Dr. Nina Savelle - Rocklin Psy.D and psychoanalyst, author and speaker specializing in weight, body image and disordered eating, runs a successful clinical practice in Los Angeles. Dr. Nina aims to totally transform your relationship to food.
Ever notice how much better you feel when your home is neat and organized?
There’s a connection between our environment and our relationship to ourselves and the world. Thoughts and beliefs create emotional reactions, which lead to behavior. If you have the idea you’re not good enough, you’ll feel bad and may use food for comfort or distraction.
Negativity clutters our minds and creates an internal mess. When we “clean up” our thoughts by identifying certain beliefs and challenging them, we actively change the way we feel.
Patients often report a sudden urge to clean out their closets or garages. This invariably happens at the same time that they’re getting rid of the painful mistaken beliefs and ideas about themselves.
When we get rid of the tangible things that clutter our space, we also make room for clarity and a new perspective. That leads to feeling peaceful and mindful, which makes us feel good and eliminates stress eating, binge eating or any kind of emotional eating. When we feel good, we don’t need food to make us feel better.
Want help organizing your space? Here are some tips from Cathy Pérez, a Certified, Konmari Organizing Consultant.
Organized Home + Gratitude = Happy Life
Written by Cathy Hannah Pérez
Who believes an organized home equates to a happier life? Who believes organizing one’s home leads to a more grateful attitude? Both statements are true. Organizing may sound mundane, but when one organizes their home for maximum efficiency and only surrounds themselves with what they truly want and require, somehow the universe works to create more harmony and serenity, thus more happiness overall.
Here are four home organizing tips for creating a happier life.
Organize by category, not location:
Try organizing by category versus location. The advantage is you will have a visual accounting of how much you have of one category. This is especially useful if you’re hoping to budget better. It helps to know what you have and what you will buy later.
Engaging in an inventory of all your belongings will help you decide what you really want to keep and what items can be let go with gratitude, but no guilt.
Show gratitude to all your possessions:
When you have decided what belongings to let go, be sure to thank the items and release them with positive energy. Not only will you feel happier, but you will be sending out good karma to the next owner.
Gratitude is a special kind of conduit for purposeful ideas; meaningful gestures and constant happiness. By showing gratitude for all you possess, you will be letting the universe know you live in abundance. The universe will then reward you with more positive life experiences.
Everything has a home:
When you have physically inventoried all your belongings, only keep what you absolutely adore. Be sure all your items have “homes” to go to after being used. An organized space means that most, if not all, of your belongings have a dedicated space. This shows gratitude (which can increase your happiness meter) and makes it easier to find what you require on a daily basis.
It is amazing how much calmer life can be when your time is not tied up with mindless worry over lost keys, missing charging cords or non-matching socks. Efficiency is a byproduct of being organized. Efficiency leads to more free time. That should make you happier for sure.
Be Intentional about What You Bring into Your Space:
After you have tidied up your surroundings, you hopefully will notice less stress and more motivation. Maybe you feel relief? Perhaps you feel calm or serene? Pay attention to these feelings. Hopefully, you will have a sense of completeness. You have all that you require in your home to be productive and happy.
When you are out and about and impulsively want to buy something unnecessary or not advancing your life’s goals, stop. Will the item find a “home” in your space or serve a useful purpose? Those few seconds taken to discern if you truly need the item is a sure sign that your mind is honed in on what makes your life more fulfilled and what does not.
The mere act of asking what to bring into your newly tidied space is a signal of epic proportions. Your mind is focusing on your future happiness and success.
You know the feeling when you are “in the flow…” Imagine having that clarity and focus every moment of everyday in your home. It is possible when you are organized and intentional about your surroundings. Your mindset shifts from worry to gratitude and that means more ability to be happy.
Show gratitude to all your possessions Everything has a “home”
Be intentional about what you bring into your space
Cathy Perez is the 159th World Wide, Certified, Konmari Organizing Consultant. She coaches her clients through organizing projects (professional or personal) to create their best lives imaginable. You can reach her at email@example.com through her website, cathyhannahperez.com.
When that urge to binge strikes, it can feel as impossible to stop as an avalanche. Here’s what to do to bring that binge to a skidding halt:
Delay: Postpone eating for 5-10 minutes when you feel an urge. You’re not saying “no” to yourself and you’re not using willpower. Instead, you’re just giving yourself a little space between wanting to binge and doing so.
