Weight Loss & Management
You can lose weight with any diet, nutrition, and exercise program!
Most diet programs focus on rigid rules and deprivation. People are given information about “what” to do to lose or maintain weight, but are not given the “how” to do it. We become focused on rules and ideas about food, rather than enjoying and experiencing food. We may lose weight for a short time, but our old cravings, eating habits, and underlying issues surrounding food often return. We gain weight and experience shame, blame, and guilt. We promise ourselves we will do it better this time, but the harder we fight our food struggle, the more intense our suffering becomes.
Dieting often does not work because it does not promote inner wisdom and an understanding of our bodies. We become so intellectually focused on food that we lose awareness of our internal cues of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction. Dieting also does not work because it does not address the many issues in our lives that sabotage our health goals. We do not change the many mental, emotional, and situational reasons we overeat and make bad food choices. We do not improve our relationship with our body. Without inner transformation and, we are unable to create and maintain lasting change in our bodies.
I help people creating lasting change through mindfulness eating awareness training and cognitive behavioral techniques. With mindful eating, we become present when we eat. The skill of mindfulness allows us to be fully aware and accepting of what is happening inside ourselves—body sensations, emotions, thoughts—and around us in our environment, without judgment or criticism. When we eat mindfully, we are in tune with our body’s signals and are able to differentiate them from our mental, emotional, and environmental triggers to eat. We find pleasure and satisfaction in eating. Mindfulness connects us with our inner wisdom and allows us to be fully present. With this increased awareness, we are able to make mindful choices about food, eating, exercise, and our bodies. Through cognitive behavioral techniques, we are able to change the way we think so that we can stop sabotaging ourselves, learn skills to handle difficult situations and setbacks, and accomplish the goals we set for ourselves. All of these tools are also applied to our issues with exercise. With these skills, we are able to overcome our negative patterns, lose weight, maintain a healthy body weight through lasting change, and finally find peace with eating and our bodies.
Body Image and Eating Disorders
Issues with food and our bodies are very painful because we cannot go one day without being confronted with them. We cannot survive without eating and there is nowhere we can go without taking our bodies with us. It is very painful to constantly be worrying about and criticizing our appearance and to be a prisoner of our war with food. The good news is that we do not have to continue to suffer. We can make peace with food and our bodies and create a healthy, loving relationship with ourselves. I utilize mindfulness based cognitive behavioral therapy to help people change the way they think about food and their bodies and to gain acceptance and confidence in themselves. Ultimately, we learn to have a healthy, non-abusive, loving relationship with our bodies and the fuel we put into it.
Stress is inescapable in our culture. At any given time, we are juggling many roles and obligations, working on a never-ending to-do list, striving to succeed and earn more, and trying to live up to others’ and our own expectations. We have to deal with work, family, school, finances, relationships, health, and spirituality, and all too often, they conflict. We have both good stress and bad stress. It is how we handle it that determines how it impacts our lives. However, we often do not realize the symptoms of stress until it overwhelms us. There are mental, emotional, behavioral, and health-related symptoms. If not dealt with, it can impact our relationships, our health, our functioning, and our overall wellbeing. Often what happens is that it causes health problems: sleep problems, hypertension, digestion problems, headaches, muscle tension, poor eating habits and weight issues, substance abuse, depression, anxiety. We then have more stress because we have to deal with our health issues on top of the original stressors.
It is important to learn healthy ways to manage and reduce stress so that you can have a healthy, fulfilling life. You will feel better, have better relationships, function better, and feel more confident. I help people learn how to manage stress by integrating techniques of biofeedback, relaxation training, meditation, exercise, and cognitive behavioral therapy. We work through it as a team and help you live the life you want with a healthy mind and body.
Living with a medical condition has many challenges. The condition impacts nearly all day to day activities and can challenge functioning. Individuals have to learn to speak medical language, deal with doctors, and be their own advocate. When the specific diagnosis is uncertain, individuals must deal with uncertainty and judgment. There may be physical pain and emotional pain related “not being normal.” People struggle to integrate their condition into their identity and the loss of their previous roles and identity. I am passionate about helping individuals with medical conditions restore a high quality of life alongside their physical challenges. I use an integrative approach to help individuals gain a variety of tools to help them manage their condition, adjust to their new roles, make peace with their physical issues, and create a new, personalized definition of health and wellness. I firmly believe that life can be fulfilling and enriching for individuals with health conditions.
“Biofeedback is a process that enables an individual to learn how to change physiological activity for the purposes of improving health and performance. Precise instruments measure physiological activity such as brainwaves, heart function, breathing, muscle activity, and skin temperature. These instruments rapidly and accurately "feed back" information to the user. The presentation of this information — often in conjunction with changes in thinking, emotions, and behavior — supports desired physiological changes. Over time, these changes can endure without continued use of an instrument.” [Definition adopted by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA), the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB), and International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) (May 18, 2008)].
Biofeedback is used to treat many disorders including: anxiety, stress, panic, depression, high blood pressure, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), unexplained abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, chronic pain (neck, back, jaw, joint, nerve), excessive sweating, and Fibromyalgia, ADHD, and alcoholism/substance abuse. It is also used to teach optimal performance. Biofeedback can be integrated into a treatment program or can be a stand alone treatment. To learn more about disorders treated by biofeedback, go to: http://www.bcia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3664
There are many types of meditation. I teach a type called mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness involves paying attention and being fully aware of what is happening inside us and around us in the present moment without judgment or analysis. We often live our lives in autopilot mode without being fully aware of what we are doing or feeling. We also spend much of our time focusing on something other than the present—worrying about future events, analyzing past events, or avoiding our present feelings or experience. When we are not fully aware of the present, we are more likely to be reactive to our thoughts, feelings, or environment. We may then act in ways that we regret later, feel overwhelmed by our suffering, or find ourselves unable to make the changes we want in our lives. With mindfulness training, we learn to become more aware of our thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and present experience as well as to be more able to focus on whatever we actually want to focus on. As a result, we have greater freedom and choice in our responses and are more able to live according to our values and to make the changes we desire. Mindfulness originated in Buddhist and Eastern spiritual traditions, but has since been removed from the spiritual and religious context by psychologist Jon Kabat-Zinn. This new Westernized mindfulness can be used a useful skill for any person regardless of their spiritual beliefs.