Monday, December 5, 2016

No Thanks, Don't Want a Group or a Counselor

I had a lot of comments and emails after my last post, telling me I should get a counselor or a therapist, or some kind of eating disorder specialist, or start going to a support group like OA or Weight Watchers or some other kind of therapy group. Thanks for the suggestions, but no thanks. There's really nothing new about those ideas and I do think they are valid ones. I appreciate you caring enough to make a suggestion. Sometimes people really do need an outsider helping them fix their emotional issues or heal from the past. Sometimes people do benefit from going to a group where other people have similar eating or weight related problems and everyone works on it together. That's really not something I want or would benefit from. Oh maybe if I had a *real* ED specialist who has lots of experience and training dealing with this stuff, it would help me. It probably would. We don't have anyone close by I can see who has that kind of background. I went to see the only counselor I could find who has ED experience, and wrote about that earlier in my blog. I didn't get a whole lot out of it and usually felt like I was wasting time going in there. I've been to plenty of other, mainstream and/or church-based counselors and really don't like it. I also don't like OA (in person or online) and never enjoyed Weight Watchers when I went years ago. I have been in a couple of other weight loss type, recovery type groups and they are just not my thing. And to clarify, I am not depressed, I feel good emotionally, I like my life, I am not "struggling" with any issues. I worked on a lot of the emotional stuff while I was losing weight, because I no longer had the coping mechanism of eating and had to actually deal with the issues I was trying to stuff down. Not much left.... I am happy. But yeah, the extra weight is hurting my joints and I know is not the best for my overall health, so I don't want to keep plowing happily forward from 250 to 260 to 300. No thanks!

I thought about it and decided I can continue on with my calm, unrestricted eating as long as I shift a few of my thought processes and tweak the habits a bit. I can't justify counting calories or carbs or weighing and measuring my food and risking the ED resurfacing. Instead, I will nurture that tendency I have developed to reject foods that cause me pain. It has worked very well for avoiding sugar (as a choice, not a rule), so why not for processed foods and carbs? It's really a mental process of equating the food with the result of eating it... something I was unable to do when I was blinded by food obsession. So that's, I think, the long term solution. Yes, I have always lost weight well eating low carb. But I am not going on a "diet" that restricts whole foods groups or brings up feelings of failure if I deviate from some list. My body knows what I need. This is all about staying calm and non-reactive to diet, food, weight, etc in order to let the eating disorder heal (or die!) Maybe to a person who has never had an eating disorder, these two things look the same:

I am not eating that candy bar because I need to lose weight and I have to stick to this diet.

Do I want that candy bar? No, because it would make me feel worse if I ate it.

But to someone who has struggled with binge eating, obsessive food thoughts, or compulsive overeating, these two approaches are vastly different! One is a demand, a rule, fear based, resolve driven, motivation dependent. The other gives a true choice where either option would result in emotional peace. It is self-love driven, with no risk of failure. This is my path to healing.


Brooke said...

I relate to what you are going though. Recovering from disordered eating and obesity presents a challenges in that the prescriptions for overcoming either present a contradiction. I have found that mindset is key and how you describe it being a choice rather than a restriction works very well for me. Another thing i might add is focussing on what you can add to your meals rather than what you restrict. For example, I find it helpful to focus on making sure i eat a green vegetable at 2-3 meals per day. This makes me feel better and naturally leads me to eating more balanced meals. Another loose parameter that works is making an effort to cook 80-90% of my meals at home. I have found cooking to be one of, if not the, most important habits for weight loss and weight managemnet and being aware of how often I am eating out helps me to produce and reinforce this healthy habit,

Amy said...

I am with you, I don't like outside help because for me, most of the reasons I eat compulsively have to do with unresolved parent-issues. Sitting in a group of people practicing sheer willpower wouldn't help fix those issues, I have to spend time in my head, realizing I was seeing things through one-sided, child's eyes. Meditation has definitely helped me uncover some of the erroneous beliefs I have about myself based on past experiences. Talking to others about it always makes me feel like I'm being overdramatic. Some of the mindful eating books I have read say if you eat mindfully and stop when you are satisfied, you will reach your natural, intended weight with little struggle. Sounds nice, doesn't it? Lets hope it's true!

Lyn said...


those are both great suggestions! Focusing on what to include for health is something I have done in the past and worked really well; you're so focused on getting in the right foods that you don't miss the wrong ones! I have to go back and look at my blog but that was the basis of my Superfoods challenge. There is a book called Superfoods Rx that explains the best foods for health in easy to understand categories, and making a list of those and posting it on the fridge reminded me to try and include them daily. I will add that back to my routine... thanks for the reminder! I also totally agree about the home cooking. My worst eating has been done in my car!! Fast food is a killer, literally... even choosing "healthier" options because they are so carby in general.


I hope it's true... I believe it! I truly feel I am on the right path even with the (temporary) weight gain because ALL of this is based on emotions and coping. Healing that should heal the weight even if it takes some time.

I agree it feels overly dramatic to go on and on with a stranger about childhood, marriages, past hurts etc. I know when people go through trauma or are seriously depressed, a counselor can become a true lifeline. I am not disparaging counseling. It helped me a lot when I divorced my first husband. I got a change to talk out the hurts I had gone through as well as my pregnancy losses, and that was very cathartic. But you can only rehash past junk so many times before it becomes counterproductive. Every time I got a different counselor (and I have had at least 7 or 8!) I have to explain the background and past and they want to go over the mommy issues, the past abuse, the husband stuff, the losses. At some point it started to feel like a negative thing to keep going on about it. For me, what I need to work on is *current* stuff (nothing major, just daily life stuff) that I can deal with myself or talk out with a friend. And now that I have a wonderful church family, I can talk to one of the pastors if I need support with anything, or for guidance in my developing faith. Life is good, everyone is medically stable right now, and I am very content with everything but my health/weight.

Anonymous said...

You are doing amazingly well. Please don't let a few pounds discourage you from what you're doing. In the long run, you will see big losses. I have seen this time and time again in my career: a person makes a decision not to panic and react to their trigger anymore, and all other things resolve. I predict that very soon, if you continue, you will see good losses on the scale and a much healthier body.

Anonymous said...

Working with my daughter through some disappointments she's recently had in her life we discovered a few articles discussing what traits are common in successful people. The conclusion of these articles was fairly simple - determination and grit. I see these traist in you, and I believe that you are on the right track! As long as you keep working towards your goals you will eventually get there.

Anonymous said...

harder to do without support

Lyn said...

Thanks all!

last Anon~

I totally agree! Thank goodness I have great support! :)