recovery

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day 28

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Here we are – just 4 days before 2017 starts. How has December been going for you so far?

Todays Tip

Don’t “last hurrah,” it. These last few days are rough. There are lots of leftovers, lots of big boxes and tins full of cookies and baked goods, and the temptation to say “Screw it, I’ll just binge until New Years Day and then start my diet on January 1st…” is big. The problem with that is – that you feel terrible on New Years Day. You feel sick to your stomach, you are bloated, you are depressed and your body just feels not right. And then you start the whole cycle over again. You tell yourself that this is your year, that in 2017 you’re finally going to lose the weight. And then you diet for the first week or so of January and then you’re bingeing again. You don’t have to do that again. If everything in December leading up to Christmas was about food – everything in December leading up to New Years is about weight loss and fitness. It’s okay to be fit, but fit has nothing to do with pejorative dieting. It’s about creating balance for yourself. It’s about finding within you the most easy way to live both physically and emotionally, it’s about not eating too much and not eating too little. It’s about not going to sleep hungry and distraught or full and distraught. It’s about finding satisfaction in being even. What about deciding not to go on a diet for New Years and not to last hurrah it in the days leading up to New Years? What about saying at this moment that you are finding your balance. Right this second. You don’t have to wait, you can do it immediately. Balance is as simple as quieting down all the talk around you and quieting down the mind that tells you to binge or diet and asking yourself, “what do I need to be the kind of me that makes me feel peaceful? Not too much, not too little, but okay just being me?” and then trust that. You might hear that you need to relax more, you might hear that you need to take more walks, you might hear that you need to drink more water or eat more fruit or talk to your mother more or dance or read or stretch more… What is it that can help you at this very moment be the you that you really are? What is inside of you that helps you be you? Put your hand over your heart and breath deeply and ask yourself, “if my heart knew exactly what I needed right now, what would it tell me?” and then listen to your heart. You will learn something amazing about yourself.

Inspirational Quote

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. M. Scott Peck (From one of my favorite books, the Road Less Traveled)

I love this quote because it reminds us that we waste so much of our time and energy trying to change ourselves. When we value ourselves for who we are, we stop wasting time on trying to make ourselves different. It is only then, out of self-love not self-hate that we transform ourselves. When we try to change ourselves, we come from a place of “I’m not worthy until I lose weight, get thin, fit into a certain size…” and we put off doing our lives. When we value ourselves we use our time now and we participate in our lives now and ironically, that’s how we enhance, improve and evolve.

<<—Go To Day 27

Go To Day 29—>>>

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day 23

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Are you deep into the December crazies yet? Where you feel as though you are jumping out of your skin waiting for Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanza et al? Either you’re super excited or super dreading it. But whatever it is, I’m betting you’re a little stir crazy by now.

Todays Tip

When you have nothing to wear. Hi Leora, Any advice about when the stress comes from not having anything appropriate to wear because nothing fits? It’s just about feeling bad about myself and not wanting to socialize. It takes so much energy.

I have been there. My body and my clothes have been many, many, many different sizes throughout my disordered eating. This is what I have to say to you. As part of your recovery process, find clothes that fit you and are comfortable and make you feel beautiful. I know that shopping can be triggering in its own way when you are uncomfortable in your body, but I find it crucial in terms of self care to have things that fit you and that you love. You don’t have to lose weight to buy clothes, you just have to find clothes that fit you. When you are actively engaged in recovery, your body will return to its right and perfect size and will stay there and then you can have all the same clothes for as long as you want to. But don’t punish yourself by having ill-fitting clothes that are not comfortable in your house. That’s both punishing and depressing, of course you don’t want to go out when nothing fits you. Treat yourself and love yourself. You deserve it. You really do, no matter what size your body is at.

Inspirational Quote

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.” Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

<<<—-Go To Day 22

Get Through December without Bingeing Day 22

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Todays Tip

In yesterday’s post, I asked people to send me specific questions that they want addressed in the December series. I got some great questions so I’ll be doing my best to answer over the next few days.

Dear Leora, I am at work, and there is food EVERYWHERE. It’s the holidays, and people have brought in cheesecake, toffee, chocolates, brownies, cookies and cupcakes. I have put on weight because I cannot resist this food, and I feel ugly and terrible about myself. Do you have any advice for *not* eating this stuff?

