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The Incredible Shrinking Woman

One relationship that remains a constant in our lives is the one with the woman or man in the mirror. When we look at the person whose reflection stares back at us, we have two choices. We can be satisfied or distressed with what we see. Not sure that I know any woman, regardless of outward appearance who is happy with the container that totes around her essence. Even the most classically beautiful person, has smudgy glasses on when it comes to seeing themselves the was others see them. A term for this condition is Body Dysmorphia, which is categorized by the perception that one is irreparably flawed and that as a result, they are unworthy of success in life. It impairs relationships on all levels.

For many years, well into my 20’s, I had a lean swimmer’s body. Years of working out in the pool contributed to that appearance. My prom dress was a size 7. It was when I turned 34 in 1992 and an ectopic pregnancy occurred, along with a series of other stressful events, that the weight went on. Emotional eating was a factor. So too, was the fact that my husband was a phenomenal cook whose creations were not designed with weight loss in mind.

Working out at the gym helped prevent extreme weight gain, but when I looked in the mirror or tried on clothes, I would grimace rather than grin. My area of discontent was my belly. Happy with arms, legs and even tush, I found myself disdaining that part of my body. Since I am a writer and therapist, I use metaphors a great deal of the time to describe what I observe. I had long felt like I ‘carried the weight of the world,’ believing that I ‘needed to be strong,’ which translated to ‘big and strong.’ Michael passed in 1998, and I allowed that to be a time of using  food as a comfort with which I would sometimes mindlessly self medicate.

In 2010, my mother died from cardiac disease and I knew I had to make some serious changes. I enrolled in a program that helped me drop 40 some pounds. I felt great. I was satisfied with my appearance. That was the upside. The downside was that once I went off the routine of this restrictive regimen, the weight went back on.

When my own cardiac event occurred in 2014, I knew I was being called on once again to challenge my beliefs. I began sweating it out at the gym, eating more nutritionally balanced meals consisting of organic items, drinking water, walking and dancing. The problem remained portion control and unconscious eating.

It was then that I heard about a method to help me release excess weight, without the severe dietary changes. Debra Troy who is a certified hypnotherapist offers a process to assist. According to Troy,

“The Virtual” Gastric Band Hypnosis program is delivered in five weekly sessions and the participant believes that they have undergone bariatric surgery in the first session to reduce the stomach to the size of a golf ball. This is followed by four further sessions which deal with the psychological triggers that allow a person to overeat. Feedback shows that the hypnotherapy is like ‘flicking a switch in the brain’, turning off cravings and eating only until satisfied.

The Virtual Gastric Band has received much attention in the UK, attracting people from all over the country to undergo the treatments which have a 95% success rate.”

Created by Sheila Granger,  it proports to be a breakthrough in  healthy weight change. Intrigued, I contacted Troy and thus the process began. My initial session was a few weeks ago and in that period of time I noticed some distinct changes. First among them was decreased appetite, followed by a feeling of fullness soon after I began to eat. I have also not been drawn to junk food which was a relief. I can drive past a frozen yogurt place or forgo the sweets that would have called my name. At social gatherings, I have been able to walk away from temptation. I feel smaller. I have not yet gotten on the scale. Later this week, I will do so.

On a psychological  level, I have noticed major shifts. Since I am not self medicating with food, all kinds of emotions are bubbling to the surface. Riding a tidal wave of tsunami proportions, I remind myself that it is a good thing I was a lifeguard and can swim.

Over the next few weeks, I will observe my progress and inform you as well. Seeing myself as the incredible shrinking woman.

Losing weight image available from Shutterstock

The Incredible Shrinking Woman

Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW

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APA Reference
Weinstein, E. (2015). The Incredible Shrinking Woman. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 27 Oct 2015
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