That urge…it’s growing.
Your senses, your senses are peaking. Vision is narrowing.
Your heart starts pumping. I want food. I want food now.
Fridge opens. Cupboards open. Bag rips open…
That first bite just feels so good. Not only is the food tasting amazing, but there is a release that is like a high.
Bite one, bite two, bite 10…
You’ve been here before. You’re now sitting on the floor in a daze not really knowing what just happened.
What you do know is that you feel like **it and that you let it happen again.
Just another day. Just another day that you couldn’t stay in control.
Just another day and another binge.
Another day to feel like you failed.
My friends, this post has been something I have wanted to do for a while as I have been asked about binge eating and how to prevent it it from a few of my readers. Despite never having experienced this side of the eating disorder spectrum myself, I do have some experience working with those who struggle with it every day and wanted to throw out some information about this invisible eating disorder and suggest some ways to work towards one less binge.
Disclaimer: I’m not a professional on this matter. The things presented in this post are strictly from my experience, what I have learned and what I have seen help others.
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) has only more recently been added to the list of eating disorders despite it having similar roots to the more traditional eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. I won’t go into too much detail as to what classifies BED as you can check that out by clicking on the tidbit picture above. What I will say is that BED is very real and it is a legit eating disorder. Despite the vast majority (if not all) of those who suffer with BED not being the picture of what we think of when eating disorder is brought up (ie. emaciated), the psychological conflict, disordered eating and negative relationship with food is all the same.
It is the psychological issues that truly form the base of an eating disorder, not the methods or outward manifestation.
An individual suffering with anorexia may feel that her life is too chaotic and uses food restriction as a way to have some control.
In a similar manner, an individual with BED may feel that lack of control and and be overwhelmed but instead of restricting food, they seek food for comfort.
The point I’m trying to make here is that there are many different images of eating disorders because it’s much more of a psychological issue rather then a food issue. Food is simply the tool used to cope with that psychological issue.
Unfortunately for our generation, the world is becoming more and more stressful and for the many who do not have the appropriate coping skills necessary to take the daily hits, they are simply easy targets for mental illness to take over and disordered behaviours such as binge eating to commence.
I realize that there are many things that lead to eating disorders (genetic predispositions, family, works, etc) but I do believe that general stress is a common theme for a number of mental illnesses.
One thing I want to put out there is that…
If you suffer from BED or have had experiences with binge eating, do not blame yourself and say that you’re a failure. I know that is hard because you feel as if you should be in control of your own body, but the truth is (and you know this if you stop and really think about it) that when in the middle of a binge, you are not really there. A true binge is a full loss of control. You are not present anymore and so how can you blame yourself for something you can’t even remember partaking in?
You can’t, so stop beating yourself up about it.
Negativity and self hate is not going to help you move forward and gain control. Gaining control requires self confidence and self awareness. You need to tell yourself and truly believe that you can fight this.
This takes a lot of time. A lot of patience and a lot of self reflection.
Reality is that you will relapse and that doesn’t mean that you failed. The mind is powerful and you have to be realistic and kind to yourself rather then beating yourself to the ground if you are not 100% cured after deciding to start your journey out of the dark place that is BED.
So how can you help yourself?
Remember I’m not an expert but I have seen that these can help some deal with binges and perhaps prevent them from occurring or at least lessen the extent the episode.
- Keep a diary. You need to self-analyze and you need to do this a lot. Write down your feelings every day (not just on the days of a binge) and be specific! Really reflect on those feelings and think about what triggers them. You can then correlate that with binge episodes. By doing this, over time, you may be able to at least know days that you may be vulnerable and then bring out those other coping mechanisms to try prevent an episode from occurring.
- If you are feeling vulnerable, don’t let yourself be alone. Whether this is meeting up with a friend or just placing yourself in a public place, change your environment to a more social one as you are much less likely to binge in the presence of others.
- I believe it is very rare to have food of preference for a binge as, once again, you are not in control so you don’t choose what you eat, but if there is a small percentage who do, get rid of it. Don’t have it in your house at all.
- Work at being more present during the stages of the binge. This is extremely difficult I know, but really work at being more self aware of your body and behaviours when you start feeling a loss of control. By being more present you may be able to remove yourself from the situation and prevent or lessen the severity of an episode.
One last tip that I was told actually helped during an episode was drinking a full bottle of carbonated water (or just water can work too) when you are feeling that impending binge coming on. The bubbles in the water on top of the pure volume of liquid hitting your stomach at such a fast pace will make you not feel good. In fact, this may sound extreme to many as you will probably feel slightly nauseous, especially if you’re a female. So why am I telling you to do this? Well, it may be what you need to bring you back to reality and gain some control because you’re feeling uncomfortable already.
Isn’t that a bit extreme?
Yes. But so is binge eating. I in no way support the idea of making yourself feel bad in any way, but I have been told this method helps if you are able to know that binge feeling before it takes over.
Once again, take that as a simple option, I’m not telling you to do these things if you disagree.
I feel like I have so much more to say on this issue, but I’m going to cap it at that. Please, if you take anything away from this post let it be that it’s not you letting it happen. You are not allowing this behaviour to occur. Therefore, it’s not something you can say is your fault. Take the time to work at discovering your triggers and promise yourself that you will not verbally abuse yourself if you aren’t perfect while you are trying to help yourself.
Love yourself even in those dark times. They are hurdles. Hurdles that you can overcome. I believe in you and your strength.