This is a big one at the holidays. People bring in baked goods and treats all the time. The office is full of sugary treats that make people happy- unless they have a dysfunctional relationship with food. Then it makes work a living hell.

The way I work with clients around this specific issue is to help them create a healthy boundary around the holiday treats.

For example. Someone might tell themselves that their healthy number for holiday treats is two each day. So what they can then do is plan what time they are going to go into the kitchen to get the treat. Perhaps it’s after lunch at 1pm. At 1pm, they walk into the kitchen or staff room and they take a look around and figure out what it is that they really, really want. They take that on their planned break, sit down and allow themselves to enjoy it. To taste it, to chew it to swallow it. Perhaps they enjoy that treat with a cup of tea and some music for a five minute break. Let yourself be satisfied and enjoy. Then, at 4pm, they can do it once more. Then you know that the next day you will have two treats again, so you don’t have to worry about getting everything in all at once. You have to figure out what your number is (maybe it’s one treat a day, maybe it’s three), but it’s important to plan ahead so that you don’t become black and white about it.

If you for instance say that you aren’t going to have any and then you go into the kitchen and accidentally grab something– it might set you into a sneak eating, bingey tailspin.

If you absolutely feel unable to make reasonable boundaries around the holiday treats this year, then you might instead decide to avoid the places where said food lives. For instance– “Bob has candy canes on his desk, can’t go talk to Bob today…” or “No kitchen today, gotta leave the office and get my coffee from Starbucks…”

I do suggest that if you are able to though, if food is honestly everywhere, it would be a relief for you to allow yourself to eat a little bit of it in a controlled and moderate way rather than telling yourself no and then feeling out of control with it.

It’s often in the restriction and the resistance where we find the most stress. Giving an allowance will reduce that stress.

Another practical tactic is to keep a big bowl of apples on your desk. Here is why, for most people apples are not a binge food. [But If apples are your binge food then read no more. Though in my two decades of treating Binge Eating Disorder I’ve never seen apples be anyone’s binge food, so I’d be surprised. If apples are your binge food, you have to reply and let me know]. But I digress… the bowl of apples on your desk will be easy for you to grab, so if there is binge food all around you and it’s unavoidable, having a non-binge food at your disposal and easily reachable will help you to fend off a binge.

Inspirational Quote

Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.-William Somerset Maugham

I love this humorous quote by Somerset Maugham because it reminds us that sometimes “messing up” is just human. And that it’s the way that we react to the excess that will hurt us more than the excess. For instance, I ate a brownie- I’m so stressed out about it that I’m going to binge on more brownies- rather than- oh, I ate a brownie– it was great- Now I’m going to relax in a nice tube tonight and watch The Gilmore Girls.

 

<<—-Go To Day 22   Go To Day 23–>>

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day 21

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I am getting through December. Are you? I’ve had a migraine that started on Sunday and lasted through Tuesday morning. I am finally better but I was a true wreck. Not the most patient Mom on the planet or the most helpful wife. Far from it. I spent most of the time sprawled out in bed or on the couch. I attempted a viewing of The Sound of Music with my 5 year old son, but the pure grumpiness and pain that coursed through my veins into a pulsating mess in my right eye made me unable to feel anything but anger at the young and innocent Rolf as I knew what was to come. So by 16 going on 17 I was done.

I’m sure that many of you are going home to families that might be dysfunctional this week. Really, most families are dysfunctional (or perhaps I have a skewed sample set as a Psychotherapist) – and I want to help you to navigate your recovery and stay strong while you’re there. Please don’t hesitate to reply to this email with any questions. I’ll anonymously post the answer in tip form in upcoming get through December newsletters.

