binge eating

How Not to Binge on Halloween Candy

How Not to Binge on Halloween Candy

How Not to Binge on Halloween Candy

So all of you living in the United States are undoubtedly being bombarded by Halloween candy. There are giant, larger than life displays at every store you walk into, and most likely, it’s sitting in giant bowls in your house as you get ready to pass it out to little ghouls and goblins and witches and Batmans and Wonderwomans, Trumps and Melanias… (and maybe some Stormies, who knows!) 

And, if you have kids, you will have bags and bags of candy in your house for months. If you don’t, the candy will be at your office in bowls as people bring in all their leftovers. How Not to Binge on Halloween Candy. 

Not easy for someone dealing with Binge Eating issues.  I have many patients who are already in a daily fight with that bowl outside the secretary’s office, trying to figure out how not to binge on Halloween Candy when it’s absolutely everywhere taunting them. 

Halloween itself is usually binge day. You tell yourself that this day, today, you get to eat as many of those little Twix and Almond Joy bars (and everything else that looks interesting) until you’re sick to your stomach and then you’re done- never again until next Halloween.

But of course with BED it’s not and never is that simple. You’re going to eat those candies and you’re going to feel guilty, you might even purge, you might wake up tomorrow morning feeling sick to your stomach and depressed. You might see more candy laying around and just lose control completely – and this might last for weeks, going into months, trickling into Thanksgiving and then into Halloween. 

Quick guideline for dealing with all the Halloween Candy and How Not to Binge on Halloween 

1. Eat what you want. But think about giving yourself some loving and kind limits. Think about how much would taste yummy without making your body feel bad. I usually can eat about 2-3 of those fun-sized candy bars and still feel comfortable, not full and no sugar headache . If you need a guideline, you can look on the back of the package and see what they consider a serving size.  Across the board, it seems that the serving size for most of these treats is about 3 pieces. 

2. HOWEVER— don’t limit yourself to just Halloween day. You can have 2-3 servings of those candy bars every day. This way you will get to enjoy everything without feeling deprived and without bingeing on candy. You can eat a couple of pieces of Halloween candy every single day for the rest of the year if you want. I do suspect that you’ll get sick of it after a few days or weeks though– but don’t even think about that or worry about that- let yourself enjoy it each day for as many days or weeks as you are enjoying it.

3. The most important thing is that you give yourself permission.

4. You don’t beat yourself up.

5. Plan for what you really want to eat that day and you tell yourself that tomorrow you get to eat the next thing. This way you will feel satisfied and you won’t set yourself up for a binge.

6. When you’re done, let yourself be done. You might eventually become sick of Halloween candy. Don’t let your black and white thinking make you finish something that you’re not actually interested in. Sometimes we eat because we think we have to eat even if we don’t want to. If it’s harming you and you’re eating because you think you have to or you should, then just pack it up and give it away. No reason to have it if you don’t want it. My dentist does a Halloween candy buy back from neighborhood kids and sends it to the troops. Be creative. You can donate it or give it to someone for a birthday party or leave it at work.

Um But What About Starbucks? What About ‘Dem Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn Turkey Cranberry Frappuccinos?
How Not to Binge on Halloween Candy

This is really the same for those pumpkin spice lattes. If you find them interesting, then go for it. However, you might want to put some kind and loving limits on them for yourself. Remember, you’re not putting limits on yourself because you’re restricting yourself or because you hate yourself, you’re putting kind and loving limits on yourself because you love yourself, you love your body and you want to help give your body what it wants in the quantities it wants.  For instance get your latte’ along with some protein (like a salad with chicken/eggs or some cheese) rather than with a pastry. This is because your blood sugar rises and drops when you eat lots of sugar on an empty stomach and that can often trigger a binge as your body searches for more sugar to keep your blood sugar (and mood) elevated. The protein helps to keep your blood sugar stable and keeps you feeling steady. 

How Not To Binge On Halloween Candy

Also remember that Pumpkin spice latte season is sort of a psychological trap. This scarcity thing happens where people see something ‘for a limited time’ and feel that they have to get as much of it as possible. Remember that the holidays are famous for doing that to consumers and ask yourself, “would I want this anytime or am I being manipulated with scarcity marketing?” For most of us, it’s possible to buy the ingredients to make any of these things any time that we want, so think about how much you actually want it. As I said before, if you actually do want it, let yourself have it as the restriction and punishment is what triggers a binge.

How Not To Binge On Halloween Candy

The Fall Can Just BE SCARY!!!!!

The Fall is always difficult for people with any kind of dysfunctional relationship with food… and Halloween is a super scary holiday for binge eaters and emotional eaters because the candy is all over the place and then it lingers for weeks and months afterwards. I remember once having a client who was still bingeing on her kids’ Halloween candy in January! After Halloween, Thanksgiving comes which is a full out binge holiday – it brings with it family drama, mashed potatoes and phantom urges, and then there is December. December is the worst! There are constant parties, constant drinking, there are cookie swaps, latke feasts, gift baskets full of peppermint brownies sent to the office every minute, baked goods in the staff cafeteria almost daily… and then there’s that “well just screw it, I’ll go on a juice fast starting on January 1st and then after 3 days I’ll go Paleo…” and then you binge your way through December feeling awful, sick to your stomach, uncontrollable, uncomfortable and holding on to the promise that 2019 is going to be different. It’s going to be your year and then by January 2nd- you’re back on the cycle and you already feel as though you’ve ruined the whole year!

