Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I had my first therapy appointment last night, and it went well. She didn't say any of the things I had worried about (telling me to stop watching what I eat or to stop exercising, telling me to just accept myself and be happy at any size, telling me I just lacked willpower, etc.) She wasn't touchy feely at all, and really, she just listened to me give my backstory for most of the session. Even though I had given that a lot of thought in advance, I got a little flustered trying to make sense of it all to a stranger. On the way home, I kept thinking of things I'd forgotten to mention that suddenly seemed incredibly relevant.
Basically, the mission as she sees it is to "normalize" my eating habits. That is to say, eat when I am hungry, stop when I am full, and not think about food constantly in between. That sounds simple and good to me!
My task for this week is to keep a food journal (no measurement/calories, just basic items, i.e. "snack: grapes, low-fat string cheese, water"), but to make sure it includes absolutely every single thing I eat. (I had told her that I've tracked almost every day for 3 years now, but that lately I had been omitting some or all of my binge foods from the record.) She also wanted me to make note of WHEN I was eating (which I don't usually do) and to also jot down any food-related emotions, thoughts, etc.
Well it's been less than 24 hours and this journal is already a few pages long. Never ask a very verbal, food-obsessed person to keep a journal about food unless you want a novel!!
Though I am tempted to be "perfect", I've been trying to "act normal" (which is to say, not changing my habits because I know she'll read the journal). There's no point in trying to have a "perfect week", because that won't help me in the long run. Unfortunately, I'm spending the weekend out of town, so this week's journal won't really reflect a typical week... I usually cook almost all of my own meals, so obviously there's going to be a lot more takeout involved. All of my meal times will be slightly off as well. I doubt this will be the last week of journaling, though, and I also have a hunch she'll be more interested in the thoughts/feelings between the meals than in the meals themselves.
One thing that she did say that has stuck with me... She sort of implied (or at least, I inferred from one of her questions) that at some point, I learned or decided that my instincts are bad and shouldn't be trusted. Maybe that explains why after many years of that kind of thinking, I don't listen to my body when it says it's hungry, or when it says it's full?
My husband made a good point about that, though, which is another thing that has stuck with me today.... As he said, but if eating whatever I want made me fat, is it really a good goal to eat whatever I want? To be clear, I genuinely enjoy healthy food... but if I ordered a pizza or bought a cupcake every time I wanted one, I'd be eating those things several times per week. That's not good either. I'd definitely like to talk with her about that next week... When, if ever, does trying to live a healthy lifestyle become a detriment, and when is it good?
In terms of unhealthy food, she made a good analogy with the way most people interact with alcohol. If you're presented with an opportunity to enjoy it, you may make a decision to have some. You stop when it stops feeling good and you don't want more. Or maybe you decide to go a little crazy and knowingly have more than you know is good for you. Either way, when it's over, you don't obsess about the decision and you just kind of move on until the opportunity comes up again. That's the goal with "treat" food as well... You're not going to have it every day, or obsess about having it, but if you decide you want some, you make a choice to enjoy an amount that feels good. Afterward, it's done and you go back to normal without guilt, shame, or anxiety.
Soooo that's about that. I'm looking forward to next week's session! In the meantime, have a great weekend, all!