Friday, July 12, 2013

Getting Paid to Do What I Love.

It has been another very busy 5 days since my last post.  Too busy to really write, which makes for a potentially looong blog post to update you on everything.  But instead of potentially boring you with too many details (what, me?), I'll try to stick with mostly a pictorial much as I can anyway.

My last post left off with me about to tuck into bed in Philadelphia on Sunday evening (I think I left off the large number of chocolate kisses I ate while writing that post, whoops!) and a promise that, "tomorrow I'll exercise for sure."  Did I?  Do you have to ask.  But a quick recap of Monday.  I bypassed the hotel buffet breakfast (nice job, Michelle) and had an order of oatmeal with all the fixings before heading off to my training - the first day of a two day workshop on Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Weight Loss and Maintenance.  Rather than attempt a summary, I'll just share their description...
Led by Judith S. Beck, PhD and Deborah Beck Busis, LSW, participants will learn how to use a cognitive behavioral treatment plan for weight loss and maintenance through an experiential two-day workshop designed for individuals who work with dieters. In this workshop, which is based on The Beck Diet Solution and The Complete Beck Diet for Life, participants will learn evidence-based strategies aimed at facilitating change in their clients' thinking and behavior so they can make permanent changes in their eating. Participants will learn how to conceptualize the difficulties their clients face and plan strategies to handle them effectively.
I learned so much I was practically on the edge of my seat the entire training.  Two days chock full of applicable and entirely relevant information.  Deborah in particular had many experiences to share as far as challenges dieters she's worked with have faced and how she's helped them deal with them.  Good, good, good stuff.

I think I've been sort of hush-hush on my blog about this but I started a private practice several months ago working with people much like myself - people who want to lose weight and keep it off, people who have tried in the past, lost weight and regained it, or who struggle to manage their food intake even if they don't want/need to lose significant amounts of weight.  I'm only seeing people who can come to my office but soon I'll be experimenting with Skype so I'll be sure to keep you posted on that in the event you're interested.  It's all very exciting and I can't tell you how much I am enjoying the work.  Teaching others how to do what I've done is so inspiring for me.  I love seeing people start to really get it and change their eating slowly but surely.

Speaking of food...During the lunch break I and another workshop participant (Hi Susan!) lucked upon Honeygrow, a "small footprint Whole Foods with a focus on noodles and stir-fry and higher-end salads."  I would DIE to have one of these in my town.  I've actually been fantasizing about contacting the owner about a franchise.  So far there are only two of them owned by the same guy in Philadelphia but this thing is cutting. edge.  Fresh, local ingredients made either into a stir-fry or a salad or, if you prefer to drink your food, shakes and smoothies with the same fresh, local stuff inside.  Day one I had the Coconut Red Curry...and would have died happy had it been my time.  When you order you choose from light, regular or on-the-side sauce.  Love that.

carrots, red onions, bell peppers, thai basil, tofu, rice noodles, coconut red curry sauce

After the workshop a group of us women made plans to hunt down a Philly Cheesesteak for dinner.  But before that...I had that promise to exercise.  So I went back to the hotel and changed into my workout clothes.  Debated an outdoor run vs the treadmill and decided that no matter how hot and humid it is when one is in a new city, one MUST run outdoors.

I left the hotel and ran for 1.5 miles before turning around.

3 miles in 32:41, full Garmin stats here.
 The best part was the elevation...mostly a slight uphill for the first mile or so, yes, I was dying.

No, wait...the best part was the weather.

58% humidity...that's when the air does the sweating for you.  I finished my run feeling as good as anyone else who makes good on a promise.  And then hit the hotel gym for some weight training before readying myself for our Philly Cheesesteak quest.  Susan and I were lucky to have Ginger along for the evening festivities...not the least of which was because she provided the wheels and doubled up on the Southern Charm. Vroom, we were off on our adventure to South Philly.

I know, you just want pictures...ok, so here.

wit onions, mushrooms, peppers and cheese whiz (whatever the heck that is)
Cheese Fries

We had to order a second order of fries and got "pizza cheese fries" the second time - because one order of fries amongst three women is just asking a little much.  I had a great time chatting with Susan and Ginger but let me warn you, socializing with psychology types is never about exchanging recipes, we got into some heavy discussion.  Fortunately we were all better off for it, especially after our post dinner "snack", washed down with a glass of wine, of course.

Peanut butter bomb, creme brulee cheesecake and chocolate lava cake with ice cream.
We shared all three deserts while making jokes about being at a weight loss training - hey, we ate mindfully at least - and I went to bed with the idea that it might be a good idea to set my alarm for 5am and get in a workout in the morning.  And then I changed my mind.

