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Posts Tagged ‘overeating’

“Overweight – Guilt, shame, suppressed emotions, Carrying others’ problems and burdens. Trying to cover your vulnerability, hurt, or abuse from the past. Not feeling good enough. Feeling stuck. Punishing yourself with food. Trying to push people away or keep them at a distance. Not allowing your true beauty and essence to shine through. Keeping the weight as protection. Constant procrastination.” ~ Inna Segel The Secret Language of Your Body: The Essential Guide to Health and Wellness

”I diet and I diet and I’m not losing weight”

“I know I have an addiction to food. I’m what you call an emotional eater and struggle with added on weight. I find myself eating, even when I’m not even hungry,”

“For me, food is an attempt to ease my stress or anxiety. It’s also become a source of comfort as it doesn’t fight back or disagree with me, thus it gives me a temporary gain of feeling empowered…but unfortunately in the long run, I gain increased weight only.”

“As a child, I was put on a diet, dieting meant something was different about me, I wasn’t good enough. When I was told I needed to lose weight (another not good enough), every meal I ate was different from the rest of the family. I felt I was being singled-out , punished, a misfit…..”

“Why do I wolf down sticky pastries and chocolate cake when I’m not even hungry?”

Like most of you, I’ve had my weight problems and I’ve had to watch what I eat. A lot of the time I just couldn’t say no to dessert. Why is it, we simply can’t resist eating candy, cake, cookies, or anything that’s sweet? Why do we have such an insatiable craving for carbohydrates?

Hunger begins in the limbic part of the brain which operates through the endocrine system and the autonomic nervous system.  This is the area that plays a key role in regulating food intake and body weight.  When the body is low in blood sugar or glucose, the liver sends signals to the hypothalamus, a small but important gland at the base of your brain.  It’s also the hypothalamus that triggers those hunger cravings that can drive you crazy and make you feel light-headed and irritable.

“Compulsive and addictive behaviors such as overeating, compulsive exercise, gambling, spending, workaholism, relationship addiction, and drug and alcohol abuse are born of intense craving for nurturing, affection, connection and personal power. Under the surface of compulsive behaviors lies an insecure, frightened and angry individual crying out in loneliness, isolation, helplessness, fear and anger. Compulsive behaviors represent an attempt at survival, security, satisfaction identity and safety. The compulsions become replacement for nurturing; the means to diminish anxiety and insecurity, and experience brief pleasure and gratification; the means to repress anger and hostility; and an avenue to find temporary security. Compulsive behaviors represent the paradox of both an overwhelming desire for connectedness and a fear of intimacy and conflict. The spending, hoarding, sex, compulsive work, etc., reflect an effort to protect oneself against overwhelming feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and fear of abandonment should emotions held in check be released. Good and Mad: Transform Anger Using Mind, Body, Soul and Humor ~ By Jane Middelton-Moz, Lisa Tener, Peaco Todd

How many times have you eaten to…..

1) to stuff your anger, rage, despair

2) to numb and comfort yourself

3) to run away or escape from feelings of perceived restrictions

4) to reward yourself after feelings of powerlessness

5) to run away from feelings of loss and deprivation.

 “Overeating has always meant a need for protection. When you feel insecure or frightened, you pad yourself with a layer of safety. Weight has nothing to do with food. Most of you spend a lifetime being angry at yourselves for being fat. What a waste of energy. Instead, realize there is something going on in your life that is making you feel unsafe and insecure. It could be your work, your spouse, your sexuality, or your life in general. If you are overweight, put the food/weight issue aside and work on the pattern that says, “I need protection because I’m insecure. 

It’s amazing how our cells respond to our mental patterns. When the need for protection is gone, or when we start feeling secure, the fat will melt off. I have noticed in my own life that when I am not feeling safe, I will gain some weight. When my life is going so fast, and I’m doing so much, and I’m spreading myself all over the place, I feel a need for protection, a need for security. So I say, “Okay, Louise, it’s time to work on safety. I want you to really know that you are safe, and it’s okay, and you can do all this stuff, and you can be at all these places, and you can have all that is happening right now, and you are safe, and I love you.” The Power Is Within You ~ Louise L. Hay

The physical body is a reflection of your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and emotions, so what you think on, you gradually grow to become. Deep within your muscles, organs and tissues are your memories of past experiences, unexpressed traumas, shocks and despair. The heaviness of these burdens coupled with your own beliefs and judgments, often show up as protective layers of fat carried around in certain tissues of your physical body. Any hurts or misunderstandings that aren’t addressed suppress our energy, causing our bodies to become overweight or ill.

Some of the major causes of overeating is depression, stress, holding back hurts and the fear of not being loved. Whenever we experience these unpleasant emotions our body’s start losing energy….this is when we unconsciously feel the need to replace that lost energy with food. Unfortunately, under stress, we don’t eat wisely, (grabbing for something sweet and starchy) and end up losing more energy processing the food, which creates an even lower energy cycle.

