How Recovery Begins-blog 1 of 3

 

Do you dread waking up remembering last night’s binge?

Does your whole life revolve around food? Needing it? Finding it? Eating it? Hiding it? Hating it?

Are you ashamed of your eating behaviour?

It can be very confusing if you don’t understand why you can’t just eat normally and your whole life revolves around food. Even if you’re not bingeing, you can be thinking about bingeing, or planning your next binge like a ritual or restricting your food drastically only to fail a few hours or even days later.

So if food is on your mind ALL THE TIME - I can relate, because that was me - not so long ago...

 
 
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I was able to get rid of this all-encompassing disorder with the help of someone who had been through the same ordeal. I spent 10 years of my life with disordered eating and binge eating hit me the hardest. Just because it is not as well known as Anorexia or Bulimia does not mean it is any less prevalent or any less harmful. It is a very mis-understood disorder.  

One of the first things I had to do was take back control of my eating. Which meant I had to work on acceptance. I soon worked out a pattern - a series of techniques that led me to create a programme that I now share with others who have experienced what I went through.

 
 

My passion to help others led me to becoming a fully qualified Registered Nutritional Therapist but I knew I had to delve deeper into my own background and help people with disordered eating. So that’s what I did through further training and further passion.

 So now when I start working with my clients I understand them - I know their emotions are out of control. But I also know there is a solution that can lead towards taking back control and getting your life back.

 I would love the opportunity to help guide you to learn to accept that you are suffering with a disorder. More specifically, Binge Eating Disorder.

 
 

I will encourage you to feel safe and connected with absolutely no judgement. Remember I have been there and know how the feeling of shame surrounds you.

However, change is very important. If you are not willing to change then this programme is not for you.

But if you want to change, then let’s do this together...

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The very first step of getting help is accepting that you need help in the first place. BED is a very lonely disorder as you feel so ashamed of what you are doing and admitting that there is a problem makes it much easier to achieve recovery. The mere fact that you are here now and willing to learn something new, shows acceptance.

Understanding your own, personal, story encourages so many thoughts and realisations about how your disordered eating may have come into your life. Remembering the influencers through your childhood, your teens, and now adulthood may trigger memories of events or happenings that might link to disordered eating. Who were your caregivers growing up? Your parents, your teachers, siblings, religious leaders, sports coaches, extended family? Thinking about all the people that had an influence over your life, positively and negatively, is a great start to learning more about you and your disorder.

 
 
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This is sometimes challenging for people as emotions from the past or present often get locked away but it is important to bring them to the surface and accept that they are a part of you.

Accepting that what you thought was a bit of comfort eating is actually more than that is a crucial first step. Putting a name to your disorder and owning it, even if you don’t want to, gives you the power to override the BED and get your life back.

 
 

Accepting there is a problem leads to learning how to conquer it. Sometimes it can be easy to forget what food you ate or how much you drank – if our minds are busy thinking about other things as we eat – then we don’t even realise and if someone was to ask what did you eat 3 days ago – it becomes impossible to remember. So this is something that needs to be taken into consideration and we work together on a unique system I have created that is personalised to your unique situation. Then we can start to see patterns and gain a deeper understanding as to what our next steps are. This is not about what you are eating – it’s about taking small steps in a new direction that ultimately gets you closer to being able to build some new patterns.

 

The importance of understanding your story

 

Although your genes lay out a blueprint for your potential development, they do not determine the way in which you will grow. Instead, it is the environment your parents create that instructs and directs your genes by enhancing some and turning off others.

 In general, as humans we are influenced by our parents, grandparents, teachers and other caregivers. The first five years of our lives are integral to how our adult lives will play out so remembering your childhood, school years and beyond and talking it through will often give you answers as to why your disordered eating has taken over your life.

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 While emotional eating can be a symptom of what mental health professionals call atypical depression, many people who do not have clinical depression or any other mental health issue engage in this behaviour in response to momentary feelings or chronic stress. This behaviour is highly common and is significant since it can interfere with maintaining a healthy diet and can contribute to obesity.

 
 

Are you looking for reasons for why your disordered eating started? There is never normally one simple answer but looking back over your past to find possible triggers allows you the opportunity to delve deeper.

 
 

Do you currently feel alone? Do you think that no one can possibly understand you or what you are going through? Do you think you are the only person in the world suffering such shame?

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Feeling safe and secure is a human necessity. We all crave it whether we know it or not. Psychologists agree that feeling secure in your environment and with your life is the most basic human need and must be fulfilled before any other need. Human needs in order of importance are: physiological, safety, love and belongingness, esteem, cognitive and finally, the need for self actualisation.

