No one wants to be told what to do, especially a stressed person who is actively binging. They feel the need to have everything under control themselves. If one thing goes wrong, like eating some cookies, getting an urge to eat chocolate cake, or even if the weather isn’t what you wanted today, the binge is on.
This mentality gets you stuck in, what I call, shamedom. You either hide what you are doing so no one will know, or you eat in public, with a chip on your shoulder, daring anyone to even look at you funny. No wonder food never seems to satisfy!
The goal of my writing is not necessarily to commiserate about how difficult this journey is or to tell about the unpleasant things I have been through. The goal is to help people, who are actively learning how to eat normally, accept themselves and get some kind of dignity back in their lives.
With that in mind, I want to share the story of the first time I actively thwarted a binge. This was also the last time I ever had an uncontrollable craving, and that was over a year ago. It would be easier to just write a list of things you should do to stop bingeing and eat normally, and in some posts I may do that. But lists of things look a lot like rules. And let’s face it, none of us likes to follow rules. If we did, we wouldn’t be in this situation, right?
Here’s my story:
Its been three days since I started telling myself I could eat anything I want, any where I want, anytime I want. I am walking through the grocery store and spot a package of Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip muffins. I try to remain calm as I pick them up and look at the nutrition label. Before I remember that I don’t need to do this anymore, I see the information- Calories 360, Total Fat 18g, Total Carbs 46g.
I put them down and think to myself, “I want something sweet, I am allowed to eat something sweet. So I will find something sweet and chocolate that is not as bad as these muffins.”
I rush over to the bakery department and as soon as I turn the corner on the last isle, I see tables full of cakes, cookies, pies and muffins. They ALL call to me. I am overwhelmed at how much I want to eat every single chocolate baked good I see.
I start to wonder if I could eat a whole cake in the car and hide the evidence before I get home. I am disappointed. My cravings seemed under control when I decided to eat what I want, and now I’m planning a car binge. Why?
Just then, a thought emerged,
“If you can eat anything you want, why do you think you have to settle for the low fat, low calorie or low sugar stuff? If you want the Otis Spunkmeyer muffins, eat the dam muffins, eat a hundred of them if you want. You REALLY are allowed to eat ANYTHING you want. It’s okay”
I go back and pick up the muffins, thinking they will be good with a cold glass of milk when I get home, if I am still in the mood.
Those muffins stayed on my counter for three days before I even opened the pack. And not because I forced myself to stay away from them, but because I allowed myself to eat them whenever I wanted. This permission took the urgency to eat them away, and I didn’t open them until I felt like it. I ate two in the next week and had to throw the last one away.
In my experience, if I had continued on the path of trying to find something to replace the muffins and trying to fight the urge to eat all the other sweets I saw, I would have bought a couple boxes of the bakery muffins and gobbled them down on the way home -all the while berating myself and telling myself how terrible of a person I was.
In the beginning of my journey, any thought of restriction or limitation was fuel for a craving. Once I decided to take off the restriction, It took several days to realize that I did not have to actively try to limit my portions, and I did not have to find alternative foods for things I wanted. Of course, it took me several years of therapy, reading and striving to be a better person to even get to the point where I could say, “I can eat whatever I want.”
But, after practicing this for over a year, my thought now is, “Why would I NOT eat exactly what I want?”
A list of tips and advice on how to Take Action to stop bingeing Click here
“I live the life I want to live. There is no need to struggle if my actions are in line with my needs and desires. When my own needs and desires are met, I can help care for others with an open and honest heart.” MD