If you’ve been there, you know.
You know how it begins and ends with pain. The negative feelings, the stress, the anxiety…it’s just too much. You need comfort. You find that comfort in those first few bites. They taste so good and make you feel happy. You forget about those negative feelings, the stress, the anxiety. Then happiness gives way to numbness as you slip into a trance and you begin to feel nothing….ah, bliss. But eventually you start to feel the pain again, only this time it’s not just emotional, it’s physical. You feel sick to your stomach and sick of yourself.
On Tuesday, I had the privilege of attending a webinar hosted by Jamie of Studio Eats called Breaking Down the Binge. There were over 200 attendees present which just goes to show how many of us out there are affected by this. After going through three months of coaching with Jamie, none of the information was really new to me, but it was helpful to hear some of this again and I wanted to share a couple of points (and some added perspective) with you guys…
Binges can happen for a variety of reasons, but most have nothing to do with food at all! It usually comes down to two main things: the dieting mentality and emotional issues. If we keep thinking in terms of “good” and “bad” and deprive ourselves of foods we love, then of course, eventually we will binge, but what a lot of people don’t realize is the emotional side of things. Emotional issues can be as simple as having a crappy day at work or as complex as feeling trapped in a job that you hate. What you have to do is see the binge as a red flag…an opportunity to evaluate your life and see what is missing.
For one time issues, you need a LIST…
List activities that calm you down or have a friend to call and vent to. Either distract yourself from your negative feelings or find a healthy way to release them like journaling, heading to the gym for some kickboxing, or one of my favorites, slipping into
CLEAN ALL THE THINGS mode (all hail the magical healing powers of the scrub brush!).
For recurring issues, you have to play an ACTIVE ROLE in your life…
Make changes where necessary…this may mean looking for a new job, reevaluating relationships, or learning to accept your body the way it is. Life is too damn short to be unhappy!
Sometimes binges are just inevitable. Forgive yourself and move on! If you play the guilt/shame game, it will only land you in a seemingly never-ending binge cycle. The key is to wake up the next day with a plan…
1. Structure your meals.
Just to get back on track, allow yourself to have a little structure. Plan meals and snacks…and even if you don’t feel very hungry, eat small portions (from a plate!) at those set times. If you skip meals, you may end up ravenous by the end of the day which will only put you back where you began.
2. Build in two self-care activities.
Go easy on yourself. Be kind. There is no need to continue the punishment. Work in time throughout the day for activities you enjoy and that make you happy whether that be a walk after lunch or a trip to the salon for a pedicure.
3. Dress comfortably.
You’re not going to feel any better in pants that are cinching at the waist and serving as a constant reminder of the binge. But don’t just put on yoga pants and a t-shirt…wear something that makes you feel pretty…put on some makeup…go back to the days of your childhood when you felt like a princess playing dress up!
4. Enjoy light exercise.
DON’T go out and run five miles to “make up” for your “indiscretion.” It’s over and done with! DO move your body in ways that feel good…soak up those endorphins and SMILE!
5. Think about the reasons behind it and make changes!
Sit and meditate, journal, or heck, put your kitchen table on Craig’s list…just do SOMETHING that helps make some change in your life for the better.
I want to thank Jamie so much for not only hosting this webinar, but also helping me in healing my relationship with food. I honestly don’t think I could have made all the progress I did in the time that I did without her help. If you EVER feel that you could benefit from having a health coach or even just have some questions to ask, please don’t hesitate to shoot her an email!
What are your go-to stress reducing activities?
When was the last time you smiled?