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Losing Weight by Fixing my Brain Shenanigans

So I have been undergoing some very interesting changes over the past month.

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2012 was a little nuts, between breaking a foot, writing a book, breaking a rib, spraining some more feet, starting a new legal job, and of course, just the day-to-day that goes with raising kids, working full-time and life in general… December was a good month for reflecting and trying to get in line with what I wanted out of 2013. “On paper,” 2012 would be deemed a success for the Swim Bike Family. But it was a tough year emotionally, physcially and family-wise.

Plus, I was still a hot mess in a monkey hat. I didn’t really want to repeat 2012.

Once the Ironman dream was set into motion in August, and December rolled around and I was then out with a broken rib… I found that I was still floundering …with a big Ironman coming soon.

Around Christmas, I begged Coach M to have lunch with me, so I could gain an understanding of what this IM training was going to entail—especially for the Expert—who has graciously agreed to “sherpa” my Ironman dream.

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I had a breakthrough lunch with Coach Monster in December (it’s true that the Dude is often somewhere at the start of my breakthroughs).

I came clean to him about some things I had been hiding – for example, how much I really weigh (oh, the look on his face… priceless…seriously, wish I had a picture), that I like to drink beer and wine  to decompress from my day (it’s the only way my mind can stop working), that I’m a raging insomniac with no idea how to relax (he knew this)…. and that I was literally stuffing my face with so much food at night, I had not lost but 20 pounds in almost 2 years of hardcore training.

“Have you thought about hypnotherapy” he asked me at lunch.

I had.  I knew some people who had quit smoking using hypnosis. And I labored and birthed my first baby using the Hypnobirthing method… which allowed me to labor for days without pain meds until right before the delivery (I had medical intervention with pitocin the last few hours, but still managed a pretty successful labor with the method).

So I knew that hypnosis was a way of using the mind to control the body. But I hadn’t thought about it in terms of weightloss…in terms of reprogramming my brain.

I received contact information for Inga Chamberlain at Atlanta Center for Behavioral Change… (BTW- this is NOT a sponsored post… just another case of me rambling about what is helping me…)

Coach M knew someone in our spinning class who had great success with—get this—fear of swimming.  He had a near drowning accident when he was young… and now, he’s a triathlete. A swimmer, for Pete’s sake.  The guy told Coach M that hypnosis had changed everything for him.

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I was logging my calories in to Lose It.  I was seeing Ilana and using the Metabolic Boost plan.  The weight was trickling off… but each day was a FREAKING WAR, a massive BATTLE with food.  I couldn’t get my head straight.

I wanted to eat everything. It didn’t matter what. I would drive by Dairy Queen and DIE for a Blizzard…nevermind that I wasn’t hungry. I just thought about food all the time.  I would see someone with a big glass of red wine on TV, and I needed wine and cheese and crackers. Stat. STAT!

It was becoming more than about simple willpower.  I couldn’t get my mind to tell my body that I needed to fuel it properly. My mind was thinking: cookies! beer! pizza! …no matter what I told it. No matter how much I wanted to succeed with my nutrition.

So I emailed Inga.  I had an initial consult, and decided that I would just succumb to being one of  “those people” who go to hypnosis sessions. I would just start wearing lots of beads and chanting and burning incense. I mean, what the hell did I care at this point? I wasn’t getting “better” with my brain and food despite my best efforts. So something had to change.

Something inside of me had to the change.

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And even though I was in Beast Mode, I still wasn’t cracking the food code.  I haven’t cracked it for my entire life.

“First off, I embarrass you. I can’t  ski, I can’t ride,
I can’t speak Latin , my legs only come up to here
and yes, I will always be just a little bit fat.”
Bridget Jones, The Edge of Reason

A recent Wall Street Journal article about hypnotherapy is here– so you can check it out if you have no idea what I’m talking about… “Hypnotherapy does typically begin with the therapist instructing patients to relax deeply—often with long, slow breaths—then focus their attention intently…a hypnotic suggestion in the mind can have measurable effects in the body…”  [FYI – There’s not any “look deep into my eyes” or swinging pocketwatch, or clucking like a chicken.]

So since December 28 (almost 4 weeks), I have had the single-handedly best nutrition streak of my entire life.  My entire life. I am at my lowest tri-ing weight.  I am at my lowest weight in thirteen years (…no, I’m not counting my ‘skinny streak’ which happened in 2005 due to cigarettes and Adipex and constant input of brown food like Lean Cuisine and Pot Roast).  I’m on a healthy streak. Amazing concept.

So yes… this is my lowest, healthy weight in 13 years, and it has happened by eating clean.  And by getting my brain straight with hypnotherapy.

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Since December 28, I have:
1) Been eating clean (cleanly?);
2) Avoided alcohol and processed foods (exception: about 3-4 beers last weekend which I honestly logged into Lose It- big step…not lying to Lose It);
3) Followed the Metabolic Boost and Burn method of eating;
4) Attended four hypnotherapy sessions, and continue going weekly;
5) Begun taking melatonin (to help with my raging insomnia).

And I am still in Beast Mode.  But a very exciting beast mode.

Why? I can thank the hypnotherapy. I swear it.

