Written by by Kari Anderson, DBH, LPC, CEDS, Chief Clinical Director at Green Mountain at Fox Run‘s Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating
What makes someone a specialist?
It may be the many years I’ve worked with people with eating disorders, or the degrees I have, the research and books I’ve contributed to… But in my opinion what’s most important is, “I’ve been there, done that”. I’ve experienced Binge Eating Disorder, long before there was even a name for it.
So when asked to give a ‘Top Three List’ of the most powerful things someone can do to overcome Binge Eating Disorder, there isn’t the empirical data to pick just three, instead, I pulled from a very personal place.
1. Feed Yourself in a Moderate and Predictable Manner
Let go of false beliefs like: “I just need to find the perfect diet plan” or “when I lose weight, then I can start living”. Doing so will get you off of the “in control/out of control” roller coaster.
Relate to your body and food with trust and respect, instead of fear and neglect. This can be done by looking inward with mindfulness.
At a young age I (and so many others) adopted the “thin ideal. Believing that by looking a certain way my worth would be validated and the key to getting there was controlling what and how much I ate. I repeatedly went on and off the latest and greatest diets and “meal plans”.
It was when I was off the plan that I did more damage to my body, heart and soul which counteracted any good that may have been done when I was on the plan. The truth is, the “when I…” never comes, instead the timeline just gets recalculated. I had to just surrender and live my life, now.
2. Create an Inner Dialogue Driven by Self-Compassion & Validation
This helps in making daily health-supportive decisions.
Essentially, try to be a good parent to yourself. The reality is our heads talk to us all day long, but we can decide what we listen to.
We never outgrow the need to be guided, parented, or coached, so why not train your thoughts to sound like someone who sees the best in us and continually onhealthy finpecia validates our existence?
To train my thoughts I spent years writing love letters to myself, as if they were from God, a perfect parent, or my biggest fan. Lots and lots of love letters. Until at some point, they just stuck. I began to talk to myself with love and compassion.
3. Make a Point of Intentionally Front Loading Self-Care to Stay Self-Regulated.
Allowing ourselves to get to a point of overwhelm causes us to desire escaping it all through a binge. Whereas intentional mindfulness breaks are an excellent way to check in.
Remember to take a few moments to figure out what you need to feel better right now. It doesn’t need to be a big deal, in fact the simplest pleasures can do wonders in the middle of the day. The more the better. Focus on the senses.
Try pausing to take 5 breaths. Or washing your face in warm or cool water (depending if you want to energize or calm down) then put on extravagant moisturizer.
When I’m tired or anxious, too hungry, etc., I tend to feel vulnerable and turn to mindless eating. So I try to be aware of these vulnerable states of being.
Take anxiety for instance. I know I’m stressed when I catch myself not breathing deeply. So a short break to take 5 deep breaths can be just enough for that moment. If it’s possible, I create a calming environment with a candle, soft lighting, a sound machine and try to disengage fear with a gentle mantra to such as, (breathing in) “you are safe”(…breathing out) “all is well”.
I’m not perfect at it, but I’m learning to “front load” this stuff before I get to the point of chronic stress. Mindfulness for me involves embracing the sense of wonder again; I make a point to stop and notice a beautiful view, taste a garden-grown tomato, and hear the sound of crickets at dusk. Moving to Vermont was the best act of self-care recently.
So…there they are, the top three things to change to help overcome binge eating disorder, and other disordered eating behaviors such as emotional eating, night eating syndrome (NES), and others.
by Kari Anderson, DBH, LPC, CEDS, Chief Clinical Director at the Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating of Green Mountain at Fox Run
Most women can relate to eating emotionally in some way – eating for comfort rather than quenching hunger. But when this process becomes more and more out of control, confusion sets in over whether women see themselves as someone with binge eating disorder.
With uncertainty, insecurity and despair at the forefront, thoughts arise such as: “I never thought I might be binge eating” or “I know I eat emotionally, but do you think I’m binge eating?”
There are answers to these questions, though not always so clearly defined.
Binge and emotional eating aren’t necessarily two separate and distinct processes. Instead, they are one process that occurs on a continuum. We can relatively clearly identify the end of the continuum when it is a diagnosable eating disorder, and here at the Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating, we specialize in supporting women anywhere on the continuum.
This is important because we know that there doesn’t need to be a diagnosis in order for the potential for a rich, full life to be interrupted. We believe that no one should have to suffer with the emotional and physical effects of binge and emotional eating.
It’s Normal to Emotionally Eat
In times when we need to comfort ourselves, relax, take it all away, sometimes reaching for that special something to eat just does the trick.
That’s right, it’s normal and ok. And when our clients understand this truth, the ‘shame-monster’ shrinks a little.
