How did ​Little Red Riding Hood​ not know that the wolf was dangerous?

We all dream of being loved unconditionally, having all of our needs met, growing up to find loving relationships in friends, romantic partners and to be loving parents....

Sometimes this happens and sometimes love goes terribly wrong. When love goes terribly wrong it can leave a person scared, confused, hurt and struggling to make sense of relationships and the world.

From the moment of conception, our templates for understanding ourselves, others, the world, trust and safety, are based on our experiences of relationships with those who are supposed to love and protect us. More specifically our caregivers, close family and trusted adults.

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Anxiety: Friend or Foe?

One of the first things I ask people who are struggling with anxiety, is if they think that anxiety is a good or bad thing. This is a trick question of course, because I know that 90% of people are going to say “bad”.

This is one of my favorite moments, as this is an opportunity for me to help someone see that what he or she think is “bad” might actually be really helpful. Talk about NEW POSSIBILITIES!

All emotions/feelings serve a purpose. They are neither good nor bad! A Feeling is a group of body-based sensations that give us information about what is happening in our internal and external environment. Feelings help us make sense of what we are seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling and sensing. They also all have what is called, an action potential, which means they activate a certain drive in us such as moving towards or away from, opening or closing, etc.

Anxiety serves two functions:

1. Warning us to a potential danger

2. Letting us know that something is important to us.

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Moving Away From Shame Based Eating

At what point did food become something to feel guilty or ashamed about? At what point did food become a moral and ethical dilemma? When did it become ok to make people feel bad about themselves for doing what they biologically need to do, to live and survive?

 Food is neither right nor wrong

Food isn’t good or bad: it is fuel.

 It is not uncommon to have a client walk into my office feeling ashamed or guilty, because of a food choice they made on a given day. They call themselves “fat”, “out of control” or a “bad person”. They beat themselves up and criticize their choices. These behaviors often create feelings of guilt and shame, which can lead to more emotion driven shame eating.

 Does that sound familiar? 

 Making ourselves feel guilty about a food choice is dangerous and toxic for our mental health. Not only does it contribute to more daily stress. It also leads to self-hatred and low self-esteem, perpetuating a cycle that is tough to break. 

 Although at times it might feel impossible to change your perspective given all the messages that we are bombarded with on a daily basis: YOU can break it.

 Today you can make the choice to say: “ENOUGH!”

TODAY you can choose to make your own choice to recognize that beauty comes in every size, shape and color. YOUR value is not related to what you put in your mouth. YOUR value is defined by what you bring to the table as a person, inside and out.

 The first step in changing your perspective, is being willing to adopt the belief that our bodies are truly amazing things! Now, it may take a little of “faking it until you make it” (Thanks Amy Cuddy- watch her amazing TED talk on body language: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc)

 To help you retrain your brain to actually believe this new thought: repetition, repetition, and repetition: 

  •  Make it your daily mantra.

  • Write it on a post it note that you put on your bathroom mirror 

  • Set an alarm on your phone with the phrase “my body is amazing”.

 One way that I began to change my belief about my body was by reminding myself of all the amazing things it can does for me such as allowing me to walk, run, yoga and above all dancing. 

 So how about it? Will you take the first step to break the cycle?

 Are you willing to start TODAY? 

 Are you willing to start telling yourself that despite your imperfections, your body is capable of truly amazing things and deserves to be fueled without judgment and treated with kindness and compassion. 

So instead of shaming yourself for giving your body what it needs to work. FUEL IT