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Video: Food As Mischief - The Quality Of Life
Usually in this section I present stories from my own consultations. But this time it is not so. The session, which I was lucky enough to be an observer, was so interesting that I asked permission * from its participants to publish.
Milena, the client, is a plump brunette, well-groomed, beautiful. Calm self-confidence is visible in smooth gestures. A direct look, an open smile.
Vladimir is a psychotherapist, pleasant, disposed, with extensive experience.
Our heroes have known each other for a long time.
Milena: I have difficulty, even addiction. This is gluttony. Over the past six months, I have gained about eight kilograms. And the worst thing is that I don't eat what I should eat. I am in such a state as if I were watching myself from the side. I can, for example, make a loaf of bread … not all of it, of course, but not to kiss like a child. I eat and think: you shouldn't eat this if you don't want extra weight. But at the same time, apparently, I enjoy it. And I don't know how to deal with it. As if there are two me: the one who understands with her head, and the one who simply overeats.
Vladimir: That is, sometimes the winner is the one who wants to adhere to some kind of balanced diet, and sometimes the one Milena who wants something not very healthy, right?
Milena: Yes. And it turns out that now there is a glutton on the stage. When I eat my weight, of course I don't like myself. But at the same time I go to the gym and plow like a horse. This is how I get a "big fighter". I exercise, I spend a lot of calories, I come home and … I just eat with pleasure. Here's another area where outwardly I am not attractive to myself.
Eating a lot is harmful, and a little is boring
Vladimir: Well, why should you be attractive?
Milena: For myself.
Vladimir: Otherwise, you won't accept yourself and kick out of the house, or what?
Milena (smiles): No. But it's one thing when you get up in the morning and realize that you are Baba Yaga behind enemy lines. Another thing is that you come out nice to yourself.
Vladimir: But why should you look for someone outside?
Milena says she wants to look good for her husband, although he "loves me in any way." And then he notes with a smile that he strongly doubts this. It's just that the husband thus supports Milena's gluttony, as he eats with her. Milena decides how the family eats. If she loses weight, then everyone loses weight. And if she decided to overeat, then everyone eats a lot. Vladimir says that the family culture of compatibility is also tied to biology, to food.
Vladimir: How do you want it to be?
Milena: I have such a state … I like it. I can look at myself, make a decision to lose weight. And I begin to lose weight and maintain weight. This is the ideal state for me. Then I manage to control myself, eat right. The most important thing is to make a decision, and the rest of the steps seem to work out by themselves. But now it seems to me that this mechanism has broken.
Vladimir: When did this happen? When did you feel it wasn’t working?
Milena: Six months ago. The weight had not yet gone up, and I allowed myself to overeat. Then I look - he crawls, and I look … and continue. I would like to say - like some kind of leprosy (smiles).
Vladimir: How what?
Milena: Like leprosy. It's like I'm playing with myself.
Vladimir: So you have a feeling that overeating is mischief? And you, by and large, don't blame yourself for being mischievous?
Milena agrees with a smile. The conversation is about how important it is for Milena to play pranks and how many opportunities there are for this. She says that she loves to joke and make fun of, that this is a familiar style of communication and the family supports it. But there is not enough drive, energy, as it was before 35 years old. Then there was a divorce.
Milena: Then I had the same energy right after the second marriage. I was gaining momentum out of habit, and then I had to restrain myself. Apparently, it slowed down a lot.
Milena talks about what she has become: domestic chicken, "ko-ko-ko." Energy began to be directed to useful household chores. But there was a feeling that you do not belong to yourself. Milena shows how she lies on the couch, "throwing herself" with food, with such a belly.
Vladimir: I see. The intense splashes from which you previously charged are now gone. And the only thing you have is to properly fill up the food. Is this the only leprosy available?
Milena: Yes, and so much so that the stomach is bursting. This is a terrible state, it immobilizes me, deprives of energy.
Vladimir: That is, with the help of food you slow down yourself even more? By and large, your gluttony is a way to stop your …
Milena: … impulses.
Vladimir: … and desires.
Milena: Well, yes.
Vladimir: Yes. Then it is legal, it should be so.
Milena (tears in her eyes, misunderstanding, disagreement): Well, turn into a pig?
Milena: Or not transform. Listen to some impulses and put them into practice.
Vladimir (doubtfully): Well … you yourself say that this is not very compatible with family life?
Milena: Some are compatible. For example, I'm going to extreme driving in January. I think - if the adrenaline, then in full.
Vladimir: What does adrenaline have to do with it? You find yourself in a cortisol situation ** because your need is not being met. And the only way to replace this important need is to throw in fast carbohydrates, to muffle this background. But fundamentally, you cannot solve the situation. You didn't call it mischief by accident. This is a stressful treatment of your routine.
While Vladimir is speaking, Milena, who had previously been sitting on the edge of a chair and actively participating in the conversation, pulled away. She leaned back in her chair, intertwined her arms. If before that she often nodded in agreement, now her face and posture rather expressed … no, not disagreement, but pondering the situation. After Vladimir's last phrase, there was a silence.
