Posts Tagged ‘therapy’

This morning I took a huge step toward making sure that this statement is true for me.  I made a therapy appointment.

This is big news for me for a few reasons.  First because for the longest time I viewed therapy as something that helped other people but just “wasn’t for me.”  And then I took the groundbreaking step of meeting  with a therapist late last summer and got a few insights into my disordered eating.  But I didn’t keep up the appointments because I really didn’t like the therapist that much after I met with him a couple of times.  He seemed to focus more on the way he thought I should eat (he didn’t like the 1200 calorie Kaiser diet), rather than the reasons why I overate.  Plus, he related everything to himself, which seemed more than slightly narcissistic, but what do I know.

And since that time, I’ve been struggling quite a bit with disordered eating.  I’d hold it together during the day and then come home in the afternoon and eat way too much.  Or I’d leave work on a Friday afternoon and hit the grocery store like an addict hits the corner looking for her drug of choice.  It’s been anything but healthy, even if the food I am eating during these binges is.  For every pound or two I’d lose, I’d gain another 4 in one weekend, then work those off, only to gain them back again.  It’s been an ugly cycle for a while now, and if I hope to make my Birthday Goals, I need it to stop.

Even this week I’ve been off, when I’ve had all the time in the world to workout, has left me feeling really blah and lazy.  I’ve worked out a bit, but nothing compared to what I could or should be.  And while I haven’t had any really bad episodes, I have found myself eating out of boredom several times.

When I went to that Healthy Eating class the other week at Kaiser, they had us fill out a self-evaluation to determine which of their many weight-related resources would be best suited for us.  And my results said that I should take the Food for Thought class (all about binge eating) before attempting to lose weight.  Which really hit home for me.

After all, I’ve been trying to meet the surgeon’s weight requirement for the WLS since August 2010 a goal (45 lbs) that I should have easily reached by now.  I know how to eat right, I know how to keep exercise fun so that I do it on a regular basis.  But the fact that I am an emotional eater pushes that goal further out of reach each time.  Which is frustrating, and the endless cycle drags me down and makes me feel lousy.

So, it’s time to delve into those scary recesses of my mind to figure out other ways of coping with stress, boredom and whatever else causes me to eat my troubles away.  Taking such an inward journey is never easy, but if I can learn how to stop disordered eating, it will be well worth it.  Because the WLS is a tool to help me with portions of food that I eat, but it’s not a surgery that will work on my mind.  Only I can do that.

It’s a relief to begin this work, and I’m so grateful that they had an opening for me tomorrow afternoon.  Because turning to food when I feel out of control and stressed is just a symptom of a greater problem that I am going to need help figuring out.  I’m tired of feeling like I’m living two lives.  Like I’m keeping up some sort of facade.  I feel ashamed of myself too often, and I’m worth more than the way that I’ve been treating myself.  I’m really ready and open to work with a new therapist.  I know I want to meet with her one-on-one, but maybe taking the Food For Thought group session/class would be worthwhile, as well.  I’ll definitely make sure to update you with what we decide.

Writing this post was really difficult for me, because it’s admitting a major weakness.  But I finally realized that in order to get stronger, to become whole, I have to admit to these behaviors and seek help to correct them. It’s the next step.  For now, I’d appreciate your positive thoughts that I’m able to get a grip on this so that I can reach my full potential in all areas of my life.


Read Full Post »

I knew I was going to like my therapist when I saw that he had several volumes of Calvin and Hobbes on his bookshelf.

My therapist is friendly, down-to-earth, and very reasonable.  His background is impressive, and his specialty is healthy lifestyle and food-related issues.  He told me that he holds weekly support groups for impulse control and mindful eating, to name a few.  The mindful eating support group sounds very interesting to me, and I may look into that in the future.

He did a lot more talking than I expected, but I liked the way that he explained things and then picked up on the fact that I already knew most of the information he was giving me about nutrition and healthy eating.  He used examples from his own life so that I felt more at ease discussing my own proclivities.  He asked questions, and when I answered them, he was spot-on with giving me meaningful, insightful feedback. I’m going to italicize the things that were very insightful to me.

The first question he asked me was what my relationship to food was like, and for some strange reason, tears sprang to my eyes as I answered.  I told him:

I’ve always been overweight, but it wasn’t until about 15 years ago or so that I became obese and then “morbidly obese.”  I’ve struggled to lose weight my entire life and I’m seeing patterns and cycles in my behavior around food and I want to learn how to stop those behaviors, or at least control them.  I’ve signed up for WLS and I know that I WILL lose the weight with the surgery, but I want to deal with any underlying issues I may have so that I don’t regain the weight.