“Food represents mother, love, affection, security, survival and reward. We replace our need or desire for any one of these with food as a way of filling the emptiness within. We use food instead of affection and love, especially at times of loss, separation or death. We also get it to ease financial or material tensions. Eating sweet food is a way of feeding ourselves the sweetness we crave, of temporarily giving to ourselves the sweetness or reward that we may feel nobody else is giving us. Conversely, in expressing our need for nourishment we may also stop eating thereby reducing or shrinking our need for affection to a level that makes no demands at all In this way obesity and anorexia are actually expressing a similar state; that of not loving self and therefore needing outside reinforcement and affirmation, but not receiving that affirmation enough to satisfy the demand. The reaction that state is simply expressing in opposing ways: obesity indicates a loss of personal control, while anorexia implies a highly exaggerated attempt at control.

 All this is dealt with in the stomach. Hence the longings, unfulfilled desires, worldly pressures and external conflicts are first assimilated. Little wonder that they can cause so much upset such as indigestion, ulcers or acidity. How often do we hear someone say that something is ‘eating away’ at him, and then we also find that he has a stomach ulcer. The stomach modifies and breaks down the food and renders it capable of being absorbed, before sending it further down. Food can spend many hours passing through the stomach, so it is not surprising to find that thoughts and feelings can also sit in here for a long time, creating nausea and tension. A rigidly tense stomach area can indicate a resistance to allowing issues to pass through, a holding on to reality in an attempt to prevent inevitable moves and changes. DEB SHAPIRO body/mind workbook

CASE STUDY

 “Our earliest experience of food and safety, and our first encounter with the lunar principle after birth, is mother’s breast. Although the Moon is really inside us, we first meet it exteriorized in the person who has given birth to us, feeds us and protects us. If mother goes away, then the dark of the Moon has come, and we are overcome with terror of the abyss of extinction. “ Liz Greene The Illuminaries

When Sandy came to see me she was a single mother, thirty-nine years old, just over five feet tall and weighing approximately 150 pounds. She knew there were strong psychological forces from her childhood that were playing a part in her overeating. Although she had gone for psychotherapy, it had not succeeded in resolving her problem. The diets she’d tried and groups she joined had helped her to lose some weight but in the end, all her weight returned and then some.

Sandy said she frequently used food or sweets as a source of comfort; during the nights she would toss and turn, questioning why and how she let herself go…going over it again and again until she felt her head would explode. As her anxiety grew, she not only gained weight in her hips and mid-section, she also started experiencing pain in the right side of her stomach…Sandy later discovered the pain was an inflammation of her duodenum (the beginning of an ulcer). Her brain that had been carrying the stress of overeating had discharged part of it into duodenum. In return the duodenum bombarded her brain will painful information, disturbing her sleep.

Every person has a ‘weak link’ an organ or body part that is more vulnerable than the others and this particular body part becomes the main target when the brain or mind becomes overwhelmed or burdened and needs to rid of its excess stress. In Sandy’s case, her ‘weak link’ was her stomach and attached duodenum. The stomach and duodenum represent the Self in relation to others—the stomach reacts to our social life—the duodenum more emotionally intense reactions, which is actually closer to our inner self.

During our first Reiki session, I slowly scanned Sandy’s energy, which felt as if it was tangled in knots and very sticky. Her energy was withdrawn and it really felt as if Sandy was afraid of being touched. It is our senses that give us information we need to function in the world…every move we make, every bite we eat, everything we touch creates a sensation in us. The main task of the body’s central nervous system is to integrate the senses. No one part of the central nervous system works alone. messages are constantly going back and forth from one place to another so that touch can aid vision, vision can aid balance, balance can aid body awareness, body awareness can aid movement, movement can aid learning and so on. But when we are sense-deprived we aren’t getting enough stimulation from the outside.

Your aura is a live communication system, sensing and receiving information around you; it registers the intentions of your thoughts, moods and actions. When we energetically, physically withdraw or avoid being touched, our brains are affected too and can’t tell us how things ‘feel’. We can have trouble analyzing, interpreting and storing sensory memory; we become confused and less confident. Unconsciously, we keep our energy to the back of our body, blocking our own perceptions and our awareness.

At the base of your brain stem is what’s called the Medulla Oblongata. This area at the back of the neck feeds nerve energy to our five senses. When our nerve energy becomes depleted, it’s unable to reach our ears, eyes, throat or mouth. Our five senses are literally starved and react by creating sensory complications (coughing, difficulty swallowing, post nasal drip, acid reflux, eye problems, etc.). Also, when our body system is drained of energy and power, to compensate the loss, it will steal it from our eyes, ear, nose, throat and mouth.

I asked Sandy if she suffered more than most from respiratory illnesses, which she answered with a definite yes. I also wondered if she suffered from allergies and indeed she did. Allergic reactions can affect our heart, stomach, bowels, skin, and nervous system….in fact they can disrupt every bodily system. When we suffer from allergies, lung infections or even the common cold, affect our nutrition, thereby reducing oxygen to our tissues. Low oxygen equals low energy and low energy equals low metabolism and low metabolism can affect our weight.

