Monday, July 28, 2008

Look Within

As I blog each week, it is my sincere desire to share strategies you can employ to feel better – physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually, to stop emotional eating and to lose weight, without dieting, if that is your goal. Thank you for joining me here and I hope these brief notes will help you to reaffirm your personal commitment to health. Remember, being healthy does not necessarily mean being thin, or wealthy or even wise -- nor does it mean being perfect at all times. Each of us is on our own path to radiant health. Each of us aspires to feeling happy and calm and to living our lives with zest and energy but each of our paths is unique. We may all seek similar things but how each of us finds health and happiness will be different.

We want to feel well but how to achieve this goal can be confusing. Each of us is bombarded daily by messages telling us what to eat, what to do, how to be beautiful and how to live every aspect of our lives. My philosophy is different. Rather than looking outside of yourself to figure out how to be, look within. I believe that you know way down inside of yourself, what to do and how to be. You may not know, however, how to listen to your own inner voice of wisdom. This takes practice and a way to start is by giving yourself quiet time each day to reflect and to notice what you are feeling.

It may be hard to carve time for yourself out of your busy schedule but please make yourself your number one priority. No one else will be there to take care of your needs. You have to pay attention to your own feelings and then decide what you truly need. This is your job, no one else’s. Most of us grew up without the unconditional love that every child deserves. Our parents were often too busy, too tired, too self-absorbed, too young, too stressed or too something to give us all the love, attention and care we needed. In this way, we learned that our needs are not important.

Well. They are. The past is whatever it was and the time to move beyond it and to begin taking action is now. I will check in with you weekly except for times I am away or unable to access my computer. Please use this blog as a reminder to you to provide an opportunity to look at the progress you are making as you move along your own, unique path to radiant health and a life of joy.

I am enjoying being on this journey with you and would love to hear from you anytime!
Be well!
Warmly, Dr. Denise

Monday, July 14, 2008

Emotional Eating and World Turmoil

What does emotional overeating have to do with turmoil in our world? Answer: a lot!

Most of us have instant replays in our mind and hearts when we hear words like “9/11”, tsunami, Katrina, Iraq, earthquakes, fires and floods. When our ears hear the words and our eyes view the pictures, our whole being reacts. Emotions instantly surface and we may flood with an array of feelings. We may feel frightened for others as well as for ourselves -- unsafe, helpless, furious, overwhelmed, or sad, to name just a few possible reactions. We may feel relieved that we have survived and at the same time feel guilty that we have survived while others have not. We may become depressed and anxious and not understand why.

As human beings we act and react. Part of us may try to actively suppress or deny our uncomfortable feelings while another part of us may be reacting to the news by grieving or feeling angry. There is no one right way to react or to feel. When we are experiencing intense emotions, some that we understand and some that we may not understand, the end result is that we are in distress. Hearing of and witnessing the suffering of others causes stress and we may turn to unhealthy, old patterns in search of relief. We may seek food for comfort. Millions of us do!

This is a natural reaction, so please don’t beat yourself up if you have indulged in a few extra snacks lately. There is plenty of distressing news coming at you via the airwaves. We learn at a tender age that sugars and carbohydrates will take away our pain. These substances mask themselves as our friends. They urge us to take care of our uncomfortable feelings by stuffing our bellies with creamy pastas, pastries and chocolate. The hard part is that they deliver what they promise. These foods help us in the short term to stuff our feelings deep inside where we don’t have to deal with them.

When the effects of our “anesthetics” wear off, our physical bodies scream for MORE and our emotional selves (which haven’t yet recognized and experienced our emotions) join the chorus and demand more “treats” to continue keeping feelings at bay. Some of us may seek alcohol, sex, gambling or drugs to avoid the complex emotions of everyday life. We Chew Tamer’s may be more likely to prowl the bakery aisle at the grocery store or to use any combination of escape mechanisms.

Remember, your feelings exist for a reason. Each feeling is telling you something. Each is bringing you valuable information about what’s going on around and within you. Listen. Experience your feelings and let yourself feel every high and low that life brings your way. No one ever said that life meant experiencing only pleasant emotions. In fact, we need the difficult ones to appreciate the joyous ones.

If you do choose (and it is a choice, though it may not feel like one at the time) to soothe yourself with food, please don’t beat yourself up when you are done. That NEVER helps! None of us can walk our paths perfectly at all times. We are all human and we all make less than self-loving choices at times. Move beyond the urge to punish yourself. Recall that there are no mistakes, only lessons. Be as gentle as possible with yourself first. Then do what you realistically can to help others. Listen to them. Pray with them. Share hugs, warm smiles, resources and words of encouragement. These are the greatest gifts.

And remind yourself that life flies by. It is a blink of time. Amidst the stress and turmoil, tap into the peace and quiet strength within yourself. Bypass unhealthy choices as often as you can and don’t beat yourself if occasionally you can’t.

Most importantly, appreciate each moment of this exciting, emotional, and sometimes turbulent journey!

Be well…
Dr. Denise, Emotional Eating Expert

Monday, July 7, 2008

Connecting with our pets

To stop emotional overeating, we need to nurture our spirits. For many of us one avenue to rediscovering our creative spirits is through connection with our pets. You may be wondering what animals have to do with stopping emotional overeating? Plenty! As mentioned earlier, anyone with food control issues will most likely also experience low self-esteem, elevated stress levels, physical and emotional problems, inactivity and fatigue, low self-confidence and social isolation. So, I cannot resist including a few words on the therapeutic effects of our little furry or feathered friends. Research has shown that living with and caring for animals helps remedy all of the above conditions. About twenty-five years ago professionals began using animals to help patients with physical and psychological problems and over time the field of study has expanded. It is now well accepted that our animal friends provide us with numerous benefits. Being with them is not only good for us but perhaps necessary for optimal health and happiness.

Many kinds of animals have helped humans in ways we are only beginning to understand and appreciate. There is evidence that people with pets are healthier, less prone to hypertension and heart disease, have lower blood pressure, less anxiety, and manage their stress more effectively. They are more active, social, connected and responsible, and have higher levels of self-esteem. Pets give unconditional love and help us to focus outside of ourselves. There is no doubt that animals of many species can help us correct imbalances in our bodily systems and ultimately to heal eating difficulties.

Blood pressure is lowered when we watch fish swim lazily in an aquarium, or when we talk with our bird, hamster, ferret, goat or turtle companion. Petting an animal can have the same effect -- be it a dog, cat, guinea pig, or horse. Pets also provide a sympathetic ear and we can confide our most secret thoughts and feelings without fear of being judged or exposed. This is most therapeutic! An animal provides a channel for communication and we can express our feelings through verbal and physical interactions with our trusted pets. They provide a willing ear and are a source of unconditional love and companionship.

When our needs for connection are unfulfilled, we may fill the void with unhealthy food choices. In some situations a pet just might help -- not for everyone perhaps but for some of us. Please visit to meet my little fuzzy friend.