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What Haunts You From The Past?

What Haunts You From The Past?

What do you think would happen if you revisited some of the old ghost towns that haunt your memories?  What if you revisited the house where you grew up and were taught you weren’t a capable person?  Maybe it’s the school where you were taunted and teased and picked last.  Or maybe it’s a person and not a place — a person who withheld approval and affection, though you did everything you could to earn them.

Sometimes the life we live causes stress and sometimes the life we lived causes stress. Each of us is a product of our past. If that past is full of ghosts, that past will haunt the present. To determine if memories of your past are creating stress in your present, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What negative memories seem to haunt me?  Which events and the pain they caused are still vivid, as though they just happened?
  2. What words or voices from the past are still ringing in my mind today?
  3. If you find that past pain still has power over you today, you need to begin moving out of your past and into the present.  Start moving out of your ghost towns by reminding yourself those days are over.  You may have had no power to stop them negatively affecting your past, but you do have the power to keep them from negatively affecting your present.  Even more, God has the power to redeem those negative events and turn them into good.

Think about the good things of the present and be thankful for them. Think about each of your abilities and gifts and how each has played a part in making you the unique person you are. You will have to make a daily decision to dismiss the hurtful memories of the past and concentrate on the positive things of today, until the past no longer controls your thoughts.

The choice is yours. It will require some risk and demand a deeper trust of yourself and of God, but that will only enhance your growth. In the end, all you will lose are your ghosts of the past. What you will gain is an opportunity to regain control of your life.

We all have the capacity to become what we were meant—created—to be. Our ghosts haunt us and keep us fearful. God means for us, through his power, to break free from the past. Do you believe God has the power and desire to do that for you? Can you say, like the apostle Paul, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14)?

If you or a loved one is struggling with hurtful memories from the past, The Center • A Place of HOPE is here to help.  Our team is skilled at navigating these sensitive issues, and bringing healing to the whole family. For more information, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today.

 

God Intended Food to Fuel Your Body

God Intended Food to Fuel Your Body

God always intended food to be fuel for the body.  He also meant for it to be a source of pleasure; that’s why He made food to taste good.  As usual, the good God intended has been corrupted by the practice of people.  This happened from the very beginning.  In the garden, Eve looked at the fruit she knew she wasn’t supposed to eat and saw that it looked good, was good for food, and made one wise (Genesis 3:6).  The first two were legitimate food reasons.  The third was a nonfood reason.  All of these reasons, of course, were trumped by God’s declaring this tree and its fruit off-limits.

Food today isn’t forbidden by God, but that doesn’t stop people from choosing food for nonfood reasons.  Now, people don’t necessarily eat to become wise, but they eat for comfort, to relieve stress, to temporarily overcome boredom, because it’s pleasurable, as a form of rebellion, and in the name of convenience.  The more nonfood reasons people have to eat, the more they eat.  The more they eat, the larger they become.  The larger they become, the more dissatisfied they are and the harder it is to experience and maintain a sense of personal happiness.

I encourage readers to utilize an easy-to-find tool in order to eat more healthfully.   This tool is the U.S. government’s food pyramid found at www.MyPyramid.gov.  The pyramid is a dietary guideline for all ages and activity levels.  It also outlines the daily recommended amounts you should consume in different food categories.  You can print up a daily meal planner sheet that helps you track what and how much you’re eating.

The bottom line for healthier eating, which you’ll find in my books or through the pyramid, is to eat more grains (with whole grains being the best), more fruits and vegetables (with darker vegetables being best – just think peppers and broccoli as opposed to celery), more lean sources of dairy and protein, and less oils and fats (with more of the good sources of fat like olive oil and flaxseed oil and less of the saturated and partially hydrogenated fats).  With all of the healthy eating going on, there isn’t much room left for things like processed foods, packaged convenience or snack foods, junk food, or “discretionary calories” like cookies, cakes, pies and the like.  Having these items occasionally is realistic.  Eating them consistently, daily, is not realistic for healthy living.

