If you want to stop binge eating, recognizing the moment when you decide to binge is very important.
For some, that moment is very clear but for others, not so much.
I had someone write to me recently saying that they never know what’s happening until it’s happened. They feel like it’s just a reflex or an automatic reaction – see food, grab food, binge on food. There is no thinking involved.
What’s really happening is that the thinking is going unnoticed.
Thinking is always happening, we’re just not always aware of it. Our brains are amazing and their superb efficiency allows us to create unconscious habits instead of having to think about everything all the time. If we had to think about everything we do, it would take up way too much mental energy.
Let’s use walking as an example. It’s not involuntary, we decide to do it. We decide to take every step. Now what if you had to think about each of those steps? Pick left foot up, move it forward, put it down, pick right foot up, and so on. Thank goodness we don’t have to! Instead, our brains have pushed walking back into our subconscious and it seems as if we’re not putting any thought into it at all. Walking is a habit.
What’s happened for the person I talked about above is that they have eaten in this habitual manner so many times that no conscious thoughts need to be thought anymore before the eating happens.
What needs to be done here, is uncovering those thoughts and bringing them to your conscious mind. You need to find out what those unconscious habitual thoughts are because they are what’s driving your eating habit.
To find them, start practicing self-awareness.
What I mean here is awareness of what you’re thinking and feeling.
As humans we have been given the gift of being able to watch our thoughts and even redirect them. We can think about what we think about and we can decide to think differently. It’s amazing!
But so many of us don’t take advantage of this gift and just live on autopilot, thinking whatever happens happens, and that we have no control over what we do, how we feel, or what we think.
Choosing to live that way is not going to give you the results you want in your life. It’s going to keep you stuck right where you are.
To start practicing self-awareness, take just 5 minutes to free write whatever you’re thinking. No editing, no judgement, just get your thoughts on paper and see what’s in your head.
This is called a thought download because you’re literally downloading your thoughts onto paper from your head.
You might be surprised by what you see.
The best times to do this are when you’re feeling an emotion you don’t like or during a time when you typically binge.
See what comes up. See what thoughts and feelings are driving you to want to binge or want to eat when you’re not hungry.
When you’re finished writing, don’t just walk away. Read it over.
Look for all the negative thinking. See what emotions come up for you when you think about those thoughts.
Remember, your thoughts create your feelings and your feelings drive your actions so in order to know why you do anything, you have to know how you’re feeling and what thought is creating that feeling.
If you have no idea what you’re thinking, it’s because your thoughts have become so habitual that they’re now subconscious. To bring them to the surface, start writing. Do the thought download. Really do it.
Being able to look at thoughts on paper is hugely different that letting them swirl around in your head. When you’re able to see the words in front of you it makes it so much easier to separate yourself from them so you can observe them from a compassionate place.
Now go write!