Monday, November 17, 2008

Propaganda

So for my last fifteen minutes of cardio on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, they have me watch these educational videos that cover a variety of topics including nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle.  They started with the first two, and now they're on to the latter, and they suck a lot more than the ones grounded in, you know, medical science.  Nowadays, the videos are all about coping and dealing with emotional problems, and I don't feel that I'm getting any value from them at all.  I'm sure that a majority of the people in their program do experience the sorts of emotional problems that the videos describe and assume that I'm also experiencing, but I'm pretty stable, and it's just obnoxious to listen to someone describe strategies for dealing with problems you don't have.

A huge topic of the videos has been dealing with what they call "emotional eating," where being overwhelmed with stress or depression triggers people to eat.  I don't really feel that I do this... ever, really.  I eat for two reasons: because I'm hungry, or because something appears extremely delicious (e.g. dessert, candy, snacks).  I don't eat because I'm bored, or because my boss made me do extra work, or because I'm feeling down, or because I need validation that I'm special or good enough or smart.  In fact, in contrast with that seems to be the stereotype, I tend to avoid eating when I'm in front of the computer because it's inconvenient—whether I'm typing at work or playing a game at home, it's more difficult to be eating, because I need both of my hands.

I've spent quite a bit of effort over the past many, many years to be in control of myself and my emotions.  (This has nothing to do with being a Star Trek fan or thinking that Zachary Quinto is going to make an awesome Spock, I assure you.)  I'm certain that this has helped me.  It doesn't give me the discipline to avoid eating things that I know in my heart to be delicious but unhealthy—I still have to work very, very hard to succeed at that—but it has given me a very calm, stable demeanor.  It's possible that I may have suffered from emotional eating in the past, but if I did, I think that those days are long gone.

I'm required to periodically see a therapist while on the program, and I get the picture that she's used to clients just unloading all of these various emotional issues that cause them to lose self-control.  When I'm talking with her, we really don't have much to talk about.  I can tell that she's on plan B or plan C and her "backup topics" to fill out the session.  The first time we met, we mostly just went over my responses to the initial survey that all program participants fill out. The second time, we talked about my brother and Facebook. The third time was all about Jason (we had just started dating), and this most recent session was about Thanksgiving, and life with a boyfriend. I think that I must annoy her a little bit because none of her usual questions yield much of a response from me. She has to switch to these mostly-irrelevant topics to get me to say anything at all.

But, I don't mind the sessions. I think that they're pointless, but I don't have the option of not paying for them, and I'm required by my insurance plan to attend (unless I want to shell out another $6,000), so whatever. I'm supposed to be going to a group therapy session each week in addition to the individual sessions, but they'd been trying for months now to find a time that fits my schedule and still haven't, so they gave up and now I'm just going to see the therapist a few extra times and skip out on twenty-four hour-long group therapy sessions. That seemed like a very, very good deal from my perspective.

5 comments:

Louise said...

I think Quinto looks like an awesome Spock. I saw pictures, and I couldn't believe it was "that creepy guy from Heroes"

Jeez...maybe you should go out there and find yourself some emotional problems, just so you can relate to these videos. If you want, I am sure I have a couple I can let you take off my shoulders :P

Andy M said...

Jesus, this program sounds like AA.

Nyomi said...

I've heard that those group meetings are awful, and I'm not quite sure why they assume everyone needs to have others relate to in order to maintain discipline.

I am awfully proud of you though, and you looked great when I saw you.

But yes, Zachary Quinto!!! He has that perfect restrained rage that I identify with vulcans.

Travis said...

Regarding the AA comment:

Yeah, that's kind of what I assume those group therapy sessions are like. I hear that they're not as bad as I assume, but I'd really rather not find out to be honest.

Andy M said...

Well, obviously I'm just guessing on the AA thing as well... but seriously, it sounds like overkill for someone like you.