How Recovery Begins-blog 3 of 3
When you feel like you have finally succeeded in your mission to stop your disordered eating there is always a small part of you that will assume it will come back one day.
Finding out how to put structure in place for the rest of your life, how to deal with changing circumstances, transition times (such as moving school, going to university, changing jobs etc) or setbacks are all part of recovery and should be thought of in the same way as the emotional and physical parts.
Assumptions of failure need to be addressed, not only with your binge eating problem but with other areas of your life. Body image, weight conflict, dieting, punishment are all core thoughts of those with binge eating problems and all need to be addressed and then problem solving techniques put in place to guide you through these ‘failure’ thoughts.
Discovering that structure is actually fun and useful will be a revelation to you! Not waking up and working out immediately what you are going to eat or not eat that day will become a thing of the past and planning binge rituals will be forgotten.
But what happens when setbacks occur? Do you give up and assume failure again? This is like nothing you have done before - you have failed at all the diets because the diet industry wants you to fail but this isn’t a diet. This is not about weight loss. This is about thought changes and belief in who you are.
The ultimate goal for any binge eater is to find freedom in food, to find joy in a life that doesn’t revolve around food. Dealing with the practical side of things once you have worked on both the emotional and physical sides (which you will continue to do) is imperative to finding food freedom and I am here to show you how.
Finding a structured plan that works for you may sound utterly terrifying when you are in the throws of disordered eating but evidence shows that introducing regular eating is the single most effective change for those with binge eating disorder.
How do you feel about being like everyone else? Is it daunting? Is it overwhelming? Does it feel impossible? Do you want to eat normally? Do you assume you will put on weight if you eat regularly?
Having worked on your emotional brain right at the beginning of the programme you should now be eating regularly and understanding hunger and fullness cues a bit more. But how does regular eating fit in with life moving forward? How does the continuous drip feeding from the weight loss industry with the new diet that will ‘change your life’ affect you as you continue with your recovery?
Understanding how to move further and further away from disordered eating without the fear of going back to it comes down to one word - structure.
It may seem boring but having structure to your day, your week, your month, your year, your life is imperative to recovery beyond 6 months of working with me. Having no structure in place and trying 3 diets a week followed by a couple of days of restricting followed by a weekend of bingeing has been your never ending cycle for years and even if you might believe you are incapable of structure, it must be put in place and it must be adhered to.
We work together on a structured plan that works for you and makes sure you don’t get tangled back up into disordered eating as you always have done in the past.
This is like nothing you've ever done before. You have actually gone to look at the root causes of why this has happened to you, not just a quick fix. There are no diets, this is not a weight loss plan. This is like restoring the factory settings on your brain and making you realise that food is more than just love or punishment, it is a source of nourishment and joy but mainly it is not the only thing that your life should revolve around.
All you want is to be ‘normal’. To eat ‘normally’, to think like a ‘normal’ person and to feel ‘normal’ forever without the fear of your disordered eating returning.
Setbacks are inevitable and are more likely to happen as soon as we stop working together. However, they are less likely to happen later on. They may not happen at all, or they may happen years or decades later. The most likely triggers to a set back may be:
Stressful events, particularly if your self esteem is knocked.
Shape or weight changes
Dieting; restarting a diet, breaking your own dietary rules and therefore falling into binge eating.
The first three on this list are sometimes out of your control but the last one isn’t. DIETING.
Dieting = failure.
The best way to maintain progress and avoid setbacks is to ditch ALL dieting behaviour. Even if a best friend is embarking on a new diet plan and is losing a lot of weight, this mustn’t inhibit your structured plan.
But what happens if you do lapse?
You need to be able to spot the problem early and implement the first steps of recovery.
Monitoring, weighing, regular eating, mindfulness, finding alternatives, problem solving, body image. But most importantly, if you find yourself bingeing again, do not restrict your food the following day. This is entering into all or nothing thinking again which is not helpful.
Identifying triggers is so important to prevent lapses. It may not be immediately obvious to you what triggered a change in thought leading to bingeing but using problem solving skills you will get there.
Even if stopping a binge in its tracks has been impossible for you in the past, you will start to learn how to prevent one from happening in the first place by simply knowing what triggers you and applying the new steps and skills you will learn.
You will start to identify the potential triggers that cause your binge eating behaviours and by applying problem solving skills you can stop the binge before it becomes out of control.
It’s all about gaining a deeper understanding of your mind, so you can start to recognise what triggers you and knowing what to do so you can stop a binge in its tracks.
Finding freedom from fear of food is our primary goal to achieve.
Find out more about how the programme can help you by clicking here:
Does it seem impossible? Could it be that you look forward to something other than your next meal, drink or even binge? Could it be that you wake up without thinking firstly what you ate yesterday, what you plan to eat today, if you are going to vomit today, if you are not going to vomit today, if you plan to take laxatives later, if you are going to restrict for 48 hours and then go on a 10k run to burn off yesterday’s binge?
THIS IS EXHAUSTING! And actually the toxins released when stressing and feeling guilty about food can do more harm to the body than the food itself.
Imagine the feeling of enjoying every mouthful of delicious home cooked meal with no guilt and no desperation for more. How would it feel for your hunger signals to come back? Would you like to really look forward to a meal out without panicking about what to order or what you think everyone is thinking about what you order?
Finding what floats your boat is the best feeling in the world. What do you truly enjoy doing? Is there something that your binge eating has prevented you from doing?
It almost feels scary not having your disordered eating as you may think it defines you. You may struggle with people’s nice comments about how well you look - this does not mean FAT! This means your eyes are bright, your skin is glowing, you are smiling, you are walking with confidence. You may simply not be used to accepting compliments but you will learn to enjoy them and learn to accept them.
Finding food freedom not only means no dieting but it gives you a whole new lease of life. You will find smells you didn’t know exist, views you hadn’t seen, jokes you hadn’t heard.
A world away from disordered eating is a whole new world and one that you can find freedom in.
You can find the joy in life beyond food and weight. Imagine not having food dominate your thoughts from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. Could that be possible? Does it seem impossible? I can assure you that as someone who spent every waking hour either counting calories, planning a binge, finding time to vomit or take laxatives with nobody finding out, driving around finding food from anywhere and everywhere - IT IS POSSIBLE!
Finding your food freedom without concerning yourself with a number on the scales and being happy in your own skin is my goal for you at the end of working with me and beyond.
You are using so much brain space on food! Imagine what you could achieve with all the spare time you will have! Imagine the connections you can make. You will become a more attentive spouse, a more alert parent, a more generous friend. It is possible and I’m here to show you how.
If you are keen to find out more, download my free eBook: The First Steps Towards Recovery:
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.