Cedric Centre for Counselling Inc.

Blog

How to Stop Binging: The First Simple Steps

How to Stop Binging: The First Simple Steps

 

How to stop Binging, my article from last week, focussed on The Diet-Binge-Guilt cycle: Why we often binge in the first place and began a discussion of how to stop binging for good.

This week I’m going to enhance that discussion with a more detailed exploration of how our intention to limit the kinds (or quantity) of foods we eat can go sideways and, instead of supporting us to achieve our goals and have more self-esteem, our plans, more often than not, actually make us feel more anxious and depressed and more like a failure than we did the day before.

When we’re stuck in this Diet-Binge-Guilt cycle we feel lots of guilt and shame and hopelessness. The last thing we want to do is admit it to anyone, which makes it hard to get help and makes us want to withdraw from people and isolate. This often leads us to have increased social anxiety and insecurity in relationships and to lean even more heavily on those BAD foods to numb and soothe ourselves in order to simply make it through our day. Sound familiar?

My goal is to make sure you have a clear understanding of why it is you binge in the first place and exactly how to stop binging for good; not just for a day or a week, but really, truly, once-and-for-all good. You see, I know you can stop binging for ever because I have (decades ago) and I’ve helped many hundreds of men and women worldwide to stop for good too.

The best part about getting over binging and learning to trust yourself around food is that you now get to enjoy eating whatever you truly want and you no longer feel guilty or ashamed or like you need to exercise like crazy just to lose weight.

When you simply eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, you will naturally lose weight (if you have weight to lose), there will be no need to diet or exercise your way there. Really.

And in order to live in that space (that may sound really impossible to imagine right now) you just need to understand how your thinking and your behaviour is getting in the way of your relationship with food, then you can side-step that whole power struggle once and for all and get on with living life for real and to the fullest.

Last week I explained how our plans for how to eat on any given day seem, on the surface at least, to be well-intended and you believe they will help you achieve your goals of weight loss; feeling in control of food; and feeling better about yourself overall.

Your initial self-commitment of the day may sound something like this:

“I’m not going to eat anything after dinner tonight because if I start I won’t stop and if I don’t binge or snack after dinner tonight I’ll feel lighter and less doped up tomorrow, have less negative self-chatter in my head, and ultimately, if I keep that up, I’ll lose weight and stop being so preoccupied about my body. Then I’ll feel better overall, have more self-esteem, start wanting to have sex with my husband or start dating a great new guy and life will finally be the way it should be.”

That’s definitely a motivating image! Who wouldn’t want that?!!

However, we forgot one tiny, wee, little detail.

We made the same promise yesterday… And the day before that… And the day before that…

In fact many of us have made that promise to ourselves every day for years (Moi included before I got a good solid grip and learned how to stop binging once and for all).

So much so that it begins to feel more like some ritual we need to do to get some peace from our nagging self-chatter. Sort of like, “If I can pretend / sort-of-believe that I’ll be ‘good’ today, then I can forget a bit about last night and feel like I can at least get out the door and look other people in the eye today.”

 

So…what’s up? What’s stopping you now from following through on your commitment to eat well and not binge? If you’re so miserable and you really want to stop binging, what’s preventing you from making it a reality?

Well, think of it this way:

Let’s say, hypothetically, that yesterday you promised yourself you weren’t going to binge at night. But, you did. Or at least you had something that you told yourself you weren’t supposed to have.

So, this morning you wake up and the first thing on your mind is how anxious you feel and how you failed yesterday and what you’re going to do food wise today to make sure you don’t do the same thing again tonight.

Right?

Well…ummm…isn’t that what you did yesterday?

So, what’s changed? Why would today be any different? Think about it for a mo’.

Nothing has changed between yesterday and today.

Your desire to not binge is the same; your commitment to changing is (with the addition of a little more inner frustration given yesterday’s failure) the same; your plan is the same…so why would today be any different?

Well, if you’re thinking reasonably and rationally it won’t be. Therefore, the wisest thing you could do would be to not make another commitment about not binging because there really is no legitimate reason for you to expect yourself to keep it, is there? That is, until you have reason to trust that you know how to stop binging.

Now before that voice in your head freaks out too much and your anxiety level goes through the roof and sends you rushing for the Pringles, hear me out:

Letting go of the commitment not to binge doesn’t mean giving yourself licence to binge. In fact it’s just the opposite.