I would argue that love is the most basic human need; love for yourself and love for others. Without love, life would be unbearable. Those who do not love (or even like) themselves are more likely to turn to self destructive behaviour such as binge eating or alcohol abuse and this in turn leads to a further dislike of oneself and a lack of understanding of how to fulfil your purpose in life.

I have suffered with disordered eating myself and binge eating disorder is the one I found most difficult to live with so not only do I understand what you are going through, I will not judge you. Although I had a very happy and secure childhood, as soon as I reached my late teens I didn’t understand myself or my purpose any longer. Perhaps my childhood was too safe and secure because going to university for me was agonising. I didn’t feel that I fitted in anywhere and spent a lot of time alone and not understanding why as I’d never had this problem before. I felt out of control, living in a big city with no one holding my hand. Controlling my food appeared to be the only part of my life I could control. I was alone so no one really knew what I was eating so I got away with eating next to nothing every day. I thoroughly enjoyed having this secret and it got me positive attention so I assumed I was doing something right. But I still didn’t feel safe. Secretly I wanted someone to notice what I was doing and to help me, but no one did.  v

When I went home for the weekend to my lovely family I was told how well I looked so this encouraged me to carry on with my new way of eating (or not eating). I was in a safe environment at home and if they were telling me I looked good then it must be ok to continue.

Find out more about how the programme can help you by clicking here:

 
 
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Bulimia is exhausting and all consuming. I became obsessed with food and nothing else. I would have days where I would eat nothing at all and then spend the night eating and throwing up. Or I would spend all day eating and throwing up. There was no pattern. It was my whole life. People must have noticed I was suddenly gaining weight (as you simply cannot rid yourself of everything you have eaten) but nobody said anything. Apart from the weight gain I looked unwell. I was sweaty, spotty, tired, my skin was sallow and my hair was lank).

 
 

It was truly exhausting. But nobody said anything. Maybe this was down to being polite but I needed to feel that somebody cared about what I was doing to myself.

I have mentioned that self induced vomiting is exhausting and time consuming. I would turn down babysitting jobs because of it as I would eat all the food in the house and then spend hours purging it. I turned down shifts at the local pub for the same reason. I couldn’t live a normal life but the whole time everything I was doing was a secret. I was still lonely.

Eventually I was unable to continue purging. Physically it hurt more and more and mentally it was taking its toll. I was lying to people and making excuses for my behaviour every day. I just couldn’t face the exhaustion anymore and one day after a big binge I didn’t vomit. I just didn’t have the energy. It felt great not to have the responsibility of purging (because it felt like a responsibility) but it felt terrifying to have lost that control. How would I control my eating now? My life was no longer my own and even though on the outside I was coming across ok, on the inside I was a mess.

So this where anorexia turned into bulimia now turned into binge eating disorder.

I was back living at home and working in local, non-food based jobs, all my friends were either at uni or travelling and I was LONELY. I really needed someone to talk to about my disordered eating but I was ashamed to bring it up. I honestly didn’t think anyone would understand.

I eventually moved to London to work and dabbled with all three eating disorders. But this time I introduced laxatives into the mix as well. I would take 100 at a time and make sure my flat mate was out for the night as I knew the consequences of taking that many would mean I’d be in the bathroom for most of the night. So once again I was being secretive, and I was exhausted. But at this point I was thin, and that’s all that mattered to me. 

I met a lovely man through my flat mate who instantly made me feel good about myself. I didn’t eat for 3 days before our first date and I ended up telling him that which was the first time I’d ever told anyone about my problems.

He didn’t force me to eat and neither did he seem horrified by my disorder. He just made me feel normal and loved. He encouraged me to think about my feelings as more than just weight and food related issues and to think back to my childhood and perhaps talk to a professional about it all.

This is the best move I made and slowly everything clicked into place. It was from this experience and all the consequent learning through nutrition and eating disorders training that my Food Freedom Programme was born.

 
 
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Can you relate to any of this? Does it feel like you’re reading your life story? Do you feel safe and secure in your surroundings?  

It’s so important to talk with someone who understands and empathises and encourages a safe space.

Without dealing with BED in the right way you can become disconnected from friends and family due to feelings of shame and not being able to talk about what you are going through for fear of judgement, or worse. It would be useful to find someone to guide you through how to reconnect with those you love simply by being there as a new connection for you.