God designed your body to use the food you eat as fuel to power your body’s functions.  If you consistently put lousy gas in the tank of your car, it wouldn’t run properly.  it may still get you down the road, but you’ll experience pings, burps, smoke, hesitations, and lack of power.  It will gum up your engine parts and increase the amount of pollution in the air.  Do this long enough, and you could find yourself calling a town truck on the side of the road.  It’s the same way with your body.  An occasional treat is not going to cause you problems, but if you live on a diet of high-calorie, high-caffeine, low-nutrient foods, your ability to physically perform will be compromised.

I’ve just gone over to the tip of the iceberg (or the pyramid) of healthy eating.   I encourage you to pick up a copy of one of my books that contain information on healthy eating (The Body God Designed).  Each of these books takes you on a journey of discovery for healthier living and gives you the tools you need to make better choices.  Right now, I want to acknowledge what you really know to be true, that you need to commit to eating more healthfully.  It really does make a difference in how you feel.

Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE  and author of 35 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.

Owning Up To Your Pessimism

Owning Up To Your Pessimism

If you are a pessimistic person, I want you to be able to proclaim it, to own up to it, and to accept it.  What I have found over my years in practice is that pessimistic people often don’t see themselves that way.  In fact, while they view everything else as being universally negative, they tend to view their pessimism as positive.

Instead of interpreting themselves as pessimistic, they instead see themselves as pragmatic, realistic, more informed and enlightened, and smarter.  For them, a pessimistic response to the world is seen as protective and even superior to the optimist.  Because they approach life believing the worst in circumstances and in people, they feel they are better prepared for whatever life throws at them.  They live a guarded, cautious, defensive life.  Problems, difficulties, inconveniences, and downright disasters are expected.

Pessimists have what I refer to as a critical spirit.  It refers to a person whose inner default mode is to be critical or negative.  Picking on people, jumping on their failures, and criticizing their faults appears to be a positive, proactive position for pessimists.  However, doing so says more about your own faults than the faults of others.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I have been in the counseling business too long to think that pessimists don’t have very specific reasons for being this way.  I have heard, literally, hours of reasons why a pessimist’s attitude is really a good thing in his or her life.  However, in my experience, I’ve found the reasons to spring from a deep well of pain, injury, abandonment, neglect, humiliation, abuse, and disappointment.  Is it any wonder, then, with this kind of well, that what bubbles up in the life of a pessimist is bitterness and negativity?

A pattern of pessimism can be very difficult to give up because it seems safe.  If you’ve been wounded, it appears smart to venture out cautiously, carefully, defensively.  Pessimism appears to be just the armor you need to engage a hostile world.  It can seem very right to the wounded person, but it leads to death, a death of optimism.  Pessimism becomes not an armor keeping the world out, but a prison keeping you in.  Pessimism is a world that says the worse thing that can happen to you is to be hurt by evil flourishes, where wrongs outweigh rights, where oppression is standard and disappointment is the order of the day.

There’s only one problem with this worldview; it’s a worldview.  It’s a view completely obscured by this world.  It presupposes that all there is or is ever going to be is this world, with all its faults and problems.  This is the type of world described in Ephesians 2:11-12.  It is a view “without hope and God in the world.”

But you do have hope, and God is in the world, so this worldview is a lie.  Since the underlying assumptions of your pessimism are a lie, it’s perfectly logical, rational, pragmatic, enlightened, and savvy to reject it and instead base your response to life on the truth.  And what is truth?  Instead of a worldview, have a God view.  With a God view, your response to life can change from pessimism to optimism.

Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE  and author of 35 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.

Practicing Self-Care During the Holiday Season

Practicing Self-Care During the Holiday Season

The wonderful sights and sounds of the holiday season have finally emerged around every corner. Decorations have resurfaced from basements and holiday traditions are in full swing. No matter which holiday you observe, the holiday season can prove to be both a challenging and rewarding time of year for those recovering from an eating disorder.

Many people struggle with the environmental and social triggers during the holiday season that may elicit old, destructive eating patterns. Staying committed to practicing self-care throughout the holiday season is your solution to remaining on the path of recovery. Practicing self-care will create a more meaningful holiday season for you and your loved ones and will help you to enjoy all of the holiday festivities.

