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On the last track, we discussed three concepts related to the compulsive dieter. These three concepts related to the compulsive dieter included: addressing failure; addressing the need to control; and overcoming the need for self-criticism.
Because bulimic and compulsive overeating clients experience an increase in erratic behavior during a diet, I have found it beneficial to help clients who are chronic dieters to release them of their dieting habits. Think of your bulimic or compulsive eating clients. How is dieting affecting their eating patterns?
On this track, we will examine three aspects of releasing clients from their diets. These three aspects of releasing clients from their diets include: reluctance; depression; and weight acceptance.
3 Aspects in Release from Diets
Aspect #1 - Reluctance
Even those that appear to be willing to give up their dieting habits may still be harboring resistant tendencies. In order to fully release themselves from the constraints of diets, the clients must resolve themselves to a lifetime of unregulated food intake. Because their binging results from the constraints of diets, making a willful decision to give up diets releases them from this constraint and subsequently can release them of their binges.
Meredith, age 34, had stated that she wished to give up dieting. For the first week of her no diet life, Meredith bought any food she wished and brought it home. However, Meredith quickly felt like she was losing control. She stated, "Every night I come home with ice cream and cookies and Chinese food and I eat and eat and eat! I’ve gained five pounds this week and I can’t imagine going on at this rate! The problem is that when I have food in the house I feel compelled to eat it. I can’t put away a half-eaten pint of ice cream!"
What I soon noticed about Meredith’s behavior was that she was trying to see how well she could resist the food she brought home. I stated to Meredith, "Resisting has more to do with diets than with rejecting diets. Essentially, you are testing yourself and saying that you would only stop dieting if you proved to yourself that you could have food in the house and not eat it. Does that sound right?" Meredith stated, "I didn’t really buy into all that and I didn’t believe in my willpower to not eat compulsively."
Obviously, Meredith was not ready to give up her diets. Think of your Meredith. How would he or she react to giving up his or her diets?
Aspect #2 - Depression
Hugh, age 41, after a week of not being on a diet, stated, "It was a tremendous relief not be on a diet! My eating did slow down and I even left some food on my plate at a restaurant the other night. But I noticed that I felt kind of depressed. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I wasn’t obsessed with food or with dieting. What happened, however, was that I became more aware than ever of all the problems I face every day! I guess I really was spending a lot of energy distracting myself from those problems by focusing on what I was eating."
I stated to Hugh, "But now that you are able to push aside the curtain of obsession, you can more easily address those problems that had been hidden up until now. You can focus on those problems and subsequently organize your life." Think of your Hugh. Would he or she feel some slight depression after releasing him or herself from diets?
Aspect #3 - Weight Acceptance
Cognitive Behavior Therapy Technique: Stop the Thoughts
I asked Terence to follow these 2 Steps in order to Help Him Accept his Body Weight and stop the automatic, negative thoughts that constantly jumped into his head.
I completed the CBT exercise with Terence once in a session. During the course of an interview, Terence stated, "I can’t stand the way I look!" which was one of his automatic thoughts. I asked him to stop and address these thoughts directly. Terence stated aloud, "There’s no point to this kind of thinking. It just repeats itself endlessly." I then asked Terence to remind himself of his new way of thinking.
He stated, "Although I don’t like the way I look, I’m trying to come to terms with it. If I keep thinking negatively about myself, I’ll feel awful and then I’ll need to eat." Think of your Terence. How could he or she address his or her negative thoughts?
On this track, we discussed three aspects of releasing clients from their diets. These three aspects of releasing clients from their diets included: reluctance; depression; and weight acceptance.
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