Here’s the deal.  It has not been “magic,” but it has been… magical. For example, when I see a glass of wine on television, my mouth doesn’t water. I may venture to the pantry at night, but I cannot even imagine shoving Ritz crackers in my mouth.

When I drive by a Dairy Queen now… I don’t notice it. I don’t have my usual conversation.

Previous Brain Waves:
“Oh snap, there’s a Dairy Queen. Reese’s cups, M&Ms, oh my… don’t pull in, don’t go there, no no no no no no. Oh, the Blizzard. Oh the peanut butter… drive past, drive… keep on driving—oh, one mini Blizzard won’t hurt…no no no. Oh, but you deserve it. No. Don’t do it. Yes, just get one…”  …[pulling into parking lot in shame]

Now Brain Waves:
“There’s Dairy Queen.”

Meaning, I don’t fret about it.

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Coach Monster wisdom…

I may see the Dairy Queen, but I don’t worry about it. There’s no battle. I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to derail myself.  Most importantly, I do not actually want that kind of food.  Which is SHOCKING to me.

For the first time in my life, food is not a THING to war about. It’s just a thing that IS.

(Am I making any sense?)

Okay. Really, the therapy sessions are focusing me on a few things:
1) Eating for fuel, to make my training optimal;
2) Eating when hungry, in my alotted increments, per my plan;
3) Only desiring nutritious foods; and
4) Being turned off, almost nauseated, by unhealthy trigger foods (think: pizza, beer, doughnuts, ice cream… my usual favorites).

All of these ideas are “suggested” durings sessions, which I then listen to at night at home. I am getting positive input into my brain while in a relaxed state. That’s it. That’s all it is…By working on my past relationship with food through the subconsicious hypnotherapy sessions, I have been able to overcome and see past the bigger problem—- WILLPOWER.

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Because my food addiction is not about WILLPOWER. 

If it was WILLPOWER, I would just stop… the same way I have willpowered my way to finishing half Ironmans weighing 215 pounds. The way I willed myself through law school (the way I will myself to work in the legal field everyday).

I have more will power than a Terrible Two-Year old.

Once I realized that it wasn’t my WILL and it wasn’t my POWER that I was battling… but rather my own thoughts.  That using hypnotherapy as a simple a way of using my MIND and my UNCONCIOUS mind to HELP me (not derail me!)… to change how my mind views food… to use what I have…

Doors have unlocked.

And I feel free.

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And I feel hopeful despite being on two week weightloss plateau… and I am not giving up. (I did lose 14 pounds very quickly over 2 weeks, and I am still down those 14 pounds.)  It’s not an option to quit eating this way—because it seems that’s how I want to eat.  Now, I eat healthy food, and I don’t obsess about it.  I am hovering at 204… which is a weight that is what some call a “set point.”  A place where I have been for a long while—about a third of my life. I can expect some resistance from my body to give up its comfortable space. But it will give it up. It’s simple math.

That is the main takeaway from what has happened to me with hypnotherapy:  I do not obsess over food anymore. I just don’t worry about it. I eat healthy. It feels natural. It doesn’t feel like such a war. It feels like the key to making it to my Ironman.

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Of course, I don’t claim perfection…I don’t claim that I have found the “cure”…But I do want to share everything I can that helps me and might help you guys out too!  And I believe this is helping.

[This is NOT a sponsored post -this is just a post about my experiences. BTW….I would have NEVER posted this picture of myself if I were not 1000% certain that I would get better :)]

12 Comments

  • Beth

    January 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Terrific post. This is my new favorite blog, by the way. I am also a “fat chick triathlete” – of course, there’s a LONG, painful, and exhilarating story there, haha. I’ve been fighting the food war since I was in diapers. I battle the urge to despair-wolf a box of Wheat Thins quite regularly. I’m happy to hear you have found something that works for you. Keep on kickin’ ass.

    Reply
  • Sarah

    January 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Congrats on all of the progress. While not at your weight I have similar brain shenanigans. I constantly justify the bad food. When I stick to the clean food I feel better, more energy, etc, etc, but I just want the beer and ice cream. Ugh…… Brain shenanigans.

    Reply
  • Angela

    January 22, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Sleep is a huge factor. I find if I don’t get enough sleep my body is constantly signaling me that it’s hungry. Congrats on the weight loss and healthier eating.

    Reply
  • Trish

    January 22, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Ok. Hand to God, I was going to email you about this very topic. Food. I am an addict and I can’t seem to pull it together. I was wondering how to stop the cravings. Although I feel like craving is not a strong enough word. It’s a drive, desire, NEED. So thanks for answering before i asked. That’s how much you rock!!!!

    Reply
  • Therese Slechta

    January 24, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    me exactly! I struggle with food daily. let’s say minute by minute/hour by hour, day by day… I have the angel/devil on shoulders every single day. I know better but still do it! Im so happy you posted this, because i swore it was my willpower,etc. I’ve often thought of the hypnotherapy, but now will look into it for sure!! thank u!!!!
    its good to know Im not the only person who struggles.

    Reply
  • Stacy

    January 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Thank you! You have no idea how much it helps to see someone like me a few steps ahead on the path. Just in case I start to second-guess myself, I’ll know it can be done!

    Reply

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