Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dr. Denise, Emotional Eating Expert, This Time I Mean It!!!

REMINDER! Please join me!

This Time I Mean It!

2010 is the time to stop doing what you've been doing and start doing something that will actually work!
Do you want to
· Define what success means for you?
· Outline effective ways to achieve your goal of radiant health, balance and perfect weight?
· Understand what makes food control so hard at times and why you always want more?
· Learn what drives you to eat when you know you're not really hungry?
The answers to these questions are different for every person but you can get clarity and direction!
NOW is YOUR chance to sit with three experts who will help you answer these vital questions for yourself!
JOIN DR DENISE and TWO ESTEEMED COLLEAGUES, Rich DiGirolamo and Scott Marcus!
Learn how to finally create the life you desire in 2010,

THIS TIME I MEAN IT
January 3, 2010, 2:00 – 3:30 PM
Click here to learn more and register: www.thistimeimeanit.com/
REGISTER NOW AND SAVE
$20.10 BEFORE January 1st, $27 after.
...And receive three free gifts! WOW!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

From Dr. Denise Lamothe, Emotional Eating Expert, THIS TIME I MEAN IT!

This year, instead of setting the frustrating, impossible to keep goals of daily exercise and deprivation dieting, try something new.

First I invite you to join me for an exciting webinar on January 3rd, 2:00 Eastern Standard time, 11 Pacific time. This is an exciting opportunity. I will join 3 colleagues and we will present a 1 1/2 hour seminar called "This Time I Mean It!" Please follow the link for details and I do hope you will join me. Not only will you have fun and get great information but you'll receive free gifts! Wow! What an opportunity! I'm sure you'll agree...

Meanwhile, here are a few tips for you as you move from "holiday (I didn't take the best care of myself)" mode to "joyous, vibrant health" mode...

First, instead of giving anything up, make your new year's resolution to become the healthiest and happiest you can be.

Find a flexible, healthy eating plan that appeals to you -- something you can live with long term.

Readjust your exercise goals. Instead of daily, how about three or four days a week?

Set your sights on long term improvement -- no quick fixes.

Try something new -- take an art classes, try a new activity or enroll in an enrichment course at your local college. Sign up for "ThisTime I mean It!" You will be able to ask your questions and to hear three different perspectives.

Use the Bach Flower Emotional Eating Support Kit to improve your body image, stay in control and stop repeating the same old mistakes.

Find a fun buddy (NOT a diet buddy) plan something fun each week to do together. You will have that to look forward to and take your mind off of your worries.

Stay positive. When things are getting you down, make a list of things you appreciate in your life. This can turn your mood around and eating won't be so compelling.

I send you warm wishes and much joy in 2010.

Monday, December 14, 2009

from Dr. Denise, Emotional Eating Expert: We eat to medicate ourselves

We sometimes eat to anesthetize uncomfortable feelings. This is emotional eating. Change is a part of life and it is generally accompanied by many feelings. Some may be pleasant, some not, but all feelings are valid and necessary. If we pay attention to our cravings and urges to eat we can use our experiences with food as barometers that give us valuable information about our feelings. For example if we crave crunchy foods that allow us to use our jaws powerfully, we might be angry. If we seek creamy, soothing foods, such as ice cream or puddings, we might be lonely or sad and seeking consolation.

If we notice what we are feeling and then pay attention to these feelings they will give us valuable information about the choices we are making and the experiences we are having. Often, however, we fail to pay attention to these urges and act on them instead. When we fail to attend to our feelings and deny or suppress them instead we set ourselves up to binge. Food provides a way of medicating ourselves so we will not feel difficult feelings and many of us learned how effective this is long ago. If we feel anxious, tense, depressed, bored or scared, for example, we might head for the kitchen to sedate ourselves with sugars, fats and carbohydrates. If we feel angry, we might stuff ourselves to keep a lid on things. This often works in the short term but, in the long run, we still have to deal with the situations that provoked these feelings. The longer we wait to deal with difficult situations, the harder they are to confront.

Our feelings are to be honored and valued – not numbed with food or other substances. There are healthier ways to cope with life situations and to deal with distressing feelings. There are other ways – ways that are far more effective and satisfying. For the moment, it is enough just to realize that our feelings are interwoven with our eating behaviors and that we don’t need to use food to manage our feelings.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Emotional eating and intimacy connected

We eat for so many reasons! One situation that often leads us to soothe our anxiety with food is when we perceive our independence as threatened by others – when people seem too “close.” We also eat when others seem too “far away” from us. It is difficult for most of us to flow with the changing levels of closeness we feel. One minute we may feel close to someone only to feel far away later. Our relationships are always in flux and it is often difficult to adjust and re-adjust to someone’s closeness or distance.

Because we cannot control the level of intimacy we experience with another, we may feel afraid and out of control, threatened or abandoned. Then we may seek food to soothe the anxiety that comes with these feelings. How close or distant to be with another is difficult to know at times. Healthy relationships always require a flow – a give and take – of energy. Most of us were never taught how to achieve and maintain appropriate levels of intimacy – how to dance with the changing rhythms in a relationship. This takes knowledge and practice.

It is vital to understand that because someone may feel distant at times it has nothing to do with us. If the other person is experiencing their own feelings and choosing to shut down emotionally there is nothing we can do. Loving ourselves and tending to the most important relationship – the one we have with ourselves - is all we really have control over. So attend to yourself. If you feel abandoned or hurt by another, please be extra gentle with yourself. Emotional overeating will only make things worse in the long run.

Be well – warm wishes, Dr. Denise, Emotional Eating Expert

Monday, November 30, 2009

Do you feel out of control?

Many of us who struggle with our eating behavior in general and emotional eating in particular may feel out of control in other areas of our lives as well. Perhaps our relationships are not satisfying or someone close to us is ill or in emotional pain. We may have been viewing ourselves as “soothers” or “givers.” Most of us have grown up with clear messages that it is our job to take care of those around us. We may imagine that it is our innate responsibility to keep all those around us free from any form of pain or suffering. We respond to everyone else’s needs and lose sight of our own. We allow others to occupy the spaces in our minds and hearts.

We push ourselves out of the picture instead of keeping ourselves and our needs in the foreground. We think we have to protect everyone. It doesn’t matter that this is impossible. If, for example, we see a loved one experiencing distress, we may feel guilty and upset – as if we are personally responsible for their pain. There are good reasons for this and for the many other distorted perceptions we experience. We will consider more reasons for overeating in future blogs but for now please know that feeling out of control with food generally means we are feeling out of control in other areas of our life as well.

my very best,
Dr. Denise,
Emotional Eating Expert

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why do we overeat?

Overeating is about a lot of things. It is about how we feel about ourselves at the, about self-love and self-loathing. It’s about feeling off balance and disconnected. It’s also about what’s going on in our bodies on a cellular level and about how tired or how stressed we feel. Food abuse has to do with the quality of our relationships and the environment in which we live. It has to do with what our hormones are up to and what season it is of the year. Destructive and/or healthy food behaviors tie in with our attitudes about ourselves and others and the world we live in. It is also about the messages we have carried with us from childhood. What we eat, where, when, how and with whom we eat, are all important pieces of information for us to explore if we are to serve our bodies well and manage our own needs effectively. Selecting what we put into our bodies and the ways that we manage that process are complex phenomena. Urges to eat are amazingly strong and we can feel overpowered by them. We may sometimes feel that we have no say in the matter at all. Urges overwhelm us. We feel helpless to stop or control them.

To be successful at managing eating behavior, it is helpful to understand why reasonable eating is so difficult to accomplish. If we have no idea why we are doing something, our chances of changing that behavior are minimal. Instead, we tend to view our behavior as mysterious and beyond our control. If we examine some of the motives behind our out-of-control, usually emotional eating behavior and gain insights into our own personal reasons for overeating, we can demystify the process and empower ourselves to make different, informed choices.

In the weeks ahead, I will shine a light on some of the reasons we overeat at times. Meanwhile, when you have urges to grab those cookies and chocolate bars, sit still for just a moment, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and see if you can pin point why you are heading towards the treats in your cupboard or in the candy machine. Sometimes just breaking the cycle by doing this can help you ward of your Chew.

Meanwhile, be gentle with yourself and enjoy your day! warmly, Dr. Denise

Monday, November 16, 2009

What is the Chew?

Since this is the Chew Tamer's Blog I thought it would be nice to review what exactly the Chew is. So here goes...

What is the Chew? The Chew is our saboteur. She/he is a devious, powerful, destructive little creature who is always lurking somewhere within us to sabotage our most sincere and ambitious attempts to stop eating compulsively. The Chew is not a stranger to the millions of us who have struggled with food control issues for a lifetime. She/he is a ravenous monster who lures us into donut shops and candy stores and who crams food into our mouths with brute force. She/he is a hurtful, persistent, out of control part of each of us. As you read these weekly blogs you will become well acquainted with your personal Chew and you will learn ways to cope with him or her. As you become intimately familiar with your Chew you will be fully equipped to win your battles against compulsive emotional eating.

