Monthly Archives: October 2010

Friday Q & A- How do I know if what I'm eating actually constitutes a binge?

Question:

Submitted via email from Rachel in Wilmington, NC

Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m actually bingeing.  How do I know if a binge is really a binge?  Last night I thought that I had binged. I ate two apples and two slices of toast after dinner. I was furious with myself, but my husband said that it wasn’t a binge. It felt like a binge because I wasn’t hungry. I was just grabbing food for no reason. But my husband said that two apples and two slices of toast aren’t a binge. I think it was. Was it?

Answer:

Hi Rachel,

That’s a complicated question without a clear answer. In order to deconstruct it, let’s first look at the proposed diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder:

1. eating, in a discrete period of time (for example, within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances

2. a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (for example, a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)

B. The binge-eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:

1. eating much more rapidly than normal

2. eating until feeling uncomfortably full

3. eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry

4. eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating

5. feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterwards

C. Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.

D. The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for three months.

E. The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behavior (for example, purging) and does not occur exclusively during the course of bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.

So in terms of the amount of food you ate, it probably would not be considered a binge. However, what is important here is that a.)You ate when you were not hungry and b.)You say that you were furious with yourself.

This is an opportunity to try and understand what was driving you to eat. Were you bored? Were you tired? Were you procrastinating or trying to avoid something? Were you depressed? How do you know that you weren’t hungry? Did you eat enough during the day or at dinner?

Every time you eat when you aren’t hungry, it’s not necessarily a binge, but sometimes, it is an attempt to meet some unidentified need that you are having. When you are heading to the kitchen after dinner, it’s important to check in with what you are feeling and really think about what’s happening. In recovery, there is a saying: H.A.L.T. Am I Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?

Having a snack or a desert after dinner or before bed is fine. But, as you begin to recover, watching yourself with an observing ego (the part of you that watches what you do and say without judgment or agenda, your own internal therapist), can be incredibly illuminating to better understand your eating patterns, and  your patterns of guilt or shame associated with eating.

The fact that you felt so angry with yourself after you ate these things is poignant. So much of binge eating disorder is wrapped up in guilt and shame. As if eating too much is a crime against humanity. We put so many judgments on food and eating. Food is not a moral issue. A cookie is not bad and a carrot is not good. They are just food. Eating a carrot doesn’t make you virtuous nor does eating a cookie make you bad. It’s difficult to conceptualize that because we are so conditioned by the media to split foods and eating behaviors into “good” or “bad.” But eating 2 apples and 2 pieces of bread doesn’t make you bad.

The irony is that you are so angry at yourself when in reality, the binge indicates that you are needing some compassion, especially from yourself. There is something going on emotionally that needs tending to. So, when you find yourself angry at yourself for something that you’ve eaten, dig a little deeper. This is a good indication that you are needing self care and self love.

As you begin to “catch” these behaviors and your instincts to eat when you are actually needing something else, (such as talking to your husband, getting sleep, taking a bath, writing in your journal, talking to your best friend) you will find that your compulsions to binge decrease. This is because you are learning to tend to your needs rather than stuff them with food and the guilt that comes with it. You will remember that eating only temporarily relieves whatever pain you are having. You will have to deal with it at some point and unfortunately, the guilt and shame associated with binge eating will only serve to compound your pain and possibly deflect from what you are really needing to pay attention to. Guilt, shame, and self loathing after a binge are a great indicator that you need to be giving yourself compassion.

So, again, think about what was happening for you emotionally before you went for the toast and apples and try to find some kindness for yourself.

Do you have a question about binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, or anything associated with eating disorders? Send an email to  bingeeatingtherapy at gmail dot com. All questions will be kept confidential. Include your first name or the name you want to be referred to as and your location.

