How to Stop Binge Eating - Tips on How To STOP Binge Eating. Reduce The Physical & Emotional Damage...
Welcome to the "How To Stop Binge Eating " page. This is article THREE of FIVE of our Victory Over Bingeing series. If you have not done so, be sure to read pages ONE and TWO when you have a chance. In this page I want to focus the discussion on how to STOP binge eating episodes. Stopping a binge once it has begun is one of the hardest and most painful parts of this disease. Why? Because once a the bingeing monster takes over, it is very hard - almost impossible - to stop.
If you have suffered from this illness like me, then you probably know exactly what I am talking aobut. If you are reading this page because a loved one suffers, I hope these articles give you perspective. Once a sufferer has relapsed into a binge and is trapped in a spree, the NUMBER ONE priority is to stop it as quickly as possible and thus reduce the damage. So let's disassemble the web of lies and deceit that binge eating disorder uses to hurt us, and see how to stop being eating episodes.
Letting Go of Guilt & Shame
You may have heard this but I'll repeat it anyways for the sake of throughness: Many people ask: What is the difference between guilt and shame? Guilt is feeling bad for something that you have done. Shame, on the other hand, is feeling bad for what you ARE. Shame is terrible because it basically says: "I am damaged. I am inadequate. There is someting wrong with me as a person". With binge eating disorder, this guilt/shame onslaught becomes a painful prison where the sufferer sentences him or herself to bingeing - regardless of the damage. It is one of the most cunning and destructive traps that a human being can encounter.
Every time I relapsed back to my food addiction, the guilt and shame were paralyzing. But, instead of identifying the pain and then stopping what caused it, I would continue to overeat just to numb the very pain that the binge itself was causing! Huh? Did that work? Heck no! Guess what? It caused even more pain!
But that still didn't stop me. The more pain ... the more guilt and shame ... and the more guilt and shame ... the more I ate and the more pain I felt ... ad nauseum. This cycle went on for weeks and months of bingeing. In the end, the guilt and shame I had felt when I had first relapsed days or weeks before was but a tiny breeze in comparison to the physical and emotional hurricane that was ripping my soul apart.
But we can learn how to stop binge eating from getting out of control. Ok, so you relapsed and went on a binge. You feel terrible. You slipped! Fine! Look, you're not an "inferior" person because this happened. REMEMBER: Binge eating disorder is characterized by a mental obsession to eat AND a physical compulsion that makes it VERY hard to stop once we start. NOT a sign that one is a weak or lesser person.
If a friend of yours was sick with some chronic ilness and told you he felt guilty and ashamed; that he wanted to hurt himself ... what would you say? Would you comfort him or her? Or would you condemn and agree that he or she deserved to suffer? Of course you would comfort your friend! So then, I ask you, why can't you do that with yourself when you fall short? To learn how to stop binge eating, I had to put away the hammer I was using to whack myself in the head.
What I want you to realize is that a binge does NOT have to become an overly emotional occurrence. Every illness has symptoms. Relapse just happens to be a symptom of the binge eating sickness... This is what I'm saying: REMOVE THE EMOTIONAL COMPONENT FROM THE FOOD RELAPSE!
To learn how to stop binge eating, I had to realize that the guilt and shame I felt were actually "exaggerated" reactions being used by the disease to "give me the illusion" that I was hopeless. In that compromised state of mind, I always erroneously concluded that continuing the binge to the bitter end was my only choice. I am here to tell you, dear friend: THAT IS A LIE!
You are NOT hopeless. It is important that you DO NOT trust your emotions amidst a binge-eating relapse. Detatch the drama from your fall. To learn how to stop binge eating, train yourself to look at your slip from a "light" perspective: Imagine that you are practicing new skill - which indeed you are - and that you made a mistake!
If you are able to say "Oops" instead of reacting with morbid guilt and remose, you will learn much faster how to STOP binge eating right there and then. ONE binge does NOT have to become a horrible bender that lasts for weeks as it happened to me so many times. Ok, so you relapsed. Let's keep the damage to a minimum. Don't allow the disease to trap you into doing yourself greater harm!
