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Recent Articles

11
Dec

How Healthy Boundaries Lead to Healthy Eating


Do you say, “Yes” when you really mean, “No?”

Do you agree to make a dish, attend a party, or have overnight guests when your December schedule is already maxed out?

Do you disregard your needs just to please others?

And does the resentment you feel about doing this send you running to the tin of Christmas cookies your neighbor brought over?

If you can relate, you’re not alone. So many people do not learn healthy boundaries growing up. With the added demands of the holiday season approaching, it’s crucial to your health that you know when to draw the line.

Me —> Boundary <— You

Boundaries are the emotional and physical borders we place between ourselves and other people. They reflect how we see and treat ourselves in relation to others.

Strong boundaries are essential for your health and self-care. They support you to make good decisions for yourself. Weak boundaries support others at your expense.

For example, Karen has strong boundaries and is very clear when she doesn’t want to do something. (“Thank you for the dinner invitation but no, I can’t. I’m looking forward to a quiet evening at home tonight.”) She’s sensitive to other people’s feelings but not ruled by them.

Suzanne has weak boundaries and often says, “Yes” because she fears displeasing people. (“Sure, I’ll meet you tonight,” she tells her friend. She then beats herself up, “Why did I say that?! I have tons of work to do!”) Her fear of disappointing people makes their needs more important than her own. But her resentment and anger send her straight to the fridge.

Honor Yourself

If you struggle with setting boundaries around your time and energy, somewhere along the way you probably learned your feelings and needs didn’t matter. Trust me, though, your feelings are the only things that matter. (more…)

16
Sep

5 Thoughts That Keep Your Weight Loss Stuck

Have you tried a dozen different strategies to release weight, but nothing’s worked?

Or did you release pounds last spring that managed to find their way back this past summer?

Are you frustrated as to why you can’t seem to permanently release those pounds?

If you’re unhappy about your current weight, chances are it’s less about what you’re doing and more about what you’re thinking.

That’s because your thoughts direct your actions. For example, when you tell yourself, “It’s hopeless. I’ll never lose weight,” you’re more likely to eat that second helping, grab fast food fries or binge eat a bag of chocolate chip cookies.

But keeping your thoughts strong and positive helps you feel strong and positive and helps you change your most ingrained habits. To change your habits so they support the lasting weight-loss you desire, start with looking at how you’re thinking.

When you become mindful of your thoughts, you’re helping yourself change your behavior. It’s like giving a power boost to any eating or exercise program you’re following. Even a simple reframe or slight shift in your thinking can make a huge difference by allowing you to take better care of yourself.

Focus on your mind and your plate.



To release weight successfully and permanently, be as mindful about what you’re thinking as you are about what you’re eating—and you’ll begin to rewire your thoughts so you can start achieving the results you want.

To illustrate how this works, here are five of the most common self-limiting thoughts I hear from my clients—I bet you can relate—and some strategies for how to change them, mindfully.

1. “I’m afraid I’ll never be able to lose weight.”

When you’ve struggled with your weight for much of your life, it’s easy to feel demoralized at times. The key is to not linger too long in that low-energy space. Otherwise, you’ll feel helpless to take any step forward. Unless you have a physical condition or are taking medication that inhibits weight loss (in which case, speak with your healthcare provider for support), remind yourself that there is nothing in your way other than your own thoughts and beliefs and becoming thinner is possible.

Turnaround:

When this limiting thought enters your mind, use it as an opportunity to strengthen your courageous side. Pause. Take a deep breath. Simply notice the thought with detachment and say:

“There you are again. That’s okay. I won’t give you my power and I won’t let fear get in my way. Thank you for reminding me to be courageous and take good care of my body today.”

2.  “Even when I lose weight, I always gain it back. What’s the use?” (more…)

18
Apr

Clutter Clearing for Painful Memories (and weight loss, too!)

It’s spring-cleaning season and a great time to clear the clutter from your life. An organized home filled with objects you love reduces your stress level and uplifts your spirit. And as unusual as this may sound, when it comes to emotional eating and weight loss, clutter clearing is your secret weapon.

Yes… that’s right. Reducing clutter from your life helps you reduce the weight from your body. They may seem unrelated, but releasing unnecessary stuff emotionally frees you to release extra weight. On an energy level, it’s all connected.