Hypnosis for Binge Eating, Bulimia and other Eating Disorders

Hypnosis For Binge Eating- $10.00 for download

Millions of people suffer with Binge Eating. If you fit into that category, this session can help you to get control over the impulse to binge. It will help you to recognize that you are stronger than the urge to binge. Although that urge can feel overwhelming, you are ultimately in charge and this session will help you remember that. This will help you to be more in control so that you can choose the behavior that you want to have. It will allow you to feel more peaceful around food and your thoughts about food.  DOWNLOAD HYPNOSIS FOR BINGE EATING HERE

Hypnosis for Bulimia -$10.00 for Download

Bulimia is a very serious condition where a person eats a large amount of food and then gets rid of it through purging by self-induced vomiting. This session will help you to get control of your bulimia. You will know that you are stronger than the urge to binge and purge. You will find calmness and peace through breath and mindfulness when you believe that there is nothing else to do other than purge. Imagine feeling calm around food. Imagine letting go of the shame that you have around your eating disorder. Imagine finding peace from within to help you deal with whatever it is that triggers your symptoms. This session can help you to achieve that. DOWNLOAD HYPNOSIS FOR BULIMIA HERE

Hypnosis for Compulsive Eating -$10.00 for Download

Compulsive eating is eating without restraint or thoughtfulness of what goes into your mouth. Do you know the feeling? It’s when you find yourself just grabbing food because it’s in front of you, not because you’re hungry, not because you’ve thought out what you’re going to eat. This session helps you to bring thought and mindfulness to your eating. It helps you to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied rather than just eating food because it’s there. DOWNLOAD HYPNOSIS FOR COMPULSIVE EATING HERE

Hypnosis for Emotional Eating-$10.00 for Download

Are you someone who turns to food when you are feeling stressed, sad, angry, depressed, anxious or happy? Is food your response to emotions? This session can help you deal with your emotions in a healthier way. Eating in response to emotions is a way to stuff your feelings down without validating them or metabolizing them. This session can help you to respectfully process your feelings without fear or needing to turn to food in response to them. DOWNLOAD HYPNOSIS FOR EMOTIONAL EATING HERE

Hypnosis for Sugar Addiction-$10.00 for Download

Some people find controlling their sugar intake completely impossible. They find that one bite of something sweet will have them spiraling out of control into a sugar binge that they cannot get out of. This session can help. This will help you to let go of your addiction to sugar. Some people have found that after listening to this session, they are able to completely give up sugar for good. Others find that they are able to set limits around sugar that they could not previously stick to. This session will give you that peace and control around sweets that you need and allow you to feel safe and comfortable. DOWNLOAD HYPNOSIS FOR SUGAR ADDICTION HERE

Hypnosis for Intuitive Eating-$10.00 for Download

People can also be addicted to dieting. Sometimes they find that they have success with a particular kind of diet plan, but they gain the weight back, and then they try and try and try to replicate that initial success again and again. It becomes exhausting. This session can help you to let go of that diet. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the diet because you believe that you will lose all self-control. However, the truth is that the obsession with the diet and the weight loss is what has taken over. This session will help you to release the obsession and integrate healthy, intuitive eating. With intuitive eating, your weight will naturally come to the place that your body is meant to be at, and you will begin to feel safer around food. You won’t end up overeating or eating unhealthy foods because you will be giving your body what it needs. Your body doesn’t want to be filled with junk or overstuffed. It wants healthy amounts of nutritious food. This session will help you to achieve that. DOWNLOAD INTUITIVE EATING MEDITATION HERE

Mindful Eating Meditation-$10.00 for Download

This session will help you to incorporate mindful eating into your healthy eating regimen. Mindful eating is a way to understand what your body needs, how much it needs and when it needs it. Practicing mindful eating will help you to learn the very simple practice of eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are satisfied. It will also give you the power to be aware of what you’re eating while you’re eating it. You will become more intimate with the tastes, the textures, and the nourishment of your food. You will find a sense of gratitude for what you are eating as well as an appreciation for food and your body. DOWNLOAD MINDFUL EATING MEDITATION HERE

 