Todays Tip

For the past few weeks in the 5 Week Program, we’ve been talking a lot about guilt and obligation. Many have been telling me that their families are stressful for them because they are constantly doing for everyone in the family and they don’t know how to say no. They feel guilty for saying no and have no good reason to say no. I have what I call the codependency litmus test here. If you say no will you feel guilty and if you say yes will you feel resentful? If the answer is yes and yes, take the choice to go with the guilt. The guilt is yours, that’s something you can work with. Those of us with the disordered eating schema tend to spend a lot of time trying to please people and to be the best us that we possibly can be. We sacrifice our own needs for the sake of others. Then, eventually, in your family, you become the person who everyone expects to make sacrifices. When you don’t, when you choose to take care of yourself, people get angry. This is common. That’s because we don’t like change. We hide from it. And when we change, we force other people to change too. Change causes an effect of change all around. For instance, your sister asks you to take her shopping because she wants to have wine in the afternoon and doesn’t want to drive. You don’t feel like taking her to the market. You’re tired, you’ve been working all week, you finally have a rest. If you tell her no, she will get angry. She will get angry because then she has to do something that she doesn’t want to do. She is forced to make a healthier choice because you are choosing not to sacrifice your needs for her needs. You are choosing to care for yourself. Change is hard, but necessary. We were all given our own lives and the ability to do things for ourselves. If you don’t give someone else they opportunity to care for themselves when they can, (unless they are children or elderly or disabled) you are cheating both yourself and them. Take care of yourself and everyone else is forced to do the same. That’s change that can be good!

Inspirational Quote

Relationships are where we take our recovery on the road. – Melody Beattie

I love this quote. It reminds us that we didn’t get sick in a void and we can’t recover in a void. We have to reclaim ourselves in the system that we became who we are in. That means work and change and doing something scary. But it’s the kind of necessary work that makes life-long change.

<—Go To Day 20       Go to Day 22—>>>

Get Through December without Bingeing Day 20

get-through-december-without-bingeing-1Good morning everyone. Less than two weeks left of this brutal Winter month. Hopefully you are getting some enjoyment out of the season and staying healthy (I have my Winter cold right now, yuck!) It really is a beautiful time of year with the lights and the excitement and the Vince Guaraldi on the radio and It’s a Wonderful Life on TV and of course time off of work.

Today’s Tip

On Friday my son’s doctor said to me, “most parents with challenging kids spend more time focusing on their kid’s deficits than on their strengths.”

Wow.

I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it. And what I realized is that most parents spend more time focusing on their children’s perceived deficits than their strengths in general. Not just for high needs kids.

For instance- here is a scenario:

Shelly was great at science and math but her parents focused on the fact that she wasn’t as tiny as her sister Ruth. So in the summers, rather than going to science and math camp, Ruth had to go to Fat Camp to lose weight. Instead of focusing on what she was good at and really strengthening that part of her, she focused on something that was a “perceived deficit” and it brought her away from focusing on what she loved and what she was good at and brought her into spending all her time and fruitless efforts on dieting. She would have been happy if she’s been submerged into math and science but instead she was submerged into dieting. If they’d really spent time developing her strength instead of her “perceived weakness,” she could have been an astrophysicist. But Shelly has a severe eating disorder now, she is in a very high weight body and she’s very depressed. She works as a book-keeper and she’s great at it. But I think that her parents steered her wrong in an effort to make her happy. She would have been happier if they’d focused instead on what actually made her happy. Her body was just meant to be bigger than her sister’s body- without all the dieting, she’d probably just be in a body that is at a healthy and comfortable weight for her and enjoying her life.

What do you think?

Is there a way that your parents focused on your weaknesses instead of your strengths?

Are you still doing it to yourself now? If so, how? And how can you change that behavior right this moment? How can you reparent yourself to focus on your strengths instead of your perceived weaknesses.

Inspirational Quote

 

“OMG i think i just git a ah ha…moment…or maybe sleep depravation is just making me nuts…lol so it just makes sense to me right now perceive food from a nutritious gain perception instead is a restriction point a view will be key in my recovery…so instead of restricting…what can i “gain” energy and nutrition wise from that food?…”

-From a Member in the 5 Week Program

I love this. She is exactly right. We have to think of what we can gain rather than what we are losing or can or should lose, because focusing on losing is always negative. But when you focus on what you can gain, and what strides you can make going forward and how you can make yourself healthy with yummy, delicious and nutritious food and exercise, then you are focusing on the positive. Don’t think about losing weight, just don’t worry about it, instead, think about gaining wholeness, health and self-love. That’s what will move you forward on the path you want to be on.

