Personal Experience of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
I was referred to Dr Moffett a Clinical Psychologist who specialises in weight management and eating disorders, for a course of CBT. I have a long history of yo yo dieting and obesity, low self esteem and a recent “wobble” in mental health mainly through stress at work which resulted in sick leave for approx 5 months and a course of fluoxetine for about 14 months. Before we met whilst being on sick leave I had attempted to change my eating habits reducing portion sizes and started an exercise programme with a personal trainer to help gain and maintain fitness to continue as a physio in COTE which can be physically demanding. I had lost weight initially but it was starting to creep back up again and in my experience would probably continue until I had put on an extra 1/2 stone or more.
I am also a diabetic and have been for eight years and therefore losing weight and diabetic control is paramount.
We met on 12th March 2010 for initial assessment and since then have met once every two or three weeks.
The process (in a nutshell) involves filling in daily food diaries ,looking at my patterns of eating, my beliefs and thoughts, how hungry I am when I eat, what triggers my binges and how I feel after I have eaten, or binged both physically and emotionally, and how this affects my behaviour. We also looked into the reasons behind my inability to express myself, how I react or don’t react in certain situations @ work/home/daily living and in my case bury it, then become frustrated at myself, or allow things to fester when really I want to make my needs known with the result being a binge or comfort eating. We also looked into assertiveness.
I don’t think I can really explain it but all of a sudden one week in early August I felt I was getting nowhere, the next week I felt that suddenly something had clicked into place (a light switch had turned on and ,I felt different almost as if the cog wheels had clicked into gear and were running smoothly). I think it was the fact that I had attempted 2 episodes of being assertive at work with colleagues which at one time I would have said nothing or put up with the resulting stress of saying nothing, with good affect. This gave me the confidence to try more and YES the confidence increased. WOW. I had also witnessed a friend who mirrors my personality, being non assertive with dire results and it made me realise you have to stick up for yourself in this world or suffer. This I recognise as one of the main triggers to “recovery”.
I wondered if it is that simple, in my case to be assertive and this has given me control, then other things seemed to click into place, I have stopped bingeing, excluded wheat, bread, cakes from my diet (AMAZING) and now I am able to recognise both physical and emotional changes within myself and respond to them.
The daily food diaries and meal planning were also very helpful and helped me recognise a better eating pattern and the value of being organised around meals.
Since then I have felt like a different person, happier ,upright and with renewed enthusiasm. As a result I feel in control of food for the first time in my life and it no longer controls me. I can now act responsibly around food,chocolate now languishes in the fridge and the bread bin is on the scrap heap!
My weight has dropped by 12kg, the gym which used to be a hard slog is easier and I feel incredibly fit. A few people who know me well have also noticed a change in my demeanour and although I feel this is only the beginning this is a BIG step in the right direction. I feel confident I will never revert back to what I was like before as C B T has given to me the tools to change and it is up to me to use them. Best of all It has given to me MY VOICE and in that such FREEDOM. I haven’t felt that for a long time.
Finally I would recommend this process to anyone seeking to lose weight as I feel the long term benefits will be more longstanding than any diet I have tried because it gives the control back. I am so grateful for having had this opportunity and wish I had done this years ago.