Monday, October 27, 2008

Embracing Change

Change happens. That’s the way life goes, is it not? Each day when you lower your feet to the floor you have no idea what you have in store. Many of us mindlessly pop out of our cozy beds in a groggy state of half sleep and are instantly on autopilot. We move through our homes doing the same things we are accustomed to doing every other unremarkable morning and we move along often not noticing our surroundings or doing anything differently. Little changes occur and we may not even notice.

There are those times however when change is in the foreground and your choice is clearly to embrace it or resist. I am reminded of this right now as I am moving my office location to Exeter, NH which is about 12 miles from where I’ve been the past several years. At first I thought that this would be simple. After all I have moved a number of times in the past. But from the moment I began searching for my new place I was constantly surprised at how much was involved in this undertaking.

From meeting with the painter, choosing colors, arranging for mail and phone services to change, learning the rules and operations of my new building to selecting window treatments, shopping for a new chair and arranging the actual physical move, I must admit I have felt on the verge of collapse from time to time. But, when this exhaustion has crept up on me and I have felt overwhelmed, I have (usually) been able to take a time out to regroup.

Taking a few minutes here and there to breathe and to remind myself of why I am moving, the distinct advantages I will have in my new space and that I am so blessed to have found such a beautiful place so much closer to my home affords me the chance to calm myself and get back in touch with the fun of it all.

So it goes with me and with all of us. If we stop, regroup and remind ourselves to be grateful for each moment, we align ourselves with positive energy and gratitude. If we resist and push ourselves along our journey, not pausing to embrace our changes and to take gentle care of ourselves, then we assure ourselves that we will miss all the fun. When we are not having fun is the likely time to soother ourselves with junk food. So my message is this:

Have more fun. No matter what you are doing take time to pause and check in with yourself often, every day. You may not be able to control everything that happens around you but you do have the power over what you are doing to yourself inside. When you visit yourself in a few moments of quiet and remind yourself of your blessings then emotional eating is likely to recede into the background and your attitude will change. You will feel good about you and that is a big step towards feeling good about everything else.

Enjoy your day! Warmly, Dr. Denise

Monday, October 20, 2008

Your Needs Are Important

Every time I post here, I share strategies you can employ to feel better and be radiantly healthy – physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually and to lose weight if that is your goal. Reading 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 a 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. I will share ways to listen and to hear that little voice deep within from time to time.

In this blog I offer many ideas to you. I give you the information you need to make informed choices about your physical, emotional and spiritual health. I shed light on some of the reasons we may choose self-destructive behaviors and I hope these postings inspire you to take your health and well being seriously.

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 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 here every week and I would love to hear from some of you. This will provide an opportunity for us to dialog and for you to look at the progress you are making as you move along your own, unique path to radiant health and a life of joy. Please send your questions and comments directly to me at . I look forward to hearing from you! Meanwhile, enjoy this lovely fall...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Isolation Causing Problems?

Sorry to be so late this week with this entry. I am in the midst of moving my office from a small, tiny actually, town into a small but lively city. I have noticed my energy dropping for the past several months and kept trying to figure out why. My emotional eating is no longer in control of me and I exercise every day. My relationship is solid and fulfilling and I live in a beautiful condo in a very friendly community. I also have the best little dog in the universe. However, no matter what I thought of, I couldn't put my finger on the cause of this low grade depression.

Then one day it occurred to me that I might be lonely. Now I am a person who has many freinds and always has plenty to do. Boredom and lonliness have been strangers to me... until now. My intention is to live the most fulfilling and joyful life possible and in order to do so, I have to be happy. To feel happy, I have to attend to my own needs and do what it takes to pull energy to me and to feel good.

Once I realized that I was sad from operating for so many years in isolation, I quickly began a search for the "perfect" office for me in my town of Exeter, NH. My intention was to find a place large enough to house group meetings. I am interested in expanding my group proactice to not only groups for emotional eating issues and life fulfillment but also for people who are taking care of elderly parents or other loved ones.

