Do you feel that once you have started binge eating nothing can stop you? If so, you’re not alone! Many women find it hard to break the cycle of binge eating once it has started.
I’m writing this post during the COVID-19 pandemic. And, if you’re like me uncertainty and fear of loss may make you feel overwhelmed with stress and out of control.
The good news is there is an effortless, easy 5-step process to break free from negativity, panic and break the binge eating cycle. And, I’m going to share them with you shortly.
And, on the bright side of things, a series of binges can increase your motivation to take rapid and serious action. So, these can be the perfect occasion for you to explore and implement new ways to overcome binge eating.
I let fear and panic take over me when I realized COVID-19 was serious, could kill my parents, and love ones and be the starting point of a worldwide economical crisis.
I don’t binge anymore. You can see my story of how I stopped binge eating here.
But I experienced my own bouts of distraction, escape, and compulsive behaviors. And, I used the exact formula I’m going to share with you in a minute to break free from this fearful, negative and compulsive state in two days. And, you can too!
We all have our ways of coping with stress, healthy ones and detrimental ones.
Traffic to porn and game sites have exploded in Italy since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s how some people soothe stress.
These behaviors can be monitored remotely but nobody can tell what’s happening in our kitchen.
Some women dared to speak publicly about their battle with binge eating disorder during COVID 19. And, I’m certain that many other women are.
Penner confined in the Buzzfeed article I have linked to above that controlling binge eating by keeping food away from home becomes very hard when quarantined.
“As someone who has a history with bingeing … my operation has traditionally been to keep as little food in my house as possible,” “But I think now, really, that’s not a good way to operate.”
So, if like Penner you’re looking for an alternative solution to stop binge eating read on because…
The good news is you can break the cycle and get yourself into a much better place physically, mentally and emotionally in as little as 48 hours if you follow these 5 simple steps.
Before I share them with you, I must warn you that some steps are pretty counter-intuitive. Don’t let this deter you from practicing them because they are massively helpful.
Important Remark: The tips I provide below may not be suitable for you if
- you are not OK with gaining a little weight for 5 days even if you know you’ll lose it right after
- you are a compulsive dieter or you feel you must look perfect at all times.
This will be most helpful for you if you have noticed that your emotions or stressful situations tend to make you overeat.
Step 1: Forgive Yourself
When fear gets a hold of us… we can relapse.
We can fall back on our learned response to stress.
It’s usually the most familiar one.
And, if overeating is what has been providing this for you…
It’s normal you used food to relieve stress.
That’s what your brain rewarding system learned.
Sidenote: If you have a history of binge eating, you may be overwhelmed with the fear of gaining weight. If so, do your best to put it aside for the moment because it’s too hard to deal with too many fears at the same time. Use AID #1 and #2 of the Overeating Crisis Survival Kit to help you get this weight-gain fear out of the way.
Download the Survival Kit now and start using AID#1 and #2 to help you decide to forgive yourself because…
being angry with yourself adds to the load of stress you’re already dealing with and “lack of forgiveness causes almost all of our self-sabotaging behaviors.”
Step 2: Practice Mindfulness
When in periods of great stress, our survival brain can take over and shut down our prefrontal cortex…
The survival brain has the maturity of a toddler. The prefrontal cortex helps us make mature decisions.
So if you don’t want to behave like a toddler and seek instant gratification and relief, you need to turn your prefrontal cortex back on.
Mindfulness meditation has been proven to help overcome emotional eating and, binge eating in multiple research studies.
And other research finds have shown the modulating impact of mindful meditation on emotional reaction and the prefrontal cortex.
But if you are like me, you may feel so nervous and distressed, you are too paralyzed to sit down and meditate.
When that’s the case, start with practicing mindful binge eating:
Choose to offer 0 resistance to your urges to binge and instead just observe yourself with love, compassion, kindness, and a 100% presence.
Don’t worry. This is only a temporary step.
To binge eat mindfully, just breathe deeply when obsessing, craving and, eating, and observe your thoughts and emotions with kind, loving, and compassionate eyes.
If you have tried to fight your urges to binge this may feel really weird at first. It’s normal.
We learn from tradition and religion that excessive behavior is wrong and sinful and should be fought and resisted. But after months and maybe years of fighting food cravings, you probably have enough evidence that it is very stressful and hard to sustain.
I learned from practicing Aikido that resisting could involve breaking your arm, and going with the flow could make you win the fight. In Aikido, you use the strength of your opponent against him.