Need extra support? This is a great time to join the 5 Week Program.. Starting in December I will be doing doing extra Facebook Lives as sort of support and group therapy and teaming up with buddies so that people can text each other through the holidays for extra extra support.

Right now, for the month of December $497 when you pay in full.

Get in now- and you will be part of this forever without ever having to pay another cent, even as more content, interviews and information are added. Join today and it’s yours forever. This is a lifetime program and monthly payment plans are available to make it easily affordable.

Those of us who deal with binge eating behavior can often hide when we feel like we’re not doing well. We think we’re supposed to be okay and perfect all the time. Ironically though, eating disorders THRIVE in isolation. So if you’re struggling, please don’t do it alone. We are better together and we are stronger together. When you sit in your ED alone, it’s difficult to find recovery because it’s just you and ED. But when you have support, when other people know what you are going through, the part of the eating disorder that gets bigger and stronger when it is left alone to grow, that part is pushed out of the way. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! And you’re not the only one. If you are feeling lonely, depressed, anxious, or like you can’t do this, please reach out for support.

And lastly, if you didn’t get the chance to watch my presentation:

5 Steps to Changing Your Brain to Stop Binge Eating – here is the video replay.

In it you will learn:

  • How I fully recovered from years of being on the binge/restrict cycle
  • Reasons why you binge eat so you can empower yourself with the tools that you really need to stop.
  • Why You DON’T need Willpower to Stop Binge Eating so you can stop beating yourself up and learn about what you really do need.
  • What is neuroplasticity and how to us it to train your brain to effortlessly stop binge eating
  • How to use mindfulness to help you stop binge eating so you can stop using food to find peace and calmness and harness your own inner peace.
  • Learn about the 5 week program, what it is what it isn’t.

Eating Disorders and Anxious Attachment – What’s the Relationship?

 

Have you ever been “that girl” who was so in love with “that boy…” the one who you were going to marry and make babies with? You loved him so much that you thought of him all the time.  You couldn’t stop talking about him… you checked your phone constantly to see if he’d texted you. And when he didn’t you became anxious, scared and depressed. You stressed over it with all your friends, analyzing every text, every word he ever said to you, thinking about what you must have done wrong to make him not text you? You knew that his lack of communication was the beginning of the end. You pretended it wasn’t. You kept texting him – asking if you were still on for Friday… what he was up to, thought of excuses to text him or run into him.

 

And finally – you get together with him and he tells you, “this just isn’t working for me…” and you say “what? why? What did I do????”  and he says, “you’re great! I wish I could, but I just don’t feel the same way about you.”

“But you did!” you tell him, “you used to! how did your feelings just change? just like that? you lied to me! feelings can’t just change!” you insist.

“I’m sorry he tells you.” And you cry. You cry a lot. 

“But we’ve only been dating for like 2 months!” he says

“10 weeks!” you tell him.

He leaves and you are sitting by yourself at the restaurant crying hysterically. The food in front of you no longer seems appetizing. You can’t eat and so you don’t eat… for days. And then you become addicted to not eating, sure that if you lose the weight that you think you need to, that then he will love you. Doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 81. This is an anxious attachment style.  

 I don’t want to get much into attachment theory here – but in a few sentences, our attachment style corresponds to how we related to our primary caregivers as children and how we then translate that into our adult relationship patterns. 

For our purposes here, I’ll focus on an anxious attachment style. I will also focus on women. While there certainly are many men who have anxious attachment schema, they do tend to be more on the avoidant spectrum. Avoidants and anxious styles seem to attract each other like gnats to a light in summer, thus creating a deeply charged and often dramatic relationship patterns. Both syles tended to have parents who were highly critical, preoccupied with other things and  inconsistent in their parenting and in the way they showed love. 

