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I struggled with binge eating disorder for years. Today, I have a healthier relationship with food and so I am often asked how I learned to stop binge eating.
I have actually been trying to answer that question for the last two years, but it feels like such a complicated answer to me that every time I sit down to write, I end up practically writing a novel. And then I get all overwhelmed and have to walk away (know that feeling??).
So yesterday I decided to just sit down and write a really simple, one page answer. I know there are nuances to everything I want to say, but I decided to forget about all that and just make it as…simple…as…possible.
How did I stop binge eating? – My unedited, free flow answer:
Hypnotherapy has changed my life in pretty much every way possible, including helping me to release the emotional baggage around food. I was able to use hypnotherapy to stop peanut butter from being a bingeing trigger. I used to eat a whole jar in one sitting and feel SO sick. Now I can have it in the house with no problem, and take it or leave it. I used hypnotherapy and past life regression healing to work with my old desire to fill myself with food to the point of pain. That’s no longer a desire, at all! Just the idea of bingeing is now distasteful to me and I have no desire to go there, ever.
Surrounding myself with body positive media.
It is nearly impossible to love and appreciate your body when you’re surrounded by photoshopped images all the time. I had to make an active choice to stop reading celebrity magazines that didn’t make me feel good. And don’t even get me started about Victoria’s Secret catalogs. Seriously, if they come to your house, call them and request they stop sending them. They’re not good for your psyche. Instead, seek out magazines, websites, Facebook pages AND Facebook groups where you can see images of real bodies (read: unphotoshopped) being celebrated.
Making the decision that I’d rather enjoy food and gain a little weight.
This is a really hard decision to make for most of us. For years, I made the opposite decision. I would rather be crazy around food than gain weight. Then one day, I decided, screw that. I like food. I like to eat cookies. I like to eat pasta and cheese and cake and ice cream and all that stuff you’re not allowed on diets. So screw the diets. I’d rather weigh more and enjoy food again. And yes, I did weigh more, for a while, and then my body found its own balance since I was no longer yo-yo dieting. Now I’m at a weight that feels good to me and that I don’t have to work to be at. It’s just where my body is.
Literally, eating more.
In addition to deciding to allow myself to enjoy food even if it meant gaining weight, I analyzed what I was eating over the course of a few days, and realized that I was eating a lot less than I thought. After working at Jenny Craig for three years and helping clients to work with a 1200 calorie diet, that had become the norm for me. I realized that I was eating around 1200-1500 calories a day, and punishing myself when I ate more than that. So I decided to consciously aim for 2000 calories a day. This was actually really hard, since it meant eating more than I had in a long time. Of course it was also kind of fun, since I got to eat things like ice cream and feel good about it. I gained a little weight (see above), but I decided not to worry about it. I also stopped having headaches, something I had been dealing with for years (ahem…ever since I started eating 1200 calories a day while working at Jenny Craig).
Making the decision to love my body.
Yep, just like making the decision to enjoy food EVEN if it meant gaining weight, I decided to love my body EVEN if I gained weight. It might not feel like it, but this is actually a decision you can make. You can make the decision to stop buying into a “one size fits all” beauty mold. You can make the decision that your stretch marks are no big deal. You can make the decision that you are beautiful and choose to say that to yourself when you look in the mirror. Our culture tells us that we are not beautiful unless we look a very specific way. We can choose to opt out of that beauty culture.
Get educated and get mad.
Opt out of the culture that says beauty is only one thing. Start being aware of how you are being marketed to, and just what the marketers are trying to sell you. I worked as a consultant (a.k.a. salesperson) at Jenny Craig. I was brainwashed right along with you and Valerie Bertinelli. But we all have the ability to step out of the frame and see the bigger picture. When you realize that all of this beauty BS is just designed to make you feel bad about yourself so that you spend more money to feel better, you might just GET MAD. And you might just decide that you don’t want any part of that anymore.
Want to stop feeling crazy around food? Sign up for Isabel Foxen Duke’s free video series and end the diet-binge mentality for good.