I used to be a binge eater, so I know what it’s like to do something you know is so self destructive!
You look at yourself and wonder “What am I doing to myself?” But for some reason, you just cannot stop. Every morning, you wake up feeling renewed with a positive outlook on the day ahead. But by lunch time, you have already eaten passed your comfort point.
Your clothes are getting visibly tighter, and yet, seeing that increases the amount of food you eat. The lower you feel with yourself, the more you eat. It’s a vicious cycle leading to more and more eating, and lower and lower mood.
I felt that I just could not stop eating at times, and yet now, I am no longer a binge eater. I can listen to hunger and fullness and I don’t feel I over eat.
I want to share with you what I’ve learned about compulsive binge eating and over eating from my own experiences in the hope that you will find it enlightening.
1. Understand that there is a reason
I can’t impress upon you the importance of understanding that you are not eating this way for no reason whatsoever. Although the logic is skewed, there is a reason behind your binges.
Whether this is a new occurrence, or another year into binge eating – there is ALWAYS a reason for eating this way.
Sometimes, you may be well aware of the reason.
Other times, you have no idea why, as things on the outside seem to be going ok.
Either way – what you are probably doing is trying to solve the eating problem, rather than the underlying issue.
This is where that odd logic comes into it. Your inner guardian, who’s job is to protect you from things that are too disturbing, or too much to handle, or too emotionally heavy, is not only giving you comfort from something that actually does give you momentary comfort, but you also have a new focus rather than having to deal with any other sh*t going on.
To manage this then, you must stop seeing your eating as a problem. In fact, you must develop an attitude of gratitude for it. There is a part of you trying to communicate with you pain, or confusion, and it is doing so through food. Thank this part of you for trying to talk with you. See your eating as a gift. “Thank you for showing me how I really feel” “Thank you for letting me know that I am in pain”.
At the same time, you need to be opening up. Even though you feel like closing down with shame. This is stopping any other issue from coming to the surface. You need to go and talk to someone, a friend, a counsellor or a therapist. What has changed in your life recently? What are you fed up of? What are you trying to stuff down, wishing it would go away?
If you’re not ready for therapy, write every night (or morning). Grab a notebook and let stuff out.
2. Stop trying to control the beast
When you are focused on the food side of things, it is easy to try and see this as a huge problem that has gotten out of hand. You may redouble your efforts to control this wild creature.
You might be reading loads of books to problem solve your eating, you might look at new diet plans, you might be banning some foods from the house, or resolving to tighten your control over ‘naughty’ foods.
Unfortunately, this does nothing more than make the eating worse. You will binge more in protest of trying to control it. Because it must run its course.
You cannot control a binge in the ways that you are doing. You must stop chasing it and tying ropes around it and telling it that it’s wrong.
For this, you can stop reading books about food at least. And if you have been reading books on binges or emotional eating, you can give yourself a break from those for a week or so. Instead, read books that have nothing to do with eating. What else have you enjoyed in the past? A fantasy novel? And whilst you’re not reading about eating, what about some crafts? Jam making, macramé, or some clay making? I don’t know why I’ve reeled off a list of 1970’s hobbies, but just go with me on that.
3. Allow allow allow
And now you release the grip. You allow with 100% trust. Stop gripping.
Every morning, get up, and STOP promising yourself that today will be different.
Instead, turn to yourself and say “Ok, show me. Show me how you feel. Do you want to eat a lot? Okay, let’s do it. What do you want? Carbs on top of carbs, you got it my friend.”
As you are half way through the carb fest. Ask “Do you want some chocolate on your whipped cream?” And keep going.
You are not only releasing resistance, you are diving head first into the bread bin, with a tub of chocolate spread under your arm. Fly into your eating. Jump, my friend. If what you want right now is to eat, then you EAT.
Keep pushing this. Because the thing is, you actually do stop eating, don’t you? There are times when you stop. So what’s that all about then? You see, the more you focus on the problem, the more you see the same problem.
Change your self talk. Instead of “Must not, can’t, and should not” You need to say “I will, I have to eat more, I can, I allow.”
Try it, and let me know how this goes.
4. The only one thing to focus on is kindness
If you are going to allow yourself food, then you will also allow kindness. You can not ‘allow’ a binge and then berate yourself with negativity afterwards!
Every time you lay back, food sweats and buttons unpopped on your trousers, say; “Well done you”
Each day, you need to say 10 kind things to yourself.
“I accept myself, I love myself, I let go of resistance, I open to what’s there, I can handle this, I know there is a reason and I trust I can open to it”
You get me?
You must open. You must allow. Once you melt resistance, your tears and pain will gush through. And that can be messy. But let kindness be your ally. You are allowed to feel pain. You are allowed to not know how to fix your life, you must feel the weight of what you are bearing.
5. Live Your Life Now
Finally – as much as possible, stop putting things off until ‘it all gets better’.
This means you’ve put a tight time limit on your eating, and that is another form of control. Yes, I know you can’t fit into your usual trousers. But you must find a comfy pair and go for a walk on the beach. And no, not to exercise, but to get out there and live!
- Say yes to friends’ invitations out.
- Say yes to coffee dates.
- Say yes to a movie night.
- Stop hiding away.
This is a tricky one, as you feel so full of shame.
But you need to keep living otherwise you will feel so low from not engaging with your life, you will keep eating as you don’t see the point in things anymore.
This is a dangerous place to be. Change it up, by feeling uncomfortable as it will reward you in the long run!
Keep going out there!
Your eating is NOT a problem, but your resistance is.
Look after yourself, and enjoy your big cake.