*Jessica (not her real name) grew up with a narcissistic father who left her mother when Jessica was 18 months old.  At the age of thirty, when he came into his full trust fund, he decided to move from their home in Massachusetts to Los Angeles for a more fun life.  Jessica’s mother, his college sweetheart,  stayed behind in Massachusetts both angry and bitter. Jessica’s father came to visit her once every few months and when he did, Jessica and he had the most fun together. He would take her into Boston, they’d eat at the Hard Rock Cafe, they’d ride on the Swan Boats, they’d get ice cream in Faneuil Hall, they’d shop in Harvard Square, go to the Children’s Museum! It was a magical escape for 48 hours. And then, he’d  drop her home at her mother’s angry apartment where Jessica’s Mom would yell and scream and get angry at Jessica for being happy and liking her father. She felt that Jessica was being disloyal.  Often she’d even hit her.  Jessica didn’t want her mother to be mean, so she became hyper-compliant, doing everything that she possibly could to keep her mother even and calm. She believed that it was her responsibility to behave in a certain way and anticipate her mother’s moods so that she could keep herself safe. Her father was her savior, swooping in about four times a year to spend a magical weekend with her. She dreamed of her father coming and taking her away from the misery and darkness of her mother’s sad life. When Jessica’s father got remarried, he stopped coming to visit. He’d say that he was coming to visit but then cancel last minute. Jessica remembers spending a whole month excited about her father coming to see her and then, on the day that he was due to arrive, while she was waiting in her room for him to show up, the phone rang. Her mother came in and told her that her Dad wasn’t coming. “Just couldn’t get away!” he told her. “It’s okay Daddy. Will you come again?” “Of course I will,” he told her. Once or twice a year or so, Jessica would board a plane and travel the seven hours all by herself from Logan to LAX to spend a few weeks in the summer with Dad and Katrina, his supermodel wife. Katrina didn’t like Jessica and Jessica didn’t like Katrina.  Her Dad would ignore her unless he was yelling at her to be nice tell to Trina. Trina told Jess’s Dad that Jessica was jealous of her and then Jess’s Dad would yell at her about not being so jealous. Jessica had no idea what she had done wrong. But her life had become sad, lonely and the person who used to save her from her angry mother had abandoned her.  Mostly Jess stayed home with the housekeeper and ate Tamales and beans and ice cream while watching television. Trina told Jessica’s Dad to stop her from eating so much, said that she was getting fat. Asked him how he could have such an ugly daughter. Eventually Katrina became pregnant and once they had their own family,  Jess stopped coming at all and her father stopped visiting.  Jess believed that her father stopped seeing her because she wasn’t good enough and didn’t try hard enough. She was too fat, too ugly, too jealous, too needy. That in order to be loved, Jess had to look like a Katrina. This was validated for her as her father had left Jess’s Mom who looked nothing like a supermodel and discarded Jess who, like her Mom looked nothing like a supermodel.

This set the springboard for Jess’s attachment style. She had the double whammy of both anxious attachment and seeing men as saviors – the only thing that could save her from her terrible life.  Neither her father nor her mother were capable of giving her the sort of mirroring or unconditional love that all children need. Not because she didn’t deserve it, but because they were not able to  due to their own issues.  Her parents had preoccupied attachment patterns – unable to consistently give her the love and support she needed.  It then led to Jess having an insecure/anxious attachment style.

Adults who have this attachment style  tend to be highly self-critical and insecure. They believe that they need constant approval from the people around them and will do whatever they can to seek out that reassurance from people around them. However, no matter how much reassurance they get, they never seem to be able to feel steady and safe. Their self-doubt is alleviated only briefly and then they become anxious for more reassurance.  They deeply believe that they will be rejected and thus they do what they can do avoid that sort of abandonment. , yet this never relieves their self-doubt. They then become extremely clingy with their partners which in turn creates the opposite of the desired effect and drives their partners away. They then have the reinforcement that they are worthless. Often, they then take up the role of the pursuer in their relationship believing that the people around them are somehow “better” than they are.  Often, they then do things to change themselves in order to increase their sense of self-worth or in order to look or seem formidable in the eyes of the person they are pursuing.

Our friend Jessica in this case became obsessed with her weight and obsessed with achievement. She wanted to be seen by her father as acceptable and seen by boyfriends as worthy of love. She exercised obsessively, ran marathons, rose to the top ranks of her law firm before the age of 30 and yet… she would still be that girl who was getting drunk and blowing up the phone of the boy she had just met slept with the night before. When she came to me she told me that she was having trouble getting over a guy and that she couldn’t make sense of it. She started dating Richard a few months prior. Richard was a “painter” who lived off his parents trust fund and mostly spent his days getting high and playing video games and possibly painting.  She thought that she had found “the one.”  She described him as a brilliant artist and showered him with love, attention, gifts – so many gifts… she cleaned his house while he was playing video games, did his laundry, cooked him meals and expected that he would think that she was the most irresistible wife ever. I mean, she could bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan. But he started pulling away after awhile and then one day, after not seeing each other for a week and him dodging her calls and her texts, she asked him if she could come over. He said that he was home sick, bad head cold. So she made homemade bone broth, cookies from scratch and brought them over to his house. When he answered the door, he was in his boxers and there was a woman behind him wearing one of his tee-shirts.  And there was a scene. Jessica cried and screamed, “how could you how could you?”  Richard said, “why are you so upset? It’s not like we were exclusive. We’ve only known each other for what? Two weeks?”  According to Jess, the girl just snickered in the background.

Richard texted her a few weeks later and she went right back to his house for a rendezvous. Then he’d blow her off. This pattern lasted for a few years. Every time he texted her, she was happy and felt great. And then, after a few weeks of not hearing from him, she’d get anxious and on a few occasions she had full blown panic attacks.

In the meantime, she’d do everything she could to be “good enough” for Richard. She’d starve herself for weeks on end, she’d run several miles a day or do back-to-back Soul Cycle classes and then she’d wind up bingeing on foods she had been restricting herself from.  Her eating disorder was a way to manage her anxious attachment. She believed that when she made herself “good enough” that she’d feel better.  The eating disorder behaviors helped to mitigate the anxiety that she was feeling about being rejected and all the beliefs that she had underneath that… those beliefs that told her that she wasn’t good enough, that had she been a better human being, her father wouldn’t have rejected her and her mother wouldn’t have been so angry all the time.

