Have you “fallen off the wagon?”

The only time a person EVER “falls off a wagon”

is when there’s a wagon to fall off of; 

a set of rules, ideals, or beliefs around food that we let determine how we feel about ourselves.

“I was sooo good with food yesterday, and today, I SUCK.”

sound familiar?

and I’m guessing that when you go into the place of “I suck,”

when you “fall off the wagon,”

you fall hard. Like knee-deep-in-brownie-batter-hard. 

Not fun, and so avoidable. 

If you want to make peace with food, and stop shame-eating cookies in the middle of the night,

Ask yourself,

what “wagons” am I trying not to fall off of?

Where am I judging my performance with food? 

Where did I draw an imaginary line of “not okay?”

AND GET RID OF THAT SHIZ.

Because as long as there’s a wagon to fall off of, you WILL fall off of it eventually.

You see,

“Falling off” is not your problem. Your wagon is your problem. 

Like this post? Sign up here for free weekly(ish) coaching emails.

Divider

How emotional eating is saving your ass.

Most of my clients think that emotional eating is a curse. That it’s an unfortunate defect they’ve been blighted with, and they were dealt a bad hand in life when it comes to food and weight.

“Poor me! I’m sick of this! Will this food problem ever not torment me?!”

Or something along those lines.

But here’s my take on it…

I’m not sure emotional eating is a bad thing. In fact, I think it might be my guardian angel. 

I know this is the part where you think I’m a crazy person, but hang on a sec.

Emotional eating is an attempt to deal with a tough problem, feeling, or situation we don’t otherwise know how to deal with, and often don’t even know that we have without some kind of symptom to remind us. 

That twitchy feeling that makes us want to go shove brownies down our throats, is like a genius alarm bell, that if responded to appropriately, reminds us to clue into what’s bothering us, before it becomes a more serious problem.

When we strip away the judgement of our emotional eating, and stop calling it a disease, a defect, a problem in and of itself;

we can finally see it for what it is:

An alert that something in our life needs our attention. Something completely unrelated to food or our weight. 

Be grateful for the reminder. It might be saving your ass.  

Like this post? Sign up here for free weekly(ish) coaching emails.

Divider

What is your “I-can’t-stop-once-I-pop” food?

Sweets drive you crazy?

Can’t have one bite of ice cream without eating the whole pint?

Maybe it’s chips? Peanut Butter? Kentucky Fried Chicken? Feel free to get weird.

And let me tell you a little something about your favorite “addictive” foods.

The only time you will ever feel “out of control” around a specific food, is when you’re trying to control it to begin with.

Somewhere, somehow, you are judging, shaming, or limiting yourself around that food. You are calling it “bad.” You are wishing you didn’t want it. You are worrying you will lose control, gain weight, get caught.

You are handing that food power over you, by fearing it.

If you don’t believe me, try naming one food that “drives you crazy,” that you allow yourself to eat with complete abandon. No shame, no guilt, no fear of losing control. Just letting that food be a part of your life, like it was when you were a kid. Like it’s No. Big. Deal.

I bet you can’t.

The only answer to fear around food, is allowance, more allowance, and deeper still allowance. If you are a veteran of this work, you may not even be conscious of all the ways in which you are still restricting yourself, but let your “lack of control” remind you. Lack of Control = Lack of Allowance = Binge Waiting To Happen.

Lean into your lack of control, and be surprised by the grace that lifts you up. 

Like this post? Sign up here for free weekly(ish) coaching emails.

Divider

Why You Can’t End The Diet-Binge Cycle

Here’s the thing about the diet-binge cycle that nobody talks about…it’s not dieting, in a vacuum, that triggers it. 

It’s wanting to control your weight,

that triggers the dieting (in various forms),

that triggers it.

Every time I ask a client, “why is it so scary to let go of controlling your food?” the answer is invariably,

“I’m afraid I’ll gain weight.”

Duh.

Fear of weight gain controls us.

Fear of weight gain is why “it’s so hard to let go,” or “I’m not there yet,”

Fear of weight gain backs us up against a wall and says “you don’t have a choice in this matter,”

Get thin or die. 

When you let yourself be controlled by your fear of gaining weight,

because you believe the walls will cave in around you or the Earth will burst into flames if you do,

that’s when the cycle begins. 

that’s when you can not help but to judge every bite of food you feed yourself,

that’s when you can not help but to obsess about your food,

that’s when you feel like you don’t have a choice but to restrict,

because you believe your survival depends on it. 

And then it’s just a matter of time…

before you can’t fight any longer.

before you’re on autopilot — lunging for that jar of peanut butter,

because you just need some R.E.L.I.E.F. 

The pressure is too much; it’s too heavy to bear.

When you’re only okay with yourself at a certain weight, it’s like you’re handing food a baseball bat and saying:

“You have the power to make or break me, show me who’s boss.”

Emotional Eating is the almost certain outcome of hating your body.

Is body acceptance something you are willing to work on? What are you willing to let go of, to get to the other side?