Distract: When you’re busy, you might find the desire to snack or eat or binge disappears. Try an activity that helps you express your feelings, such as writing in a journal or venting to a friend.
Distance: Keep out of the kitchen. It’s also a good idea to keep food out of sight. Have nothing edible on your countertops. Put food in a cabinet or pantry. If you don’t see it in front of you, it’s less tempting.
Determine: After 5-10 minutes, determine whether you are physically hungry or emotionally hungry. If you’re physically hungry, just about anything sounds good. If you’re emotionally hungry, you hope to feel better after eating.
Decide: The decision is yours, whether you want to binge. If you absolutely must eat something for emotional reasons, use a pre-packaged single serving. That lets you eat what you want but can stop you from bingeing on a family-sized portion.
Remember, wanting to binge does NOT mean that you will binge. You can put the brakes on!!
Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts and experiences with this five-step strategy to stop bingeing.
One of my favorite metaphors is the weed and the root. You don't have to be a gardener to know plucking weeds doesn’t work. You’ve got to dig out the root to eliminate those pesky weeds.
And so it is with eating problems. Bingeing, bingeing and purging and/or restricting are all solutions to root issues. These behaviors are problematic, but they are not “the” real problem (even though it sure feels like they are!).
Only by going into the hidden parts of your mind can you locate those roots. Then you can get rid of them for good. Our minds contain hidden conflicts or emotions that motivate our behavior. When we shine a light into the darkness and illuminate what's there, we’re able to make different, healthier choices.
My good friend Kelley Gunter, author of “You Have Such A Pretty Face” has written a beautiful guest post that illuminates this concept. Enjoy her message of hope!
The Flowerbeds of your Soulby Kelley Gunter
I’ve never been much of a gardener. Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers, I love fresh veggies, but I’ve never really been that girl who liked to dig around in the ground.
My mom loved working in the flowerbeds.I remember telling her that the whole dirt-under-the-fingernails look was just not me. She constantly teased me that there had to have been a mix-up in the nursery because I couldn’t be her daughter. She bought me gloves. Pink ones. It didn’t matter--it wasn’t my thing.
I did love the look of flowers. Since I lived next door to my parents, my mom was kind enough to take care of the flowers, both at her house and mine. After she passed, it was extremely hard for me to plant flowers for years, because the memories of us doing that together, multiplied the pain and grief of losing her. It filled me with sadness that I no longer had to respond to the love-filled taunts that questioned my DNA.
I enjoy the flowers so much in the summer, though, that after eight flowerless years, I decided to try it on my own. To say it was a struggle would be the understatement of a lifetime. I would chuckle to myself because I was certain my mom was in heaven, Nonnie right beside her, chortling away at the pitiful display my flower beds had become. Nevertheless, I pushed onward. Come hell or high water, there would be flowers.
Planting the flowers wasn’t the difficult part. At the end of the day, I stood back proudly surveying the results of my hard work and thought, “hmmm…mom would be proud.” I watered the flowers faithfully every night and just like she taught me, I fed them MiracleGro once a week. I gave myself a much-deserved pat on the back and thought the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Luckily, for the next week it rained regularly and I didn’t even have to water the flowers at night.
The flowers were growing fabulously and looked great—and suddenly, it happened.
The weeds came.
They were littered all through my flowerbeds. What once was beautiful was now being taken over by prickly green things that appeared to grow at twice the rate of the flowers. My carefully planted blossoms were being suffocated as the weeds grew around them, beside them, and over top of them. I stood on my front porch amazed at how quickly this hostile takeover had been accomplished.
I wasn’t sure how to proceed so I did what everyone does, I googled it. According to all of the online geniuses, I should have initially put down a defensive, plastic barrier to block the weeds from growing. Good to know, it’s too late for that now. I read on. Round-up appeared to be the punisher and killer of weeds that was needed. I sprayed the weeds and soaked them with the fix-all poison guaranteed to get the job done.
Just in case, I also openly cursed them to kill their spirits and let them know that they were not welcome in my peaceful little flowerbed. They turned brown rather quickly, shriveled up and died. I collected their dead bodies, even though I momentarily considered leaving their dead carcasses in plain view so their relatives could see what happens to weeds that dare to take root in my flower beds.
Yes!! Success. I was so proud of myself. I was getting this flower thing down. You can imagine my torment a few days later when I discovered that my beautiful flowers were once again, under siege by the very same weeds.