Alternative healers are not allowed to diagnosis, so I suggested Sandy go to her doctor and ask for a full blood test. I ‘suspected’ she may have low thyroid and/or possibly suffered from hypoglycemia or low sugar. Sandy had mentioned she loved eating sweets of all kinds throughout the day. When we eat high levels of sugar, our blood sugar spikes, then within a half-an-hour, plunges steeply to an all time low. To understand how hypoglycemia develops we need to know how our glucose metabolism works. Our bodies convert all foods to glucose but when too much sugar floods the bloodstream, the pancreas is alerted to send extra insulin to counteract the overload. If you frequently eat a lot of snacks and starches, your overzealous pancreas may start pouring insulin too much too fast. When this happens the sudden drop in sugar can cause a variety of symptoms such as: headaches, anxiety, irritability, tiredness, dizziness, confusion, and even lack of coordination. Of course what we usually do, is reach out for more sugar….a vicious cycle of high/low energy. This certainly seemed what Sandy was going through.

(The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system located at the base of the throat. It sends hormonal messages to every cell in your body, maintaining body temperature, heart rate, muscle contraction and metabolic rate (the rate at which food is converted into energy).

“The incidence of poor thyroid function in modern society appears to be quite high. Some researchers have estimated that up to 40 percent of the population suffers from at least mild dysfunction of the thyroid, and they believe this problem is part of the reason so many people are over-weight. This estimate is considered too high by most orthodox physicians, but many doctors of integrative medicine agree that low-grade thyroid dysfunction is relatively common. One reason for poor thyroid function is insufficient intake of the minerals zinc and selenium. Another is reduced blood flow to the thyroid.” Meditation As Medicine: Activate the Power of Your Natural Healing Force ~ Dharma Singh Khalsa, Cameron Stauth

See more on the thyroid here….

When the Reiki session was over, my sense was that from a very young age, Sandra had been left on her own with little support or emotional nurturing…deep inside was unexpressed pain, anger, and feelings of abandonment. Sandy’s body was definitely under stress. I told her that the body responds to stress by secreting epinephrine and slowing down digestion. Fats, sugars and hormones are released in the body, cholesterol rises, blood pressure rises, heartbeat accelerates, muscle tension increases and more.

“Where you store your fat says a lot of your hormonal state.  Take a look at the following Hormone Body-Fat Map to see a clearer picture of the relationship between your hormonal imbalances and fat stores.” Quote and Picture from “THE HORMONE DIET” ~ by Natasha Turner, N.D.

Fat Storage sites

Too much epinephrine can cause nutritional deficiencies because it depletes potassium, phosphorus, amino acids, magnesium and calcium. And when the body’s under stress it doesn’t absorb nutrients as well, especially B vitamins and electrolytes which are essential to the body.

People who have been deprived of security and love, especially during their childhood, often have a blockage in their 1st chakra, this can manifest later in life as diabetes, hypoglycemia or overweight.

“A deficient first chakra is contracted, vacant, weak, sloppy or unformed. This is usually recognizable by simply looking at the body. Contraction pulls inward, as if the person were trying to make himself as small as possible…If the contraction pulls away from the ground, the first chakra becomes empty, vacant and the person may be totally out of touch with feeling in this area. If a person’s energy is very disorganized the first chakra will be weak and disappear at the slightest challenge….There is also a kind of deficiency that may appear in either a thin body or with a large, overweight one (which would seem like excess) where the body is very loose and unformed. Since the first chakra is about solidity, the unformed body has a hard time solidifying itself or holding its shape, ground or basic structure. There is poor muscle tone, circulation, color and boundary formation. This is a state that is undernourished and undercharged.” EASTERN BODY WESTERN MIND ~ by Anodea Judith

The next time I saw Sandy, she told me her blood test did show a low thyroid. Although she didn’t mention hypoglycemia, I suspected it too was a possibility. Just a week on Synthyroid had helped to change her disposition and she looked more relaxed, refreshed and her energy patterns were healthier and less tense.

Wanting to know more about her metabolic state, Sandy and I talked about metabolism, which refers to the way your body processes and utilizes the food you eat.

 WHAT IS THE METABOLIC SYSTEM

Most of the food you eat is digested then converted into energy through the process of metabolism. This process involves a complex network of hormones and enzymes that not only convert food to fuel but also affect how efficiently we burn that fuel.

“Your liver is responsible for burning most of the fat in your body. If it is healthy, it pumps out excess fat through bile and helps you keep a healthy weight. However, if your liver is not healthy, it can cause your body to hold on to fat and cause other health problems. You can damage your liver by drinking too much alcohol, taking antibiotics or painkillers for long periods, taking oral synthetic hormone replacement drugs, being exposed to chemicals including pesticides, having a viral infection of liver (such as hepatitis C and B, autoimmune hepatitis, hemochromatosis, or primary biliary cirrhosis), or eating an unhealthful diet high in fat. 

If you suspect liver problems, or if you are obsess, ask your doctor to perform blood tests that will measure liver enzymes. Elevated enzymes may indicate inflammation and damage to the liver cells and their membranes. Luckily, liver cells are very resilient, and you can restore their health by following your doctor’s recommendations, which may include changing your eating habits so you’re on a proper diet.” 365 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR Metabolism ~ by Racel Laferriere, MS, RD

If your metabolism is a fast burner, it’s most likely dominated by the adrenal system and the thyroid gland. Both the adrenals and thyroid are dominated by the sympathetic nervous system, which is part of the autonomic system that controls your basic bodily functions such as heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, hormonal balance and of course your metabolism.