Growing up, we eat healthy, well-balanced meals, but I am Italian, so food is often about celebrating.  And often in that celebration there is overindulgence.  But I know how to eat healthfully and I love eating that way.  I enjoy fruits and veggies, and eating a balanced diet.  I like cooking for myself and others.

But there’s also a side of me that overeats junk.  Sometimes because I’ve had a bad day, but more often because I’m bored or because I just got paid, or because I feel like I deserve it.”

He highlighted the fact that I seem to be someone who eats around my feelings of passion – when I’m really happy or things are going well or when I’m feeling low/bored.  I hadn’t thought about it that way before.  He also said that he doesn’t think it’s a problem to have food and celebrations going hand in hand because he feels that food is one of the joys of life, a belief that I echo.

We talked a bit about secret eating, which started for me in 5th grade until about 8th grade and then again when I was 25 until today.  I told him how I felt so out of control and disappointed after the binge or overeating session, and I explained that I am a control freak and a perfectionist, so I hate feeling like I let anyone down, even myself.  He asked if I ever found myself unaware of what I was doing or zoning out when I was binging, and I told him no, that it was definitely a conscious decision.  And he just seemed to take note of that. It was interesting that when we were talking about secret eating, I got very teary eyed again.  I told him that I always feel so ashamed when I eat secretly, and even though most of my meals are eaten alone, since I live by myself, there is a significant difference when I’m engaging in secret eating. 

He talked about scheduling treats for myself so that I can have the foods that I enjoy or like to indulge in.  He said that by scheduling them, some of the “bad food factor” or the power of the food would disappear because I was allowing myself to have it.  And I wasn’t going off program, because it was a planned treat.  I really liked the idea of taking the power of the food away.  And to be honest with you, I really don’t know what food I would automatically plan for myself to have.  There’s not one go-to binging food.  And I’m not sure that I’d want to have that, anyway.  But his point is a good one.  By planning it out, it gives you something to look forward to, but it keeps it all in balance in an otherwise healthy food lifestyle.

He gave his own example of his weakness for Blizzards from Dairy Queen.  He allows himself one small Blizzard a week.  It stops him from keeping ice cream in the house, which he said he’d eat within days if he had it.  And it also allowed him to get some distance from the thing that he wanted.  This is where that impulse control comes in, I think.  In other words, if he wants ice cream and has it in the house, it will be seconds until he’s eating it and maybe eating ALL of it.  Where as if he has to get dressed, get in the car, drive to Dairy Queen, order it, deal with money and waiting in line, he may think twice.  He said it gives him lots of opportunities to make another choice.  Plus, at Dairy Queen, he’s going to get a set amount and that’s it.  He won’t overindulge, because he’s already decided that the small is enough for him.  And he will enjoy it more because he’s in the moment when he’s eating it, rather than mindlessly shoveling food into his mouth in front of the t.v..  This brings up the mindful eating he mentioned before, and after reading Heidi’s account of a recent mindful eating experience, I think I may sign up for that group session because it would be good for me.

I told him that I’m usually an all or nothing type of person.  That I either perfectly on program or else I am off of it.  And so he said that I might want to be careful with the planned treats, in that case, to see whether they lead me down a path of going off the wagon.  I could see it happening, depending on the food, but I think if it’s something I enjoy but don’t normally binge on, like wine and cheese, for example, it would be a really nice treat once a week.  I will heed his warning and see if the scheduled treats end up making me bingey.

My homework over the next few weeks is to deny myself when I have a mindless, unplanned craving.  I know that sounds counter-intuitive to the scheduled treats, but for those of you who binge or overeat, you know that those impulses come up several times a day.  And you can’t give in to all of them.  He said that when we deny ourselves the thing we’re jonezing for, we become desperate.  And in that desperation the underlying issues are often revealed.  He wants to me to journal my feelings when I’ve denied a desire and see what other emotions come up.  I’m very interested to see what happens.

Our next appointment isn’t for 3 weeks, which is perfect.  It gives me time to practice some of the things that he mentioned, for school to start, and for some cravings to come up, too. I like the fact that he’s not asking me to meet every week, because as I mentioned before, that would be a bit too expensive for me.  Or, I would rather use the money in other ways. Meeting every 3-4 weeks is perfect for me.

