Posts Tagged ‘diet’
The first time I heard about Autism was 29 years ago, when I was studying special education. It opened up a whole new world for me. The institute where I studied had amazing teachers who specialized in autism. The institute had a center for Autism but unfortunately, students were not allowed to do work experience there. Throughout my bachelor degree I did work experience anywhere between once to 3 times a week. But never in the autism center.
In my third year of studies, I had to choose a work experience placement again. Many organizations gave presentations in an attempt to convince us to join them for the year. Once again, work in the Autism Center was not on offer. I was disappointed because I felt a pull to work with autistic children, or at least to learn more about them. In a very bold move, I specified the Autism Center as my first, second and third preferences for placement.
A couple of months ago, we went to visit some friends of ours who had a guest. Their guest was a young man who loved cooking but did not really think of himself as cook or a chef. To feed his love for cooking while travelling, he made a nice and easy garlic spread and which we tasted on a piece of bread. It was heavenly.
Since I love introducing the kids to special and healthy food options, I loved the idea. My kids are very much healthy eaters. When they make a sandwich it is full of vegetables and adding the garlic as a spread was a great way to add flavor to the sandwiches without adding junk to it.
When I came home, I had to try it. Here is what you do.
Change is not easy for many people. Over time, we develop beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that give us a feeling of certainty in the world and make up our identity, and identity is a big thing for people. It is the skeleton that defines who we are. This makes it very hard for us to let go when it seems like we have to give up a bone from our skeleton and we are afraid we will not be able to stand properly.
People are a lot like monkeys. If you want to catch a monkey, you can put a cage with a banana in front of it. Once the monkey holds the banana, the monkey is trapped, because their hand will not come out with the banana. Monkeys are not smart enough to know that if they let go of the banana, they will be able to slide their hand out of the cage, so they stay trapped.
People hold on to beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that trap them like bananas and are afraid to let go of them even when they rot and smell.
For most, letting go of a banana means that we will no longer be able to maintain our identity. Allowing change means that we will be crippled or handicapped. I think this is because they consider letting go as a form of giving up and since childhood, they have heard millions of times “Never, never give up!” and interpreted it as “Never let go”.
Creativity and self-expression are wonderful ways to recover from an eating disorder. Not eating and overeating are ways to control your life. Creativity happens when there is full control and can even be a form of meditation.
When I was young, I had many throat infections. My mom’s solution was always to take me to the doctor and give me antibiotics. This was a major part of my life for about 10 years. I took antibiotics about 6 months every year as a kid. It freaks me out to think about it now. When I grew up and learned more about the connection between physical problems and emotional states, I discovered that my throat infections could have been a result of being unable to express myself. Funnily enough, when I started writing at the age of 14, they disappeared.
I also learned that self-expression can be a cure, so since then, whenever my throat starts playing up and I have that familiar dry tingle threatening to flare, I sing! I turn the music on at full volume, or do it in the car, and sing! It does magic. One day and the infection is gone.
Using art for self-expression is a wonderful way to regain control over your life. You are on your own, creating what is in your mind. No criticism, no expected outcomes, just you and your creative flow, so you can feel how your body obeys your commands.
In any creative form, there is a sense of freedom that anorexic people desperately need. They have the freedom to try new things, the freedom to make mistakes, the freedom to express themselves, the freedom from rules and boundaries – basically, the freedom to be themselves.
Also, immersing ourselves in creative art can work as a great distraction from thinking about the emotional challenges that take over otherwise. Anorexic people continually think about their “distorted body”, about food and about their problems. Keeping busy and doing something creative is like putting a sign on the door saying “time out” from thinking and hopefully those thoughts will never come back.
People are different and find different forms of self-expression, but all of them are wonderful and can help in healing and recovering from anorexia or other eating disorders.
Women with Anorexia have issues with their body image and a feeling of helplessness and inability to control their life. The combination of these challenges makes them seek control in any way and not eating seems to them a great way to gain control.
Society around us obviously contributes a lot to the negative body image and self image girls have during childhood, through their teenage years and later on into adulthood. The image of an anorexic teen girl can be misleading. There are also many women are anorexic who need help.
One way of healing is learning to love your body.
Loving your body is giving yourself the permission to feel good physically and it must be done slowly, with love and with patience. If you are a parent or someone who wants to help an anorexic person, just saying, “You need to love your body”, will not make the required difference.
The best idea is to help the anorexic person search for good things – positive thoughts, encouragements, small bits of progress and every little achievement – to help change their perception of their life’s reality.
Anorexia is a very debilitating disease. While it looks like there is a physical problem, the real problem is the one we cannot see with our eyes but the one we can see with our heart. As hard as it is to accept, choosing not to eat is a way to deal with difficult emotions.
Most eating disorders are the same. Eating (too much) or not eating (at all) is the solution to worry, to fear, to shame, to confusion, to failure and to guilt, and gradually, the simplest strategy seems to be to shut down the desire for food.
