I can remember oh so vividly my binge/restrict days. I would eat and eat and then spend the following week paying for it by only allowing myself egg whites, vegetables, and chicken, and spending hours at the gym. It was exhausting, draining, and all consuming; not to mention that all I could think about was food. It literally felt as though my life revolved around making up for overeating.
I was like a ticking time bomb at all times.
I’d last about a week before I’d dive head first into cookies and ice cream, then drown myself in shame, thinking to myself time and time again, “Why can’t I just get a hold of my eating and stop?!” And the irony of it all, is that what I thought I was in control of, was really controlling me.
Binge Restrict Cycle
When we overly restrict, ignore, or deny hunger, it will return with a vengeance. Deprivation triggers our body’s natural reaction to overeat, as it’s biologically wired to prevent against starvation. This is why our futile attempts to balance out a binge by not eating the next day will always backfire. Trust me.
And let me be clear- restricting can be as simple as denying yourself bread for fear that it’s too high in carbs or even under eating at a meal in an attempt to cut calories. Done consistently, even behaviors such as these can set us up to binge.
Avoidance is not the Answer
Our relationship with food is not improved through avoidance. When we begin to associate certain foods with a perceived lack of control or weight gain, our first instinct is to cut it out. However, this rarely changes or improves our relationship. Because as soon as we tell ourselves we can’t have something, it only gives that food power and makes us want it more.
This is why when we do eventually give in we’re often confronted with a total loss of control; reinforcing the belief that those trigger foods have to be avoided at all costs because we’re powerless over them.
I remember when I couldn’t eat dessert without bingeing. I never allowed myself even just one small cookie or anything sweet so when I finally caved, I would end up eating a dozen cookies or a pan of brownies.
Then, of course, I’d revert back to the restriction, believing I was incapable of eating dessert like a normal person, and would just continue the vicious cycle.
It wasn’t until I created allowance of sweets that I was able to diffuse the power and eventually stop at one or two, because I told myself that I could have them again whenever I wanted. And this, my friend, is key.
Resist the Urge to Restrict
It’s hard to do y’all! Especially when we’ve been fighting foods for most of our lives. But trust me when I say that as long as you deny, the bingeing will continue.
After a binge there’s a knee jerk reaction to go on another crash diet, detox, or cut out carbs. And sure, these things offers quick results, but have they ever worked in the long run? Well, I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but if you’re reading this, I’m going to go ahead and assume no.
And please don’t get me wrong, there’s everything right with striking a healthy balance that suits each person’s situation, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of restriction or deprivation. Ignoring a hungry belly or force feeding yourself salads, when what you really want is a sandwich, will only backfire.
Meet your body where it’s at, allowing it to let you know what and how much it needs, when it needs it. I can almost guarantee that when you do allow more permission and allowance you’ll find how little you need to truly satisfy and nourish you.
I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to reach out!