This time, they came back with a vengeance. They were bigger and stronger and much more destructive than the first time. I was pissed. I yelled at google for failing me. Following some further research, I discovered I actually needed to get down in the dirt and dig them out by their roots. If I didn’t, they would continue to come back and haunt my flower beds all summer.
I was not happy about this task. I bought some pretty, flowered gloves and gave myself a little pep talk. I got up early in the morning so it wouldn’t be so hot. I could do this. As I was digging down in the ground, getting a firm hold on the root and pulling it out, I made sure that I got allof it this time. I didn’t want any stragglers left behind. It was time-consuming tedious work, and as sweat rolled down my cheeks, I thought about my life.
It had been very hard for the last two years. I had finally disclosed the sexual abuse I had survived during my childhood--abuse that had gone on from the ages of six to fourteen. Keeping that abuse a secret for 45 years of my life had almost killed me. The pain from that unhealed trauma, just like the weeds in my flower bed, had taken over my entire life. It ruled and controlled every single thing I did. That pain was inescapable and no matter how hard I tried to ignore it, my self-destructive behaviors displayed it in grand fashion.
I had always turned to food as comfort. My addiction to food began very early in my childhood. It was the one thing that made me feel good—temporarily. By the time I was 25, I weighed 391 pounds. After living at that weight for almost two decades, I decided to have weight loss surgery. I lost 243 pounds in 14 months and had all of the loose skin remaining removed. I looked and felt great!! Sadly, though, just like the Round-up in my flower beds, that amazing result was only a temporary fix.
I now realize that it wasn't about the food. It wasn't about the exercise or diets. It was about me. It was about my unhealed pain.
The shame of being sexually abused had bound me my entire life. I was a victim. I had done nothing wrong. Yet that shame strangled the life and the faith out of me. It silenced the hope that I had any chance of living a happy, healthy life. I felt worthless and broken. I knew that I was damaged goods and that I would never be enough. Those negative feelings were the weeds in my soul.
I did many things to temporarily rid myself of the weeds. I lost weight. I had plastic surgery. I built a successful career. I presented a great façade to the world. But just like the weeds in my flowerbeds, when the pain came back, it came back with a vengeance.
I could no longer use food as comfort and that inner pain and unhealed trauma displayed itself in other destructive ways and behaviors. I developed other addictions to replace the food addiction. Eventually those behaviors caused me to lose everything and almost everyone I loved. Surrounded in the aftermath of my own self-destruction, I was forced to finally disclose all of the abuse I suffered. This disclosure finally allowed me to begin the long and sometimes painful journey of healing.
Standing in the dirt that afternoon, I realized that until I got to the root of my pain and addressed that hidden, horrific truth, just like my flowerbeds, my soul would never be weed-free.
As I was pulling the thistles out of the ground, even with the thick, gardening gloves on, they sometimes pricked me. Surprisingly, those little jabs really hurt. Healing is the same way. It is definitely painful at times.
Sorting through the hurtful things that have caused so much emotional pain can be incredibly difficult. Having said that, I have been working on my recovery for a couple of years now and I have also discovered how beautiful it can be. It is very powerful to live in the truth of who I am. I have become so much stronger by facing the beasts that were living in my soul--monsters that were real in my childhood.
It takes courage to become vulnerable again. As terrifying as it is, it is also incredibly brave to say to the world, This is who I am. This is my truth.”
I have no reason to feel shame. I was a victim. I was powerless. I survived, I am getting stronger every day, and for the first time in my life, I’m finally getting it right. At last, I’m presenting my genuine self to the world. That fact alone allows me to fall asleep at night thanking God for allowing me to heal and discover that I have always been enough.
Tend to the flowerbeds of your soul. You’re worth it.
About Kelley Gunter:
Following a lengthy career in social services, Kelley began writing full time. Her first book, You Have Such a Pretty Face, is a memoir detailing the emotional journey of being obese and the surprising changes brought on by her 243-pound weight loss following bariatric surgery, as well as the emotional factors that contributed to her initial weight gain.
Kelley is currently in the process of writing a second memoir, The Homecoming Queen of Crazy Town. When she is not writing, she enjoys cooking, baking, and reading. She also loves spending time with her son, her best friend, and her three Rottweilers.
