To Recover From Eating Disorder You Need To Break Some Rules!



422076194_0296347561_zEditor’s Note: Explore What’s Next therapist, Nicole Newcomb, LMHC, runs a great group for people who are recovering from an eating disorder. In today’s thin-obsessed society getting back to healthy self-care is no easy task! In this article Nicole describes why she created this program and how it works. ~Dr. Aletta, Director

Sometimes it feels like it is impossible to be happy with your body! Health magazines tell you “Lose 10 lbs in 5 Days!,” media broadcasts of unnatural photo-shopped models and even health insurance billboards show unrealistic expectations.

Every time we turn around someone or something is telling us that we do not look fit enough, thin enough, beautiful enough and therefore we are not good enough. Sadly, when told this repeatedly, we start to believe it! Internalizing all of the messages and expectations from our culture can be very detrimental to our self-esteem and drive us to “improve” ourselves.

However, with unattainable goals to increase our self-worth, we fall into the trap of unhealthy behaviors. It doesn’t take long for calorie counting, excessive exercising and food rules to take over our lives. Quickly, we realize our efforts are still not improving our self-esteem and we push ourselves harder, sometimes to the point of doing things we never thought we would!

Have you become rigid or anxious about your food, work- outs and weight? If you feel like you struggle with chronic body dissatisfaction, skipping meals, over-eating and have intense guilt… then it is time to Break the Rules! Explore how to get out of your head by learning how to break the eating disorder rules!

In this group you will gain an understanding of what it means to have an ED,  support from peers who understand your struggle, education about symptoms from a qualified therapist and recovery skills for breaking bad habits and learning how to cope! You can be happy with your body AND be healthy!

Call, text (585.737.4564) or email me (nicole@explorewhatsnext.com) anytime. I’d love to hear from you! ~Nicole Newcomb, LMHC, Group Leader.

Photo courtesy of Malingering via Flickr

Get Up Off Offa That Thing!



Reap the Benefits of Physical Exercise!

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What? Go for a run when I have a million other things to do? Who has the time for that!

This is a typical thought that passes through my mind more frequently than I would like to admit. However, I am aware of it and I refute it with a positive statement to motivate myself to go such as “I will feel better after, I always do, so just do it.”

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Stand Like Wonder Woman! Body Language & the Power of Faking It ‘Til You Make It



“Sit up straight!” “Do not hunch over!” “Shoulders back!”

No, this wasn’t bootcamp. It was my childhood.

My father was a posture Nazi. His constant vigilance at the dinner table was a literal pain in the neck. People would compliment my parents on my posture and inwardly I’d roll my eyes, “You have no idea.”

Now I’m grateful. My spine is grateful, My internal organs are grateful. And today I learned that my self-esteem can be grateful, too!

While I was walking on the treadmill doing my morning mile, I watched the first episode of Life Hacks, a collection of TED talks, on Netflix. A client, who knows my love for Netflix, suggested this series as an alternative to Sherlock episodes.

Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, shares how her research supports the idea that our body language can make a difference in whether we feel powerful or the opposite, small and unworthy. Stand up tall with your hands on your hips for two full minutes and, even though you may not be feeling it totally, it will be easier to act as if you own the room.

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Sleep sweeps away the garbage in the brain



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Eiko Ojala

Owning your own business can mean working 24/7. I really felt it last week. Even though I thought I was doing a good job with self-care, last night was the first time I was really able to sleep deeply, well and for as long as I wanted. This morning I woke up so happy, loose and serene I almost talked myself out of it! Almost!

It started with, “Remember the back up of emails you need to get to, that conversation you have to have you’re not looking forward to, that report you have to write…” I could feel the good mood start to dissolve like sugar dropped in boiling water. Thank God I stopped myself.

Instead I stretched and told myself, “Today I am happy. I can get to that stuff and still be happy right now!” And I smiled.

As I sipped my morning coffee, basking in my sleep fulfilled afterglow, I read the front page article in the New York Times Sunday Review section: Goodnight, Sleep Clean and it sighted studies that explained exactly what I had just experienced. That’s pretty cool.

We’ve had a lot of articles here on the EWN blog about the importance of sleep such as “7 Tips to Improve Your Sleep!” and without a doubt we’ll probably have more in the future. Sleep is that important to our mental, emotional and physical health!

So go to bed, relax and remember that sleeping is not a waste of time. It is actually allowing a second shift of biochemical workers to get busy taking out the trash! Wishing you all a refreshing good night’s sleep!

Remember the Basics! Sleep!



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Editor’s Note: Nicole reminds us that we often forget about basic human needs such as proper sleep, nutrition and exercise. Deficits in these areas can have significant repercussions on our mind and body.

Sometimes I feel like there is not enough time in a day. I will stretch my bed-time to accommodate all of the projects that I want to finish. At the end of the day I am exhausted and feel accomplished but may be only left with 4 or 5 hours of sleep.

