Anyone who followed my old Diet Schmiet blog or has read through many of the posts I transferred here* will know that binge eating has long been an issue for me. (Coming after anorexia nervosa and bulimia.)
I’m much better than I once was – I binge far less and am no longer even vaguely tempted to purge (too worried about the impact on my teeth and my health. But mostly my teeth!). Once upon a time I couldn’t have flour or sugar etc in the house cos – when in the zone – I’d mix up some strange batter to eat. I still don’t really keep sugar, but don’t think I’d do that nowadays. Plus – if I’m going to binge I prepare myself in advance.
My eating behaviour is not sufficiently normal that I can stock ‘danger’ or even ‘vaguely-interesting’ foods. As a result, stuff like chocolate, chips, corn chips, rice cakes, biscuits I really only buy with a binge (or immediate consumption) in mind. I’ve tried buying it ‘to have’ but I just can’t leave it alone.
Therapists generally suggest recognising when the desire to binge approaches (overcomes you!!!) and consider what’s led up to it. For me this can be about sadness, anger, guilt, stress or inadequacy. Sometimes just seeing something I like to eat will be a trigger – if I’m shopping and I see chocolate on special… there are no feelings, just the thought that ‘I should buy that’.
This all means that nowadays there’s sufficient time between my need to binge and my binge – cos… I have to go shopping. Sure sometimes I might eat endless amounts of real-type-food on hand, but – quite frankly – that’s never quite as fulfilling and doesn’t do the trick.
I’m obviously pretty good at recognising my desire to binge – so I’ve got that first step under control. It’s the next I struggle with, as it’s often suggested we ‘sit with our feelings’.
It occurs to me this is something often discussed more broadly (outside of disordered eating) and can relate to a range of reactionary behaviours. Once we recognise the feeling – rather than acting on it – we’re to sit and let it flow over us, think about how it feels. Etcetera.
I know – from reading others’ blog posts and the occasional self-help (type) books – that this works for some. I’ve had therapists who’ve basically said I’m ‘allowed’ to binge or eat (ie. act in the way I want) but I have to try sitting with feelings first… knowing I can act on my desires after.
Indeed, Leo Babauta’s latest Zen Habits’ post touches on this.
This is obviously something I’m yet to master. I’ve talked previously about needing to ‘live in the now’ more and get less rumpled by events of the past or stresses of the future – and I suspect many out there can relate. I’m just wondering if some people (ie. like moi) NEVER learn to NOT react.
Anyone else struggle with this (not necessarily in a food sense)?
Any hints or suggestions?
*As a complete aside, people may have noticed that all of my pics failed to transfer along with my blog posts. (Something I hadn’t realised when I closed Diet Schmiet!)
I’m flogging my blog With Some Grace today.