Come for anxiety therapy, stay for the diet plan and WLS promotion!

Anonymous writes:

My wife is in a therapy program for her anxiety disorder, and the program suggested that I come in for a family therapy session to better understand her problems. That took up the first 15 minutes of the 45 minute session. The next 15 minutes were devoted to some marital issues, during which the therapist didn’t really bother listening to what I found valuable about my hobbies, pattern matched “video gaming” to “addiction leading to ignoring wife,” and said I should cut back on it. But that’s just bad therapy.

The last 15 minutes somehow turned into diet and weight loss advice, brought up without any prompting by the therapist after she noted that she saw in my wife’s medical records that she had gone for a WLS consultation at one point. We hadn’t discussed weight at all earlier. My wife is trying to lose some weight to prepare for pregnancy because she has other medical issues, but I don’t have those issues, am not trying to lose weight, and in any case the therapist has no knowledge of me whatsoever. The therapist, certainly without any significant training in nutrition or metabolic physiology, suggested that both of us look into diet programs such as OA or Weight Watchers. I explained to her that I had no interest in diets or programs, as the most successful non-surgical program had a “success” rate of about 5% where success was defined as “sustained weight loss of 5% over a few years, and surgeries were a drastic measure where the dangerous side effects likely outweighed whatever health benefits came from it. The therapist told me, “Well, I think that was in the old days and it’s safer now.” For my wife’s sake (she was there because of anxiety, after all!), I didn’t start an argument.

The therapist then went on a long digression about how her brother called her fat once, and so she started just trying to eat half of what she had been eating and lost 30 lbs. (all she needed to lose!!) over the course of a year. Again, I’m biting my lip to keep from responding, “That’s nice, now try it when you have a genetic predisposition to gaining weight and you’re told you need to lose 100 lbs.” Or, “My numbers are fine except for high blood pressure, my cholesterol is very low, I’m not remotely diabetic, and you have no knowledge about my health whatsoever except that you can see I’m fat.”

During this period, the two of us said almost nothing, it was almost entirely the therapist talking (an interesting form of therapy, that!) Wrapping up, she went back to the actual reason for the appointment, and suggested that my wife should work on “making heavy–I mean healthy friendships.” What a Freudian slip! And so my wife comes in to work on her anxiety, and the solution is apparently to make both of us more anxious about our weight. Much more important than the mental health they’re actually supposedly qualified to treat, right?

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3 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    Well, this is surely just what the doctor ordered for anxiety. I mean, in no way has my blood pressure ever been driven up because I feared the inevitable “you’re fat” lecture from a doctor. Nope, most calming thing in the world.
    Seriously, some people just need to be slapped. With a branding iron.

    Reply
  2. Maybe you and your wife could work together to improve her health, so that she can have a baby. Your weight is irrelevant here; I’m just seeing an opportunity here for you two to team up and do something together. If she has to go it alone, she’s going to be bombarded with “fat is horrible” messages from every side, but if you do it with her, you can be each others’ advocates and fight against that stuff.

    If she needs to change or improve her diet, it’s so much easier to eat well when your partner and you are eating the same things. Maybe one or both of you could learn some advanced cooking skills to make some really yummy stuff. If she has to do some kind of special diet, like low-sodium for blood pressure or something, you could learn how to cook stuff that tastes good on it. And if she’s starting or intensifying an exercise program, you could participate too, or take her along when you exercise.

    It would be an opportunity to just spend some quality time together, time that you don’t have to worry about life, when you can just be together and put aside the craziness of the world. If her doctor tries to shame her for being fat, you can tag-team with her and tear him a new one. And when either of you starts going “I should” or “I suck” or “I’m a failure”, the other can go, “Hey, stop that, you’re mine and you’re wonderful!” Seems to me you are both facing prejudice against fat folks… But you’re not alone. You have each other.

    Reply
  3. “Overeaters Anonymous” is NOT a diet program. I think it’s poorly named, actually, because it’s a group for people who have issues with food, period. I’m getting pretty fucking sick of people conflating fat with overeating.

    Reply

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