment, as well as analyzing how we can turn our wounds into wisdom, in turn, this enables us to further develop and unfold into our highest potential. It means that we approach (rather than avoid) the task of coping…..by accepting the tragedy as irreversible and then embracing the process of grief. And ultimately, we are in control of how we move forward, and thereby how we perceive control over our recovery. Nobody is exempt from suffering, yet we can flourish and thrive despite it…..and, in some cases, because of it!

 

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

~ Viktor Frankl

 

With love,

Rebecca Capps, MA, MFT

 

*P.S. If you’re looking for some added support, come and join my Food-Body-Love Tribe on Facebook!

*And in case you missed it….here are some of the recent articles I’ve been featured in:

Best And Worst Dieting Advice, According To The Pros

How To Support Someone Who Is Sober

6 Things Eating With Your Hands Can Say About Your Personality, According To Experts

Why Is Self-Esteem Important?

 

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