30,000-39,999 SparkPoints 32,430

Come along with me....

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

as I visit my therapist. Okay, I promised I would let you know how it went, when I visited a therapist to seek assistance in freeing myself from disorderly eating. I will spare you the gory details, but I will share with you some of the things she is asking me to do, in case you find any of it helpful. So far, we have not done any Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (C.B.T.) which is what I told her I was seeking when I began this counseling. She is experienced at C.B.T. but she said she uses a "mixed bag" of skills to help people. I promised myself I would keep an open mind, and I have, so we have just talked through the first couple of sessions. Last week, she gave me an assignment. She asked me to name a food that I eat compulsively. I told her I find ice cream is a food I have historically had trouble with. She said "I am not going to tell you not to eat ice cream. You know you will and I know you will. I am only asking that you pay attention to what is going on, when you eat it." Oddly, I did not rush right out and buy ice cream to commence with my homework project. But, when I did buy some several days later, I felt like I bore out one of the things she and I talked about. She told me that when I feel almost helpless to stop eating certain things, once I start, it isn't sheer weakness or just my imagination. She told me about an article she read, about food executives meeting, and their discussion about how to promote their foods. One quote, that stuck with me, was "we have figured out the perfect balance of fat/sugar/salt/chemicals to reach the bliss point in the brain." I find this chilling. It reminds me of a bunch of drug dealers/evil scientists figuring out how to make heroin even more addictive. Although, my experience is that I don't eat compulsively to reach a "bliss point", I eat compulsively to shut up the urge to eat compulsively - the urge that nags and pesters and bugs me to the point that I just want it to shut up and leave me alone. I don't always feel compulsive around food, though. Certain conditions allow me to feel less vulnerable around trigger foods - having gotten plenty of sleep, being engaged with whatever I am doing or whoever I am spending time with, having eaten plenty of nutritious food, especially protein, and, something I have always noticed, is that I feel less compulsive around food when I am listening to music (as opposed to watching t.v., or using the computer, or reading). So, anyway, back to the assignment, I paid attention to when I was feeling the most compulsive about eating, and it is often preceded by my feeling anxious, or bored, or if I have gotten through a very stressful event. I don't eat when I am truly sad. So, this is not new information for me - I have observed this in myself many times. But, I reported back to the therapist. We have a good rapport, already, so I find her quite easy to talk with and to listen to. She gave me two new assignments for this week. When I find myself saying "I need to......" whether it be "I need to do the dishes" or "I need to call my mother" or "I need to listen to my husband" or any of the dozens and dozens of things I tell myself I need to do in any given day, or hour, I am to change the wording in my head to "I want to....." and just see if I notice a difference. I think she is on to something. I have always observed that most of the people, especially women, that I have known who battle with weight are also people who tend to do a lot for other people. They tend to be people who volunteer a lot, who are hardworking and conscientious employees, and the people who are the caregivers in their family, and the people who think of others and do for others and help and help and help and give and give and give and put themselves last on their own list. They (we) seem to do much of this "good" behavior in an attempt to prove worth and to avoid disapproval. I often feel like I empty myself out, doing for others, and eating is a quick way to fill myself up, and I don't just mean with food. It is an easy way to feel like I am taking time that is just for me, where I am tending to me and no one else. The other assignment is for me to ask myself what jobs I can "fire myself" from. Again, she is onto something here. I have a history of doing for others what they can and should do for themselves. This is an obvious one, but will be difficult. I love to take care of other people (except when I resent it, and get tired of it). I can remain generous with others and still take good care of myself, and be generous with giving myself rest, and time alone, and time to do things for me, and time to pursue interests. I told the therapist that I am keenly aware that I deserve to be treated better than the self-sabotage of compulsive over-eating. Mainly, I just feel ready to put more of my focus on taking care of my own self in a way that helps me find peace of mind, especially as it concerns this tiresome old struggle of food and weight. Obviously, food and weight are just signs that I am out of balance and that I need to continue to make changes, some of them uncomfortable (for me, and for others). I am grateful to have SP, and all of you, be a part of the on-going process.

Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I was so excited to get a moment to sit down and read this. I'm glad that it is going so well. Very interesting assignments and thank you for sharing because you know I just gotta try them out emoticon
    Ice cream is my weakness to and interestingly, I eat after a fight not during. It's such a pain to be a happy eater huh? but you are right that it is personal and a way to care for ourselves in a quick way (not healthy but I agree). I find I like to carve out a quiet place to eat alone or a comfy spot on the couch for that afternoon coffee. Very interesting...................
    You are also right about the caretaker part of it. I once heard a priest make this connection (he was overweight too) and said have you ever noticed the most dedicated caretakers are heavy? Think of the many nurses, teachers and moms who are awesome at what they do for others and how they all tend to be heavy emoticon
    Can't wait to hear more but only if you "want to" friend:)
    1603 days ago
    This post really resonated with me - thank you for sharing! Especially the part about so many of us being the ones who do things for others constantly and put themselves last on the list. Sounds familiar...sigh! emoticon Glad that you're focusing on taking care of yourself - that is extremely important. emoticon
    1604 days ago
    I love hearing about this! I want to hear what happens with your other homework assignments. I find that just staying away from certain places in my house keeps me from eating. For instance, after dinner I usually go to the couch to watch TV and that's when the main grazing begins. If, after dinner, I do ANYTHING else... read a book in bed, do some chores, take a shower, etc... then I don't get in "binge" mode. It's strange how my mind works that way. Couch time = eat tons of food. And I'm not even really tasting it, or even enjoying it that much. I'm focused on TV but it's like I feel like eating makes the act more enjoyable somehow. Do you have things like that? Trigger spots or activities? I know you said you eat less when you listen to music, so that's good that you discovered that!

    I'm so glad to hear you're doing some things for yourself that you wouldn't have otherwise done.

    And I'm back on SP! I posted a couple new blogs. I think I'm doing pretty well. I hope I can stick with it for longer this time.
    1606 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/26/2014 12:32:35 AM
    Very interesting and helpful, thank you. I do think that many overweight women are engaged in excessive care giving for others. And of course those "others" are just fine with that!! It's necessary that helpless infants and the infirm elderly get 100% care: and the rest of the human race, not so much! But: addiction to the approval of others is powerful.
    1608 days ago
  • OOLALA53
    Just remember that you can say no to more than moderate amounts even of foods with bliss points. (The prefrontal cortex can override the pleasure center and establish new neural patterns.) It is great to get other areas of your life more balanced and it might make it easier, but it is not NECESSARY in order to manage your eating. You can be doing both. It isn't torture to give up the extra food, just very irritating and annoying.

    I believe in you! emoticon

    BTW, before my turnaround 4 years ago, I was eating ice cream by the half gallon. It's not even one of my favorite sweets now!
    1608 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/24/2014 7:24:12 AM
    Very informative blog! I'm going to try that "I want to" this week. Good luck!
    1609 days ago
    Very enlightening!
    Great job on your homework. It sounds like you found a great person to connect with. Oe who isn't going to impress upon you what worked for another patient, but helping you find yr specific recipe for healing and moving forward.
    I'm proud of you.
    I'm here for you.
    I'm hugging you HUGE right now!
    1609 days ago
  • DAISY443
    Wonderful blog. I was particularly interested in the mindset of food manufacturers to hit our "bliss spot". Unfortunately, I seem to have accidentally hit that mindset in my own cooking! It seems that you are learning a lot about yourself, good job!
    1609 days ago
    "I often feel like I empty myself out, doing for others, and eating is a quick way to fill myself up, and I don't just mean with food. It is an easy way to feel like I am taking time that is just for me, where I am tending to me and no one else."

    Wow, that is actually quite profound. I've struggled with this forEVER, read many books, and nobody has put it so succinctly and in words that resonate with me so much that I heard that cartoon brake screeching sound in my head and re read it about 4 times. I think you just nailed my main reason I binge eat at night. I can eat to "take care of myself"once empty, but I'm still on the clock taking care of my kiddo, and so I do... Over and over again.