Hey there, this is Dr. Nina writing to introduce you to my amazing guest blogger, singer-songwriter Candice Sand. As a mom of two daughters, I've noticed that they are constantly complimented on their appearance. I tell my girls, "It's nice to be beautiful, but what really matters is that you're smart, kind and thoughtful." Friends with sons don't share my experience. Their boys are told things like, "Good job, buddy." "Way to throw the ball, big guy." Girls are praised for their appearance. Boys are praised for their accomplishments. How does this impact eating disorders? Candice shares her thoughts about how compliments and social praise influenced the development of her eating disorder. She leaves us with some "food for thought" about the legacy and implications of seemingly-innocuous praise. Take it away, Candice!
The Impact Of Social Praise by Candice Sand
The first thing that crossed my mind when I was asked to be a guest writer for Dr. Nina’s blog was that in the many times I've discussed my eating disorder, in interviews, articles or in private conversations, the focus was usually around the process of recovery.
The circumstances that caused and continually fuelled my eating disorder were rarely brought up. Every individual’s triggers and motivations can differ greatly but in an effort to address something new, and which I believe is critically important, I've decided to share one of the conclusions I’ve drawn (after a lot of reflection with my former and trusted psychologist) in what I believe kept my eating disorder alive for 15 years.
I know now that it was all around me my entire life. Constant messages being delivered to me about what my body “should” look like. It wasn’t just media and magazines filling my head with images, although that was a solid foundation for my eating disorder to be built upon.
A major factor in developing and keeping my eating disorder thriving was consistent social reinforcement that I should strive to be thin.
This reinforcement came from the majority of people around me: everyone from classmates to a number of adults and role models in my life. Growing up I had a sneaking suspicion that the popular girls in school were popular because they were skinny. Fed up with being pudgy, somewhat friendless, and the target of weight related taunting I decided to test that theory by becoming bulimic during summer break when I was 12 years old.
I returned to school that fall 25 pounds lighter (and significantly taller thanks to a well-timed growth spurt) and when everyone suddenly wanted to be my friend my suspicion was proven true.
Skinny meant popular and popular girls had it all. All the friends, fun and attention from boys.
Skinny meant a better, easier life. Moving forward from this point, my memory is marked with certain moments when I received direct praise for my size, all the while I was essentially starving myself.
That same fall after I first became bulimic, a teacher stopped me in the hall to say “you really stretched out this summer, you look great!” Years later, while working a retail job during which I suffered through a brutal crash diet my district supervisor remarked on how tiny I was, and asserted “if you keep looking like that you can have anything you want in this world.”
Fast forward a few more years to a serving job I had when I first moved to Toronto. I was on my strictest diet, barely eating and working out six days a week. I was becoming dangerously underweight when one day my manager complimented me: “Have you lost weight? You look amazing!”
Each time the only thoughts I can remember having were “it’s working, keep going.” There are countless examples and much more that I could comment on. For instance, the way women learn they should want to be wanted by men and how that also feeds into the incessant striving for the body ideal.
I could talk about how I fell into commercial modelling and how I can say with complete honesty that the skinnier I was, the more jobs I booked. The truth is, all the while I knew I was hurting myself and that hiding my habits was a clear indication that what I was doing was harmful.
However at the same time, the skinnier I was the more social praise I received.
I’m not writing this to place blame or dodge responsibility for my choices and actions. I’m writing this to share what I honestly believed the world was telling me: that my size really did matter, and that I should want to be attractive and the only way to be attractive is to be skinny.
There is so much emphasis on how we look and it is so common that we rarely see how very dangerous and all consuming that focus can be. I hope I can bring some awareness to the impact that focus can have, and more importantly I hope for a day where in our everyday interactions with family, friends and even strangers, we can reach for something deeper than each others appearance to strike up conversations with or compliment each other on.
Pop recording artist and songwriter Candice Sand is originally from Saskatchewan, Canada but is now based out of Toronto. Her music has been praised for it’s intriguing lyrics, infectious hooks, and her powerful vocal performance.
Candice’s most recent album (“Against Concrete Walls”) was co-written and produced by the Grammy nominated & Juno award winning production team Kuya Productions INC. The album also features guest performances by Juno award winning multi-platinum artists JRDN and Choclair.
In Sept 2017, she released her latest single “Closed Doors” which was written from Candice’s personal experience of overcoming an eating disorder she struggled with for most of her life. The single also appears in the documentary series “Something’s Gotta Give”, which aims to raise awareness about eating disorders and promote recovery. Candice is also interviewed in the documentary.
As she works in the studio on her new project, Candice stays active as a performer throughout Canada and the US. To date, she has completed 3 tours which took her across Canada and currently, she takes the stage for 100+ performances annually.
Stay tuned and watch out for this girl... so much more to come!