When I describe what binge eating is like to people who have never experienced it, one of the things I always say is that it feels like you’re out of control and can’t stop eating until you’re stuffed to a point where you feel sick.
That is a feeling I’ve felt hundreds of times and I hated it every time I felt it.
Once I’d start eating, there was no possibility of stopping until I felt stuffed beyond stuffed.
When this would happen, I’d actually kind of accept it because I didn’t think there was anything I could do.
I was out of control and it was just something that happened to me sometimes. A lot of the time.
What I didn’t realize was that although I so strongly believed that I was losing control, I never really was.
You don’t either.
Out of control means no longer possible to manage.
It implies that giving up and giving in is the only option and if this is true, then there’s nothing you can do to stop yourself.
But this is simply not true.
Your hand is not moving involuntarily. No one is forcing you to eat. In all honesty, you can stop at any time.
You’re just choosing to not stop.
If you stop eating, you’re going to have to feel the discomfort of your thoughts and feelings urging you to eat and you don’t want to feel that so you keep eating.
You’re not losing control, you’re deciding to not pay attention to yourself, to how you’re feeling and thinking, and only focus on the food you’re putting into your mouth to gain a few minutes of pleasure or relief.
You keep eating until the urge is gone and by that time, you’ve eaten way, way too much.
You probably don’t realize this is all going on and that this is why you’re choosing to keep eating. You’re not thinking about how if you stop eating (which you can) then you’ll have to choose discomfort. Feeling discomfort isn’t an option in your mind because eating is.
All you’re thinking about is that you have to eat…which is not true. You want to eat.
When you binge, you’re not losing control, but instead deciding to not pay attention to yourself, to how you’re feeling and thinking, and only focus on the food you’re putting into your mouth to gain a few minutes of pleasure or relief.
You’re choosing avoidance. You’re choosing to let go. You’re choosing to not care about what you really want which is to not binge eat.
When you choose to believe that you’re out of control, that takes the blame off of you and your choice you made to allow yourself to binge. Labeling yourself as being out of control takes away your responsibility to do what’s right for yourself and what’s right is feeling uncomfortable urges and not acting on them.
Saying you’re out of control gives you permission to give up and give in.
You’re capable of more than you think. Stopping eating is not impossible and even a small switch to instead thinking it’s hard to manage or restrain your eating, takes away the impossibility of the situation.
Hard you can work with, while impossible is defeating.
Instead of giving yourself permission to keep eating because you think you’re out of control, tell yourself the truth. You’re deciding to continue eating.
Why don’t you want to stop? What will happen if you do?
Explore your answers to these questions to find what’s driving you to keep on eating.
You are in control of your actions. You can stop whenever you want, you just don’t want to stop. Be honest with yourself and accept the choices you’re making.