As you begin the holiday season by thinking about what you must do for others, it is imperative to remember that your happiness and health is of the utmost importance.

Tips to practicing self-care during the holiday season

Stay committed. Maintaining a semblance of normalcy during the holiday season is extremely vital to improving your overall well-being and enhancing your recovery process. The holiday season can be extremely busy but staying committed to your therapy sessions and self-soothing techniques can help you to continue on the path of recovery. Be proactive and create an action plan with your therapist for the holiday season. Together, establish productive coping mechanisms you can use when you are in social environments that may elicit old, destructive eating patterns.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the perfect solution to preventing old, destructive eating patterns. Because the holiday season is filled with many social events that surround food, it is important to anticipate these moments, and practice how you will respond in a productive way. Communicating with your therapist and making a plan for these moments is an extremely beneficial way for you to still enjoy these social events without reverting to old behaviors.

If your friends and family are planning events around cooking and baking, make sure that you make an action plan with your therapist of how you can still get involved in those activities while maintaining a healthy, nutritional balance.

Additionally, staying committed to your recovery by practicing positive self-talk and being mindful in the moment is vital in maintaining inner peace and contentedness during the holiday season.

Participate in your favorite holiday traditions. Revive your spirit and continue on your recovery path by having fun. Getting involved in fun, traditional activities with family and friends is the ultimate self-soothing technique that distracts your mind and engages your energy towards exciting activities. Whether it is shopping, decorating, or planning social gatherings, diving into traditions with friends and family will revive your spirit.

By immersing yourself in the holiday traditions you enjoy, you will be feeding your spirit by improving your health and your overall well-being. Use the holiday season and your commitment to self-care to empower you to enjoy the special moments with your friends and family.

Plan ahead and prioritize. Do not let the stress of the holidays inhibit all of the success you have made during your recovery journey. Take time to assess your needs with your therapist or with your family members and prioritize your events. Dedicate time for maintaining self-soothing techniques such as writing, walking, yoga, or meditation to establish normalcy during this busy time of year. If you are traveling, plan ahead and schedule time to continue on your recovery journey by meal planning and exercising to maintain a healthy balance.

Take a step back from the festivities to collect your thoughts and allow yourself to decompress. Remember, your health is of the utmost importance and the stress of the holidays can sometimes lead to old patterns of thinking and behaving. Planning all of your events ahead of time and prioritizing your needs by taking time out for yourself is a beneficial way to prevent feelings of stress.

Communicate with your friends and family. When you are surrounded by the people you love, it becomes a wonderful reminder of how much you are cared for. The priority of your friends and family is your health and overall well-being. Make sure that you communicate your struggling moments with friends and family. Tell them about your recovery journey and what they can do to help during the holiday season.

The holiday season is the ultimate opportunity for you to practice self-care because the people you love will be aware of your recovery and will do everything they can to recognize warning signs or help you enjoy the holiday festivities.

Enjoy yourself. Release any unwanted thoughts, live in the present, and enjoy yourself. Make time for your favorite activity, go to the movies with friends, or practice yoga for a break during the holiday festivities. Be kind to yourself and continue to cultivate self-compassion by immersing yourself in the holiday traditions and activities you love to do.

You are worthy and capable of having the most memorable holiday season if you let your recovery process empower you. Recognize how far you have come and enjoy the special moments with friends and family. Let this time encourage and strengthen the person you have become beyond your eating disorder.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, The Center • A Place of HOPE can help.  Call 1-888-771-5166 today and a specialist will answer any questions you might have.

 

Eating Disorder Recovery: Coming Out of Exile

Eating Disorder Recovery: Coming Out of Exile

It is said that no one is an island, yet through your behaviors you’ve separated yourself from other people.  To control your surroundings, you couldn’t afford to include other people in your life — because people are notoriously unpredictably and often uncontrollable.  Over time, you have walled yourself in.  Now it’s time to start dismantling your wall, brick by brick.