I’ve written before about the Three Ways Clutter Clearing Helps You Lose Weight and what to do with clothes that are too big or too small in Closet Clearing for Yo-Yo Dieters.

This time I want to go deeper and discuss objects from your childhood that hold memories of painful experiences. These may include toys, stuffed animals, jewelry, books, diaries, pictures—anything that keeps you connected to childhood pain and trauma. For example:

  • Diaries filled with loneliness and sadness.
  • Pictures of family members with angry or sad expressions on their faces.
  • The end table dented when your drunken father threw a pot in a rage
  • The music box your uncle gave you for your thirteenth birthday that your family oohed and aahed over—unaware he was sexually abusing you.
  • The angel from your family Christmas tree that witnessed years of holiday arguments and fights.

Powerful list, isn’t it? I wonder if you can relate.

As surprising as it may seem, letting go of these things can help make your weight-loss journey an easier one. Let me explain…

The objects around you either raise your energy or drain your spirit. This can feel so subtle that you’re not consciously aware of it. But too much clutter can feel unsettling on a subconscious level. This underlying uneasiness may contribute to your urge to eat when you’re not hungry.

Objects from your childhood—especially reminders of painful experiences—can hold you hostage to your past. In the same way you keep visual images of memories in your mind, you also hold memories energetically. You can’t see them but they live on in your energy field.

This doesn’t mean you let go of everything from your childhood—although it can be liberating to do so. It means you look at your things with new eyes and release everything connected with past pain and trauma.

Jenna’s Diaries

Jenna was 70 pounds overweight and struggled with anxiety and depression. As a child, she endured emotional and physical abuse by her parents. She remembers first using food to comfort herself when she was five years old and hid candy under her bed. As an adult, anxiety-filled days and lonely nights often ended with Jenna eating herself into a food coma.

Jenna discovered that Milky Way bars numbed her pain. When her aunt gave her a diary for her 10th birthday, Jenna found that writing helped, too. Jenna’s aunt gave her a diary for her tenth birthday. Through years of silently enduring a lonely and abusive childhood, her diaries were a source of comfort for Jenna.

When I discussed with Jenna the power of clutter clearing, she got right on board. She began getting rid of clothes, books, kitchenware—anything she no longer found useful or brought joy to her life.

But then there were all those diaries. She’d saved every one. (more…)

25
Dec

Journal Your Way to Weight Loss

Do you ever get discouraged about your weight-loss progress?

Do you worry your efforts aren’t good enough?

When you don’t see the results you want, do you give up hope?



If you sometimes lose sight of the steps you’re actually taking—especially easy to do facing the end of the year—this simple and powerful tool can help bolster your confidence:

Keep track of your progress with a success journal so you remain committed and positive when self-doubt gets in the way.

What is a Success Journal?



A success journal is a daily recording of all the steps you’ve taken to treat yourself with love and respect. Permanent weight loss isn’t just the result of the food you eat. It’s about how you treat yourself on all levels. Recording every positive step helps you stay connected with your overall progress. And it’s so easy: You simply take a moment at the end of the day to reflect as you answer this question:

“What did I do today to take good care of my mind, body and spirit? 



Your entry might look like one of these:

“I took the stairs instead of the elevator at work. I’m happy I did that.”



“I ate way too many cookies after lunch but I didn’t beat myself up. I let it go.”

“I took “me” time and read passages from an inspirational book. It relaxed me.”



Every positive step you take brings you closer to reaching your goal weight. Recording even seemingly small steps, like parking away from the store entrance so you walk farther, helps you appreciate all your efforts, validates your progress and gives your motivation a real boost. Ultimately, those small steps become new habits and create permanent lifestyle change.

Support Your Weight Release Journey in Four Ways 



Positive psychology research emphasizes the value of acknowledging steps you take toward reaching a goal. When you routinely make a point of noticing, and appreciating, the positive changes you’re making, you begin to re-program your mind. Your attention shifts away from looking only at what’s “not working” to more easily notice what’s going well.

You see what you look for. If you doubt you’ll reach your weight loss goal, you’ll find evidence that you’re not making progress. You may undervalue the positive steps you’re actually making. Recording daily successes helps you notice those steps.

Keeping a success journal isn’t just a “feel good” exercise, although it will help you feel good. It works because you’re training your mind and brain to scan your experiences and find the healthy choices you’re making. Your memory becomes imprinted with images of taking care of yourself. This gives you confidence and strength.

