BINGE EATING, OVER EATING, SECRET EATING, EMOTIONAL EATING: I’ve heard it all. I’ve done it all, and now: I’m here to offer some advice.
In fact, all of these words are fairly commonplace in my office. Enough so, that professionally (and personally) I consider myself quite the expert on this topic. So, I’m here to put my ego to the side, share my experience, offer some words of encouragement and let ‘cha know: you can get through this too.
Even as the nutrition expert- you better believe I’ve binge ate myself into carb-induced comas more times than I can count. I’ve self-sabotaged 5 months of fitness efforts in 2 weeks, I’ve got anxious with excitement at just the thought of food and angry at myself for my indecisiveness at restaurants. I’ve paced in my living room for the Skip The Dish dude to ring my doorbell, and planned for days for the perfect re-feed meal with all the fixings. I’ve talked women off the ledge of purging and simultaneously given myself the same pep talk while shoving one more tablespoon of Nutella down my throat.
I’ve eaten because I’m sad, because I’m happy, because I’m wasted, because I’m celebrating and because I’m angry. I’ve over-eaten to gain comfort, to regain certainty, and to pass the ‘eff out. I’ve stuffed my body to fill my mind with nothingness. Food has a dichotomous way of being your best friend and delicious enemy in the same meal. Unsure whether one more or one less bite will bring you closer to the euphoria you’re chasing. I get it.
Binge eating is an asshole. He pulls you in, treats you good for a moment, then keeps you coming back for more when you know damn rights you shouldn’t. Binge eating is like an abusive relationship with a toxic lover who treats you like a princess only to turn around and bang your best friend, leaving you in love and yet so hopeless. A good thing turned sour. Too much of a great thing is no longer a great thing.
If you’re reading this thinking I’m a nut-job cause you’ve never been in any of these types of situations: consider yourself an intuitive eater without an emotional tie to food and NEVER start an intensely restrictive diet and never turn to food in times of darkness: cause you’ve already got the headspace in the bag. I too, have worked to regain that headspace and now help others do the same.
And if you’re reading these paragraphs and that little voice in your head is nodding along like, “fuck, she gets me”– please, keep scrolling. We’ve got work to do.
A wise woman once told me, “it doesn’t matter how far along you are down the road of success with any addiction, whether it be minutes or miles, the ditch never leaves your side”. That ditch- it’s always there: waiting for a spiral of indecision, for an emotional day, for the comfort of your favourite candy, for triggers that will send you swerving. This is a great reminder that choosing to forfeit our bad habits must be a continual drive forward, and much more than a one time decision.
So ladies, if you’re continually heading into the rabbit-hole of one-more-bite-when-I-don’t-need-it- that headspace where your head says “NO” and your tummy says “STOP”, but the deliciousness just won’t quit soothing your pallet and your feelings, PLEASE LISTEN UP:
You’re not alone. Not even close. I’ve been there, and so have an endless number of the women I have the pleasure of counselling on a daily basis.
And whether or not you’re a current client of mine, I want you to know I am a safe place to share this information. I have the education and the experience to help and I am always willing to be the tow truck that pulls you out of that ditch and back onto the highway, anytime.
And if you need some hand-holding to curb-stomp binge eating for it’s bad behaviours, please have the courage to speak up: vulnerability and openness are the first steps to making secret-eating not so secret anymore.
So today, I am here to share with you a few words of wisdom: a couple things I’ve learnt about weight loss and binge eating and overcoming this bitch that throws us off our groove with food:
▪️Realize that the more you attempt to control something, the more it will control you. This goes for your relationships, your career direction, your friendships and most definitely- your food.
▪️Whether or not your weight dips to an unnatural low, your mind still can. Gaining or losing weight is not always correlated with the why behind binging. Start by worrying more about your mental health and the physical progress will follow.
▪️There will ALWAYS be times when your brain will say “Want. Need. Crave. Don’t. Do. Don’t. Do. Don’t. Do Not. Do” and you will have to choose to resist or plunge into a swan dive of food pleasure. You do not always have to make the same decision either.
▪️There will be afternoons between lunch and dinner when no amount of fruit will curb the satisfaction of a cupcake. You will likely make your food choices in those moments dependent upon your current headspace. Again, mindset is everything.
▪️Do not forget that an EXTRA plate of a much-loved meal will not always bring greater satisfaction. Contentment with food does NOT double with each serving. You can accept love in the form of food from others while still staying true to loving yourself and your boundaries.
▪️Two or three pastries doesn’t feel much better than one. The only difference between the enjoyment of 3 deserts instead of the 1 you intended to eat is a higher cost in dollar bills and a little shot at your pride.
▪️The thinness you may achieve through restrictive dieting can come with its own brand of indignity. The fatness of your old shadow can follow you into the dark alley of an eating disorder if you don’t call her on her shit. Always call her on her shit or find someone to call her on her shit. Communication is critical to a clear headspace. You don’t need to write a blog about it for thousands to read, but you certainly can find a trusted friend or coach to confide in.
▪️ Just because someone is petite, thin, or skinny- does NOT mean they can’t throw down a double cheeseburger and bottomless brunch like the rest of them. Size is not always an indicator of food consumption or food control. If a woman at 10% or 50% body fat is struggling with food, they are BOTH struggling with food independent of their size. Your outward appearance is NO indicator of the demons that are living between your ears. Treat both of these claims with appreciation and patience.
▪️Eating can make people forget. Flavours, textures and smells. It can entertain your body enough to mute all other senses. Filling the belly stuffs the mind so completely that there is no space for sadness. This is why food is more than fuel: food is comfort, a trusted friend, an allie, a confidant and a distraction you can depend upon in hard times.
▪️ No matter how logically you may understand the need to practice moderation, you may still crave the feeling of limitless. Just remember, too much of a great thing isn’t always a great thing. The ditch is with you no matter how far down the road of recovery you may be.
▪️Eating big doesn’t always mean living big: Being a second-serving-grabbing, lick-your-plate-clean, can-I-get-an-extra-scoop-of-that eater can easily lead to wearing your affection for food as a badge of honour: eating wildly can provoke a feeling of fearlessness. Fearlessness and fullness do not have to be paralleled terms.
▪️During a weight-loss journey, there may be a struggle between wishing away all the food that has collected on the body as fat and yet fiercely missing every morsel of it. There is a constant dichotomy between wanting to eat less and immediately wanting more. This headspace isn’t “normal” but it sure as hell is common. Recognize it, then move on.
▪️Lastly, and most importantly, what you need to learn to overcome this will have less to do with food and much more to do with yourself. This is NOT about the food. The nature of struggle and the feeling of strength that is born from overcoming these behaviours is worth more than any trophy, accolade, double-stuffed pizza or weight goal achievement.
PS: You CAN do this.
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