Saturday, November 29, 2014

No During Holidays


As we get closer and closer to Christmas, the anxiety levels seem to amp up. Or am I the only one feeling it? We’re inundated with Christmas spirit, family, obligations and all manner of “should’s.” Festive, isn’t it?

And it’s during this time, fear, guilt, regret and resentment come hurdling toward us. A running thought is whatever we do or don’t do, “it’s not good enough.”

Again, festive.

So, I’ve become quite aware of an important holiday word. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? No.

Not snow. Not ho, as in ho, ho, ho. No.

The holidays- let get real- are just too much. Too much food, too much lights, too much decoration, too much activities, too much expectations, too much stimulation, too much stuff. And it all demands we say “yes” to it.

And, in doing so, we are anything but merry.

So, this holiday, let’s give a different kind of gift- the gift of no. It, perhaps,, is not the most noble or fuzzy choice, but it’s still very much an acceptable one for each one of us.

We have limits, even concerning Christmas and everything surrounding it. God knows this already.

“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”

Psalms 103:14

It’d probably be a great idea if we remembered the same.

We need to keep in mind the people pleasing thing running amuck, driving us into some kind of emotional, physical or spiritual ground. It’s okay. If no one has told you that already, please let me be the one to tell you now.

It’s okay. You have permission to say no. The world will not end.

I love the advice from NEDIC, advising eating disorder sufferers on how to navigate the stressful holiday season. Here are a few of their tips. I believe they work for us all:

Predict high stress times and places; decide which events you will and won't attend, and plan to have some time to yourself to restore yourself and take care of your own needs.

Predict which people might make you most uncomfortable and plan appropriate ways of excusing yourself from their company.

Predict negative thoughts that you might have during the holidays, and practice thinking differently.

Carry with you a list of phone numbers of friends and crisis lines, and a list of self-soothing activities.

It may be helpful to realize that the "picture-book" holiday sense is not a reality for many people. Some cannot afford it, there are many single people who are not close to their families or do not have a family, and there are many families that do not fit into the dominant cultural model of "family." Do not blame yourself for family or friendship conflicts. People are not different during the holidays than any other time of the year. Remember that you are responsible only for your own actions and for taking care of yourself.

For more info:top
NEDIC Bulletin: Vol. 7, Coping With the Holidays

“No” is not an ungodly word. It can, however, be a way to steward your temple, your life, taking care of a precious vessel God needs very much in this world.

Again, it’s okay. Say no if you need to.

And remember…

God bless, have a wonderful and guilt-free holiday season!

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse








Just keeping it real...

To Steward Your Temple


“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?”

1 Corinthians 3:16

In today’s world, there’s increasing emphasis on personal care. There’s now more ways to groom ourselves; the term, “metrosexual” even describes men who pay attention to this level of detailed grooming. All manner of waxing, shaving, manicures and pedicures now exists between both sexes.

 1 Corinthians 3:16, in the name of this all important personal care issue, has been paraphrased as we are repeatedly told our bodies are temples. Yes, they are.

And we are told the benefit of being good stewards:

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

Luke 16:10

When it comes to our bodies, the benefit of that stewardship is good health, strength and, of course, feeling good.

So, yes, fitness and nutrition are important. That involves regular exercise and healthy eating. But even those good practices can be overdone. When it becomes obsessive or compulsive behavior and thought,  hallmarks of disordered eating, it then goes from healthy to harmful.

There are a wide variety of eating disorders out there; anorexia and bulimia are the mostly widely known and reported. However, one of the more recently discovered of these disorders is that of “orthorexia.”

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Orthorexia?

Orthorexia is the term for a condition that includes symptoms of obsessive behavior in pursuit of a healthy diet. Orthorexia sufferers often display signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders that frequently co-occur with anorexia nervosa or other eating disorders.

A person with orthorexia will be obsessed with defining and maintaining the perfect diet, rather than an ideal weight. She will fixate on eating foods that give her a feeling of being pure and healthy. An orthorexic may avoid numerous foods, including those made with:

·         Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

·         Pesticides or genetic modification

·         Fat, sugar or salt

·         Animal or dairy products

·         Other ingredients considered to be unhealthy

Common behavior changes that may be signs of orthorexia may include:

·         Obsessive concern over the relationship between food choices and health concerns such as asthma, digestive problems, low mood, anxiety or allergies

·         Increasing avoidance of foods because of food allergies, without medical advice

·         Noticeable increase in consumption of supplements, herbal remedies or probiotics / macrobiotics

·         Drastic reduction in opinions of acceptable food choices, such that the sufferer may eventually consume fewer than 10 foods

·         Irrational concern over food preparation techniques, especially washing of food or sterilization of utensils