Vladimir: I'll tell you about one study. We took two groups of overweight people who wanted to lose weight. Each was given a dish with M & Ms sweets. One group could take as many candies as they wanted. The second group set limits for themselves. As a result, the participants from the first group lost weight better. People who set restrictions blame themselves more for violations, attack themselves more strongly, thereby increasing the stressful background, and then console themselves with a new portion of delicious. A vicious circle of comfort and guilt is formed. Scientists have come to the conclusion that any attack on oneself, any self-accusation is unfavorable for predicting weight loss.
Milena continued to be tense, pondering Vladimir's words and example. And then he started talking about a very important topic - self-compassion.
Vladimir: And now it seems to me that you do not have enough forgiveness for violations. You drive yourself into the hall, punish with heavy loads. But self-compassion, acceptance of this violation is not enough. In general, your life is not so simple. And you have to brake the wheel of your big biological energy in order to save some important things for you. Such circumstances, such a choice. And it's a pity, because sometimes I would like to be different. And apparently, it is piling up. You find forms to slow down even more and at the same time not give yourself sympathy.
Milena engages in conversation again, tilts her body forward. She nods, listening to Vladimir.
Vladimir: I think that all this deserves understanding. So, unfortunately, it happened.
Milena: And I will not become limp from the fact that I feel myself for another couple of tens of kilograms?
Vladimir: I don’t know. If you could magically say: "Give up these fetters, become free!" (Milena laughs: “No, no!”) But this is speculation that is not very suitable for adults who have organized stability through compromises. Are you talking about the fact that sympathy and acceptance will expand you even more? It's a good guess, you can talk about these risks. Well, what if not?
Milena: I will only be glad.
Vladimir: And if this is the source of an inspired attitude towards yourself? When you don't try to ignore your needs, your circumstances are not the easiest in terms of inner life and well-being. You find an opportunity to cheer yourself up, support, praise, regret. You admit: "Yes, it's not easy for me." And then the gym will be perceived in a different way, maybe it will be a different gym or other activity. Not to drive yourself, but to meet yourself - with a woman who has laid down her life this way. Well, sometimes you will eat something out of excitement and boredom. And then - nothing, you pull yourself together and again come back to normal. And you say to yourself: “This is how I am made. Sometimes there will be more food, and sometimes less. And when there is more - most likely, I lack sympathy, understanding."
Milena (deep in thought): Uh-huh.
Vladimir: Or some kind of mischief. But here you have to think about what could suit you, how could you still be a little hooligan? Do you remember the taste of the drive?
Vladimir: And I think that you will not find it in food.
Milena: Yeah …
Vladimir: It makes sense to find some other forms of consumption - for example, in the form of mischief.
Milena nods in agreement. Her face changed, like that of someone who has found something of value. But at the same time, there is no certainty whether it is possible to keep this find for yourself, the decision has not yet been made. Milena and Vladimir have been talking for some time about where you can find drive and mischief. And about the fact that self-compassion is very beneficial. At the end, Vladimir asks what is happening in Milena's heart now. Milena says that she is in thought. She recalls that during Vladimir's monologue about self-compassion, her body reacted strongly - it shook. Milena tried to hold his breath, and it worked.
Milena: You know, I don't have any clear understanding yet. But I agree that you need to try on different strategies and try. And when the body shook, I restrained myself. As if wearing a shell.
Vladimir: If you are wearing a shell, you have to eat so much that it bursts.
Milena (laughs loudly): Exactly!
Vladimir: But maybe you have other options?
Milena: I just thought - now I'll take a loaf of bread, sit down, and …
Vladimir: … let it crack!
Milena: Yes, since I don’t fit into clothes, let the shell burst now.
PSIn the ordinary consciousness, the idea is rooted that if a person eats a lot, he "seizes" his stress. In part, he feels sorry for himself, so he pampers with high-calorie food. And those around him give him advice: "Pull yourself together, control what you eat." But it does not work, because it is very difficult to get off the usual tracks and control yourself. A feeling of guilt arises - additional stress that requires throwing something into his furnace. Yes, a person feels sorry for himself, but in this case, pity and sympathy are just elements of a vicious circle. And the way out may be for self-pity and compassion to precede feelings of guilt. Before you eat, you need to think about the fact that she herself did not give sympathy (conscious). And there is after that, if you want. And you usually want less. Then the feeling of guilt does not arise, but, on the contrary, there is satisfaction from the fact that he understood himself and treated himself in moderation. So the usual stress level will decrease and the desire to overeat will be less. You cannot find the taste of life in food - you need to look for it in something else, but with understanding and compassion for yourself.
Milena stopped exhausting herself in the gym. She found her drive and goes to a dance club for a very active and fiery zumba dance.
* - Permissions from the client and the psychotherapist have been obtained, all facts that would help to know the client have been changed.
** - This refers to the situation of chronic stress, which, apparently, is present in Milena's life.