How to Stop Dieting

bingeeatingtherapy.com“As soon as I stopped focusing on losing weight, I healed from my eating disorder…”  or “As soon as I stopped dieting I lost weight…” I’ve heard this from clients again, and again and again and again. 

Why do you think that this is true for so many people? I know that focusing on weight loss keeps people pulled into the bingeing and restricting cycle and pulled into the “I’ll be better when…” syndrome (and there’s never an ending to the when…), but it’s also because the focus on weight loss is always inherently focusing on something negative… losing instead of gaining. One thing that I help people do in their recovery is to focus on adding  instead of subtracting and gaining instead of losing.  Like adding healthy, life affirming foods instead of taking unhealthy foods away, like gaining strength and health instead of losing pounds, like adding positive behaviors instead of subtracting negative behaviors away. The hope is that the positive behaviors and thoughts will eventually crowd out the less desirable behaviors and thoughts… and it works! And it’s so much more enjoyable to feed yourself healthy, loving foods, thoughts, and actions than punishing yourself, criticizing yourself or restricting yourself. 

What would it be like if you took JUST ONE WEEK and decided to not focus on weight loss at all, to not even think about it.

It’s my one week challenge to you.  See what happens and then report back. 

What are some things you can focus on instead of losing weight? I’m glad you asked: 

1. Gaining strength
2. Gaining inner peace and calmness
3. Being self loving
4. Going toward health and well being 
5. Filling your evenings with self-soothing rituals (ie: baths, good books, foot massages and cuddles)
6. Breathing into your belly or meditating when you are feeling stressed or anxious  
7. Getting more sleep

There. There are seven things you can focus on for the next seven days. Each day choose one and by the end of next week, see how you are feeling, see what it was like to spend a week totally not focusing on weight loss. 

How To Love Yourself: 41 Tips For Self-Love on Valentine’s Day

Valentines Day is Self Love Day!  But do you know how to love yourself?

Here are 40 ways to love yourself on Valentines Day and Every Day!

How to Love Yourself

self love day

1. Give up the belief that you need to change in order to like yourself. You are perfect, whole and complete right now at this very moment. Take a breath, be still and just for 30 seconds be with the essence of who you are. Meeting goals and evolving is what we naturally do as humans, that won’t change if you self-accept. In fact, you might find that you are more efficient because you are not bogged down by thoughts of worthlessness. Getting stuck in the trance of unworthiness is a way to go through life without being who you were meant to be. It’s important to accept and know how to love yourself exactly as you are in this moment.

2. Make a choice not to compare yourself to others. Looking at what others have or what others are and telling yourself that you are not okay because of what your life is or what you look like or what you have is a good way to hate yourself. Instead, try to consider that your path, your gifts are very different and your journey is very different. Then, try to look ahead at your own journey and keep creating it the way that you want it to be. When you look to others to define your own worth, you won’t feel good about yourself.

3. Take care of yourself. Make simple changes to help you to be more healthy. Take your vitamins, groom your nails. Do things that help you to feel valued by yourself. Show yourself that you are worthy. Self care is a big way in teaching yourself how to love yourself.

4. Put yourself first. When someone asks you to do something, rather than instantly saying yes, tell them that you’ll give them an answer in 24 hours. That way you can think about whether or not this infringes on your boundaries. It helps you to understand whether or not you are sacrificing your own needs for someone else. So often people who don’t like themselves try to be indispensable for others. In the process though, they completely lose themselves. Keep yourself whole by being there for you first.

5. Forgive yourself. You have made mistakes. Of course you have. You are human. We all make mistakes. But being able to say, “okay, I messed up, but I can’t go back, I can’t stay in the past, I can only go forward…” is the way to move on with your life.

6. Let yourself do the things that you want to do. Think about what it is that makes you tick, the things that make you feel alive! Is it knitting? Is it martial arts? Is it cooking? Is it painting? Writing? Gardening? Whatever it is, even if it’s just something that you do as a hobby, allow yourself to follow your passion. When you do, you will find more joy in being you. This is a great lesson in how to love yourself.

7.Let go of wanting. It’s normal to have desires. But when what you want equates to whether or not you are happy, you will never feel satisfied with who you are. When who you are is equal to what you have, you will never like yourself because you can always want and always have more. When you are grateful for what you do have, you can truly find peace. Try making a gratitude list. This is like counting your blessings. Just write down everything that you are grateful for and read it over and over. Feel it. Believe it. When you focus on that rather than what you don’t have, you will find a lightness like never before.