Please approach this experience one day at a time in an open way. Suspend any expectations you now hold about your eating behavior. It has taken you years to become a compulsive eater. Your Chew has been in charge for a long time and it will take a bit of time to reverse old, self-destructive behaviors. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you learn ways to manage your personal Chew and you will discover ways to neutralize his/her power. As you become more familiar with yourself you will be able to sense the Chew’s presence before you reach for the cookies. You will be able to maintain control over yourself, your eating behavior and your life.

You can never be free of your Chew entirely. She/he has been with you since your earliest years and is a vital part of your humanness. You can, however, learn to accept this as part of you and ignore your self-destructive urges. You can Tame your Chew. You can live free from insistent urges to binge. With regular reading, this blog will help!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Transitions and emotional eating

A difficult time for many of us to approach our eating behaviors in a thoughtful way is when we find ourselves in any kind of transition. Transition means any time of change – any time when there are important decisions to make or conflicting feelings to experience. We may be moving to a new location, beginning a new job, having a child, graduating from or entering school, for example. It is common to feel fearful and overwhelmed when we face change and emotional eating is one way we take care of ourselves during such times. ( By the way, using the Bach remedy Elm can calm your overwhelmed feelings and the Bach Emotional Eating Support Kit can help you regain control and come back into a centered, positive balance.)

Transition also means any movement, growth, or challenge. A woman may be changing her marital status, entering her menopausal years, coping with illness or caring for aging parents or a sick child. Transition can also be as simple as getting in the car to go from one location to another. (Have you ever wondered why you sometimes feel “driven” to binge while you are driving?) So be aware that whenever you are involved in any process of growth and facing change you may be particularly susceptible to emotional overeating and your Chew may seem particularly powerful at that time. As mentioned in The Taming of the Chew, understanding this and realizing that you are not the only one who feels out of control at times can help you turn your attention away from berating yourself and perpetuating your self-destructive behavior. Then you can be more gentle with yourself and begin taking positive, healthy actions on your own behalf.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Are you a binge-eater?

Following is a clinical description of a “binge eater” which I have excerpted from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSM IV, 1994) used by the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations to identify and diagnose various disorders. One condition that they have labeled “binge-eating disorder” pertains to persons who eat in an out of control way. Following is a list of criteria that must be met in order for this diagnosis to apply. Please read the following information carefully. If you fit the criteria for binge-eating disorder (or if you struggle with Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa), I urge you to consult professionals who are knowledgeable and skilled in the treatment of food control issues.

Binge Eating Disorder

A. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode is characterized by both of the following:
1. eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.
2. a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)

B. The binge-eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
1. eating much more rapidly than normal
2. eating until feeling uncomfortably full
3. eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
4. eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
5. feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating

C. Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.
D. The binge occurs, on average, at least two days a week for six months.
E. The binge eating is not associated with regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (e.g., purging, fasting, excessive exercise) and does not occur exclusively during the course of Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa. (If you are using these inappropriate, dangerous compensatory behaviors please do seek professional help.)

If you did meet the above criteria, begin by scheduling an appointment with your medical doctor for a complete physical (which includes appropriate blood work). You may also wish to consult someone who is open to holistic health and uses alternative practices in his or her work (such as herbal therapy, homeopathy, naturopathy, etc.) You may also want to consult with a nutritionist who is open to alternative eating styles and possibly to meet with a psychologist or psychotherapist. Having this support and guidance can help. Also, for many of us, it may be useful to view food abuse as a powerful addiction – as a dependency and to locate a professional who can work with us from that perspective. Only you know how problematic food is for you and only you can evaluate the degree to which you are dependent upon food and whether or not you should seek professional help.

You are worth taking care of!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Make Friends with Your Appetite

What does it mean to befriend your appetite, and why is it important?

As the Emotional Eating Expert, I can assure you that the basic premise is this:

· Your appetite (or Chew) transmits constant streams of messages to you that frequently are not about actual hunger.

· If you simply pay attention to the hunger messages and attempt to satiate yourself with food, you have missed important communications from your internal guidance system. You are likely to remain hungry and not feel satisfied.

· When you tame or befriend your appetite and pay close attention to the valuable communications it brings, you begin to value your appetite as a true friend instead of regarding it as a foe.

· Because your desires extend far beyond controlling both your food intake and your weight, your Chew begins to work beside you to encourage you along the path to radiant health, joy, balance, and the creation of the life you truly desire.

· To craft your ideal life, you must be clear about what your desires actually are and learn to be positive as much as possible. Then, as the Law of Attraction assures, you will attract positive experiences and feelings.

· Your Chew will become friendly, loyal, and playful and will stand beside you. It will alert you vigilantly when you are on the right track, moving toward achieving your life goals, or when you are not. It will constantly and faithfully deliver messages from your internal guidance system about what choices are in your best interest in all aspects of your life.

Emotional eating will become a thing of the past!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Overeating and stress

When we are experiencing any stressor, our whole being reacts. Emotions surface and we flood with feelings. We may feel scared at times -- unsafe, helpless, furious, overwhelmed, or sad, to name just a few possible stressful feelings. Sometimes we become depressed or anxious and do not understand why.

As human beings we act and react. Part of us tries to suppress or deny our uncomfortable feelings while another part of us is reacting to situations all around us. There is no one right way to react or to feel in any given situation. When we are experiencing emotions, some that we understand and some that we may not understand, the end result is that we are in distress. So many triggers cause stress and we often turn to unhealthy, old patterns in search of relief. We may seek food for comfort. So many of us do!

This is natural, so please don’t beat yourself up if you have indulged in some extra goodies lately. 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, soothing emotional eating. 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, as mentioned in The Taming of the Chew that there are no mistakes, only lessons. Be as gentle as possible with yourself.

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. I also suggest the Bach Emotional Eating Support Kit to help you stay in control, learnthe lessons contained in your mistakes and foster appreciation of your body.

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

warmest wishes, Dr. Denise

Monday, October 5, 2009

We Are All Works in Progress - Part II

We are all marvelous works in progress. Please never diet again and realize that life is not about being thin. It is about being healthy, loving yourself just the way you are and eating in ways that feel nurturing – not compulsive and self-abusive. My wish is that you feel healthy, peaceful and happy with yourself regardless of how many pounds you weigh. I have spent countless hours in my role as a therapist listening to my clients’ painful histories and experiences and helping them in their personal struggles to control their eating. People have come to share their stories of guilt, self-hatred, shame and frustration. In their pasts, some have lost weight, some have not. Some have developed an ability to accept themselves no matter what their weight may be, and others have abandoned hope, finding the battle against compulsive eating too demanding and discouraging.

This is easy to understand. We are bombarded daily with confusing messages about what to do, what to eat (or not eat) and how to look and act. The problem can easily become overwhelming! Many of us have tried an assortment of fad diets, weight loss gimmicks, pills that claim to melt pounds away and exercise machines that promise thinner thighs and disappearing bellies in an impossibly short time and with little effort. These attempts to control our bodies and to mold them into shapes idealized today generally end in failure, cause great anxiety and the urges to overeat become more persistent than ever.

We may never completely eliminate urges to eat compulsively. They may manifest from time to time just because we are human beings with appetites. We can, however, learn ways to recognize these urges when they surface and to choose other ways to deal with them. If we attempt to eat a healthy diet but we ignore other important needs (e.g. our need for exercise, rest, laughter, relationships, attention to our feelings, solitude, etc.) we soon find ourselves turning to food as we have in the past – to fill our needs. Food, of course, does not fulfill our real needs. We will be forever turning to food to nurture and satisfy ourselves if we don’t identify what our real needs are and discover ways to fulfill them satisfactorily.

In this blog, I share information to help you understand food control issues from many perspectives: physical, emotional, social, environmental and spiritual. I also offer suggestions to help you manage those urges to overeat. I share my own experiences where I think they may be helpful to you and draw upon the wisdom of the many clients I have worked with. I am thrilled that you are joining me here, to visit and explore this frustrating issue for yourself. I’m honored to have you by my side on this Chew Tamer’s Journey!
Do something absolutely wonderful for yourself today. Buy yourself flowers or visit a loving friend. Take a walk at the beach or in a forest. Go play. Walk barefoot on the grass. Push the envelope. Take a risk. Be silly. Go to http://www.deniselamothe.com/ and sign up for my free, quarterly newsletter. And then, subscribe to this blog (see right hand column) to receive posts in your own mailbox!

And remember, we are all one and you are never alone.