Here are four ways using a success journal can support your weight loss journey: (more…)

19
Sep

The Real Reason You’re Not Losing Weight

When you’ve tried every diet program out there, why is it still so hard to lose weight? You know you want to be slimmer yet the scale doesn’t budge. And in those rare moments it does, those pounds keep coming back.

If you’re not creating a slimmer body even when you’re “doing all the right things,” it’s time to dig deeper and discover what’s holding you back.

Your Conscious vs. Subconscious Beliefs

When there’s something you desire but can’t seem to make it happen, chances are that your subconscious, hidden beliefs and fears are preventing you from having what you want.

Let’s use an iceberg analogy. Your conscious mind is the tip of the iceberg. It’s visible and obvious. From this place your goal is clear. For example, “I want to lose 50 pounds.”

Your subconscious mind is the mass of ice below, hidden and lurking beneath the surface. It is much more powerful than your conscious mind. When something is hidden, you don’t know the impact it can have until you bump up against it.

To release weight more easily—and permanently—your conscious and subconscious minds must agree.

If your subconscious mind says, “I’m ready to lose weight and feel safe to do so,” you most likely will lose weight. But when your subconscious mind holds fear and doubt, chances are you’ll have a harder time and may sabotage yourself despite your best intentions.

How to Shift Your Subconscious Blocks

To move beyond subconscious blocks that exist within you, you must discover what they are. Be gentle with yourself.  It’s not your fault you’re having a hard time releasing weight if you don’t even know what hidden obstacles are blocking you.

If you experienced trauma as a child—abandonment; loss; physical, sexual or emotional abuse—chances are your subconscious mind may still hold the energy of low self-worth, guilt, shame, and lack of trust in yourself and the world.

Perhaps you’re wondering, “But what does this old pain have to do with losing weight today?” Let me explain… (more…)

06
Jun

Why Your Weight Needs Your Love


“Aargh… I’m up a pound!”

“Oh, good… I’m down a pound!”

“Ugh… I can’t believe I haven’t even lost a pound.”

Sound familiar?

It’s easy to obsess about the number on your bathroom scale. If that number colors your mood and dictates how you feel about your body, however, your body won’t feel loved and you won’t get the results you want.

To release weight permanently, it’s important to focus on the relationship you have with your body, not on what you weigh.

So here’s something crucial you need to do (and I bet you aren’t going to like it. At least at first.)

Learn to love your weight.

Yes, you heard me. Learn to love your weight. Here’s why: Your body carries the energy of your inner thoughts and feelings. Especially if you experienced childhood trauma and had no one to support and protect you, that extra weight most likely holds the energy of pain, sadness and loneliness.

Emotional eating may have been—and perhaps still is—your only source of comfort. And that weight can be like a cozy old blanket that helps you (and your inner child) feel safe.

What if you could shift from seeing the extra weight as pounds of fat to hate… to seeing them as pounds of pain that need your love? (more…)

03
Apr

Clothes Too Big? Too Small? Closet Clearing for Yo-Yo Dieters

Springtime clutter clearing can be a stressful time for people riding the yo-yo dieting roller coaster:

What do you do with clothes that are too small or too large?

This isn’t a simple clutter clearing matter. When your weight remains relatively stable—and when you have clothes that fit you well now—it’s easier to decide what stays and what goes.

But when your weight fluctuates, it can be challenging.

Figuring out what to do with different sized clothes can trigger feelings of failure and fear:

“If I keep gaining weight, at this rate I’ll be wearing that size 20 dress again.
I need to keep it… just in case.”

“I love that silk blouse, but I’m afraid I’ll never be that thin again to wear it.”

I typically suggest that my clients keep in their closet only clothes that fit them well and feel comfortable to wear—today. But there is no right or wrong way. When some women look at a pretty dress in their closet that’s too small, they feel disappointed in themselves. The see it as “proof” they’re a failure. For others, however, that same dress inspires them to keep making positive lifestyle changes. Imagining wearing it again keeps them motivated.

Here’s the thing:

Your clothes are worn on your body, right? So it’s only fair you let your body have some say in this. Plus, you and your body are life partners. Your body holds a wealth of wisdom and wants to support you. Whether you call it your body wisdom, intuition or Wise Self, this guidance comes from the same Divine source. From helping you overcome emotional eating to guiding you to decisions about the clothes in your closet, your body can help you.