<<<—Go to Day 19  Go to Day 21—>>>

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day 15

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Todays Tip

On Monday, the New York Times ran an article about how weight loss is not a one-stop shop for everyone and that one diet doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. But in the article, what they actually pointed out was that diets work for almost nobody.

“[Dr. Sack’s] study involved 811 overweight and obese adults, randomly assigned to follow one of four diets and undergo behavioral counseling to help them stick to their diets. The diets ranged over the span of what has become popular. Two diets were low in fat but one low-fat diet was high in protein and the other had average amounts of protein. Two others were high in fat and one of those high-fat diets had an average amount of protein while the other was high in protein.

The research was designed to answer the question of whether one diet was any better than another and it provided an answer: None of the diets elicited much weight loss on average, and no diet stood out from the others.”

However, there were a few outliers, a few folks who did lose some weight. Two people used meds and one of those meds eventually stopped working. Two others relentlessly counted calories and were both pretty miserable (know that scenario?) And one other woman implemented the glycemic load theory. In this scenario, she kept her blood sugar stable by eating whatever she wanted but making sure to eat protein first. So if she wanted pasta, she would start her meal with a piece of chicken. She started her day with protein like unflavored Greek yogurt or eggs and avocados before she ate her fruit. Stabilizing her blood sugar enabled her to stabilize her mood and eventually her weight normalized back to what was healthy for her. And she reported finding this way of eating effortless. So she didn’t actually go on a diet or restrict food, she instead added something to keep her brain and her body balanced and that is what got her to a place where she felt great in her body and had no trouble maintaining it.

This theory tends to be what many ED dietitians recommend to their clients. Eat what you want, but eat protein first. Having lots of fluctuations in your blood sugar destabilizes your mood, your hunger cues and your appetite. So simply starting your meal (or snack!) with protein can be extremely helpful in keeping the binge eating down. For instance. Let’s say you are craving something sweet. You go and you eat that thing on an empty stomach. Your blood sugar rises quickly and then drops quickly. With the drop you feel ravenously hungry, you have a headache and you’re a little depressed. What do you do? You go and eat more to make that feeling go away. But if you eat some protein first, your blood sugar tends to be more stabile minimizing the chance of big dips and surges. This then keeps your mood and your hunger more even.

So, eat what you want, but start out with protein to help avoid blood sugar binges. Don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach and don’t eat sugar on an empty stomach.

Inspirational Quote

When was the last time you woke up and wished you’d had just one more drink the night before? I have never regretted not drinking. Say this to yourself, and you’ll get through anything.” – Meredith Bell —

Change this to “When was the last time you woke up and wished you’d binged the night before? I have never regretted not bingeing…”

I love this quote because it reminds us to always remember the consequences of our desired actions. Think about how you want to feel in the morning and let that vision carry you forward.

<<<—- Go To Day 14  

Go To Day 16—–>>>>

Get Through December Without Bingeing- Day 14

get-through-december-without-bingeing-day-10in-law-editionWe are officially two weeks into December. Almost half way through. How’s it going for you? All good in the hood here.

Todays Tip

Being a visitor at other people’s houses is rough. For those of us with eating issues, control is all part of the psychological schema — being at someone else’s house has us at a loss of control and can create all sorts of anxiety and stress. The food is unfamiliar, the eating times are unfamiliar and there is always that stress of insulting someone if you don’t want to eat what they have made or are serving.