8. Let yourself be totally silly. See what it’s like to let down your guard. Try to let go of what other people are thinking. If you can’t, go into a room by yourself and just do the dumbest dance that you can possibly do, just to let off some steam and find some playfulness within. This is a way to enjoy your own company and just like being with yourself a bit more.

9. Don’t judge other people. Take a day to think of one nice thing about each person you come into contact with. You will feel lighter in your body. Letting go of judgment of others is one of the best ways to stop judging yourself.

10. Spend some time just being. Sit and try to follow your breath. Don’t force yourself to take deep breaths. Just close your eyes, put your hand on your heart and feel the way your breath. Do this for 1-5 minutes. You will find that your mind and body begin to relax. Your thoughts of having to do, do, do will fade and you will just be with you. This is another way to just accept who you are in this very moment.

11. Practice kindness in every aspect of your life. While you’re driving,  wave someone through who is waiting to get out of a parking lot into the road. Give your leftovers to someone who is hungry.

12. Do simple things to make yourself feel nurtured. File and clean your nails– maybe even get a manicure or pedicure. Take a nap,  clean your sheets and make your bed, shower, wash and condition your hair, shave, and let yourself relax.

13. Face your finances and deal with your debt. Look at how much you owe and how much you have. Make a plan to pay off your debt. It will just make you feel better and it is crucial in learning how to feel better and feel more solid. That kind of self care is a huge part in learning how to love yourself. 

14. Take a long, quiet walk in nature. Being in nature is good for your mind, body and spirit. 

15. Sit down and drink a hot cup of tea. Sharing a cup of tea with yourself is a great lesson in how to love yourself. It’s very nurturing and self-loving.

16. Rent a funny movie and laugh a lot. 

17. Smile at 10 random people. You will instantly feel bright and joyous and full of love when you infuse good into the world and it will integrate it into your own psyche.

18. If you don’t feel like smiling, force it.  The activation of the muscles used to create a smile actually decrease stress in increase feelings of well-being.

19. Express gratitude.  One of the great tragedies of our psyches is that it is so difficult to appreciate what we have one we are wanting more. It’s important  to want more, but the way to really find happiness is to appreciate and love and be grateful for what you have. Don’t let yourself believe that you’ll be happy when… Be happy now. Be grateful now. Don’t allow your happiness to be held hostage by future events that may or may not happen. Make a list, even in your mind, of all the things you’re grateful for.

20.  Try a guided meditation to bring joy into your world. This works because your world is created  by the thoughts you think.

21. Spend time with your pet. Being around animals and caring for them make humans happier. 

22. Pray to whatever deity you believe in, even if it’s your own higher self.

23. Jump up and down for 60 seconds. Your endorphins will release and you will feel good!

24. Put music on and dance like crazy. Even if  you think you can’t dance, just dance. My kiddos love to shake their heads back and forth to any rhythm – makes them deliriously happy.

25. Talk to the dead. Just get into a quiet mood and begin talking either out loud or in your head to someone you miss. Having conversations in your head with people who have passed away can be incredibly healing.

26. Compliment someone. Tell someone how beautiful they are, or what a good job they’re doing or how much you appreciate them. It will bring joy to their world and make you happy too. Sending  love and positivity to others is a great way to learn how to love yourself.

27. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time.

28. Drink a glass of water. Mild dehydration can cause a bad mood and pessimism.

29. Stretch your legs, roll your ankles, your wrists, roll your neck, get your body into a comfortable position. Stretching makes you happy!

30. Play in the dirt!  Gardening can make you feel happy. Mycobacterium, which occurs naturally in soil, has the same effect on your brain as anti-depressant medications.

31. Look at old pictures — for a bonus happiness boost, share them with someone you love.

32. Try to do a push up. If you cannot, try again the next day. Within a week, you’ll be able to do a pushup. Do this everyday and by the end of a month, you’ll be doing 5 push ups a day. After a year, you’ll be doing 50 pushups a day. You’ll feel super accomplished, not to mention strong.

33. Sing a song out loud.

34. Have only 20 seconds? Choose one. 

35. Hug someone. Human touch makes us calm, relaxed and peaceful.

36. Take a bath with epson salts. Magnesium relaxes your muscles and helps you have a sense of peacefulness making you happier.

