We met more than 11 years ago on the banks of the credit river at the Don Rowing Club. My friend has soft, curly, long, brown (occasionally blonde) hair, and a huge smile that shows off her high cheekbones.
We are both athletic in nature. We’d rather be training for a 5 or 10 K run or a rowing or dragon boating regatta than spending time on an elliptical machine in the gym. Over the years, we’ve laughed, cried and chatted about everything from boys and career plans to friends and family, to fitness and our mutual subject of obsession, weight.
Both of our waistlines have been expanding over the years. Up and down our weight has gone; through cycles of dieting and overeating; on or off Weight Watchers; training for an athletic event or lazing on the couch just talking about it. I’m a lot bigger than her (my weight gain exploded during my two pregnancies) but for both of us, traditional dieting had become increasingly difficult.
She was very interested when I talked to her about what I was learning about my eating issues in cognitive therapy. We talked about how restricting yourself on a diet damages the psychology of your eating; anxiety and how it triggers hunger; and how dieting, following the all or nothing rules, results in anxious and guilt-ridden feelings triggering binges and episodes of overeating. We talked how it made so much sense and she is one of my friends supporting my blog.
This spring, in a bid to lose weight again, she decided to register for the online Weight Watchers program. For a couple of months, she’s basically gained and lost the same 2 pounds. Finally, she talked to her therapist about it.
“Weight Watchers in too restrictive for you,” her therapist told her.
In order to change her relationship with food, she told her that she needs to want to make a change and she needs to believe in herself. Her therapist left her with a couple of to do’s: introduce off limit foods back into rotation (such as chips, chocolate and cookies) and develop self-trust by setting and completing daily tasks.
I asked her about what she meant about self-trust. Her therapist told her that she puts her trust into Weight Watchers rather than trusting herself to lose weight. I have to admit, that was a little a-ha moment for myself too, because even a year ago I would have told you that I absolutely, under no other circumstances, would I even attempt to lose weight without some sort of structured, traditional, weight loss program. There was no way I could lose weight without Weight Watchers. A year later, I’m doing it, I’m losing weight without Weight Watchers (albeit at a much slower pace) and the intense craving for junk food has decreased significantly.
So my dear friend, I think you are now well on your way to figuring out your own eating/food puzzle. I remember telling you that I sort of wished that I had lost weight on Weight Watchers and then figured out my eating issues with a cognitive therapist. But I think I would have run into the same dieting firewall as you. Dieting would be impossible, and like you, I would have gained and lost the same two pounds over and over again.