  • If you are a visitor, the best thing to do is to make your eating structured in a way that feels comfortable for you. Make sure that you are getting your 3 meals a day and snacks if you need them.
  • Don’t be afraid to say, “Hey I have to eat.” You need to take care of yourself.
  • Practice saying, “That looks great, but no thank you.” Don’t let people push food on you. If they don’t respect your “no thank you,” look them straight in the eyes and don’t smile and say, “Thank you. I’m fine,” and if they still push, be firm. “Thank you, but really. I said no.” Don’t let anyone push you to eat something you don’t want to. It might seem to be out of love but it’s more out of control and strong-arming and it’s poor boundaries and it’s inconsiderate.
  • Not only that, but don’t let someone’s judgement about what you ARE eating or how much you are eating make you stop eating. For instance, your mother-in-law looks you up and down. “Wow Jenny, that cake that I made looks great on your thighs!” (what kind of person says something like this?) anyway, turn around and say, “Thanks, I think so too.” Don’t let anyone fat shame you or food shame you. You have a right to eat.
  • Remember that your needs are important. That includes needs for space, for meals and to choose what you want to eat.
  • Don’t sacrifice your needs for the sake of others (unless those others are your young children or unable to do things for themselves ie: elderly, disabled). If someone needsyou to cook the (insert binge food) but you know that being alone with (that binge food) is not going to be a good situation for you – it’s okay to say “no.” It’s okay to take care of yourself.
  • It’s okay to take care of yourself. It’s not selfish. Saying no to an able bodied person is not selfish if you know that you have to do it to preserve your sanity. Self care is not selfish. It’s necessary to help you feel more at peace and thus the people around you.

Inspirational Quote

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” –Brene Brown

I love this quote because it reminds us that relationships are about give and take and that when you take care of yourself, if someone gets angry or judges you– it’s not a relationship. Relationships should be reciprocal and enjoyable.

 

 

<<—Go to Day 13      Go to Day 15—->>>

 

 

 

Get Through December without Bingeing -Day 13


feeling-out-of-control-with-food-3Todays Tip

Today I spoke with a 5 week program member over the phone. She was feeling a lot of anxiety over all the “lose weight,” or “maintain weight” over the holidays. She told me that she’s been seeing postings all over the Internet. She asked, “I know that I need to lose weight for my health, how can I do that mindfully?”

So therein lies the issue. Anyone who has issues with disordered eating has tried not once, but probably hundreds if not thousands of times to lose weight.

Don’t try to lose weight. Trying to lose weight for someone with a tendency toward disordered eating is like trying to drink moderately for someone with alcoholism. Diets and weight loss striving are what contribute to your disordered eating.

What I would like you to strive for instead is satisfaction. No. Not moderation. SATISFACTION.

When you eat and feel dissatisfied with what you ate, you will be driven to binge.

First, think about what satisfaction means to you. Does it mean finishing your meal feeling as though you were nourished? Having your body feel full but not uncomfortable? Knowing that you ate what your body wanted? What does it mean to you? Consider what satisfaction means to you. Write it down and strive for it!

I PROMISE YOU that when you stop dieting, when you stop focusing on weight loss, when you eat when your body needs food and when you are not bingeing — your body will come to its natural weight. Will you be skinny? If skinny is not your natural weight you likely won’t be. Will you be fat? If fat is not your natural weight, you likely won’t be. If you think about those times when you first started dieting because you thought you were fat and what that turned into — imagine what it would have been like if someone told you that you were perfect, to trust your body, that your body would run most efficiently when you fed it what it needed when it needed it instead of telling you that you were… whatever made you think you needed to be different.

This is hard because people keep promising you that if you do a certain way of eating that you’ll be so thin and fit… but they don’t know you and how your mind and body react to diets.

Again… I PROMISE YOU that when you are not dieting and not bingeing your weight will stabilize and it will likely be comfortable and pleasing to you because it is the weight that your body wants to be at. It won’t be quick like a diet. But it will be less painful than years of dieting and bingeing and you will spend years of your life feeling satisfied and at peace rather than stressed out and dieting and gaining weight.

And to answer the question that I get all the time, why can other people be Paleo/grain-free/Atkins, etc for years on end and lose weight but you can’t? It’s because you react differently to diets. When you diet you develop an eating disorder. Some people can’t drink alcohol because when they do they become an alcoholic, others can drink and take it or leave it. Think of diets as your vice and your trigger and your booze. Diets aren’t safe for people with tendencies toward disordered eating. Anyone who tells you that they know how to help you lose weight is lying to you.

Todays Inspiration

“What is addiction, really? It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress. It is a language that tells us about a plight that must be understood.” – Alice Miller

When your addiction is to dieting and the pursuit of weight loss, it’s a symptom of wanting to fit in, to be loved, to feel like everyone else. But when you work on your own self care and kindness toward yourself and your body, you naturally just begin feeling better instead of trying to mold yourself into something that you believe is more socially acceptable.

<<—– Go to Day 12

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 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