Thursday, September 19, 2013

Counseling Update

Today I quit the counseling. After four months of weekly visits, we both got to a point where there wasn't a whole lot left to discuss or "unearth." The last few visits weren't all that helpful, although it is nice to just sit and talk out some feelings and thoughts with a neutral party... but I think the main conclusion here is, there is nothing monumental I have left to work through. My weight and eating issues are not really due to any deep emotional trauma. It is a bad habit... turning to food for comfort or stress relief... and I need to continue being aware and substituting healthier things for that relief, such as talking with friends, exercise, and other forms of self-care.

Back when I was newly divorced I went to a counselor for a few months. We talked about my upbringing, my marriage, etc and he gave me some great insights about how those things have affected me. But in the end, one day he said to me, "You're not depressed. You don't need medication. You don't need counseling. You need to take control of your life and change your own circumstances." It was a profound moment for me and I took that enlightenment and ran with it. I went back to college and made other choices in life that got me out of the stagnant, depressing situation I was in as a single mom of four young children. He was right. The choice was mine.

I have come to the same place this time around. I know that over the years of our lives, new issues come up and we have to work on them. Sometime after I saw that counselor, my mother passed away. That brought on a whole new crop of emotional issues that resulted in a whole lot of massive binge eating, getting me above 280 pounds really quickly. I had to finally put down the food and recognize what was going on, and change my reactions to my feelings. I did a lot of that work internally and my blogging about those experiences in the early years of this blog. You may have noticed that I don't have nearly as many stories from my childhood, memories of my parents or upbringing, or old experiences to share lately as I did back then. I shared them to heal myself. I shared them repeatedly until my brain and emotions worked out and accepted what I needed to accept. When I came to peace with those issues, they faded to the background. A lot of it has healed now. Sure, there will always be some sadness when I reminisce about the way relationships turned out in my life or things I missed out on as a child. But the deep pain, that's gone. The wounds have healed and the scars have faded. Yes, new things will crop up. I will have to find ways to cope with them as they happen and heal from them afterwards. That's life.

The months of counseling did help me see some things in a new light and let go of some lingering resentment I was living with. And I appreciate the chance I had to talk about my whole life's journey with someone new who gave me good feedback. But it''s outlived its usefulness, although I can always call him again in the future if the need arises.

I got on the scale this morning, not my usual weigh in day but I have felt so much thinner I thought perhaps the weight was starting to drop off me at a more rapid pace, but no. Same number as Monday. I felt a little rise of annoyance that anyone can eat 900 calories a day and not be losing faster, but I've been through this before. I'll just keep going and hope for another pound gone this week by Sunday. My new bike will arrive next week and maybe that will help move things along.


Anonymous said...

Except for clients with multiple personalities, most clients were ready to quit looking inward and start living out their insights after about 3 to 6 months.

Often when a new life event occurs (Like when your mother died), they need to come round again, but that is not a setback. It's another step forward.

Counseling that goes on too long often allows the client to stay in a holding pattern, avoiding life while seeming to be "working on it." (We do that with diet planning, too, don't we?)

It sounds like you were ready for this phase to be over. :D Good job.


JenB said...

I hope you'll enjoy your bike. I have a Nautilus recumbent. I never used to ride it much (I'd use the elliptical or treadmill) but I've been working it in more the past few months and now will do a 45 min session easily. I get in my reading while I ride :)

Congrats on your counseling conclusion, sounds like it is time.

Ty said...

It sounds as though you got out of the counseling what you needed. I am sure that counseling was only one part of the personal introspection and self-inventory that comes along with trying to do what we are trying to do.

I know that the only reason I am being successful now with weight loss is because I am finally looking at the underlying causes of WHY I stopped caring about myself and let things get so bad to begin with.

Facing up to the mental and emotional pathologies that led me to obesity has been critical to finding a way out. Like many, food for me became a coping mechanism that I used to try to fill up metaphysical voids in my life.

