I’m extremely excited/relieved/hopeful/anxious/optimistic about the potential outcomes of sharing my Binge Eating Disorder (BED) story on today’s episode of the Nourished Podcast with my friends Meg and Shawn. SO MANY FEELZ. Eating disorders are largely considered a sensitive and stigmatized topic, but the truth is that so many people struggle with eating disorders/disordered habits, so it’s important that we open up the conversation more so that people can realize that they’re not broken and they’re not alone. I sincerely hope that in sharing my story I can help others break free from their own BEDs.
>>>Listen to the podcast here!! <<<
We go more in depth in the podcast, but here’s a little summary of some of my top tips for overcoming a BED.
My top 5 tips for breaking free from a Binge Eating Disorder
- Give up dieting and any other sort of dietary restriction.
This is a MUST. Restriction and rigid rules add fuel to the fire, so to heal your relationship with food you absolutely positively need to stop dieting or setting certain foods off limits (unless you have a legitimate allergy of course). If you eat strict Paleo but don’t have any severe intolerances, you might need to loosen the reigns a bit. Instead of having black and white rules about what you can and can’t eat, try making nutritional guidelines that you practice, like focusing on eating real, whole foods most of the time, eating slowly, and enjoying your favorite not-so-nutrient-dense foods WITHOUT GUILT every once in a while.
- Practice mindful eating. Reconnect your mind to the food.
Be conscious about what you eat, when you eat, and how you eat. Get back in touch with your natural hunger and satiety cues, and listen to them. It also helps to eat all of your meals and snacks from a plate/bowl while sitting at a table—don’t let yourself stand in front of the pantry eating straight from the box of cookies or bag of chips.
- If you strength train, shift your focus from aesthetics and getting lean, to hitting new PRs and gaining strength.
In the depths of a BED, chances are that you’re training with the intention of working off all the calories you just consumed in a binge, or you’re trying to punish yourself for a binge. You might forget why you started strength training in the first place, and instead get wrapped up in trying to manipulate, minimize and punish your body. Make an intentional decision to focus on getting stronger. Eat to fuel your workouts and hit new PRs. Shifting your focus in this way will bolster the process of healing your relationship with food.
- Know how to handle trigger foods, emotions, situations and environments.
Some people have trigger foods that once they start eating, they can’t stop. Some people have trigger emotions, like anxiety or stress. Some people have trigger situations or environments, like parties, or movie theaters, or all-you-can-eat buffets. First you need to identify your triggers, and then decide how you’ll handle them: do you need to totally avoid them for a little while? Or do you need to just approach them with more mindfulness? Know yourself and your limits, and find what approach works best for you.
- Remember you’re not perfect.
If you have a slip up, that doesn’t mean you’ve fallen back to where you started. Do NOT beat yourself up about it. This means don’t punish yourself with an extra long workout or attempt to restrict your intake over the next few days to make up for “being bad,”—this will only perpetuate the binge/restrict cycle. You don’t develop BED in a single day, so you certainly cannot expect to break free from it in a day. So forgive yourself, move forward, and be kind to your body.
And an always important reminder:
apologize to your body.
that’s where the healing begins.