So when we think about this, what do we see as the two over-arching emotions? Love and fear.  Fear of not being loved. The fear then overtakes everything and becomes bigger than the love. Jessica never even stopped to think about how she really felt about Richard. Had she really thought about it, she would have realized that she actually didn’t love him or even really like him and definitely didn’t respect him. She was just afraid that he wouldn’t love her. And she craved love significantly. However, when someone really did love her, it didn’t feel real because as a child, she associated love with rejection and abuse and she lived out those relationships over and over again. Her angry mother and her rejecting father set the stage for how she valued herself and how she believed she was supposed to be treated.

In our work together, we helped Jessica to understand that she was perfect and whole and complete in that moment and that people who were rejecting and avoidant probably weren’t the people she wanted to be with, but the people who felt familiar and thus REAL to her. As her own sense of self love grew, she began to seek out relationships with men who had a more secure attachment style. So there were no texting games or manipulations or playing on her weaknesses, but a less exciting, yet more even-keeled relationship. As she got into these more balanced relationships, her relationship with herself and her relationship with food and exercise began to balance itself out as well.

The most important parts of healing anxious attachment are not putting your own self worth in the hands of someone else. When you define your own values and decide what makes you find another human being valuable to you (is it living off a trust fund and getting high and playing video games all day?) You can then allow yourself to unfold into the person who you really are and really love and respect.

Jessica defined her personal values and kindness, compassion and advocacy. As she allowed herself to be that person (and it was so easy because that’s who she naturally was) she also found someone who loved her for her. She didn’t believe that she had to change for him and he shared her values.

Define your personal values and allow yourself to just be that human being. Not for anyone else, but just for you. Being your authentic self is easy because honestly, it’s all you have ever really known or wanted .  As this happens, you will find that who you really are unfolds beautifully. And then your next relationship is easier. you don’t have to be anything for anyone else, but allowing the person who is most right for you comes naturally. 

 

Intermittent Fasting and Binge Eating

Intermittent Fasting - A cure for binge eating disorder or just new fangled dumbness?

Intermittent Fasting: 

The newest  old thing with a fancy name. 

I have been getting lots of emails recently asking me if Intermittent Fasting is helpful for people with Binge Eating Issues. I have lots of thoughts, but I want to start by telling you about my early experiences with IF. 

The very first time I learned about intermittent fasting was in 1985. I was in 5th grade and my best friend’s upstairs neighbor, who was in 6th grade had lost 13 pounds through intermittent fasting. I mean, we were children and it was 1985 so it wasn’t really intermittent fasting, it was that Shoshana drank a cup of tea for breakfast,  a diet coke for lunch and then whatever her parents gave her for dinner.  I thought that sounded CRAZY! But then in 7th grade, when my hips and breasts started coming in and my period started, I thought that I would try it. Of course it wasn’t called intermittent fasting back then. It was called  “the diet that we all went on so that our parents wouldn’t know that we were dieting.”

Puberty, incidentally is a high risk time for girls to begin eating disorders. That’s because in order to start menstruating, girls’ bodies begin to put on body fat and the changes that take place can seem sudden and out of control. I remember for sure that when I began maturing, my mother made many comments about how my body was changing and that I’d better watch out because once I got my period, weight would be impossible to lose. Wow! Crazy messaging!  But I believed it and wanted to do whatever I could to stop that cycle. So I went on Shoshana’s special diet of tea for breakfast, diet coke for lunch and dinner was whatever my mother gave me. 

Nowadays, you can’t open your computer or look at your phone without seeing something about intermittent fasting. An eating disorder for adolescent girls turned into a way of life for tech bros. People have written books about it, people sell programs, apps, meal plans… it’s just the next diet plan that people are looking to cash in on. I mean, Shoshana Kaufman could have written a book back in 1985, it would be called “How To Diet Without Your Parents Finding Out.”

Intermittent Fasting: Or How to Diet Without Your Parents Finding Out By Shoshana Kaufman – Grade 6. P.S.24, Bronx, NY 1985

Chapter One – Don’t Eat Breakfast

Chapter Two– Don’t Eat Lunch

Chapter Three- Eat Whatever Your Parents make you for dinner

Often I will write about certain diets and I’ll be attacked by people for having a differing opinion about them. I wrote a post about low carb diets some years ago and got attacked by the low carb mafia. Really nasty, nasty emails and comments. Here’s the thing… this is a blog for people who are trying to recover from an eating disorder. And for people who have eating disorders or disordered eating behaviors, these kinds of rulesy eating plans are always contraindicated.  However, there are so many promises that intermittent fasting makes that people are being led to believe that it’s a panacea for all that ails them. 

Intermittent fasting has lots of promises behind it:

Promise #1. You will become “clear-headed” and able to concentrate better if you’re not worried about eating.

My thoughts: Are you able to concentrate when you’re hungry? I’m not. In fact all I can think about is food. I remember being in school as a kid during my restriction days and just zoning out while I fantasized about food. I did this in college too and early on in my adult life when I was still in my eating disorder. In fact, the more I restricted, the less engaged in life I was because I was just focused on not eating and fantasizing about food and what I would eat when I finally let myself eat! 

Are there people who are clear-headed? I’m not sure, but what I do know for sure is that my anorexic patients do come to a place of feeling almost ethereal when they’re not eating. Why? It’s likely because their brain and their organs are beginning to shut down. Their body is using less energy and trying to conserve what it has to use. 

Promise #2. It gives you lots of energy. 