You just have to ask. (more…)

14
Jan

Heal Your Past to Release the Weight

womanchildwalkingcroppedHave you been riding the yo-yo diet roller coaster for years?

Are you waiting for that one diet or exercise program that will finally be your magic bullet?

Do you feel like a failure, again and again and again?

As a psychotherapist, I’ve seen many people struggle with compulsive overeating and obesity. Contrary to what it seems on the surface, their challenges often stem from deeper issues that have nothing to do with finding the right diet or exercise. For example:

Maria tried to lose the same sixty pounds for years. Each new diet fad offered new hope. Some worked—for a while. But emotional eating ultimately stopped her progress. The weight would return, leaving Maria feeling like a failure yet again. When she finally sought counseling for lifelong depression that resulted from being sexually abused as a child—she could begin to take charge of her life and her weight.

Richard wanted to be thinner but whenever he started to lose weight, he began to feel nervous. He didn’t notice the connection between his mood and weight until he began having recurring dreams of being attacked. These dreams reawakened memories of childhood when he was bullied by classmates and beaten by his father. Richard recalled gaining weight during middle school and wondered if “being bigger helped me feel safer.”

Sheila began gaining weight after she quit smoking cigarettes. Her pack-a-day habit had curbed her appetite and soothed her stress. Once she quit, however, cookies, chips and candy replaced cigarettes as her loyal friends. Sheila didn’t realize that the real reason she couldn’t lose weight wasn’t about food. It was about the anxiety and panic that had begun when she lost her mother at the age of nine.

How Healing Allows the Weight to Release

Releasing weight permanently and ending emotional eating starts with getting to the root of the problem. And most often that root is inner pain. Once that pain is acknowledged and healed, emotional freedom and a thinner body are possible. (more…)

22
Jun

Stop Numbing Your Feelings with Food, For Good

WomanPizzacropSuccessful weight loss is so much more than counting calories, drinking “craving-crusher shakes” and following the latest fad diet.

Been there, done that, right?

Contrary to mainstream thinking, when you’ve struggled with weight issues for a long time, releasing the weight isn’t only about food.

It’s about your feelings.



Emotional eating is probably your biggest obstacle to becoming slimmer. As counter-intuitive as this sounds your weight issues are not due to overeating.

Overeating is the symptom. The real reason for your weight struggles is that somewhere along the way—perhaps as far back as childhood—you experienced such pain in your life that you discovered the easiest way to cope with that pain was to eat something.

Honor yourself for doing the best you can to feel emotionally safe. It’s hard to feel deep pain you think will never stop. You learned that grabbing the nearest comfort food helps you feel better. And to some extent, it does help because that sugar high or food coma stop you from feeling anything at all. Or at least, they take the edge off.

The thing is, emotional eating is a temporary fix. It doesn’t help you feel better for the long term. The feelings you push away still lurk beneath the surface, ready to erupt when you feel stressed at work, angry with your partner or demoralized when the number on the scale hasn’t moved—or, worse, moved up.

To end emotional eating and release weight permanently, you need to stop pushing away your feelings with food and instead let yourself feel your feelings. I know it’s scary to do this. When you’re triggered and feel strong emotion, it seems like you’re swallowed up by sadness, ready to jump out of your skin with fear or that your body’s on fire with anger.

You want relief. Fast. (more…)

26
Apr

Stop Fat-Shaming Yourself: Lose Weight with Radical Self-Respect

T-ShirtX2“Hey, I’m not fat. I’m just easy to see.”


“I’m in shape. Round is a shape.”


“Every time I lose weight, it finds me again!”

“I’ll have more cake. It’s somebody’s birthday somewhere!”

Yuck. Not funny.

Maybe it’s because I’m a psychotherapist. I hear the painful stories hiding behind the attempt at humor. So when I hear jokes that poke fun at serious health and mental health issues, I cringe.

Our culture is so inundated with this stuff—think how many shame-inducing memes appear in your Facebook feed—that we’re desensitized to how harmful it really is. I want you to see how demeaning jokes undermine your weight-release journey, how you unwittingly join in and how practicing radical self-respect protects you from their harmful effects. (more…)

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