Get Through December Without Bingeing- Day 12

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Todays Tip

You that whole thing that happens when you entertain and you feel like you have to be perfect? That your house has to be perfect, that your food has to be perfect and that your hair, your clothes and your kids have to be perfect? And then something inevitably goes wrong, your tomato aspic comes out looking like an Alpo ad rather than a Martha Stewart centerpiece… And you feel sad and you beat yourself up and the whole party is ruined…. 

But it’s not. But that’s part of what the ED tells us. That we have to be everything or we’re nothing. 

One of the motivating forces behind eating disorders is the drive to be perfect. People hope for a perfect body, perfect eating habits, flawless skin,  trying to act perfect by always saying the right thing, they try to keep a perfectly clean home and car, and  on and on and on– whatever the individual definition of perfection is . This season is particularly triggering because there is this air of mythical innocence and perfection to Christmas to be like Donna Reed in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (I have a client who will be laughing if she reads this because she thinks I make too many It’s a Wonderful Life” references.) The problem is of course, that nobody is perfect so in the strive for perfection, failure is inevitable.  And this season is inherently messy.  Often, because of that, trying to make things perfect becomes a frustrating let down, as well as a horrible blow to self esteem. “I messed up, therefore I’m a failure, I suck, I’m a horrible person…” and descent into depression or further into eating disorder behavior, or other compulsive behaviors follow.  Some people have such high expectations of themselves that they feel paralyzed. They can barely function because their belief of what they have to be is unattainable so they figure “why bother?”and live in a stuck place where they are unable to go forward with their lives because they hate themselves so much for what they are not. Other people are not so dichotomous and strive toward perfection, but punish themselves when they fail. Like people who have very rigid eating regimens and so if they eat something off their plan they binge, and figure they’ll start all over again the next day. Or they might punish themselves by purging or doing excruciating exercise.

Letting go of the myth of perfection is not easy. So many folks have their heads wrapped around that goal that they believe their lives will be meaningless without it.

  • Remember that perfection is a myth. No one is meant to be perfect, that’s not the way life is. We evolve, learn and grow. Nobody can sit down having never played the piano before and play a perfect concerto. You must start from scratch, learn, practice, and make mistakes.
  • If you never made any mistakes, you would never learn anything. Mistakes are the way we learn. If you can learn from your mistakes rather than making the same mistake over and over again without learning anything, you are evolving.
  • Perfection is not a human or even animal trait. There is no such thing as perfection. That’s not why we exist on this planet. Of course  I don’t know why we exist, but I’m betting that being perfect is not at the top of the list. Especially considering that it’s so subjective.
  • Life is not exciting when our goal is to be perfect because we are unable to take in the intricacies of life. We become so stressed out when we “mess up” that we aren’t able to appreciate what is happening in the moment.
  • Having personal goals and striving toward them is crucial for happiness and joy. However, if the end goal is so rigid, the journey there won’t be enjoyable. The end goal might not even be attained, but what you can learn as you travel through can be more enlightening than what you even set out to achieve.
  • If you find yourself paralyzed, try to take one small step forward. Rather than thinking that you can’t do this overwhelming task perfectly, make small goals that will enable you to move forward.  For example, If you think that you have 200 pounds to lose, that’s very daunting and probably very difficult to begin. However, if your goal is something less daunting, like “try a new vegetable once a week” or “try and get some movement in every day” or “eat at least one fresh fruit and one fresh vegetable each day,” or “make an appointment with a registered dietician” you will find that it’s not too daunting. And if you go a day without getting movement or without eating a fresh fruit, you can always make up for it the next day, rather than thinking, “this is too hard, I can’t do it, I’ll just have to give up.”  It’s possible that you might not reach your original end goal, but when your end goal is really health, that is something you can achieve by letting go of perfection and by integrating loving, healthy habits- this is where you will find improved health.  If you have a very messy house that seems overwhelming to clean, just do one drawer or one surface at a time. It might take you many weeks or months to complete the task, but cleaning one drawer or one section of your closet, or one corner of a room is a lot more doable than cleaning a whole house.
  • Rather than striving for perfection, think about what you can do each day that helps you to be the person that you like. Think about the things that you do that make you like yourself and try to do more of it.  You don’t want to do an overhaul and completely change the person you are, that’s a recipe for self defeatism and self deprecation, not to mention a complete self esteem killer.

Being who you are is what makes you perfect. No one can be a more perfect version of you than you.

