Are you secretly picking at food?

Are you secretly picking at food?

 

Do you want to transform your relationship with food and eating?

 

Perhaps you recognise one of these statements?

"I've never had a healthy relationship with food"'

"I have been so controlled around food, but then something switches inside my head and I lose all my willpower".

"I've tried so many diets only to put all the weight back on when I come off it".

 

Changing patterns of a lifetime requires a multidimensional and holistic approach. In this blog I share my thoughts about how our past affects our present and how we can improve our relationship with food and eating.

Children feel everything

Before the age of 7, the human child lacks the mental cognition and reasoning (because the brain is still undeveloped), to intellectualise feelings. Intellectualising is a way for us to cope with feelings. But seeing as this is wholly unavailable to the child, they end up feeling everything inside their body - in such a way where they can feel that their very survival is threatened. 

Just look at how a young child reacts to pain when they have fallen over and hurt themselves. They generally explode with pain! It sometimes seems to us that their reaction is really out of proportion to the injury itself (which is often a small scratch or grazed knee). But they are actually genuinely in agony because their brain isn't able to moderate it for them. 

In any given day a child could feel indescribably hurt, sad, angry, scared or stressed, and without a therapeutic intervention from their parents or caregivers, they will reach out for something to soothe themselves. Often the parents or caregivers offer the child food as a way to comfort them - "Why don't we have a biscuit and make it all better", because they too lack the practical tools to work with their child's feelings in a conscious way. 

The need to be comforted is a completely normal and necessary part of every child's survival. 

A child will naturally reach out to soothe itself when in pain

Childhood messages and our bodies

We learn at a young age to cover up our feelings with food. Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs are quite rightly off-limits to kids; food is something that is generally freely available. Childhood is also often the time where we lose touch with our innate ability to know when we are hungry or full due to the messages and conditioning we received around the dinner table.

Adult overeaters sometimes have a fear of deprivation around food that arose when they were little. They may have heard messages such as "there are starving people in the world - you must be grateful and eat everything up!" Or perhaps the parents were born in the post-war generation where food was still rationed and they were conditioned to "finish your plate or else!" This can be the case when a client says to me that they feel compelled to finish everything on their plate, even when they know they are full up. 

Food could also have been used as a rewarding system for trying to achieve 'good' behaviour, and messages such as "if you eat all your dinner then you can watch television" and "eat up - there's a good girl" are all very common.

Understanding our brain and 'trigger' foods

Comfort foods block the stress receptors in the brain for a short time period, requiring increased amounts to get the same reaction. So sugary, salty, highly processed and simple carbohydrate foods activate a reward system in our brains (in the same way cocaine and nicotine do), releasing dopamine - a biochemical opioid, making us feel happy. It is also highly addictive for biological and neurological reasons.

When we ingest these 'trigger' foods, our dopamine receptors in our brains actually switch off, meaning we require more and increased amounts of the food to get the same good feeling. But without any alternatives to soothe ourselves, we naturally will keep reinforcing this coping mechanism until it becomes an engrained habit and an involuntary reflex to uncomfortable feelings.

 

Transform your relationship with food and eating and find the freedom you deserve. 

Transform your relationship with food and eating and find the freedom you deserve. 

How do we heal our early conditioning?

It can be helpful to think of psychotherapy as a place to re-parent ourselves. One aspect of therapy is how it provides an opportunity to look at your own childhood and big life experiences to see how they have shaped your mindset and behaviours. There are often stored up emotions that need witnessing, processing and releasing in order to move on. You learn how to really tune in to your feelings, and become more conscious of them, using the basic principles of mindfulness. You can discover how to soothe yourself in a healthy and truly nourishing way, and learn new tools and techniques to support your whole system of mind/body/emotions and soul. 

Comfort eating doesn't just disappear overnight. It takes commitment and a readiness, (and often a desperate determination) to want to change. But even women who have come to me feeling totally deflated and hopeless have recovered a healthy relationship with food and transformed their lives. Secretly picking at food becomes a thing of the past; they now feel confident in their relationship with their body and know what it needs and more importantly - how to stop. In the recovery journey, it is often the case of 2 steps forward and one step back. But slowly and surely, change takes hold: and life becomes what you choose it to be. Enjoying this Blog? Click here to go to the next part. 

