Let me share with you an email I received from a client about binge eating. I hope it may be helpful for you too.
I want to share with you a success and ask a quick question.
Over the weekend I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep. I decided to go and clear up the kitchen a little since there was a lot of mess. Someone had given us a delicious looking cake and it looked really tempting but I was not so tempted. Usually having it there would have resulted in binge eating. This time I didn’t, which was great. I did some cleaning and then decided I wanted a cup of tea and thought it would be nice to have a piece of cake with it. I was really worried I would end up having too much of it, but, thanks to your help, something came over me- I was in control and I ate it slowly and thoroughly enjoyed it. The next day I didn’t have any more. I am though, worried that I won’t manage to keep control next time. How can I ensure I do well next time? Gaby. Chicago
Firstly, well done on keeping control! Good job. Since you previously had often simply ate lots more, holding back is an incredible success and you should feel great about this.
Also well done on eating slowly – what we refer to as eating consciously, a skill you learnt with me. Eating consciously, being more aware of eating you should do, no matter what it is you are eating. This can be a skill that helps with binge eating too.
A key to success, next time, is to actually not worry now about it! I know it’s hard to do, but worrying will raise your stress levels and actually lead you to feel anxious. When we feel anxious about something in the future, we often, in the present, reach to grab something like food to feel less anxious. Instead, try telling yourself that since you were in control now then you will easily be in control the next time. Don’t jump to second guess what might or might not happen in the future, especially if that guess tends to be more of a negative prediction. If you have the resources now to say ‘no’, you will still have those same resources in the future, they don’t disappear.
Stop right now and think about what inner resources you used to keep in control and not binge eat?
Did you use patience, did you use the skill of talking to yourself, or did you have a visual picture of your goals in your mind? What was your strategy, your ‘recipe’ for success at that moment? Use the same strategy the next time.
Also, since you have experienced binge eating in the past, but successfully stopped doing that here, there must have been a bit of a shift in your thoughts about food.
How did that happen? Was it from a visualization technique I did with you or some other tool I gave you? Was it from a change in perspective about food? Just ask yourself what that was.
Lastly, when you have worked out and accepted that you are now viewing food differently, having the occasional one or two cookies with a cup of tea is really fine. In fact, this is really where you want to be. This is eating like a ‘normal’ eater. Normal eaters say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to food in a balanced way and you have achieved this – well done!