Monday, September 28, 2009

We are all works in progress

Americans are the fattest people on earth. Why is that? Why are we as a culture so overweight? Why are so many of us prone to eating to excess? Why are so many of us obsessed with food and body size? Why have so many of us alternated between eating compulsively for periods of time and then dieting for a while? Why has this become a common, life-long style of food management for so many? Why have millions of women and men become entangled in a pattern which is so self-destructive and that can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, a general sense of being out of control as well as a host of many other problems? We are all different, of course, and some people have not experienced such a struggle. Most of us, however, eat more than we want or need to at times, and for some over-eating has become a life-style. What can we do about this? What can you do to bring more balance and peace into your personal relationship with food (or drugs or alcohol or any other addictive substance or behavior)?
I have studied this issue and specialized in working with people with food control concerns for over twenty years. I have waged my own private war with compulsive eating and dieting – enduring phases of obesity, bulimia and anorexia. I have finally found a path to a healthier life with a more positive, balanced and appreciative attitude towards myself, my own body and food. Please understand, however, that I too am a work in progress and will continue to be so for the remainder of my time on this planet. My body is not and will never be “perfect” according to our contemporary societal standard and I will never negotiate my path “perfectly”. However, after more than sixty years of alternately starving and stuffing myself, the idea of perfection has become irrelevant. It has been replaced instead by a feeling of peace and an appreciation of myself, the person I have become and of the many wonderful things my body can do.
From time to time I share my perspective about compulsive eating behavior and my philosophy of treatment in this blog. Please note that our physical bodies and our emotional and spiritual selves are intertwined and that we have been heavily influenced in our society to look and act in certain ways to be accepted and approved of. So, to feel in control of our impulses to eat compulsively, we need to address all of these areas and to map out strategies to bring each of these aspects of ourselves into balance. This requires us to know ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually and to understand the impact social forces have had on us throughout our lives. This is no small task but it is possible and worthwhile. As I write to you each week I will be touching upon all of these areas in one way or another. Thank you for being on this Chew Tamer's Journey with me!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Personal care checklist

Most of us realize the importance of making and checking lists. We may make packing lists, lists of presentation items we need to take along and lists of things to mention during our presentation. Some more organized people even have lists of lists! But many of us neglect to consult the most vital list of all – our self-care list. We are complex beings and must attend to ourselves – physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually and environmentally.

Life is stressful. We are always on the go and trying to meet the needs of others while balancing the often-difficult demands of our personal lives.
It is helpful to create a self-care checklist to review often. Attending to our needs on all levels will insure consistent health and balance. We will look better, feel better and radiate higher energy.

Following is an example of a personal care checklist.

Physically: Have I been eating well, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats, sugar and simple carbohydrates as often as possible and eating good amounts of protein every few hours? Have I packed healthy snacks for the day? Am I well hydrated, drinking at least 64 ounces of pure water each day? Have I been keeping regular bedtime hours, getting a sufficient amount of quality sleep? Am I keeping moderate exercise a priority in my life?

Emotionally: Have I been attending to my feelings and expressing myself appropriately; not holding in feelings or stuffing them down with unhealthy foods? Have I really been taking time to nurture myself? When was the last time I truly relaxed? Do I have a journal to vent or explore my feelings in? Clearing myself emotionally means I can better attend to the tasks at hand. I am less distracted or preoccupied.

Socially: Have I been spending time with positive people that I enjoy being with? Am I having fun? Am I paying enough attention to my relationships? Do I stay well connected so I don’t find myself isolated and lonely? Do I apportion my time with others with the alone time I need to stay balanced?

Spiritually: Have I been taking quiet time for myself? Do I spend time every day praying, meditating or just sitting and quietly breathing? Do I remind myself often to stay in the present rather than worry about the future or hang on to difficulties from the past?

Environmentally: Have I set up a comfortable environment in my home (perhaps a cozy spot with favorite photos, bath oil, small scented candle or incense)?

It is essential to take gentle care of ourselves. The busier we are, the more we need to do this. Only by paying attention to our own needs, can we best serve the needs of others. I wish all radiant health!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

We are being manipulated!

First, I apologize for failing to blog last week. I know that many of you check in regularly and I so much appreciate that. I have fallen victim to some nasty little flu bug and only today do I feel a tint surge of energy. So, here is an extra special blog for you this week. Enjoy! (and please do feel free to drop me a note any time to let me know what you thiunk. I would love to hear from you!)

We know much more today than ever before about foods and the various ways we are affected not only by eating them but also by the specific ingredients manufacturers put into them and the ways these foods are marketed to us. It has been well documented that sugars, fats and salt (particularly when combined) are highly addictive for most people. Dr. David Kessler in his book, The End of overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite labels this irresistible eating experience as “hypereating” and most of us can relate to that. When most of us are faced with foods laden with fat, sugar and salt we become helpless to stop.

Let me explain the cycle. When we eat sugars, fat and salt, we feel good. Our feelings recede into the background and we become immersed in the eating experience. We feel better for a short while but then crave another “fix” as the good feelings fade. We know that more sugar, fat and salt will provide another “high” and the reward center of pour brain makes us seek out that pleasure. When we are given large amounts of these foods most of us will overeat.

For years you may have been thinking that there was something wrong with you and that your inability to modulate your eating was because you lacked will power. We now know that that is not the case. Sugars and fats are self reinforcing and we are cued to seek them out. When our desire to eat is stimulated by certain sights, sounds, or places we associate with eating we release dopamine in our brain and reward seeking behavior is motivated. As Kessler points out, dopamine pushes us to seek the food we want and we are not easily distracted away from our goal. So, dopamine leads us to seek food. We eat and this leads to opiod release and the production of both dopamine and opiods leads us to further eating. So cues ensure that we will work hard to obtain the reward. In this excellent work he goes on to expose the food industry and explains ways foods are engineered to figure out exactly what we will like.

Every aspect of food manufacture and marketing is of great importance –packaging, the ambience in restaurants, noise levels, portion sizes and even the name of the product has an effect. If we are under stress (and who isn’t?) we are even hungrier and more susceptible to falling victim to the hypereating cycle. Kessler acknowledges that emotional learning has not traditionally been part of habit reversal but that emotional eating may be the missing link necessary for stopping this mindless eating.

Scattered throughout my blogs are ways to stop being a victim of the food industry. First, please acknowledge that your overeating behavior has not been your fault alone and has not been entirely in your control. Next, please remind yourself that this quest for health will take patience, time and an attitude of self acceptance and gentleness. You have techniques for stopping this automatic eating response in its tracks and returning to balance and joy even if you have an experience now and then of eating mindlessly and getting hooked into the victim role that our food industry wants you to play. You will now know different ways to take care of yourself and to bypass the automatic responses to the food cues that abound in our culture.

You already know that you want to move yourself away from unhealthy behaviors and move towards healthy ones. This is key. Keeping this goal in mind will help you immensely as you forge your own personal path away from the ploys of the food industry and towards the rewards that come with making self-loving choices as often as possible. There will be set backs. You might as well know that right up front. There is no room here for absolute perfection. We can never be fully cured of conditioned hypereating but we can tame our chews, listen to the important messages our feelings are communicating, treat ourselves with love and respect and celebrate the many times we eat well, ignoring the momentary lapses in judgment. Then we can and will move ahead towards our goal of balance, joy and radiant health.

You are learning now that there are social causes, physical, emotional and spiritual causes as well. You already have a broad understanding of this entire picture. Practice treating yourself lovingly and you will be unstoppable! You will think of food in a different way – as a substance that gives you great benefit when you choose wisely, listen to your bodily cues and see that your real needs are met.

Eating is a personal, individual matter. How, when and what you feed yourself is entirely up to you. When you can choose foods based upon your tastes and desires and weigh the long term consequences of your choices you will be well on your way to freedom. The food industry will no longer be able to manipulate your eating behavior. You will be in charge of you – no longer a victim. And, trust me, that feels really good!

Monday, August 24, 2009

You do have choices

Remind yourself that although your energy is low and life feels particularly difficult in this moment that you do have options. Have a conversation with yourself. For example, you might say “Yes, I notice I am tired and discouraged and fearful right now. What would be the very best, most effective and gentle way to take care of my true needs at this particular time? Perhaps I can call my friend and talk awhile or take a walk with my dog or a nap. Maybe I just need a little quiet time to regroup, meditate, write in my journal, pray or cry. What is it I am really craving if I bypass my usual, mind numbing sugar/carbohydrate fix? Do I need stimulation or relaxation, isolation or socialization? Do I need protein or more water or a little sunshine? Do I need to attend to some unfinished business or do I need to let someone know how I feel?” There are many possibilities and each time you go through this process you are taking giant steps towards helping your appetite to serve you and to work with you to accomplish your life’s goals.

