Date Tags pointers

Look over your list from the previous step, and place a total ban on the places you multitask eat: on the couch, in the car, in bed. As of today, declare no more food allowed in those spots. Identify the activities and ban eating during those, too: watching TV, driving, and so on. If you're in any of those places or doing any of those activities, simply postpone eating. Through the length of a series of sessions, there is a complex interweaving of roles, with different individuals at different times coming into focus as clients and as therapists. These therapist activities of group members are of such consequence in the development of a group that they call for detailed discussion. An example of a member acting as a therapist, drawn from a verbatim record of a group therapy session, can say more than many descriptive passages: Mr Ray: (My brother) got his medical degree when he was twenty-four. Before I went into the Navy, I figured out I'd graduate from college at such and such an age and get my master's at such and such an age, and then have my doctorate ahead of me. I was very proud of that. Mr Berg: You think that your parents' attitudes fostered that feeling? Mr Ray: My parents have never said, You are not doing as well as B. They were satisfied when I just did average work. They've never pushed me -- to do better. It would be wonderful if you could always carry with you the knowledge that you are okay just as you are. But that's a hard thing to maintain in this culture. Few of us feel as if we really belong, be it in our own bodies or interacting in the world. We don't all get the love and respect we deserve. Sometimes we join others in rejecting those parts of ourselves not valued by others. Our complicity in an alienating system may be most painful of all.

Many of us not only feel alienated, we feel alone in our alienation. We keep silent about it, which allows it to perpetuate. Ashamed of our feeling of alienation, we treat it as a personal inadequacy, something to hide. Our feelings of unbelonging come to dominate our psyches. That takes us to the second part of this step. Create designated eating areas, such as the kitchen table, the cafeteria at work, or even a park bench, where you will eat and--this is key--not do anything else at the same time. Just enjoy your meal or snack without distraction. This breaks the place/activity/food association. Zap the Habit. Challenge the thoughts that come up when you are tempted to multitask eat. Here are some common ones and some ideas on how to challenge them: Thought: I can't enjoy TV/reading/the movies without a snack. Not snacking will suck all the enjoyment and fun out of it. Thought Zapper: That's not true. Mr Berg: When he went through, they were very pleased with him. Mr Ray: Oh, definitely. Mr Berg: And when you went through, do you think you might have felt somewhat rejected because there wasn't the same furor over your achievement? Mr Ray: Well, I didn't feel, well, uh, accepted as much as I would like to have. And I thought that my grades had a great deal to do with it. Mr Hill: You feel that the, uh, responsibility for the grades is your own, and that it won't matter to anyone else what you do.

Is that the idea? Your motivation stems from yourself rather than trying to please somebody else. Mr Ray: Yeah, I think that's it. I'm no longer so much concerned with showing my parents that I can do well. To manage these consequences, we try to manage impressions. We intuit biases to try to defuse them. We modify ourselves. We censor ourselves, watching not just what we say but the tone or accent we say it in. We are forced to hide parts of ourselves, or to perform acceptable versions of ourselves, all in order to fit in and belong. Because when we don't belong, there is danger--to our physical persons and to our innermost selves. The tragedy of social and systemic exclusion is that the rejection turned against our bodies manifests as maladies: depression, anxiety, addictions, eating disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic diseases, and more. Our bodies are punished when the real culprit is not us but our unjust culture. It's not we ourselves who are to blame for feeling that we do not belong, but rather the structure under which we live that continually perpetuates violence against us. I want all of us who feel like outsiders to know that our voices are not only necessary but desperately needed to get us out of this mess we're in right now. Those activities are fun by themselves. It's just that I've come to associate them with food. If other people can have fun doing those things without eating at the same time, then I can, too. Thought: Eating while doing something else saves me time. Thought Zapper: How much time am I saving, really? Is it worth it to sabotage my health and weight just to shave off a few minutes?

Thought: I can keep track of how much I eat, even if I'm doing something else. Thought Zapper: It's not possible to give full focus to two things at one time, so even if I think I'm paying attention, I'm probably not accurate in my assessment. BE YOUR CHANGE: One of Jan's guiding principles is that your perception creates your reality. This belief is especially useful for changing our physical habits. I still want to show it to myself, and, uh, I'm more satisfied, that's all. I don't feel the urge to rush. Mr Hill: Sort of -- seems to me it would be sort of a load off your shoulders. Mr Ray: Oh, definitely. Not bucking up against something that you feel you can't overcome. Leader: Makes you feel a good bit more independent -- free. Mr Ray: Definitely, in that I can satisfy myself and I don't have to worry about satisfying somebody else. Gorlow's study (71) of the activities of group members as therapist has thrown much light on this intricate and intriguing process. Among other things, he has demonstrated that the interaction between group members changes in quality as therapy progresses. Members seem to learn to be better therapists. No matter what cultural messaging may say, we deserve to feel that we belong in our bodies. We are human, we are whole, we are powerful--together and alone. But linguistically speaking, it's still gendered terminology. B'nai is masculine plural, which in Hebrew (as in most languages that have grammatical gender) covers any group that isn't all female; THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON STRESS It's hard being human.

People we love die. Relationships end. Others can be unkind. There are hundreds of ways to miscommunicate or touch on an old wound when interacting with people we care about. For instance, when Jan decided she wanted to stop eating chips (and she loves chips) and choose a healthier snack, she didn't say, I must never eat a chip again. Instead she went with positive imagery: I am a goddess, and goddesses don't eat chips. If you know what you are and what you do as a result, then you know what you won't do. You can make the change by being what you want to become--which is far easier than wrestling with empty willpower. Chips are no match for a goddess armed with mental conviction! Okay, so now that you know how to eat (mindfully), let's talk about what to eat! There are a lot of good nutrition plans out there. Diets come and go in terms of popularity, and depending on your genetic predisposition, personal taste, and daily schedule, one or another may be best for you. Ultimately, it's for you to experiment and decide what feels best. Having said that, what we know about food and nutrition today is revolutionary compared to where we were as a culture as recently as twenty years ago. There is a marked increase in behavior characterized as permissive and accepting and an accompanying decrease in behavior characterized as interpretive, evaluative, and critical, from the first to the last part of therapy. It may be that the member-therapists learn from the leader, absorbing his attitudes and sensing the reasonableness and helpfulness of what he does. Or it may be that the kind of behavior that is characterized as therapeutic can emerge only after the person has made progress himself in therapy. Permissiveness and the ability to understand and accept a person may be symptoms of greater personal security. The individual has less need to distort experience and can respond more accurately, with less protection of his own conflicts. Support for the latter hypothesis seems to be available in Gorlow's finding that individuals who are best adjusted before entering therapy are those best able to assume the constructive attitudes of the therapist in the initial sessions.