Monthly Archives: November 2012

How not to Binge on Thanksgiving

Okay. It’s Thanksgiving again. The hardest holiday for those with binge eating issues. Don’t panic. It’s only one day out of the year and it doesn’t have to start off a mult-week binge that continues for the rest of the year.

1. Start off by telling yourself that you can eat whatever it is that you want. However, only give yourself full servings of the things you really want, and give yourself very small (read 1-2 bites worth) of the things you want to sample. So if there are 4 different types of pie you want to sample, give yourself one slice worth of the 4 different types.

2. Keep it all to one plate.  Don’t refill your plate several times. Make yourself one big plate and eat it slowly. Allow yourself to enjoy it.

3. Have an intention around food and drinking. Think about what you are going to choose to eat and drink and how much. Making this intention will help you to empower yourself around food and alcohol rather than  letting the food take over.  Share this intention with a family member or supportive friend or a therapist.

4. If you don’t have anyone supportive at the Thanksgiving meal, see if you can bring a a support resource with you, a friend who might be going through recovery with you or someone you feel safe with. If you cannot do that, have a support person who you can talk to on the phone intermittently throughout the meal.

5. If there is a buffet, stay away from the buffet table. Be on the other side of the room as often as you can.

6. Make sure that you eat a good solid breakfast before you go to Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t show up hungry. If you do, your hunger might take over and squelch your intention.

7. Just because there are several new and interesting foods there, you don’t have to eat everything. Make sure that you let yourself have a solid dinner, with protein, vegetables and a starch if you wish. If you just snack or graze on a bunch of different foods, you will inevitably wind up feeling unsatisfied, as though you’ve not really had a meal. This could lead to feeling too full and trigger a binge.

8. Talk to people in rooms away from food. You don’t have to sit on a couch in front of a giant platter of cheese and crackers and nuts and hors d’œuvres talking to your aunt. Try to concentrate on conversations with  people.

9. Eat slowly and mindfully. It’s not a race to the end. You can enjoy good food and good conversation.

10. Don’t compulsively overexercise in anticipation of “eating extra calories.”  It will leave you very tired and hungry, again, unable to empower yourself to hold your intention.

11. Take walks or time outs. Let yourself leave the situation and take mini breaks. Let yourself get away from the stress of the food and the stress of family that sometimes exists.  If it’s too cold or not realistic for you to leave, take your cell phone into another room and say you need to make an important call and talk to your support person.

12. Bring your journal with you so that you can sit and relax and process your feelings during the meal rather than stuff your feelings.

13. Bring your ipod with some mediation music or relaxing music that puts you in a calm mood.

14. Make a gratitude list! Think about what you are grateful for during the holiday.

15. If there are children there, spend time playing with them. If there are elders there, spend time talking to and getting to know them. Both things that will be enriching and get your mind off of food.

16. Mediate. Sit quietly in the bathroom for five minutes and take deep slow breaths into your belly. Inhale slowly  to the count of five and exhale slowly to the count of five. This will calm your body and allow you to let go of any stress or anxiety that your body is holding on to.

17. Remember that if it seems like it might be too hard this year,  you don’t have to go. It’s true, you might let some people down. But you can always explain to them that it’s important for you to take care of yourself in this way this year. If you don’t think that they’d be amenable to this, or you think that they will accuse you of being self centered or self absorbed, don’t offer any explanation that might leave you vulnerable to being shamed or insulted.

EDNOS- The Deadliest Disease… What does that Mean?

So lots of people have been sending me this clip and asking me to comment on it. This is a great clip, if a little sensationalized. First off, I want to comment on the “Ednos is the deadliest eating disorder, even more deadly than anorexia, even more deadly than bulimia.” So I want to clarify here, EDNOS stands for “Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified,” and really, it’s main purpose is for coding and billing. Anorexia and bulimia have a very specific set of diagnostic criteria. For instance, to be diagnosed with bulimia, you are bingeing and purging twice a week for at least three months. So what if I had a client who was purging daily for the last month? She’d be EDNOS. But she’d still be bulimic. And what if I had a client who vomited every week, but usually just once a week, and she’d been doing it for years. What if she also binged, then overexercised, but restricted most of the time? What if she’d lost her period, but her weight wasn’t 85% of her expected weight? Then she’d be EDNOS for diagnostic purposes. She wouldn’t fit into a diagnostic criteria for anorexia or bulimia. What if I had a client who binged on cookies and ice cream several times a week, then compensated by not eating the next day. She’d have Binge Eating Disorder, but until 2013, there’s no DSM diagnosis, so she’d have EDNOS.   So, the misleading sensationalism about “EDNOS, the most deadly disease that is the most common that no one ever talks about…” is really just a catch all phrase for your typical eating disorder. Most EDs just don’t fall into the diagnostic criteria neatly. They’re really complicated. Which is why most people with eating disorders are diagnosed with Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.Now, other than my criticism of that, I liked the clip. It’s a good description of what happens with an eating disorder. It starts as restricting, gets more and more severe, turns into bingeing, which can then turn into bulimia… I liked the clip with the therapist who sat with Taylor and checked in with her after she finished her pizza, I liked how honest Taylor was about how difficult it was for her to eat the pizza. I liked how they brought eating disorders out of the clinics and explained how confusing and scary they really are. Overall, it was good to see. I’m glad that EDs and recovery are getting some attention. It was super courageous of those two women to go on national television and discuss their eating disorders. What did you think of this clip?