Transform Your Relationship with Food

food pizza woman

There is a growing concern amoung youth regarding body image, whether it be height, weight, or attractiveness that can lead to body dysmorphia. Although not my area of expertise, I am seeing signs and symptoms of this emerging in my practice. To better understand these developments, I recently read a book by Jenna Hollenstein, called Eat to Love: A Mindful Guide to Transforming Your Relationship with Food, Body and Life; I think this quote nicely illustrates the current context:

Two young fish are swimming along when they happened to meet an older fish swimming in the opposite direction. The older fish nods at them and says “morning boys how’s the water”? The two young fish swim on for a bit until eventually one of them looks over at the other and says “what the hell is water”?

Jenna explains that this water that we are all swimming in is the current diet culture we are exposed to on a daily basis. We seem to be completely unaware of the impact diet culture has on who we are and perceive ourselves to be, even though we are literally eating, sleeping and breathing it. The book focusses on our relationship to food and highlights a range of mistaken approaches such as magical eating.  The author describes this as follows:

Swimming in the diet culture gives rise to what I call magical eating:  the search for the diet that will lead to peace, endless happiness and end to our suffering. Magical eating comes in many varieties: weight watchers, the health food junkie, the boot camp devotee, the vegan, the lifestyle changer or the fearful eater.

She further suggests there is a fat bias in our culture and that magical eating in the way of diet trends (i.e. paleo, keto), starts to trap us in a never ending cycle of wanting to be different than who we are. Seeing our body as a problem to be fixed can lead to confusion and suffering, especially for adolescents who may already feel awkward about themselves. With an increasing number of males coming into my practice expressing issues with their bodies, this book was a helpful resource to illuminate how our diet culture is impacting us all. My final thought on this book is best summed up by Hollenstein herself:

There are two different intentions behind anything we do for self improvement: we are either problems that need to be fixed or we accept ourselves as we are with compassion and the desire to do better.







Growing concern about Problematic Digital Use (PDU)


Interesting conversation on CBC Metro Morning with Matt Galloway and Lisa Pont, Social Worker at CAMH, about young people, devices and social media. Growing concern about problematic digital use is showing up across a range of populations, but especially for the young and vulnerable (i.e. ADHD, ASD, LD) and we are starting to see the growing negative impacts. Big tech companies are also starting to recognize their moral obligations, questioning the development of technologies that have preyed on the most psychologically vulnerable individuals. Have a listen to the CBC Radio segment about smartphone use.

Fascinating to hear how we are now moving from unbridled proliferation of technologies to a discussion of moral and ethical use of tech in society. For those experiencing the negative impacts of tech use, I continue to develop and integrate treatment through my Problematic Digital Use (PDU) program module.


Turn Issues into Answers with Social Work

Social Work has been my profession for over two decades and I’m proud to be a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers. When I was in school at York University, I gravitated towards Social Work for it’s professional designation to address a range of issues. Coming from a background in Sociology and Family/Gender studies, Social Work presented an opportunity to use my understanding of social systems with psychotherapy to address challenges to mental health.

In anticipation of Social Work Week, I’d like to share this video. I encourage my readers to also share this video (via Twitter, Facebook, etc.) with the hashtag: #turnissuesintoanswers to help bring a greater understanding of Social Work as a profession for addressing mental health in Ontario. Click here if you would like to learn more about Social Work.


Pot and the Teenage Brain

Here is an interesting Globe and Mail article that discusses the impact of marijuana on the young brain.  I was especially fascinated to read about the learning problems of an overtaxed brain as well as the risks for potential psychosis associated with pot use.

Finding Calm in Therapy

Working with clients is a unique opportunity in my day. I know that the work can sometimes be stressful and that it is important for me to find balance. I find calm within the space that is the practice and sharing this with others is meaningful to me.