Expectations, Restrictions, and Binges

Regularly, when working with clients, they will tell me that they had a “binge”. Whenever I hear this phrase uttered, I always ask them to describe the events in detail: what happened beforehand, what did they consume, where were they, what happened afterwards, what emotions did they feel, how were they talking to themselves and what were they focusing on? The definition of a binge is “an episode of uncontrollable eating in which a person rapidly consumes an excessive quantity of food”. Undoubtedly there are other definitions that differ slightly, but let’s stick with this one for now. … [Read more...]

Common Vs. Normal

There’s a trend I’ve noticed that I find concerning. It’s when we people use the words “common” and “normal” interchangeably as if they are the same thing. The word common means that something occurs often or is prevalent. The word normal is less straightforward to define, because it can mean different things in different contexts. But if we are using it in a biological sense it means naturally occurring and free from disease. And from a psychological angle it means free from mental disorder; being sane. Where I see the problem is that damaging behaviours or thought patterns that … [Read more...]

The Slow Progression of Symptoms

There is a fable many people have heard. It often comes up at corporate consulting gigs or in self-help circles. The fable has to do with boiling a frog. It states that if you put a frog in boiling water, it will immediately jump out. But if you put it in a pan with cold water and slowly bring it to a boil, the frog will sit there and be boiled to death. Despite the fact that this fable is false, there is some truth in the sentiment it is trying to express. Which is that, when change is small and gradual we don’t typically notice it. These incremental changes become the new … [Read more...]

The Problem With Restriction

I’m currently reading Fat by Robert Pool. It looks at the research around weight and obesity going all the way back to the 1800s. He speaks about all the different theories that have come and gone and how our understanding has changed over the last hundred years or so. (There is a section in the book where Pool talks about experiments with milkshakes and ice creams, something I’ve spoken about before.) One idea, which was popular for a time, was that the heavier someone was, the more susceptible they were to external cues. That if they saw advertisements about food or food was placed in … [Read more...]