One of the first bricks you need to remove is the one that hides the truth about your relationship with food from those who truly love you.  They need to see what this has been doing to you.  They need to see what this is doing to your physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  They probably already have a pretty good idea of what’s been happening between you relationally, but may not realize how much your eating disorder or your disordered eating is at the core of that impact.  It’s time to let them in.  You need to allow them the opportunity to help you.

If you are a perfectionist, that attitude has fostered a solitary state of mind within you.  Perfectionism demands private effort and rewards accomplishments privately.  Part of you may not want to include others in your recovery to avoid being indebted to them in any way: It’s my challenge, so the victory should be mine.  This attitude only strengthens your perfectionism and false pride — and neither one will assist your recovery.

Those who are deeply concerned about you may want to give you that love and trust as desperately as you need to receive it.  Take the chance.  Open up to someone, but be wise about the choice.  Choose someone who loves you, and then allow that person to show you how much.  Both of you will benefit.

The time to remain trapped in your prison of food is over.  Freedom awaits you.  And included in that freedom is the reality of unpredictability.  You have already decided that you want the future to look different than it does today.  You have already acknowledged that hope is more important than control.

Life is worth a chance.  Love is worth the risk.  God is sufficient.  Believe is your recovery.  Believe in today.  Believe that God loves you.  Believe that your life makes a difference.  Believe there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Believe you are the light for someone else who needs hope.  Believe that the best is yet to be.  Believe in yourself.

Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 35 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.

What Does Forgiveness Mean to You?

What Does Forgiveness Mean to You?

Evil, destructive people must be scrupulously avoided.  Everyone else, including yourself, requires a lot of forgiveness.  You cannot punish your abuser by withholding forgiveness.  On the contrary, you can repudiate your abuser and supersede the abuse by intentionally choosing to live a different type of life, with positive responses.

Of all the ways we can respond to each other, you can choose love, mercy, and forgiveness.  These will first enrich your life, then bless the lives of others.

Think about what forgiveness means to you:

  1. Does forgiveness mean letting someone off the hook?
  2. It has been said that forgiving is also forgetting.  Do you believe that’s a good definition?  Is so, why?  It not, why not?
  3. Is it difficult for you to grant someone forgiveness if he or she doesn’t ask for it first?
  4. Do you think forgiveness involves an element of risk?  If so, what is the risk?
  5. How many times should you be expected to forgive someone?
  6. Are there some people you should not be expected to forgive?
  7. Do you feel forgiven by God?

With negative, destructive examples in your past, it is imperative that you constantly align yourself with God’s overwhelmingly positive presence in your present and future.  He will be your source of healing, forgiveness, and strength to rise above what was done to you by the sin of others.

Even more, it is his divine desire to heal your broken heart and rebuild your damaged spirit.  Make your relationship with him the primary relationship in your life.  Do this, and your ability to love yourself and others will multiply in the bounty of his love for you.

Please take some time to think about and answer the questions below.  They aren’t necessarily meant to draw you into a conclusion, but are meant to stimulate thought:

  1. How would you describe your present relationship with God?
  2. Are you satisfied with your present relationship with God?
  3. Do you feel comfortable praying to God by yourself?  When you pray to God, do you feel close to him?
  4. Do you pray because you want to talk to God or because you feel obligated to?
  5. Does the thought of prayer make you fearful, uncomfortable, awkward, or apprehensive?
  6. Do you spend time regularly reading God’s Word?  Do you generally understand what you read?
  7. Do you read the bible out of a sense of obligation or duty?
  8. Have you ever felt God speak to you through what you read?  If so, in what way?
  9. Are you a member of a faith community?  If so, what do you gain from being a member?
  10. If you are not a member of a faith community, what reasons have you given for not joining?

As you consider your responses to these questions, here is a prayer from which to draw strength.

God, with your love to strengthen me, I can truly look at and understand how I have been hurt.  Bind my wounds.  Rebuild who you created me to be.  Help me trust you.  Help me to forgive myself and others.

Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 35 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.