Practice stopping and thinking about what would truly serve you best in that moment. When you are attentive to yourself in this way, you will feel better and food will become less important. You will no longer have such persistant urges to eat for emotional reasons. You cannot do this, however if you don’t take the time for yourself. It only takes a moment, but it is an essential moment. It requires that you quiet down and focus within to tap into your intuition and to discover what will please you. Otherwise, you will remain focused outwardly and you will find yourself reacting to stimuli around you instead of acting on your own behalf. Once you develop the habit of this intuitive check-in with your inner self you will find the peace and balance you are striving for, and your body will adjust to the weight that is perfect for you. Your Chew will be a source of joy for you instead of frustration. And one of the greatest benefits is that you will feel proud of yourself. You will smile more and people will notice that you are glowing!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Take time to just be

Pause long enough to notice your surroundings. Notice the colors, the scents, the sounds and all the details. Allow yourself to tune in to the full experience of just being wherever you are at the moment. Then quiet your mind with some deep breaths and begin to notice what feelings are percolating around in side of you. You are likely experiencing a number of things. Try to identify some of the most powerful feelings. (It may help to write them down.) Then as you acknowledge these feelings to yourself, you can tune in fully to the experience you are having at the moment.

For example you might say “I notice I feel tired and overwhelmed. I didn’t sleep well last night, and I have been worrying a lot about my job [or relationship or money or health or something else]. I feel tension in my neck and shoulders and I am cranky and short tempered this morning.” As you notice these things, you position yourself to decide what you truly need to do to take the best care of yourself in that moment. In the past you have most likely used food to dull these important feeling messages, and you have missed the chance to identify your real needs. You may find you are tempted to grab a few pastries or some candy when you do this exercise. Your reaction is natural if eating has become the primary way you have been meeting your emotional needs. But perhaps you can defer that automatic response of food abuse and instead think of what else might better meet your needs.

Noticing your feelings and stopping to pay attention to them is a most important part of making the decisions that will help you as you continually strive for balance and joy in your life. Using the valuable information your feelings are providing for you to create the experience you truly desire is part of the training process. It is at those times that your Chew is working with you and helping you identify what you really want and need for your own peace, health and well-being.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Express yourself

Many of us never learned how to communicate within ourselves or with others. As we practice the skill of attending to our inner being and listening to our feeling messages, we are likely to discover that we want and need to communicate more honestly, clearly, and fully with those around us. This is not easy for many of us. Most of us were taught to be quiet from an early age (Children should be seen and not heard!). If we did dare to speak up we may have been reprimanded, ridiculed or discounted. Our precious thoughts may have been negated and our feelings invalidated. Soon we learned to withhold our true thoughts and to bury our feelings deep inside -- so deep that we may have lost touch with them ourselves. These consequences of our self-expression were painful, and it didn’t take us long to realize and appreciate the soothing relief we could find with a few cookies or a big dish of ice cream.

So now, when it is important for us to speak up as adults we may feel fearful. This is understandable given the ways our communication may have been received in the past. Ask yourself what is your worst fear if you speak up in the particular situation that concerns you. The ask, “is this fear realistic?” What’s the worst thing that could happen? Sometimes knowing what your greatest fear is can dispel the power you have given away in anticipation of a confrontation or rejection. It is easier by far to swallow a brownie than to tell your neighbor you don’t want to care for her child again. But, if you don’t speak up, and she doesn’t happen to be a mind reader, nothing will change and you will likely go on eating an endless supply of sweets, gaining weight, and harboring greater resentment towards her for taking advantage of you and towards yourself for allowing her to. Then you will need more anesthetic sugar fixes to keep that anger and resentment at bay.

So it is vital that you learn to assert yourself and communicate what your wants and needs truly are. You deserve to ask for what you want and to express yourself. Your feelings are no more or less important than anyone else’s. You can always ask for what you need and express all that you wish to express. This earthly life is your experience, and you are responsible for creating the experience you want. Others around you are responsible for creating their own life experiences. You can’t live your life to serve their needs to the exclusion of your own. Nor can you expect others to read your mind, discover what your needs are, and live their lives in service of you. Each of us must make our own choices and create the most positive, joyful life possible.

Here is a simple communication formula that many find helpful to express their thoughts and feelings.
(feeling) (behavior)
I feel___________ when you_____________. For example, “I feel angry when you leave your clothes all over the floor.” To use this formula effectively, you will first need to learn how to recognize and name your feelings. Once you are clear about how you feel, you can then name a specific behavior that you would like to address with the other person. In a perfect world, they might respond to your communication by saying something such as, “Oh, I am sorry. I will now pick up my clothes since I now know you don’t like me to leave them on the floor.” Chances of that happening, however, are slim. Usually you will have to tell them more than once. If they still do not respond to your request, it is time to add to the communication formula and to name a consequence.

(feeling) (behavior)
I feel___________ when you_____________ and if you
(consequence)
continue,_________________.

For example, “I feel angry when you leave your clothes all over the floor and if you continue, I will throw them out the bathroom window.” Now, your consequence must be appropriate to the crime and something you can actually do. Then you must follow through. If you communicate clearly using this technique, people will begin to take you seriously, and you will no longer feel helpless and invisible. Try it and see!

As mentioned in The Taming of the Chew, if you are lacking good communication and assertiveness skills, investigate opportunities in your area for groups or classes where you can learn and practice these essential skills. Knowing how to speak up and to stand up for yourself will empower you, and you will not need food as medication

Monday, August 3, 2009

How do we break the overeating cycle?

Sorry to have been away from my blog these past weeks. Vacation was wonderful and although I intended to keep up with things, my urges to hike and relax and eat fabulous food were stronger. So now I am back and no more trips are planned for a while. Thank you for your patience and I welcome you back to my weekly posts. Please do be in touch. I would love to hear from you with your questions, concerns or ideas for coming posts.

Millions of people can't stop eating even though they have already eaten more than enough to fuel their bodies. Most of us will do this occasionally. During these times when we overindulge we are likely to feel unhappy, frustrated and discouraged. Our self-esteem level plummets and, even though we may realize that we are damaging our health, we feel helpless to stop. Did you ever wonder why that is? There are many reasons.

We are constantly flooding with emotion and seldom paying attention to what the messages are that our feelings are delivering so faithfully to us. Cues in our environment drive our behavior and when we are faced with variety or excessive portions of foods high in sugar, fat, and salt most of us will overeat. Our desire for our sugar/fat/salt “fix” or reward is so strong that it usually trumps our desire for balance. This is the point where our overeating behavior crosses the “what the hell line” that I talk about in The Taming of the Chew. We then have little or no regard for the consequences of our repeated binging behavior.

Where the numbers on the scale settle is not because of a set point but instead a result of our motivation, how we seek certain foods to soothe our emotions and food's availability and the portion sizes that face us when we are served a meal. So, if cues are constantly surrounding us to eat and the urge for reward gets set in motion then how do we break the cycle of that eventually becoming a habit?

I have a list available of 30 tips to control overeating. If you would like a free copy, just email me at denise@deniselamothe.com and I will send you a copy. Meanwhile, enjoy the day!
It's good to be back!

Warmly,
Dr. Denise

Monday, July 6, 2009

What about the children?

We have created a situation that is dangerous for our children. According to a recent article by Dr. Andrew Weil, “Excess weight is the most common health problem facing youngsters, and the number of teens considered overweight has almost tripled in twenty years.” We have more obese children than ever before and that number is increasing rapidly. We hear all too often about overweight children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (which in the past was found so rarely in children that it was referred to as “adult onset” diabetes). We hear more about
eating disorders -- mostly in girls but in many boys too. Even in grammar school little girls worry about being fat. They already want to diet – to look like fashion models, rock stars or actresses on television. They want to fit in, to be popular and pretty and this starts at a very tender age.
Mothers and fathers fret. They attempt to force their daughters and sons either to eat or to stop eating. Parents plead and threaten and scold. They bargain and beg. As caretakers we want our children to do the “right” things and to develop health-promoting habits. We tell our sons and daughters the right things to do. When they do not act in the ways we have carefully taught them, we get frustrated. Parents try so hard and so often fail.
We can make changes on a moment-to-moment basis based on new information we acquire and we can help our children develop into the most clear, energetic, healthy and loving human beings possible. Their survival and ultimately the survival of our species and our world depends upon this. This may sound melodramatic but we must change the dangerous course that we and our children are on. We must move from the extremes of anorexia and obesity towards balance and health. We and our children can learn to make healthier food choices, to appreciate life, to be more flexible and to trust our inner guidance. We can begin to accept and admire different body shapes and sizes. We can move away from rigid diets and society’s ridiculous obsession with being thin towards more loving, natural, flexible and healthy behaviors
I unequivocally guarantee that I was never even close to being the “perfect” mother. My mother and father were not “perfect” parents either. We each did the best we could at the time based on the knowledge, resources and energy we had. My parents loved me although at times I may not have thought so or appreciated their efforts to guide me. I adored my children even though it may not always have appeared that way to them.
If you would like a free copy of my “Tips to Help The Children” please e-mail me at denise@deniselamothe.com put "tips in the subject line and request a copy. I am happy to send you one. Meanwhile, have a fabulous summer day!
Dr. Denise

Monday, June 29, 2009

No will power?