Like this post? Sign up here for free weekly(ish) coaching emails.

Divider

Nail Yourself to the Present Moment with Food

livenowRecovering from diet-binge cycling, 

requires learning how to sit in this present moment with food, 

without grasping for the next diet,

without leaping for some attempt to fix it,

without trying to “figure out” your plan of escape.

It requires learning to sit with a full belly when you have one

or with your body exactly as it is,

without being wooed back into grand planning with food—plans that only take us further away from what our bodies need right now, and set us up for a repeat of the cycle once more. 

The truth is, “intuitive eating,” by definition, can only happen in the present moment. I can’t know what I’ll be hungry for outside of the moment that I’m hungry for it—I can’t predict with certainty what my body will need in five minutes, or five hours or five days. 

All I can do is sit in what’s happening right now, and listen for the next right action, one moment at a time, as it’s made clear to me. 

The only commitment to be made, is to nail myself to the present moment with food.**

**A Pema Chodron idea.

Divider

The Evolution of “Eating Whatever I Want” in a Post-Diet World.

SOULI personally eat exactly what I want, without apology, and feel it’s important for my mental health (and freedom from rebellion/binge-eating, etc.) that I be empowered to make whatever food choices feel right for me in any given moment.

That being said, I think it’s important to note
that my “wants” around food have changed considerably since I stopped trying to control the way my body looks, and started reconnecting with how my body feels. 

When I was dieting (and/or struggling with diet mentality, poor body image, etc.), I walked around believing I was a bottomless pit—totally insatiable and practically needing to be handcuffed around the very sight of my “trigger” foods.

During that time, “eating whatever I wanted” effectively meant binge-eating all day, because I had no understanding of food’s role in my life, outside of the diet-binge dichotomy (or, more precisely, outside of the self-control/rebellion dichotomy).

But when I stopped looking at my body like a home improvement project—like an ornament to be molded to my liking (or the liking of others),

and started looking at my body like the human person that she is—the child of someone, the sister of someone—a living, breathing animal that feels things,

this shift in perspective, 
from self-loathing to self-care,
slowly but surely, began to influence my “wants.” 

Food stopped being about what I could get away with eating, 
or what I should or shouldn’t have,

and started being about would make me feel good
—physically, emotionally, holistically

not just on my tongue, but in my body,
not just in my body, but in my soul.

Divider

The Common Mistake of Trying to “Gain Control” Over Food

Overcoming binge-eating
is not about gaining “control” of your food,
but about realizing—
that “control” is a figment of your imagination.

meditation in chaos

Our pursuit of “control,”

based on the very false assumption that we can make our food go our way if we just try hard enough,

is the product of truly delusional thinking, 

considering the infinite and unknowable universe in which we live.  

Let’s be real—

We are NOT in control of our body’s needs in any given moment,

We are NOT in control of our emotional needs in any given moment,

And despite what many self-help gurus might suggest,

We are NOT in control of our every reaction to triggering, environmental stimuli. 

We are only human,

and denying or trying to change this fundamental reality, 

is a sucker’s game—leading only to frustration, rebellion, and evermore compulsive behavior.

Contrary to the suggestion of every diet book ever, 

sanity around food will NOT be afforded to those who tirelessly try to gain control— 

the pursuit of which is a never-ending hamster-wheel leading only to dead-ends and rebellious outbursts,  

but rather,

sanity will be afforded to those who make peace with and accept 
our fundamental out-of-control-ness,

to those who can ride the waves
of uncertainty, of messiness, of human error,

to those who can sit in food-chaos, and find okay-ness

Divider

How to Recover from a Painful Binge-Eating Episode

Stomach AcheOne of the most powerful tools I ever developed for recovering from a “bad binge,”

was simply learning how to separate whatever physical pain I experienced post-binge,
from the emotional pain I experienced post-binge.

When I took the time to notice, I realized that the physical pain of bingeing,
even the kind that leaves you in bed in the fetal position for hours,
is really not much more uncomfortable than having to pee really badly, or having a bad rash, or hangover, or some other arbitrary physical irritation.  

The true bulk of my suffering at the “hands of a binge,”
was actually the result of emotional pain

that is, my shame at having failed,
my fear of gaining weight,
and my belief that there was something deeply wrong with me for not being able to “control myself around food.”

(It didn’t occur to me that most people can’t “control” —aka restrict— their food for very long, and that most people binge when they try.)

While there’s no safe way to eliminate the physical discomfort of a binge after-the-fact (other than wait it out, listen to your body, and take care of yourself like you would a hangover),

our emotional discomfort,
which is the much more painful part of bingeing in my experience,
can be alleviated in an instant,
through challenging our weight-normative beliefs,
our morality of food and eating,
and developing compassionate understanding of what diet-culture has put us through.  

(And don’t worry, the physical discomfort part goes away pretty quickly on it’s own once we get back to listening to our bodies–just like a hangover).

Like this post? Check out my free video series about ending the diet-binge cycle here!

Divider