Monthly Archives: November 2014

How Not To Binge on Thanksgiving

Well, that dreaded holiday is back. The one that gives us license to eat and eat and eat and then triggers a binge later that night to boot. Crap. Thanksgiving is here again. 

I think it was perhaps 1986, I was in 6th grade, and I’d been dieting. My world consisted of cottage cheese, cantaloupe and melba toast. Because, you know, it was the 80’s.  Anyway, my Mom and I were visiting some cousins or something, I don’t remember, I think it was my Grandmother’s second husband’s daughter’s husband’s parents house. Anyway, that’s where we were. And we ate lots of pie and mashed potatoes and other things that weren’t cottage cheese. Then, I went to the bathroom, saw a box of chocolated ex-lax, took a few and proceeded to eat more pie. Don’t ask me how at 11 years old I knew about using laxatives to purge, or why it even occurred to me to do so. But I did. Then, that night, after we got home, I stayed up all 
night sitting in the bathroom,and after each “purge” I’d step on the scale and watch it go down. I was so excited by the trick that I’d figured out. That was my first foray into extremely disordered eating.  

Thanksgiving is a loaded holiday. 

So, I’ve compiled a list of suggestions that you can use as ammunition to keep you safe. 

1. Allow yourself to eat what you want. Seriously. Eat whatever you want and tell yourself before Thanksgiving dinner that you are allowed to have whatever you want. However, eat portions within reason. One good way of eyeballing portions is to keep them the size of the palm of your hand (fingers not included) or smaller. The reason for this is that if you deprive yourself at Thanksgiving dinner, you might go back at night and binge. Even if you are at someone else’s house, you might just go home and bingeon whatever is in your house because you felt deprived. 

2. Don’t get too full. Let yourself eat, but do it slowly. Getting too full is of course a huge binge trigger. So keep yourself satisfied within reason. If you do happen to get full, tell yourself that it’s okay. That you are not alone in being full or too full on Thanksgiving. That bingeing because you are full would be like finding that you have a flat tire and slashing the other 3.  Just because getting full can be a trigger for many bingeeaters, even if it does happen, you don’t have let it be a binge. You can sit with that discomfort. 

3. Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, focus on what you can and do have. Focus on what you are gaining by not bingeing… strength, vitality, health, peace. 

4. Feed yourself self-loving thoughts and self-loving activities. If you need to get out of the house, get out. If you need to walk around, walk around. If you need to get away from the food, get away from the food. 

5. Book end your meal before and after. Have someone to call before you leave for your Thanksgiving meal and have someone to call when you get home.

6. If you are doing it at your house, send people home with leftovers or bring food in the morning to your nearest soup kitchen or homeless shelter. 

7. If you are dealing with family issues and discomforts there, make sure that you have a support person with you. Don’t go alone. Have someone loving there for you. 
 

Read 15 TIPS TO HAVING A SUCCESSFUL AND BINGE FREE THANKSGIVING


If you have the hypnosis to stop binge eating download, I would recommend beginning to listen to it tonight and listen to it nightly through the holidays to remind yourself that the urge to binge is nothing more than an urge- and that it’s okay to let it pass through you- though it might be difficult, it gets easier and easier and you become more mindful and stronger as the urges become weaker. 


Good luck to all of you! Happy Thanksgiving, may you find gratitude in all things great and small. Find peace and find healing. If you are healthy and happy, may you stay that way, if you need physical or emotional healing, may that come to you easily and if you are hoping for a miracle, I wish that for you too.

Recovery Is Not Linear

how to recover from binge eating

I talk to lots of people every day who are really anxious to recover from their binge eating. They want to do it now. They want to do it yesterday. They are so angry at themselves. And they keep getting into a place of, “oh I messed up. Oh I ate the wrong thing. Oh I binged…” and feeling like they are no longer in recovery if they binged.  This is not recovery. This is diet mentality. When you diet you are on a rigid plan and if you eat off plan, you’ve messed up your diet. You’ve cheated. You can’t cheat on recovery. Because you are part of recovery. Recovery is not a boyfriend that you cheat on and then hate yourself for. Recovery is not a diet that you go on and then mess up and hate yourself. Recovery is not about food. Recovery is about healing. That’s it.  And healing includes not beating yourself up when you eat something that you didn’t plan to or if you binge. Recovery is not about losing weight, obsessing on numbers on the scale or on your jeans. Recovery is about bringing light to yourself. It’s about becoming expansive. It’s about looking away from food and bringing joy back to your life. It’s about becoming lighter emotionally and not carrying so many burdens. It’s about loving yourself and not hating yourself. It’s about being your own best friend.

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday, another eating disorder therapist who trained at the same ED clinic that I did. We discussed how the focus of losing weight will keep you in the disorder.  The focus has to change to recovery. The focus has to change on gaining, not losing. Gaining strength, gaining health, gaining peace. What would that be like? Can you stop for a moment and imagine what it would be like feel lighter? And by lighter I mean to drop all of those negative beliefs that you have about yourself? Like, “I have to lose weight, I’m bad, I’m fat, I’m disgusting, I’m shameful, I’m a pig…” etc. All those really mean thoughts you have about yourself. Can you imagine what it would be like to just drop them? To take them out of your head for just one minute and be with, “who I am right now in this very moment is fine…” and then just see yourself walking down the street with a glow? Smiling? Feeling good about who you are without having to change first?   Because you know what… that’s what recovery is. It’s about feeling strong and loving who you are.

And the irony is, that when that happens, you will find that you are bingeing less. Why? Because you’re not sitting there and beating yourself up. Because your inner critic isn’t driving you to eat. Because you will have better things to do with yourself than obsess on your calorie count.

When you treat recovery like a diet, each “failure” feels catastrophic and painful and you feel like you slip backward with every indiscretion around food. But when you just keep going forward and continue with recovery activities, which have to be centered around self-kindness, you will find recovery just sneaking up on you. One day you will wake up and say, “Oh, I really want to go out and binge. Interesting…” but you won’t have the drive or motivation to act on that urge because you will have too much love and respect for yourself to harm yourself with food. know that this is the truth. I know because I’ve seen it again and again and I’ve been there.  When you are in recovery, your compulsions are like noise, but not noise that you have to pay attention to, background noise that eventually fades.

Pick one kind thing to do for yourself tonight.
Choose some kind words for yourself.
And if you binge, forgive yourself and move forward. Recovery is one foot in front of the other. Moving slowly, moving kindly and moving with support and love. You are not alone.