Thursday, February 11, 2010

Becoming My Own Therapist: CBT, Here I Come

It has been eight days since I have binged. Eight whole days. This is the longest I have gone in a while. Three meals, two snack, every day, no exception. Gym every day, running a minimum of five miles.

(You think the pounds would be FLYING off me. Alas, only about two pounds in the past eight days. I am hoping for two by ten days. It has been very discouraging and I have been very vulnerable for binges every day.)

But I have been here before, in this place, so I am not getting too cocky yet. And the point now, my goal now, is to NOT be here again. It is to get to the root of this problem once and for freaking all.

Yo-yoing is not working for me. I continue to yo yo back and forth, and gain and lose the same weight all the time. I do keep it in a range, and I guess that is good. But still. Clearly my long term plan isn’t effective. Clearly my pattern of eating and exercise is flawed. Clearly denying myself foods doesn’t work. Clearly I resort to binges and binge cycles that last anywhere from one meal to one year. And clearly I haven’t figured this out, otherwise I wouldn’t be struggling so much with weight.

So I did a little research and I have decided that I am going to do a little self help. Yes, I will lick this on my own. I quit drinking on my own, so I can do this. I don’t really have a choice. I think institutionalizing myself for a year might be a better idea, but I don’t have time for that. Besides, I don’t want to learn to recover from disordered eating in a controlled environment: I want to figure this out in the real world. I don’t have time to attend therapy on a regular basis. I need to do this myself. I don’t have a choice.

The method I deem best for me: Cognitive behavior therapy. CBT is based on the premise that our thoughts (cognition) cause our behaviors. Therefore, my evil thoughts are causing me to overeat. So if we change the way think, we can change the way we feel. And won’t that just change everything?

The goal is to understand the relationships between thoughts, emotions and actions. The sunny side of this is once these relationships are understood, I can replace those bad, negative thoughts and emotions (which lead me to binge) with more positive, happy thoughts and emotions that will keep me on track. Sounds easy. Ha.

I have culled some info from several sources and have created my own eight-step program. Go me. I have no idea how long each step takes, but I intend to stay on each step until I master it.

The first step is recording what I eat and how I feel. I started yesterday and it feels good to do that. I am sure that one day isn’t going to make a huge difference but to be honest I do feel a little more enlightened. Yes, I eat when I am stressed or angry or sad. I guess that makes me an emotional eater. I get that. Add that to my long list.

So now, the end goal is to figure out HOW to handle those emotions instead of burying them in food. Instead of eating, what can I do? And since I know this about myself now, and I know when I may be upset what preventative measures can I take to help myself before it gets bad?

That is all down the road. Right now it is all about seeing the connections. And I will see the connections more clearly as I journal every time I eat.

The book mentions that even the intention to restrict food can lead to overeating. I guess it makes sense, on a certain level. And I do see that the deeper I get into this disorder, the more I am restricting my food. Because while I am an emotional eater for sure, I am also easily triggered. Well, I guess that is emotional: I feel like I fucked up so why not just keep on eating more and more and more. Even one bit of something I deem “bad” indicates to me failure. Why am I so hard on myself?

How long will this step take? Maybe two weeks, I’d say. I need to clearly see a correlation between my thoughts and my eating behaviors. I need to see clearly when I want to binge. I need to identify my vulnerable times. Once I get there, it’s on to step two, which limits my weigh-ins to once a week. THAT is going to be very hard step. I weigh myself daily (sometimes at night too, which is terrible). Ugh. The journey continues…. and continues.... and continues....


  1. "Clearly denying myself foods doesn’t work" - YES! You got it girl. Restricting leads to binging (well, for me anyway). We literally can only restrict our bodies for so long - eventually they cry out for food. With me, when I start to give it what it needs, it's like the floodgates open and I binge - because my body is so used to a cycle, it thinks that this will be the last time it'll be eating lots of food, and it better stock up, because soon I'll be restricting again.

    Good on you for 8 days - that is a huge, huge achievement! Keep it up.

  2. Awesome job on the 8 days!! That really is huge!