My, oh my where has the time gone?
It’s been nearly four years since I started my quest for a healthier, happier relationship with food.
We’re doing pretty well these days, food and I. Now, don’t get me wrong… we still have our moments, but we’ve come a long, long way.
And I couldn’t have done it without a little help from my “friends”.
So, it’s about time they got a little recognition, don’t you think?
Today’s blog is dedicated to 8 activities, practices, and tools that empowered me to keep putting one foot in front of the other, as I fought for my freedom in The Battle of the Binge.
1 Practicing Self-Care
What I now see as acts of self-care used to feel like exhausting, pointless chores to me. I never understood the appeal of taking an extra long shower, rubbing lotion on my legs, or wasting an hour of my precious time letting someone poke and prod at my toes during a pedicure.
Now I feel oh so differently. I am in love with those and these self-care activities:
- Cooking foods that I actually enjoy eating
- Applying facial masks
- Biore strips (who doesn’t LOVE seeing those blackheads meet their fate?!)
- Pushing on my neck and shoulder pressure points throughout the day to relieve tension
- Letting my significant other physically put his hand on my heart
- Bicycling on the beach
- Eating when my stomach tells me that it’s time
- Watching an hour of TV at night (all by myself) a few times a week
Acts of self-care don’t have to be time-consuming. In fact, if you’re anxious while doing it… find something else!
With every small act of kindness, every extra moment of attention, and every ounce of respect I give myself – I feel a little happier and little more connected with my authentic self.
And the more in touch I am with my feelings, the more I am able to understand and develop a more positive relationship with food
2Letting My Support System Help Me
I’ve scaled dozens of mountains, tripped over hundreds of ant hills, run into several walls head on… but I didn’t get over these obstacles, or get up from these falls, without my incredible support system.
These selfless individuals have pulled me over the other side of the mountain, dusted off the ants when my body was on fire, and yanked me back up from the ground – when I thought I’d stay down forever.
Related article: How to Support Women Who Struggle with Eating and Weight
Among the phone calls, text messages, letters, emails, and face-to-face conversations, they summoned strength from inside of me that I didn’t even know existed.
They helplessly watched me struggle before I was able to accept their help. They cheered me on when my personality started to take shape again. They didn’t give up on me when I slipped again… and again… and again.
3 Letting Go Of Blame & Making Amends
During my darkest binge hours (as I like to call them), I was walking around with a permanent haze over my eyes. For a while, I couldn’t understand why certain people in my life didn’t “stick it out and stay by my side”. But the truth is… I wasn’t very fun to be around. I was angry, bitter, judgmental, and moody as all hell. I lashed out with my words and ripped a hole in dozens of friendships.
My eating disorder is not my fault. How I felt was not my fault. But how I treated other people while I was hurting… is something I now take responsibility for.
I wasn’t trying to be malicious when I said hurtful things. I felt that I had no control over my binging, so I tried to control everything else in my life. Including the people in it. It was my way or… get the hell out of my apartment.
When I started this new chapter of my life, and the fog began to lift, I saw clearly for the first time in a long time.
I was finally able to let go of my anger. I accepted apologies and I gave them.
I asked for chances – not to excuse my actions, but to explain myself. I had kept nearly every one at arm’s length and only a few people knew I had an eating disorder. (For a lot of that time I didn’t even know I had an eating disorder.) And on top of that, Binge Eating Disorder wasn’t “real” yet to the general public.
As soon as I understood what I was going through – I started sharing my story.
4 Moving My Body
For two years, the most movement I allowed my body were walks to the MBTA station (a hop, skip, and a jump from my apartment), trips to the grocery store, and a single venture to the gym that left me feeling hopeless.
During my stay at Green Mountain, I was reminded how much I love the energy and excitement that blasts through my veins when I go for long walks, lift light weights, or dance around in a fit of happiness.
Related Article: 40 Ways to Add More Movement to Your Life
When I finally starting moving again, I felt like the chains that tied me down to the couch for so long were finally loosening their grip. Getting up and getting out made me feel unstoppable.
5 Listening To Music
From the time I get home at night until midnight, I’m alone. And even though I have a great support system via the phone, I can’t expect my family members or friends to be at my beck and call 24/7 – especially at 10:00 at night (the beginning of what used to be my peak “bingeing hours”).
So, after a little trial and error, I found that putting on music that fits my current mood helps me drown out my desire to boredom eat and calms my cravings to emotionally eat or binge.
Music can embrace me in my current moment or it can take my mind and plop it somewhere else – somewhere safe.
6 Letting Myself Eat: Testing My Trigger Foods
It took a LONG time before I was ready to go out on another date with Spaghetti.
I was terrified that this trigger food would pull me back into my bingeing dungeon. But it didn’t. And testing this trigger food was a beautiful moment for me. It reassured me that food wasn’t the only thing that mattered anymore. I could have my Angel Hair and eat it, too.
7 Realizing That There Is No Finish Line
When I first started this journey, I kept looking to the next day, the next week, the next month. Where will I be? Will I have gotten “there” yet?
Realizing that there is no there has been the most empowering step of all. This is a life-long journey… and while that idea felt scary at first, I now find it comforting.
I don’t need to meet a goal at any particular time. Changes, improvements, and setbacks, all come through the revolving door one right after the other. The “failures” are not permanent and they only hold as much power as I give them.
That’s why I stopped weighing myself as a benchmark of my success. That’s why I stopped obsessively measuring the circumference of my thighs as a sign that I was on the upswing… just because I was going down in size. That’s why I stopped thinking of eating too much as the end of the world as I know it. I stopped letting calories, pounds, and inches cram me in a box that I just don’t freakin’ fit into!
8 Writing This Blog
The Binge Eating Diaries is my safe place. I get to express, question, share (and at times over share).
Related Article: Journaling for Change: Finding Success One Blog at a Time
Writing has always been my outlet, but this blog that makes me feel like I’m a part of something. And because you keep reading… I get to keep writing it, which means that you personally have helped me on this journey. And I can’t thank you enough.
I’m so lucky that you’re here with me, reading this today – no matter where you are on your individual odyssey. We are crossing paths right now at this very moment. How wild is that? We are here – sharing this moment.
Now, as we go our separate ways let us remember that there is only one direction to go from here, my friends… and that is forward!
Until next time,
What behaviors or tools have helped you on your journey? Please feel welcomed to share below if you feel inspired.