My thoughts: Well, as someone who was an athlete in high school and continues to be athletic now, I can tell you for sure that not eating NEVER gave me more energy. On the days that I would do Shoshana’s diet, I was super sluggish in swim practice. On the days that I did eat breakfast, I would fly through the water. As I got older and started running, I had the same experience. A banana goes a long way before a morning run. A run on an empty stomach in the morning is nothing but a way to run out of gas immediately. Again, I have no idea why people would suggest that their energy is increased. My suspicion is that if you are someone who wakes up and eats a very large and difficult to digest breakfast that creates more sluggishness in your day-to-day, then this would be an improvement. Yet that can also be solved with mindful eating, figuring out what gives your body energy and vitality through your own self-experimentation and trial and error. For instance, I’ve figured out that breakfast cereal will leave me feeling sluggish and hungry, but eggs and cheese and fruit carries me straight through my morning and holds me until lunch. That’s something I had to figure out on my own, not something that someone else could tell me. Your body, your needs. It’s okay to experiment until YOU find what works for YOUR body. No one else can tell you that. 

Promise #3. You will lose weight effortlessly

My thoughts: Now here’s when we come to the Binge Eating Disorder issue. When I did Shoshana’s diet, I was very, very, very likely to binge at night. And honestly, I did that crazy diet for many years. I did it from the age of 12 until I was in my early 20’s. Not every day of course, but I did it often and I binged pretty much every day. It was awful.  And did I lose weight? Actually, no I gained a good amount of weight because of the bingeing. 

If you have an eating disorder, intermittent fasting is likely not the right path for you. Here are the reasons: 

People with eating disorders tend to have black and white thinking. Thus, if you are planning to restrict your food for a set amount of time and then you “mess up,” it’s likely that it will trigger some extreme behaviors, like either a binge or compensatory exercise or a purge or a long period of restriction. 

People with eating disorders teeter between extremes so a full day of not eating could often lead to an evening of binge eating. 

People with eating disorders will often go to extremes to “get it right” even if their body tells them that they need to eat, so they might either completely ignore the cues of their bodies or they might engage in dangerous behaviors (like drugs or excessive coffee drinking) to ensure that they stick to their goals. 

Read How Intermittent Fasting Triggered my Binge Eating Disorder

Do I think that there is anything valuable about Intermittent Fasting? 

If you have a propensity toward eating disorders, I’m going to say that no, intermittent fasting is nothing more than the same diet you went on in elementary school that started this whole disordered eating thing to begin with. You could have written the book and sold the items. Intermittent fasting teaches you how to ignore your body’s cues for hunger. And those of us with disordered eating have known how to do that for years. And we know what happens when we ignore our bodies’ cues for hunger – when we are tired, our body fights back and we binge.  Perhaps for people who eat mindlessly all the time, a day or two of intermittent fasting might help them to hear their bodies’ cues for hunger and learn what that feels like, but beyond that, I don’t believe that this is the best new thing. I think that people have found a way to package an eating disorder into a new fangled diet with a fancy name.

What intermittent fasting does is the same thing that all diets do, it takes away choice – and in that taking away of choice, people feel safer around food. It creates a structure where they can control their food intake. As Soren Kierkegaard said,  “anxiety is the dizziness of freedom…” and it’s true. People become so overwhelmed with choice around food and diets, that this feels like an easy way to take away the choice and limit their food intake. 

As always, my opinion remains – listen to your body, give it what it needs when it needs it.  You CAN trust your body to guide you toward what it needs to be healthy. Your body knows. I can promise you that. You might not always get it right, but the closer you listen, the better you will get to know your body. Your body has so much wisdom. Unlike 1000 or even 100 years ago, food is readily available to you and so you have the opportunity to give it yummy, nourishing food when it needs it. 

Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting and binge eating
Intermittent Fasting and binge eating
Intermittent Fasting and binge eating

Intermittent Fasting and binge eating

intermittent fasting and binge eating

 

Get Through December Day 30

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Oh my gosh- we are so close to getting through December. How are you doing? Are you getting through?

Today’s Tip

Celebrate every moment of your recovery- I don’t just mean to celebrate if you’ve had a day or a week without a binge, but when you wake up in the morning and eat a healthy breakfast, give yourself accolades and support. The more support you give yourself, the more you encourage yourself, the easier recovery will be. Baby steps are crucially important in all stages of recovery. That’s because as disordered eaters- we tend to be so black and white, so all-or-nothing. If you are able to find joy and encouragement for yourself in each small success (passing by a scale and choosing not to step on it, seeing on Facebook that your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend is having a baby and not running to your binge foods, getting stressed out on a road trip or on your way to work and not stopping at the fast food place– all these are big successes) you will find that you get closer and closer to recovery. Think of how much better children do when they are encouraged. We never lose that. We want accolades and validation not just from the people around us, but from ourselves.

Even the most stressful or frustrating event or day deserves acknowledgement. You’ve made it through and have succeeded in facing difficult challenges and opportunities. That means you are that much better equipped to face the next challenge and you are closer to being on the other side- the easier side of recovery.

Inspirational Quote

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.Helen Keller

<<—Go To Day 29

Go To Day 31–>>

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day 29

get-through-december-without-bingeing-day-29

So close to saying buh bye to 2016- phew. It’s been a difficult year for many.