Similar to a woman suffering with bulimia or anorexia, a woman with orthorexia may find that her food obsessions begin to hinder everyday activities. Her strict rules and beliefs about food may lead her to become socially isolated, and result in anxiety or panic attacks in extreme cases. Worsening emotional symptoms can indicate the disease may be progressing into a serious eating disorder:

·         Feelings of guilt when deviating from strict diet guidelines

·         Increase in amount of time spent thinking about food

·         Regular advance planning of meals for the next day

·         Feelings of satisfaction, esteem, or spiritual fulfillment from eating "healthy"

·         Thinking critical thoughts about others who do not adhere to rigorous diets

·         Fear that eating away from home will make it impossible to comply with diet

·         Distancing from friends or family members who do not share similar views about food

·         Avoiding eating food bought or prepared by others

·         Worsening depression, mood swings or anxiety

What are the Effects of Orthorexia?

Orthorexia symptoms are serious, chronic, and go beyond a lifestyle choice. Obsession with healthy food can progress to the point where it crowds out other activities and interests, impairs relationships, and even becomes physically dangerous. When this happens, orthorexia takes on the dimensions of a true eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. One effect of this drive to eat only the right foods (and perhaps only in the right ways) is that it can give a person with orthorexia a sense of superiority to others. This can put a strain on relationships with family and friends, as relationships become less important than holding to dietary patterns.

Maintaining an obsession with health food may cause a restriction of calories merely because available food isn't considered to be good enough. The person with orthorexia may lose enough weight to give her a body mass index consistent with someone with anorexia (i.e., less than 18.5). If the dietary restrictions are too severe, malnutrition can result. In rare cases, particularly in the case of women with unaddressed co-occurring disorders or another addiction, orthorexia may result in severe malnutrition and weight loss, which can cause cardiac complications or even death.

How are Anorexia Nervosa and Orthorexia Similar?

Orthorexia is a term with varying levels of acceptance in the eating disorder treatment community. Some eating disorder specialists regard orthorexia as a discrete diagnosis like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Others, however, believe that patients with orthorexia symptoms are actually suffering from anorexia. Sufferers of orthorexia and anorexia may show similarities such as:

·         Desire to achieve control over their lives through control of food intake

·         Seeking self-esteem and spiritual fulfillment through controlling food intake

·         Citing undiagnosed food allergies as rationale for avoiding food

·         Co-occurring disorders such as OCD or obsessive compulsive personality disorder

·         Elaborate rituals about food that may result in social isolation

How are Orthorexia and Anorexia Nervosa Different?

Obsession with weight is one of the primary signs of anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders, but is not a symptom of orthorexia. Instead, the object of the orthorexic's obsession is with the health implications of their dietary choices. While a person with anorexia restricts food intake in order to lose weight, a person with orthorexia wants to feel pure, healthy and natural. The focus is on quality of foods consumed rather than quantity.

Signs and symptoms of eating disorders must be evaluated in the context of a person's feelings, emotions, and self esteem. It's crucial to seek appropriate clinical advice from a professional with experience treating orthorexia, anorexia and other psychiatric conditions. The obsessive tendencies associated with orthorexia can indicate a co-occurring disorder that should be diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist.

See yourself here? If anything is consuming your thoughts, energy, time and resources, to the point of causing negative results which impact your life, it has crossed the line. Think about this scripture:

“Let all things be done decently and in order.”

1 Corinthians 14:40

Now think of the word eating disorder. If the behaviors and habits are extreme and causing anxiety, it is disordered. God can help us; He tells us He will:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.”
Psalm 32:8

And, we need to realize our lives, our habits and behaviors will never be 100% perfect. Yes, there will be junk food and other less than healthy choices out there. But we’re not to be ruled by them, to be anxious about them.

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”

1 Corinthians 10:23

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

1 Corinthians 6:12

Remember that as you focus on caring for your temple. Stewardship does not require perfection; I believe it requires looking for God’s guidance, wisdom and help.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse




Better Choices...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Be Still...

It's In Store!!!

Worth repeating; worth living...



“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23


Does that word describe you today? Or is it more like post- holiday  regret? A hangover? Self-loathing? Are you feeling great today or bleh instead?

This holiday season has the overindulgence factor attached to it. Regardless of how you did yesterday, there is always a new start. Never feel condemned and hopeless. God is in the “day by day business,” not the “or else smiting business” when it comes to His love for you.

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

2 Corinthians 4:16

And that reality never hinges upon our imperfect and overindulging natures. He just loves us, constantly and lavishly.

Whatever you feel today, please remember renewal is God’s specialty in His love for you! Be made new today!

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse


Thursday, November 27, 2014

What it's all about...

Home For The Holidays (Break in case of Thanksgiving stress)

In order to get myself prepared for the holiday season, I watched “Home For the Holidays.” It’s glorious in all of its dysfunctional family splendor, much like most of our real, less than Norman Rockwell-esque lives.