37. Send wishes for the people around you to be happy, kind and compassionate.

38. Let go of people that make you unhappy. You can choose to let go with compassion of friends who feel toxic. It’s okay to do that.

39. Read the Alchemist. I read this book right after my Mom died and it changed my mood immeasurably. It’s an amazing mood lifting book.

40. Floss your teeth!

41. Take a nap. Being well rested is the best way to be happy. Get your sleep in order and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

I hope that you’ve found some good information here on how to love yourself! Any other recommendations? Add them in the comments!

 

Top 10 Binge Busting Foods

Top Ten Binge Busting Foods

Do you ever feel like recovery is impossible because you will binge on whatever foods you have in your house? Even if you refrain from keeping your trigger foods in your house, you still feel unsafe unless your cabinets are empty? But sometimes an empty refrigerator is even more unsafe because a starving brain will behave in a compulsive manner and order take out or delivery and binge in a way that you never prepared for. 

Stay prepared by keeping your house a binge free zone by having lots of high density nutrition safe foods that will keep your body and your brain fed. 

1.)Apples- The crunchiness and time it takes you to eat an apple will help you pause before a binge and figure out if you were really hungry or if you just wanted to crunch and chew to relieve anger or stress.

2.)Avocados- The good (monosaturated) fats will keep your appetite sated and as a plus helps to raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. 

3.)Eggs- Hard boil a dozen eggs and just keep them in your refrigerator for when you are getting bingey. Peel and eat one and wait 20 minutes. Feeding the protein to your brain will help you make a clear minded decision about whether you are choosing to binge or not. 

4.)Frozen grilled fully cooked chicken breasts or chicken strips (like these). Chicken is a great high protein food to have in the house, but difficult to cook after a long day at work. Just throw a handful of chicken strips with a bag of frozen vegetables into a pan and viola! A healthy meal. 

5.)Raw Unsalted Pumpkin Seeds – Pumpkin seeds are a great source of high density nutrition and include iron, zinc and healthy fats. They will keep both your body and mind nourished. 

6.)Yams – The easiest and most delicious side dish ever. Just wrap up a yam in aluminum foil and throw it in your oven at 350 for 90 minutes. If you have a timer on your oven, you can even do it before you leave for work in the morning. Then come home to a potassium, fiber, magnesium, b-vitamin rich, delicious snack. 

7.)Cans of Tuna and Salmon – Easy peasy. Canned salmon (I like boneless, skinless pink) is wild and not farmed. You can just throw a can onto a bed of raw greens, throw some olive oil or dressing on and have an easy lunch. 

8.)Lots of bags of organic frozen vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, corn on the cob,   etc.) Make sure there is nothing added besides the veggies themselves. Just throw these in a wok with some soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos or a little bit of salt and pepper and olive oil and you have a great little stirfry. Throw in chicken and a grain or potato or yam for a complete meal.

9.) Bags of raw greens, raw spinach, etc.- Super easy to make salads with this. Just empty into a bowl and toss one of those hardboiled eggs in, some of those pumpkin seeds you already have, maybe some capers and dressing, and you have an easy high protein, high fiber snack. 
 
10.) Lots of bags of frozen fruit- This makes smoothies easy and, like frozen vegetables, it keeps you from having to worry about your fruit rotting if you don’t eat it fast enough. Just throw your frozen fruits into the blender and there you have your instant smoothie without doing too much of your own chopping work. The biggest pain will be cleaning the blender. 

Bonus # 11.)Condiments, (ie: miso paste for warm soup, broth, salsa, butter, bragg’s liquid aminos, tahini, mustard)

Remember to start each morning with a big, gigantic meal of high density nutritious foods to feel satiated and energized and to keep the urge to binge away. A high density nutritious breakfast could be something like 3 eggs, an avocado and a piece of fruit or a nice big bowl of oatmeal with bananas and walnuts and berries or even a few links of nitrite free chicken or turkey sausage with some fruit and eggs. 

Enjoy your food! Feed yourself well and often and feel good!

Dealing with Jealousy and Comparative Thinking

jealousy and eating disordersI’ve always prided myself on being completely free of jealousy. I believed that everyone had their own path and their own dharma… she had hers and he had his and I had mine.

In fact, I spent so much time with my clients helping them not to make comparisons of their bodies and their hair and their dating lives or lack thereof to their friends and I felt completely immune to jealousy and envy. I didn’t think I had a jealous bone in my body. 

