Stop Obsessing: Keeping the Peace through the Holiday and Beyond


Today’s post is by Kari Anderson, DBH, our binge eating specialist at Green Mountain. Last weekend, she led our first emotional and binge eating intensive weekend retreat. She’ll be a regular contributor to A Weight Lifted, where you’ll learn more about her trademark “of course!” 

Obsessing, Holiday Stress and Binge Eating

stop obsessing holiday binge eatingAs I reflect on the Binge and Emotional Eating Weekend Intensive held at Green Mountain at Fox Run last weekend, I get a feeling of peace and calm.

You see, the binge eating mind is continually obsessing.

  • When will I get to be alone to eat?
  • What will I eat?
  • Where will I stop to get it?
  • How will I hide the evidence?

[step]1[/step]The Frenzy And Excitement Stage

I call this the frenzy and excitement stage. There isn’t any obsessing when the binge occurs, because that’s one of the purposes of bingeing, to shut off the brain for a while.

[step]2[/step]The Self-Loathing Stage

Unfortunately, the aftermath of the binge creates more obsession. It’s the self-loathing stage.

[div class=”callout-right”]Read This Related Article:
Overcoming Binge Eating: Moving from Self-Loathing to Self-Care[end-div][quote]I did it again, I’m such a failure!
I feel like crap! I’ve got to get control of myself![/quote]

[step]3[/step]The Planning Stage

Then comes the planning phase. This is the obsessional focus on finding the perfect diet to get me back into control.

  • Counting weeks on the calendar and calculating
  • Finding a food log or journal that hasn’t been written in before
  • Creating a grocery list
  • Getting rid of (or eating) the things in the house I will not be eating once I start “being perfect”
  • Obsessing about losing weight so I can finally live my life and be happy

Read This Related Article:
When Is a Diet Not a Diet?

This is of course, lasts until I am stressed out and in need of some serious “me time” and I start obsessing about when I can get alone again to eat…Regardless of what obsessional phase I am in, I’m still obsessing.

Lessons From Our Binge Eating Intensive Weekend

In one short weekend, I saw peace and calm. I saw hope in the faces of those who participated in our intensive.

There is something liberating about sitting with people “who get you”, talking and talking…and talking until the shame becomes dimmer and dimmer.

Obsessions with food, the binge, self-loathing and diets fade away as the participants are given tools and strategies for a new way of thinking, feeling and being.

Slowly leaving fear behind and embracing empowerment. I can manage my stress. I can nourish my body. I can surround myself with things that I love. I can speak to myself with compassion. I can take care of my brain and my body, reducing my vulnerability. I can give myself a break. I can stop isolating and let others help me. These are a few of the messages that resonated among the participants.

One weekend can’t fix all your problems, but can begin to give you a Pathway for peace, a way out of the obsession and into the calm.

Empowerment: From Obsession To Peace And Calm

How can we maintain this state of being into the holiday season?

1 Maintain connection.

The holiday season is an extremely lonely time. Time to think, time to obsess. Focus on others, check in to see how they are doing.

2 Surround yourself with your favorite things.

Stimulate your senses with your favorite sights, smells, sounds, tastes and sensations of the season.

3 Take care of your brain so you can think clearly.

Get enough sleep, reduce your distractions, eat nourishing meals and get your blood pumping with movement. Remember, it is not about “being good”, it’s about “thinking well”.

4 Lastly, comfort yourself with self-compassion.

Validate your thoughts and feelings. Approach yourself with non-judgment.

Tis the season! Fa La La La La, La La, La La.

Of course!


We’ll be offering more emotional and binge eating intensive weekends in 2015, dates to be announced. In the meantime, our core program has been enhanced with a special track to address emotional and binge eating, beyond what we have historically offered. According to those who have taken part in the program to date, the combination is powerful.

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About the Author

Kari Anderson, DBH, LCMHC, CEDS

Having struggled with binge eating and weight stigma herself, Kari’s professional career has a personal passion driving it. She has been working with eating disorders for 25 years, with particular emphasis on Binge Eating Disorder. Kari has the unique ability to lead organizational teams and at the same time connect with individuals on a very real and compassionate level. Often referred to as someone who “gets it” by participants, she creates a safe environment. Prior to coming to Green Mountain, she positioned herself as a respected clinician and leader in the field of eating disorders. Having worked for treatment centers such as Remuda Ranch and The Rader Institute, she had the opportunity to help thousands of patients and their families. She earned her Doctorate of Behavioral Health with her research project The Mindful Eating Cycle: Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder at Arizona State University in 2012. Co-creator of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating for Binge Eating Program, Kari also co-authored the acclaimed book, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating: A Mindful Eating Program for Healing Your Relationship with Food and Your Body. Kari leads the Women’s Center for Binge and Emotional Eating at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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