Binge Eating Help - Binge Eating Help: You Can Learn to Prevent The Painful Cycle of Compulsive Overeating...
by Robert Dave Johnston
Welcome to our binge eating help, page TWO OF FIVE of the overeating series. If you have not done so, you can read Page One Here. In this page I want to talk about the cycle of compulsive overeating with emphasis on ways that we can learn to PREVENT A BINGE. This is a very important topic because, without a doubt, it is easier to stay away from a bull than it is to wrestle it to the ground and try to break free, right? So I am going to place a lot of emphasis on BINGE PREVENTION as the best type of binge eating help that one can receive.
Like I said before, these pages are written from my personal bout with this terrible illness. I am NOT a doctor and I encourage you to seek help if you are in trouble. In the meantime, this binge eating help page is designed to give you some experience, strength and hope. Sharing with others is very important ... so I will do my best to be simple yet descriptive in these pages. If even just ONE person is helped by my humble writings, then I will feel that having survived this terrible illness has been more than worth it. :-)
Preventing A Binge
The primary focus of binge eating help should always be "preventing the episode from starting in the first place". Like we talked about in the previous page, once a binge has begun, a compulsion to keep eating, eating and eating takes over. The more I eat the more obsessed I become with eating. The anger, pain and self-hatred intensifies, which fuels the compulsion to eat still more... and so the cycle perpetuates itself. It is VERY difficult to overcome.
Many times I found myself bingeing and basically saying: "Screw it, I just don't care - I'm gonna keep eating and the hell with my life and my health. There's just no use in trying; I'll just eat myself to death". Of course, as the days, weeks and sometimes months went by (and I continued to stuff myself uncontrollably), the mind, body and spirit would burn out.
I would be left in pieces - wishing for death and feeling alone, worthless, hopeless and with NO self-esteem. I hated life and despised God who I feel had abandoned me to suffer. Imagine! I had deceived myself into thinking that I did not care, which only served to increase the damage. Yes, once in the grips of a binge, we are in severe danger. It is unpredictable and highly-destructive.
The best way (that I have found) to prevent a bingeing episode is simple: "Don't Take That First Bite of The Trigger Food!" If I don't take that first bite (donuts, pizza, cookies, cakes, soda, candy... etc), then chances are HIGH that there will be no binge. I know that sounds overly simplistic ... and it is! But I ALWAYS keep it in mind and it has helped me immensely to temper my eating urges. So: Any time you get the desire to eat something that YOU KNOW will get you into trouble, remind yourself that: "just because you WANT to eat it, does not mean that you HAVE to eat it".
This binge eating help tip is useful because it "interrupts" the automatic cycle of what I like to call MINDLESS EATING. In other words; me gorging on whatever my mind and body "tell me" that I WANT without me even stopping to consider whether or not doing so is in my best interest. Being stuck in this automatic eating mode is pure hell. It nearly always leads to a full-blown binge. A solid piece of binge eating help I want you to keep front and center in your mind at all times is this: INTERRUPTING A BINGE BEFORE IT STARTS IS EASIER AND LESS PAINFUL THAN STOPPING IT. Knowing and accepting this truth in my heart has helped me to avert disaster countless times.
Amazingly, within 15 minutes or a half-hour after saying NO to the binge eating urge, I usually have forgotten all about it. Whatever emotions or situations were triggering me have a tendency to pass. But even if the urge DOES NOT go away quickly, today I know in my heart-of-hearts that I don't have to give in to everything my mind and stomach want. Indeed, WE MUST LEARN TO RESIST, which brings me to the second binge eating help tip.
Learn to Live with Hunger
As a good binge eating help tip - it is important for us to challenge the (false and distorted) notion that hunger has to be appeased at all times and without question. Says who? The media? Restaurants? Big brother? SURE THEY DO. But what is in it for you and me? Not much, usually. Just more binging and, unfortunately, more weight and pain. We must learn to make a stand for ourselves. DELAYING GRATIFICATION is something not many of us are familiar with when it comes to food - yet it is the primary tool that helped me to overcome nearly two decades of horrible binging".
I was amazed to realize that I could eat smaller and smaller amounts of food each day and "not die". Sure, I felt hungry (very hungry at first), but over time the hunger diminished until my stomach shrank and it no lunger grumbled the way it used to. Binge eating help came when I realized that most of the hunger I felt was based on my total lack of discipline. So I began to reduce the amounts of food I ate daily and forced myself to learn to live with hunger. What I am referring to here is self-control and reduced food intake for weight loss & improved health - NOT irresponsible bullimic or anerexic starvation.
How? First of all for binge eating help - start to drink at the very least half-a-gallon of water per day. In fact, go read The Water Diet page when you have a chance. Drinking more water alone will help move your bowels more intensely. You will discard a lot of accumulated fecal waste which will detox your colon and reduce cravings for the wrong foods. In fact, I have found that most people who struggle with bingeing usually drink very little water. So, by all means, increase your daily water consumption. Also, use the " PALM OF THE HAND METHOD" (PTHM).