Many people come to see me stating they have no will power and that they feel like failures. Often it is remarked that eating is the one area in which they feel helpless and out of control. They may be successful in business and family life, but when it comes to passing up the cheesecake or potato chips, they feel helpless and weak.

I do not believe in will-power. As I have said in The Taming of the Chew I do believe that people will feed themselves well when they feel good about themselves and are able to genuinely express their emotions to others. Being happy, healthy and whole is not about being thin. It is about being happy with yourself at whatever size you are now. It is about self-acceptance and joy. It is about self-love.

It is necessary to take the focus away from feeling fat and unhappy and change the focus of attention to the positive aspects of ourselves and our lives. It is vital to appreciate what we do have and to let go of the things that are restricting us and holding us back. Only then can we create the lives of balance and joy we so desperately want.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Are you trying to be perfect?

As a professional speaker, I have the opportunity to address large audiences about women’s issues. I will joke with my audience members that there are probably no women in the room who expect themselves to be perfect. This usually prompts loud laughter as each woman looks around and they realize that they are the same. Most, if not all, women hold unrealistic expectations of themselves. They would never expect such perfection from others but they continue to set impossibly high goals for themselves.

Setting unrealistic, impossible goals leads to failure – every single time. We are all human and, although it is wise to set challenging goals, it is self-destructive to hold perfection as the only acceptable outcome. If we continually set ourselves up to fail in this way, we can never feel good about ourselves. Instead we will feel discouraged and see ourselves as failures. This leads to self-punishment and often to the bakery or candy aisle. We then eat to soothe ourselves and, as you can see, much of our over-eating is emotional eating.

Some women spend years captured in this loop. They set themselves up to be perfect, fail, feel badly and then eat to feel better. They resolve to perform better in the future. Since they still can’t behave perfectly every minute, they set themselves up to fail again. Then they beat themselves up, eat to feel better, end up feeling worse and this cycle repeats itself again and again.

You do not have to continue to feel like a victim, failing to manage your life. You will be able to change once you understand how and why you have been harming yourself. Stop trying to be perfect. You already are!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Did you grow up in a “crazy-making” world?

Most women tell me that they felt confused in their homes. They received mixed messages and had trouble making sense of the world around them. You may have heard the expression “There’s an elephant in the living room.” This means that many issues in the family, which may have seemed obvious to the child or young woman, were never acknowledged or addressed. People pretend that all is fine when underneath the fa├žade they are not fine at all. This occurs all too frequently.

Crazy-making messages are common elements in many families. Parents may not know how to confront difficult situations and may lack the communication skills necessary to do so. They may be held back by fear (of upsetting someone else, of incurring another’s anger, being abandoned, or being invalidated once again). So, many family members play the roles they have been assigned in the family and act as they imagine they are supposed to but, all the while, feel confused and disconnected – their true experiences and feelings hidden away from each other.

This breeds self-doubt and confusion. It is hard to feel confident and good about yourself when the world around you is not making sense. It is easier to play along (and eat to dull your feelings) than to risk disrupting the family system. Does this sound familiar? Have you been emotionally eating to suppress your real thoughts and true feelings? The time to stop that is now!

My Best, Dr. Denise

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Exciting new book

Todays blog entry is a little different. Rather than share advice or suggestions, I want to alert you to a most valuable resource. The End of Overeating (Rodale) by David Kessler, M.D.
appeared in bookstores in April. I, and my colleagues here, are all very excited about it. It is top notch research and perhaps the first book that will truly help people understand in concrete ways why they overeat and what they can do about it. He does not do much about the emotional eating piece and so his work combined with The Taming of the Chew makes a complete guide to changing frustrating overeating behaviors and healing from the negative effects of these behaviors. Dr Kessler's work is philosophically compatible with the Chew Tamer's approach to overeating issues.

He discusses brain function, sugar, fat and salt addiction, the ways food is processed to guarantee that we will overeat, marketing, portion sizes, some useful techniques to stop overeating and much, much more. It is a cutting edge book and very thoroughly researched. I am now going through the manuscript of my new book to add in some of Dr. Kessler's powerful and useful information. (More news on this to follow)

My new book will include a workbook, share the historical perspective on food abuse via interesting case stories, tackle emotional eating, incorporate a tips booklet at the end, include a list of suggested readings and now will also include Dr. Kesslers findings from his cutting edge research. My Chew Tamers will be the first to know when it is published!

So, for now, I strongly suggest you look into Dr. Kesslers work. It could save your life!

Warmly, Dr. Denise

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Have you ever felt invalidated?

Women often report that during their lifetimes they have often felt invalidated. When they attempted to let their parents, teachers or friends how they felt, they were sometimes ignored and often told they “shouldn’t” feel that way. For many this frustrating and painful experience led them to keep their true feelings to themselves. Instead of being encouraged to express their authentic emotions, they were told to feel what others wanted them to feel. In this way, many women grow out of touch with their own emotions and eventually seek validation and approval stating they are thinking and feeling what they expect they “should” be thinking and feeling, rather than what they actually are experiencing.

Because our feelings are our internal guidance system, it is imperative that we learn to recognize and express our genuine emotions. I will discuss this in more detail in my next book (details on that when publication date is announced). For now it is important to realize that your feelings, whatever they may be, are valid. It may be difficult for many of you to trust your emotions at first if you have spent years denying your true feelings to gain approval and to avoid invalidation. It is well worth the effort to tune in to your feelings and to learn to express yourself.

Only when you feel authentic and clear will you be able to move towards health and freedom and joy. Once you can express yourself openly and assert your right to do so, you will be able to take charge of your life and your weight issues and emotional eating patterns will fade into the background.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Why aren’t we good enough?

Women are bombarded with messages on a moment to moment basis about how to look, how to act, what to say, etc. Messages come from all directions – from family members, friends, institutions and the media for example. Women are constantly being looked at and evaluated. Their weight is often everyone’s business and well-meaning relatives may offer advice about ways to be more slender and attractive. This is a dreadful predicament for any woman in our society.

If you pause in the check out line of the supermarket you will find it difficult (and often impossible) to spot a publication that won’t tell you what and how you need to change. Headlines advertise ways to flatten your tummy, tighten your buttocks, get rid of your unsightly bulges, perform better in bed and get rid of that acne. You can buy these magazines and learn how to have a smoother, fresher complexion, reduce wrinkles and lift your sagging breasts all the while preparing and serving amazing meals in minutes. You will read about the importance of diet and exercise and most likely unearth much conflicting information. If you try to follow all of the advice dispensed from the news stand, you will likely become more discouraged and eat even more to soothe the painful feelings you will experience realizing that you can’t do and be and have it all. Emotional eating takes away the confusion and pain - temporarily.

Along with these headlines you will find slender smiling women who are held up as examples of how we all should look. These photographs are often altered, blemishes (and even pores) air brushed away. Breasts are enlarged, waistlines diminished, eyelashes lengthened and legs sculpted. We can’t really tell what’s real and what isn’t but we are sure that we don’t look like that.

Is it any wonder that women have a hard time maintaining a positive body image and a healthy level of self-esteem?

Remember, you are perfect just as you are! Blessings, Dr. Denise

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Express Yourself

Express Yourself

Many of us never learned how to communicate within ourselves or with others. As we practice the skill of talking with our inner being, we are likely to discover that we want and need to communicate more honestly, clearly, and fully with those around us. This is not easy for many of us. Most of us were taught to be quiet from an early age (Children should be seen and not heard!). If we did dare to speak up we may have been ridiculed or discounted. Our precious thoughts may have been negated and our feelings invalidated. Soon we learned to withhold our true thoughts and to bury our feelings deep inside -- so deep that we may have lost touch with them ourselves. These consequences of our self-expression were painful, and it didn’t take us long to realize and appreciate the soothing relief we could find with a few cookies or a big dish of ice cream. Many of us soon became experts at emotional eating.

So now, when it is important for us to speak up as adults we may feel fearful. This is understandable given the ways our communication may have been received in the past. Ask yourself what is your worst fear if you speak up in the particular situation that concerns you. Is this fear realistic? What’s the worst thing that could happen? Sometimes knowing what your greatest fear is can dispel the power we have given in anticipation of a confrontation or rejection. It is easier by far to swallow a brownie than to tell your neighbor you don’t want to care for her child again. But, if you don’t speak up, and she doesn’t happen to be a mind reader, nothing will change and you will likely go on eating an endless supply of sweets, gaining weight, and harboring greater resentment towards her for taking advantage of you and towards yourself for allowing her to. Then you will need more anesthetic sugar fixes to keep that anger and resentment at bay.