Todays Tip

If you have been following me for even a minute, you know that I’m a huge advocate of self-regulation through mindfulness and meditation. The thing is though, it’s not one of those things that’s immediately noticeable (like highlights or a haircut) however, it is noticeable. Not just to you, but to the people around you. I have a client who I challenged to do 4 out of 7 days of meditation each week for one month. She is someone who has an overwhelmingly stressful job – life and death every moment that she’s on duty- her adrenals never get a break. She told me that she felt better after her very first session and couldn’t wait to do more. After just a few weeks she told me that people at her work told her that they loved working with her because she was so grounded and so even keeled and that she had a calming energy about her.

My favorite free mediation app is called insight timer and you can download it here.

Try it out!

Inspirational Quote

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” … Buddha

I love this quote because it’s so relevant to people who deal with the ED schema. So many people tend to put so much of themselves, so much care, so much support into others but forget about their own care. Remembering that you too are just as deserving and entitled to care, love and support is crucial for feeling your value and your worth and allowing yourself to recover.

<<–Go To Day 28

Go To Day 30—>>

10 New Years Resolutions that Will Change Your Life (And Not One of Them Involves Losing Weight)

 

Did you know that each year 62%  of Americans make New Years Resolutions and of those 62% only 8% are able to stick to them? That means that almost 197 million people make resolutions and 140 million of those people give up on those. This makes setting resolutions a pretty big set-up for failure and unhappiness.  

Do you know what the number one most common New Years resolution?

I’m sure you can guess that one easily — lose weight!

Unfortunately though, despite your best intentions for improving your life, New Years resolutions tend to make people miserable as people usually fail at them by the second week in January. 

Let’s not do that same game again. Let’s forget about any resolution that has you thinking in terms of all-or-nothing.  Instead,  I want to you to try to think about increasing happiness and joy and kindness to yourself. Here are ten ways to do that:

1.  Resolve to look in the mirror and begin to ask the question, “what’s right with me?”

Women and men alike have been trained to look in the mirror and ask themselves, “what is wrong with me? what can I change? how can I be better or different?” Advertisers would never be able to sell anything if they never convinced you that there was anything wrong with you. For instance, who ever said that wrinkles were a bad thing? Someone had to in order to sell eye cream, facial moisturizer, Botox, Restalyn and all those other things. It’s a brilliant scheme because, well EVERYONE AGES (if they’re lucky!) so a market has been founded to engage every human being and convince them that something is wrong with them even though their skin is doing what everyone’s skin does. Now they can tell people that it’s wrong and needs to be corrected. And then guess what? They sell you something! How genius. So every time you look in the mirror, you’re scanning for “what’s wrong with me?” so you can then look for something to fix it. And YOU WILL find someone to sell you something to fix whatever you are seeing that you believe is wrong. Strange, huh?

What if you instead asked the question “what’s right with me?” You could also choose to counter all the mean (internal advertising executive)  voices with a simple “I’m fine.” You can always fabricate something to dislike about yourself. But in finding what’s right or what’s “fine,” you stop buying into a society that perpetuates the use of self-hatred to make sales. 

How to do it: Notice when you start focusing on all of your PERCEIVED flaws and take yourself back. Take a breath and tell yourself, “I’m fine. Who I am is fine. I don’t need to support the beauty industry by looking for things to fix about myself. It’s all a well-engineered scam to seduce me out of my money.

How it will change your life: You will stop picking on yourself all the time and you will feel less stress and anxiety generally speaking. You will feel more confident and more peaceful just being in your skin. 

2. Resolve to stop supporting a media that devalues women.

How to do it: Stop buying fashion magazines and “health and fitness” magazines that tout the same tired articles on how to lose 10 pounds this month or how to torch 500 calories in one workout, and how to get rid of cellulite for good and those that use diet pills, powders and potions as their sponsors. There are only so many diets and so many workouts, yet these magazines seem to be able to repackage the same information over and over again for years on end. Stop following Instagram and Pinterest Fitspo folks who just wind up making you feel bad about yourself. Stop following social media influencers who are paid to push products that promise to make you more like them. 

How it will change your life: You will save money on magazines, you will create more time and space for yourself to think about other things and to enjoy your life. You will stop staring at Instagram and believing that there is something wrong with you. You will get rid of the clutter in your house. You will stop beating yourself up for not following varying and contradictory advice that those magazines and websites give. You will find relief of feeling as though you should be something else, you will stop dealing with the stress of seeing digitally enhanced images that portray an unrealistic version of what a woman is supposed to look like. You’ll be able to relax and just breathe and just be you…

3. Resolve to stop comparing yourself to other people. 

How to do it: When you find yourself going to the place of,  “my life would be so much better if I made as much money as…”  or “everyone has someone to spend Valentines Day with except for me…”  stop yourself immediately. Think of a big stop sign in your mind and say to yourself, “no. I’m not going there.” Remember that everyone has their own path, their own Dharma. When you look to someone else’s path you stop moving along your own. You become paralyzed and you’re unable to allow your life unfold the way beautifully and the way it’s supposed to.

How it will change your life: You will actually be able to focus on going forward in your life given what you have. You will be able to appreciate and enjoy the things and the people who are in your life rather than feeling disconnected to what you do have. You will find that when you look at and enjoy what you do have rather than what you don’t have you will generally be happier. You will also be able to enhance and make more of the good things in your life because you will be moving forward in joy and able to appreciate those around you rather than stuck in envy.

