She wanted to know what to do about her out of control eating. Lately, she can’t go a day without cookies or doughnuts or an assortment of other fattening foods, which she eats in between her regular meals or instead of eating breakfast or lunch. She’s done this before. This isn’t the first fat time for her. Ever since she was a teenager, she dieted and gained back, dieted and gained back. Right now at age 32 she is in the gaining back phase and she is disgusted with herself for not being in control.
Her focus for the most part is on not eating like this. But the longevity of her eating and weight problem suggests taking a broader look at what’s going on. By the time she was a teenager she developed a pattern of particularly harsh self-criticism, which led to self-doubt and dislike of many aspects of herself. Rather than see what she was missing from a mother too self-centered to give her the mothering she needed, she felt unworthy of such comfort and approval from anyone. The amount of food and the kinds of food she ate were what held her together when she was feeling at her lowest.
Going on a diet, like she did so many times before, would definitely be a waste of time. More to the point is how she is going to address the emotional circumstances that lead to a repeated pattern of emotional eating to feel better.