Monthly Archives: October 2009

The holidays are coming. Again.

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Junkfood around your office… Oh how the holidays bring anything but joy for someone with an eating disorder…

Starting in October, when sweaters get bulkier and winter clothes get bigger, all of sudden appears bowls of candy corns, nestles crunch, kit kats, twix and whatever else around the office.  Some people find it a minor annoyance, but with an eating disorder, it’s like being stuck in the middle of a battlefield with nowhere to hide.

These food centered holidays bring all sorts of anxieties for those who suffer from food and body image issues.  There are two things that you need to be successful during the holidays.

#1.) A plan.

#2.)A safe person.

A plan isn’t a diet plan. It’s a strategy on how to deal with what comes up for you when you see all this candy around. For some, the resist all day long, then at night, when they are alone, and all that energy of resisting takes a quit break, it all crumbles. Sometimes a binge will happen at the end of the day after everyone has left the office. Sometimes it’s not even safe after you’ve left the office. A backlash happens and you might find yourself at the store buying in bulk all the candy that you’ve been trying so hard to avoid all day long.  You need to understand YOU. Is resisting going to create a binge for you? If so, you might want to give yourself a loving limit– such as one or two bite sized pieces each day after lunch. This is reasonable. If you feel as though you don’t have the eyes or the sense right now at this point in your recovery to know what’s reasonable or normal, you might want to ask someone you trust.  If you feel as though at this point it’s better if you don’t start at all, you will probably want to create some good strategies for that as well. You might tell the people in your office that it’s your intention not to start in on the candy this year. If anyone offers it to you, it’s okay for you to say, “no thank you.” If someone pushes the issue, it’s okay to look them in the eye and firmly repeat your stance. “I don’t want any. Thank you for asking.” You don’t owe anyone any further explanation about what you are or are not willing to eat. That’s your business.  Another strategy is to keep food on your desk that you know you won’t binge on. For example, a giant bowl of apples might be helpful. Here’s a food that you can linger on, munch through and feel good about eating, but probably won’t binge on. Think about what safe foods you might be able to keep around to snack on when you think that you might be heading in that direction.

You definitely need a safe person. A safe person is a buddy who you are accountable to. Tell them your intention, whatever it is,  not to binge on office candy this year. If you find that you are getting to the point where it seems as though it’s going to happen, you can email, call or text them and let them know that you are wanting to get into the food. Ask them to help you relax and breathe through it. Then, allow yourself to just sit and breathe for five minutes. Take a breath into your belly to the count of five, then exhale to the count of five. Do this for five minutes. It will help you to slow down, reduce anxiety and help you to refocus your energy off the binge and onto you.  Then you can decipher, am I hungry or bingey? If you’re hungry, go eat something healthy! If you’re bingey, think about what purpose the binge would serve. Would it relax you? Could a quick walk outside your office do something similar? Could a good laugh at a You tube video be relaxing?  Really help yourself think about what you need.

The office candy doesn’t have to attack you. You can choose a healthy body healthy mind in this case.

End Fat Talk Week!

Monday marks the beginning of FAT TALK FREE WEEK.

Please do look through this website and treat yourself to a week free of fat chat, and- to talk it a step further, try to challenge yourself to be liberated from a week of fat thoughts.
Of course fat free chat and thoughts might not be as easy as it sounds as both those conversations and those thoughts can be so automatic for so many of us… or can it be?
For just 5 days– don’t engage with any fat chat. If you have friends or family members who try to engage you in this kind of conversation, let them know that this is Fat Talk Free Week, and you’d like to talk about something- anything else. You might be surprised at the impact this has  and the consciousness that this invokes.
For just 5 days– don’t engage with any fat thoughts that pop into your mind. When you notice them knocking at the door, don’t invite them in. You can see that they’re there, but allow them to bang on the door as much as they want to. You won’t answer and you won’t even engage with them. At the end of 5 days, notice how you feel in your body. Notice whether or not you have any extra mind space freed up. Did you get more accomplished? Did you do things that you might not have done? What happened that you expected? What did you expect that did not happen?
Go ahead and try it!

Candy Corns, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Spice Latte’s, Mini Candy Bars– What do I do?