The PTHM will help you to start eating portions relative to the size of your body, NOT relative to cravings and disproportionate hunger. You will eat realistic meals and, in so doing, find increasingly-solid protection against a binge eating episode. At first the hunger and cravings will likely heighten. However, over a period of one-to-three months you will notice that the discomfort will abate and become a minor irritation.
As binge eating help remember: You may relapse a few times. Maybe a lot of times. It takes practice to master anything, especially when it comes to food and hunger. But, I assure you, it CAN be done. If you practice the PTHM method with diligence, you can find great relief from bingeing. You may even experience a mental and emotional breakthrough!
Here are Some PTHM binge eating help Tips: * Green vegetable portions can be the size of two fists. * A protein serving can cover the palm of your hand. * Fruits can be a handful. * Starches (bread, pasta, potatoes)should be no more than a fist size. * Meats and poultry should be a palm in size. *Starchy items like potatoes or pasta should not exceed the size of your fist. *Eat a salad every day the size of both of your hands.
Eat More Greens
Learning to eat more vegetables was EXTREMELY powerful in helping me to overcome binge eating disorder. Vegetables provide fiber and have high water content. They fill the belly but do not pump you with thousands of calories, fat and sugar. Do this: Pack a bag of sliced veggies in a small "zip-lock" type of bag (I carry carrots, celery, spinach, tomatoes, letuce, alfalfa sprouts, cucumbers and broccoli) and eat them throughout the day when you get the urge to eat junk. Keep the baggie refrigerated as much as possible. Eat from it all day long, NOT just for lunch and/or dinner.
And drink lots of water. It may take some time, but if you do this with persistence you will find yourself actually feeling full from eating vegetables. If you are grimacing because you just don't like the taste of veggies, remind yourself that doing this can save you from the pain and misery that bingeing always brings. It's a very small price to pay, don't you think?
Again, it takes work and persistence, but this " binging interruption" method is very powerful. Moreover, if you are going to be in a situation that may cause you to binge (a party or buffet, for example), then EAT BEFORE YOU GET THERE! Many people have a tendency to start nibbling in the late afternoon when they are tired from the day's activities. The result is that they start to "eat with their eyes" - and the result is often binging.
A good binge eating help tip is to have some fruit and a yogurt in the afternoon before dinner. It takes some fifteen minutes to raise blood sugar. Chances are the fruit and yogurt will cover the bases and eliminate any cravings for trash foods. That way, when you get home or when you cook for the family, you will do so without drooling or grazing on other junk. I often get a strong urge to eat cheesecake and glazed donuts around 5PM. But the feeling completely vanishes after I eat an apple and a low-fat yogurt. I simply DO NOT have to give in!
But perhaps the most important binge eating help I can give you is this: Develop a keen awareness of what is going on with your thoughts and emotions. The best way to do this is by starting a Life Journal. If you start putting your thoughts and feelings on paper DAILY, before long you will find yourself becoming aware of the thoughts and emotions that preceed a binging episode. Life journaling is a very powerful "military" offensive designed to give you "inside information" that can help you avert a binging assault. If the enemy lies within (the mind/emotions), then as a good soldier you must travel THERE to discover what is going on and what are the weapons the binge eating monster is using against you.
I am a firm beliver that binge eating disorder is a physical as well as mental condition. Taking daily and constant written" inventory of what you are doing, thinking and feeling has helped me stay BINGE FREE for nearly five years. It must be done daily, whether you have something on your mind or not. The moment you find yourself loosing your emotional balance ... pause and write down what is happening. Take at least fifteen minutes to jot down what you are thinking and feeling. Dig up from your soul the REASONS why you are getting the urge to binge.
Are you afraid? Sad? Angry? Bored? All of the Above? Whatever it is, write it down. Use profanity if you have to. Realize that you are human and are prone to different thoughts and emotions. But that does NOT mean that you have to binge! Understand that the feelings will pass and that harming yourself with food WILL NOT make the situation any better. In fact, it will only feed the binging and make you feel even worse. Once you have finished writing your journal entry, come to Fitness Through Fasting's Fasting Forum I and/or Fasting Forum II. Post your concerns and ask for binge eating help.
Delay picking up that first trigger food until AFTER you complete these steps. Continue to postpone gratification in small increments - even one minute at a time if you have to. Continue to write and continue to reach out. Do you have any spiritual/religious beliefs? If so, NOW is the time to double-up your prayer and/or meditation.
On your life journal, write how your life would be if you were already free of binge eating. How would you feel? How would you look? What activities would you take part in? Describe your binge-free life in as much detail as possible. Ask the God of your understanding to intervene in your behalf and release you from the bondage of food and bingeing. Pray for spiritual binge eating help.
But you must be willing to change, and change often involves going through temporary discomfort. If you are willing, then the binge eating help will be much more powerful and, sooner or later, you will achieve your breakthrough! Let us now move on to Part 3 - How to Stop Binge Eating After It Starts.
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