Thursday, January 27, 2011

Taming the Temper Tantrum - A Binge Eater's guide

Have you ever found yourself in front of the freezer with a pint of your favorite frozen treat thinking you would just have a couple of bites, then you wake from a trance like state to find you ate almost the whole container?

Have you ever found yourself on an eating rampage that feels out of control? Too many cookies or donuts later, you feel horrible both physically and mentally?

The thing that most adult binge eaters don't realize is that 1. They probably are having physical responses with food that are not helping any, such as low blood sugar. 2. We all have all ages we have ever been inside of us.

Since I address the physical issues all the time and a quick session on how food works can give you everything you need to zap that forever, let's look at number 2 and see how that relates to binge eating.

Binges are like temper tantrums. Just because you are not five anymore doesn't mean you wouldn't like to shout and scream and get your way and not do what you don't want to. Some soothe themselves with food while others get a nice dopamine boost from sexual exploits or shopping addictions or travel, or narcotics themselves. Food can certainly be a drug.

I ask clients with kids if they would allow their children to eat a whole packet of cookies or a dozen donuts at a time? How about a liter of soda or a pan of brownies? I've never had anyone say "Oh sure." Responsible parents teach their kids to have some healthier foods and treats are a small part of the diet. Yet these same adults were often waiting to grow up so they could have all they wanted. It's like they allow their inner 5 year old to run amok.

To tame a temper tantrum, you get to start saying no to yourself. You get to scoop one scoop out into a bowl or put the square of brownie on a plate and enjoy it like a 3 year old instead of wolfing down as much as you can as fast as you can as if you are in a pie eating contest. You don't win anything except feeling poorly and weight gain.

Watch how you might be planning a binge and plan something else instead. Start using your own parenting skills on yourself and also give yourself some positive feedback for doing so well. Maybe you didn't get that part as a kid but you probably do it for your own kids. You tell them when they do a good job, you hug them or praise them in a way they feel good. Often binge eaters are looking for a way out of pain and wanting to have some fun and feel good about themselves. Binging only makes them feel terrible instead, which in turn drives them to want to binge.

Choose your foods wisely and start acknowledging those ages that are rearing up in you. You may want to work with someone to get peace with those parts of you that are trying to get your attention. Maybe something happened at that age you never fully dealt with. You can now. Stop the binges and start feeling great inside and out!

No comments: