Wednesday, September 27, 2017

How To Stop A Binge In 25 Seconds Or Less

Binges happen.  When they do, there is always a reason.  If you're turning "to" food, you're turning "away" from something else.

But what if you just can't figure it out?  You feel the binge coming, like a train picking up speed.  It feels like there's nothing you can do to stop it.

As someone recently said to me, "I know it’s important to identify and process my feelings so I don't eat when I'm upset, but sometimes I’m too stressed out to deal with it. What else can I do when I feel that way?”

If you can relate, you may be accustomed to eating to numb, distract or comfort yourself and don’t know how else to calm down.

Here are some ways to alleviate stress and anxiety by calming your body, centering your mind and stopping the escalation of stress.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise: Focus on your legs. Make them as tight as you can. Move up your body, tightening your stomach, then your arms. Make fists and keep your muscles really, really tight. HOLD that tension as long as possible, a minimum of fifteen seconds but ideally as long as possible. Then release.

Feel that? You’re probably feeling more relaxed.. The idea of this exercise is that without muscle tension, you can’t access muscle release. When your body is relaxed, your mind will follow. When your mind is relaxed, you won't feel the need to binge. And viola! You're delivering those cookies to a delighted new friend and forming a new friendship, something that will last much longer than the cookies. :)

The Four Senses Exercise: As you know, we have five senses, but if you turn to food when you’re stressed, you’re familiar with the sense of taste and probably use taste – food – as the primary way you self-soothe. The Four Senses exercise puts you in touch with the other four senses and helps you center yourself.

Wherever you are, look around and say one thing that you can:

  1. Touch
  2. See
  3. Smell
  4. Hear
Take in these senses with as much detail as possible. You can take this exercise a step further by not only noticing what you can touch, see, hear, or smell, but by indulging one of those senses with calm.
Do you have a favorite song or playlist that puts you at ease? Stick some headphones in and let your mind focus on the beautiful sound. Visit nature and treat your eyes to a feast of plants, landscapes, and beauty. Burn a candle with a scent that is especially calming. Wrap yourself in a warm, furry blanket.

If you want to binge, your subconscious is asking for some love. Give it to yourself -- without food.

When I'm particularly stressed, I turn on my favorite old-school artist, Prince, and dance around my house like I'm on stage. That usually changes my mood. But if you need a little more help, here are some other options:

Visualization. There are two ways to use visualization: the first is to imagine a happy place where you feel safe and calm; the second is to think about something you’re afraid of, and imagine a positive outcome. Keep in mind those four senses as you work through the visualizations!

Visualization #1: Visualize a place where you feel happy. Where are you? Who else is there? Don’t limit yourself to reality; you can go anywhere your mind takes you. In your imagination, what are you touching, seeing, hearing, and smelling? Dwell in this visualization until you start to feel your heart calm down.

When I'm overwhelmed, I visualize being on a calm lake with the sun shining and water lapping the shore. I remember the time I went canoeing and a black swan swam alongside the canoe. I had the most lovely sense of wellbeing and calm. 

Visualization #2: Imagine a situation that makes you nervous, thinking about the best outcome possible. Again, use the four senses to bring this to life. What upcoming situation is causing you anxiety? Whether it’s a job interview, a personal challenge, a blind date or anything else, imagine the very best outcome, visualizing and imaging the four senses.

I used to have an absolute terror of public speaking. I would get so nervous that my legs would shake (I was positive that the audience could see me trembling, which only made it worse. I realized that I was imagining a critical audience, thinking, “Look how nervous she is. Look at those knees shaking!” Meanies.

I decided to imagine an understanding audience full of people who were benefiting from what I was saying, and I focused on how I could help them. Once I did that, my knees stopped shaking for good. And guess what?  Now I love public speaking!

Using these methods to calm down, along with learning to identify and process painful, difficult and upsetting emotions, will help you comfort yourself and find peace with words, instead of with restricting, bingeing and purging, or bingeing.

When you are calm, you don't need food to cope. And that's how we will beat the diet habit!

Which of these techniques resound with you? Try one out this week. Make a goal to try one or two before you head to the kitchen for that extra loaf of bread. Share your successes and failures with me on Facebook

If you are looking for online support and community, check out my Kick the Diet Habit program. All members are granted lifetime access to my online community. This is a great online support for people to chat, ask questions, receive encouragement, and reach me directly. You can learn more about the program here or at the link below. You can respond to this email if you have any questions.

This is what one lifetime member of the Kick the Diet support group said about the program: “Thank you for freeing me from 40 years of dieting and living on low-fat foods and sugar-free this and that. We are in Paris and enjoying some very tasty French food, with no inner critic bullying me. Here’s to freedom and living life to the max!”

I sincerely hope that these techniques help you as you continue to work for greater health and happiness. 

Remember, here is always hope! We are in this together.

Want more help to make peace with food?  I offer an online program that you can do in the privacy of your home, at your own pace, to help you beat bingeing for good.

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