Dear Dr. Galardi:
I am a 42 year old female executive working with a fortune 500 company. In the last year, with the help of my doctor, I have lost 130 pounds. I have about 40 pounds left to go. Recently, I started to plateau in my weight loss and started eating more. Although I am Caucasian, my boyfriend is black and I met him when I was 320 pounds. A few weeks ago, he told me he didn’t want me to lose any more weight and in fact, liked me better when I was fat. I should also tell you that I found pictures in his email of women he was conversing with who are slender.
He is normal weight and has a cocaine habit. I went to Overeaters Anonymous but I couldn’t really relate to the people there so I quit. I do acknowledge however, that I have not addressed my emotional relationship with food. I think my case is complicated because there are so many parts to it. I was sexually molested by my father when I was 13 years old. He is a billionaire and I rely on him for business advice. He hates my boyfriend.
My father paid for me to be in a residential treatment program for eating disorders but I never told my therapist there that I had been sexually molested by my dad out of fear that if they confronted him, h would withdraw his counsel and emotional support. I don’t rely on him financially.
My question is this: I feel torn that if I keep losing weight, I will lose my boyfriend. I am curious as to what you think I should do to convince him that I wont leave him if I get thin. I want him to accept this new me that is emerging.
Georgia (fictitious name)
You are right. There are a number of issues here. You are triangulating with your father and boyfriend for starters. My guess is that if your father hates your boyfriend and you have unfinished business with him from your childhood, that you are unconsciously passive aggressively getting your power back by “giving the finger” to your dad.
Secondly, your boyfriend is maintaining power by threatening to withdraw love as you allow the physical armor to come off.
And thirdly, you are enabling your boyfriend by not confronting him on his inappropriate communications with other women via the internet and the lie he has perpetrated around his body type…
I would recommend you return to the 12 step world but instead of O.A., that you go to both Alanon and Sex, Love, And Fantasy Addictions Anonymous. You may resonate with both or only one of these programs. Many people are in more than one twelve step program simultaneously. Alanon will give you some skills for discontinuing the enabling behavior of an addict and S.L.A. will give you tools in dealing with your addiction to a relationship with a person who creates chaos and emotional unbalancing in your life.
I suggest you get a sponsor who can help you monitor your thinking while you work the steps of the program.
A tool that I would offer is that given how much physical armor you have been carrying, it is time to begin to feel your emotions in your body fully. Twice a day, at the beginning and end of the day, spend fifteen minutes breathing into your body and noticing what emotions are present. Breathe through your mouth into those emotions as deeply as you can. The more you surrender into the feelings thorugh allowing them and connecting with them, the more your body will feel you not abandoning it in the service of another person. Let every feeling up without judgement and allow your Higher Self to partner with you as you hold a container for these emotions with love and compassion.
Many people with weight issues have trouble reaching out for help. Begin with whatever you call your higher power – God, Spirit, Higher self, it doesn’t matter. What matters is to admit you are unable to manage your life alone and begin a practice of receiving Divine help. It will get easier, I promise. It requires the humility of recognizing that your conscious mind is not the most reliable source for guidance by itself.
I would also recommend working with a therapist who does somatic work not just talk therapy.
Your weight loss in 2017 can be the beginning of you emerging from the chrysalis into the most beautiful, whole self – loving butterfly in 2018!
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, author of The LifeQuake Phenomenon and a well known consultant/expert on career repurposing as part of recovery in the addiction field.
If you have a question for The LifeQuake Doctor, you can write to her through: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 310-890-6832. She works by phone and SKYPE in private practice. Her website is http://www.thelifequakedoctor.com