Inspirational Quote for the Day

“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.” – Anne Wilson Schaef I love this quote because it’s so cute, the pursuit of perfection is nothing more than a way to abuse ourselves. The pursuit of health and self-love however are much more worthwhile pursuits. 

<<—Go To Day 11     Go To Day 13—>>

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day 11

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Sunday morning. Is it possible that you drank a little too much last night? Too much holiday indulgence and now you’re feeling a little hangover?

Todays Tip

Avoiding the dreaded hangover next day binge. A few years ago, there was a report that linked binge drinking to binge eating for the next 24 hours. If you have overindulged on alcohol, there is a pretty big chance that you will want to wake up and care for your body by eating a lot of greasy food and that it will then trigger a binge for you.

There are a few things to do that can help you to feel better without bingeing.

1. Drink lots of water to rehydrate yourself. You can also do coconut water which is a natural rehydration booster. If that’s not your thing, go for the gatorade or the Pedialyte.

2.Eat eggs (add tomatoes, avocados and spinach!) Eggs have cysteine, which is an amino acid that increases glutathione and reduces the acetaldehyde toxicity which causes a hangover. Tomatoes, avocados and spinach all contain high levels of glutathione which detoxify the liver and help you to feel better.

3.Black tea – As soon as you are feeling rehydrated, sipping on black tea might help your body feel more awake and alive and sooth your belly.

Bonus Tip: Get out in nature or at least into some fresh air and take a walk. It will invigorate you and help you to feel better!!!

Inspirational Quote

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh

So, for Eating Disorder recovery let’s change that a little. If you hear a voice that says “you’re too fat to be happy…” go out and do the things you love, let yourself enjoy your life and that voice will be silenced.

 

<—- Go to Day 10 

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day -10

get-through-december-without-bingeing-day-10in-law-editionYay! The weekend is here! For me that means lots of time with my wild maniac 3 & 5 year old boys. Birthday parties, ice skating, trains, etc. etc.

Today’s Tip

So you know something that’s really hard during December? Holiday guests. They come, they mess up your house, you have no access to your bathroom or the food you want to eat. Especially if said guests are… oh I don’t know– YOUR INLAWS maybe?

Don’t be in your house. When your family or your partner’s family is in town — it’s best to be out as much as you can. Being in can be stifling and make you restless and trigger a binge. Make lots of plans to get out and take your guests places, see the sites and enjoy your time with them without being stuck in your house with the food, with the booze, with the TV. Plan things ahead of time and if they have other things they want to do, great. But make sure to get out. And if you can have your guests leave so you have time to be alone in the house and clean and get situated, even better. Oh I’m sure you love your guests, but it’s always difficult to have a change in routine, so planning for it is wise.

Inspiration

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

I can really relate to this quote because I have the same exact experience. Every accomplishment that I’ve made has been terrifying for me and I’ve wanted to give up. I feared failure and ridicule. And both those things are hard, but not as hard as regret. I don’t regret the things I worked hard for and at, just the things I never did.

<——Go To Day 9                       Go to Day 11—–>

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day Nine

get-through-decemberwithout-binge-eating

Really, I don’t mean to complain but it is COLD here in California. So cold that I have to wear my warmest hoodie. Lol– when I had just moved here, I remember the first Winter hearing on the radio that it was a COLD day in the Bay so to remember to get your warmest hoodie. I grew up in New York City and had been living in Boston so when I heard “cold day” and “warmest hoodie” I burst out laughing.

Anyway, I hope that you are enjoying the Get Through December without bingeing series. 

IT’S SATURDAY – YAY! I hope you’re having a great weekend. We are having our annual latke open house today and I’m super excited/nervous. We opened our home to about 100 people and we have a small little house– wish me luck! 

Todays Tip

Mindfulness. We tend to think of mindfulness as spending 20 minutes a day sitting in half lotus with our eyes closed trying to either stop our thoughts or notice them without attachment. Meditation is great! But it’s not mindfulness. It’s like the homework that you do to help your mindfulness practice and to access your inner peace. But what mindfulness practice really encompasses is a whole-hearted approach to your daily life, not 20 minutes a day of meditation. It’s about noticing your thoughts, feelings and the way you react to them.