God bless and help us all. Just breathe. We will get through this.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

She Was Beautiful...

Surviving the Holidays: A Primer For Family and Friends of Those Struggling With an Eating Disorder

We are coming up on the holidays. For families this is a time meant for joy, festivities and socializing. These are times meant for us to draw closer together and to re-affirm what it is to be a family, a time to catch up on what has been going on and share with one another the prospects for the New Year. To the individual suffering from an eating disorder, or in the throes of recovery, these occasions can be overwhelming and threatening. We want to be helpful and supportive, but nothing seems to come out right. What do we say? How can we let them know that we care and are there for them, without being so awkward about it?
Those patients who are struggling are often at a loss during the holidays. They, too, have expectations for the holidays; and, oftentimes being perfectionists, they don’t want to let down their loved ones who are worried about them. Not only do they have to deal with the normal stresses of the holidays, they worry that they will fail—either their families by engaging in their eating disorder; or, conversely, their eating disorder by losing control and gaining weight. Surely, everyone is looking at them, wondering if they are eating enough, eating the right things, getting enough rest. Surely, everyone knows that they just got out of treatment and are talking about them. They smile and put on a brave face. They wonder if people are avoiding talking to them. Maybe it’s for the best.
Some family members ask innocuously: “How are you doing?” Well, they think, before they respond with an obligatory, “Fine, thanks,” they feel…pretty much like a failure. Some of them have had to drop out of school, leave jobs, see their friends move on with their lives as they stay stuck. What happened to the person who was an honor student, track star, the one voted most likely to success? You’re at home with your parents? That’s great. Maybe you can use this time to get closer together. There’s always a silver lining to our struggles.
Even worse: “You’re looking really good. You look…healthy.” Great, they think, I look fat. This dress is making me look fat. My face is all puffy. Everyone is talking about how fat I am. Maybe I need to stop eating right now.
No wonder they sometimes hide in corners, avoiding eye contact. Their body language is closed, forbidding. Don’t talk to me. Don’t tell me that things will get better. Don’t ask me how I’m doing or if I’m going back to school or if I’d done with treatment. Don’t ask me anything.
The best approach is not to ignore the eating disorder individual’s presence, but to approach them with kindness and sensitivity. Let them know you are glad to see them. Instead of commenting on their clothing; praise their shoes, jewelry or hairstyle if appropriate. Did they have a hand in decorating the tree or preparing a dish? Maybe you have a happy memory that you want to share with them to let them know that they are an important part of your life. Maybe you want to share something interesting that happen to you to help take the perceived focus off of them. To engage in conversation is important and a positive optimistic twist such as talking about their pets, new people in their lives, or television shows will go a long way to make the holidays brighter. The holidays are, ideally, a time to connect—a time to let each one of us know that we are not alone, that we are part of something greater than ourselves, that we are part of a family. You can count on us. We’ll be there for you.
Call 1-800-445-1900 or visit us at
For more information,
please call 1-800-445-1900
or visit

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Some thoughts on gratitude...

Holiday Coping Tips From the Mayo Clinic...

Stress, depression and the holidays: 10 tips for coping

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression.

The holiday season, which begins for most Americans with Thanksgiving and continues through New Year's Day, often brings unwelcome guests — stress and depression. And it's no wonder. In an effort to pull off a perfect holiday, you might find yourself facing a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name a few. So much for peace and joy, right?

Actually, with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress and depression that often accompany the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.

Recognize holiday triggers

Learn to recognize common holiday triggers, so you can disarm them before they lead to a meltdown:

§  Relationships. Relationships can cause turmoil, conflict or stress at any time, but tensions are often heightened during the holidays. Family misunderstandings and conflicts can intensify — especially if you're thrust together for several days. On the other hand, facing the holidays without a loved one can be tough and leave you feeling lonely and sad.

§  Finances. With the added expenses of gifts, travel, food and entertainment, the holidays can put a strain on your budget — and your peace of mind. Not to mention that overspending now can mean financial worries for months to come.

§  Physical demands. Even die-hard holiday enthusiasts may find that the extra shopping and socializing can leave them wiped out. Being exhausted increases your stress, creating a vicious cycle. Exercise and sleep — good antidotes for stress and fatigue — may take a back seat to chores and errands. To top it off, burning the wick at both ends makes you more susceptible to colds and other unwelcome guests.

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression

When stress is at its peak, it's hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past.

1.    Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.

2.    Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.

3.    Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videotapes.

4.    Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression too.

5.    Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives: Donate to a charity in someone's name, give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange.

6.    Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That'll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.

7.    Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it's not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

8.    Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.

9.    Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

10. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

Take control of the holidays

Don't let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you may find that you enjoy the holidays this year more than you thought you could.