4. Resolve to stop spending buying money on miracle potions and weight loss/diet shakes or other gimmicks. 

How to do it: Stop looking for the next miracle skin cream or beauty potion or pre-packaged meal or shake program that will make you perfect. Stick to one simple skin care regimen that you enjoy and that you can afford. Keep your diet healthy (lots of fresh fruits and vegetables) and get fresh air and exercise.

How it will change your life: It will take away the stress and anxiety about buying something every time you see a commercial or read an article about how different your skin will look and be when you get this one product. It will reduce waste in your life and it will keep you from spending excessive cash on something disposable.

5. Resolve to let go of gossip and criticizing other people

How to do it:  So, this means that even if you happen to be present for a conversation where someone starts talking about someone else, you make the decision not to engage in that conversation and you don’t allow someone to chide you into idle gossip. You choose not to criticize people around you either to their faces or behind their backs. You don’t talk about how someone looks, about their life choices, about their parenting skills, you just let people live their lives and you live yours with kindness and integrity. If people start to talk about others around you, you can just say, “I have this New Years resolution to let go of judgment and criticism of others, so I don’t want to go there.”

How it will change your life:   Letting go of negativity and criticism will feel better in your body. You will feel lighter and more at peace. You will also find that people around you trust you more. They will know that their secrets are safe with you and that they are able to talk to you without fear of judgement or criticism. It will take a big weight off of you and give you more mind space to concentrate on yourself and your own needs. The people around you might just decide to jump on your bandwagon making your circle more pleasant to be around.

6. Resolve to stop engaging in Fat Chat

How to do it: Stop talking about how fat you are. Stop talking about how much weight you need to lose. Stop talking about diets. Stop talking about who has gained or lost weight. Stop commenting on other people’s weight either to their face or behind their back, even if it’s “Wow you lost so much weight…”  Make a choice to not engage with any talk about other people’s bodies or your own.  

How it Will Change your life: You are choosing not to participate in a society that judges women for the way their bodies look and for how much they weigh.  You create a positive example for those around you and you have done something to change the way people judge people by looking at how much they weigh. When you engage in fat chat, you are contributing to the continuing exploitation of women’s bodies, making it okay for the media to perpetuate the myth of the perfect female form.  Change starts with you.

7. Resolve to do the things you love more often

How to do it: Make doing things that you love a priority. Carve out time for them every day. If you love to write, give yourself 1/2 hour a day to write. If you love to knit, or sew, or ride your motorcycle, or take photographs, or read, or garden or play with your cat, or go swimming, or draw, paint or sculpt, or sing, make sure that it is something that you do several times a week. It’s so common that people prioritize cleaning the house and paying the bills and never feel like you never have time to do the things that you love. You have the power to make your life enjoyable. When you go into super-functional mode and stop paying attention to the things that give you pleasure, you feel as though you’re just moving through life crossing things off your “to do” list. Some things should be done not to get them done, but for pure pleasure. Don’t reward yourself by vowing to draw after the dishes are done, make drawing a priority. Put it on your list for sometime during the day, not in the evening after all your chores are done. Do it on your lunch break. Make time for you.

How It Will Change Your Life: It will help you to appreciate and enjoy your life, it will make you an active participant in your life so that you can enjoy the day-by-day, not be bored waiting for the next thing to happen.

8. Resolve to work on letting go of what other people think of you

How to do it:  Remember that nobody’s opinion is any more important or any better than your own. So try to have a high opinion of yourself. Hold yourself with integrity– become the person who you admire. When you are holding yourself with integrity (that means being compassionate, kind, not lying or stealing or hurting anyone, holding the highest intention for good), you will know that nobody else’s opinion of you matters because you are a good person.  Remember that most people don’t have the time or the energy to spend time thinking about you– they are spending most of their time thinking about themselves. If they are wasting their time thinking about you, well then congratulations,  you’ve got lots of power!

How it Will Change Your Life:  You will have the freedom to live your life the way you want without the weight of the fear of criticism of others. You will feel lighter and enjoy life more.

9. Resolve to spend more time with people or animals who have less than you

How to do It: Do volunteer work at the SPCA or your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Find something that you’d be interested in doing at Volunteer Match. 

How it Will Change Your Life:  Studies have actually found that people who volunteer have lower mortality rates and less chronic pain and heart disease. This is because of the sense of community and sharing volunteer work creates. It also reduces isolation (key in healing from eating issues) and increases self esteem and life satisfaction. It also widens your perspective. It’s difficult to dwell on your problems or get caught up in the drama in your own head when you’re spending time helping others. 

10. Resolve to take at least one month to go on a “spending fast.”

How to do it: Take 30 days to go on a spending fast where you buy nothing except for true essentials, such as food and hygienic products; no fancy bottled water, no takeout, no fancy meals, no bottles of wine, no fancy soaps, no new clothes, no new jewelry, nothing– just what you really really need.

How it Will Change Your Life: You will find some relief in not having to worry about what dress to buy but knowing that you have a dress at home. You won’t worry about walking into Target for a bottle of shampoo and coming out having spent $150 on razors and lotion, and you won’t have to deal with a late night pizza binge. You will find relief in not having to think too much about what to buy. A spending fast, even for a month is a huge relief.