This is key so I’ll say it again, and I invite you to say it out loud to yourself so you can hear it and see what pops into your head as you hear it:

Letting go of the commitment not to binge doesn’t mean giving yourself licence to binge. In fact it’s just the opposite.

You will prove this to yourself very quickly so don’t worry you don’t have to take my word for it or pretend to accept something that, right now anyway, seems like a very foreign concept.

It will help to remember that a big part of your urgent need for something to eat, in addition to the fact that you use food to manage your stress, is the restriction that you have placed around that food and your subsequent preoccupation with not being allowed to have it.

 

So, contrary to suggesting you just give up and binge your face off, what I’m actually saying is this:

1. Let’s be real. You haven’t been able to solve your problem with diets and restriction and promises so far. Despite your years of effort, hard work and focus, you still don’t know how to stop binging, so let’s just admit that what you’ve been trying doesn’t work, for anyone, and grant yourself permission, even for the next 3 months (as a little test) to move on to something that does.

2. Let’s figure out what it is that happens during your day and in your head that makes you bail on what we both know you really want, which is to eat sensibly, have a little fun with food, feel good about yourself, and be a natural healthy weight for your body without dieting and constant stress about food.

 

So here’s the plan to begin to experience significant and lasting change in your binging, overeating, emotional eating, eating disorder…whatever you want to call it:

1. Reassure yourself that you’re never going to (or at least for the next 3 months) make yourself promise not to binge anymore. Remind yourself that this doesn’t mean that you’re urging yourself to binge or setting yourself up to just let go and make overeating okay. It simply means that you’re allowing yourself to live in reality and see the truth about what you can and can’t do right now and that you’re no longer willing to cause yourself added stress and make yourself feel bad about yourself by setting goals that you have no way of keeping.

2. Acknowledge that you are committed to finding a solution to your binging, that doesn’t involve restriction (because, despite all of your efforts, that hasn’t worked yet in any lasting way remember).

3. Take action: The first step for how to stop binging is to learn how to figure out what it is that is actually triggering you (Hint –it isn’t the food!).

A simple exercise that I ask my clients to do at the start of our work together so that they can see for themselves what’s really triggering them to binge, and therefore stop beating themselves up, is this:

Invite yourself to notice a. when you’re thinking about eating and you’re not hungry or b. when you find yourself eating more than you’re hungry for.

When you notice this, don’t let yourself get stuck in judging yourself, simply ask: Just before I reached for food, what was I thinking or what just happened, separate from food, that might have made me feel anxious or unsettled at all?

Write your answers down so you can see, out of your head, what’s really going on for you and you will be amazed at how that one piece of information alone helps you to feel less stressed and overwhelmed right away.

Now we’re talking! You’ll very quickly be able to see the link between daily stress or stressful thoughts, and your desire for certain foods or to binge. And here’s where we come in…

4. Learn how to notice your triggers immediately and how to feel peaceful and confident in your ability to find solutions to any problems or stressors that present themselves in your life. This is actually surprisingly easy when you know what to do because most of our problems are actually caused by 2 or 3 simple factors. And once you know how to take care of those factors in one area of your life (like work or in a key relationship) you will naturally know how to do so everywhere in your life.

In fact, it is very common for me to be able to support people completely through their recovery from binge eating and from the underlying, triggering issues in 3 months of regular sessions.

Many people, perhaps even you, believe that change that lasts has to take a long time and be really hard. These beliefs often lead us to procrastinate on reaching out for help as we believe we don’t have the time or energy and that it will not work anyway, so why bother.

But the reality is, we only believe this pack of lies because we’ve been stuck trying to learn how to stop binging by focussing on food and not the real root of the problem. No wonder we haven’t been successful!

I can tell you with confidence that when people are given tools that work and the support to learn to use them well, their whole life can change, forever, in just a few minutes a day.

I have been working as a specialist with men and women who binge for 20+ years now. I know that you don’t need to struggle any longer and that change truly does happen quickly when you have simple tools that work and a guide who really understands what you need.

That’s what my team and I at The CEDRIC Centre provide you.

You can read some feedback from many CEDRIC Centre clients here if you’d like to get a sense for how simple this process is and how quickly it can change your life.

Stay connected to Michelle through her ezine and get support and education on how to find lasting peace with food and with your weight.

And join her on her on line program so you can take part in some educational coaching sessions and in our discussion forum.

Love Michelle

Posted in: and Binging, CEDRIC Centre, Complete Recovery, Tips for Natural Eating, Uncategorized

Leave a Comment: (0) →

Leave a Comment