And then something snapped inside of me. 

Sometime in the last two years I’ve become a total jealous woman. And I’ve had to work on that a lot. 

You see, my Mom passed away 12 years ago, and my stepmom of 32 years passed away almost two years ago. And I live with my husband and my kids without very much extended family at all. With no one to help us unless we pay them, no one who is totally obsessed with my kids like the way a Grandma would be, no one to spoil them, no one to go to Holiday dinners with, etc. I’ve been in a really bad place about it for months. 

Jealousy broken down into its core components are anger at someone because you believe that they are stealing something from you. 

And my jealousy became rampant. When I saw my friends or my cousins kids with their grandparents on Facebook I’d have to close my computer. When I saw grandparents picking up their grandchildren from pre-school I would feel sad. I was jealous and I was angry.

I was jealous of other girls’ mothers. 

And so I’ve had to work on that quite a bit. And I’ve begun to embrace my grieving process as grieving two very difficult losses. However… the work that I’m doing made me realize that my losses don’t take away from what I have. That the more I focus on what I don’t have, the less I focus on what I do have. And what I have brings me joy. Focusing on what I don’t have and being angry about it brings me grief. 

If my mother were to come down from heaven she would say to me, “What you think you’re the first person to ever lose her mother? Get on with your life already!” Because that’s how my Mom was. And she would be right. 

And the truth is… the jealousy has been keeping me back. It has been keeping me from going forward and finding comfort, support and love in other people.  So I am going forward. I am allowing my grief to be grief and I am moving into acceptance of what my life is and finding surrogate moms in all the wonderful women around me. 

Jealousy closes you off to other people. Jealousy makes you extremely depressed.  Jealousy keeps you in a jail of your own because you are angry at the world. Jealousy doesn’t allow you to see that their are other people in your situation and in much worse situations. Jealousy doesn’t allow you to see what you truly have and what you could be grateful for. Jealousy keeps you stuck– when you could just go outside into the vast big beautiful world and see the sky and the clouds and the mountains and the ocean. 

So is there anything or anybody that you are jealous of? 

Are you jealous of someone’s money? Their body? Their girlfriend or boyfriend or husband or wife? Their house? Their car? How does that hold you back? Do you wind up trying to achieve so much of what other people have that you miss out on your own life? Do you isolate yourself because you can’t bear to see other people having what you want? 

You can change that. 

 

You can stop this. 

When you notice your head turned toward someone else’s haves – turn back toward your own and appreciate what you have.

Or you could also forget about what that person has and just look at them as a whole person and let yourself be their friend, learn about them separate from what they have. You will deepen and enrich your friendships and find yourself more integrated into the world. 

Jealousy doesn’t serve you and it doesn’t motivate you, it keeps you stuck. 

And here is an old post on jealousy that I wrote before the Green Eyed Monster bit me. Before I lost my Step Mom and before I had my kids. I had a great theoretically knowledge of jealousy. But now I know in my bones what it is. Working through it has been phenomenal and eye opening.

I am grateful that I am given the gift of working through my issues just when I think I’m soooooo damn perfect. 

Only Rich White Girls Get Eating Disorders

The road to recovery leads to beautyI tend to shy away from talking about what I do for a living when meeting someone in social situations like at parties or on an airplane. The phrase “I am a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders,” is met with either awkward silence, or uncomfortable reactions such as, “I wish I had an eating disorder, but I could never stop eating…” or someone telling me in detail about their friend/college roommate/friend’s daughter’s eating disorder… or other conversations that are potentially difficult to get into at a party. But this week, at a Holiday Party, when I told someone what I did, he responded, “Oh so you talk to selfish snotty rich white girls all day long…”  Ugh. I sat for a moment to think about whether or not I would be willing to continue my conversation and decided against it. I said to him, “that’s actually really not accurate…”  and excused myself.

But I began to think about that stereotype, that eating disorders only touched a certain demographic. And the truth is that eating disorders transcend race, age and gender.  Unfortunately though, the stereotype remains for a variety of reasons. First off, because of the stereotype, men and women who do have eating disorders who don’t fall into the category or white, young, female, or rich might have trouble identifying that they have an eating disorder. They might also feel that it’s not okay for them to go to treatment because they won’t fit in or because they are not the typical patients.