Overall, I really liked meeting with him, and if I got so much out of the very first session, I’m sure I’ll really learn some things about myself after we delve deeper into these issues.  Part of me is wondering why in the heck I didn’t seek out a mental health professional years ago, but the other part of me knows that I wasn’t ready.  I’m very open to this process right now, and I wasn’t before.  I’ve said this many times before because it’s one of life’s truths for me – everything happens for a reason.  I think I was meant to wait to get this help until right before I qualified for WLS so that it would “stick.”  I’m so glad I’m doing this for myself now, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Read Full Post »

As you guys know, I’ve been struggling a bit, so instead of spinning my wheels, I decided to take a completely different tactic than I ever have before.  I’m going to give therapy a try AND I went to my first WLS  support group last night.

I called yesterday and set up a therapy appointment for next Tuesday, so I’ll definitely post all about that next week.  As far as the WLS support group, I decided to make a video blog:

I mentioned this in the video, but for those of you who don’t have 11 minutes to spare (which I totally understand!), I wanted to make sure to highlight the fact that last night I met up with someone I met through YouTube.  It was exciting, because she’s the first person I’ve ever met in person whom I’ve first “met” online.  (ScaleWarfare, I hope you’re next!!) Sylvia aka BeautyJunkie824 is just as sweet in person as she comes across in her videos.  She drove quite a distance (over an hour) to come to the meeting, but it was really great to get the chance to meet her.

It was nice to see that we vibed just as easily in person and we did online.  After the group we headed to Starbucks for some iced tea and we just gabbed about the wls group, our lives, our diets, and our hopes with the surgery.  She’s also getting VSG, which is so nice.  Now there will be two other people who are going through the same path as I am, just a bit before me.  The other exciting thing was that she just found out this morning that her surgery is scheduled for Aug. 30th!  So, now SW is having hers Aug. 22 and BeautyJunkie824 is having hers Aug. 30, so I need to get my butt in gear and join them on “the loser’s bench” as people in the wls community say when people have the surgery. Knowing that they’re both getting the surgery soon really motivates me to qualify and get my scheduled, too.

I have a few changes up my sleeve that I’m excited to tell you all about in the coming days.

Read Full Post »

I had another really nice weekend! I love that I’ve been able to get my household stuff done during the week so that I have my weekends free to do whatever comes up. I’m really going to strive to continue this practice when school starts (in just a few short weeks!!), and I think it should be doable, if I stay organized.

Saturday my mom and I went on a 2-mile walk, and it was really nice to get out and do something physical where we had each other’s undivided attention. It seems like a rare thing these last 8 months, so I cherish any “Mom and me” time I get. I’m hoping that she and I can make walks that this one a regular thing – our schedules may not align for every week, but hopefully at least once or twice a month.

One thing that came up on the walk was a bit of a mini meltdown on my part. My mom is small – she weighs about 138 or so right now, and she’s adamant about losing a few pounds to get down to her “right weight” of 132. I know that for someone that size 6 lbs can make a difference in how they feel about themselves, but it’s hard for me to hear my mom talk about herself in a negative way when she’s not at all overweight. She often says, “I look so fat right now,”or things to that extent. And so we started talking and I told her that when sh makes such comments about herself it bothers me because she should be kinder to herself. That she should accept herself and all of her positive attributes and beauty and not always strive for perfection. (Sound familiar? Now you know where I get it).

As we were walking, I was getting cramps in my legs because we were going pretty fast (for me). My mom said innocently, “but we’re not going that fast.” And I took it the wrong way, or maybe it just struck a nerve with me, because I know she didn’t mean any harm by the comment, but I got all teary-eyed and said: “Mom, you have no idea what it’s like to be way more than 100 pounds overweight. Imagine carrying around 100+ pounds more than you do right now on your body. It’s hard being me. It’s hard to just move around in the world, let alone walk at a good clip.” Which sounds so self-pitying as I type it now, but I guess I needed to express myself to my mom, because I’m not sure she and I have ever had that conversation. She said, “Bella, I think you’re amazing and all that you do, and it doesn’t matter how fast or how slow you go, the point is, you go. You’re out there working out and taking class, and I don’t know how you do it, because I don’t think I could do it at my weight, let alone at yours.” And I thanked her, and said, “you know, Mom, I just can’t wait until I’m not the biggest one on the trail, or in the class, or at the yoga studio. I try not to let it get to me and keep a positive attitude, but sometimes it is hard. And I don’t mean to cry and be all “poor me” but it’s tough sometimes to keep this all up.” And my mom spent some time encouraging me and reiterating what she had said before.