Love Your Body- Guided Meditation for Positive Body Image - $10.00 for Download

Many people deal with body image issues and feel bad about their size, their shape and what they look like in general. This session can help you to respect your body. When you love and respect your body. You feed it healthy food and appropriate portions. You feel more confident in your skin and generally happier. Your body deserves love and respect, not criticism and punishment, no matter what the size or shape it is. This session can help you to let go of the inner critic that tells you there is something wrong with you and helps you to treat yourself with the loving kindness and respect that you deserve. Imagine what it would feel like to feel peace and calmness in your body. DOWNLOAD POSITIVE BODY IMAGE MEDITATION HERE

 

Stop Eating Junkfood -$10.00 for Download

This session will help you to let go of unhealthy eating habits and integrate new healthy eating habits. It’s not about self-control or will-power, it’s about wanting to eat healthy. You will find yourself desiring healthy foods and eschewing junk foods. You will find that you are not tempted by foods that don’t serve you. It’s not that you will be struggling to eat the right foods or make good decisions, it’s that you will find you have the desire to take care of yourself. You will be able to stop and think about what you want and what your body needs rather than compulsively grabbing at something that is not good for you out of habit. DOWNLOAD STOP EATING JUNKFOOD START EATING HEALTHY HYPNOSIS HERE

Hypnosis for Motivation to Exercise- $10.00 for Download

Not everyone is a star athlete. Many people just can’t seem to find the time or the motivation to exercise. This session will help to take the anxiety out of getting started. Often, people find that they don’t exercise because they become very overwhelmed at the prospect of just getting up and getting out. Exercise should be easy and enjoyable, not an overwhelming task. This session will help you to get over the initial hurdle of exercise so that it becomes a habit, rather than something to dread. After a few weeks of developing a new habit, it will become second nature so that the anxiety and stress are no longer there. The motivation to exercise will naturally be there, so that you will look forward to and enjoy exercising. DOWNLOAD MOTIVATION TO EXERCISE HYPNOSIS HERE

Question: How do I use these MP3s?

Answer: Use headphones or an ipod to listen to these recordings. Listen to them when you have uninterrupted time to lay down, relax and close your eyes. It’s best to listen to a recording each day for a few weeks to help reinforce the change. Night time is often best because they relax you enough to help you fall asleep and help your unconscious mind absorb the changes.

Question: How do these sessions work?

Answer: Self-hypnosis and guided visualizations work by changing the way you think. The beliefs held by your unconscious mind are the driving force behind your actions, so the point of these sessions is to help you to change those beliefs. This is done by first helping you become deeply relaxed. At this point, your conscious mind takes a back seat while your unconscious mind is open and receptive to suggestions. The changes take place as you begin to visualize them. Your unconscious mind then changes your thoughts and beliefs by releasing those that no longer serve you and creating new, healthier beliefs. Once your unconscious mind begins to have healthier beliefs, your behaviors completely transform. You begin to notice yourself making changes that you had wanted to make but weren’t able to because you were stuck in old patterns.

Question: How do I know that I can be hypnotized?

Answer: Some people can’t, but most people can. What’s important is not that you are being hypnotized per se, but that you are able to listen to the recordings and visualize the change for yourself. The calming nature of the sessions will help you to relax and that in itself will create a huge benefit for you.

 

Question: How long will it take to work?

Answer:  Many people receive a benefit and notice a change after the very first time they listen.

Question: Will I remember anything from the session?

Answer: Yes, you will most likely remember everything. You are not unconscious, you are just deeply relaxed and peaceful, as though you’re meditating.

Question: Will this cure my Eating Disorder?

Answer: Hypnosis is not a guaranteed cure all but is a wonderful complement to your recovery program which can include nutritional therapy, psychotherapy, and a support group or 12-step group.

 

FOR ADDITIONAL HYPNOSIS DOWNLOADS, VISIT HYPNOTHERAPY FOR WELLNESS

Hypnosis MP3

Compulsive Exercise–When too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing

So many people come into my office not just dealing with compulsive eating issues, but with compulsive exercise issues.

But how do you know when exercise is compulsive rather than just healthy?

Ask yourself these questions:

1.)Do you get upset or anxious if you can’t exercise every single day?

2.)Do you forgo social invitations in order to exercise?

3.)Do you make sure that you always exercise on vacations or trips away?