I do not know if you have ever fasted for fun, for health or for weight loss. There is a point when you no longer feel hungry at all. I think it is important for people to feel this point to understand that we can eat or not eat at will. To survive, we really do not need much food, so someone who chooses not to eat, really does not feel hungry, but still has those emotions that he or she tries to keep away. If you want to help a person who has anorexia, remember that focusing on the food is (again) working on the symptom and not the problem.
The best solution to anorexia is increasing the emotional intelligence. The first step is to recognize the feelings and the second step is to manage the feelings.
Today, I will focus on tips to mange worrying.
People with eating disorders like anorexia often have an exaggerated perception of life. It is as if they see the world through huge magnifying glasses and things that seem minor to others seem huge and overwhelming to them.
If you have anorexia or any other eating disorder, or if you have a child that has it and you want to help, it is important to focus on the thoughts and the mindset and not on the food. Not eating is not the problem. It is the solution that people with a distorted perception find for their problems.
Avoid trying to convince them to eat. It only makes things worse. Anorexic people need control, not a nagger.
Avoid punishing a child who has anorexia. It only increases their helplessness and their desire to control something (ANYTHING) in their life, like what they eat, when they eat and how much they eat.
Generally, anorexic people have a very bad self-image, considering self as useless, not worthy, a failure, stupid, an idiot, etc, and they use every little thing that happens in their life to reinforce it. They use their glasses to look for proof they are worthless and they do not consider single events as temporary or coincidental, but as part of their identity.
Here is a list of thoughts that make big things out of small things and demonstrates the effect of the huge magnifying glasses anorexic people wear. Each one you get rid of will reduce the magnifying effect.
In the past month, I heard it a lot. I had client after client sitting on my “life coaching deck” and talking about being totally unhappy about some things in their life. They were unhappy about their relationship with their partner, their kids, their health, their job, their money or their social life, and they wanted it to stop.
When this happens, I tell them there is something good about being unhappy. They always look at me surprised, thinking I have fallen on my head, but gradually, they understand that being unhappy and going to see a life coach is a wonderful sign that your body is talking to you and you are listening and actually doing something about it.
Congratulations, you are unhappy!
If you are unhappy with something in your life, congratulations! You are aware of your best navigating compass – your feelings.
Some people think happiness is an airy-fairy thing that cannot be explained and understood, not to mention controlled. Many people say they want to control their feelings in fear that their feelings might take over and control them.
But feelings do not have a mind of their own. They are a compass that lets us know where we should or should not go, we just have to look at it from time to time and see the direction it is pointing to. It is very simple. If it says, “I am not happy”, change directions. If it says, “I am happy”, keep going the same way.
I think this realization has helped me lots in life. When some of my friends, who know I am a happiness coach, ask me, “Well, Ronit, What is your formula for happiness?” I answer, “Tune into your body and let your feelings guide you”.
Gal and I used to eat whatever our parents ate. We went to the supermarket and picked from the shelves the exact same things we had seen our parents choose or whatever was on sale. It took us 5 years of managing our own economy and a sick girl to discover that what we eat and how we eat has a strong impact on our life. Some things you just cannot learn at school.
It happened more than 20 years ago and since then, we have learned more and more about what to eat to be healthy in body and mind. I know that not everyone is convinced that healthy eating is the right solution and I understand. After all, the concept of “health” is very wide. When I sit with my clients at a cafe and order iced coffee with ice cream and whipped cream, I am 100% convinced it is healthy for my soul. So we may not agree about what food is healthy, but I think we can all agree on how to eat.
We live a very fast lifestyle. All the people around you will tell you they have no time – no time for the kids, no time for fun, no time for hobbies, no time for friends and no time for eating. Many shops and massive businesses have come to life to cater for this “fast food” lifestyle. We grab a shake, eat a meal on the way, in the car, during a meeting, while watching TV, during phone conversations and when reading a book. We think we are saving time, but we are making it harder for our digestive system to make the best of our food and this creates a never-ending cycle. What we eat is not digested properly, we lack essential nutrients, we feel tired, we become ineffective and what usually takes us 2 hours, suddenly takes us 4 and we have just lost 2 hours of our precious time, so we need to catch up and save time by grabbing some fast food or eating our healthy food on the run.
One of the things every parent will tell you when his/her daughter is diagnosed with Anorexia or any other eating disorder is that they could not see it coming. I am sure they mean it. Parents do not want to believe their child is having a problem, including me. It is mainly because most of us think that it says something about us. Maybe it says we have failed and we are not good parents. The problem with this fear is that it clutters our thinking and makes us blind to the warning signs of anorexia.
Be brave! Keep reading and look carefully at every photo, even though they are scary.
Having a child with Anorexia or any other eating disorder requires strong, brave parents who manage to help their child despite what others might say about them. The problem with Anorexia is that everyone can see it. Most kids do not do a very good job hiding it.
A couple of years ago, I worked with an anorexic woman who was 40 years old and weighed about 25kg (55lbs). Trust me, that was scary! It is not something you can hide very well. When I was in hospital with her, in the mental ward, there were other girls there and not all of them were teens. They looked like skeletons! But it is much harder to notice anorexia when it is developing and people often say, “She’s just a bit skinny, that’s all. She’ll get over it”.