If you compulsively binge-eat to deal with difficult feelings, you know it’s a tough habit to break. You beat yourself up and try to stop… but you can’t. It’s not that you lack willpower. You are strong. But once that urge strikes, it’s like a power overtakes you and your goal to stop the binge habit disappears.
Take heart. Here’s a 3-Step plan that will help:
1. Prepare & Plan Ahead
Set aside “me” time and write a Self-Soothing list of all the things that help you feel grounded and calm. For example, calling a friend for support, writing in a journal, taking a walk, doing a craft project, praying, cleaning out a closet, squeezing a stress-ball, etc. Add to your list as you discover new things that soothe and ground you.
Now… here’s something important to put at the top of your list because as soon as you feel that urge, this is the first thing I want you to do:
Ask your Higher Power for a hug.
Think of an upset child who really needs is a hug from mom or dad. When you get triggered and feel angry, anxious, or sad, call in your highest and best support:
Ask now. Close your eyes and ask your Higher Power, or the God of your understanding, for a hug. Notice what you feel as you’re wrapped in the arms of Divine Love.
When I do this I feel a sense of warmth flow through my body. Any upset I feel begins to lessen. I experience reassurance that, no matter what, all is well.
Keep your Self-Soothing list on a piece of paper or transfer it to a pretty note-card. Preparing your list in advance gives you something concrete to turn to when you’re tempted to binge. It reminds you how to deal with hard feelings instead of using food. Make several copies to tuck in your purse, desk, or kitchen drawer so it’s easily accessible when you feel that urge.
2. Pause & Create Space
This second step is pivotal. After the urge to binge strikes and you’ve enlisted God’s help for that comforting hug, your job is to pause. You want to create space between the urge to binge and grabbing something to eat. The goal when you’re in this space is to quiet the negative chatter in your mind. Here’s why:
It’s a feedback loop. If you’re agitated and feel angry or anxious, your body goes into stress response mode—think fight-or-flight. If you’re disheartened and feel sad or lonely, your body’s energy weakens and you feel drained. Both physical reactions intensify what you already feel.
Pausing helps you create space to clear the negative thoughts from your mind and re-balance your body. It allows the stress response to leave your body so you feel calmer—and revitalizes your energy so you feel more uplifted.
Here are two of my favorite energy psychology techniques to help you pause, create that space and rebalance your mind/body connection.
If you don’t already know about the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or tapping, I want you to learn. This easy and effective stress-buster quickly calms your body when you feel agitated and ready to binge.
EFT is considered a cousin to the traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture. Acupuncture uses needles placed in the body to stimulate the body’s subtle energy pathways for healing. With EFT, you tap on these points with your fingers instead of using needles.
Devote time to learn this cutting-edge technique. There are many articles on-line and YouTube videos to get started.
Massaging the Heart
Whether you feel disheartened or stressed, this technique is a beautiful way to give yourself love and compassion and curb the urge to binge.
Put your hand over your heart. Imagine breathing through your heart as you connect with your heart energy. You can keep your hand still, or rotate your hands as if gently massaging your heart. Keep your hand on your heart and gently repeat the following statement several times for a couple of minutes:
“I totally and completely love and accept myself, with all my problems and all my limitations. “
According to the HeartMath Institute, the electromagnetic energy of your heart affects your entire body. As you focus on your heart energy while intentionally stating positive, loving words, you rebalance your mind-body system.
Practice both tapping and heart massage so you can use them when you’re triggered to overeat. If you’re at work or a social event, go to your car or rest room to do them.
So when you’re about to binge, remember to ask your Higher Power for a hug. Then pause and use one of the above techniques for several minutes to quiet the intensity of that urge. Then it’s time to:
3. Soothe Yourself
Once you’ve created some space and the urge has lessened, choose something from your Self-Soothing list to ground you further. Keep using your list until food no longer controls your mind. When you feel more composed, you’re then ready to deal with whatever triggered you initially.
Overcoming binge eating requires patience and perseverance. You’re human and you will fumble. Forgive yourself. You’re doing the best you can.
Over time, trust me, you’ll get through this.
And remember… reach out to God and ask for hugs.
How do you think these steps will help you break the binge habit?