Mindful binge eating disarms your ego-mind by casting light and love on it.
For this to work, you need to imagine your wiser adult-self observing your ego-mind lovingly.
Your ego-mind can only control you when you are reacting to it mindlessly. It’s exactly the same thing for your thoughts and emotions.
Sidenote: in a nutshell, your ego-mind is the psychological counterpart of your survival brain, and your adult self, the counterpart of your prefrontal cortex.
Putting attention inward helps you perceive your ego-mind from your adult self point-of-view.
It can also help you create a distance between you and your emotions and urges. This is something we will use in step 4.
During and after a binge we’d much rather push away or feelings and become mindless because it’s uncomfortable to feel the guilt of not behaving our best.
But when we do so, we are at the mercy of the ego-mind. The more we choose to look the other way, the stronger it gets…and the more out of control we feel
So, choose to breathe deeply and remain conscious of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors when obsessing on food, stressing out, feeling guilty, and binge eating…
Do this persistently and soon you will experience a mind shift.
Your behavior will no longer make sense to you… and you will decide it’s time to stop.
This will be a very different feeling from “I should stop. But I can’t help myself”. You will want to stop (without conditions or excuses).
Now, you have decided to change. But do you believe you can change? Are you willing to change?
Step 3: Open to Change
Too many times we defeat ourselves with negative beliefs like “I’m stuck.”
Now, that I understand how our mind works, I know that:
We often decide we are stuck because…
- it feels safe to have an excuse for not taking action and risking failing
- exploring a new possibility is too scary.
- we doubt ourselves
You can break free from this trap right now and erase your doubts about your capacity to change.
This is how:
Look back and admire how much you have evolved.
Go even before when you knew how to walk if you have to. But contemplate how much you have already changed…
And repeat, “I’m open to change”, “I’m willing to change.”
Sidenote: I got the “I’m willing to change” sentence from Louise Hay’s book, “You can heal your life.” I highly recommend it. Her personal transformation is immensely inspiring.
You may have to repeat this sentence many times at first. But with repetition, you will be more open to change.
Soon you’ll be ready for…
Step 4: Reassess Your Urges to Binge Eat
To accomplish this you’ll have to learn to delay binge eating and use this moment to change your perception of it.
DELAY BINGE EATING
Delaying is not stopping. You’re just making a deal with yourself to wait before a binge.
Of course, this is a moment when you will be extra mindful and…
CONNECT AND WELCOME
Next, welcome your emotions, fears, negative thoughts with love and acceptance… and breathe deeply.
It may feel uncomfortable at first. But you have some practice under your belt now. The previous steps were leading you to this moment. If you choose to stay connected to yourself and breathe deeply long enough, you will feel some relief. The relief may be mild the first time you try it. But it gets stronger with practice.
Now that you are connected to your inner world, you can clarify what you need.
Last time, I did this, I realized I needed to exercise, meditate, get off the TV, and do some yoga, and call the people I loved every other day…
You will probably need to welcome more of your emotions, and connect to that scared part of yourself. I’ll be talking more about this in another post so make sure to get my overeating crisis survival kit so you get notified when it comes out before anyone else.
What do you need?
Reassurance, a sense of safety, ….?
Keep asking yourself: “what do I need? What do I feel?“
You may get the answer: “I just want to eat”. But don’t settle for this.
Ask: “why do you just want to eat?”
This may not be easy to do at first. But it does get easier with practice.
Part 5: Give Yourself What You Need
This part may be scary. But if you decide you need something to break the binge eating cycle, you absolutely must follow through.
If you don’t, you won’t have enough self-trust to break free.
I did meditate, exercised and did what I needed to reduce stress.
You need to take action where you can.
Some things are not within your control.
You cannot control the Economy
But you can do everything you can to make yourself financially secure.
You cannot prevent a loved one from getting infected by COVID-19.
But you can call the people you love regularly and make sure they understand how to protect themselves properly and have a safe way to get groceries.
If you focus on what you can do, and how you can provide yourself with what you need, you will feel much more in control.
You will be in a much better place to break the cycle of binge eating.
Get the whole Overeating Crisis Survival Kit . process summarized + an extra super powerful first kit aids in a beautifully designed PDF
BONUS TIP: You can use the same kit to break free from stress overwhelm, catastrophizing, along with many compulsive behaviors and get yourself energized, at peace and pro-active.
Now your turn, let us know what has worked for you? Are you going to break the cycle of binge eating with these 5 steps? If so, let us know how it goes.