Recovering From Binge Eating

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Do you want to know what I would think about when I binge ate?

Nothing. I was numb.

When I was binge eating, I was hiding my feelings in another bowl of cereal or some other, much worse, junk food. The only thing that might have crossed my mind in those times, was how I’d have to explain to my kids that we’d have to stop for granola bars at the gas station on the way to school again, because I ate all the cereal. Again. Both boxes.

It’s so hard for those of us who hide our feelings in food, to stop. It’s almost impossible to stop something you’re barely aware is happening, because you are numb.  If you’re reading this, you’ve likely found yourself in the same scenario- numbly eating to hide from stress, sadness, disappointment, worry, and guilt.

When you are facing the “need” to binge, you are most likely giving yourself an excuse to justify what you’re doing to your body. Here are some common excuses people tell themselves: 

  • I've been really good this week, anyway. 
  • It was a hard day at work
  • I'll go to the gym tomorrow
  • My mom and I are fighting so I’m stressed
  • The collection agency called again, the taxes are due, I need dental work I can’t afford, and I got a parking ticket today- who cares?   

Believe me, I get how easy it is to turn to food when life is feeling overwhelming and difficult.

In the past two years I lost 175 pounds and have been able to mostly change the way I look at food and use it as a tool for my health, rather than a drug to hide from my feelings. How?

I became aware of my actions.  

I looked at all my excuses, all my stress. I saw myself complaining every day about my weight, but not doing anything about it for years. I saw it all for what it was and I committed to making a change. 

The excuses you give yourself to over eat, skip workouts, be lazy, etc, are just keeping you from a better and happier life, just like they did for me. 

Here is my challenge for you: be aware of what you are telling yourself. How are you justifying another bowl of ice cream in your head?

At that point, when you’re making excuses in your head, before you start the binge- stop yourself and ask:

“How else can I soothe myself in this moment, without hiding my emotions in food?”

Draw a picture?

Call a friend?

Write in a journal?

Those are just a few ideas.

Right now, or as soon as you can, get a pen and paper. Write down ten ways you can soothe yourself without food. Come up with your own ideas and share them with friends, or in the Finally Inspired Weight Loss Support Group.  

the next time you find yourself wanting, needing, desperate to binge... try one of the things on your list.  

Commit to doing that thing for 30 minutes. Set a timer if you want.  

After 30 minutes, ask yourself if you really want to eat that cookie? All those cookies?

if you don’t really, keep doing something else and thank yourself for making a healthy choice.  

If you do really want to eat that cookie, then trust yourself.

Give yourself trust and know that you are perfectly capable of eAting two cookies, instead of twelve. You can handle enjoying your treat, guilt free, without over doing it. And after you enjoyed every bit of it, you’re satisfied and done. 

Remember it’s a process. Forgive yourself, love yourself, and trust yourself.