BONUS RESOLUTION!

11. Learn to Recognize Your Emotional State

How to do it: Use mindfulness to check in with yourself throughout the day. Set a timer on your phone to go off once every few hours. When it goes off, stop and ask yourself, “what am I feeling?” If you don’t know, check this list of feelings . Then practice just sitting with that feeling without doing anything to change it.

How it Will Change Your Life: As you learn to be aware of what you are feeling throughout the day, you won’t surprisingly find yourself engaged in activities that you have previously done to avoid feeling, for instance, you won’t find yourself eating when you are anxious because you will know that you have the capacity to sit with uncomfortable feelings.

What do you think, can you make a few of these changes? You don’t have to be perfect or do them all the time, but I’m betting that if you chose even just one of these, it would make significant positive changes in your life. Try it! Let me know how it goes. 

“We cannot, in a moment, get rid of habits of a lifetime.” -Mahatma Gandhi

I love this quote of course because it is so illustrative of what we tend to believe- that we should be able to snap our fingers and be done once and for all with whatever habit (of the cognitive behavioral kind or physical behavioral kind) that we’ve been doing our whole lives. Patience is a wonderful trait to cultivate. Patience with yourself will get you the furthest along. It will keep you peaceful, calm, protect you from self-loathing and anger at yourself and bring your closer to achieving your most important goals.

 

Happy New Year!!!!

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Get Through December Without Bingeing Day 28

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Here we are – just 4 days before 2019 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 27

get-through-december-without-bingeing-day-27Oh wow, we are on the other side of the holiday weekend. Phew! I am expecting that most everyone indulged over the holiday weekend. It was a big weekend no matter what holiday you celebrate. Most people likely either traveled, had family in town, attended or hosted multiple big celebrations. And you likely woke up Monday or this morning feeling bloated and uncomfortable in your skin. Not just you, but everyone. You probably ate foods that you never eat, your body is probably not processing them as smoothly as it does the foods that its used to and you are likely retaining water- feeling swollen and possibly feeling depressed and out of sorts because your body just doesn’t feel right. It’s okay.

Todays Tip

I want to say to forgive yourself, but you have nothing to apologize for. The holiday season is part of life. Sharing food and joyous times together (and not so joyous times) is all part of the tradition that we have in most Western cultures during this time of year. Be kind to yourself and remember that you are not alone. Everyone is feeling bloated and uncomfortable from having eaten lots of foods that they normally don’t and eaten more than they normally would. Be kind to yourself, drink lots of water and tea and get some loving exercise– brisk walk in the cold weather, a yoga class or some gentle stretching.

Inspirational Quote

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” – John Wayne

<<—Go To Day 26

Go To Day 28—>>

Get Through December Without Bingeing Day 26

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Hi! I hope that you all had a great Christmas and are still having a great Hanukkah if you are celebrating those 8 crazy nights. And Today is Kwanzaa, so happy Kwanzaa if you celebrate it. I didn’t know much about the holiday so I did some research and learned that Kwanza is a holiday that celebrates community, connection with heritage and culture, and rising up from strife, oppression and persecution. So I hope that those of you who are celebrating have some wonderful plans for the day and enjoy your families and friends.

Todays Tip

Remember that time, it was December 22nd, and I sent out a newsletter and the newsletter said, 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 knowWhen will I learn my lesson? All people are different and no eating disorder is like another. I quickly got an email back, “Um, Leora, apples are MY binge food.” Well, there you go. In my profession we call that an “empathic failure.”

Anyway, I explored with this reader a bit further and asked her if it was the crunch. She told me yes, that it was the crunch, and it was also nuts and then moved onto less nutrient dense foods.

When I work with clients personally, I am always interested in what their binge foods are. What they choose to binge on and when is good information for me because it lets me know what they are choosing to satisfy physically and chemically. For instance, if you read my book– you might remember the first sentence? “It started with the bread. It always started with the bread.” My binge food was crusty bread.

Why is that? Well bread is a very simple carbohydrate and it starts to digest instantly in your mouth with your saliva. So I began feeling the numbing effects of serotonin very quickly when I ate bread. It was like taking a valium. And the crustyness of the bread helped me to process emotions like anger and stress and anxiety because I was chewing so hard.

What about you? Do you find yourself bingeing on crunchy foods, for instance cereal? Granola? Nuts?

If so, I have a little trick for you. Did you know that your jaw is the strongest muscle in your whole body? And because of that, it takes on the responsibility of holding lots of your stress. So many people hold stress and tension in their jaws so eating crunchy foods is a way of releasing that.

Here are a few things to do:

1. Massage your jaw rubbing little circles right into the joints.

2. Let your jaw relax, don’t hold it open and don’t hold it closed, just let it come to a neutral position and take a few deep breaths right into it. Do this for about 60 seconds and you should find some peace.

3. Put a pillow over your mouth and scream as loud as you can into it. That will release jaw tension and all tension!

Try it out and see how it goes.

Inspirational Quote

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” Elizabeth Gilbert

This is so true, we spend so much time trying to change our body so that we can change the way we think and feel about ourselves, but what if we bypassed that and just changed the way we think and feel about ourselves? We’d find that we had a lot more time and happiness in our lives.

 

 

<<<—-Go To Day 25  

Go To Day 27—>>>