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Tip-Toeing Around Trigger Foods

29 Apr

In the run up to Easter, chocolate eggs were stacked high in every store around the country, leaving me with a slight sense of claustrophobia. Easter is a time of chocolate… and chocolate is a huge binge trigger for me.

I tried to focus my thoughts on intuitive eating. I told myself that if I overate slightly it would be okay, because “normal eaters” sometimes overeat on special occasions. But, this is the thing with a distressed eater like me:  You know what the rational truth is, but you feel the total opposite.

Over the weekend, I ate more chocolate than usual and knew that this was a perfectly normal thing to do around Easter time. A normal eater would have went about the rest of their weekend without a second thought…  but not me.

That irrational, but familiar guilty feeling kicked in and then the “all or nothing” attitude followed: I’ve had some “sinful” chocolate, so why not go hell for leather and eat circles around myself? And that’s exactly what I did.  I binged – on more than one occasion.

After over a decade of categorizing foods as either good or bad, I’m finding it hard to suddenly change and immediately reject this mindset. I have contemplated cutting out trigger foods altogether, but I have done this in the past, and I believe that this is what led me to develop binge tendencies.

So for now, I have resolved to keep on keeping on. I know that moderation is the key. Now, if only I could act on it…

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Travel Can Be Tricky… for a Distressed Eater

15 Apr

I love to travel. I love explore new places and to experience strange cultures. Travel can broaden the mind and present great scope for personal growth. Some of the happiest times of my life have been spent in foreign countries. But despite my reputation as a keen globetrotter, I recently realised that going on holiday can be a source of distress for me… or more specifically, a source of eating distress.

Last week, I embarked on a mini-break away with my family. In the days running up to our trip, I knew that I would be stepping out of my normal routine, and this would include dining out for all meals. This would present a lot of temptation to overeat, but I decided that instead of feeling anxious, I should use it as an opportunity to practise intuitive eating.

Mindful Munchers possess the ability to push their plate away when they are full, even though their meal might not be finished. This is a skill I have yet to master. When you are enjoying the food in front of you so much, it’s hard to say “no”, even when you’re body indicates that it has had enough.

As kids, so many of us were encouraged to finish our meals completely… I remember my mam encouraging me to eat “just one more spoon full”. Parents often encourage their kids to continue eating after they have had enough, and even reward them for doing so with promises of dessert: “Eat your vegetables or there will be no ice-cream afterwards!” These early messages, which support overeating, can be hard to un-learn in adult life.

While on holiday, I did eat and drink more than my body required, and this resulted in a guilty feeling within me. This guilt then triggered a binge on the evening I returned from the trip, which in turn resulted in even more guilt.

Despite this temporary “falling off the wagon”, I learned a valuable lesson: People do sometimes overeat on occasion… The difference between them and emotional eaters is that they don’t beat themselves up about it afterwards. I now realise that being a Mindful Muncher does not mean eating intuitively 100% of time. Nobody’s perfect!

People generally go on vacation to relax, but I find that venturing out of my comfort zone can also bring anxiety.

Do you find that your eating issues often interfere with your holiday fun?

JJ xx

Saddle Up & Ride Out those Cravings

8 Apr

Do you ever wish you were “normal”? This morning as I drove to work, I was overcome with a huge sense of sadness, and if I’m honest, self-pity. I thought: “Why can’t I be like a normal person? Why can’t I have a ‘normal’, healthy relationship with food?”

After I finished my dinner last night that dreaded craving for chocolate descended upon me. Only other binge-eaters can really understand the overwhelming, thought-encompassing nature of a binge- craving. It is truly torturous. Continue reading

Tears on the Dancefloor: Battling Bad Body Image

5 Apr

I joined a ballet class at the weekend and am still unsure as to whether or not it was a good idea. Is the weight-obsessed world of ballet the best place for distressed eater to visit?

I’ve practised ballet before (at a very basic level) and have always enjoyed it, so I thought that signing myself up again would be a positive thing. But, as I stood in front of the wall-to-wall mirrors of the dance studio for my first class, staring back at me was a strange reflection: a rounder figure that was unfamiliar to me. Continue reading

Track Your Feelings, Not Your Food

1 Apr


I reluctantly agreed to keep a food diary, when my therapist suggested it during our first session recently. Before beginning my journey into intuitive eating, I had been tracking and logging every morsel of food and drink that passed my lips with rigid determination. By controlling my weight, I was trying to control my feelings. Continue reading

You Don’t Have to Work it Out Alone…

29 Mar

In recent weeks, I have come along leaps and bounds in tackling my distressed relationship with food. However, I do feel that self- help books and the Internet community can only bring me so far. Last week, (after my three day binge) I decided that I would need a little helping hand with my recovery.  So I began researching therapists in my area that specialise in eating disorders, and after finding an affordable one, I made an appointment. Continue reading

Triggers and Labels, Swings and Roundabouts

28 Mar

Many binge-eaters have particular danger times, when they are more susceptible to succumbing to the Binge Monster. The weekend is a particular difficult time for me in terms of binging. Week in week out, I followed the same pattern of binging on one or two nights at the weekend, and then spending the rest of the week following a strict low-calorie eating plan to try to make up for the thousands of excess calories ingested. Continue reading