But lots and lots of people suffer with eating disorders. Because we believe that our bodies are our external manifestation of what is going on inside, that our bodies tell the world who we are. And for some dumb reason, society has decided that what makes us good is being skinny. And so when someone feels bad or insecure about him or herself, he or she tries to change their body, and usually to make it smaller, because they believe that they will then be worthy or be treated better or be allowed to go out into the world. And often this plan backfires. They diet and diet and diet and disordered eating ensues. And then they cease to be out in the world. They stop doing what they were meant to be doing. They don’t dance or sing or preach or write poetry or teach aerobics or teach literature or go to Africa or go to medical school because they feel that they are not good enough. They feel that they don’t belong. They feel that they can only participate in the world once they lose the weight that they need to lose. And then the world misses out on them. The world misses out on all those amazing men and women out there because they don’t think they are good enough. They become embroiled in a power struggle with their jeans, with their diet plan, their treadmill and with food and don’t leave that cage.  And we miss out on them. We miss all the joy and learning they could have brought. We miss the gifts that they were meant to share. We miss the fun we could have had with them. We miss the smiles on our children’s faces for being around them. We miss out on all that.

And that is why I treat eating disorders. Because the world should be a better place and you should be in the world. I want to help you get out of the cage of despair and into the world of joy, life, expansion and happiness. Who knows, you could cure cancer! You could make peace in the Middle East. You could save a child from a burning building. Or you could simply go swimming with the dolphins in Hawaii and have fun because it’s okay for you to be in a bathing suit. It’s okay for you to be out in the world.

Happy Holidays to you.

Have a Safe and Wonderful Holiday.

Going Home For the Holidays When you Have an Eating Disorder

dealing with binge eating disorder during christmasIn my first semester of graduate school, right before we left for Thanksgiving break, one of my professors asked who was headed home for the break. Most of us raised our hands. “Well,” he said, “I don’t care how much therapy you’ve had, I don’t care how much you meditate, I don’t care how much healing you’ve done, when you go home, you are going to be that same twelve-year old kid that you used to be. Same family of origin issues, same role in your family… so be prepared and expect it when it happens.” Well. I think that was a little harsh, but there is some wisdom in it. When I think about family systems, I imagine a giant machine with gears that all work together to create one fluid movement. This is what happens in families, we all have an agreed upon role. If one person were to change, it would gum up the works and the machine would begin to move differently… not necessarily worse, just differently. And not everyone has agreed to change so we wind up just back in our old fixed gear position, no matter how many changes we’ve made. Being back at my childhood home, I noticed some phantom urges. It was weird. Out of nowhere, I noticed very old thought patterns just popping into my head, like, “when everyone goes to sleep, I will turn the television on and sit by myself and eat…” but it wasn’t an overwhelming urge, nor was it attached to desire. It was just like passing old junk that went through my mind because I was back in the same physical place that I was when I acted out with food more than twenty years ago. It did not feel as though it was anchored to anything and it did not feel threatening or scary. It was just an old thought triggered by being in an old situation with the same old smells and sights and people and feelings. The phenomena of phantom limbs is when someone feels pain in a limb that has been amputated. This was the same thing- feeling a pain that had no attachments or groundings. In this time of travel and family, you might find yourself having lots of old urges coming up again and again. It’s okay. This is to be expected. Ask yourself, “is this a present day urge or is this old material presenting itself.” It’s like this, let’s say you went home and found your seventh grade diary and started reading through it. You come to the part about your big crush– the boy who sat next to you in sixth period. You read about how he ignored you or never noticed you and how you felt so sad and rejected and how more than anything you just wanted him to notice you. When you read that, you might notice some old feelings of pain and longing come up, but you wouldn’t feel the actually desire to be with this boy. That’s because the feeling no longer exists, it’s just old material. When you go home, you are confronted by a lot of old material that triggers old feelings. Remind yourself, “this feels really real, but it’s old, it’s no longer a valid truth, this isn’t relevant to today’s circumstances…” You might go home and feel like a twelve year old, but you won’t actually be a twelve year old. You are an intact adult who can handle the difficult emotions, even if they are difficult. Remember to breath and tell yourself that just because the old energy is coming back, you can still bring in the new energy just by breathing it in and remembering that it is there for you.

 

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.