4.)Do you exercise when you’re sick or injured?

5.)Do you exercise past the point of exhaustion, to where you feel like you just can’t go anymore, but you continue to?

6.)Do you use exercise to compensate for the amount that you’ve eaten? For instance, do you count the calories that you’ve eaten, then try to exercise off the same amount of calories?

7.)Do you have overtraining syndrome? Symptoms include:

  • Getting sick often
  • Night Sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic Soreness and Joint Inflammation
  • Injuries
  • Headaches
  • Waking up too early

If you said yes to one of these, you’re might be compulsive with exercise and if you said yes to more than one, there’s a very high probability that you  are a compulsive exerciser.  As with any eating disorder, compulsive exercise can be extremely dangerous. There is of course the possibility of severe injury or heart attack if you completely ignore your bodily cues and sensations for overdoing it. “No pain no gain” is a phrase that was coined by Jane Fonda during her exercise guru years, however, Jane Fonda also openly admitted to having an eating disorder. So that concept was very ED driven.

Besides physical symptoms, the psychological toll that compulsive exercise has is significant. As with food, obsessing about exercise pulls people away from their lives. It can create obsession as well as anxiety and depression if one is unable to engage in their compulsive behavior.

  • Daily exercise is important and necessary for overall health. However, if you are sick, it is more important to stay in bed and nurture yourself than to exercise. Exercising will make you sicker. This is about relearning how to treat your body with respect and give it what it needs. If you have the flu, a five mile run certainly is not what you need. What you need is bed, hot tea, soup, sleep and a good book.
  • You don’t need to be running like a banshee every single day. It’s okay to alternate hard workouts with slower, less taxing workouts, such as aqua aerobics, or a leisurely walk through your neighborhood, or a Hatha Yoga class, or a Restorative Yoga class, or  just playing at the playground with your kids or your friends kids or kids you’re babysitting for, or even going out dancing with your friends.
  • Rejecting your friends for exercise is the same as isolating with an eating disorder. You can become so incredibly obsessed with exercise, that your life is no longer your own. It’s only about making sure that you get your fix. It’s important to remain social and to get support from friends and people around you. It’s very easy to isolate into an obsession. But all obsessions and disorders grow and thrive in isolation. As soon as support is given, they can be tamed.
  • It’s okay to take a day off of exercise just because you don’t feel like doing it. Like food, exercise needs to be something that keeps you healthy, not something that you obsess on and that makes you sick. All obsessions have the propensity to take over your life. Then, your life is no longer your own. You cease to make your own decisions, the obsession makes it for you. Ask yourself, “am I making the decision to exercise, or is it the obsession that’s driving it?”
  • If you suspect that you are addicted to exercise, and it’s hurting you physically or emotionally, please tell someone.  Many people don’t understand that  exercise can become harmful. So make sure that the person who you are talking to is safe and open to understanding what you might be going through. Talk to a therapist who specializes in treating Eating Disorders.
  • Figure out a plan that works for you. Try to take some days off and see what that’s like for you and what kind of emotions and fears and anxieties come up for you. Don’t try to run away from them or exercise them away, but write about them, talk about them.  You won’t gain weight or get out of shape from skipping one day of exercise. That’s just ED (the eating disorder) talking to you.

This is about integrating health and healthy ways of being in the world rather than being a slave to food, body image, and exercise and diets.

Friday Q&A- If I Can’t Diet, How Can I Lose Weight?

Question:

Submitted via email by Jen in Glasgow, KY

On your site, you say that dieting is a bad thing. But what about those of us who actually have weight that they need to lose? How the **** am I supposed to lose weight without dieting?

