Molly Beats Chocolate Cravings and Loses Weight

chocolate addiction
Source: James Yu

Molly came to see me to lose weight. Like so many women who have the same goal, she had been trying many different kinds of diets. They all provided the same results: she would lose weight initially but after a few weeks of being able to control herself, Molly would begin to eat sweet in between meals and would soon regain weight. She felt stuck in this all too typical pattern.

She had done psychoanalysis in order to find out why she would cheat on her diet with chocolates. She had, with the help of her analysts, investigated the causes of her addiction to chocolate. She had explored her dreams, childhood memories and unconscious wishes but still it was to no avail, she was as anxious to eat chocolate as ever.

She had even forbidden herself the purchase of sweets and chocolate. However, she always managed to sneak out to eat chocolate, biscuits or anything that was sweet. Then she would feel guilty and get angry at herself, but the next day she would fall into the same trap.
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Addiction to Sweetened Condensed Milk

condensed sweetened milk

“I’m fat and ugly”, Laura said matter-of-factly.

She told me that she had survived a difficult battle with cancer. Soon after recovering she struggled with depression and anxiety. It was during this difficult time that she began eating uncontrollably.

She had tried some popular diets but had given up soon because she was unable to resist a particular temptation. She was, in her own words, addicted to sweetened condensed milk. She would put it in her coffee, in her tea, on top of fresh fruit, over ice-cream, and even drinking it all by itself!

When she was finished recounting her circumstances, I asked her to dedicate a few minutes each day to write about her personal frustrations. She had to write about everything that bothered her. She had to sit down alone in a room with pen and paper after setting an alarm to go off in 20 minutes time. Then she was to write all her concerns about her weight, her feelings of frustration, her memories of anxiety and depression, and everything else that came to her mind.

She had to look for the worst and the most bothersome thought and feelings and write them down without censoring anything. If she felt like crying she could cry and allow herself to feel all the negative emotions that came as intensely as possible. And when the alarm went off, she was to stop writing, and without reading what she had written, tear up the paper into pieces. She had to do this every day for one full week.

“But what about my addiction?” she asked me incredulously.
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Helping a Psychologist with a Weight Problem & Depression

"I can resist anything, except temptation." - Oscar Wilde
“I can resist anything, except temptation.” – Oscar Wilde

While people go to psychologists every day for help with their own personal issues, it is easy to forget that they too are people and have their own personal challenges from time to time. Over the years I have been happy to be able to help many psychologists and other mental health professionals who are referred to me by colleagues or who find me on their own.

Annabel was a psychologist who was struggling with several health issues. She said she had been always a plump woman but after her first childbirth, she began a more serious battle with her weight. She had tried dieting for many years with no positive results. As a last resort, she underwent gastric balloon surgery. For those unfamiliar with this procedure, it involves a surgeon inserting an inflated balloon inside the stomach. For six months Annabel had the balloon insider her stomach and with its help she was able to lose weight. However, as soon as it was removed she began to regain the weight she had lost, plus a few extra pounds more. Anna was desperate to lose weight and to resist her favorite ‘sin’ of gorging on donuts with heavy cream because she had been diagnosed with diabetes.

She also had been diagnosed by a psychiatrist with depression and with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). She been in psychotherapy with the same psychiatrist for over four years and had been on medication as well. Due to her diabetic condition, Annabel carried on a very strict diet during the day. However at night she lost control and ate all sorts of donuts with cream and even at times, she sprinkled extra sugar on top of them. Her relationship with her husband was not going well either. She was, in her own words, ‘sexually cold’ and didn’t feel like making love.
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