Thanks for all the supportive comments on my previous post. I had to cancel my dietician’s appointment yesterday because my husband would be visitng me straight out of work. Today, I celebrate one week free from binge eating. I did buy candy once this week, but managed to spread eating it out. Saw on Thursday at the dentist’s office that bingeing is better for your teeth than eating the same amount of candy spread out over a whole day, but with the speed at which I usually binge eat, I can’t imagine this being healthy for the rest of your body.
Day two of the recovery challenge asks you to list what you have done to help yourself in your recovery. Since I’m not really in recovery at this point, I’m listing the strategies recommended to me. The hard part with overeating is that you can’t just avoid the substance of abuse (in this case food) entirely, as with alcohol or drugs. You therefore need to also know what is normal eating, and that has been a challenge for me.
Now candy isn’t necessary for your body. The first recommendation I got from my dietician is therefore really teh drug abuse recovery approach applied to candy: avoiding it altogether. As I said above, this has not been successful with me – even in a week that was free from bingeing, I did eat candy. I do think I may want to try this again, however, because, you know, I just don’t really know how to moderate my eating when I have candy within reach. I get three healthy meals a day and usually snacks too provided by the institution, so yeah.
Then I tried buying candy only at one set time during the week. This was my most recent agreement with my dietician, and I’ve so far not been too successful. Yes, I’ve had weeks where I bought candy only once, but I’ve also had weeks where I bought it more often.
Related to the previous one is the idea of having set snack times during the day. I would have to be really strict with myself as to extinguish the need for instant gratification. For example, I might set 3:00 PM to 3:15 PM as snack time. Suppose I get the urge to binge at 2:00 PM. Then I would have to delay the need for gratification for an hour. My dietician said it didn’t matter what I ate as long as I didn’t go over the fifteen-minute limit. The thing is, I can eat a large bag of candies in such a timeframe.
Another possible approach is buying alternative comfort foods that are healthier. For example, bingeing on carrots won’t hurt. My dietician at one point advised against this because it’d mean food would still be on my mind all the time, but this has seemed to be the most successful approach.
of course, there are other ways to deal with the stress that causes an urge to binge. Exercise, talking it out, mindfulness, etc. I have not yet found one that truly helps, but I’m still searching. If you have any ideas, feel free to share.
The last approach, something I most recently learned of, is approaching the urge to binge as an animalistic impulse rather than as a part of yourself or as fulfilling any true need. I have not really investigated this approach, but it seems to involve learning to recognize your “animal brain” and learning to extinguish its instinct-driven responses. Seems interesting, as my mind does seem to think I’m going to starve if I don’t eat right now. That’s not literally what I think, but it does come down to it.