November 23, 2010

Talk to me

Yesterday was my first session working with a therapist whose specialties include eating disorders, obesity, and weight loss. (For the sake of privacy, I'm going to refer to her as K.) I'm very proud of the fact that I kept the crying to a minimum! I know this is going to be another safe space I am creating for myself, but still, I get self-conscious when people see me cry. (Another topic for another session, I suppose.)

Because it was our first session, we mostly talked about my weight history. I told K about my parents splitting up, the development of my eating disorder, my rapid weight gain, my parents getting back together, the Connecticut to Chicago transitions, and my rapid weight loss. I told her about the weird feeling of all my clothes being too big, about falling out of bed because my center of balance is changing, and about crying in the Apple store.

One thing K commented on was how insightful I am about the changes I am going through - and I admitted that blogging has a lot to do with that. When I sit down and write things out, it forces me to think about things not only as I experience them, but also in a different way, one that is deeper and a bit more "zoomed out." I'm not just focusing on people, feelings, or events, but on the bigger picture surrounding it, which is an important part of the story I am telling.

She asked a lot of questions, which I liked - I know that's the way therapy works, but I just didn't think having someone else ask me questions (as opposed to me asking myself) would open up so many doors to things I haven't thought about in ages. One major thing she brought up was my fear of separation. I love being independent, but that is very tough considering how close I consider my family to be. sister loveI talked about how anxious I was about going home, not just because I am afraid of falling into old habits and patterns. But it isn't just that - no one in my family is trying to get healthy, and so as I am shrinking, they're all growing, and I am worried about not being as close to them anymore ... or at least feeling like I am not a part of something major that they all have in common.

It was an intense revelation. Now, afterwards, I can see it clear as crystal. But with all the weeks and weeks of worrying about going home, it never really occurred to me that I was worried about not fitting in. I'm still very big, so the size difference is not as different as it will be once I make my long-term goal just yet, but there's already going to be a separation in that I won't be eating the same types/amounts of food that they will be eating, and I won't be just sitting around and watching TV all day. I'm losing this major connection with them, and that scares me. Even though I know eating poorly and not exercising will have an adverse effect on the body I'm finally taking care of and will counteract all the hard work I've been putting in, I'm very susceptible to completely throwing in the towel because I want to love my family and be able to do things with them, and so, for example, since my dad can't go for a run with me, I'm likely to eat pizza with him.

The trick is going to be incorporating their food/routines and some of mine. If Mom makes pizza, I need to make sure I control my portions and supplement with salad/veggies - and I can cook healthy meals that everyone will enjoy. My brother is begging me to finally watch "Star Wars" with him, so I told him that we will have to "earn" watching the movies - for example, one of the movies is 121 minutes long, so we can watch it, but only after we do 121 minutes of exercise. We may have to split the exercise over a few days, though with walking home and going to the playground, I'm sure it'll add up quickly! And I've already even mapped out a 5k route around my hometown, so I'd like to get people walking with me.

So this was all after day one of therapy. I'm really looking forward to meeting with K on a weekly basis and working through some of my binge eating, weight loss, and identity issues. It was only an hour, but I already feel like this is one of the last pieces I was missing in my progress.


Sarah@LowStressWeightLoss said...

Wow, sounds like you found a good therapist.

Several years ago I stumbled on a great diet doctor (MD) here and it was a really neat experience.

link to the series about it on my blog :

I dont have the emotional eating issues you do (but I've been fat all my life so I have plenty of self esteem issues). I have worked with a few therapists in my life - if you find a good one be thrilled, there are lots of lousy ones out there...

Anne H said...

Therapy is great!
I have an on-line advisor that helps
me Spiritually, and with HTML!
I wouldn't have gotten through without him!

Amy said...

I'm so glad you've found a therapist that specializes in what you're going through!

I think she's very right that you are very insightful to what is going on, and I'm glad you're getting closer to understand yourself a little better - it's a strange concept that we don't know what's causing us to do/think a lot of things in our lives.

I'm sure you'll find that when you're home eating might be awkward, but when it comes to just being with your family, everything will be the same...and who knows, maybe SEEING you and SEEING how happy you are and how great you look will inspire them to join you on your journey! You never know!

SheZug said...

Therapy is wonderful! I myself went to therapy last year when I couldn't overcome a deep depression. I am not sure where I'd be if I hadn't found the strength to make that step.

Unknown said...

Mary, it sounds like you have found a good therapist - one that you feel comfortable talking to about these private things in your life. So glad to hear that. I recently started therapy again for the first time since my divorce 10 years ago. It is hard work, emotionally (as I'm sure you've already figured out in one session) but such a good feeling to know that you are working on your mental health. I just can't stress that enough when blogging. You are doing things the right way - I wish I'd had your insight while losing my weight. You are remarkable.

Tim said...

It's great to hear that your first visit went well! I have never been to therapy before so it's very interesting to read about it and to see how helpful it can be. Good luck with your family. It's a good idea to incorporating their routines with yours too. They might even learn a lot from how your routine is really benefiting you.

Retta said...

I'm so glad you found a good fit with the therapist.
Maybe in time, YOU will rub off on to your family. I liked your fun idea to earn the movie minutes with your brother!