Why do we say it’s ok to eat emotionally? Well, for one reason…it works.
When we start eating, we go into a relaxation response (aka parasympathetic response, or “rest and digest” response). As humans, we digest really well when we’re calm, so we shift into this relaxed state as soon as we start eating.
Our breathing becomes deeper, our heart rate decreases, muscles relax, etc. and we calm down… for a little while (here comes the catch).
The Important Point About Emotional Eating
This is EMOTIONAL onhealthy klonopin eating… it’s about using the food as a tool to soothe a difficult emotion, not actual physical hunger.
So while it’s ok to eat and it does soothe us, the honest truth is that there is a point during emotional eating when it doesn’t feel good or taste good anymore.
How can we know when we’ve reached this point? By paying attention to what we refer as the “3-how’s”:
How else we’re coping with difficult emotions?
How much we’re eating?
How often we use eating as a coping strategy?
When we don’t pay attention and continue eating, we end up creating more stress in the form of shame or self-loathing.
Which means we have a new difficult emotion that needs soothing, and round and round we go.
The Continuum of Emotional Eating:
When we think of the continuum of emotional eating, at one end is the very normal and ok process of emotional eating. When we lose touch with the “3-hows”, we move into emotional overeating and as that continues, into binge eating and binge eating disorder.
Criteria for the clinical diagnosis of binge eating disorder are found in the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition) – the guide healthcare providers use to make clinical diagnoses.
The primary criteria involves eating a large amount of food in a short period of time, while feeling a lack of control over the eating episode as well as intense shame about the behavior.
In order to know whether women we talk to might benefit from further support for emotional and binge eating, we inquire about whether they feel they’re losing control of their “hows” and are moving up this continuum.
Take the Quiz: Find Your Place on the Continuum
To assess whether you might be on the emotional binge eating continuum and how severe the eating behavior might be, try this self-scoring quiz.
Feel free to contact us to talk about emotional eating, binge eating, or to learn more about our unique and specialized treatment at (802) 975-0435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Know that we get it, and you are not alone.
By Amy M. Klimek, MA. LCPC
Director of Program Development / Eating Disorder Program Coordinator, Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center
People are often their own worst critics. In a culture that breeds competition to be the best, we live to measure up to those around us, often feeling less-than, judgmental, and blind to our own accomplishments. We compare ourselves to others from how many “friends” we have on Facebook or followers on twitter, to our career choices and incomes; from the size of our house (while not mentioning the cost), to the sizes of our pants.
These comparisons usually leave us feeling shame from our inability to reach this “unachievable” status in this world and self-conscious to share our successes with others fearing it will not measure up.
Shame is a powerful self-conscious emotion, making us think we are inherently flawed. Our conversations have moved away from listening, engaging or celebrating our selves and others, to an internal self-dialogue noting the messages of the “should haves”, “not good enough”, and “I need to change” talk. This self shaming is an all too familiar, and strangely comforting feeling to an individual suffering from an eating disorder.
Self-criticism and shame during periods of illness and recovery have a similar tone. The process of recovery is long and challenging, leaving the individual to believe recovery is impossible. Set-backs, lapses, and relapses are the harsh reminders of the suffering an individual experiences when struggling with an eating disorder. From the self-hatred messages about their bodies, to the questions of how many calories can I have or how many calories did I just have, to the internal onhealthy celexa agony of wanting to be invisible, damaging, and lost to the eating disorder thoughts. The ever-present societal message that no matter ones physical, mental, or emotional state, they are not good enough becomes even more pronounced as individuals struggle through recovery. These social cues often drive an internal message board of criticism and shaming which perpetuate the illness.
Now, is the time to respond with compassion to our internal struggles, with our bodies, and our overall internal well being. Recovery comes with choices, choices to return to old behaviors and unfamiliar choices that leave individuals feeling vulnerable to something and everything different. Choices are made every minute of every day in eating disorder recovery. Sometimes its living one minute at a time, inviting the choice to be mindful and accepting of our present moment.
Choose appreciation instead of indifference. Choose connection in place of isolation. Choose honesty when faced with uncertainty. Lastly, choose compassion to practice kindness to yourself and your journey. Mistakes will be made. Uncertainty is unsettling. Listen generously to your healing in both mind and body, hearing the truth within yourself. Practice presence to the life around you and within you. When you are truly present, you are already experiencing compassion. Begin to learn to love, care for yourself again. We live in a culture driving messages of inadequacy, but we also live in a culture of resiliency with individuals on the road to recovery fighting everyday for their life back. Show up to your life, learn to live again and share with the world around you, who you truly are, resilient, present, and compassionate.
