Still Having Bad Food Days??

Well we are 12 days in 2021 so I thought I would kick this blog post off with a little chat on binge and emotional eating. This is the unspoken truth - binge or emotional eating provides you with important subconscious benefits. *yes benefits! You will have your own personal cocktail of benefits, but there are lots of common ones too.

  • Perhaps it’s an opportunity to switch your brain off and not think for a while. (me!)

  • Perhaps it helps you to procrastinate so that you don’t have to face the stress of a difficult decision. (me again)

  • Maybe it’s how you’ve learnt to numb yourself from not feeling good enough. (yep!)

  • Or perhaps it’s just comfort and an opportunity to connect with yourself. (and yes)

If you deny yourself a binge for too long you have the fear of missing out. It starts to nag at you in the background. Slowly the cravings amplify and get worse and worse. So you try to take the edge off the cravings with “just a taste” of something. But of course “just a taste” is never enough. A few mouthfuls later and you realize that you’ve ruined your meal plan YET AGAIN! Your brain is a highly effective pattern recognition machine. Once you’ve repeated this pattern enough times your brain wants to keep it going for the familiarity. To your brain, familiarity equals survival. If a caveman finds food in one location, it’s worth looking in that same place again. If you find a parking spot in one location, you’ll find yourself gravitating to the same spot over and over again. We are creatures of habit. So if you’ve repeated binge eating enough times your survival brain will create a mistaken piece of software that you need to binge in order to survive. This is made all the more powerful if you’ve used food as a way to detach from stressful emotions like overwhelm or feeling inadequate. Your brain recognizes the pattern… Feel stressed (interpreted as a threat to survival) > eat food > stress (threat) disappears > crisis averted. This gets stored as the correct response. So now your survival brain is going to do whatever it can to keep the habit alive. It will have a bunch of tools at its disposal including: - “Eat now!!!! You need food!!!!” - “You know you’re going to binge eventually, you might as well do it now!” - “You deserve a treat. You’ve been working really hard. Go on, life’s for living.” - “Just this once…” - “Honestly I promise! This is the last time!” And one of the most effective tools your survival brain will use to keep the habit alive is categorizing time in blocks of time. This is where it’s either a good day or a bad day. If you categorize time in blocks of time now it doesn’t seem so bad to write off the day because you’ve been really “good” all week. So 5 good days, 2 bad days, net-net seems like a good deal! Of course logically you know it’s not true! BUT it’s a useful piece of data that you can pretend is true in those moments when you really, really want your numbing drug. When you really need to get that release from the stress, or distract yourself from the pain of not feeling good enough. Or simply when the only thing to look forward to in life is a binge filled weekend, and you don’t have the energy to make the bold, scary decisions necessary to transform your life... In that moment, believing your own story about, “good days” and “bad days” is all the justification you need. Now you can have your “screw it” moment without feeling guilty - that comes later! So one of the changes you must make is to stop categorizing time in blocks of time whereby it’s either a good day or a bad day. So try hourly resets! EVERY moment is a brand new moment that has never existed before. A brand new opportunity to make a new decision, to make a new distinction, to make a breakthrough, to turn your life around - or simply to turn this moment around. To make yourself proud. Even if you’ve just made a mistake and eaten something you regret. That moment is a brand new moment to prove to yourself that you can spot the mistake, learn from it, let it go and move forwards with a newfound sense of pride, confidence and self belief.....

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