It is no surprise that the universe cooperated with me and I walked right in to find the perfect office that meets all of my needs. So, I am busy, thriving, doing what I know is the very best for me. I feel an energy that I have been out of touch with for quite a long while. My message to you is this:

Sometimes when we find ourselves sad and often overeating it is a clear message from our own emotional guidance system telling us that we are not moving in the right direction. We need something that we are not giving ourselves. Please pay attention to what you love, what brings you joy and then spend a little quiet time every day focusing on the discovery and manifestation of whatever brings you your joy. I was isolated and craving connection. You may be overwhelmed and needing some quiet. You are unique and so your needs are quite individual. Do whatever you really want to do. This is your life to live and mostly to enjoy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Powerful Urge to Hibernate

As I sit reflecting on what the fall season means to me, I become quiet. I notice the bright splashes of color outside my windows and the urge to hibernate is strong. Did you know that we do, in fact, have the urge biologically to hibernate? This is a throw back to ancient times but it still can, and does, affect us. People naturally want to eat more in the fall as preparation for the long winter sleep ahead – only we don’t do the sleeping part anymore!

Our emotions can feel particularly intense when we find ourselves struggling to avoid these urges to overeat. I suggest you notice the urges and give yourself extra food if you want to -- but make your choices as healthy as possible. Get out in the fresh air, walk, breathe and give yourself some extra time to really nurture yourself. Emotional eating won’t be the primary activity of your day if you feel balanced and content.

What do you need to do to get through those times when your urge to fatten up before hibernation takes hold? Think of ways to “get happy” without the sedative effects of those sugars and carbohydrates. You can dance, talk with friends, sing, draw, paint, write poetry, read a good book, list things you are grateful for, etc. Use your imagination to create your own list. Post it and read it often. Then relax. You deserve to feel content, balanced and joyful – even when you have the urge to overfill your belly and fall asleep until springtime!.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Don't put yourself down! It NEVER helps!

Never berate yourself for overeating: that will only lead you to more indulgence. You know that dieting and depriving yourself does not work. Scolding yourself is always counterproductive. Comparing yourself to others is never useful. The only way to truly feel better is to learn to relax, to nurture yourself and to appreciate the wonderful person that you are. Following are a few suggestions to help as you forge your path in a more positive direction. These are in addition to paying attention to your physical needs.

Live your life as mindfully as possible. I suggest you read some of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books such as Peace is Every Step or Being Peace. These will teach you ways to value the present moment. Staying in the present instead of worrying about the past or what may or may not happen in the future will help you maintain balance in your day. No matter how hectic your schedule, carve out time for yourself every day to attend to your personal needs. Don’t just use left over time to nurture yourself. If you do, there will never be a spare moment to take a bubble bath, read a book or write in your journal. Make yourself the #1 priority. This is not just something nice to do. It is an essential, central part of overcoming overeating.

Develop a specific time to nourish your spirit. Make your own sacred routine. We each have different needs. You can experiment to find ways to satisfy some of yours. Try taking a class in Yoga or Tai Chi. Learn to meditate and enjoy feeling peaceful and relaxed. (Herbert Benson’s book, The Relaxation Response is an excellent guide to meditation techniques. He will teach you how to breathe deeply and sit within the stillness.) Pray. Spend time outside. Notice things around you. Look at the stars at night -- feel the warmth of the sun during the day. Explore things that interest you.

Treat yourself like the goddess you are. Think of things you like to do and do them! Restore your spirit. Schedule relaxing massages. Manicures, pedicures or facials are fantastic. Write in your journal. Dance. Sing. Treat yourself to a movie, a play, a walk on the beach or to a fine dining experience. Use your creative talents. Draw, sew, knit or paint. Try modeling with clay or writing a poem. No one can tell you what is best for you. Our needs are individual and very personal. One woman’s relaxation is another’s stress -- play with different ideas and you will discover ways to soothe your emotions and refresh your spirit.

This will help you feel better without choosing emotional overeating.... I promise!