“You just have to stop eating so much.”
My friend’s words irritated me. Of course I know that. I’ve been dieting on and off for years. It was the final trimester of pregnancy, and I was starting to think about the daunting task of losing all the baby weight.
I responded: “I’m telling you, there is something different between you and me. You don’t think about food the same way I do. You don’t obsess and think about food every minute of the day. There is something wrong in my head and I don’t think there is any point in attempting to diet unless I address that first.”
My friend is one of these people who can have a box of cookies sitting on her desk for weeks at a time. She has never struggled to lose or maintain weight. She is a thin person and thinks like a thin person. I have no doubt that if her brain and thin thinking could somehow be inserted into my head that she would have an easier time losing the baby weight (and more) that I’m currently lugging around.
I was going to do things differently this time. This time, I had a new plan: step 1: go to therapy and reprogram my thinking. Step 2: start diet and lose weight. In September 2010, I was ready to implement the plan.
In the first appointment we talked about my eating/weight issues history, including bulimia, perpetual cycles of weight loss and gain, countless Weight Watchers' memberships, and previous attempts at therapy to address these issues.
I developed bulimia shortly after retiring from seven years as a competitive synchronized swimmer. Even though I stopped purging twenty years ago, I continued to binge-eat (or perceive myself as binge-eating) and never resolved the underlying issues of the eating disorder. I learned that my suspicions were correct and that I am not normal eater, and I have an eating disorder. It's called Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS).
We discussed what I wanted to get out of therapy and setting goals; having a normal relationship with food. I want to be a person who can have ice cream in the freezer, chips in the pantry and a bag of cookies on my desk. I don't want to be ruled by cravings and feelings of guilt and dissatisfaction. I told my her that I wasn't hopeful that I could change. Without skipping a beat, she told me that I should be hopeful.