In re-reading my last few entries, I can see how far I’ve come since then; and I am so happy.
I was feeling depressed and hopeless, yet continued to see my therapist and attend my weight watchers meetings; all the while gaining weight. By late July, I was at my heaviest weight ever – a whopping 308 pounds. Holy crap!
In May, I was speaking with a friend and she mentioned she has been taking Zoloft for a little while now, and really noticed a difference in her anxiety levels and how she deals with stressful situations. So I mentioned it to Margaret (my therapist) and she thought Zoloft was a great idea. Not only would it help me deal with stress, it has also been shown to be helpful with weight loss. So I started taking it. It took about 6 weeks until I noticed any change, and about 4 months until I realized that I was dealing with my life differently. I had less anger at the little annoyances in my day, plus I didn’t get myself so worked up in stressful situations, allowing my behavior to get out of control. That is great, but I’m still not losing weight.
Finally one day in early August, I had determined that something had to change. I’ve been pursuing the same course of action without results for too long. I sat down on Margaret’s couch prepared to tell her that I think I should stop coming – at least for a while. When I sat down, Margaret said to me that this isn’t working. She suggested we try one more type of therapy and if that didn’t work, I should stop coming to see her. Wow, I’m so glad we both see that things aren’t working. It reinforces my belief that she is good at her job. So I said okay, I’m willing to try anything. What do you have in mind?
EMDR therapy. Margaret explained that this therapy was developed to treat PTSD, but has been shown to useful in treating other conditions, including compulsive eating. “Okay, I’m in!” And so we began. We started by establishing where I am today: what my problem (trauma) is, and then deciding where I want to be. I started with the statement “I make bad choices about food.” and decided where I want to be instead is “I love myself enough to always do what’s best for me.” Good stuff.
Then we started talking about my statement – I make bad choices about food. Margaret asked me how that makes me feel, and can I recall a situation where I made a bad choice. So what was different about this conversation and all the others? This time I was wearing headphones and holding sensors. Through the headphones I heard a beep in my left ear, then the right, then the left, etc. Back and forth a rhythmic tone in my ears, while simultaneously feeling a buzzing sensation in the companion hand. The conversation continued all the while a beep and buzz on the left, then the right, again and again. And when my recounting of a situation would become extremely emotional we would stop and examine those emotions from a distance. Interesting I thought, but how does it work? Apparently the tone flipping from the right to the left distracts the brain from making its usual neural connection and allows for the creation of a new, less harmful, one.
Does it work? Yes it does. How do I know? Well, not only do I feel less stress about food, but I fell less anxiety in general. Plus, and best of all, as of this morning I am down to 284. Woo Hoo! Finally, I am seeing some real results. And my whole attitude about food has shifted. I still have more to do, but this time there is a real difference in how I think about myself, my life, the world around me, and food. I’m very happy.