    Thanks, Cannie!
    1609 days ago
  • CHERIJ16
    Thank you for sharing. This information was very insightful. It sounds like you are taking steps in the right direction by seeing the therapist and by using Spark People. Good luck.
    1609 days ago
    Boy, you've shared some really good information. I've been reading about the diabolical big food companies and how they have, and continue to, perfect their 'designer drug' foods. (My own label!) To get the upper hand, we must tune-in and fine-tune ourselves.

    My weakest point of the day for binging is definitely the evening. I think I set myself up by not eating enough earlier in the day, when I am "too busy" and don't have a ravenous appetite. I can eat a good size balanced dinner, and within an hour or so feel like snacking. Once I start it's never ending. I'm a night owl and stay up until 2 or 3 am. That's a lot of time to do some damage. I also don't get enough sleep, and I know feeling tired is a trigger to eat for more energy.

    Thanks again for sharing. I've got my own assignments now, thanks to you! I hope you will give us more updates. emoticon Denise

    1609 days ago
    One of my breakthrough moments in my weight-loss journey came when I realized the very thing you discuss...that I was using food as a treat when I felt drained by meeting the needs of others. Instead of giving myself rest, sleep, time alone, or whatever I truly needed, I gave in to binge eating instead. I'm still fighting this, but I've come a long way since this insight.

    I also love changing the "I have to" to "I want to." I'm going to try that.

    Thank you for sharing these flashes of insight! Blessings to you, Cannie!
    1609 days ago
    I really appreciate you sharing this with me. Changing I need or have to, to I want to will be an interesting exercise for me. Thank you. I also need to consider eating when upset or angry. I know I do it. Maybe paying attention is half the battle. And your assessment of the CARETAKERS is completely me. Completly. I would imagine you are learning a lot!!!
    1609 days ago
    Wow! This is fascinating. I'm glad the food you chose to study was ice cream. It's my nemesis & has been since I was a child. And I'm definitely seeking approval from ....the world. Even though no one has rejected me, I'm always striving to be loved and valued. Your blog just hit home so hard. You are so generous to share this info with us as well as being so transparent with your own struggles. I really, really appreciate your honesty and your generosity.

    You will come out stronger and understand what makes Carol tick! I know you can conquer this challenge!
    Hugs, hugs and more hugs! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1609 days ago
    What great assignments! I would find "firing myself" from jobs difficult too. Cam you say "PERFECTIONISM"!

    As for what they put in foods . . . for . . . sure . . . it . . . is . . . chilling! And though we can't make others step up to the plate of healthy eating, WE can do it!

    Wishing you good luck w/your CBT . . . did it with my son and it helped, so have faith!

    HUGS xoxoxo
    1609 days ago
    It sounds like you have received some great insights... that is progress for sure! Thought I would mention I have a friend who is a compulsive binger. I tend to binge on occasion also and I have even actually gone a year without bingeing. It seems like once you binge that it is harder to avoid... almost like you have given your complusive behaviors "permission" to resume control. Anyway, my friend recently read a book called "Brain over Binge" She said it has definitely helped her with the issue. I haven't read it so I can't vouch for it personally but wanted to pass on the info if you would like to check it out. Thanks so much for sharing. I like the "I want"instead of "I need" in particular.

    1609 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    Interesting. Thank you for sharing.
    1609 days ago
    Sounds really interesting!
    1609 days ago
    That was helpful to me. As a recovering compulsive overeater, binger,....the list can go on and on as I have dabbled in many different forms of an eating disorder as a manner of punishing myself. Now I just want to get healthy and eat healthy. Thank you so much for sharing.
    1609 days ago
    Sounds like you are on a good path here. I am really impressed with all that you shared and actually, learned a few things about myself.
    Thanks for sharing this.
    1609 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

More Blogs by CANNIE50