26.5.09

Weight Loss + Mental Health ~ May 26, 2009

It seems like today, my brain is stuck on one thing...

Why am I more successful this time around? What is the one thing I see consistantly in the WW message boards that I think needs to be better addressed?

I see a HUGE need out there for more of a focus on mental health, when addressing weight loss. A huge, crying out for help, "Why can't I get through this?!" need...

Most of us know what we should be eating, right? We've seen the food pyramid, we know that if we eat loads of fatty foods, and skip the veggies, we'll probably end up fat and unhealthy, right? We see the signs saying "5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day". We know that Milk does a body good. McDonalds in = Belly out.

So why are we eating like this? Why are we killing ourselves with what we're putting in our mouths?!

I think that a lot of us are feeding something other than our stomach, and I think that a lot of us haven't taken the steps necessary to find our way out of that...

As we've seen before in this blog, I am a recovering Binge Eater. I fight with depression, and anxiety, and low self-esteem, and difficulty finding self worth. I ate my way through loaves of bread, boxes of pasta, packages of frozen waffles, cartons of ice cream, bags of cookies, bags of chips, cheese, massive omelettes, chocolate bars by the hundred, litres and litres of pop, cake, burgers, fries, and pretty much any other comfort food I could get my hands on. I would eat until I felt like throwing up. I would eat until I hated myself just that little bit more.

When it came time to diet, how was I supposed to cope without my food there?! I managed for a few weeks, and then I couldn't sustain it. I was SUFFERING! I was TORTURING myself! I might as well have been throwing myself down the stairs every day; it couldn't have hurt any more! I was falling apart, because I couldn't deal with ANYthing that came my way!

So now, I'm 20 weeks in to WW... 2 1/2 times my longest previous attempt. I've lost more than 70 lbs so far (results not typical, lol). And I'm not suffering, and I'm not struggling, and I feel better about myself, and my life, and my body, than I ever have before. I don't feel like I need to stop. I'm not feeling that HUNGER anymore...

Why?

Well, this is after more than a year of therapy... This is after I spent a lot of hours figuring out how to cope with life. This is after I finally realized that, no matter whether or not I lose the weight, it doesn't diminish my beauty and worth as a person!! I saw both a regular, cognitive behavioral therapist, as well as a therapist who specialized in eating disorders. I also see a psychiatrist, because one of the elements that we discovered I needed was what I think of as glasses for the brain, anti-depressents.

I'm not saying that therapy and pills fix everything. There is SO much hard work that needs to be done, personally, to make anything successful... I've worked my BUTT off, both before starting WW, and now that I'm on plan.

But I think that mental health needs to be brought to the FOREFRONT of the weight loss scene! How can you cope with losing weight, if you can't learn to like yourself? Unfortunately, losing weight doesn't necessarily mean you'll love yourself any more...

I'm always interested to hear what all of you in Blog Land have to say... You can feel free to tell me that I'm totally off-base... But these are my personal experiences, and I've seen a lot of people struggling, for whom my heart is broken... This, to me, is a hugely important issue, and I want to get the word out there, if only in my small way...

8 comments:

Amber - on a human journey said...

Chantel. I think this post is full of 100%, no additive, wisdom. I know personally the losing battle weight loss can be when you haven't tackled the issues underneath the surface -- those things that trigger eating, the reasons you became dependent on food in the first place, etc. A diet itself only treats the symptoms (over eating) not the problem. We stay sick in our society in many ways because of this methodology.

We need to dig all the way down to the bottom, treat the disease, and really see people set free! :)

Tamara said...

Well said. Very insightful. I'm so glad I read this. First of all, Congratulations on your amazing success so far. 20 weeks is kick ass! I'm going to think about your glasses for the brain comment. It's a very interesting perspective. Good for you for seeking counselling. It's something I've thought about a lot. Thanks for giving me lots to think about.

Chantel said...

Tamara, it's a HUGE compliment that I've given you things to think about!!

Christielli said...

Awesome post!

I think those of us who struggle with our weights end up wearing our unhappiness on the outside. Eating can definitely be an addiction that's used to cope with other problems, and I think it's such a hard addiction to beat because you cannot kick it cold turkey, since you obviously have to eat to live.

A really good book on addiction that I just read was "Beautiful Boy" by David Sheff. I'm recommending it randomly to a lot of ppl 'cuz I think it's good. It's about a father whose son is addicted to meth, but I think it's a good read for anyone who's stuggled with well, anything.

20 weeks on WW is awesome and you should be so proud of yourself. You'll be at goal before you know it!

Me said...

You have too be the smartest person I know. I attempted therapy for three years. I went to the psychologist every doctor in Vancouver goes to. He turned out to be a pervert who tried to bed me.

I don't know why but I was doing soooo good on WW until my BF told me he's going to do it because I "inspired him" to do it as well (he's maybe 10lbs overweight). It scared me and made me incredibly anxious and I started binging and eating mcdonalds again.

I'm trying to figure out how to break this cycle forever.

Ebony said...

Great post Chantel! I love the line "McDonald's in = belly out."

I'm a big believer in having your head in the right place too, as you may have surmised by some of my posts on 200+.

For me some of my self worth came from working in therapy, but a lot of it came through my religious beliefs. I believe I'm God's literal daughter, with all His attributes in embryo. That is very empowering to me.

Sharon said...

Awesome post Chantel. I believe you are 100% correct. After spending a life time yo-yo dieting and still being obese, I finally in the last while decided to really tackle to REAL reason I eat. It is still a hard battle, but one that is getting a bit easier.

BTW, you are doing fantastic :)

shopgirlkatie said...

hi chantel, i'm shopgirlkatie from WW. i read your blog as soon as i saw what you posted in my question, and i just wanted to say congratulations on your success!
i don't just mean with your weight loss, though that is an amazing accomplishment in itself! i think, that the realization that the battle with food addiction can only be beat once you look inside yourself and see what the real problem going on is, is a huge step in your treatment.
i remember when i first began to realize how terrible i was treating myself, and all of the different behaviors that i needed to change in order to succeed in my transformation. this was the point that i finally felt hope in all of the treatment i was getting.
anyways, i just wanted to say congratulations on your successes, and thank you for referring me to your blog!