I understand what you are going through as I was a BED sufferer myself, so I will not judge you and instead I will do my best to help you.

This is one of the most important parts of the whole programme as those with BED are so ashamed of their eating habits that they descend into a hole of shame, losing connections with loved ones and living a life of solitude where food is their only friend.

 
 

Can you relate to any of this? Does it feel like you’re reading your life story? Do you feel safe and secure in your surroundings?

Without dealing with BED in the right way you can become disconnected from friends and family due to feelings of shame and not being able to talk about what you are going through for fear of judgement, or worse.

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It’s so important to talk with someone who understands and empathises and encourages a safe space. It would be useful to find someone to guide you through how to reconnect with those you love simply by being there as a new connection for you.

I understand what you are going through as I was a BED sufferer myself, so I will not judge you and instead I will do my best to help you.

This is one of the most important parts of the whole programme as those with BED are so ashamed of their eating habits that they descend into a hole of shame, losing connections with loved ones and living a life of solitude where food is their only friend.

Even though you may not see it just yet, there is a way out of this and through my own experience and the experience of helping my clients, I have put together a unique step by step programme that makes it possible.

 By talking to someone who has been through BED you will gain a sense of relief and realise that you have the strength to achieve amazing results. I will teach you how to find your inner strength, make connections again, and find joy in a life that no longer revolves around food and weight.

After accepting your disordered eating, learning to change is the next step. What does change mean to you? One cannot change overnight, it takes time, encouragement, space, routine, safety, security, understanding….

Find out more by reading my eBook - The First Steps Towards Recovery

 
 
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It is important to bring structure back into your eating habits. Humans like structure and routine even though it is possibly pushed as being ‘boring’. The point is not what the routine consists of, but how steady and safe your subconscious mind is made through repetitive motions and expected outcomes.

 
 

Whatever you want your day-to-day life to consist of doesn’t matter, the point is that you decide and then stick to it. In short, routine is important because habitualness creates mood and mood creates the “nurture” aspect of your personality. For the binge eater, letting yourself be messed around by impulsiveness is a breeding ground for everything you essentially do not want.

This is where regular eating comes into play.

Restricting food comes as naturally to some binge eaters as bingeing on food. After a big evening binge do you restrict your food for most of the next day? This is normal binge eating behaviour but it is erratic and has no pattern to it.  This leads to blood sugar crashes, cortisol fluctuations and an inevitable follow up binge. The thought of regular eating can be terrifying when you are in the throws of disordered eating. You might assume you cannot control your eating if you eat like ‘normal’ people or that you’ll end up putting on more weight because you know you will binge even if you eat proper meals. You might even feel a sense of excitement from restricting your food for days, thinking ‘this is the time I won’t binge’. So change is scary. What will happen to you if you change your thought process? What will happen if you don’t? Are you able to trust someone else to help you with this change?

How do you feel about planning your meals? Do you have the skills to do so? Would you feel comfortable reaching out for help? When was the last time you cooked a meal? Or planned a food shop without panicking? These are all new skills to someone with disordered eating and need to be fully considered if you want to recover from your binge eating disorder. But you cannot do this alone, you have done enough on your own and now you need support in your recovery.  

 
 


How do you feel about your weight? Is there any conflict involved in gaining or losing weight? What will happen if you lose weight? What will happen if you don’t? How much importance do you attach to your weight or the number on the scales?

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Do you have forbidden foods? Foods that in restriction mode there is no way you would consider eating? But in binge mode all the rules go out the window. Slowly introducing these foods in small amounts into regular meals will feel impossible to begin with but this is important to stop the divide between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods in your head.

By taking small steps it can actually become easier to establish a pattern of regular eating. It’s not about making significant changes that cause you to fall back into old habits. Instead it’s about creating small habits that can start to grow and become a natural part of your life again. Establishing a pattern of regular eating will be the single most significant change you can make with tackling your binge eating problem. Years of research shows that introducing a pattern of regular eating pushes aside most binges.

Talk about Food liberation! - Imagine living your life where you finally have the power to eat regular meals without even thinking about it, as you slowly forget about the years of not knowing how to do so.

This can seem terrifying at first but having me on your side guiding you through it will empower you to make the change. Imagine having breakfast without feeling guilty? The change in mindset from your current ‘I mustn’t eat anything all day as I binged for hours yesterday’ to your new mindset where you are being told to eat regularly without any guilt, is massive.

If you would like to speak to me to find out if I can help you, I offer a free 30 minute discovery call. Just click below to book a time that suits you.

 
Jody Middleton