The best overeating and binge eating strategies often involve work on your brain and mindset. This is a post from my friend Lydia who is a lifestyle coach who has successfully helped hundreds of clients lose weight and take control of their destructive habits.
Lydia: I was a mother, wife, successful entrepreneur, and a symbol of health. Also, I was unable to stop secretly chugging chicken drippings right from the roasting pan.
One of these things was not like the other. For years this plagued me, especially because I had a career in coaching people to better health. How could I, of all people, wake up in the morning terrified because I didn’t know if I was going to binge eat until the point of pain that day? I had so much under control. I was successful in so many other ways, but the most basic of daily tasks – eating – haunted my life.
This is the story how I stopped binge eating in one day.
But before we get there, this is how it all started.
I wanted to lose weight. A common and seemingly harmless desire. And I did. But after I lost some weight, I felt like I wanted more “progress” so I lost more weight. I worked out harder and restricted my calories even more.
My worth seemed tied to my ability to manipulate my body into doing what I wanted it to. It was a symbol of my dedication & my work ethic.
The binging began It was so weird. I felt possessed. I had so much control over everything, I cared so much about what I put into my body, and then I would spin out of control. It started small like a second helping, and then a third, and then anything I could eat as fast as I could. I felt scared and disturbed. I would eat until it was painful and I couldn’t eat anymore.The next day I would be horrified. I would work out extra hard, be extra diligent with what I ate. Then I would binge again, regain control, and binge again.One day, when pushing myself especially hard at the gym, I collapsed. I just lost all energy. I couldn’t move or walk and broke out in a cold sweat. One of the fitness instructors found me and was kind enough to drive me home.I recovered over time and I felt like life was good in so many ways. But everything felt threatened by my eating disorder. For instance, we went on a trip with friends to an all inclusive resort. And that meant food. It pushed all my binging buttons and that’s exactly what I did. I remember lying in the sun filled with anger. I was angry that I couldn’t eat even more. I was in physical pain from how much I had eaten and I wanted to eat more, but couldn’t. So I laid there trying to digest enough to be able to eat again. Every night was room service, every morning was buffet breakfast. I only went in the ocean once. I couldn’t dress normally because my abdomen was so distorted from how much I was consuming. While others wore sun dresses on the beach I tried to disguise my body in loose wraps and large cover-ups.I spent so much mental energy on hiding my habit and trying to overcome it. It seemed the harder I tried, the harder I crashed when I would binge again.I felt like I had a wonderful life I couldn’t enjoy.
I decided to stop hiding
This was how I understood my world: I was a symbol of health. That was my career. I was only good to others if I was a perfect example. If my clients, friends, and colleges ever found out I was a binge eater, it would all be over. I would be exposed as a fake and everyone would go away. My career would be over and my wonderful life that binging was ruining would be ruined by my secret being revealed.
I did it anyway. Because it was authentic. Because it was honest. Because I couldn’t NOT do it.
And the exact opposite happened.
The people who I expected to go away stayed. Not only did they stay, but the response was overwhelming. I was waking up daily to messages and emails. People were pouring out their souls, how they were struggling too, and how they had been hiding as well. I had no idea that other people were having my same struggle. I thought I was alone in my own brand of crazy.
It’s incredible how many of us are trying to look like nothing is wrong. And it’s incredible how not one of us is how we appear.
I accepted help
I still didn’t have any answers. But somehow being open about the problem, and seeing how not alone I was, gave me hope that there must be a solution. So I stared looking. I worked with some trusted friends, and learned a lot. I was able to go longer without binging. My behavior changed, but internally I felt just as crazy.
Nevertheless, there was a feeling tapping me on the shoulder that told me that this wasn’t a daily fight I had to accept — there was a cure. A way to truly be free of this. Not just a food addict that controlled her addiction, but a FORMER food addict. I felt like there was a way to be free.
I stumbled upon an incredible set of principles that changed my life forever. Ways to understand my brain.
Here are a few of those principles:
- My binge eating wasn’t an addiction to food, but rather a habit that I had developed
- That habit could be permanently broken
- The urges to act on that habit were not me, but rather just compulsions from the habit-forming part of my brain
- I had the power to not act on the compulsions
Once I had this shift in perspective everything was new for me. The guilt was gone. The hopelessness was gone.
And I never binged again.
I was so excited to share these principles, along with the ones I had seen help me and my clients already. In combination, they were so powerful. And I started seeing it turn things around for those I coached that were struggling.
being a normal eater
I don’t like to keep eating when I am getting full. I don’t feel hungry all the time. I don’t think about food all the time. I can leave food on my plate. I don’t binge. I can have one bite and stop.
Listen to our podcast interview here:
THESE THINGS ARE MIRACLES IN MY WORLD
For anyone struggling with their relationship with food, I hope my story gives you some hope. It was more about letting go and having these realizations than exercising more control. I wish everyone knew about the principles that helped bring freedom into my life and the lives of so many others.
I have a weekly video series that talks more about these principles. Follow my Youtube Channel here.
And a free eBook: “How to Stop Binge Eating…and be successful at everything else”
Get it here
Get it here