An inspiring story from one of my clients:
Over the course of my life, I have lost and gained hundreds of pounds. When I would commit to lose weight, I’ve been
able to lose 45, 60 and even 80 pounds, only to gradually gain it back over the next couple of years.
A couple of years ago, my physician suggested I undergo a gastric bypass. This suggestion broke through my denial about how out of control my eating was and how my weight gain was at a medically dangerous level. I was clear that I did not want to undergo surgery so I began on my final journey of weight loss. At that time, I weighed 280 pounds on my mere 4’8” body. I needed to lose at least 150 pounds.
Despite having a master’s degree in clinical psychology, I was reluctant to address the underlying emotional issues that were associated with the huge fluctuation in my weight. I knew that in order for this journey to go down a different path, I needed to do the hard work. I don’t mean the eating changes, and I don’t mean the increase in exercise; I mean, the hard emotional work.
I got a referral from a therapist friend of mine, who gave me a pamphlet for the Center for Thoughtful Weight Loss. I began working with Ellen Resnick, LCSW, who uses the Beck Diet Solution as the framework of her cognitive behavioral treatment.
I began working my way through The Beck Diet Solution Workbook and identifying and addressing my sabotaging thoughts. I learned that a hunger pang was not a warning of an imminent demise and that sometimes one must simply pass up unhealthy food…oh well! I also focused on the reasons why I wanted to lose weight every day. I found that having a diet coach helped me to ‘come out’ and be more honest about the genuine struggle that I always shamefully hid from those around me.
In addition to working on the tough emotional issues, I rigidly record my calories and very seldom veer from my healthy eating patterns that I have developed. I do not let others influence or pressure me to eat anything that I do not want to eat. I began to place importance on the company at an event rather than the food that was being served.
My exercise also has contributed to my success. I began running a couple of miles at a time at a very slow pace. To date, I have run eight half marathons; the last one was a trail run with significant hills. I have also run numerous 10K races, consistently breaking my own time records. I also ride my bike, I open water swim in the San Francisco Bay, work out with weights, and have competed in triathlons.
After 2.5 years of persistence in eating healthy, exercising, and most importantly addressing the underlying emotional issues and sabotaging thoughts, I feel that this weight loss journey will be my last one! I have lost 150 pounds, more than 50% of my starting body weight. I am still working on losing the final 5-10 pounds before I begin my maintenance program.
I did set a reward for myself once I reached my initial goal; it was to go to school to become a personal trainer. My classes begin next week and I look forward to supporting others in achieving their health and fitness goals. By helping others, I will also benefit by the constant reinforcement of how far I have come, how much I have learned, and how much I have accomplished in my own journey!
A special thank you to Donna for sharing her amazing journey. She received an incredible reward today—Dr. Judith Beck will be publishing Donna’s success story in her next newsletter. Way to go Donna!
Ellen is a psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco and
Redwood City, California. She specializes in Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy and incorporates the use of mindfulness into the treatment of
depression, anxiety, and emotional overeating. She runs a holistic
weight loss program called Center for Thoughtful Weight Loss,
www.thoughtfulweightloss.com. You can email Ellen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, check out HealthyWage, the incentives experts who pay you to be healthy.
copyright © 2010 Ellen N. Resnick, LCSW
Reprinted with permission.