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Comfort Eating and How to Stop: A Case Study

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Posted: 13 January 2017
Gender: Male
Age: 40 - 45
Presenting problem: Comfort Eating and Hot Sausage Rolls
Treatment modality: BWRT®
Number of sessions: 1

The client presented as overweight and frustrated with life, and himself. He had been in the same job for nearly two decades and, whilst it was not overly stressful, he longed for a more rewarding career.

Recently, the client had embarked on a course of learning in the field he wanted to work in but, although he was committed to the year-long study programme, he expressed a fear of failing.

Discussion revealed that the client was overeating during the night shift. He complained of becoming bored once he was a few hours into his shift and had completed any pressing tasks. Each evening, the client’s wife would prepare him a meal to eat during the night, which he would consume soon after arriving. Later, when the boredom set in, he had got into the habit of visiting a vending machine to purchase hot sausage rolls and other pastries. It was these visits, he knew, which were responsible for his weight gain. Every day he resolved not to buy anything from the machine and every night his willpower dissolved.

It was easy to understand why the client might feel anxious about changing career; he had a young dependant family and his current job was safe and steady - such a bold move was full of risk. But, the client felt trapped in a cycle of anxiety about the future and an increasing dissatisfaction with the present, proportionate to his expanding waistline.

In talking about his nightly visits to the vending machine, the client was able to recognise that the habit of going to buy extra food had become a source of comfort, as well as an excuse to take a break. Knowing that he would still want to interrupt the monotony of the night shift, the client decided that he would continue with his usual route out of the building but replace his old habit of eating pastries with drinking a glass of water instead, poured from the water cooler next to the vending machine.

BWRT® was used to help the client change the old pattern of behaviour into his preferred way of responding to the nightly boredom. During a follow-up phone call, two weeks later, he confirmed that he had not bought a single sausage roll or pastry since the session. Moreover, not only had he lost weight but the knock-on effect of feeling more in control of himself and his actions had helped him to be more relaxed about what the future might hold, knowing that he would make the right decisions when the time came.
Written by: Benefit Therapy
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