What do you want out of life?

Are fears, anxiety or depression holding you back from the life you want? Do you have weight management issues that have more to do with your mind than your mouth? If so, I would love the opportunity to speak with you about how I might be of help.

Therapy should be an individualized process that focuses on your personal goals.  I have seen this process lead to improved relationships, personal confidence and development of greater control over emotions.

Jeanne Latiolais, PsyD

Committed to helping you get what you want out of life.

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By Jeanne Latiolais, Psy.D. 22 Aug, 2017

I see you at my gym. Yes, you. I know what you are up to. I might have done it once or twice myself.

You exercise hard, doing things you hate. You exercise because you are supposed to. You’ve got to lose weight. You’ve got to flatten your abs. You’ve got to get more fit. But mostly, really, truth be told, you exercise because you are punishing yourself.

Be honest. It’s punitive. You exercise to make up for that weekend binge, that unplanned cookie at work yesterday, that extra 10 pounds you have to lose. And, you tell yourself you will atone for your nutritional sins by pounding harder on the treadmill. And, you hate the treadmill.

The worst part about punitive exercise is that it will eventually have exactly the opposite effect you are hoping for. Hoping to lose weight, you engage in tiring, draining, unpleasant exercise, which leaves you feeling increasingly negative about exercising. Your physical efforts mentally defeat you.

However, you can use your brain to improve your body!  Exercise is supposed to be satisfying, like a drink of water when we are thirsty. Humans are supposed to move, not abuse themselves. Non-punitive exercise releases neurotransmitters that improve mood, such as serotonin. Interestingly, a good serotonin balance not only combats depression and anxiety, it can decrease the desire to overeat .    

Three suggestions can help you stop the punitive exercise and start feeling and looking your best:  

First, choose exercise you like :  walk, bike ride, hike, swim.  A round of golf, or a strength training class. Pick something that you feel good doing, or at least don’t feel bad doing.

Second, give yourself credit for exercise every time you do it. Just a little encouraging self-talk, like “I’m proud of myself for taking the time to walk,” or “I feel so much better once I get a little activity,” or “I am getting stronger!”

And lastly, for exercise to be helpful, it has to become a habit .  Plan for exercise in your daily schedule.  I recommend new exercisers commit to only 5 minutes a day of exercise until it becomes habit.

Does 5 minutes sound silly? Consider that a year’s worth of  5 minutes a day exercise would amount to more than 30 hours of exercise! That’s enough to burn about 3 pounds of fat —without even trying; without feeling terrible; without a big time commitment; or even a gym membership.

And, I might add, without punishing yourself. A five minute walk in fresh air feels good. Doesn’t seem like such a difficult habit to start now, does it?  After a few weeks, it might even make you want to do 10 minutes. Just to be extra nice to yourself!

By Jeanne Latiolais, Psy.D. 14 Jun, 2017

It's not a problem many people talk about. Even among my clients, who know they have a confidential relationship with me, there's much shame and reluctance to admit this behavior.

The problem is called Trichotillomania (trick-oh-till-oh-may-nee-uh).  This disorder is closely related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD )  and involves pulling out of one’s own hair, eyelashes, or eyebrows.  Trichotillomania (or Trich, for short), along with the related disorder termed Excoriation (skin-picking), typically emerge during childhood, are estimated to affect  2 to 4% of the college population, and often continue into adulthood.

Problems that arise from trichotillomania and excoriation include bald patches, loss of eyebrows or eyelashes, and sores. However, more serious conditions can occur, including infections from repeated picking, and digestive issues from consuming hair. The psychological consequences are no less severe – including shame, self-consciousness, and embarrassment.   Social isolation often results as the person tries to hide the bald patches or unsightly blemishes. 

So why don’t they just stop? What many do not understand is that the urge to pull or pick is experienced as an irresistible compulsion. Making matters more difficult, the actions of pulling or picking have a soothing, relaxing, or even pleasurable quality to those with this disorder. This is what makes the disorder so agonizing to live with and difficult to treat.

However, there is treatment for Trichotillomania. Medication can be helpful.   Cognitive Behavioral Therapy teaches patients to develop motivation and use rewards.   Patients learn to tolerate the distress associated with resisting urges to pull until resisting becomes easier. Patients also learn to face their social fears and fight their tendency to isolate themselves. While recurrences are not uncommon, most sufferers can gain some control over the disorder, as well as gaining more confidence and decreasing the shame they feel.    The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has more on this and other difficulties.

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