So many people struggle with binge eating, yet so few people talk about it. There is so much shame wrapped around it, yet so many of us are dealing with it.
Guys… This needs to be talked about.
So often in my six-month program, I’ll be working with a client who starts to see success. They’ll say things like “I never knew this was possible for me. I never new I could eat this way. I never new I could control myself around food. I never new that I, of all people, could be intuitive.”
They’ll share… “Paige, you have no idea. There used to be times where I would park my car in a parking lot, run into a store, grab a bag of X, and eat the whole thing. Or, I’d pull into a drive through and eat everything before I got home so no one would see.”
I also hear things that happen on the regular for most people, like: “I used to want to stay home just so I could eat. I’d get this idea in my mind that no one would be home, I could get cozy, sit on the couch, and have full reign and just eat anything I wanted.”
Girls, these are things that we need to talk about NOW. I want to give you permission to not wait to talk about these things – you don’t need to have any shame. If it seems like you’re the only person in the world with this struggle, let me tell you, you’re not.
In fact, let me share some of my own personal binge moments with you from the past just to help you feel a little more normal, or a little less weird (we’re all a little weird, eh?).
Here’s what would usually happen: I’d be super good for a few days, eat everything I though I “should,” deprive myself from the things I thought shouldn’t eat, exercise rigidly, hang everything on willpower, and then it would hit me… I’d have moments like:
- Driving through 5 different fast-food places with a friend (who was willing to binge with me – we dieted together, so this made it easy!) and get something different at each place
- Driving to CVS to pile up on candy, come home, and stuff our faces
- Take over the full kitchen in my parents house, make plates of nacho’s, and stuff our bellies until we were sick-full
- Make a huge plate of Frito dip with a friend, and eat the whole thing, while our tray of brownies were baking in the oven
- Feel super stressed while doing Statistics homework (this one is such a vivid memory), stand up from the table, make a bowl of ice cream with cereal crunched in, sit back down, and repeat… five different times until I finally just went to bed and finished the homework in the morning
There have also been many moments of sitting in front of the TV, eating, getting up every ten minutes to grab another snack, and you know how this goes…
You guys… I could go on and on. What’s the problem with this? What’s so bad about it, beside the obvious point that this kind of eating can’t be good for our physical health.
This kind of eating takes a huge told on our emotions doesn’t it? Doesn’t it make you feel out of control? Doesn’t it make you wonder if you will ever change, or snap out of it, or ever eat normally? Don’t you feel a little lost on how the heck to even get back to normal?
Me too. I wondered all of the same things. I remember the moment where I thought to myself, in full belief, I don’t think I’ll ever be normal with food, but I’d do anything to get there.
What I want to share with you today, are the TOP motivators that lead to binge eating. I’m not going to share much about how to avoid these things – rather, I’m writing this post to relate to you girls. To let you know, I’m in your shoes with you. I get it. We can trust each other.
I’m calling these “motivators” 1) because it sounds less judgmental and 2) because I believe that in those super hard in-the-moment-moments, we make the choice that we THINK will have the most reward, in some way. Therefore, these ARE motivators.
Putting off the unpleasant
I hear it ALL the time. Whether you’re putting off having that tough conversation, or you’re putting off that project that you don’t want to work on, or you’re simply trying to avoid the feeling of waiting for anything… you eat to get through that limbo period while SOMETHING is not happening.
You’ve been wanting a cookie for days, but cookies are bad, so you don’t allow yourself to have one. Eventually, you go out with friends, feel an ounce of freedom just because you’re happy to be out with friends, and you GO FOR it. You go all out, and have that cookie (or maybe 10) anyway. Willpower never lasts long in your house (mine either).
When you’re uncomfortable, you try and get rid of that discomfort as quickly as you can. I mean, after all, discomfort is the end of the world. You’re watching TV, you feeling a little antsy, and so, reasonably, a snack is the solution. So you get up, grab some snacks to entertain yourself, and continue watching TV.
The cycle continues until you finally decide to stop.
What did I just do? Wait, discomfort wouldn’t have been so bad. Really, I was okay JUST watching TV. Or, I could have done anything else. Wait, this sounds familiar? Have a realized this 16 times before, already? Noo…..
Not getting to calm
Anxiety leads to eating for most people. It did for me. One of the biggest breakthroughs I had to learn, and most of you know this, was to learn how to get CALM. Calm was and has been my word. In anxious moments, I feel, well, ANXIOUS. So, what helped me was to counter that feeling, say the word CALM, and just let feelings of calmness wash over me. Once I realized that I could do this at anytime, I learned that anxiousness was a choice (and trust me, I used to have full-blown-panic-attacks on the daily – just ask any of my high school friends/teachers).
Getting myself to calm-the-heck-down helped me more than I can say. Everything was going to be okay. It really is not the end of the world. Even if I don’t have a snack right now, because really, I don’t need one, I’m going to live, and life is gonna be good. Calm down. It’s fine.
The need to be doing
Are you at home and do you have nothing to do? Are you at work and in a slow moment? What does this feel like? Are you under-stimulated? Chances are, if you’re bored and you deal with the food stuff like many of us, you’re going to want a snack right about now. But if you’re not hungry, and you really want to be in a place where you’re honoring your body and her signals so that you can feel your very best, this is a little frustrating. So, we have to learn to get through it, and trust that doing NOTHING is actually a great thing. Breathe, just sit, lay down if you have to, enjoy the quiet, or turn on some music. It’s good for everyone to have nothing to do sometimes. Consider this a luxury, not boredom.
Here’s the thing.
You are the only person who is going to make changes for yourself. You’re going to be the same person you are today on Monday, tomorrow, next week, on the first of next month, etc… If you don’t want to make a change now, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to want to make a change later. I’ll say it again, you’re going to be the same person tomorrow that you are today. Start with the changes you WANT to make now – love yourself enough to let yourself experience how you want to be/feel now.
Okay girls, so, today I’ve talked a ton about the challenges that lead us to bingeing or overeating. Now I really want to hear from you! Do these things resonate with you? (Remember, I’m giving you permission to be open, so please be open with me here.) If these things do resonate with you, what else do you want to know? What else can I write about to support you in this? What questions and what struggles do you have? Share with me, so I can continue supporting you here. Thank you, and I’m with you!