I don’t like to get down on myself or my weight, but every so often my size and my limitations because of my weight crop up and get to me. It was good for me to allow myself to be a bit vulnerable and tell my mom what it’s like being me, and to just have a few minutes of self pity. Most of the time I recognize how amazing my life is, but every now and then I think it’s healthy to express my frustration at being this weight. It was cathartic, and it felt good.

The walk itself was fairly strenuous for me, because we were going faster than I normally do. And the shoes held up well, although toward the very end, near the 2-mile mark, I did start to get that numbness/foot falling asleep feeling as I was walking. I didn’t let it stop me, though, and as soon as I stopped walking that quickly, the feeling passed. Which basically means that I need to go at a slower pace while I’m this weight. Not that I won’t push myself, but with walking, at least, I need to listen to my body (leg cramps, foot numbness, etc) and know when enough is enough.

The rest of the day was fairly mellow – my sister and I went out for frozen yogurt, and it was a nice treat, although it has A LOT more calories than I expected. It’s definitely not something I’d eat on a regular basis. I also spent quite a bit of time enjoying my Adirondack chair that my dad put together for me

Sunday my sister and I went out to breakfast, which is so rare for us (I had banana buckwheat pancakes). Then LC and I were headed up to San Francisco to the MOMA to take in their current exhibition – The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde. The collection was amazing, and we spent an hour and a half walking around just this one exhibit. I’m so glad we did the audio tour, because I learned so much about the Steins’ life. I really didn’t know much about Gertrude Stein and her siblings until yesterday. I found it fascinating that this non-affluent family had such an influence as patrons of modern art. And I didn’t know the San Francisco connection at all. Their entire bohemian existence in Paris in the early part of the 20th century is so appealing to me, and it always has been. If I could travel back in time, I’d love to be in Paris/Italy during the start of the ’20s to see the likes of the Steins, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Matisse, etc. Not to mention a quick trip to Mexico to see Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti.

The collection had so many amazing paintings, and I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed the Matisse selections more than the Picassos.  In general, I like Picasso’s work better, but in terms of the pieces that were included in this exhibition, I was more drawn to the works by Matisse.

"Tea" by Henri Matisse. One of my favorites of the afternoon.

While we were at the MOMA we stopped in the Museum Store and I found myself some great pieces of wearable art (aka jewelry).


This set of pewter bracelets is all intertwined. I took the photo this way to show you how it looks on my arm, as well as close up.


Isn't this ring the coolest? It's zippers. It's from an Argentinian artist, and I think it's funky and fun. (I liked the perspective of the other photo so much, I decided to use it again here).

The rest of Sunday was spent with me really taking stock of myself and realizing that it’s time for me to seek some professional help to find out why I can’t seem to push past this hurdle in my weight loss.  You guys know my pattern as well as I do – I do well for a few weeks and then I go off track – either because I get bored, discouraged, or something is just too enticing to resist – and I start all over.  And all that it does is make me spin my wheels in terms of weight loss.  The other day I read a post by Kenlie in which she said that she’s trying to figure out why she always craves more than she has, in terms of food (and other things too), and those words really struck a nerve with me.  I am the same way: it’s about craving – food, material possessions, a boyfriend, a “better,” thinner life… 

So, I’ve made a call and I’m in the process of scheduling an appointment (several appointments) to speak with a therapist.  About what, exactly, I don’t know, but like my sister said, “it can’t hurt to just talk to someone and see what you find out about yourself.”

Many of you will probably be as surprised as I am about this decision – I’ve avoided therapy for years now.  But I guess I just finally accepted the fact that I can’t keep doing what I’m doing and expect different results.  And I know that I need to figure these issues out now because WLS isn’t going to take them away.  I will have a smaller stomach after the surgery, and I will lose weight – that’s guaranteed, but I won’t be able to keep the weight off and sustain a healthy, happy life unless I get down to the root of the issue.   I need to stop this cycle and really, truly figure out how I can end the “craving” and get down to doing the things I need to in order to live my dreams.

Read Full Post »

Saturday morning arrived and rather than feeling too tired to get up at 5:30 am, I was actually energized.  Kelly had emailed me the day before to make sure I was going to be at the Mentor-led training at the Baylands Park Trail in Mt. View/Palo Alto.

adbebrds1 The Baylands Park Trail is located along the southern part of the San Francisco Bay.  Given that it’s right on the water, it was fairly windy and cold, but it was also really lovely.  The weather on Saturday was overcast, but perfect for walking.

