*NOTE: We would like to thank our client for allowing her story to be used as a case study. For privacy reasons, we have changed names and certain personal details. Certain personal views and opinions expressed aren't those of Slimsights or Ally Baldwin but are the views of our case study.
*Laura goes to the fridge. She pulls out her childs pudding and starts to eat it. She's been thinking about this pudding since she brought it. Deep down, she knew she'd end up eating it and here she is in her kitchen, eating it as fast as she can for she fears being caught by her child. Little do you know that it's not even 8am!
As she's worried about getting caught eating it, she gobbles it down, not even really tasting it. Afterwards she hides any packaging and wrappers in her carefully considered hiding places (she's been caught out before and that didn't end well).
She's now feeling deflated. That didn't give her the 'hit' she wanted. It didn't fill any hunger she has and now all she's left with is feelings of guilt and shame. However, these feelings aren't strong enough to stop Laura from acting out this situation again. In fact this is a regular pattern of behaviour for her. She wants to lose weight & sometimes she manages to but her overwhelming behaviour means that she will repeat that loss, gain cycle over and over again.
Laura tells me in one of our early meetings ' I don't have an eating problem, I just like my food'
What do you think? Does Laura have an eating problem?
Unfortunately, this is a sentence I hear all to often from slimmers and the main reason being.... DENIAL. You see, to someone sitting outside of Laura's bubble, it's clear to see that Laura has an eating problem. However, the fact that she doesn't acknowledge her eating problem is a big clue that she is in denial.
Denial is our way of coping with difficult situation or emotions. It is our way of trying to protect ourselves from the inevitable truth. So lets look at Laura (as I know some reading this will recognise Laura's behaviour in themselves). For the time she doesn't accept she has disordered eating. She is 'safe' with her feelings and behaviour about herself. She allows herself to accept and see what SHE wants to see. Whilst she may not feel comfortable about being overweight & may be unhappy with being overweight, these feelings and emotions she knows/recognises and has used as her defense mechanism so she doesn't have to deal with her real problem - food.
How do I know if i am in denial about my eating?
Our 'relationship' with food isn't black and white. We may sometimes take 1 step forward and 2 steps back. However, lets look at the basics as this may help you find out if you are in denial around your eating...
What can I do about my denial?
Write an honest food diary. Yes. It's easy o miss out that snack here and that food item there. However, by lying about what you put in your food diary, that's another way of allowing your denial to take over.
Ask yourself these questions:-
Start to learn about what makes you tick. There's great resources out there (Slimsights to name just one) and they can help you start to make those changes that you want. Why not sign up to receive our Slimsights newsletters? they are packed with info and advice on healthy eating, behavioural change and weight loss advice.
As always, if you have any questions, please drop me a line or comment below and i'll be sure to answer them.
We have just released our 'beating emotional eating' e-guide. Be sure to check it out here.
Alleyne is a qualified weight management counsellor, author and columnist.
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