So it is vital that you learn to assert yourself and communicate what your wants and needs truly are. You deserve to ask for what you want and to express your feelings. Your feelings are no more or less important than anyone else’s. You can always ask for what you need and express all that you wish to express. This earthly life is your experience, and you are responsible for creating the experience you want. Others around you are responsible for creating their own life experiences. You can’t live your life to serve their needs to the exclusion of your own. Nor can you expect others to read your mind, discover what your needs are, and live their lives in service of you. Each of us must make our own choices and create the most positive, joyful life possible.

My very warmest springtime wishes.... Dr. Denise

Friday, May 1, 2009

Slow down!

How wonderful that you are taking the time to read this blog and to stop and think about yourself right now. Forget what you have done in the past. You can in an instant transform yourself and your life if you choose to. While transforming yourself may seem impossible, even though desirable, you really can. You will need to slow down, however, and then begin to implement the following suggestions:

1. Stop, Look, and Listen
2. Consider Your Choices

Today I will address these:

Step 1. Stop, Look, and Listen

Pause long enough to notice your surroundings. Notice the colors, the scents, the sounds, and all the details. Allow yourself to tune in to the full experience of just being wherever you are at the moment. Then quiet your mind with some deep breaths and begin to notice what feelings are percolating around inside of you at that time. You are likely experiencing a number of things. Try to identify some of the most powerful feelings. (It may help to write them down.) Then as you acknowledge these feelings to yourseIf, you can tune in fully to the experience you are having at the moment.

For example you might say, “I notice I feel tired and overwhelmed. I didn’t sleep well last night because I have been worrying a lot about my job [or relationship or money or health or something else]. Also notice how you feel physically. For example, I feel tension in my neck and shoulders, and I am cranky and short tempered this morning.”

Step 2. Consider Your Choices

As you notice what you are feeling, you position yourself to decide what you truly need to do to take the best care of yourself in that moment. In the past you have most likely used food to dull these important feeling messages and you have missed the chance to identify your real needs. You may find you are tempted to grab a few pastries or some candy when you do this exercise. Your reaction is natural as it has become the primary way you have been meeting your needs. But perhaps you can defer that automatic response of food abuse and instead think of something else that might better meet your needs.

Remind yourself that although your energy is low and life feels particularly difficult in this moment that you do have options. Have a conversation with yourself. For example, you might say, “Yes, I notice I am tired and discouraged and fearful right now. What would be the very best, most effective and gentle way to take care of my true needs at this particular time? Perhaps I can call my friend and talk awhile or take a walk with my dog or a nap. Maybe I just need a little quiet time to regroup, meditate, pray, or cry. What is it I am really craving if I bypass my usual, mind-numbing sugar or carbohydrate fix? Do I need stimulation or relaxation, isolation or socialization? Do I need protein or more water or a little sunshine? Do I need to attend to some unfinished business or do I need to let someone know how I feel?”

These suggestions may seem elementary and indeed they are. However, I find that most of the people whom I speak with do not take the time to tune into themselves very often, and quite possibly never do. This is primary and this is a central piece of the mindless overeating puzzle. So spend a little time thinking about it and noticing how you may be mindlessly darting around all day reacting to whatever experiences you encounter along your path. Pause and check in with yourself today from time to time and see how things change. You will become more active, less reactive and feel less overwhelmed and helpless.

I hope we have seen the last of this bitter cold weather and remember, you can reach me at Denise@DeniseLamothe.com anytime. I’d love to hear from you with feedback, questions, or suggestions for future topics you’d like to see addressed in this blog.

Meanwhile, make today absolutely fantastic!

Dr Denise

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What do you love to do?

What do you love to do? What are you passionate about? When was the last time you became totally immersed in an activity? Many of us spend our days simply, mindlessly making it through to the next day and then to the day after that. Then we ask ourselves if this is what life is supposed to be like. Is this really all there is to it? Is the hokey pokey really what it’s all about? If that is so then anesthetizing ourselves with sugars and carbohydrates certainly makes sense.

We create our lives. You have most likely heard this many times in the past but perhaps you lost that thought amid the bombardment of every day concerns. What would it mean to you to create your life? When would you begin and how would you proceed? When was the last time you sat in stillness to think about this? Have you ever taken the quiet, reflective time necessary to come to truly know yourself?

If we don’t spend the time and effort to go within, we end up living as robots performing the tasks that we imagine we are supposed to perform. Life can feel empty and meaningless and we soothe our discontented, unfulfilled feelings with substances – food, drugs, alcohol, etc. Perhaps there are more efficient and meaningful ways to conduct our lives.

We have a blueprint of ways to begin. Eat well. Choose live foods that fill our bodies with nourishment. Give our bodies the tender loving care they deserve. Give them lots of pure water, a moderate amount of sunshine, ample rest, exercise and lots of things to smile about. Give your body attention. Get a massage, stretch, breathe, and giggle. Begin to relax and stop taking everything so personally and so seriously.

You are well worth any effort you put into your self-care. As a professional speaker I am often asked what the best ways are to acheive health, happiness and balance. The paragraph above has many suggestions and the best approach is to be gentle with yourself. As I have said again and again, never beat yourself up. Self-punishment will only make everything worse. Instead focus upon what you have done and what you want. positive thoughts will attract more positive thoughts. The time for you to love you is NOW!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Courage

Random House defines courage as:

1. the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., with firmness and without fear. Bravery

2. to act in accordance with one’s belief, especially in spite of criticism.


The first definition of courage may conjure up images such as knights slaying dragons, pioneers persevering through the hardest of times or someone defusing a bomb in today’s world. These are examples of bravery that we have heard about. We all know stories of people who have performed feats of bravery. This is the type of courage I needed to begin racing motorcycles. I would argue, however, that often the act was performed despite the fear, not without it.

The second definition is the one I have been addressing in this book. It is the courage associated with acting on your convictions, despite others’ opinions or feelings about your behavior. What I talk about is following your heart and making your choices. This is the form of courage that is required. After all, others may not be as interested in your happiness as you are. They have their own lives to manage and sometimes a change in your behavior can be perceived as a threat to their world.

If others are used to having you at home every night and you decide to go out once or twice a week to visit friends or attend a yoga class, for example, they may take it personally and think you don’t want to be with them. Or they may resent the fact that you are not there to handle all the things you were doing in the evening. Sometimes they can’t identify a concrete reason but they may feel out of control because you have begun making decisions about your life which they may not understand.

Women are primarily relational beings. We don’t like it when those around us become upset. Because our self esteem depends upon our ability not only to make, but also to maintain, growthful, reciprocal connections we may feel threatened when someone near to us expresses their anger or fear about our choices.

This is a conundrum for women. We want to follow our hearts and do that which pleases us but, at the same time, we don’t want to make waves. We do not want to cause ripples in the smooth outer surface of our relationships. To avoid the conflict that we imagine will ensue, we cave in and put our needs either on hold or throw them out entirely.

If we do stick to our guns and follow our intuition, making self-loving choices and molding our lives as we want them to be, we may then compensate for having the audacity to put ourselves first by “over-caring” others. If we feel guilty because we are doing something we really want to do, one way to appease others and assuage our guilt is to put the others’ needs in the foreground the remainder of the time. This is unhealthy not only for them, but for us as well.

It is vital to learn ways to take care of our own needs without feeling guilty. If we do not, we make ourselves vulnerable and emotional eating will emerge as one way to soothe ourselves. So, be courageous. Take the very best care of yourself. This is your job!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Make Your Appetite Your Friend

If you want to befriend your appetite and get it to help instead of hurt you, the basic premise is this:

Your appetite (or Chew) transmits a constant stream of messages to you that frequently are NOT about actual hunger.

If you simply pay attention to the “hunger” messages and attempt to satiate yourself with food, you have missed important communication from your internal guidance system. You are likely to remain hungry and not feel satisfied.

When you “tame” or befriend your appetite and pay close attention to the valuable communication it brings, you begin to value your appetite as a true friend, instead of a foe.

Because your desires extend far beyond controlling both your food intake and your weight, your Chew begins to work beside you to encourage you along the path to radiant health, joy, balance and the creation of the life you truly desire.

To craft your ideal life, you must be clear about what your desires actually are and learn to be positive as much as possible. Then, as The Law of Attraction assures, you will attract positive experiences and feelings.

Your Chew will become friendly, loyal, playful and will stand beside you. It will alert you vigilantly when you are on the right track, moving towards achieving your life goals or when you are not.

