The Creativity Cure

A do-it-yourself prescription for happiness

Overeating, Depression, Self-Criticism, and Awareness

Create your own diet with seven steps.

My client Kelsey, svelte enough, a successful physicians assistant and mother of two shared that she has been overeating in secret for many years. When she gains weight she becomes severely depressed. 

I try all the stuff I am supposed to, nutrition counseling, awareness of emotional eating, but when push come to shove and the kids cry and work is hard, I overeat. I know have to deal with this. Once I start eating I can’t stop. A little cheese becomes a half of a pound. A bite of dessert becomes a quarter of a pie. I just pretend I can get away with it. I don’t let myself see that I have gained weight. One day I wake up and see how bloated I’ve become. It’s maybe 5 pounds or 8 or 10 but I feel huge. Then I don’t want to face anyone. I get so depressed. I go on a diet and take it off. But inevitably I gain it back.

I try to learn from skinny people. A mountain of veggies as the main food or they don’t eat between meals or in the case of my friend Jess, I have never seen her eat anything other than a Caesar salad with chicken. I kid you not. Maybe the key is just not being interested in food. Or being interested in the right food… I wish Swiss Chard excited me.

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When I am tired or late from work, I just can’t face going to to the gym. But when I force myself to exercise, eat less, my self-esteem is better. I don’t know if I will ever really love my body, but this yo- yo world is wearing me down.”

There are many great diet/exercise plans but designing your own might be your best bet. Try these 7 steps for 7 days and then decide if the benefits inspire you to keep going. Awareness and a little discomfort can lead to positive change.

 

 

Seven Steps, Seven Days


1. List the foods you love that are healthy. List the foods you love that are not healthy. (Overeating triggers)

2. For a week eat the healthy choices in moderate portions. Say no to the others.

3. For a week exercise everyday, for at least 30-60 minutes. Do it on the floor in with a favorite audio or video if you cannot get out. Tolerate the after-work fatigue for this short period and see if you feel better or worse. Choose walking over riding, stand when you can, and keep bustling throughout the day. Move.

4. Distract yourself from hunger with other pleasures: movies, friends, sports. It is okay to be a little hungry for the sake of a happier self.

5. Hold an image in your mind of something light that moves: A butterfly, a graceful athlete, a lean, mean car.

6. Think about eating greens as an elegant, conscientious action.

7. Design the food on your plate. Colors, herbs, all white, pink salt (just a little).

Mind over matter can help you maintain if you create a method that suits your psyche.

Carrie Barron, M.D., is a psychiatrist and co-author of The Creativity Cure: A Do-It Yourself Prescription for Happiness, which she wrote with her husband, Alton Barron.

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