Dealing with Deeply Ingrained Beliefs

why do i feel so worthless

I was talking to one of my long-term clients yesterday who is just SO. DAMN. TIRED. And she feels like the only thing she can do is stand in front of her refrigerator and binge eat. Of course she is tired, she has a part-time job in the healthcare field and she has a 6-month old baby at home. In discussing ways that she can delegate and get some rest sometimes, what came out is that she is afraid to delegate. She doesn’t want anyone holding her baby, doing her charting, washing the dishes, cleaning her house, anything else. Why? Not because she has control issues, but because she wants to be seen as indispensable. She is afraid that if she were not “pulling her weight” and being the best she could be, that she would be replaced. That she would be fired and replaced at work, that she would be left and replaced by her partner and that she would be rejected and replaced by her baby.  Meanwhile she’s in so much physical pain that she can’t walk and she’s so stressed out that she finds herself bingeing constantly. It’s not rational, right? Obviously her baby isn’t going to find a new Mommy if she lets someone hold him and rock him while she takes a bath. Obviously her partner is not going to leave her if the house isn’t perfectly clean. Obviously as a top provider in her field, she’s not going to be fired if she takes a lunch break.  But core wounds are not rational. This woman’s Dad left her and her Mom, and replaced them with a new family. He did that again to his new family, and he did that one more time. So, somewhere in her brain she felt that she was easily replaced. Clearly this was her Dad’s issue, he was the problem- he was nomadic, didn’t know how to stay put, didn’t know how to be close to those who loved him. But it’s incredible how one person’s problems set off a chain reaction, isn’t it? Even though him being a chronic abandoner had nothing to do with her, in her little girl brain, she believed that it was her fault which somehow made her into a hyperfunctioning adult who has a million balls in the air and never allows one to drop. To the detriment of everything inside her. And obviously this takes a toll not just on herself but on those around her. No one wants a stressed out Mama or wife. Even though she felt like getting a massage would be selfish and taking care of herself and delegating responsibility to others  would be selfish and risky, she has come to understand that it’s not true. It’s her core wound that is telling her that. In reality, if she were to have some self-care rituals, she might alleviate the stress and have more ease to her life. The people around her might also feel more ease. 

So what about you? What core issues do you have that are keeping you from living your life in a more comfortable way? What is your “original myth?” Hers was “I am replaceable…”  
or “I have to be better than everybody else so that I’m not abandoned…” Other original myths I’ve heard are:
“Who I am is not loveable, so I always have to do more. I can’t be a human being, I have to be a human doing…” or
“I am worthless…”
“I don’t have the kind of money that other people have and never will…” 
“No one will ever love me…”
“I am too needy…”
“I am too much for people…”


What we have to remember is that these original myths were formed when we were children because of something that was going on around us that had nothing to do with us. But as children, we can’t step outside ourselves and analyze our world. We see everything as an extension of ourselves and then the stories become ingrained. 

Questions to ask yourself:

“What around me stressful when I was a child?” 
“Who was anxious?”
“Who was angry?” 
“Who said or did hurtful things?” 
“How did that stay with me?”
“How did that create my original myth?”
“How is this still with me?”
“How can I remind myself that it’s not real?”

As you ask yourself these questions, you might come to find that you are able to loosen your grip on certain behaviors that keep you tired and stressed out. 

Will I Always Have Binge Eating Disorder?

you won't always be fighting with food.

No. You won’t. You really, really won’t. You can heal and be free. Seriously.

When people first come into recovery or first contact me, they often say, “I know this is something I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life…” but it’s not necessarily true. You can be at the point where you stop thinking about it, stop battling, and disengage with the fight. You know what I mean by the fight. The place where you are sitting there and fighting with the urge and analyzing every thought, every instinct and every hunger signal. Yes. We do all of this when we begin to recover, but eventually, you can walk away and you will be safe. It won’t sneak back up on you. You no longer have to be hypervigilant.

You won’t always be grappling with this. You will eventually find peace with food. 

I know that sometimes it feels like you will always be engaged with this battle with food and your eating disorder, but in truth, when you win the fight, you will eventually have freedom.

Recovery kind of sneaks up on you. If you’ve ever been a smoker, you probably remember how hard it was to quit, but now, ultimately you find that you rarely have cravings, and even if you do, they are not enough to go out and buy a pack of cigarettes. It’s the same thing with binge eating. Even if you have the urge, it’s an itch. A passing reminder that maybe you need to give yourself something more. Some sleep, some love, some attention. Maybe you’re anxious, stressed, etc and your mind goes to food. That’s okay, you won’t be fighting tooth and claw to resist. You will just notice with curiosity, possibly annoyance and hopefully compassion.

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