I am an ex-binge eater. When I think about all of the struggles I have overcome to develop the healthy relationship I now have with food I can honestly say that binge eating was one of the hardest battles to fight. It is SUCH AN ADDICTIVE ENDLESS CYCLE!! Knowing how difficult it is to break this cycle, I wanted to share with yall how I ended up doing so. I know that many people can probably relate to this so I just want to write this and let you guys know that I UNDERSTAND WHAT ITS LIKE and that there is hope!
First off, what exactly do I mean by binge eating? No I am not talking about the couple of times you went to a party and knowingly ate wayyyy too much chips and guac. No I am not talking about the time you came home drunk and decided to eat the entire box of pizza rolls in your freezer. I am talking about the times where you went into the kitchen for a cookie and something in your subconscious decided that you were gonna eat the entire bag of cookies, and then a pie, and then a box of cereal, and then a pizza even though you didn’t want to. I remember so many times where I would go to my kitchen for a snack, just to procrastinate and distract myself from my homework for a bit and come back 2 HOURS AND 3000 CALORIES LATER!! It literally felt like someone else was controlling my brain and my body. I did not want to eat all that food, I knew I would feel disgusting afterwards but I couldn’t stop. Even when I was eating one thing, all I could think about was what was the next thing I was about to put into my mouth. I would eat until my jaw hurt from chewing, go to bed feeling disgusted with myself and wake up feeling terrible and judging myself. THAT IS NO WAY TO LIVE!! If any of this sounds familiar to you, just know that you can overcome it!! Here is how I did it 🙂
- ROCK BOTTOM
Obviously I was not proud of my habit and knew that it wasn’t normal but I wasn’t able to make a change until I completely hit rock bottom. Rock bottom might look different for everyone but I do think that you need to feel your lowest low to realize that you can’t keep living in the endless cycle of binging anymore. I literally just remember crying myself to sleep and feeling so disgusted after inhaling an entire box of cereal, a box of granola bars, and an entire cake that I finally decided to make a change.
2. TELL SOMEONE
Normally, people who binge eat keep it a secret. I was ashamed of it and didn’t want to tell anyone because I felt like they would judge me (I mean I was already judging myself for it so I figured other people would judge me too). Think about it this way though, if you have been dealing with binging for an extended period of time and have not been able to help yourself then it is probably in your best interest to tell someone who may be able to help you. I decided to tell my college roommate and it was THE BEST DECISION EVER. She was soooo helpful and understanding. I could go to her whenever I felt the urge to binge and we would talk through it and figure out what made me want to binge. This not only made me recognize my triggers but also gave me something to do instead of binge. And the times when I did slip up and have a binge episode, I could go to her after and talk about it rather than bottle up my emotions. Telling someone is honestly one of the best things you can do because it will give you an outlet. That person can help distract you when you get an urge. I remember many times saying to my roommate “I really just want to go home and eat a lot of ice cream” and she would say “are you hungry or are you bored?”. Or if she saw me about to begin what could have been a binge she would ask me “are you sure you want to do that? Do you want to go on a walk or do something else?”. VERY HELPFUL.
3. TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME
I found it VERY difficult to just stop cold turkey. It’s so hard to just say one day “Okay I am NEVER EVER binging again”. I found it more helpful when I said to myself “today I am not going to binge”. I started keeping a tally of the days that I did not do it which increased my motivation. For example, if I had gone 10 days without binging and then suddenly got an urge I would say “Sarah, you have ten tally marks, do you really want to binge and then have to start all over again???”.
4. FIGURE OUT YOUR TRIGGERS
This is key!! Figure out why you binge and what types of environments set you up for a binge. I know that I would tend to binge eat at night when I was alone or when I wanted a distraction from doing homework. Soooooo I tried to do my homework somewhere else besides my dorm room so that way I would not have access to food. I also tried drinking decaf coffee at night instead of eating since it still gives you some oral distraction (that sounds awk but you know what I mean!!). I also tried going on a walk or just getting out of my room if I felt the urge to binge. Call a friend!! That’s always a good idea too because then you just get distracted by conversation 🙂
5. DONT BUY BINGE FOODS
This might sound obvious but just don’t buy any snack foods that you might binge on. I remember one time I went on a serious binge and basically ate everything in my pantry. The next time I wanted to binge, I looked in the pantry and it was empty and I was like “welp…guess I can’t binge even if I wanted to”. Yes I was frustrated but I was also super happy later knowing that I hadn’t began the cycle again. So long story short, DONT BUY THE FOODS!!
6. LOVE YOURSELF
I remember when I was experiencing the cycle of binge eating I had THE LOWEST SELF ESTEEM EVER, would say the nastiest things to myself and get so angry with myself after a binge. We really are our toughtest critic. But what use is being mean to ourselves?? WE SHOULD BE OUR BIGGEST FANS NOT OUR BIGGEST CRITIC!! Who else is going to cheer for you if you can’t be your own cheerleader?? Remind yourself how beautiful and awesome you are!! Remind yourself that you are more than just a person who might binge eat sometimes. Remind yourself that there is more to life than food!!! Congratulate yourself for the mini successes you experience throughout the day! Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are FABULOUS AF!! Once you start believing in yourself and loving yourself, it becomes easier to break the cycle 🙂
There you have it guys! This is how I got over binge eating! That is not to say that I don’t have slip ups. I mean I have definitely still had moments where I have eaten an entire tub of cool whip or whatever but I chose to do that, it wasn’t the binge cycle. Also keep in mind that this took me like 5 years to finally get to the place I am at mentally with food. So do not be discouraged if it doesn’t happen overnight!! It is a journey, you learn along the way and eventually you will find peace 🙂