It will constantly and faithfully deliver messages from your internal guidance system about what choices are in your best interest in all aspects of your life.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

April is Emotional Overeating Awareness Month

People often ask me what diet they should go on to lose the most weight in the fastest way. Here is my answer: “Diets actually cause weight gain and for many reasons too numerous to go into here. I suggest you visit http://www.emotionalovereatingawareness.com/ as April is Emotional Overeating Awareness month. There is an article there on emotional eating which may help. I also urge you up for the Chew Tamer's Journey which comes out a few times a year. This has lots of info to help you understand weight issues. Additionally, I suggest you visit my site http://www.deniselamothe.com/ and go to the archive of old newsletters (no charge for any of these resources). Also every week I post on my (really your blog) blog on www.chewtamers.blogspot.com about weight management issues. Then, of course, I suggest you read The Taming of the Chew for an in depth understanding of eating issues from physical, emotional, social and spiritual perspectives. It may sound like a lot but as you look into these resources, you will gain a very different understanding of what you're going through. Also, there is another fantastic resource at http://www.emotionaleatinghelp.org/. If you just try to find the "right" diet, you will always fail. There is so much more to it than that. So, begin educating yourself and soon you will make healthy, permanent changes....”
My very best wishes, Dr. Denise

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Incorporating Meditation

To me, being spiritual means staying in touch with my spirit. I know deep within that I have a powerful connection to something beautiful, loving and giving. I am loved and I know that when I feel connected to my source, my God. When I am not feeling connected, life has a way of overtaking me. I get wrapped up in all the external matters of day to day living and forget my powerful helper, my spirit.

When I feel alone and unloved, I punish myself. I get overcome with sadness and want to collapse and sleep away precious days. When I reconnect with my source I feel loved. I no longer feel lonely and can approach each moment of my day with curiosity, appreciation and enthusiasm. For me, meditation is something that I resist at times but also something that is essential for my wellbeing.

If I allot twenty minutes in the morning to ask my higher power to help me treat myself and all those around me with gentle compassion and love, my day is entirely different from the days when I neglect my time of connection with the spiritual energy all around me, and inside me.

Early this morning, for example, I awoke lying in bed with my head stuffed full of worries. The more I tried to quiet my mind, the more negative chatter I experienced. I felt tired, lonely, and unlovable. I didn’t want to lie there feeling so badly and I didn’t want to get up and face another day of responsibilities and stress either. In years past I might have turned to food for solace (no, not I might have, I would have). I would definately have engaged in emotional overeating. I’d have chosen muffins, or doughnuts or tortillas with butter and jam. These reliable friends would unfailingly be there to calm my frazzled nerves and soothe my aching heart. Now I know better and you do also. We know these foods will only make whatever we are feeling bad about, feel worse in the long run. So I put my feet onto the floor and forced myself out of my warm, cozy covers.

For me, meditation provides a better alternative to the sugars and carbohydrates of bygone days. Taking twenty minutes to sit quietly and comfortably with eyes closed, focusing on my breathing – deeply at first - then slowly, quietly and peacefully as I continue both centers and calms me. I choose a word such as peace or love to repeat over and over with each breath to help my mind clear itself of some of the rumbling negative chatter. I pray sometimes and ask God to help me through the day, and when I do this I feel a shift inside of myself. I no longer feel alone, discouraged or bombarded with negative thoughts. When I open my eyes my energy is different and I feel ready for the wonders of the day ahead – not exhausted and apprehensive as I once did.

Now, this is what works for me. Yes, there are days when I am unable to enter a meditative state and those days are more difficult. When that happens I do my best to take care of myself (with varying degrees of success). I count my blessings, take deep breaths whenever I think of it and engage in activities and conversations that are pleasant and positive.

It is always my choice how I approach my day. I can drag myself out of bed and unconsciously perform the routine duties before me. I can plod mindlessly along like a robot and, for me, this assures I will struggle and things will seem more overwhelming and stressful than they need to be.

The alternative is to approach each day as a new start and spend those quiet few minutes in the morning connecting with myself, my spirit, to remind myself of my many blessings and to ask God to help me live this day fully, appreciating all I have and making the most of each moment. The difference is like night and day.

An unconscious, disconnected day is likely to be filled with negative experiences and emotions, many of which will scream to be soothed with food. We have all learned through experience that our old friend food will never fail to soothe and satisfy us in the short term.

A conscious, connected day is entirely different. Those valuable few meditative moments can mean the difference between feeling frustrated, exhausted and depressed or feeling peaceful, joyful and optimistic. It is always your choice (although it may not always feel that way). Making the choices that you know are in your own best interest is not always easy. If you are feeling badly about yourself, guilty or ashamed for example, the last thing you will want to do is treat yourself lovingly. You are much more likely to want to punish yourself with yet another day of unhealthy food and frustration. Perhaps a few minutes of quiet concious breathing will help you turn things around.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Overcoming Emotional Eating

In order to overcome emotional eating you first have to understand what it is.

Emotional overeating is primarily eating to mask difficult feelings. When we experience any unpleasant emotion, we may be tempted to reach for our “sugar/simple-carbohydrate” fix (By simple carbohydrates I mean white flour, refined products, not fruits, whole grains or vegetables.) We also may be emotionally eating for at any time and for any reason, whether we are feeling anything or not aware of feeling anything in particular. We may be soothing our boredom or mindlessly snacking through the day. For many of us feeding ourselves becomes disconnected from physical hunger and at times we may not know any other ways to take care of ourselves.

These are stressful time and we all manifest our stress differently at different times. Some of us tend to hold it inside. Others explode in angry rages. Our responses may differ but when we are stressed, our bodies produce excess cortisol and cortisol is a hormone that increases appetite. This is important to know because sometimes if you realize you are extra hungry and you are feeling stressed, you will know that it is in large part due to the cortisol flooding into your system and you may choose to do something to manage your stress other that eating to soothe yourself. You could go for a walk, talk with a friend or take a warm bath for example.

In summary, to be your very best, naturally healthy, vibrant, beautiful self and to stop eating for emotional reasons, you must consider your total wellbeing. It is no longer possible for you to think in terms of calories in/calories out as your guide. It is more complicated than that and yet it is paradoxically simple as well.

If you think self-destructive thoughts such as “I really am fat. I need to lose these ugly pounds” you will feel bad and you will attract more” bad feeling” thoughts. Then you are likely to get stuck in a loop of negative thinking leading to negative behaviors, extra pounds, increased worries, stronger efforts to diet, more deprivation, discouragement, guilt, shame and fear of gaining more and more weight. This can lead to depression, increased anxiety and eventual apathy. You are likely then to submerge yourself in sugar and simple carbohydrates to shield yourself from these painful feelings for the few moments, hours or days of relief that you know these substances can and reliably will provide.

Once done with this cycle, you regroup and plan your next strategy for losing those pounds that you are sick and tired of hauling around. Perhaps this time a new diet has captured your attention or you saw a new exercise machine advertised that is guaranteed to melt your pounds away effortlessly and at warp speed. You enthusiastically embrace your new course of action. You are hopeful and optimistic. You pray that this time you have hit upon exactly the right method to achieve the weight loss results you have so desperately been searching for.

Your newly designed plan my work for a while but unless you make friends with yourself and attend to your emotional needs you will find yourself soon stuck in the same loop you so recently broke out of. You are likely to feel more frustrated, discouraged and depressed than before.

You can recognize emotional eating and hopefully are making friends with yourself more and more every day. You are now aware of how you may be setting yourself up to fail by expecting yourself to behave perfectly at all times. By now you can see that this has not gotten you anywhere that you want to go. These impossible, self-imposed ideals of appearance and behavior have kept you from relaxing and enjoying your life. You have been trying too hard to accomplish your impossible goals. It is time now to stop, to relax and to really give yourself what you truly want and desire.

Once you accept who you are and become gentle and non-judgmental with yourself, you will swiftly make progress toward to ideal weight, vibrant health and balance you want so badly. Each of you must figure out precisely your own plan to soothe yourself during difficult times. You can take advantage of the Bach emotional eating support kit which contains three powerful remedies to help you learn to appreciate your body (Crab Apple), remain in control of your eating (Cherry Plum) and to stop repeating your same overeating mistakes over and over again (Chestnut Bud). For more information about this extremely helpful resource, visit http://www.emotionaleatinghelp.org/ .

Pause, breathe and substitute a positive thought to turn around your negative thinking. Gradually you will find that your thoughts will become directed towards positive, grateful places and your life will become more positive in the process. As you courageously shift your perspective in this way, you move quickly towards the life of radiant health and balance that you have longed for.

It is vital to pay close attention to your thoughts and feelings. Your feelings represent your internal guidance system (which is never wrong). When you identify what you are feeling will know what to do every minute. Your guidance will come from within you instead of outside of yourself. Your internal guidance system will never steer you in a wrong direction. If you make yourself number one and heed the messages your feelings are delivering through this system (as consistently as possible, you will move closer and closer to meeting your goals.

Remember that this is your life and your body to do with as you wish. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing, thinking about or telling you. Emotionally eating and keeping yourself murky and drugged with unhealthy foods will never bring you the happiness that you deserve. To be happy, healthy and whole is up to you and the time is NOW!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Overcome Overeating and NEVER diet again!

