Self-Care for Real Weight Loss
[The following situation is real. Certain details have been changed to protect clients' anonymity.]
At 45, Maria considered herself overweight. She had lost and regained the same 25 pounds four times with four different kinds of diet plans. As a result, she felt like a failure.
I suggested that Maria explore what was going on emotionally when she ate. She chose to start an insight/food diary, in which she recorded her responses to questions such as: What am I eating? Where am I eating? Why am I eating? What am I feeling? What am I thinking? ... when I eat.
During our work together Maria discovered important insights, including this one:
"I realize I am not taking care of myself when I start my day - like not having breakfast, or not gathering my workout clothes the night before so that I don't have to rush around getting ready in the morning."
During the following sessions Maria experienced many shifts: She began walking 2 miles each morning and started eating a home cooked breakfast. Sometimes she could stop eating when she felt full, even though she felt a little guilty about leaving some food on her plate.
Looking at internal triggers for overeating, Maria worked on the clutter in her house, and she began to pay bills on time. With these lifestyle changes in place, she felt "more real", so that even after a very stressful day at work, she did not need to compensate by overeating.
Maria accepted the idea that there is no quick fix for losing weight - a profoundly important shift in her attitude. Although she had used multiple weight loss programs, she wanted a long-term solution and was okay about not losing weight immediately.
Maria's willingness to change an old belief (diets = weight loss = happiness) opened up insights and a new way of seeing: She understood that she needed to take care of herself, her home and her financial responsibilities to reestablish emotional equilibrium.