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.