Louis Ormont came up with the psychological theory of the observing ego. The observing ego is the part of you that watches your behaviors, thoughts, actions, and reactions without judgment or attachment, just curiosity. This is where Eastern Philosophy and American Psychology overlap. Calling on your observing ego is a way to institute mindfulness when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Here’s how to do it. Imagine just pulling yourself out of yourself for a moment and watching yourself like a movie. You are standing outside of yourself and just observing. Example: You are at a party and you notice that you have the urge to run to the buffet to eat. You then pull yourself out of yourself and just watch like an impartial viewer. I am feeling really anxious here– there are a lot of people and I don’t know what to say. I am afraid that people are judging me. I am afraid of what that they think about the way I look. I am afraid to talk for fear of sounding unintelligent. I want to eat so that I don’t feel this way. That’s very interesting to see my feelings and watch how I want to react to it.

So what you are doing in a sense is disconnecting yourself from the intensity of the feelings and the urges and watching yourself with kindness, curiosity and impartiality. This is a mindfulness practice that can help you to not get so bogged down in feelings and help you to just be despite what impulses your brain might be sending to you. Try it out next time you find yourself in a situation that is anxiety provoking.

Inspirational Quote of the Day

Elegance lies not in the clothes we wear, but in the way we wear them.
It isn’t in the way we wield a sword, but in the dialogue we hold that could avoid a war.

Elegance is achieved when, having discarded all superfluous things, we discover simplicity and concentration; the simpler the pose, the better; the more sober, the more beautiful.

And what is simplicity? It is the coming together of the true values of life.
Snow is pretty because it has only one colour.
The sea is pretty because it appears to be a flat plane.
The desert is beautiful because it seems to consist only of sand and rocks.

The simplest things in life are the most extraordinary. Let them reveal themselves.

-Paulo Coelho

This is the second half of Paulo Coelho’s poem Elegance. This is so relevant to recovery. We try so hard to make things perfect and we get caught up in the complexity. As they say in AA— “KISS” (Keep it simple, sweetie!) The less you try to force things to happen, the easier your life becomes. Be you and be kind to you and nourishing to yourself in both mind and body. xoxo

<—–Go To Day 9             Go To Day 10–>>

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day Eight

get-through-decemberwithout-binge-eatingI’m happy you’re still reading my daily series on how to get through December without bingeing. What a week! So happy it’s Friday!

We are getting knee deep into holiday parties so remember to keep coming here for tips and inspiration.

Todays Tip

Did you know that often, in the Winter, people binge eat because they are cold? FACT.

Eating raises your metabolism and warms you up. So other things to do when you have the urge to binge because you’re cold? Drink a cup of tea, take a hot bath or shower, do 30 jumping jacks, cuddle under a blanket, stretch your body, turn the heat up, put on extra sweaters… This is a physical reason for bingeing and one leftover from evolution. We no longer need to bulk up for Winter because we have coats and heat and houses to keep us warm. We don’t have to cuddle up under animal pelts in caves. Don’t blame yourself! It’s biology’s fault.

Inspirational Quote

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

This is an important one– because we are only limited by our own beliefs. When you challenge those beliefs, the world becomes completely open to you.

Click here to Ready Day 9

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day Seven

get-through-decemberwithout-binge-eatingWe’re already on Day 7! Can you believe it? Only 24 more days to go until we say goodbye to 2016 and only 17 more days until Christmas and Hanukkah. If there is a particular tip you want me to share for this get through December series, or a specific challenge you’re having, please reply to this email with your question.

Todays Tip: When you are feeling the urge to binge, stop for a moment and ask yourself, “what do I really need right now?” The answer will likely be something different than binge eating. It might be “water,” or “a break,” or “fresh air,” (that wasn’t a Terry Gross reference this time), or “relaxation time,” or “to vent.” So before you binge, bring some awareness to it. Remember that it might not make the urge to binge go away– but you don’t have to make the urge go away, you just have to think of it as a thought, an electric impulse– and let it fade away. The urge doesn’t stay with you, and although following the urge makes the urge to away quicker — it makes you feel awful.

You might even get a notebook and every time you have the urge come up, take note of:

  • The day and time
  • Where you are
  • What you’re doing
  • What you’re thinking and feeling,
  • If you’re hungry or not
  • Ask yourself what you want
  • Ask yourself what you need

This is not to “stop” you but just to bring awareness to when and why and where.

Inspirational Quote

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

I love this quote as it was said by a woman who spent her whole life fighting for social justice. The odds were 100% against her yet she kept working and fighting.

Go To Day Eight!

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day Six

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Happy Tuesday. I hope that you’re enjoying your Get through December email series. If you’re just joining us, (do you like my Terry Gross impression?) I’ve been doing a daily email for the month of December because, well, December is rough for people with disordered eating habits or dysfunctional relationships with food and their bodies.

Todays Tip

I call this the one-plate strategy. When you go to a party or a buffet where there are a million different foods and deserts being served, tell yourself that you can eat whatever you want. No restriction, no food avoidance. However, stick to one plate full of food. (If they are teeny tiny little cocktail plates, think about how many of those plates would make up one plate and stick to that number – usually 2 or 3.)

When you get your plate, look around at all the food and decide what you really want to eat or try. Then, fill that plate up with everything that you want and sit down to enjoy your food. This way when you are done with that plate, you don’t have to worry about getting up and getting more food or dealing with more choices. You’ve only got that one plate. You won’t get too filled up or leave feeling uncomfortably full or feeling as though you either have to binge or that you binged at the party.

Limiting yourself to one plate isn’t a restriction technique, it’s a way to create kind and loving boundaries for yourself in a very overwhelming situation. Being in a situation where highly palatable food is unlimited and plentiful, coupled with being around lots of people that you don’t know is an extremely anxiety provoking situation. Giving yourself the one-plate limit creates safety for you.

Inspirational Quote

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

I love this quote. With ED’s, we are trying so hard to be “right” to be “socially acceptable,” that we forget who we really are. When you get back to focusing on who you are and the gifts that you were given to bestow onto the world, you forget to try to be someone else.

Click Here to Go To Day 7!

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day Five

get-through-decemberwithout-binge-eatingI hope that you had a beautiful weekend. Mine was pretty great. I took my 3-year-old and 5-year-old ice skating for the first time. We had so much fun. My 3 year old was a little freaked out by it, but my 5 year old was awesome. He picked it up really quickly and became lightening on the ice. Funny fact about me – my mother had an intense obsession with the Winter Olympics figure skating and wanted me to grow up to be the next Katarina Witt. She had me in ice skating lessons by the time I was 4. It didn’t stick though – I mean clearly, I’m not a famous figure skater.

Today’s Tip

Anger. Anger is a big one. For women with disordered eating– there is a shared trait– instead of “acting out” they “act in.” For instance, if someone does something that makes you angry, you then take that anger out on yourself. Example- your boss tells you that your report was crap, you then go to the vending machine and start bingeing on vending machine snacks. Or, another scenario, your mother tells you that you should start Jenny Craig with her on January 1st. You tell her that you’re not doing the diet thing anymore and she looks at you skeptically and says, “do you think that’s a good idea?” You feel angry at her and bad about yourself- so you go eat.

A lot of this is because you feel like you have no voice, no ability to stand up for yourself or say what you really feel or mean, so you push you voice down with food. You are angry at someone else and you take it out on yourself.

Some other ideas:

1. Sit down and write a letter to your mom/you boss/your best friend/your husband or wife — tell them everything that you’re feeling don’t hold back — let it all come out of you so that it’s not stuck inside of you, so that you don’t have to stuff it with food and so that it doesn’t come out in a passive aggressive way later. Then destroy that letter. You’re not going to send this one. This is the get it all out letter. If you feel safe to do so, you can then write a letter that feels more productive that you can actually give to this person, or rehearse what you want to say if you want to say anything at all.

2. Remind yourself “just because I’m angry at _______ doesn’t mean I should abuse myself. Someone else’s abuse toward me needs me to be kind to myself, not abusive in return.”

3. Put on big boots and stomp up a hill to move that anger through your body rather than push it down.

4. Scream as loud as you can into a pillow – again to move it through rather than to abuse yourself with it.

Other people’s behavior toward you is not your fault. We all make choices about how we want to behave and when people choose to treat people unkindly, it is a huge problem for them. For you it stings, but you don’t have to live your life as someone who says insensitive or unkind things and thus you can choose not to let their behavior make you hurt yourself.

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. — Buddha

Anger is a human emotion and it’s normal. Don’t be afraid of it, but don’t push it down – let it come out in the most productive and healthy ways so that it doesn’t get stuck in your body and hurt you or come out sideways when you least expect it and hurt someone else.

Go and read day 6!

Get Through December Without Bingeing – Day Three

get-through-decemberwithout-binge-eatingWeekends are rough this time of year.

Tip of the Day

Be cautious about alcohol. Of course you should be cautious about alcohol anyway, but it’s a huge contributor to binge eating ESPECIALLY IN DECEMBER. For instance, you have a few drinks, get drunk and go home and eat as much as you can and you don’t even remember how you got there. The other thing is a morning hangover. Many of us have those memories of being in college or in our early 20’s and having had one (or 10) too many and waking up so sick and so hungover and needing to eat lots of heavy starchy foods to coat your stomach and make you feel better. It’s real. I’m not saying don’t go out and enjoy yourself, you should– but try to be mindful with alcohol because it really co-occurs with binge eating.