Written by Kari Anderson, DBH, LPC, CEDS :Chief Clinical Director at the Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating at Green Mountain at Fox Run
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” –Albert Einstein
My Story: Being Out of Control With Food
I had thought for years that my struggle with weight and food was about finding a way to control it.
I wouldn’t have to think about food if I found the perfect set of rules for what and how much to eat. But through dieting as an attempt to control food, I found myself feeling increasingly out of control.
It was in my mid to late teens that my behaviors escalated to what we now know to be Binge Eating Disorder. This isn’t how it always transpires, but anyone who struggles with emotional eating may resonate with my story of healing.
My fear of being out of control with food is what truly fed my efforts to control it.
Healing My Relationship with Food
This means, in order to find peace with food, you can’t strong arm it.
Our culture intensely shames those that are out of control with food. It was hard to imagine sharing my secret with anyone about how much food I could eat when I was alone, especially as someone who struggles with weight.
Bingeing for me began as an attempt to nurture myself, something I thought gave me pleasure, but instead became a way to punish myself. Healing had to take place within the context of two relationships: the one with myself, and the one with food. Both of which were deeply and dysfunctionally intertwined.
The food wasn’t my problem: it was what I was doing with it. Food nourishes our cells, gives us energy and is the life force for our very existence.
There was a point where eating became a process for numbing, escaping and avoiding thoughts and emotions I was afraid of or uncomfortable with, as opposed to just being food.
What helped me disengage from fear and judgment and adopt a kinder more compassionate inner dialogue was what became my trademark phrase: “Of course!” It meant given my life circumstances, my behavior was completely understandable.
Mindfulness allowed me to realize when I was crossing the threshold from just food to Never Neverland.
This empowered me with choice: I could continue mindlessly and feel worse afterward, or change my routine to better meet my needs.
I can attribute most of my stress as being created by my own thinking, resulting from fear residing deep within my mind, and not because there’s actually a threat to my safety. Regardless, I’m a fear-based person and need to take great care to disengage my fear in order to maintain balance and prevent the fight, onhealthy flagyl flight or freeze mode.
I needed to ground myself externally to all the pleasure that is available to me in life, since fear is an internal process.
I helped myself with something I called “my favorite things”.
I created a list of my favorite things and gathered what I could together. Now I make a point to spend some time each day with my favorite things to gaze at, smell, hear, touch and even taste. Grounding into my senses calms me like nothing else and is my very own self-regulator.
Back to food: restrictive thoughts and rules dominated my relationship with food, which only created more fear and feelings of deprivation.
No good relationship is based on fear, so looking at food objectively, without judgment was something I practiced as often as I could. I paid attention to what I liked, or didn’t like, and how foods made me feel. My focus was on quality, rather than quantity of food.
Now, if I don’t like something, I make the choice to not eat it. I’m amazed at how empowering it is to have choice. On the other hand, when the focus is on what you “get to have” or rules of what and how much, you just eat because that’s all you get until the next ration.
I disengage my fear of not getting enough with an inner dialogue that repeats to me, “you can always have more, there is always more food…” This deactivates the stress around eating.
Another powerful shift came when I began to respect food.
Considering where the food was grown, the ingredients in it, the energy and effort put into making it, and the restorative power it had in the body, were all part of my mindful eating process.
Staying awake and aware while eating allowed me to notice the pleasure of eating and how that changes as we near satiety. As opposed to eating mindlessly, which disrespected food and my body.
When eating mindfully, feeling painfully full (which used to feel comforting) feels regrettable and limiting to the activities to come.
For me, the key is to have self-awareness of when I begin wanting to use food as a way of altering or regulating my state of consciousness and ends up taking on a role that is more than just food.
Emotional Eating & Normal Eating
Eating emotionally is part of normal eating and still happens. But it’s no longer an option for me to use food as a self-regulator or to punish.
It’s hard to return to old ways once you enter an understanding of what you’re doing. Instead, it becomes an act of choice.
I now choose to live life rather than escape it.
Many individuals who are struggling with an addiction or an eating disorder have difficulty seeing outside their own suffering in their everyday lives. A person with an eating disorder often only thinks about food, exercise, and/or body image; a person with an addiction is often utterly focused on the need to determine where the next fix will come from.
We know that a critical aspect of recovery is the necessity to move away from this self-focus, and begin to think about others, what they care about, what is important to them. Therefore, as clinicians, onhealthy clomid it’s our job to help our clients and patients transition from this egocentric viewpoint to one of altruism and grace.
This is not always an easy task. In order to move through this process, it’s essential for recovering individuals to discover what gratitude looks like, and eventually, develop a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.
Please watch this useful webinar by Steve Wright, MA, LCPC, RDDP, who is a Therapist in the Timberline Knoll’s Christian program.
You can access the webinar recording, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIaaEADJETs