[CONSULTATION] Adèle, 28, is a young lawyer who suffers from eating disorders. Sophie Janvier, dietician-nutritionist, will help the young woman to regain the upper hand.
“Last night was the crisis of too many: after eating 500 g of pasta with cheese and a packet of cookies, everything disgusted me: my body, my lack of will, my negligence”.
It’s the first time I’ve spoken to Adele and her dismay is palpable. The young woman booked an emergency teleconsultation with me. I start by pointing out to her that she lacks neither the will nor the ability to take care of herself: the proof, she contacted me. It’s noon: I ask her if she’s had breakfast. “No, I still have a stomach ache” she replies. Contrary to appearances, this is good news. Adèle is always connected to her body: she is able to listen to it when it makes her understand that enough is enough. I invite Adèle to tell me about her story with food. “I was a little girl of normal build. I liked sweets and cakes, but my mother rarely bought them for me. I made up for it at my grandmother’s. As a teenager, I became rounder. My mother wanted I went on a diet. I lost weight, then I gained it all back, and even more. In college, things got out of hand: I no longer had anyone to watch me, I entered a cycle of compulsions food.”
Food compulsion becomes the answer to frustrations
Some eating disorders are linked to nutritional restrictions, a poor self-image in childhood, but also to a certain perfectionism.
Today Adèle weighs 62 kg for 1.62 m, a normal weight, but which she considers “too high”, not in the standards of her profession. She watches everything she eats until dinner, favoring light salads, giving up bread and sweets. A strict control which, bitter paradox, leads to a loss of control in the evening: “I’m tired, I need comfort so I make myself a little pasta, then a lot…”
Emotional eating? No doubt, but also conditioning. The brain somehow registered that compulsive eating was a normal response to frustrations. During the consultations that will follow, I will help Adèle to gain tolerance for her emotions AND to deconstruct the neural pathway that leads to compulsions.
A key exercise? Consider negative emotions as spam, in other words accept that they are there, but do not pay more attention to them than an advertising message in an email box. Easier said than done, but so powerful! Another contract signed with Adèle: break the food locks during the day, allow yourself a little bread at lunch, have a biscuit at snack time so as not to let the frustration swell and become monstrous in the evening.
At the fifth consultation, and after having used a whole series of tools to demerge with limiting beliefs (“There is only eating to relieve me”) or permissive (“Foutu pour foutu, finished the package, big zero” ), Adele is no longer mentally obsessed with food and is getting better and better at having lunch – and dinner – in peace.
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