I wish it was as easy as telling yourself, I will never binge again and wa-lah! It works. But emotional and behavioral change is not that simple. Here’s a trick I teach clients all the time that really seems to help.
Instead of telling yourself that you absolutely will never binge again let’s start putting other things into place first. So many of my clients will talk about a binge they had and say “I don’t know what happened, I felt out of control”. The key words here are : “I don’t know” and “out of control”. That’s what you want to hone in on.
So next time you feel like binging don’t try to stop yourself.Notice the feeling. Use the mindfulness technique called “noting”. Realize that your starting to develop that craving, that sensation, that feeling. When it becomes more intense and you’re are about to binge press pause!
Grab a journal. Write what’s going on. Write how you’re feeling, what’s triggering this, what time of day it is, where you are, what thoughts you’re having, how you’re hoping to feel when eating the cookies, what parts of your body are reacting. Is your chest feeling heavy? Heart rate up?
The key to this exercise is not to stop you from binging. You are not journaling instead of binging. It’s having a detail record of what’s going on right before you binge. This way you can start to notice patterns. For example, you only binge when you are home alone on a Sunday afternoon and bored; Or you binge when you starting thinking about that toxic relationship in your life, maybe it’s an e-mail from your boss.
The point is to remove the “I don’t know” and “out of control” by getting as much detail as possible before you do it. So many people binge to numb their emotions and after a binge they feel depressed and sick and are not able to process what they were feeling before the binge and what triggered it. This is why it’s vital to do the exercise right before you do it. Take the journal entry to your therapist and examine what’s going in.
About Danielle Swimm, LCPC: Danielle is an eating disorder therapist in Annapolis . She enjoys helping other work through their anxiety and find rest and relaxation while still achieving their goals. Her areas of concentration include eating disorders, anxiety, and body image improvement for adults and adolescents. She offers both in-office Annapolis counseling and online counseling.
Contact Danielle today to set up a phone consultation and start your recovery journey.
Disclaimer: This is in no way a replacement for a therapeutic relationship or mental health services. This is for educational purposes only and should be in used only in conjunction in working with a licensed mental health professional. If you are looking for a local professional feel free to use the contact tab to request an appointment or search Psychology Today for local therapists in your area.