Fall is the time for the beloved comfort foods as well as the start of the bingeing season. First comes Halloween with candy everywhere, then of course Thanksgiving, the national bingeing holiday and then there’s the whole month of December with gift baskets, alcohol, egg nog, and chocolate treats everywhere and no foreseeable end to the constantly filled candy bowl in the office.

There are two challenging issues here, the first and most obvious is the abundant candy everywhere and the sales on bite sized treats in every store that you walk into. The next issue is the seasonal treats that can be so tempting such as Starbucks holiday lines of latte’s,  Safeway’s hot pumpkin pies, Walgreen’s candy corns on sale, caramel apples at county fairs, and all those other autumn treats.  The idea that these treats are limited to only a few weeks a year can really activate black and white thinking. The belief might be, “oh no, Starbucks only has their Candy Corn Latte’s until Halloween, I just have to make sure that I get it now!” When in reality,  you never even drink latte’s.

So how do you deal with this?

1.)Ask yourself if you really want it or if the temptation is because it’s new, novel and going away soon. Really understand why it is that you are going toward that food.

2.)Ask yourself it will set up a binge if you eat it.

3.)Be brutally honest with yourself. If you know in advanced that it will set up a binge, tell yourself that you know that this will be back next year and that this year, you’re focusing on recovery. Next year perhaps you will be able to eat it in a healthy manner. After all, your long term health and recovery are more important than the instant gratification of a new flavored latte, which will of course turn into something that feels awful. You are not restricting food here, you are making a choice not to start on something that will probably trigger a binge. You know yourself well enough to know whether or not this will turn into an all out binge.

4.)If you don’t think that it will set up a binge, allow yourself to have some of these foods in limited quantities. For instance, decide to let yourself have that latte’, but rather than a tall or a Grande, order the short. If you want a pumpkin pie, don’t buy a whole pumpkin pie yourself, see if you can buy a slice and save it for desert after dinner. Or you can even bake a pumpkin pie and have people over for it.

5.)If you find that you want to binge on mini candy bars and Halloween candy, make sure that you don’t buy it to give out to kids. Don’t worry, MARS and Nestle will do fine without your support this year. My mom used to give out little Halloween goody bags with boxes of raisins, spooky pencils and pennies on Halloween. It was totally embarrassing for me as the kids would look in there bags and say, “Oh Man! Raisins and pennies!” Back then I thought that she was forcing her health food paradigm on the world, but now I understand why she did it. She didn’t want the binge food on hand and she didn’t feel right contributing to unhealthy eating. A lot of it for her was about integrity as well as protecting herself and her family from junk food.

Other alternatives to candy for Halloween are:

– Halloween Toys or Stickers

-Halloween Pencils

-You can make a bunch of oragami fortune tellers with your kids or your friends or your parents or nieces and nephew and give those out.

-Glow Sticks and Glow Jewelry!

Or, if you can’t forgo the candy, try these more healthy treats.

For many people, buying Halloween candy can trigger a binge. Plenty of people wind up with tons of leftovers that they wind up bingeing on. Kids get enough candy from your neighbors, it’s okay to take care of yourself by giving kids something different and fun.

6.)If you find yourself tempted in stores where all the Halloween candy is out, make sure that you have a plan before you go into those stores. Make a list of what you need to buy and leave your ATM card at home. Bring cash so that you can’t compulsively grab something. And don’t go shopping hungry! Not even at Walgreens.

7.)If there is candy sitting in bowls at the office, again, if it won’t trigger a binge and you know that you can eat one or two pieces in a healthy way, then allow yourself a set number in a day (like two pieces of candy). Don’t eat them standing up by the bowl, bring them back to your desk. Eat one and save the other for later. Make sure that you don’t substitute candy for lunch. If you think that eating that candy will trigger a binge, stay away from the bowl. Have a plan and be mindful when you have to pass that bowl.  Keep a bowl of non binge foods available for yourself such as a bowl of apples or almonds or oranges. If the bowl is haunting you, calling to you throughout the day, try to talk back to it. Tell it that you’re trying to prevent yourself from bingeing and the instant gratification that you will get from a Hershey’s Kiss won’t be worth the binge that you will have that night, that you’d rather have long term recovery and this season, even a small kiss can be dangerous. It doesn’t mean this is forever, but for right now, you are giving yourself some space in order to keep the bingeing at bay.