If you are out at a party:

Don’t drink on an empty stomach make sure to eat food first because as you likely know, when you drink on an empty stomach you start metabolizing it very quickly and you get drunk fast. Eat first.

For every drink you have, have a full glass of water in between.

Limit yourself to 2 or 3 at the most drinks.

Inspiration for the Day

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” – Muhammad Ali

This rings so true in recovery because yes, recovery is difficult and takes mindfulness and close attention. But when you are on the right path you will get to the other side and it will become easy.

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” – Zen proverb

I’ll talk to you all on Monday. Keep going, and if you fall, it’s okay– as long as you’re on your path you can just stand up and keep walking.

Go To Day Five!

Get Through December Without Bingeing – Day Two

get-through-decemberwithout-binge-eatingToday’s Tip: Holiday gift baskets. You know those gift baskets that people send? The ones full of peppermint brownies and all sorts of other gooey things and candy canes and cookies and short breads and jams and pears? You know the ones that I’m talking about. They’re both sort of gross but also sort of delightful and tantalizing at the same time. People send those haphazardly and constantly. In fact one year I even got one sent to my office from a Residential Eating Disorder facility but I’m not naming names (ahem… I’m looking at you Sierra Tucson).

Anyway– here’s a common situation. You’re at work, it’s about 3pm, you wander into the kitchen because you’re maybe hungry, maybe not, you can’t really tell… you just need a break. The kitchen is empty except for… not one but THREE gift baskets. No one is around you and the gift baskets are mostly intact except the plastic is off – but they haven’t been dug through and all the “best” stuff is still in there — the bingey part of you wants to hurry up and grab the good stuff before the baskets get quickly picked through and the only thing left is 10 year old hard salamis and stale crackers with spreadable spray cheese. So quickly — before anyone comes in and sees you– like a flash you grab everything yummy and race off to the bathroom so nobody sees you eating it.

Let’s STOP this scenario before it starts. First thing first. You wandered into the kitchen out of habit and unsureness about what you needed. Maybe you were hungry, maybe you were bored, you were certainly in need of a break. But you automatically gravitated to the kitchen. Let’s circumvent the kitchen and just walk outside. I know – that’s unfair for me to say as someone in California, if you’re in Minnesota being outside in December might not be ideal. However, if you can get outside or down to the lobby, someplace to give your eyes, your mind and your constitution a change of scenery – and think– what do I need? Am I actually hungry? Or do I just need a break, a cup of tea and a few minutes away from my desk.

The next thing to ask yourself is, “if I had wandered into this kitchen and the gift baskets weren’t there, would I be looking for a peppermint brownie?” If not, then you are most likely eating compulsively, out of habit rather than out of either desire or need. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but in December, when food is surprisingly everywhere, it can take over and you will feel totally out of control. This is the situation where you want to feel like you can make your decision about what you really want for your body rather than having the food and the compulsion make the decision for you.

Remind yourself that just because it’s there and it’s there for a limited time doesn’t mean that you have to eat it. That’s the scarcity model. I have to have pumpkin spice lattes in October because they’re only around one month out of the whole year and I won’t be able to get another one again until next year! It’s a marketing technique to make us feel like we REALLY need something and need it now because it’s only around for a limited time. But the thing is, we really can have these things whenever we want them. Remind yourself that you can have these “special” foods any time of year to avoid the all or nothing trap.

If you have decided that you are hungry and that you do want to eat this yummy snack, that’s great– YOU have made the decision, the food has not. Look the food over, think about what you really want, and sit down in the kitchen where other people can see you (don’t sneak or hide because it adds to the secretive mentality of the disordered eating behavior) really let yourself take a break from work and spend a few moments with a cup of tea and your treat. Savor it and enjoy it, then let yourself go back to work without feeling guilty and without believing that just because you ate one snack that you ruined your day and now you have to binge. A treat is an absolutely normal part of being a balanced and intuitive eater.

Daily Inspiration

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love this quote because it’s so relevant in binge eating recovery. It’s not about never falling down, it’s about how quickly you get up. Don’t let a little slip up turn into a binge or a binge turn into a multi-day binge. If you eat something mindlessly, that’s okay, just wipe the crumbs off you, smile and keep going forward.

Click Here to Go To Day 3!

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