If your metabolism is slow, it’s dominated by the parathyroid gland and the pancreas, which are in turn dominated by the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic system is involved in slowing heart rate, decreasing oxygen supply, metabolism and energy. Both the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems work together to keep your energy at an even keel and balanced.

WHAT”S YOUR METABOLIC TYPE

“Slow Burners release energy too slowly to maintain adequate health. This is analogous to a woodstove whose fire is too small to heat the room. In a stove, when combustion is incomplete, there is a buildup of creosote in the stovepipe. This metaphor is appropriate for the slow burner’s body. Sodium and potassium act as solvents in the body by holding minerals in solution in the bloodstream. When sodium and potassium levels are low, calcium and magnesium fall out of solution and begin to build up in the tissues, eventually leading to arteriosclerosis and/or arthritic conditions. To improve the health status and energy levels of a slow oxidizer, the metabolic furnace (i.e., oxidation rate) must be increased. The extremely slow oxidizer is continually exhausted because of a diminished ability to use glucose (blood sugar) for energy production at a cellular level. 

Fast Burners release energy too quickly. To go back to the woodstove analogy, the fast burner is a stove that is burning too hot, overheating the room (the body) and quickly running out of fuel (glucose). While it feels better to be in fast oxidation because of the high energy released, the expense is to the tissues of the fast burner’s body: The mineral reserves are being exhausted. 

Mixed Burners have an erratic energy pattern sometimes too slow, sometimes too fast. This is due to a loss of balance between the thyroid and adrenal glands. It is an interim state, generally moving toward fast or slow oxidation.” BALANCE, Your Personal Prescription for Supermetabolism, Renewed Vitality, Maximum Health, Instant Rejuvenation ~ Oz Garcia

To become aware of how foods affect you, learn more about what happens to the foods you take into your body. Some food is digested and turned into fuel for the body or new tissue. Some is excreted while some have no nutritional affects and remain in the body. These useless foods usually become fatty deposits and may linger as toxic material lodged in or around the cells of your body. These toxins exhaust/sap your vitality, fog your mind and emotions and cause disease and premature aging.

A simple metabolic questionnaire http://www.doctoroz.com/quiz/quiz-what-your-metabolism-type

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

Artificial sweeteners are on the rise but they play havoc with the body’s metabolism and frustrate it to no end.  When the body tastes something sweet, it begins the natural preparation of digesting carbohydrates, but with artificial sweeteners it can’t find them!  When this happens, the body has to compensate somehow and look for carbs elsewhere….it may excessively absorb carbohydrates found in the intestines which forces the body to produce extra insulin which then causes our blood sugar to go too low, resulting in hypoglycemia.  This insulin and blood sugar roller coaster causes the hypothalamus to panic which leads to more carb cravings and more sweets.  It’s an endless cycle that if not managed, can lead to weight gain and progressive obesity.

DIETS DON”T WORK

“To have a renewed body, you must be willing to have new perceptions that give rise to new solutions. “ ~ Deepak Chopra

Have you ever walked into a bookstore or library and noticed the amazing amount of books on health and fitness? There are hundreds of diet and nutrition books available on the market but there are non-superior than the rhythm and wisdom of your own body. When it comes to finding our own personal, optimum diet, we need to take into consideration that each of our nutritional requirements are unique because of our history, metabolism and energy needs. So there is some truth in saying your metabolism is programmed through your genetic information and other various external and internal forces.

Genetically our bodies are engineered for gaining weight and not for weight loss. Many of us blame our lack of willpower for not staying on a diet plan but historians and scientists have proven that for most of the time us humans have been around, there was no steady source of food. Sometimes there was plenty to eat and other times there was none. In order to survive, people’s bodies had to adjust to these conditions of feast or famine. When food was scarce, metabolism would slow down to preserve energy, and when there was plenty, it would speed up.

Dieting places the body in the famine or starvation mode, which is why metabolism slows down when people go on strict diets. When they begin to give into cravings, metabolism speeds up—at least while they’re young. Up until the age of 30, the body can adapt to metabolic changes brought on by dieting and then quitting, but after that it becomes less flexible. With added age, metabolism slows down and stays down. To make matters worse, the weight lost is usually muscle, but the weight gained tends to be more fat then lean body mass. Fat burns fewer calories than lean tissue, with the results that the next time you diet, the pounds will be more difficult to shed.

EXERCISE

If you are planning to add exercise to your program it should be designed for ‘you’ rather than what’s trending right now. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve never been one for conventional exercises…remembering at school, I did everything I could to avoid them!

Exercise should have a lot of variety to it…look around and see what appeals to you; look for an exercise that will leave you feeling good and not sore or exhausted. You don’t have to go to the gym to work out, you could find and combine two or three fun things to do, such as dancing, swimming or even jogging. The important thing is to pick a program and stay with it. The important thing is that you listen to and observe ‘who you are’ and what ‘you need’ at this time in your life and development. Getting in shape is not about the pursuit of perfection…it means making your best effort in whatever you do. Stressing and worrying will only deplete your happy-mood chemicals and deplete glucose levels in your brain. Think long term and don’t go for the quick fix. Just take it day by day. The key word is ‘gradual’.