7am came plenty early.  Packed my bags and again bypassed the buffet for a bowl of oatmeal.  I love oatmeal, I really should eat it more often.  Day two was just as good as Day one, if not better, and I again went to Honeygrow for lunch, this time Ginger joined us...another fabulous meal.  This time I got the Pork with Smoked Oyster Sauce stir-fry.  Triple yum!

scallions, naturally raised pork, shitake mushrooms, egg noodles, bok choy, eggplant, smoked oyster sauce
In the late afternoon we were lucky enough to have a Q&A with none other than Aaron Beck, the inventor of Cognitive Therapy.

Aaron Beck and his daugher, Judith Beck.

Neat!  I asked him a question about how he felt about the classification of disorders in the DSM these days...good, but getting to be too many of them is the extremely short summary of his answer.  I tend to agree with him, I'm afraid we're over-pathologizing...but that's a different blog.  Group pictures were taken, here I am with about a quarter of the class since we all couldn't fit in one picture.

I'm on the far left, next to Susan (who is next to Deborah who is next to Judith).
I am hoping to get back to the Beck Institute in November for a 3 day training on PTSD.

After Day two ended I was off to the airport for a 6:40 flight...except upon arrival I found there was a delay until 9:40pm.  Ugh.  Dinner was 12 chicken wings at a place called Chickie and Pete's in the airport. There were much worse things on that menu I could have eaten but chicken wings sounded good.  The plane didn't take off until 10:40pm and by the time I hit the sack at 3am I had been awake for 23 hours.  Good thing I didn't get up at 5am to exercise!  Oh, and I resisted the very strong urge to buy chocolate both in the airport and on the plane.  Kept reminding myself I was tired, not hungry.

Back home and back to it.  Fortunately my mom was over on Wednesday so I was able to sleep in until 9:30.  I had Physical Therapy and client appointments in the afternoon.  I was so excited to integrate some of what I learned into my work with them.  I don't know if I will eventually plan to make CBT for Weight Loss my main gig but it's sure moving in that direction.  It's great to get paid for something you love to do.  Social Work has always been that way for me but this is even more so.  I'm so passionate about it!  And I asked Judith what she thought about clients knowing about my history with weight loss and she thought it could be great to disclose it, depending on the client.  Bam!  Loving it.

Thursday was back to my regular gig and back to a routine day of eating.  I've sort of forgotten about my plan to finish up my 7 day realignment so I need to get on that.  But my eating has been so on track that it's not feeling like a huge priority to tell you the truth.  We'll see.  I went to the gym after work and did a 25 minute ride on the upright bike that was SO HARD and followed that up with back/biceps/core.  Whew, I've weakened a bit in my chicken-without-a-head routine of late.

Today was more of the, physical therapy, gym.  I have so much to share about physical therapy but this post is getting way too long AND I'm tired as heck so I'll wrap this up and share all the PT goodness next time.  I'm not even going to proofread so sorry if there were typos :)

ps - one last shout out to Susan, Wendy and Ginger, some great women I connected with at the conference who have their own amazing journeys of changing up their lives, their bodies and their minds. 


  1. That's the kind of therapy I was in earlier this year for General Anxiety and Social Anxiety and it helped so much. I would love to know more about the way in which cognitive therapy works :D

  2. Sounds really interesting...I'm starting to think I need a bit of cognitive therapy to deal with my eating patterns (emotional eater)....! So glad you have found something you are so passionate about AND that you can help others - awesome!

  3. This is so great, Michelle. I have been thinking lately about what I feel my "calling" is. The only thing I feel really passionate about is helping people who are going through things I have been through. Emotional abuse, depression, weight issues, etc. I have no special training -- just my own experience, and I am still working that out. But it makes me want to get more educated so I can do this. Maybe not as a vocation, but to help people God brings across my path.

  4. Thanks for the post. I just got the Beck Solution book a few days ago and I have been devouring it. I know I can lose weight as I've done it more than once. I want to learn how to keep it off for good.

  5. Thanks for the post. I just got the Beck Solution book a few days ago and I have been devouring it. I know I can lose weight as I've done it more than once. I want to learn how to keep it off for good.

  6. Sounds like a terrific conference and a great direction for you! I bought the Beck Diet book after reading about it on your site. I used it initially and then life got busy and... I will get back to it. I gained back some weight this month during a very stressful time in my life. I'm back on track and love reading your blog for tips and inspiration.


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