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Every night I would lie in bed and promise myself "Tomorrow I will stop binge eating."
I'd tell myself that tonight was the last time I'd ever eat a whole box of cereal with 2 liters of chocolate milk and a whole loaf of white bread with 1/2 a kg of melted cheese, in one sitting.
I'd promise myself that it would never happen again that that tonight was the last time that I would ever binge on these, or any other, "forbidden foods".
"Tomorrow will be different" I'd say...
"Tomorrow I will start my recovery from bulimia... I wont binge and I won't purge"
"Tomorrow, I'll only eat a little bit - and it will all be healthy".
But then tomorrow would come...
And last nights promises would go out the window.
By the time my family had left the house at 8am, my dreams to stop binge eating had been forgotten. All I could think about was eating as much as I could get my hands on - without being caught.
I'd be into the pantry eating cereal out of the box and pouring milk down my throat to wash it down. I couldn't even taste the food... It was as if I had been possessed by a starving animal, desperate to eat anything I could find...
...And when I could fit nothing else in my belly, I would go to the bathroom, bend over and force it all back out again.
With red eyes, a burning throat and a broken spirit, I'd begin my day.
I thought I was the worst binge eater in the world. I thought that surely there was nobody who could eat with the sheer ferocity I did...
I thought that because of the severity of my condition, I may never stop binge eating.
Part of me believed that I would always suffer from bulimia - or some form of binge eating disorder. The obsessions felt so strong and I didn't know if it was possible to ever overcome them.
But within each and every one of us lives a little bit of hope...
...Hope that there's something better for us than the binge eating darkness we're living in... Hope that we can experience joy and freedom in our lives.
It was this hope that made me begin my true bulimia recovery journey...
A journey that lead me to where I am now... To complete recovery. To a place of total peace with food. To a place where I can eat it with joy, or leave it with joy.
TIP 1 to Stop Binge Eating: Let go of diets, food rules and forbidden foods
The reason why all of innitial attempts to stop binge eating had failed was because they stemmed from a place of deprivation... A place of restriction... A place of dieting. Although I could never succeed at this deprivation, the intention was there - and having that intention was enough to trigger massive binge urges.
I didn't want to be hungry! I didn't want to eat bland and boring diet foods! And so my body and mind would go into rebellion - eating all the foods I was not supposed to eat.
My true recovery evolved in a completely different way...
I did not deprive myself of those once 'forbidden foods' such as chocolate, chips and candy. I allowed myself to have them... In fact, I made a point of planning in 1-2 treats every single day. (Having them in single serve portions was helpful in the beginning, as keeping a large block of chocolate in the fridge was too challenging early on in recovery).
Allowing myself to have those treats slowly but surely made them loose their gigantic appeal. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy all those foods from time to time - but they can stay in the fridge for a week or so if I don't feel like them. I know I can have them whenever I want, and so the need to have them right now is no-longer present.
I know that giving up dieting (and it's rules) can be scary. But dieting has never done a positive thing for you... dieting has only ever landed you in binge eating chaos... Just as it did with me.
I have been diet free for 7 years now, and I have been binge free for just as long. When I let go of dieting and it's rules, my binge eating problems began to dissolve. They will for you too. Let go of the intention to diet and let go of the intention to deprive yourself...
Allow yourself to be magnificently nourished, to eat a wide variety tasty, delicious and nutritious foods, as well as a few treats too.
Your body can handle this food, I promise :)
Hundreds of women in The Bulimia Recovery Program have used this step (along with other steps) to successfully stop binge eating. It will help you too.
Tips 2 to Stop Binge Eating: Don't push against the binge urges
Whatever you do, right now, DO NOT THINK OF A PINK ELEPHANT.
The point is that when you force yourself not to think of something, or when you try to force something out of your mind, it can become more intense. You give it energy, you give it attention.
It's the same with your binge urges. When you push against them, like it's a wrestling match... They fight back with all their power.
Rather, I'll suggest, that you just accept them... Acknowledge them... And remind yourself that the urges will pass (they always do, I promise).
Envision your urges as clouds, temporary within the sky of your mind... Floating away, further and further. Soon they will be gone.
Approach your binge urges with peace, love and acceptance - and let them pass.
It's just as one of the gorgeous souls in The Bulimia Recovery Program's community said in the forums...
"When I feel the desire to binge, it is like the force of a freight train speeding towards me. In the past, I have tried to use my sheer will and bare hands to stop this train, with little result. The wreckage is always so ugly and painful. It occurred to me that instead, I can step off the track, sit down with my arms around myself and hang on as the wind from the train moves over and around me. Trains don't last forever, right? They eventually pass by and become a distant force. "
I think those words are SO powerful and I just had to share them with you today. Thank you to that member (who wants to remain anonymous) for letting me post them here.
Trains don't last forever - and binge urges don't last forever either. Sit down, take deep breaths, and love yourself through them.
You have what it takes to survive an urge.
And the amazing news is - the more often you allow urges to pass without action, the more you will physically change the neural pathways of habit within your brain...
By not acting on urges, you are developing new habits - that lead away from bulimia and towards recovery.
In time, these new habits will enable you to completely stop binge eating. You will forget how to want to binge. Now that's an awesome thing ;)
Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of your-bulimia-recovery.com
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community