LEARNING FROM YOUR EATING PATTERNS

I encouraged Sandy to buy a journal and over the next two or three weeks, watch what she ate and how and when she ate to see what more she could learn from that information. I told her not to judge or grudge herself…”all you’re doing is observing and noticing, nothing more. Most of all, drop any feelings of guilt you have about eating “wrongly”: It’s better to eat the “wrong” thing and enjoy it then feel guilty and self-rejecting about it. In fact, it’s probably better than eating the “right” thing with feelings of resentment, longing, or tension. No matter what, feel good about yourself. Food is not your enemy. So many people feel guilty about eating it, or they fear that one bite will lead to a binge. Don’t ever feel deprived, you can enjoy food, as long as you put your eating habits in order and you’ll feel more energetic.

Learning to develop a sensitivity to your own body’s needs is a very gradual process. The body is a creature of habit and preferences, urging/prompting you to buy and eat its most favorite foods. For example it may make you crave for something sweet, when what your body really needs is protein. Often too, we misinterpret the body’s need for water as a hunger sign and eat unnecessary calories when all we really need is a glass of water.

See yourself going through a typical day and visualize all the times that you stopped to take any form of food or drink, whether it was a meal or snack. Consciously recall each time, how you were feeling, what you were thinking and doing before, during and after the meal, snack or drink. Notice particularly whether you were calm and relaxed, tense, tired, emotional, hungry, bored, or whatever. Write down or draw each of those food events as you recall them. (For example: “At 11 a.m., ate a doughnut and drank coffee—needed a break from work.

Try this little exercise….

Sit quietly and close your eyes. Then without directing or judging your thoughts allow them to flow through your mind in relation to your connection with food and eating. Simply let the thoughts happen and write them down in brief words or phrases or even draw them. Close your eyes again and allow more to come. Do this for about five minutes.

Begin to look for habit patterns that are possibly governing your eating. Be honest, but accepting, do not judge what you see as good or bad—simply acknowledge the patterns for what they are.

How often do you eat when you’re really hungry and how often do you eat from habit, a desire or the pleasure of taste. How often do you eat to combat boredom, to console yourself or take away or dissipate negative emotions such as fear, anger or depression.

How often do you eat slowly, peacefully and in a quietly relaxed surrounding? How often do you eat on the run, hurriedly, with tension or anger, while discussing or arguing, while reading, listening to the radio, or watching TV, or involved in some other activity?

How often do you really taste and enjoy what you eat, how often do you find you’ve eaten a whole meal almost without noticing?

How often do you stop when you know you’ve had enough, and how often do you go on eating because it tastes so good, because you don’t want to go back to what you need to do after eating, or because you have nothing else to do?

How often do you feel alert and pleasantly satisfied after a meal and how often do you feel uncomfortably full, have indigestion or feel sleepy and dull?

How often do you eat healthy, nutritious live foods and how often do you junk out on artificial, processed, sweet, carbohydrate or nutritionless foods.

Go over all that you’ve written and try to see a pattern in your eating. Are there specific times of day, days of the week, or situations where you see yourself eating less than at other times?

EATING WITH AWARENESS

Eating with awareness means slowing down and devoting your full attention during a meal, to the actual process of eating, so you can achieve maximum health benefits and enjoyment.

Eat only when you’re hungry. Even if you eat more than someone else, it will benefit you as long as you are hungry. If you don’t seem to getting much enjoyment out of it or not satisfied with the food available, either you aren’t really hungry or you’re eating more than your body requires. When you are hungry, the simplest food tastes most delicious.

After eating you should feel relaxed and alert. If you feel tired or sluggish you know you’ve eaten too much. When you eat less, you’re body will protest and may experience hunger at first…this initial discomfort is caused from getting to know true hunger,…when you’re body knows true hunger, then eating will become an exquisite pleasure and natural fulfillment of the body.

Eat regularly at specific times. Plan each meal and eat enough that will leave you hungry for your next meal. In that way, you will eat only when you’re hungry and will eat regularly as well.

Focus all your attention on what is happening in your mouth as you chew. A significant part of the digestive process begins with enzymes secreted in the mouth. If you do not chew properly, you are bypassing an important stage of the digestive process and forcing your stomach to worker harder than intended…chronic indigestion, gas, and constipation could result.

Avoid eating when you’re angry, excited, tense, depressed, sick, hurried or tired. Wait until your mind becomes calm and your natural hunger returns. The hunger you experience when tense is not true hunger; it’s mentally induced hunger, designed to provide an outlet for your nerves and anxieties.

Always eat in a pleasant soothing atmosphere. Make your meals colorful and attractive from many food forces. Begin your meal with the gift of gratitude that comes to you from food. A prayerful attitude relaxes you, prepares your digestive system to assimilate the food you eat and to draw more energy from your food.

When eating, simply eat! Avoid distractions such as the computer, talking, reading, listening to the radio or watching tv. All these will divert your attention from the awareness of chewing and tasting your food. When you talk or wondering what to say/write, you’re body must work harder to get the maximum benefit from the food.

Make eating an act of meditation, of reverence for your body and your inner self. Be fully aware of what is occurring in your body. Visualize your digestive system and feel that the food is being converted into vital energy for the sustenance of your body, mind and spirit.

