How about that storm on Friday?!
And I'm sure you've heard that there's another nor'easter that's supposed to be rolling in this week, too *insert long sigh here*
It always fascinates me what happens at the supermarket right before we get hit with a big storm.
Long lines. Bread isles cleared. Eggs sold out.
Justifiably, people stock up because they're not sure how the roads will be and when they'll be able to get out.
Folks are worried and anxious about taking care of themselves and their families. They want to be secure in the fact that they'll have something to eat. Even just in case.
I know you're wondering what this has to do with anything...
Well, the SAME principal applies when we think about dieting.
Think about it for a minute.
If I called you up tomorrow night and said, " you've gotta get over to Wegmans. There's gonna be a foot of snow and the managers over there don't think they'll open their doors for the next few days!"
You'd probably run up to Wegmans and stock up before it's too late.
Because, again, when things are scarce, we worry. We get anxious. Our minds ruminate about the scarcity. We preemptively crave the thing that's scarce.
So, it makes a lot of sense from a psychological perspective that when you're gearing up to diet, you have one last meal. One last cheat. One last epic feast.
And, following that, you start to feel the scarcity of those things.
And you start dreaming about them. Ruminating about them.
So you restrain yourself. Until eventually the restraints are broken and you go ham.
And that's because for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
The act of deprivation is what actually leads to feeling out of control around food.
We can talk about deprivation in a number of ways. But, if you're struggling with binge or emotional over eating I'd venture to say that you're depriving one of two, possibly both of these things.
The deprivation of food is pretty straight forward... dieting, restricting, berating yourself for having "bad" foods.
But think for a minute about you how might be depriving your emotions.
- The anxiety that you don't want to feel.
- The stress that you don't want to deal with.
- The anger that you're afraid to express.
- The sadness that you're terrified will wash over you and hold you in its grip.
- The traumas that are too painful to touch.
So, with food, with binging, eating emotionally, you don't have to feel those things. You can zone out, numb out, distract, and even feel pleasure instead of feeling the hard stuff... even if it's for a hot second.
The only problem is that eventually the emotions swing back around smack you in the face, making you feel even more out of commission than to begin with.
And I have to tell you something, .
I firmly believe that there's absolutely nothing wrong with eating emotionally or turning to food to cope.
Because as a culture we haven't been taught HOW to feel. What to do with those feelings. How to actually soothe ourselves in ways that allow the emotions to have space and to move.
And whether you know it or not, your mind and your body is just trying its damndest to care for you.
So, I want to challenge you to remove the judgements you've been feeling about binging.
This might be a bit radical, but for a few moments, try to detach from the fears you have about the results of your binges or periods of overeating.
And consider, like I said... for just a moment... that the binging is your body and your mind's way of taking care of you.
Your body is reacting to deprivation of food or deprivation of cravings.
And your mind is reacting to a deprivation of emotions.
Just like we all react to the threat of deprivation of getting to the grocery store or the gas station when a storm is rolling in.
There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you if you're struggling with binge eating.
You're not broken. You're not flawed. You're simply human.
Pause for a minute and let that wash over you.
The best way to slow the role of binge eating and overeating is to allow.
Allow foods you crave. Allow yourself to respond to hunger. Allow your emotions.
It truly is the way to feeling more relaxed around food. And being free to eat whatever you're hungry for when you're actually hungry for it.
Without suffering from a food and shame hangover.
Next week I'll be sharing the first step in my personal journey toward ending the deprivation cycle. A tool I actually STILL use to this day.
Because it's delicious. And I'm no longer afraid of it. And I'm able to differentiate when I'm using it to numb, or when I'm using it for simple pleasure.
No judgement regardless 🙅🏻.
You can get there too, I believe it with my entire being.
Are you willing to do things a bit differently than you always have?
Thanks for being here!
I'm a body image and eating disorder therapist and coach based out of Horsham, PA.
I specialize in working with women struggling with binge eating and their relationships with their bodies.
I'm passionate about helping women rediscover and stand in the power of how beautifully badass they are and always have been!