 

 

 

 

 

How is our lifestyle supporting our addiction to overeating?

How is our lifestyle supporting our addiction to overeating?

How is our lifestyle contributing to our need to soothe ourselves and comfort eat?

As part of my journey over the last 10 years of becoming a mother and training as a psychotherapist, I have learned a great deal about how to take care of myself and my emotional wellbeing. I have healed myself from a long-term battle with an array of eating disorders and enjoy a healthy and positive relationship with food and eating. I now mentor other women who are suffering, just as I once was, and support and guide them to a place of health, happiness and personal fulfilment. 

In my blog today I am going to share what I have discovered about the connection between the quality of our lifestyle/stress in our life and overeating. 

What drives you to overeat?

What drives you to overeat?

Any 'normal' week

If you think back about any given week in your life. There were a variety of exchanges, interactions and situations that occurred that might well have created feelings of anger, stress, anxiety or unhappiness. (If you haven't already, you may find my earlier blog useful: Are you secretly picking at food?)

The stress of daily 'To Do's', the juggle of work-life and family balance, financial strain, the constant pressure to be a good friend/ partner/ sister/ daughter/ colleague etc, organising mealtimes, not to mention the added stress of birthdays and Christmas to name just a few! There is also the speed at which we are expected to function, and the social trend of appearing to be busy all the time. 

Women come to see me because they believe they have a weight problem, or an issue with food. But in time, they discover there was actually something (or a collection of things), that triggered them off in the first place. 

soroush-karimi-253940.jpg

To add into the metaphorical pressure cooker, from time to time, we also experience big life-changing events such as relationship breakdowns, loss of a loved one, financial crisis and moving home. 

When you put down on paper what our systems have to put up with, it never ceases to remind me of how much human beings can endure. So it's no surprise to me, that if we lack the tools to keep on top of our emotions, (and work through them as and when they arise), then at the end of the day we are going to be chock-full of suppressed feelings - as well as a whole heap of food we have used to squash them down.  

Did you know that when you suppress anger, over time it can lead to chronic depression? Or when you don't acknowledge fear, it can lead to acute anxiety? A coping mechanism like binge eating or drinking works only for a certain period of time. At some point down the road, we may come to notice that the impact of our coping mechanism has now camouflaged our original problem (the reason why we had a difficult feeling in the first place). 

 

Self-care is key to recovery. 

Self-care is key to recovery. 

How does change happen?

The recovery process I have developed stems from an integrative psychotherapeutic model that includes and values the body, mind, heart, soul/Higher Self and spiritual life of the person. It is essential to look at the client's life as a whole and this means looking back at their childhood as well as all the major events that have happened since.   

I teach my clients mindfulness, and over time they develop a daily self-care plan that is uniquely tailored to their own needs and time commitments. Slowly and surely they move from numbed-out/stuffed-up/stressed-out TO conscious/relaxed/self-empowered - with a renewed joy and confidence around food and love and appreciation for their body. Their fast pace of life and unnecessary commitments begin to take on a more authentic shape, through a deeper connection with what is truly nourishing for them and stronger personal boundaries. 

Are you ready to set yourself free? 

Sign up to my Intensive 9-week course: Truly Nourished Feeling 

OR

Come and work with me on an individual basis  

Book your free 20-minute slot here 

 

Georgina Tasker-Simm is a fully qualified and registered transpersonal and integrative psychotherapist. She works exclusively with women only, and specialises in supporting them through their recovery process to help them fulfil their highest potential. 

The journey to happiness begins with a practice of gratitude

The journey to happiness begins with a practice of gratitude

No matter how down in the dumps you are feeling about your weight, issues with food, problems in your relationships, or how depressed, stressed or grief-stricken you are, you can always find a nugget of gratitude......and when you do, your heart energy will expand and you will begin to shift your vibration to a more positive frequency. Your list can be as long as you like. Notice how your heart energy expands and feel your mood lift.  

