During a conversation with a patient the other day, we uncovered that she wasn't struggling with food per say, but recognized that she seemed to have an obsession with exercise. I've been hearing this a lot lately from a few of my patients and friends and so I wanted to bring the conversation here.
A lot of times, when we think of "eating disorders" we think of the more traditional ones like Anorexia and Bulimia. Exercise isn't something often discussed and the messaging behind the importance of daily exercise makes this specific type of disorder more difficult to notice.
In Exercise Bulimia, an individual uses exercise as a way to "purge" or "pay" for ingested calories. Some of the signs of disordered exercise could be exercising when sick, feeling guilt when missing an exercise, not exercising in the "right" way (i.e. walking instead of running), and prioritizing exercise over social engagements, just to name a few.
This disorder is a sneaky one and can be easily...
Hi friends. I am back, and today we are diving head first into the idea of "control". Control manifests itself in so many ways, but can also show up in our behaviors around food and too often, they represent an area of our life where we feel out of control.
There are two common areas where people generally feel out of control.
Often times the control we place over food can be a clue as to where we lack control in our own lives.
Control the times of day that you eat? Perhaps you subconsciously are wanting control over your schedule.
Fast from foods? Perhaps you are wanting a break from something or someone who is causing...
There comes a time when you realize that you can't continue on the way you once did. You realize that calories, food, and exercise are ruining your life and you want off the high speed train to Nowheresville.
You mentally understand that this behavior isn't and hasn't ever served you and you are ready to change. You are ready to make peace with food. The mountain though that I think so many people struggle with isn't necessarily just the food piece, it's the body piece, and it can be quite a climb.
You know you have to make changes with your food, BUT there seems to be a piece to this that you are afraid of...weight gain.
It's scary, I get it... BUT there has to be a moment of realization where you are making peace with the idea that the outcome of this journey could lead to weight gain. There has to be that moment of realization and acceptance that there is a possibility that you were genetically predisposed for a larger body, and in order to heal, you MUST make peace with...
One of the biggest issues with distorted thinking is that you truly don't think there is anything wrong. Our thoughts tell us that we are the problem, and in those moments of despair, we tell ourselves that there is no "fix" to who we are at our core. We are just simply not enough.
I remember my very first "a-ha" moment.
I was listening to a podcast and I overheard one of the hosts say, "our thoughts lie to us".
In that moment, it was almost as if someone had used a defibrillator to restart my heart that had seemed to flatline months prior.
In an instant, I had felt hope. In an instant, I felt seen for the very first time, and it was as if they were reminding me that this version of myself was not who I truly was...that something really was wrong.
I wanted to share my story today, because I want you to know that I see you. I see the real you. I see you struggling. Sadness, anger, frustration...they are all normal feelings, but to feel those emotions day in...
If I had a dollar for every time a patient asked me to "fix them," I'd be a wealthy woman...or I'd at least have my student loans paid off. But really, jokes aside, this is a common misconception.
To be quite frank, the reason therapy can not "fix" you, is because real change is a mindset that YOU have to have. I can guide you there, but you have to first take accountability for your role in your life, and second you have to truly want to change.
When you place the power on someone or something outside of yourself, you will never transform on the inside. Sure, you may temporarily improve external or superficial things for a moment in time, but no real and lasting improvements will take place until you take responsibility.
I know firsthand how difficult it is to not harbor resentment, anger, or painful emotions toward others who have impacted your life. I'm not telling you to abandon these emotions. It's important to feel these feelings. In fact, without allowing yourself...
Today I want to talk about your fantasies!
No, not that kind of fantasy... get your mind out of the gutter!
Your fantasies about being a mom!
I know you have them because we all do. I had them. For me, I wanted to be a mom from a really young age. I just never expected anything different for my life. It was never even a conscious decision I made for myself. I think I just assumed that when you get to be a certain age that every woman becomes a mom. And I can see how it starts young, because I have a little girl and already she’s asking me how to become a mom, and when she can be a mom, and she wants to be a mommy just like me — her mom.
It’s become the cultural expectation that we women all become moms. This kind of expectation also comes with the unspoken notion that because we were all “created to be” mothers that we will, as a result, love every second of being a mother.
Then, when we have bad days, it is easy for us to start to feel guilty and judge...
I’ve never had the societal and cultural pressures to change parts of myself that I had no control over… until I realized what little control I had over my weight.
While I’ve always felt pretty, I’ve never felt thin enough. A competitive gymnast growing up, I related my body with a score. I literally would be given a numerical value based on what I looked like. We could say that the score came from how my body performed certain acrobatics and routines, but when you see enough girls with smaller bodies score higher with poor form, you realize the fallacy. And there began the belief that the size and shape of my body determined my self-worth.
It didn’t matter that I was a straight A honors student, an accomplished athlete, a gifted musician, a spiritually grounded person, a service-oriented individual, or a hard worker. If I couldn’t manipulate my body into the ideal standard, I was still unworthy in the eyes of society.
I assumed for more...
I’m going to share with you an exercise that I learned from a good friend of mine back in college. This friend of mine, she had just gone through multiple relationships, kind of back to back, and she hadn’t been single for a while, so she developed this exercise in her life to sort of reclaim her own identity, and she called it “Dating Herself.” And that’s exactly what she did!
She went on all these little dates with herself. She went to the movies by herself. She got a massage by herself. She went for coffee by herself. She went to a restaurant by herself. All these things that you would imagine doing with other people, or maybe as women we’re sort of embarrassed to do by ourselves, she was doing it on her own. And for her, at this time in her life, it was really important that she reclaim her identity, and that she reconnect with her authentic true self.
Sometimes when we’ve been living for someone else—our husband, our baby, our...
Popular opinion instructs you to “Start with your WHY.” However, it may come as a shock to you that this goes against every psychodynamic philosophy I’ve ever learned. One of my early psychodynamic psychotherapy supervisors recited his “Therapy Pearls of Wisdom” frequently. The first Pearl was: Don’t ask your patient why, because they don’t know. If you think about it, he is right. Why we say certain words or engage in certain behaviors is largely unconscious. You may give lip service to a superficial why—based on insecurities, biases, or external judgment, but you are surely struggling to uncover the actual why.
As you will soon see, things are never as they seem. Likely, what you observe to be your problems at a conscious level are not the real problems at all. This is probably why your traditional self-help solutions have not worked either. You haven’t been able to uncover the real problem in the first place.
All you really...
I was never very good at video games when I was a kid. A lack of spatial reasoning, they call it. I also wasn’t allowed to have Nintendo as a child either. That may have something to do with it. Still, I remember trying to navigate a colonoscopy scope in medical school. For a while, I thought I wanted to specialize in gastroenterology, so I interned with a gastroenterologist for a summer. He allowed me to experiment with the scope. They use scopes to perform endoscopies and colonoscopies. It’s basically just what it sounds like—a long tube with a small camera on the end and a couple of switches on the handle to navigate the camera and the forceps that pinch the lining of the gut to remove polyps or pathology samples.
I never got the hang of it. You have to watch a television screen and guide your scope based on what you see on this small screen. I would run into the gut wall, miss a curve in the small intestine, not puncture the epithelium in the right location....