The minute you notice that you’re eating too much
Start to observe yourself
Without judgement or opinion.
When we’re bingeing, our conscious mind has temporarily left our bodies.
We’re in autopilot, doing what we always do when we’ve disconnected from ourselves.
If we can dispassionately watch our actions, our thoughts and our feelings,
Then it becomes impossible to continue the binge
Because the binge is designed solely to pretend you aren’t there.
It’s the opposite of what we normally do.
We think we must criticize, shame and punish ourselves,
Which just makes us want to hide in our food even more.
Try it my way.
I did it today.
I have many memories of huge binges on South African chocolate with my high school friends,
and later, shamefully, on my own.
I bought what I came for,
helped my kids choose a candy,
and then watched myself buy a few for me.
I got in the car,
eagerly and guiltily anticipating the stupor that was to follow.
But I couldn’t do it.
My Watcher was with me all the time.
Naming my actions, my experience.
In the car, I unwrapped a Chocolate Log,
which has been the object of many a frenzied binge.
I watched myself take the first bite.
Because I was still consciously staying with myself,
I noticed that the fluffy filling was way too sweet.
The chocolate a bit grainy.
And the wafer too soft.
I took another bite, just to make sure.
Being a recovering emotional eating addict,
I pulled the fluffy part from the wafer to see if that was going to give me the rush I was looking for.
No. Still too sweet, still not fluffy enough.
If I wasn’t in Watcher mode, I would have finished the Chocolate Log long before I noticed that it wasn’t living up to my memory of it.
Undeterred, I moved on to the Jelly Tots – chewy, sugar coated bits of soft yummy.
Today, another disappointment.
The flavours tasted fermented to me, almost alcoholic
(Which didn’t stop my nine year old from obsessing over them!)
In amazement, I watched myself.
I observed how
when I’m observing myself
and staying with myself
It’s possible to stop eating in the middle of a binge
without any resistance or regret.
Truly, it’s the only possible thing to do.
I loved this discovery.
At the Life Coach School, where I teach, we call a binge a Storm Eat.
You know you’re doing it and you just can’t stop.
You wait for the Storm to pass,
pick up the pieces, dissect your thinking, learn the lesson,
and eat only when you’re hungry again.
Today I discovered that it’s absolutely possible to interrupt a storm.
Although you may tell yourself that you’re out of control,
and therefore unable to stop eating,
The minute you are able to bring yourself to consciousness,
Find that part of you that is still, quiet, present and accepting.
And then stay there
Stopping the binge is the only possible option.
It probably helped that I had just meditated two hours before.
Getting in touch with the still, quiet, nonjudgemental part of myself
when I’m calm
makes it so much easier to find her when I’m not.
Meditating, journaling with my nondominant hand, coaching, watching myself breathe, grounding, tuning in to how my body feels at any moment, observing my thoughts flowing freely, these are my ways of staying in touch.
I highly recommend you develop a frequent practice too.
That way, when you are in the middle of a binge
all you have to do is call in your compassionate watcher
and watch yourself watch the storm pass easily and peacefully
Because stopping the binge will be the only possible option.