I have already opened up about my struggles with binge eating on the blog, but I think it’s important to continue the discussion, as I know many women (and men) still fight #BED every day. As with any disorder or illness — whether it’s an ED or anxiety & depression, I believe a big part of healing is your mindset. Being kind to yourself is key.
Let’s talk kindness for a minute, okay?
When your best friend comes to you heartbroken, sad, and feeling lost after a breakup… what do you do? You comfort her! You reiterate how amazing she is, how beautiful she is, and you remind her that she deserves to feel like the QUEEN that she really is. You tell her that she is worthy of the BEST love, and she mustn’t settle on a boy who hurts her.
Wait, a breakup? I thought we were talking about binge eating?
Stay with me here — I promise I have a point!
When you’re broken, sad, and feeling lost after a binge… what do you do? You condemn yourself. You dwell in the guilt and the regret. You tell yourself how disgusting you are for binging again, and you continue to think that this is it… there is no way out of the rock bottom that you’ve reached.
Do you see a difference?
After a binge, it is so important to be kind to yourself. If you talked to your best friend the way you talk to yourself after a binge… you’d be friendless.
Now, you might be thinking… okay, Leta, but breakups and binging are two completely different situations.
And you’re right. They are. But what if we approached the situations more similarly?
We’ve all been through those really rough breakups, months have gone by, you’re still a little jaded, and right when things are starting to look up… this ex reappears out of nowhere.
You get a text: “Hey lady, long time no talk. How’ve you been?”
*Cue Lauren Conrad*
Excuse me, bro, where did you come from? I was doing so well without you…
All of those breakup emotions come flooding back and here you are trying to figure out what to do… do you text him back? Do you give him the attention he’s looking for? Do you ignore him? Your heart begins to hurt and you don’t know what to do. While he certainly hurt you, there is still a memory of the good times you’ve had with him. Is he just back to playing the field? Trying to keep you on his “bench”? You know how the game goes and you don’t want to fall victim to it again, but… he’s dreamy and gorgeous and a perfect charmer. So you fall into his trap, text him back, have a whirlwind hookup for a few weeks before he tells you that he doesn’t want a relationship and you’re back to square one. Heartbroken, lost, sad, and mad at yourself for falling for your ex after he’s already shown you his true colors.
Now — let’s look at binging.
You probably dieted down for an extended period of time on a very restricted intake. You looked AMAZING and felt even better. You’ve been doing so well mending your relationship with food and eating to nourish your body. Then, this binge comes out of nowhere.
Excuse me, what just happened? But I was doing so well and have been binge-free for months…
All of those post-binge emotions come flooding back and here you are trying to figure out what to do… do you restrict your diet the next day to combat the crazy calories you just inhaled? Do you do an extra hour of cardio to help burn up the calories? [Side note: the answer is NO to BOTH of those questions.] Your heart begins to hurt and you don’t know what to do. You’ve been here before and you know that a binge is anything but comforting. You know how the game goes and you don’t want to fall victim to it again, but… binging is a vicious cycle of guilt and regret. So you fall back into this trap, you restrict for a week and after a week of restriction, you binge again and you’re back to square one. Heartbroken, lost, sad, and mad at yourself for falling back into this cycle of binging despite knowing that the binges never comforts and never heals.
So while breakups and binges are different, maybe the feelings and cyclical nature is not.
What can you do to combat this? If you binge again (here’s hoping you don’t, but if it does happen…) face that binge the way you would that ex that tries to creep back into your life when you’re really done with him.
What would you say to the guy that you’ve FINALLY gotten over + just need out of your life?
“Boy, bye. It took me a long time to get over you. And I am over you. I’m doing just fine without you, you can be on your way. Yes, we have a history — but things aren’t the same anymore. Stop playing with my emotions. I am a damn QUEEN and I deserve to be treated like one. I don’t have time to waste on any man that won’t ADD to my life.”
To a binge, that same message might look like this: “Oh, hello binge… I see you came back… you’re really not welcome here any more. Yes, we have a history — but I’m not the same person anymore. You cannot keep playing games with my head and my emotions. Food is meant to nourish my body, it is not a defense mechanism or a way to heal my wounds. I am a damn QUEEN and I deserve to feel like one. I don’t have time to waste on anything that does not serve me or make me better.”
Then — you talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend after a breakup: “GIRL! You are so loved. You are so worthy. You are so perfect. You are ENOUGH, right here + right now… it doesn’t matter how many mistakes you’ve made. You are human. You are flawed. But those flaws and mistakes have helped you create the amazing woman that you are today.”
Binging is triggered by underlying issues. Try to understand what triggers are setting the ball in motion. Instead of beating yourself up over and over again for falling victim to this vicious cycle, try to be kind to yourself + talk to yourself as you would your dearest friend and see how that changes things. Food isn’t the enemy. And you aren’t either.
Missed my first post on my struggles with binging? Read it here.