Answer:

Hi Jen,

I understand why you are confused. On one hand, the whole world is encouraging all different kinds of diets, yet a small contingent are telling you not to diet. My question is, how do you know that you need to lose weight? Is it because you believe that you weigh too much as, or is it because you feel that your weight is negatively impacting your health or your quality of life?  These are questions to think about.  I think it’s important to reframe the concept of dieting to lose weight to the idea of going toward health to improve your quality of life. Your body is your most valuable possession and therefore it deserves to be cared for impeccably. This doesn’t mean spending hours each day at the gym and polishing your muscles and kissing your biceps in the mirror. This does not mean spending money on plastic surgery or botox or liposuction desperately trying to change what you have. This is about embracing what you already and  have and taking really good care of it.  It’s like, if somehow you had possession of an original Picasso, would you paint over it to make it look like an Andy Warhol?  Or would you make sure to get it insured, keep it out of sunlight, store it in a climate controlled environment, and really truly allow yourself to enjoy it?  Taking care of it will keep it beautiful for a very long time, despite how much it ages. In fact, age enhances its beauty. It’s the same thing with your body.  Rather than trying to change it into something different, rather than disliking it the way it currently is, let yourself love it, no matter what size and shape it is. Your body deserves love no matter what it looks like. It’s your body, the only one you got. So take care of it. Feed it healthy food, don’t feed it too much and don’t feed it too little. Give it healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables and limit the amount of processed foods that you put in it. Exercise it, stretch it, wash it, floss your teeth, drink your water, be kind to it, rest it, give it adequate amounts of sleep, take it outdoors to get fresh air and sunlight, bring it into nature, be grateful to it for whatever it gives to you, limit alcohol, tobacco, diet sodas, and other “foods” made with chemicals, but don’t freak out if you eat them every once in a while, relax your mind, listen to music, dance, be kind to yourself and to others.  Rather than going on a diet and actively trying to lose weight, go toward health. When you do, you will find more peace and happiness than you will when you are actively looking for it from a scale.  When you take care of your body and your mind in a deliberate and loving way, you will find that your body weight naturally finds its right place. This isn’t a diet, this is thinking about the rest of your life and your body in a positive way. Strengthening it for the long haul!

So, in a nutshell, my answer is, try not to focus on the weight loss, it’s hard to focus on losing something. Change your focus to health, it’s much easier to gain something, in this case being health and well being.

Be Well,

Leora

Do you have a question about binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, or anything associated with eating disorders? Send an email to bingeeatingtherapy at gmail dot com. All questions will be kept confidential. Include your first name or the name you want to be referred to as and your location.

Binge Eating When You’re Tired

We are a chronically sleep deprived society. And with sleep deprivation often comes binge eating. For several reasons. First off, our defenses are down, so we can’t think about what we need, so we grab at the thing that always nurtures us immediately and consistently. Another reason is that we are so spent that we are looking for quick energy and we hope that food will do that for us. Another reason is that people tend to be more anxious or depressed when they are sleep deprived, so those who use food to manage emotions will find comfort in binge eating.

Next time you find yourself going toward food in the afternoon, check in with yourself. Is it food you need, or a nap? Even resting your head on your desk for 15 minutes of sleep will help you immensely. And making an effort to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night will be rewarding in all aspects of your life. You will have more energy, more focus, more motivation, and more physical strength as well as improved immunity and physical health.

End Fat Talk Week

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKPaxD61lwo]

It is End Fat Talk Week! YAY!

Once upon a time, a bunch of sorority girls from Delta Delta Delta decided that they were sick of the question, “do these jeans make my butt look big?”  and decided to take action by promoting positive body image to all women.

What is fat talk? Fat talk is what happens when women get together and begin to bond and seek reassurance from each other with conversations that revolve around diets, how much weight they want to lose, how fat they are, how fat someone else is, whose body they wish they had, who has lost weight, who has gained weight and anything else like that.

So often women will great each other by saying things like, “You look tiny!” “You look great, you have really lost weight!” or they’ll sit around and discuss how fat they are, how fat they feel and wait for reassurance from each other, “Oh no, you’re perfect, your body is great, I wish my body looked like yours…” Or, there’s always “did you see what she was wearing? She really shouldn’t be wearing that. Did you notice how much weight she has put on in the past few months?” or “Have you tried the ***** diet? I think I’m gonna try it. I hear you can lose like 10 pounds in a week…”

And this isn’t unique to teenagers or young women. It happens across the spectrum from 9 year old girls to 90 year old women! What is that about? Don’t we have more important things to talk about without perpetrating ourselves and our sisters?

