I binged a couple of weeks ago. April 4th to be exact. I know because I just checked my food journal. Yep, that was me, standing at the counter shoveling food into my mouth. I didn't even take the time to sit down while I ate - perhaps I was thinking that as long as I wasn't sitting at the table, then it didn't really count. But it definitely counted. Remember how I told you that the company I work for makes pre-packaged food? Since it's a weight-loss plan, the meals are rather small but that's not really an excuse. Somehow I found myself eating six breakfasts at once. Dipped in butter and sugar. And a fat free yogurt. And all in the span of about ten minutes. It was a Saturday night and I had known since I got home that this was going to happen. I kept ignoring it, trying to nudge that niggling binge monster away. I turned a cold shoulder to it and stared at the TV, hoping to distract myself.
But the binge monster wouldn't go away until I gave in. Afterward, I wallowed in the age old guilt, and wondered why I had let that happen. It had been so long since I'd done something like that. The terror crept in that it would keep happening and I would find myself back in the binge-cycle and gaining weight at a rapid pace. But I did a few things this time that I wouldn't have done years ago when I was binging. First, I admitted it to my boyfriend when he got home and talked my fears out with him. And second, I used the lapse as an opportunity to learn how to do something different next time.
I know that when I'm in that frame of mind, I feel overwhelmed by the need to eat, and have trouble thinking of anything else. Common sense flies out the window, and I pace until I finally give in. But what if I had a list of other options? Not just a vague idea that I should do something else, but a concrete list in front of me telling me exactly what to do! So I made myself a list, and I posted it on my fridge. I promised myself that the next time I wanted to eat when I knew it wasn't hunger prompting me, I would read that list before opening the fridge or cupboard door. Here it is:
- STOP! Try everything on this list first.
- Close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath. Take ten more.
- Brush your teeth. You can always eat more after. Just do it!
- Go to the gym or do a workout video.
- Go for a walk outside.
- Call a friend to talk or meet up.
- Write in your journal, paint, or draw.
- Clean your house.
- Put on some soothing music and lie down, or put on some fun music and dance.
- DRINK WATER OR MAKE SOME TEA!
- Reframe your self-talk. Change "I should" to "I deserve. For example, I deserve to feel good about myself.
- Give yourself a spa day. Do it yourself or get pampered at a salon. It's hard to eat when you have a goopy mask on your face.
- Call someone and admit that you want to binge before you give in. You can still binge after you've told them, but fess up first!
- Finally, if all else fails...make better choices. Fat free yogurt, sugar-free jello, popsicles, fruit, vegetables...a bag of grapes will make you feel better than six breakfasts dipped in butter and sugar.