If you overeat, accept yourself. You probably will overeat at times and that’s natural. Learning to be aware of your eating habits will happen gradually.  Don’t get discouraged, you’ll eventually become the best adviser for your own energy and bodily systems

“Weight is only the outer effect of a fear that is inside you. When you look in the mirror and see the fat person staring back, remember that you are looking at the result of your old thinking. When you start to change your thinking, you are planting a seed for what will become true for you. What you choose to think today will create your new figure tomorrow. One of the best books on releasing excess weight is The Only Diet There Is by Sondra Ray. It’s all about dieting from negative thinking. She shows you step by step how to do it.”  ~ Louise L. Hay

Link between intestinal flora (bacteria) and obesity  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130828131932.htm

http://chriskresser.com/thyroid-blood-sugar-metabolic-syndrome

http://www.endocrineweb.com/endocrinology/overview-adrenal-glands

More links to come…..

Stay tuned for Part II…..

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If you’re reading this and been diagnosed with depression and given medication, the important thing is to take it but don’t stop there.  The medication is going to make you feel better and with feeling better, you can continue studying and learning how you can heal yourself through different methods.  Yes, I’ve heard people say that medication can be a crutch but if you needed a crutch to help you walk better, you’d use it right?  Sometimes a crutch is what we need to get over the hump and which helps us persevere in learning to walk without it. 

 “Most of us grow up believing that we are not good enough to be loved for just being ourselves.  So we try desperately to live up to a self-created image of how we should be.  The constant struggle to uphold this idealized version of ourselves causes many of our difficulties.  It is, therefore, important to discover on what assumptions you have created your own idealized image and how it has caused distress and frustration in your life.  You will find it has achieved the exact opposite of what you had hoped it would.  This discovery may be painful, but will allow you to reevaluate the way you are presenting yourself to the world and help you to become your true, relaxed self.” Eva Pierrakos, The Pathwork of Self-Transformation

Depression is an affective disorder (dramatic changes and extreme mood swings) that affects us physically, mentally and emotionally.  Any one of us can be catapulted into depression by the death of a loved one, a change in residence; an unexpected financial crisis; bullying; news that suddenly shocks or upsets us; a job that we thought was a given; years working for a company that suddenly goes bankrupt; a relationship breakup; verbal or physical abuse.  Whatever the cause, we lose our sense of direction, our footing, strong irrational feelings and emotions take over and we either overreact to everything or find ourselves withdrawing deep inside.

 Symptoms of depression can include:  low energy, fatigue, feeling slowed down,  poor appetite or overeating, weight gain or loss, insomnia or increased sleep, inability to concentrate, agitation, loss of interest, irritability, indecisiveness, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness, guilt, fatigue, energy loss, headaches, backaches, digestive disorders, inability to perform sexually or decreased sexual drive, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.  (Not all these symptoms occur in a person who is depressed, but some or many are present).

 “Depression: This involves a deep inner sadness and longing for life to different, a conflict between the ideal and the real, between who we would like to be and who we are. There is no doubt that there is a chemical or hormonal imbalance that can cause this state, but the cause of the imbalance may be found in deep, underlying attitudes and emotional issues.  How much pressure to succeed did we experience when we were children?  Have we experienced life-changing events, such as war, that make ordinary life seem meaningless in comparison?  Have we lost our purpose and reason for living maybe because a loved one has been lost?  Depression clearly demonstrates the relationship between mind and body, for as the mind becomes depressed so the body loses its vitality and healthy functioning.  Deep relaxation and a reconnection with our purpose are essential.”  Deb Shapiro

 Depression can isolate and even alienate us from friends, family and people in general.  Even when not alone, people can experience extreme feelings of depression and loneliness.  How many of us have found ourselves lying around the house, or staring blankly out the window; then we putter around the house here and there, picking up this and that, pretending we’re doing something but in reality it’s a whole lot of nothing. 

 With depression it takes a lot of time and thought before it feels like much of a blessing. When in the throes of it we have this thought, this feeling, an illusion that things will stay this way forever and I find that that thought is what holds the depression. We forget that we’ve been here before, maybe even not that long ago and gotten through and not only did we get through it but came out the other end much clearer.  It’s as if we have to go through this kind of amnesia when we are in the thick of it to retrieve more of our deepest darkest, unknown parts.

 To free your spirit and learn to accept every part of your being, you have to learn to feel all your feelings.  No matter how dark or hidden….

 “Some feelings and thoughts seem to emerge only in a dark mood.  Suppress the mood, and you will suppress those ideas and reflections.  Depression may be as important a channel for valuable “negative” feelings, as expression of affection are for the emotions of love.  Feelings of love give birth naturally to gestures of attachment.  In the same way, the void and grayness of depression evoke an awareness and articulation of thoughts otherwise hidden behind the screen of lighter moods.  Sometimes a person will come to a therapy session in a dark mood. “I shouldn’t have come today,” he will say.  “I’ll feel better next week, and we can get on with it.” But I’m happy that he came, because together we will hear thoughts and feel his soul in a way not possible in his cheerful moods.  Melancholy gives the soul an opportunity to express a side of its nature that is as valid as any other, but is hidden out of our distaste for its darkness and bitterness.” Thomas Moore

 

DEPRESSION IS RAGE SPREAD THIN. ~George Santayana

“Depression is anger turned inward.  It is also anger that you feel you do not have a right to have. For instance you may not feel it’s okay to be angry at your parent or spouse or employer or best friend.  Yet you are angry. And you feel stuck. That anger becomes depression. Far too many people today suffer from depression, even chronic depression.  By the time we feel that depressed, it is very difficult to get out of it.  It feels so hopeless that it becomes an effort to do anything.  

