Halloween, 2009. I was dating my now-husband at the time, and we had gone to Costco and got a GIANT bag of mini-sized candybars – you know the packs that have like Snickers, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kat, Milky Way all mixed together? YUMMMM!!
Candy bars were not in my regular ‘diet.’ I never ate them, I never thought about them, I never had them in my house, I never actively felt deprived of them…
BUT all of a sudden there they were.
This magical jumbo bag filled with all of my old favorite chocolatey candies from when I was a kid sitting right there, in plain view, STARING at me.
All of a sudden I wanted the candy – SO BADLY. Not like a couple pieces, but like ALL THE CANDY. I didn’t feel the control inside me to just have one or two and stop.
I felt wrong about feeling this way though. I didn’t want my boyfriend to see me go to town on the candy because he’d judge me, think less of me, or think I was fat for doing so.
I felt like I would judge myself, think less of myself, that I had bad willpower, that I was out of control, and a failure for caving even though I KNEW better.
So what did I do??
I waited until my boyfriend left the room (maybe went to the bathroom) and ran over to the candy.
Standing up in the corner of the room, I secretly binged on as much candy as I could unwrap and shovel into my face…all while also keeping an ear out for when I heard him coming back so I could stop and quickly hide the evidence.
I felt embarrassed, ashamed, weak, and confused.
Have you ever been there? Have you ever ate a ton of food super quickly, felt out of control, and like: you know better – so why are you doing this?
In this scenario, I was telling myself I shouldn’t be eating candy and sugar. To me, being mindful of foods I shouldn’t be eating wasn’t a “diet” though, it was just my way of making sure I ate in a way that would help me lose weight and maintain…or so I thought.
This Halloween Binge brought on lots of questions for me that I hadn’t thought about before: Why was I doing this?? I’m a smart girl, I know better! Why did I care what he thought? Did I even really care what HE thought, or was it more on me, in my head, and how I judged myself?
This type of binging behavior continued to go on with the candy, and had been going on in my life even leading up to that moment, but I had never really stopped to think or question it before. I started to realize when my boyfriend started getting suspicious at how the bag of candy was mysteriously emptying – that my deprive-binge way of eating was not ok, and not something I wanted to keep doing.
I learned later that it was a form of self-sabotage, like a grenade that would suddenly explode in my life pushing me further from my goals.
I had been stuck in a deprivation-based mentality around food for yearssss at that point. I had this vision of how I was SUPPOSED to eat, and the best way I knew how to be compliant was to control myself around food.
That mental restriction – some of it conscious, some coming from my subconscious, was engraved into my brain from trying lots of diets in my past, my own made-up diets, and what I saw/heard in magazines, on TV, and online. Kind of dieting PTSD even though I wasn’t actively following anything at the moment.
The solution to beating the restrict-binge cycle, is NOT learning how to restrict better or have more willpower.
That is SO important so I want to repeat it: the solution to beating the restrict-binge cycle, is NOT learning how to restrict better or have more willpower.
To start breaking free from this, start asking yourself the types of questions I did earlier to dig down to the root cause of why you’re finding yourself bingeing. Keep in mind – I didn’t even know I had a “problem” with food for a very long time. To me this was just life and how everyone lived! It’s weird if you’re not restricting something in this day and age! But once I started realizing what was going on, I could work on overcoming it. To me, overcoming it looked like developing a normal, healthy relationship with food – and my body since that’s really why I made myself so crazy around food to begin with so I could look a certain way – that did not include secret binge eating.
First, I started questioning all of my food choices. I became aware of all of the conscious and subconscious “rules” I had for myself around food, the foods I shouldn’t eat, the foods I eat and felt crappy about myself after, the foods I felt out of control around. Awareness is the first step!
From there I removed all good food/bad food, should/shouldn’t labels. With labels, comes judgement, guilt, and even more binging in many instances! The more you tell yourself you can’t or shouldn’t have something, the more you want it – in a crazy way. It ties into your body’s basic biology! All that does is put that food up on this pedestal and give it power over you – so this legalizing food is a super important step. You’ll see food as just food, leveling the playing field, and it will naturally take that allure away.
I also continued to dig and see what else might be causing the binges. For example, was I not eating enough food during the way? Was I not eating enough of the major nutrients – healthy fats, carbs, proteins? Did I have limiting beliefs holding me back, sabotaging my best efforts? Turns out, a big YES to all of those, plus more! This portion of things is SO MEGA important.
If I didn’t overcome this portion, and silence my body’s biological needs first, nothing else would have worked.
I wouldn’t have seen the lasting results I have been enjoying for years if I didn’t do this deep work, which is what I’m so passionate about helping my clients work through.
Keep in mind that we often think that the binges represents failure on our part, that we were weak and just needed more willpower.
Instead, think of it as a sign your body is trying to tell you something is off.
Instead, realize what you might be thinking of as success in this scenario – the act of restricting – is actually the primary cause of binging behavior to begin with!
Is this something you struggle with?
Would you like help ditching your mental restrictions and developing a healthier relationship with food and your body?
In this breakthrough consult call, I will help you get unstuck, and finally gain the clarity you need to learn how to: break free from feeling crazy and out of control with food, have a loving relationship with your body, and achieve your happy & healthy body weight – in a sustainable way that doesn’t involve willpower or the banishing of your favorite foods!
If you’re ready for freedom, confidence, and fulfillment and want it fast, then book your session now…because typically the longer you wait to do something you know you should, the more likely life gets in the way and you’ll never end up doing it. Talk to you soon!