Here’s a question I often ask clients. As I tell them, it’s really a trick question: Is it better to be independent or dependent? If you’re like many of my clients, I bet you answered with “independent.” The answer is that being independent is not better than being dependent. They are of equal value. We need both qualities to live long and prosper. As Kenny Rogers croons in his hit song, “The Gambler,” “You gotta…

Read More Learn How to Be Independent and Dependent

While attending a presentation of educational scholarships for deserving women at a local women’s center where I volunteer, it struck me that each of the several dozen women who had received scholarships had nearly the same thing to say: that though life had been very hard, they had never given up hope that they would make a better one for themselves. Hearing them, I got to thinking about how dysregulated eaters sometimes fall into victimization,…

Read More On Never Giving Up

We’ve long known that the language used to describe people can strongly impact how they’re viewed and how they view themselves. In social work school, I was taught to describe clients as people “with” or who “have” a condition—people with addictions rather than addicts or people with schizophrenia rather than schizophrenics. This is called people-first language. The editors of the journal Obesity recently developed a statement about the language to use in describing people who…

Read More Using People-first Language to Avoid Obesity Stigma

Do you know that worrying is a habit? Anything we do repeatedly over time becomes habit. Because worrying is only a mental pattern to which you’ve become accustomed, you can stop doing it and learn a more constructive way of thinking and behaving. Your brain neurons grow according to what you do. One of my favorite authors, Ruth Rendell, British writer of psychological thrillers, wrote dozens of books. By continuously developing new plots and plot…

Read More Break the Worry Habit

I talk a lot—I mean a lot—with clients about understanding how painful memories get triggered in the present. So many clients don’t realize they’re feeling anything distressing, yet find themselves in the midst of unrelenting binges. If you want to know how to prevent and stop emotional eating, here’s a brief review of the paradigm I use to stop mindless eating, overeating and binges due to painful emotions. The truth is that most of the…

Read More When Memories Trigger Painful Feelings and Food Binges

I thought I’d written on this topic before because it’s something I talk about all the time with clients, but I couldn’t find a blog about making decisions by the pride-and-shame method. This is a very simple way to make choices. It totally bypasses internal conflicts and focuses only on how the decision will make you feel: proud or ashamed. Sometimes, it’s quite clear cut how we’ll feel after we do something. If you were…

Read More Decision-making via Pride and Shame