I don’t care how spiritual you are, you have got to wash your dishes every now and then.  You can’t let the sink pile up with dirty dishes and say, “Oh, I’m metaphysical.” The same with your feelings, if you want to have a mind that flows freely then clean up your inner mental dirty dishes. Louis L. Hay THE POWER IS WITHIN YOU

 When we feel angry or upset about something or someone and don’t express them, that’s really unhealthy. Perhaps you want to do the right thing by everybody and really dislike hurting or disappointing others.  So with the feeling you have no other choices you continue to live in an abusive or controlling situation.  Because you won’t standup for yourself, you begin to feel lost or don’t feel you belong and to counteract that feeling, you numb or deny your feelings.  Sometimes when we deny or repress our anger, we go on eating binges to cover it up. The problem is, whatever we do to get another’s approval and love, all we end up doing is getting disappointed over and over again.  

“Depression afflicts millions of people in the industrialized world today. It impairs the digestive, nervous and circulatory systems in the body and depletes any remnant of joy and happiness. By itself, depression is not an independent emotion but is directly linked to repressed anger.” It’s Time To Come Alive ~ by Andreas Moritz

 When we suppress our anger the area in the body to react first is the gallbladder located in the solar plexus.  As our frustrations peek and we become more closed and frustrated, the liver (also in solar plexus) will become affected.  The liver is an important organ in terms of emotions because its main job is to regulate the flow of energy (chi/qi) around the body. The kidneys too need this chi energy in order to do its job, which is to support all the other organs. If the kidneys become affected, we experience poor concentration and memory, dizziness and the head can feel ‘empty’.  When we feel empty this affects the pancreas and spleen and we feel that desire to eat sweets or fatty foods which depletes us even further. Then we may suffer from headaches, stomachaches and backaches and yet when we go to the doctor he or she says there’s nothing wrong.

 All our organs are physically and emotionally connected to the brain via the central nervous system (CNS), which is connected to the rest of the body.  It is through this system that the brain and the entire body can be in constant communication…. just the slightest shift in our thinking and feeling stirs our nervous system into action.  Within the brain are chemicals called neurotransmitters that carry impulses between the nerve cells, which regulate behavior.  The way these neurotransmitters work is very intricate. The physical cause of depression is the depletion of these neurotransmitters (e.g. endorphin, norephinephrine, serotonin, dopamine) in specific brain areas.  Serotonin eases tension, while norepinephrine and dopamine cause alertness.  Without self-worth or believing that we’re worthy, the brain loses its ability to function emotionally, when that happens we’ll back down from expression our feelings or nod in agreement when we meant to say no…a form of self-sabotage. 

 “Social conditioning has taught many of us to repress anger right from the beginning of life. When small children don’t get what they want they have tantrums and are often told off by an angry parent. All the small instances of withheld anger or frustration buildup to a highly explosive inner conflict, creating a strong chemical distortion in the body. Every new instance that triggers an emotional explosion reveals an entire past of unresolved conflicts. Anger, if it is dealt with before depression, can be a means to learn about the very weaknesses that we tend to project onto others. Whenever you feel angry, you are never really angry with somebody else, but you are frustrated over your own inability to fulfill your desires, both past and present.” It’s Time to Come Alive ~ Andreas Moritz  

 THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION

 In psychological terms, there are many different types of depression:  reactive depression is triggered by a trauma and/or the loss of or separation from an object or a person.  Endogenous depressions are associated with delusions and hallucinations.  Unipolar depression consists of depressive episodes that recur several times or throughout a person’s life.  Bipolar depression or manic depression consists of alternate episodes of alternative episodes of depression and mania. 

 Types of depression http://www.irishhealth.com/clin/depression/types.html

Classification of different depressions http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/depression/classification_000001.htm

 “The signs and symptoms of the depressive phase of bipolar disorder include unrelenting sadness. It may seem like everything is lousy, always was lousy, and always will be lousy. It may seem that any happiness you enjoyed was phony and fleeting. The hopelessness pervades your body and thoughts like a virus. You may not be able to function at all, and if you are, you feel like a robot going through the motions. You may think that you don’t matter and that everyone would be better off without you—no matter what anyone tells you. You may take no pleasure in anything that gave you pleasure before. It may seem there is nothing you can do about this. You may feel powerless, insignificant, and just a shell of your former self. It seems like this will go on forever. 

The good news is that “forever,” in the case of a depression following a manic episode, may last only six to eight weeks. The bad news is that those weeks feel like forever, no matter what anyone says. You wouldn’t be surprised if someone said to you, “Due to the energy crisis, we have shut off the light at the end of the tunnel.” The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Bipolar Disorder ~ Bobbi Dempsey, Jay Carter

 Clinical depression (depression lasting more than two weeks) ‘is’ a serious illness, and currently the leading cause of disability in the United States, and the World Health Organization expects it to be the second leading cause of disability in the world, second only to heart disease, by the year 2020.

