Strong Body-Strong Mind | Eating Disorder Support Group | Fall Schedule

Sliding fee scale available if needed.

See Fall schedule below.

Please contact Pacific MFT Network directly for information on joining!

www.pacificmft.com

Fall ED Tribe Schedule

Fall Session I

Tuesdays 430-6PM

Sep 6th

Sep 13th

Sep 20th

2 week break

Fall Session II

Tuesdays 430-6 PM

Oct 11th

Oct 18th

Oct 25th

Nov 1st

Nov 8th

Nov 15th

1 week break

Fall Session III / Holiday Session

Tuesday 430-6PM

Nov 29th

Dec 6th

Dec 13th

Dec 20th

False Ideas of Self-Worth

One of my favorite quotes from BrenΓ© Brown - Researcher and Storyteller

Where do you find your worth? 

Yesterday, i attended a wonderful *local training event about substance abuse and eating disorder recovery, and one of the many points that caught my attention was the idea that people who struggle with these issues have extremely low self-esteem and a false sense of self-worth (even though they can seem confident, independent, or strong on the outside). 

Specifically with addiction or eating disorders, self-worth is often linked to long-standing cemented beliefs that their value and worthiness are dependent on false ideals and extrinsic factors completely unrelated to their actual identity as a person. Many times, these distortions can be linked all the way back to even the smallest messages received in childhood. 

Whether or not you struggle or have struggled with a mental health disorder such as addiction or an eating disorder, self-worth is a very loaded topic for us all. So this gets me thinking, where do we find our worth? 

I think that this answer will vary person-to-person, but some ideas that come to mind from my experience working in this field, and just from being a person myself, include:

  • how much wealth and $$ you have - this one seems obvious, and can be pretty controversial and sensitive. All I have to say is that yes, money has value - it is what our economy and human livelihood is built on - but the value that has been put on wealth (and the skewed distribution of it) is pretty corrupt and devastating (that's just my opinion). And no, money does not = worthiness. 
  • how many friends you have - or instagram likes, facebook or twitter followers, etc. 
  • from the number on the scale, to the number of calories you eat/don't eat a day, to the number of push-ups you can do or miles you can run, to your latest plastic surgery, this is a big one in our society.
  • what others think of you. let's not pretend that we haven't all dealt with this one at some point in our lives. separating our own opinions, desires, goals, or likes & dis-likes, from those of others - especially people we naturally seek belonging, love, and approval from - can be a very difficult balance. 

Okay, so maybe all of these can be controversial and sensitive - and it really is about balance. Some of the things I mentioned can be healthy to a point, but, more than likely, quickly turn into a slippery slope, demanding unrealistic expectations or ideals about things that may not actually define who you are on the inside, as a human, a friend, a parent, a child, an advocate, an explorer, or a believer. 

So, my hope is that as a community, we will continue to be cognizant of the tempting, yet dysfunctional, ideas of what makes people valuable or worthy of love and belonging. There are far healthier and more productive ways for us to define our worth, and while I can't tell you what those things may be for you, I encourage you to reflect on how you tend to measure you worth, and where your worth really lies. 

"You're imperfect, and you're wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging" - BrenΓ© Brown

  

* The event I attended was put on by Clear Recovery Center, a comprehensive addiction recovery center in the heart of the South Bay, and A New Journey eating disorder recovery center, located in Santa Monica. 

How You Treat Your Body Is Affecting Your Mind

...because hangry is a very real thing...

As highlighted in my previous article called Emotional Self-Care, one of my greatest passions as both a person and a clinician is increasing understanding of the link between physical health and mental health (that "power couple" I like to call overall well-being).

A colleague and good friend of mine, Jessica Brennan*, is a Registered Dietitian who focuses her practice not only on the importance of adequate nutrition and exercise, but also on things like quality sleep and stress management to improve overall health and wellness. While this is wonderfully convenient for me personally, I also trust her as a key resource and referral for any of my clients who struggle with nutritional health, maladaptive relationships with food, or who need help figuring out the best diet and exercise routine for their specific needs, goals, and lifestyle (key word: specific).

One of the many reasons I appreciate Jessica's work is that she doesn't believe in any one perfect diet (hallelujah!). At a recent training conference, I heard a statistic that the #1 area of marketing with the most money spent per year in advertising - targeting us every single day in more ways than we know - is dieting. That may seem pretty obvious, but it still blows my mind how obsessed we are as a society with approaching quality of life and values from a highly superficial outward perspective. Majority of the time, these subliminal messages are targeting those of us longing for a quick, easy fix to all of the things we are dissatisfied with about ourselves and our lives (spoiler alert: that doesn't exist).

Lately, Jessica and I have been discussing how similar our viewpoints are on health and wellness, inspiring us to join forces with our differing skill-sets, educations, and specialties to talk about how exactly this is all connected, and why it is so important.

One major point that I try to discuss with all of my clients, regardless of what issue brings them to therapy, is that there is no way to be "running on all cylinders" mentally, intellectually, or emotionally, if your nutrition** and physical health***  are suffering - and vice versa! I find that a lot of people are either unaware of the implications of that fact, are making themselves sick trying to overcome or "prove it wrong", or are simply in denial to avoid making positive and necessary change.

...while that is tough to see - I understand it. I have been there, and I know there are layers upon layers of reasons why people choose unhealthy lifestyles that often inadvertently end up sabotaging their efforts to be successful, attractive, happy, or in control.

But we can't ignore the subjects that are easiest to avoid, and there are mountains of studies and empirical research findings revealing the direct key role that nutrition plays in the onset, severity, and duration of serious mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, psychosis, addiction, and common issues people struggle with on a daily basis like lack of motivation, sadness, irritability, insomnia, fatigue, relationship distress ... i could continue, but you get the picture.

To continue reading about this, and to learn about Jessica's holistic, realistic, and self-compassionate approach to the food we put in our bodies - please click here for part 2 on this topic.

Stay tuned for further research in the field on this, and for updates on my blog about how I am integrating the powerful bond between nutrition and mental health in my practice - with a wide array of human issues and concerns.

* Jessica Brennan, RD, has a private nutrition practice in Redondo Beach, CA. For more information on her services, you can visit her website here.

** Nutritional health does not necessarily mean either over-eating or under-eating, being over-weight or under-weight etc. These overused labels are often arbitrary and vary person by person. Nutritional health is about eating a balanced diet, from which your body is able to get all of the energy and nutrients it needs to function properly. It is important that you consult with a professional if you are concerned about your nutritional health.

*** I use the term physical health here as a general umbrella term, encompassing many factors such as sleep, stress management, nourishment, physical fitness, medical self-care, substance use, neurological functioning, etc.