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I was reading this post by Chevese Underhill Turner, the founder of BEDA (Binge Eating Disorder Association) and remembered why binge eating is such an incredibly useful coping tool.  Binge eating is one of the quickest, easiest ways to completely shut down without going to sleep or taking a drug.  It’s not that different for many people than getting high or getting drunk. It’s another way to  turn your brain off and keep you from being in the now. But what if you were to binge consciously? What would that do?  What would it be like if you could feel the food in your hand, taste the food in your mouth, feel the food going down your esophagus, your digestive processes beginning to take place… What it would it be like to binge consciously? What do you think you would notice?  Do you think it would serve the same purpose or help you in the same way that it used to? Do you think it would be hard? What emotions do you think you would feel? What bodily sensations would you experience?

If you should find yourself in the middle of a binge, here is a challenge to bring yourself into consciousness. It doesn’t mean you have to stop, just try to be present and see what that feels like.  One of the amazing things about being present is that you become more aware of your feelings and your actions. When you have that awareness, the choice becomes yours. Binges feel so unconscious and so driven by a compulsive desire that feels outside of you.  I hear many people report that they didn’t even know that they were bingeing until they were in the middle of it. They kind of just woke up halfway through an eating frenzy and barely knew how they got there… it just kind of happened. That’s okay. The first step to being conscious is to notice when you catch yourself doing something. Rather than let yourself zone out to continue, pull yourself back and watch yourself with empathy, compassion, and curiosity. Notice what you are doing and what you are feeling. As you continue this level of awareness, you will find an amazing thing… Your bingeing will begin to decrease. Not magically, but because when you are conscious, you have choice, you can choose to use the tools that you have to deal with what you are feeling.

 

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  • Great advice! I’m hoping this will help me snap out of a binge and think and feel without shutting down.

  • M

    Thanks for posting this. It is very helpful!

  • I’m a big fan of Chevese! Being mindful is very important for anyone trying to recover from binge eating. You really have to learn to be in the moment when you eat before you can truly reduce the binging.

  • Jackie

    After two and a half years in treatment. I can tell you that awareness will keep you semi-conscious during binges. What I’ve learned is that it doesn’t work the way it used to. I used to know exactly how much food would put me out of it and when I try that now, it doesn’t work. There is nothing I can do to make myself feel better with food, instead, I am punishing myself with food and I am aware of this when I do it. I hate it. It’s like torture. Why would a person knowingly do this and once you know, why would you let it continue? This is where I am. I’m glad this blog exists. Everything that I read here has been suggested to me by my nutritionist/counselor, but it is something I need to see daily in order to make my health my priority. This is something I deal with, but I pay more attention to the illness than the recovery. I’ll try the reverse tomorrow. Thank you.