With all of the demands of this fast-paced, driven society I feel compelled to produce. The consequence however is less productivity, more anxiety and more body aches. With only 5 hours of sleep and over-stretching my mind and body’s capabilities every day, I cannot possibly be as productive a person as I think I am.

The next day I am tired. As weeks go by I might have more sick days because my immune system is compromised and overall I have more anxiety due to frustration from my decreased stress tolerance. These can all be relieved by maintaining healthy sleep habits.

The most powerful sleep habit that I have adopted has been to fall asleep and wake at the same time every day, yes even on weekends! As a result, I have been clearer headed, focused and energized. For me that was well worth waking up at 8am on Saturday mornings! If your interested in reenergizing and healthy sleep tips click here!

Be the Raisin: What is Mindful Eating & Why Bother?



Mindful eating is not a diet, or about giving up anything at all. It’s about experiencing food more intensely — especially the pleasure of it. You can eat a cheeseburger mindfully, if you wish. You might enjoy it a lot more. Or you might decide, halfway through, that your body has had enough. Or that it really needs some salad.

Mindful Eating As Food For Thought

10 Ways to Bring Christmas Cheer to Your Loved One In the Hospital for the Holidays



324281561_c801fdbcf9 Disease and trauma do not take a holiday. Many of us have loved ones in the hospital for all kinds of reasons. We want to do what we can for our children, brothers, sisters, friends, who find themselves in strange surroundings during this supposedly most  joyous of times.

Fifteen years ago, a few weeks before Christmas, I was suddenly admitted to Women and Children’s Hospital.

I was five months pregnant with my daughter and I was very sick. With my history of kidney disease and scleroderma, I chose a maternal-fetus specialist to be my OB-GYN. Trained in situations like mine, where the mother has chronic illness which makes the pregnancy high risk, I had every faith in Dr. Margaret McDonnell. My first pregnancy had gone off without so much as a cold. This time Margaret said,

“You have to be ready for this baby to come early.”

What was she saying? “Margaret, you’re scaring me.”

“We’ll keep you in the hospital. The longer the baby stays in you the better.”

The doctors didn’t know what was causing the problem. It could be my kidneys shutting down or preeclampsia, a condition that is dangerous if not treated. If caught in time it clears up once the baby is born.

All we could do was wait and hope our baby would just settle down and stay put.

I was ordered to complete bed rest. After over two weeks of not being allowed to get up even to pee, I was scared, depressed and a little crazy. My two year old son wasn’t allowed on the floor. I missed him with a pain I can’t describe. And it was Christmas time.

Friends and family helped my husband and I keep it together. My daughter was born a few days after Christmas. She was one pound thirteen ounces and was able to breathe on her own. The doctors assured us she was strong.

Two days later my symptoms cleared up and I was discharged. My daughter came home three months later.

Hospitals and the medical staff are sensitive to the holidays but they have jobs to do and shouldn’t be expected to provide holiday cheer. Family and friends can make a huge difference, however, so I collected ten suggestions for those of you who may have a loved one in the hospital this season:

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Why I Can’t Eat as Much as My Sister



Damn, as if losing weight wasn’t hard enough!

“When you begin to lose pounds, levels of the hormone leptin, which is produced by fat cells, begin to drop. That sends a message to the brain that the body’s “fat storage” is shrinking. The brain perceives starvation is on the way and, in response, sends out messages to conserve energy and preserve calories. So, metabolism drops.

And then other brain signals tell the body it’s “hungry,” and it sends out hormones to stimulate the appetite. The combination of lowered metabolism and stimulated appetite equals a “double whammy,” says Ryan. And that means the person who’s lost weight can’t consume as much food as the person who hasn’t lost weight.”

Read more or listen to the story broadcast this morning on NPR: Losing Weight: A Battle Against Fat and Biology

Self-Medicating With Coffee? Could Be.



Coffee drinking linked to less depression in women.

Keep cool, Jewel!



Courtesy of Kymberly Janisch

These kids have the right idea! I remember childhood summers when splashing in a blow up kiddie pool in the backyard or running through a lazy lawn sprinkler was just the thing to beat the heat.

Today I thank God for the air conditioning in my office. Living in the North country, only occasionally do we feel the need for air conditioning in our home. But every summer there is about a week when I would hand over my first-born for refrigerated air in my house.

This was that week, when I thank God for the cool air in my office and I think a lot about my neighbors’ pool or just turning the hose on my head while watering the flowers.

Here are some articles to help you keep your cool during the heat wave. Above all, be safe! Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious emergency conditions.

Hot, Hotter, Hottest: Nation Sweats it Out

First Aid for Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

20 Tips to Stay Cool

Thirteen Memorable Films Set During Heat Waves

And finally, the lovely Martha and the Vandellas singing Heatwave!!!

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