The "Screw It" Syndrome
As I mentioned in the last page, another "symptom" that also kept me bingeing was the attitude: "Screw it! I just don't care - I'm gonna get my fill and whatever happens, happens". This phenomena" usually comes as the result of a sufferer's weariness from succuming time and again to a binge. "What's use?" one man told me. "I might as well go down in flames. This is hopeless". If you have tried to not binge and have failed "over and over", then you may relate. But again I say: This is another lie from hell. To learn how to stop binge eating, these falsehoods must be exposed. Here's my message to you: THERE IS NO SCREW IT!
Ironically, I have found that most of us who have suffered from binge eating disorder are people who actually DO care a great deal. We care ... we care... we care! We just lose hope occassionally. And, unfortunately, the illness uses these moments of despair to fuel the binge and hurt us even more. Allowing the "screw it" attitude to take over, therefore, is a form of self-betrayal. Would you turn your loved ones over to an enemy that you know wants to hurt them? Of course not! Then, I ask you, why do you do it to yourself? To learn how to stop binge eating, it is crucial for one to realize that SCREW IT is a SYMPTOM of the disease, and NOT necessarily a valid emotion to act on and thus reinforce.
The Lies of Hatred & Isolation
I vividly recall one of the lowest moments of my binge eating career. I locked myself in the apartment with the shutters drawn and phone off the hook. I sat there in the living room - in total darkness for weeks - watching TV and gorging on pizza, donuts, cheeseburgers and chineese food.
My only companion was my Russian Blue cat who himself looked bewildered by my conduct. I'm sure if he could speak he would have given me a few choice words! So, there I was - addicted to food. Home delivery services enabled me very nicely. Heck, I could order online so I didn't have to speak to anybody! The isolation was perfect and absolute. I didn't know how to stop binge eating and, honestly, at this point I simply did not care.
I hated myself... I hated myself... I hated myself. Every chance I got, I would spew horrible profanities at myself - basically calling myself garbage, filth, loser, pig, undesireable etc... I would look at my bloated face and body and literally spit at the mirror. Sigh! Friends would call my cell phone and I would click "ignore". I was alone with my own sick thoughts, which at this point were completely tainted by an active binge. I was trapped by the disease inside my mind. And the fuel that kept the binge going was, to a great extent, my great hatred for myself, life, God and humanity.
The more I insulted myself and focused on the "injustices of this world and its people", the angrier I became and the more intensely I "ate AT the world". You see: It was all YOUR fault that I was suffering. This mental trap is by far one of the most painful, destructive and difficult to escape from. One cannot learn how to stop binge eating if this state of mind is given free reign.
Here's the bottom line: All of those thoughts and feelings are symptoms! they are symptoms! they are symptoms! Ghosts! Those thoughts and emotions are lies and a total "distortion of reality". To learn how to stop binge eating, I have to "detatch" myself from them. I had to "realize that these destructive thoughts and feelings actually belong to the disease" - NOT to me! What does this mean? It means this: STOP OWNING GARBAGE THAT ISN'T YOURS!
If your neighbor knocked on the door and said he wanted to place all of HIS garbage in YOUR living room, what would you do? Would you says "Yes, of course, help yourself!" and then sit amidst the stench suffering because of SOMEBODY ELSE'S trash? Or would you tell your neighbor to go fly a kite? I am fairly sure that it would be the latter. : )
Then, again, again, again I ask: Why do we make our own and validate filthy, diseased thoughts that come from a sick source (binge eating disorder) that only wants to hurt us? To learn how to stop binge eating, it is imperative that we practice the art of dissasociating ourselves from the garbage the disease wants us to believe and act upon.
Yes, indeed, the series of thoughts and feelings tha ensue during a binge are mostly tainted and are NOT a representation of reality. Therefore, to learn how to stop binge eating, I must see the disease as such (a lie & a distortion). I must learn to STOP REACTING to the distorted and false information.
And let me add something else: Yes, we have to live with this condition, BUT WE ARE NOT THE DISEASE! This is VERY important to realize because, rather judging myself based on the symptoms of the illness, I can say: "I have an ilness that is SEPARATE from me; But I myself am a worthy, whole human being". Exposing the lies of the disease and UNDERSTANDING that they are lies is a very powerful way to learn how to STOP binge eating.
Let us now move on to Part 4 - Recovering From an Episode of Binge Eating Disorder
Note: If the link to Part 4 is NOT active, then it means I have not uploaded it yet. Check back in a day or two and It will be ready! Thanx for visiting!
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