Obesity happens for a reason, and those reasons are more often psychological than not. My problems didn't magically solve themselves all of a sudden of course, when I decided to finally try and fix some things in my life, but seriously addressing and engaging with the underlying mental and emotional causes of obesity was the first step for me.

Changing my attitude was the foundation that gave me the ability to care enough to stick with a serious program.

Obesity and harmful life choices are very often symptoms of other larger personal issues, and its clear that making healthy life choices begins with getting your heart and mind straight.

It sounds like you recognized that and are building the mental , emotional, and spiritual foundations for success.

I have only 39.5 pounds left to go and plan to be there before New Years day. You are about that far away from where you want to be as well, so how about lets get serious and knock it out of the park and be done with this. Weight loss is hard, so my philosophy is to take the shortest path to victory. I say get it over with quickly with maximum effort so you can get your calories back to maintenance level. I am going all-out to just do this and be done with it. I figure why drag it out?

It sounds to me like you need to look at the mathematics of the situation a little closer and it should shed some light on why you aren't losing. In the end it really does come down to the math.

There are plenty of online calculators that will tell you what your maintenance calories should be at your age, weight, height etc. Let that number be "X".

Then calculate how many calories you are willing to burn with cardio daily. There are many lists of how many calories are burned at what speed for various activities also available online.let that number of calories burned equal "Y". X+Y= Z. Z is the total number of calories you would have to eat to maintain your current weight after factoring in cardio.

If you want to lose 8 pounds a month,then you simply need to be 1000 under Z every day. I personally am pushing the limits of what people can lose without doing harm to themselves, so I am at least 1400 under Z every day for a 12 pound rate of loss. And there have been no guessing or surprises at all in this for me because I calculated my maintenance levels all the way down in 10 pound increments and kept lowering my target intakes. I keep a log of all calorie intakes and I can tell you every calorie I have consumed over the last 6 months right down to the two orange flavored tic-tacs I had Wednesday that were 1.9 calories apiece.

Long cardio and intense weight lifting are both ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL in times of severe caloric deprivation to avoid metabolic slow-down and cannibalization of muscle tissue You may be experiencing those things, and the remedy is clear.

Also, long cardio is critical because by raising your Z total , it means you can eat a lot more and still lose weight. My Z total to maintain right now is about 2700 calories because of all the cardio, and my actual intake is around 1000. To achieve the same loss rate without the cardio would require me to be living on 400 calories a day which would be insane. To sum up, if you do long cardio you get to eat more and still lose.

Anyways, those are just my thoughts and suggestions.

Take the shortest path to victory.

Lyn said...

Thanks Ty for your thoughtful comments. I think you're right in that I HAVE to be consistent with the exercise (including lifting) to get this done. I do think it will ramp up my rate of loss and get me there asap! Bike is coming, and I have the weights :)

Camila said...

Out of curiosity, have you ever visited GoKaleo's blog, especially on counting calories? 900 is starvation. You could easily gain weight on that.
Also, deals with restrictive eating disorders. You can still have a disorder and be overweight.
I say these things out of kindness, as this is all truly alarming. I had an eating disorder on 1800 calories a day and running four miles. I also had an eating disorder eating 2500 calories a day and doing 20 min interval training. It's not in the numbers. It's in the body and mind. Cold, tired, dry hair, brittle preoccupation with food, weight loss, irritability...a healthy woman easily eats 2500 calories a day and maintains her weight, on moderate activity levels. It is just that some of us have a genetic disposition (set-point) that requires a little more meat than others. Embrace it and get on with your life.
I just can't see any more people lost to starvation, who think they aren't starving just because they aren't a BMI of 20.

Lyn said...


I haven't visited those blogs in awhile, but will go take a look again. Thanks for your thoughts.

I would be more concerned about 'starvation' if my doctor wasn't supporting my eating plan, although it's true doctors certainly don't know everything. All my blood work has been good with no nutritional deficiencies noted, so I am not sure what to make of it.