I am a binge eater. Well I used to be. It used to happen for me very frequently. Now it happens rarely. This past weekend was one of those rare events. It happened. A full on eat-what-you-can-get-your-hands-on-it-has-nothing to-do-with-hunger-binge happened. Why? Upon reflection, I think it was excess sugar consumption the day before and disrupted/shortened sleep cycle on top of struggling recently with my confidence since I keep gaining weight. We had friends over the night before and I ate a little more than I normally do and certainly more sugar than I normally do but it was a party so I wasn’t too worried.
However, the next morning I woke up tired, sad and feeling so fat and defeated. The messages going through my mind were “You are so fat” “You don’t have the energy or the discipline to lose this weight again”, “Why keep trying?” Nothing makes a difference”. I felt hopeless. (Any of that familiar to any one?) So instead of picking myself up, maybe getting out and moving a bit, I wallowed and I ate. I mean if I can’t lose the weight again why not just eat every ounce of every thing that is in the house? (That is GREAT logic, right?!) So I did.
I felt pretty miserable for a bit. Then I decided I needed to take the advice I give most people about this situation.
Here are my five steps for dealing with yourself after a binge:
1) Take some deep breaths. Calm down and be really present. This helps you to relax, de-stress a bit and get some space from the situation. This can bring perspective and in that some learning and choice can happen.
2) Talk to yourself like you would a good friend who was feeling this horrible. I doubt any of us would call our friends fatty, loser or stupid. We would smile and be comforting and encouraging. We would say things like its going to be ok. You will definitely pick yourself up tomorrow. We would hold their hand and offer gentleness and love while they are going through a hard time. Nothing is gained by beating the crap out of ourself when you are down. Negative reinforcement and berating is not going to pull you out of this faster.
Remember: “You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha – even when you had a food binge. 🙂
3) Clean up your environment. I had to go through and remove anything left that would be a temptation for me. All the sugar, sodas, etc needed to be gone. (And don’t try to eat it away so its out of the house either because I KNOW we have all been there. 🙂 ) Thankfully it was trash day. I took it all right outside to the bin. This way the next day, my kitchen only had healthy whole food options for me to fuel my body and mind with.
4) Commit to one small change. Part of me wanted to promise myself that I would fast for the next 24 hours to make amends for what I had done. I even considered buying one of those month long cleanses where you don’t eat food, you just drink shakes and take supplements. I wanted to completely be something different the next day. But that is not how it works or how things happen. So I committed to one small change for this week. I will master that and gain some confidence around my food and choices again.
5) Take some time to reflect. A failure is only failure if we don’t learn anything from it. Make this a learning opportunity. Journal, talk it through with a supportive spouse, friend, support group. However you best can figure out what the lessons are. It will make a big difference if the same circumstances come up again… and more than likely they will… and you will be better prepared.
None of these steps made it feel magically better. I was still one unhappy camper that day but what DID feel better is I didn’t spend time beating the crap out of myself, I spoke to myself kindly and I took steps to make myself feel more in control again. There is no magic out there. Changes take courage and practice. Lots and lots of practice. 🙂
If you want to learn more about loving who you are and getting peace with your body but aren’t sure how to do that, let Zen Barbell help you! Check out the 30 Days to Stop Hating Your Body program here.