advertisement

Binge Eating Coping Skills

Each summer, I am greeted by a familiar experience. I shake my routines and try to squeeze in being outside and seeing people I haven't seen in a while. Summer draws out my restless, ambitious side. I've realized in previous summers that this frenzy of activity affects the routine that keeps me in recovery from binge eating disorder (BED). This summer, I am reminding myself what I need to do to savor the summer months while not engaging in eating disorder behavior.
When we recover from binge eating disorder (BED), or any other type of eating disorder, we are changing our way of being in the world. We change behaviors, our reactions to emotions, our environments, and the way we think about ourselves and compare ourselves to other people. Recovery is a massive internal and external renovation that is difficult to see up close. Sometimes, you can only notice changes when you compare how you feel today versus how you felt many years ago in eating disorder recovery.
Yesterday, I received a phone call about someone I love who is not well. I took this particular phone call while my dinner plate was in front of me. I pushed around vegetables with my fork, listening and processing the news. After the call, the evening went on. I covered a page in my sketchbook with watercolor stripes. I read Shel Silverstein's poems. I noticed I didn't feel the urge to scour the pantry for food to snack on as I had in the past. Sometimes binge eating disorder (BED) flares amid grief, and sometimes it stays dormant.
Around this time last year, I decided to cancel my gym membership and practice yoga at home to support my binge eating disorder (BED) recovery. I wanted to try a new way of exercising that would help me lean into my recovery. I'd been experiencing a deep shift of motivation in my recovery, and I was encouraged by my counselor and my partner to try something new. I had a feeling I'd outgrown my gym routine, and I wanted to experience a new way to interact with my body. 
Almost two years ago, I decided to try intuitive eating to distance myself from binge eating. I didn't trust my body to stay at a healthy weight without dieting, but I knew I had to try to break out of my eating disorder habits. It sounded like a dream to eat whatever I wanted without guilt or worrying. I was skeptical intuitive eating would work for me, but I was eager to try it as an experiment.
I was introduced to the power of intuitive eating during my second attempt at eating disorder recovery. Before then, I was aware of my binge eating disorder, but I still restricted my food and shamed myself when I binged. I'd reached a point where I knew that something had to change, but I didn't know how to change it.
Maybe you've known for a while that your binge eating disorder (BED) is out of control. Starting BED recovery can be confusing, and the steps you need to take are difficult to navigate on your own. When you're struggling to make it through each day without bingeing, it's difficult to create a fresh perspective. So how do you begin to recover from binge eating?
Binge eating disorder makes it hard to stay present. For example, have you ever noticed yourself feeling distracted or disconnected throughout the day? I experience this often, especially when I'm trying to check off my to-do list. It sometimes feels like having tunnel vision. My hands move while I'm thinking about what I have to do next. The time I spend in this zone-out space feels like a blur.
The mornings I've woken up after a binge have been the lowest points of my self-esteem. No matter how many times you've recovered from a binge, it's always an awful feeling to wake up and remember what happened the day before. How do you recover after a binge? How do you help yourself so you don't continue the cycle of binge eating and restriction?
I recently had a conversation with someone about strategies to break bad habits, and I was reminded of my binge eating disorder (BED) recovery. By nature, whenever I set a new goal to break or create a habit, I want change to happen immediately. I try to go cold turkey and quit the bad habit overnight. Or, I change many habits all at once instead of making small changes over time. Those of us who have experience with binge eating disorders know that using willpower alone doesn't work when we are trying to stop binge eating. Most of the time, trying to restrain yourself and not binge eat makes the urge to binge more powerful. If using the cold turkey method doesn't work to recover from binge eating disorders, then what will help?