When you are struggling with an eating disorder and you binge, it is so common to feel overwhelmed and out of control. Defeat runs wild and often my clients have a hard time holding on to hope that things can get better and improve.
It is normal to want it all to stop right away, to never have another binge again in their lives and to only eat when they are hungry and ALWAYS stop when they are full. I would love this for them but as soon as we start to think in extremes and convince ourselves we have to be all in or all out in our thoughts, feelings and actions, we have already lost the battle. Instead what I recommend is that people become rather picky with their binges – that they are selective and intentional in what they choose and treat themselves with enough respect to at least listen to what they really want.
What I mean when I say this is that a healthy first step is to get really curious about what foods you actually love. Often when bingeing, the individual will consume whatever is around or whatever they deem as “binge food” even if they don’t like it. Instead, I would encourage you to only binge on foods you really love. For example, if what you love is a certain type of ice cream/chocolate/pastry/chip, then you should never settle for anything less. Don’t go for a Hersheys bar if you really love Dairy Milk.
For some, this idea sounds scary because they feel it sets them up to binge and they are wanting to stop. I too want you to stop hurting yourself with food, but the first step in doing so is listening to yourself and what you actually like instead of treating your body like a garbage can by dumping anything (love it or hate it) into it. This also shows intention which increases our awareness when we go for the food. It doesn’t mean we won’t eat it (that isn’t, afterall, the point in purchasing it in the first place) but it does mean you are paying closer attention to yourself. In these circumstances, the binge feels more like a choice versus a reaction and the more we realize that we get to choose how we treat ourselves, the more likely we are to decrease the behaviors.
Start paying really close attention to the food you eat and figure out what it is you love about it. Once you know, commit to only putting food in your body that you actually enjoy.