Psychotherapist Mandy Cassidy Answers Your Weight Loss Questions

November 3, 2011 - Psychology

Last week we ran our first ever live web chat with LighterLife psychotherapist Mandy Cassidy. We asked for questions on Facebook and Twitter and Mandy was live online to provide her answers.

If you have a question for Mandy you can post it on our LighterLife Facebookwall or LighterLife Twitter us.

‘Why do we eat when we are not even hungry?’
Actually you are hungry, but not for food. People eat for emotional reasons not for physical reasons. It’s about working out what the emotional hunger is and finding ways to satisfy that so you no longer need to use food which will never leave you satisfied. It’s like fixing the taps when the boiler is on fire.

‘I have been very successful in losing weight with LL. However I still find that I yoyo with my weight. Once I am on the slippery slope I can’t stop. Any thoughts and advice Mandy?’
‘I just can’t stop’ sounds like crooked thinking to me. When you believe you cant stop people tend to feel anxious and deal with their anxiety through food. It’s a vicious circle. Use the tools of the LighterLife Programme to really check out that type of thinking. Evaluate the statement ‘I can’t stop’ – how true is it? I’m sure there are plenty of times you’ve stopped otherwise you would be eating constantly and that’s unlikely.

‘How can I ensure I’m not passing my old ways on to my girls? They’re still small, but find myself saying things like ‘eat up or you wont get any pudding!’
Relax – most parents say that at some time. Research does show that such statements are not helpful. Relax with your kids. Allow them to eat to their hunger and not to the rules. Don’t make it a big deal for them.

‘I started LLT on the 1st October and am really pleased with the weight loss but I have been feeling really down the past 3 days. Don’t know if I should start the LL Lite because I am really missing the food. Please help?’
I wonder if you are really missing food or what you associate with food. I don’t think moving to Lite is the automatic answer. Exploring what this sense of missing is might be so much more valuable.
‘Thanks Mandy I am feeling a bit stressed at the moment, could be the reason.’
What might be more useful to you right now is to understand the link in your head between stress and food. In the future if you can find different ways of dealing with stress other then turning to food, you will be able to manage your weight long term.

‘I Know I need to lose weight and I really want to but struggling to take that first step. Any advice would be great thanks.’
The first step is often the hardest. But also can be the easiest once you’ve taken it.

‘Why do I sometimes feel the need to eat in secret?’
People often eat in secret because they are ashamed and fear being criticised. What do you fear will happen if you eat in front of other people?

So many people who are overweight eat privately in ways that they wouldn’t eat in public. This is not uncommon at all. But even asking this question of yourself is a step in the right direction. You have identified the problem and are addressing it. It’s a very complex subject, but your LighterLife group is the place to explore this.

‘I have been a serious yoyo dieter all my life. Been overweight for all my adult life. I’m now 42 and have had enough. Why do I do it to myself? I know I love my food. Why can’t I stop at just one. My self control is zero. I just got this thing in my head telling me ‘is that all you got to look forward to is a lettuce leaf’ etc. Any tips for eating in moderation. When I relax on my diet, e.g. on holiday – I tend to go way over the top. I feel I need to cram everything in because in two weeks I’ll be back on my diet. I must be nuts’
This is classic yoyo diet thinking. Eating in moderation first involves thinking in moderation. It sounds like you’ve got in the habit of going from one extreme to another.

In the LighterLife Programme you develop the skills to develop balanced thinking, which will lead to balanced eating. Yoyo dieting is about ‘on’ and ‘off’, ‘good’ and ‘bad’. The first thing to do is to train yourself to challenge that kind of thinking.

And no, you don’t have to face the future like this Julie; you can help yourself to change this pattern.

4 thoughts on “Psychotherapist Mandy Cassidy Answers Your Weight Loss Questions


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