Our most common client is:
But most importantly, although our clients know they eat for emotional reasons, they very often do NOT know that what they are struggling with is Binge Eating Disorder - an official Eating Disorder category listed in the DSM V since 2013.
Their belief is that they simply have no willpower, they are weak, and they cannot stick to a diet.
The truth is that Binge Eating Disorder is not a food or weight issue at all, it is an emotional and mental health issue. So by seeking the solution in the diet/weight loss world, the clients are starting from the wrong place. Their thinking is "WHEN I lose 'the weight' (and I love playing with that phrase with clients), THEN I will be nicer to myself/able to meet someone/get a promotion/move job" etc.
Actually, it is the other way around, and this is what we work on with clients. WHEN they learn to love themselves, respect themselves, leave their past behind, let go of shame and guilt and move fully into being present in their lives, today - THEN they will find the way to permanent, successful weight management and weight loss - if there is weight to lose.
When clients learn how to first Treat Themselves Better, then they can Eat Themselves Better.
Clients need expert support to first disentangle their food from their feelings, and then work on BOTH, separately and with specialist support, tools, resources and guidance.
The Eating Freely Program comprehensively provides all of that specialist support.
CBT Tools and Resources
We give our clients concrete, usable tools that help them significantly reduce bingeing, emotional eating and overeating episodes from session 1 - these tools form the foundation of the comprehensive toolkit we build up for clients over the course of the program;
The Program also includes two sessions for every client with an Eating Freely Nutritional Therapist. When you eat the way our clients eat over a period of years, it inevitably impacts their gut which contributes hugely to the ‘brain fog’, lack of motivation, low mood and completely skewed hunger/not hungry cues. Our NT's individualised plan for clients resets their gut, body and brain, so they feel much better, physically and mentally, within as little as 2-3 weeks. This is critical for clients, because they cannot engage in deep work in the early sessions - they are cognitively not able for it.
Later in the program they have a follow-up session to develop their new Eating Plan for Life... and not a diet in sight!
We teach clients how their brain works, why it can be their worst enemy when trying to change or break bad, unhealthy and unhelpful habits, and how they can break free of both their old behaviours, and dial down that negative, critical voice in their head. This section of the program is powerful, and clients feel a huge release of guilt and shame when they realise they are not just weak or have no willpower, actually they've been hijacked by their brain without realising it - the drivers of their behaviours have been unconscious safety mechanisms, and can be stopped!
Mindfulness and Deep Self-compassion
Mindfulness and Deep Self Compassion are critical components of the program for clients. we slowly and systematically bring clients back into the present moment where they can choose to behave differently, challenge their unhelpful thoughts, learn how to calm themselves and reduce anxiety without food.
We gently and constructively separate the past from the present, and give clients the space and permission they need to let go - this is deep, sensitive work, and is crucial to bringing about truly transformational change.
By changing the 'mind chatter' from criticism to compassion, and being able to step back and observe the thoughts/beliefs without judgement, clients can choose how to consciously respond, not unconsciously react.
This is what really begins to permanently reduce episodes of emotional eating and bingeing.
In addition to the four pillars of the program, later in the program, we look at the client’s past history and family of origin. We explore patterns, beliefs, values and memories. We guide them through examining their conscious and subconscious barriers to change, what the payoffs have been, and how much of their past is continuing to play out in the present. And then we go deep into self-acceptance and self-love.
Using a transformational experiential technique, we work with the client to support them in letting go of what no longer serves them, and moving fully into their present adult life, where they choose to now live in the way that works best for them in alignment with their own highest values.
We work in a fully holistic way with all of our clients - on nutrition and health, psychology and mindset, and of course mindfulness and self-compassion. We disentangle food from feelings and work on both - together and separately. We also work on the past vs the present, again to disentangle both from each other, and allow you to move on and let go of what is no longer working for you. That's why we like to say we offer our clients 360⁰ of Freedom.
© 2020 Eating Freely