Kelly arrived and handed me a gift bag.  I was so touched, but I didn’t open it yet, since we were about to start the walk.  I thanked her so much, and she said it was just a little something that she picked up because she was thinking of me.

Kelly and I began walking, and right away, she started talking about how she had one mode when she walked or ran – slow.  This was really difficult for me to believe, especially considering the fact that she is incredibly fit.  She participates in marathons and triathlons, and her figure is to die for.  She said that when she started training with TNT, she also experienced the feeling of being the last one.  She said that she was always beating herself up for it, and it wasn’t until she finished the San Diego Rock n’ Roll Marathon that things finally “clicked” for her.  She said the feeling she got when she crossed that finish line was like nothing she had every experienced.  She wished she wouldn’t have been so hard on herself during the training, because at the moment she reached the finish line, all that mattered was that she had completed it, not how quickly she did it.  She said that she felt like she had missed out on so much of the journey of the training, because she was concentrating on the wrong things. Now she accepts that she’s going to be the slow one, and she tries not to let the “demons” of negative self-talk stand in the way of her accomplishing her goals.  And then she said that she saw so much of herself in me.

Everything she said really hit home with me.  I have been concentrating on the fact that I’m so slow rather than in all that I’ve accomplished.  Here we were, up at 7am on a Saturday morning, about to walk for 2 hours.  That in itself was an accomplishment.  I knew that she was right and that I would be sorry if I let my competitiveness get in the way of experiencing the journey of this TNT experience.

As we continued, my legs began to cramp in the calves, and Kelly said we should stop and stretch.  She said that she also has really inflexible muscles, and that she can’t even touch her toes.  She bent down to show me, and she couldn’t.  I was shocked!  I can touch my toes, and I probably way 150 pounds more than she does.  It just goes to show that everyone has their own physical limitations.

We continued along the path at a pace of about a 20-minute mile.  At mile 2 my right foot started going numb.  I can’t describe how uncomfortable and then painful this is.  It’s like when your feet “go to sleep,” with the tingling, etc., but as the numbness travels up my leg all the way to my hip, it gets really scary.  I untied my laces a bit to allow for the swelling, and that alleviated the numbness a bit, but not all the way.  The numbness moved to my left foot, and then I decided to undo my laces all the way.  But I didn’t stop.

We kept talking, and I realized how much Kelly and I have in common.  She was a history major, and want to become a high school teacher.  She asked if she could come and observe my classroom to complete the 30 hours required to enroll in the credential program, and I said of course.  I kept thinking about what a sacrifice she had made to come out and walk with me.  About how caring she was, and how she was such a special person for doing it.  She made me want to continue, through the pain, because I wanted to make sure that I didn’t let her down or make her feel like she had given up her morning for nothing.  It felt so great to finally be able to verbalize some of the things that I had been keeping inside, and I appreciated Kelly so much for allowing me to be vulnerable enough to share everything with her.

We kept walking the entire 2 hours, and completed over 6 miles.  At mile 4, the numbness went away, my leg muscles were warmed up, and I felt stronger than I did at the beginning.  I know I finished the walk faster than I began it.

At the end of the walk, I soon realized that completely undoing my laces might have helped with the numbness, but it was a dumb move in terms of blisters.  It was clear that I now had blisters on the bottom of each of my feet, right at the balls of the feet.  Still, the feeling of accomplishment I felt after just having walked 6 miles was incredible.  6 miles = a 10K!!!!! And I felt like Kelly had been part life coach, part new friend out on that trail with me.

Later when I got home, I opened the gift bag she gave me and found a hand-held water bottle/fuel pouch.  Kelly had mentioned that she liked using the hand-held models better, because running with the fuel belt around her waist was annoying to her.  I had no idea at the time that she had bought one for me.  How sweet was that?  Then I discovered something even more special in the bag – it was a card that touched me so much it made me cry.

The outside of  the card from Kelly

The outside of the card from Kelly

The inside of Kelly's card

The inside of Kelly's card

Reading that card made me so overwhelmed.  To know that someone who I barely knew took the time to find the perfect card was incredible.  It really helped me feel the boost I needed to continue on with this training. Plus it was a great reminder that I have to refocus my thoughts and try to stop thinking about how slow I am and concentrate instead on how much I have accomplished.

img_01532 The card now has a prominent place on my refrigerator.

I may be slow, but I’m also mighty!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: