In 2010 I quit swimming, a sport which I had been overly active in (training up to 10 times a week) since the age of 8. In 2001/02 I put on a lot of weight due to a hormone issue. In 2003-05 I put on even more weight thanks to the depression I suffered during my years at Uni (and when I say “years at Uni” I mean the years I locked myself in my bedroom, slept from 5am to 2pm and ate nothing but cheese and onion crinkle cut chips).
In the space of 5 years, I doubled my weight.
The depression didn’t really go away until the end of 2007, and that’s when I decided I needed to take charge of my weight. Fast forward to today and I am the same weight, despite having tried every diet known to man, joined several gyms and having seen a therapist and a dietician.
You see, it’s easy for fitness nuts to say “get off the couch and go for a walk”, or for my dietician to say “replace your sugar craving with an apple”, but when you’re unmotivated, tired all the time and in a heavy routine of doing nothing, it’s not that easy. I will sit down and say to myself “get up, go for a walk” – but my body does not move.
I make excuses. I don’t like to walk around lakes because I know I’ll need to go to the bathroom, but I also don’t like gyms because I don’t like the environment. I don’t like the heat. I don’t like to sweat. I left my shoes at home. I’m tired. I’ll go tomorrow.
I’m an emotional/stress binge eater. I can eat well all day, but then I get home I’m not happy with my home life- so I’ll eat everything I can see.
I eat when I am bored, and as I have a form of ADD, I’m bored a lot.
I eat til I am full, and then some. I don’t like to waste food, so I’ll eat until I want to spew – even though I know I should stop.
I can tell you the nutritional benefits of almost any food, but I’ll still go for chocolate over a banana because chocolate makes me feel good, and who doesn’t like to feel good.
I used to say “right I’m going on a diet today”, and then that evening I would find myself driving through Macdonald’s drive-through…and I hate MacDonald’s.
All of this, it’s self-sabotage – my therapist says I do it to myself so I can stay fat so people won’t pay attention to me, and so I can stay alone forever and not end up like my parents.
The worst thing about it all is that I am conscious of the self-sabotage, I am conscious of what an idiot I am, I know what I am doing is wrong and that I should stop – I just can’t. I’m addicted to being fat.
In 2012, after the death of my best friend and the subsequent binge eating and depression that followed, I considered talking to my Doctor about a gastric-banding. However, fate intervened and I ended up talking to my Dad about it first. Dad told me about a lady he knew who was hypnotised to believe that she had a gastric bypass – so when they would go out to dinner, she would eat hardly anything believing that she was full. This intrigued me.
So, in 2012 I started hypnotherapy and, you know what, it was fantastic. I saw Penny Clarke at Your Hypnotherapy, some sessions at Vitality Health Clinic in Tuggeranong and some sessions at Penny’s office in Ainslie.
The sessions usually consisted of a chat, and then the hypnotherapy to end with. Penny would ask me questions about my habits, why I ate what I ate and when I ate it. She’d ask about my life, my family, my work and my routine.
I think the best thing for me was that Penny was extremely kind and inspiring – I’d had a psychologist a few years back who was mean and I never wanted to open up to her. With Penny, we would always run over time because I would just have verbal vomit and everything would come spewing out.
The hypnotherapy itself was rather a surprise, as I was sure it wouldn’t work on me. Penny would have me sit in a big black chair (probably the most comfortable chair ever!) and close my eyes. I would then visualise myself in my “happy place”, which could be anywhere – my happy place was a giant library. After some exercises to clear my mind, she had me walk slowly down a stair case and with each step I would fall deeper and deeper under. By the last step I could feel myself slipping, even though my eyes were closed everything goes white – it’s like fainting, but being aware that you’re fainting.
I don’t remember a lot of what happened after that, because hypnotherapy is about targeting your subconscious mind, not the conscious one. I do have some memory of Penny asking me to visualise “another version of myself” a happy, confident person who doesn’t rely on food to solve all issues.
I always felt happy and optimistic after I would come out of a session, and that would last up to a week. I would eat well and I could concentrate on my work (not an easy task for my ADD brain). I would walk past the chocolates at work and not even be a little bit tempted by them. For a week.
My therapist said I should have a session once a week and I should only need about 7 or 8 sessions in total. However, as the session are $120 a pop, I couldn’t afford to go more than once a fortnight and sometimes it would have to be even longer between visits – which essentially meant I was starting from scratch every time, so I never quite achieved the results I was looking for.
And then in September 2012 another of my best friends died, she committed suicide. I was angry and upset, so the binge eating started all over again – and I couldn’t stop.
I promised myself at New Year’s 12/13 I would start to lose weight and get fit again – I was going to South America in October, so I wanted to be fit to walk around and enjoy myself. That didn’t happen, the old habits and routines were back to stay.
I lost 10kgs during the two months I was in South America, just by walking and not snacking – I was too busy to wallow and binge eat. I felt amazing when I got home. It was the motivation I needed…but then I fell back in to the old habits again and I put on more than half of what I had lost by the end of the year.
And so for yet another New Years, my resolution was to lose weight. 20 days in to the New Year and, while I have made some improvements, it’s the same old story.
Tomorrow I start hypnotherapy again and so my journey starts over one more time. I’m going to try to stay accountable by way of this blog – and I’ll post about my hypnotherapy experiences as I go along.
(Edit – 11th April 2014 – I gave up hypnotherapy on the day I spoke to my Doctor about stomach surgery. It was costing me too much money and I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. I did find out some interesting stuff about myself in the process, but it didn’t break my habits.)