See if you can go just one week without engaging in any fat talk. If someone tries to engage with you, tell her what you’re trying to do. It can actually be relieving to people to stop talking about that stuff and just be with each other and enjoy one anothers’ company without all that pressure of having to discuss who is and isn’t fat and constantly reassuring one another.

You can check out their facebook page and take a pledge to end fat talk now!

Friday Q&A– What is a safe food to binge on?

Question:

Submitted via email by Monica in Eugene, OR.

If I’m going to binge anyway, what foods are safe to binge on?

Monica L.

Hi Monica,

Well, I guess that the short answer is, there are no safe binge foods. If it’s a binge food, then it’s not safe.  If you are wanting to binge eat, then there is clearly something going on with you. Perhaps you’re hungry and actually need to be nourishing yourself with a meal. Perhaps you are sad, anxious, lonely, or bored. Again, check in with yourself and see what is going on for you both emotionally and physically and tend to that. Eating 10 pounds of raw vegetables in a sitting rather than 10 pounds of chocolate is still a way to avoid feelings, which always rebound with a vengeance.

I worked with another client who suffered from binge eating and would binge on broccoli. She would eat between 5 and 10 full stalks of raw broccoli compulsively on a regular basis. She really wanted to be binge eating and thought that this was a safe food. Of course it was unsafe for several reasons. Physically, she became sick because she couldn’t digest all that food. She was also  restricting all other food and compensating by binge eating broccoli. Eventually, she suffered from major gastrointestinal problems, not to mention  the fact that she began to lose her hair and her organ systems began to suffer.  Emotionally, she was avoiding her feelings by alternately restricting and bingeing.

That being said, it is important to know what your non binge foods are and to have those on hand. I had a client who suffered from bulimia, and felt unsafe around most foods. However, she knew that she would never binge on apples and hard boiled eggs. For her, those were the only non binge trigger foods that she could identify. She used to carry a large purse with her so that when she began to feel hungry, she had healthy food on hand to eat to satisfy her hunger. For her, being either too hungry or too full would trigger a binge and purge episode, so keeping herself satiated gave her a clear mind to know what she actually needed to be eating.

Be Good To Yourself,

Leora

Do you have a question about binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, or anything associated with eating disorders? Send an email to bingeeatingtherapy at gmail dot com. All questions will be kept confidential. Include your first name or the name you want to be referred to as and your location.

Friday Q&A– How do I get rid of negative emotions?

Question:

Submitted via email by Sarah in San Francisco, CA

Can you tell me how to get rid of negative emotions? Like, first off, my boyfriend and I broke up over 5 months ago, but I can’t stop thinking about  him. He doesn’t want to get back together but  I can’t stop calling him. I’ve been  drinking and binge eating almost every night. I’ll get totally trashed by myself, then order a whole pizza or Chinese Food and binge on it, and then  I call my ex and sometimes I don’t even remember doing it, I just know from the phone log each morning. It’s really embarrassing and he’s even asked me not to contact him anymore. He blocked his number and unfriended me from facebook. And I still can’t stop thinking about him.

I really don’t want to be drinking every night and I don’t want to be binge eating and I don’t want to be obsessed with my ex. But I can’t help it. Can you tell me I stop feeling so in love with my ex? Can you tell me how to stop wanting to drink every night? I don’t know how to make myself feel different than I feel. I just want to know how to feel differently so I don’t do these things anymore.

-Sarah T. – San Francisco

Hi Sarah,

Wouldn’t it be so great if we didn’t have to deal with these pesky feeling thingies? You ask how you can not feel what  you are currently feeling, but it seems to me that all three of these issues are intertwined. You say that you don’t want to feel so obsessed, and I think that when you use alcohol, you are attempting to mitigate those very challenging emotions and the feelings of rejection. You actually have found away to not feel your feelings. But we’ve got a Catch-22 here. You don’t want to think about the ex, so you begin to think about drinking to numb that pain. There’s a part of you that doesn’t actually want to drink but the pain of obsessing over your ex makes it feel too hard not to.  Once you’ve been drinking, you begin to lose all control. Your emotions get too big and you can’t stop yourself from doing things like binge eating and contacting your ex.