 

The next Intensive 9-week course: Truly Nourished Feeling - for women only, begins Friday 12th January 2018. There are only 2 spaces left, so get in touch if you feel the call to go deeper. 

Till soon,

Georgina

What to do when you feel starving hungry?

What to do when you feel starving hungry?

Does this resonate with you on some level?

Perhaps the situation has occurred because for some reason it is not possible to have your usual routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner with a snack in-between because you are travelling or you have back-to-back meetings all day.......

or perhaps you are staying with family over the holidays, and are now expected to fit in to the collective routine of this other group of people.......

or maybe you didn't hear your alarm clock, woke late and grabbed a coffee in replacement of your morning smoothie.

The feeling of UTTER PANIC creeps in, and inside your torso a black hole face that was previously dormant, awakens and begins screaming in a terrifying manner that you are "Going to die if you don't eat something soon!!! This is beyond serious - you are going to DIE!!!"

With a frantic pace, we seek out our food, and begin eating ever so quickly. Filling ourselves up. Filling that black gaping hole up. Filling that body of pain and discomfort, in the hope that we will not die but shall rid ourselves of those awful feelings that are consuming us. Feelings of fear, of heart racing, of sickness, or despair, of desperation of annihilation. 

Drawing by woman of "The Void" inside

Drawing by woman of "The Void" inside

 

And what is so ironic, is that we are not starving. Not in the slightest. We can go for weeks without food. Our rational brain knows this, but in this given situation of panic, our Inner Child has been activated, and predicts the worst. 

So what can you do differently?

Well firstly I must mention prevention. It is a really good idea to carry some wholesome snacks in your bag, so you do have something to graze on in the event you can't have your proper meal.

Examples include: a packet of oatcakes, a small pot of nuts or even a pot of nut butter so you can have a tablespoon at most (unless of course you work in a no-nut environment). You could also carry some dried pea protein powder in a little lunch pot, which then gets carefully tipped in to a water bottle or a mug and then just whisk it up. I love the pea protein range by Sun Warrior. (Please note: I do not advocate daily use of powders for meal replacements - this is something you would carry on your person for emergency use only!)

And secondly for when you've already passed the point of no return, I suggest trying this 7-minute guided visualisation. It will aid you when you are feeling fearfully ravenous. I hope you find this meditation soothing and useful.

Do let me know if you have any questions and remember to Like my Facebook page and join me on Instagram: I post relatively frequent videos/ Top Tips and motivational messages you won't want to miss :)

 

Best wishes,

Georgina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80% of middle-aged adults at risk of disease because of lifestyle

80% of middle-aged adults at risk of disease because of lifestyle

A recent article published in the Observer indicates some alarming news about the health and wellbeing of men and women in UK: 

Is obesity just a symptom of stress? 

Is obesity just a symptom of stress? 

"Figures taken from the Health Survey for England show that 77 per cent of men and 63 per cent of women in middle age are either overweight or obese – with the rate of obesity shooting up 16 per cent in the last two decades". 

The article points to the stresses of modern day living as the reason for why our nation is so unhealthy. When you are stretched to the max, and have everyday pressures such as work, a family to support, financial commitments and relationships to maintain it is very common to just reach for the wine or over-indulge in a large meal come the end of the evening as a way to quickly relax and block the stressful feelings. 

In my experience as a psychotherapist, this "quick-fix" solution ends up causing far more complex problems, and many of my clients initially come to me not only feeling stressed and unhappy with their work-life balance, but also overweight, unhealthy and depressed.

It is important to remember that over-eating, smoking or drinking too much alcohol are only symptoms of an underlying unhappiness and dis-ease. 

For more information about how psychotherapy could work for you, contact Georgina Tasker-Simm to book your initial consultation: Email georgina@harmonypractice.com

You may also like to join Georgina's Mailing List or register for her free email course: Freedom from emotional eating. Click here for more information. 

Article extracted from web 02/01/17: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/middle-aged-health-alcohol-weight-lifestyle-a7497561.html