 “The symptoms of clinical depression often closely mimic the symptoms of early Alzheimer’s, because depression severely impairs both memory and cognitive function….Clinical depression is a biological phenomenon, characterized by changes in neurotransmitters and hormones. ….

 Depression mimics Alzheimer’s in several ways.  Clinical depression often slows down all thought processes, and all physical movements.  People with clinical depression often speak very slowly, with long pauses, and have a vacant look in their eyes.  Their movements are painfully slow and deliberate.  This symptom, which is partly caused bv a deficiency of the stimulating neurotransmitter norepinephrine, is often mistakenly considered to be a symptom of early Alzheimer’s.  BRAIN LONGETIVITY Dharma Singh Khalsa M.D. with Cameron Stauth)

 Depression can also be triggered by stress; traumatic events, brain imbalances, thyroid disease, poor diet, magnesium deficiency, allergies, and prescription drugs like birth control pills, antibiotics, antihistamines, arthritic medications, and tranquilizers. Surprisingly food allergies are one of the most common causes of depression as well as cancer.

 When we suppress anger, a chemical reaction in the body causes acids to be secreted and attack the body.  Not only could we develop ulcers, anger, tension and stress also affect the heart and circulation, which in turn affect every other part of the body.  A rigid frame of mind could be expressed as arthritis; a broken heart may manifest as a stroke or coronary; and a need for growth could show up as cancer.

 Other types of depression are:  seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which descends in the fall and reaches an all time low in the winter. People with this disorder tend to overeat, oversleep, and crave carbohydrates. Women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) become irritable and depressed at certain stages of the menstrual cycle due to hormonal changes. Some women experience clinical depression after the birth of a child. This disorder is called postpartum depression.

 *We will look deeper into all these in PART III – Healing Depression Naturally

 

EMPATHIC OVERLOAD

 As our consciousness continues to expand outward our nervous systems are becoming more receptive and highly sensitive to every living thing on this planet.  The more sensitive we become the more vulnerable we are to the subtleties of our environment and beyond.  When this happens we can be so out of ourselves, so much out there, we lose the most precious connection we have, our inner center, our soul/spirit. 

 For the first time in history, we have the capabilities of knowing, emotionally and simultaneously what’s happening anywhere in the world. The development of technology has cut us off from being aware of our own human needs. Many of us are tuned into so much content it’s causing us to become emotionally unstable. If we allow ourselves to be swept along with the many highs/lows of life, we will forever feel insecure with our own life. Empaths take on others emotions as their own, so much so, they find themselves exhausted and drained. In the depths of all the pain and suffering in the world they have no idea how they can help a world that seems to be getting worse and worse. But we’re not meant to burn out when these things happen. 

We need to recognize, to the depths of our souls, that we are all part of one whole, that what each of us does individually has a powerful impact on us all. Our global crises relate to and mirror our individual processes. Only through healing ourselves on all levels — physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual — can we heal our families, our communities, and our planet. Shakti Gawain, The Path of Transformation ~ this wonderful and inspiring book is on pdf  http://theawareshow.com/2011/shakti-gawain/tas-attract-shakti-gawain-path-of-transformation.pdf

 We have to train ourselves to focus on the present and it doesn’t come easy.  When we are doing something, we are, at the same time, planning what we’re going to do next or tomorrow.  Most of the time you’re probably deep in thought, pondering the future; going over things in your mind.  You notice what’s around you but you’re so consumed with old patterns of thought, you’re not living it.   

Because all things are constantly in a state of change, it is often difficult to get our bearings if we are constantly looking outside of ourselves.  But when we search within, the answers are always available to us. 

In the next article, we’ll continue to investigate what depression is and how you can make peace with where you are Now.

 An excerpt from the next article…

 THE THREE A’s

Awareness, Acceptance, Adjustment

 “The formula is simple.  Take your greatest victory as your ceiling and your worst defeat becomes the place where your foundation will be built.  Once that’s in place you’ve got a frame which you will fill with joy and sorrow.  From your center will come the creative force of your being, your truth and your instincts.  It is from this place that everything else evolves.” Linda Joyce 

AWARENESS – To make changes to our world, we first need to know where we are before we can decide how to get where we want to go.  If you got lost driving to my house, you’d call and ask for directions.  To help you get here, my first question to you would be “Where are you now.”  Awareness is about asking yourself….”Where am I now”; this always determines your next move. 

 ACCEPTANCE – Awareness and acceptance are intertwined.  By learning to accept freely and uncritically where we are at this moment, we begin to allow our unconscious to release more knowledge about ourselves.  The process of acceptance is one of acknowledging to ourselves that we are in fact perfect—it is where we are supposed to be right now….

 To be continued….

What is Depression “All of these famous individuals [listed] are believed to have suffered from a mood disorder in various forms.  Yet they are remembered, not for their illnesses but for their ACHIEVEMENTS. ~ Mood Disorders Society of Canada.” http://www.mooddisorderscanada.ca/documents/Consumer%20and%20Family%20Support/Depression.pdf

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