Carol Solomon, PhD successfully focuses on an important issue for her binge-eating client. Note both the background story and the language details. Please consult physicians on all medical issues.
Gary Craig (Originally published on Emofree.com)
By Carol Solomon, PhD
Sue was a binge eater who seemed to sabotage herself at every turn. She tried everything and lost weight many times, only to gain it back and more. She described her eating as being “like a runaway train. She ate to relieve stress. She ate to celebrate. She ate for every emotion she ever felt. And she felt like a failure.
Sue’s mother always struggled with her weight and died of lung cancer at an early age. Right before she was diagnosed, she lost 20 pounds and looked great. She stopped dieting, but continued to lose weight. Sue recalled that her mother remarked “gee, I stopped dieting and I’m still losing weight. But the lost weight was because she had lung cancer. She died soon afterwards.
Food was comforting, but Sue wanted to feel more in control, to stop binging, and to use food for nutrition, not as a drug. She lived alone and felt scared at night. She was afraid of dying, and of going to sleep and not waking up. Every day, she ate sensibly. Every night, she blew it. She found herself circling the pizza place, telling herself “you’re tired, you deserve it, you can start tomorrow. She was medicating herself to get to sleep.
Every time Sue started to lose weight, she got scared. She felt vulnerable. It just didn’t feel safe. Food gave her that false sense of comfort because food and comfort were linked in her mind. Her grandmother fed her to comfort her. Her mother died when she lost weight. Part of her was afraid to lose weight, even though consciously, she desired it.
Strong associations can impact our behavior. In Sue’s mind, food was associated with comfort and safety. Weight loss was associated with fear, loss and death. She was afraid that if she lost weight, something terrible would happen. Losing weight wasn’t safe.
Even though it’s not safe to lose weight, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though I feel vulnerable, I deeply love and accept myself.
Even though I don’t feel protected, I choose to know that I can take care of myself.
Even though I need to drug myself, I choose to make healthy choices.
Even though I’m afraid something terrible will happen, I love and accept myself anyway.
Even though I don’t feel safe, I know that food will not make me feel safe.
Even though I am scared, I choose to find a way to feel safe and comfortable and relaxed.
Even though I am scared, I am allowing myself to rest.
Even though I am afraid of dying, I deeply and completely accept myself anyway.
Eyebrow: Feeling vulnerable
Side of Eye: Feeling unsafe
Under the Eye: Feeling alone
Under the Nose: I’ve had so many losses
Chin: I’m not sure what will happen
Collarbone: This uncertainty
Under the Arm: Feeling out of control
Top of Head: Feeling scared
Eyebrow: Scared to lose weight
Side of Eye: It’s not safe to lose weight
Under the Eye: I need comfort
Under the Nose: Something bad might happen
Chin: This scary feeling
Collarbone: I’m afraid to lose weight . . . look what happened to mom
Under the Arm: I don’t want to feel these feelings
Top of Head: I’m afraid to go to sleep
Eyebrow: I CAN feel safe
Side of Eye: I don’t need to control everything
Under the Eye: It will be ok
Under the Nose: I am safe
Chin: Feeling peacefully in control
Collarbone: I am different from mom
Under the Arm: My weight does not keep me safe
Top of Head: I keep myself safe
Binge eating is a coping behavior — ” a reaction to life’s problems. It’s easy to feel consumed by your emotions. Binge eaters often get into circular patterns of not sleeping well, overworking and feeling tired, and then being more vulnerable to binging.
Fears tend to surface at night, so Sue tapped at night whenever she felt afraid and/or felt the urge to binge. She tapped on her feelings about losing her mom, her fears of losing her co-workers, her fear of not waking up. Within 3 nights, she was able to feel more calm and relaxed and get more sleep, thus interrupting the vicious cycle. When her fears were resolved, there was no need to soothe herself with food. Within a week, she was no longer binging.
It’s been a few months now and Sue’s last note to me simply said “I can’t remember the last time I binged, and I’ve managed to lose 10 lb. in the process.
Carol Solomon, Ph.D.