Food control is difficult for most of us. We may feel possessed by urges to stuff ourselves full of excess calories. We are then listening to the voice of our “Chew”. We all have a “Chew”, also known as our “saboteur”. This is the part of each of us that says, “Go ahead, eat whatever you want. You deserve it! It is OK to dive right into that sugary, carbohydrate-laden snack. Life is tough! Enjoy it all! You can worry about your weight/health tomorrow, or Monday, or next week!” Do any of those messages sound familiar?

It is fine to indulge now and then. Life is to be enjoyed and so is food. For most of us, however, stopping eating can be tricky at times. We crave. We overeat. We feel bad about it. We admonish ourselves which leads to more craving and continued overeating and then, no matter how much we put into our mouths, we often don’t feel satiated.

This is because satisfying the “Chew” requires more than candy bars, sodas and pasta. Being truly satiated means attending to all of our needs, not simply our need for food. We have to fuel our bodies regularly to function and must make nutritious choices as often as we can. This does not mean eating perfectly at all times. We also require other things such as adequate rest, plenty of water, exercise, companionship and laughter.

We are not simple or one-dimensional. We are complex beings with multiple needs and we have to nurture our emotional, intellectual and spiritual selves as well as our bodies. We may be doing our best to fulfill our physical needs for nourishment, rest, sunshine and exercise but we may not be quite as tuned in to nourishing to our whole selves. We have many needs and these are often neglected. We try to look perfect and eat perfectly. This is not possible! We cannot do it. WE get frustrated and then emotional eating begins. Most of us would never expect others to behave perfectly at all times, nor would we punish them if they occasionally overindulged.

It is the human way to overeat sometimes and, at other times to eat less. It is striving for perfection that gets us into trouble. We are human and set ourselves up to fail if we strive to be perfect. We set this impossible goal, fail to meet it and then feel like failures. We punish ourselves, head for the nearest “fix” of chocolate, pasta or cookies to feel better.

Check in with yourself to decide what you really want and need at every moment. It often is not food. Live your life with zest and enjoy every minute. You deserve nothing less!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What Happened to Those New Years Resolutions?

It has been nearly two months since you made those New Years resolutions…. So, how are you doing? Here are a few questions to ask yourself.

Physically: Have I been eating well, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats, sugar and simple carbohydrates as often as possible and eating good amounts of protein every few hours? Have I packed healthy snacks to take along with me when I’m away from home, like cheese, nuts and fruit? Am I well hydrated, drinking at least 64 ounces of pure water each day? Have I been keeping regular bedtime hours, getting a sufficient amount of quality sleep? Am I keeping moderate exercise a priority in my life?

Emotionally: Have I been attending to my feelings and expressing myself appropriately; not holding in feelings or stuffing them down with unhealthy foods? Have I really been taking time to nurture myself? When was the last time I truly relaxed? Have I been writing in my journal to give myself a place to vent or explore my feelings? How often am I eating for emotional reasons?

Socially: Have I been spending time with positive people that I enjoy being with? Am I having fun? Am I paying enough attention to my relationships? Do I stay well connected so I don’t find myself isolated and lonely? Do I apportion my time with others with the alone time I need to stay balanced?

Spiritually: Have I been taking quiet time for myself? Do I spend time every day praying, meditating or just sitting and quietly breathing? Do I remind myself often to stay in the present rather than worry about the future or hang on to difficulties from the past?

Environmentally: Have I brought what I need to set up a comfortable environment in my home? Is my living space order or do I need to take a little bit of time to attend to that?

Whether on or off the road, it is essential to take gentle care of yourself. Please attend lovingly to your own needs. Only by doing so can you truly appreciate the precious time you spend with others. I wish you the happiest day today and radiant health!

It may be two months into 2009 but it definitely not too late to recommit to your own care!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

vacation

I have decided to take my own advice and to head south to the warmth of the sun for a few days of rest with my daughter. Pleasse follow my lead. You may not be able to walk out the door and head for a favorite vacation spot but think of ways you can make today a mini-vacation for yourself... an extra long walk, some quiet time with a good book, or a visit over a cup of tea with a friend. Enjoy your day, be well and I will be back on track next week....
warmly,
Dr. Denise

Monday, February 9, 2009

Abundance and Prosperity

Lately I have been thinking about abundance and prosperity and how most people I know long for these in their lives but seem unable to actually manifest them. I wonder why that is. Have you ever wished for something but ended up frustrated because you didn’t get it? Did you dream and your dream didn’t come true? Did you wonder why?

Why are some people so blessed that they seem to get anything and everything they want? Are they just lucky? I don’t think so.

First, you must ask yourself what abundance means to you. Is it all about money or fame? Is it about fulfilling work, the perfect body or close relationships? What exactly do you dream of? It helps to ponder this question and strive for clarity because we often don’t focus and get clear and precise about our desires and then we attract through mixed messages and confusion and we become victims of circumstance.

So, step one is to stop and breathe and to clarify for yourself what really is important to you and what truly makes you feel joyful. Perhaps it is time in the woods or by the ocean or playing with a child or visiting a friend. Next ask yourself what about these experiences makes them so important to you. You may be surprised as you delve deeper into the substance of your happiness. You may find that you are already much more prosperous than you thought you were. You may discover that blessings abound in the day by day occurrences of your life.

If you love yourself and are surrounded by love then you are living in abundance. You may want more. It is part of our human condition to want to improve ourselves and to desire “more” in our days. Perhaps you would like a new car or a vacation. We are designed to have wishes and to move towards manifesting them but the trick is learning how to let our good fortune in.

It is vital to appreciate all the blessings we do have and to live each day as gratefully and joyfully as possible. We may need to remind ourselves of this repeatedly and some days will be harder than others. But if we can remind ourselves to appreciate the blessings we already have we will gradually develop an attitude of prosperity. Only then will we be ”letting it in” and allowing more blessings to flow into our lives.

So practice gratitude and love yourself and see what happens. I do not say these words to preach but instead to gently urge you to be friendlier with yourself and others. It will pay off and all good things you have dreamed of will come your way. Emotional eating will no longer be an issue and life will be joyful. Try it and see!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What will you invent today?

Children are full of energy. They are spirits in little bodies and they are extremely creative.

Just observe a little toddler at play and you will see this. My children enjoyed endless hours of creative play using their imaginations to construct towns, tents and racetracks and to invent all sorts of imaginary activities, games and scenes. I remember Fischer-Price doll houses, fire stations and farms. I particularly remember the day my tiny daughter decided to put her gerbil into her Fischer-Price phone booth. It was a fabulous idea on the surface but she failed to realize that the little animal would protest by plunging its teeth through her finger. She learned a very painful lesson from that but still she forged on undaunted by the experience to create new forms of play.

She didn’t try to make the poor gerbil part of her imaginary play any longer but she continued to be inventive and she recruited other children in the neighborhood to put on plays and shows she directed. I remember wonderful days before television captured children and held them hostage sitting still spellbound and motionless watching the activity outside of themselves instead of delving within their minds to ignite the sparks of their own creativity. That is not to say that there are not benefits to much that we find on our television screens and in our computers but many young children spend too many precious hours of their days watching mindlessly instead of thinking and acting.

I was horrified one day when I took my grandson to the toy store to buy a toy. He had earned the toy and our much anticipated outing was very special. He looked carefully at the many choices on each shelf and picked up a toy here and there to carefully consider which would be the best choice. At one point he held up a particular truck, turned to me and asked, “Grammy, what can this toy do for me?” Instead of wondering what he could do with this toy, he wondered how it would perform and entertain him. I thought this was quite sad.

He was, and still is, a creative, loving child but I’d have preferred that he purchased clay, paints or lots of paper and crayons. I wanted so badly for him to use his imagination and take pride in thinking for himself and constructing his own reality. Do you recall playing as a small child and using your fabulous gift of imagination? A stick could easily become a magic wand or even a gun or a sword. A cardboard box could be a vehicle or tipped on its side, a doll house. It might become a bed for a favorite doll or pet or perhaps a playhouse. There was no limit to its possibilities. What has happened to the sense of inventive and creative play?

As adults we also fail to appreciate out inventive, creative selves and end up doing the same things we've always done in the same ways -- and we often end up, as I wrote about in The Taming of the Chew, eating emotionally because we find our lives boring or disappointing. So, today I challenge you to do something different. Rearrange your schedule or your furniture, paint a picture or take a break and go snowshoeing (that is if you live in snow country as I do... If not, how about a long, relaxing walk in a pastoral setting?). Do something that you normally wouldn't do. Try out a new hairstyle or outfit. Play with your ideas and see what you can come up with. Then go enjoy yourself. That's what life is all about! And, above all else, have fun!

warmly,
Dr. Denise