So, back to your original question, how can  you stop feeling those awful feelings that you don’t want to be feeling.  The answer is that you don’t. The crux of the issue here is that you’re still hung up on your ex. But just because you have these uncomfortable feelings doesn’t mean you have to act on them. When we think about mindfulness, we think about watching the feelings without carrying out the behavior that we need to carry out to lessen them. We just watch them without judgment and with compassion. For example, you begin to miss your ex. The feeling becomes so overwhelming that you have to do something to make it go away. You believe somewhere (even though rationally you know the truth) that calling him would make you feel better, or that drinking would make you feel better. But of course these things all build on themselves and create a vicious circle.

Think of ex—–> Feel sad, anxious, desperate, want to call him—–> Drink to make feelings go away so you don’t call—–> Feelings get bigger and you lose control——>Call ex——> Feel Worse——> Binge Eat

And on and on. But what if you could stop it right at the beginning? Right at Feel sad, anxious, desperate, want to call him. What if you could sit with those very, very hard feelings without acting on them. This is like strengthening a muscle. When you begin to sit with uncomfortable feelings, you increase your capacity to feel them without acting on them. Feeling them enables you to work through them. When you quickly do things to make those feelings go away, they don’t really go away. They get stuffed down and build and build and build and of course come back even worse. But you don’t have to be with your feelings alone. That can be very frightening.  You can ask for support. You don’t have to come home alone at night and face the takeout menus and the bottle and the cellphone and facebook by yourself. You can always get out of the house and spend time with a supportive friend or family member. You can talk to a priest or a rabbi or a minister or a counselor or therapist or someone that you might feel safe with. You can go out and do volunteer work . You can also sit with your journal or your blog and write about what you’re feeling. If you don’t know of anyone to talk to,  there are  lots of great groups such as LAA or AA. There are also online support groups and message boards to help you work through these feelings.  Don’t let yourself be alone with your feelings. Feelings aren’t bad, but when you don’t acknowledge them through talking about them or writing about them, that’s when you will act out in harmful behaviors. When you stuff them down and let them sit inside of you, they fester and grow into monsters. Talk about them, write about them and let yourself be with them. I don’t know how to get rid of them, but I do know that you can choose to manage them in a healthy way. Eventually, as you begin to take care of yourself, you will return to tending to your own needs and you will pull yourself away from obsessing over your ex and begin to think about yourself and take care of you. Taking care of yourself is crucial in dealing with challenging feelings. When you are feeling bad or sad or angry or lonely or depressed, remember to be good to you. You need to be treated gently, especially by yourself.

Good Luck,

Leora

Do you have a question about binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, or anything associated with eating disorders? Send an email to bingeeatingtherapy at gmail dot com. All questions will be kept confidential. Include your first name or the name you want to be referred to as and your location.

Postponing a Binge

There are times when you will be about to binge or trying to convince yourself that you won’t binge if you just let yourself have this one thing that has historically been a trigger food. Stop. Before you do anything, ask yourself, “am I hungry?” If you are, let yourself eat a protein dense food. If you’re not, if you’re just wanting to eat, tell yourself that you are absolutely allowed to go and binge, but you are going to wait 20 minutes before you do anything. Set an timer for 20 minutes and in those 20 minutes before you get your binge food, let yourself engage in some kind of relaxing activity. If you’re at work, get outside of the office and take a walk. If you’re at home, take a hot bath or do some light stretching or yoga, or call a close friend and chat for a while. At the end of 20 minutes, check in and see if you’re still wanting to binge. You might at that point have enough distance from it to make a choice that’s less compulsive and more calm. When you postpone the binge, you take the compulsive behavior out and put mindfulness in. It’s easier to make an informed decision when you are conscious. You might still binge, but each time you give yourself some time to postpone, you are strengthening the part of you that is learning to care for yourself without abusing food.