This week’s piece takes its title from a book by one of my favourite authors- Geneen Roth. It’s one of the kindest books I’ve read that tackles compulsive/emotional eating. For those of you, who’ve ever been on a binge, you will know how powerless you feel to stop. It's almost like you go into a trance and don’t come out until you’ve consumed excessive amounts of food that you probably weren’t hungry for in the first place! The very act of preparing for a binge, gives you the chance to focus on what you’re doing and decide if it’s what you really want. If you really want to binge, go ahead, pull up that chair, set the table, get a plate and get going. The one caveat- you’ve got to taste every mouthful. No mindless gorging, just focused, mindful eating. Having used this technique myself, to be ‘present’ during a binge, I can assure you that it really does help you to catch yourself and work out what you’re really hungry for. As busy women, a lot of us feel guilty about taking time for ourselves. We give and keep on giving, until there’s nothing left for us. Food and eating are 2 things that we ‘allow’, so that we can take some time for ourselves, but most of us rush through our food, barely tasting it, feeling guilty, lest we take too long to eat it and neglect the 1001 other things we have to do.
During a typical binge, it’s a bit like being on autopilot. Hands up anyone who’s opened a packet of biscuits/sweets/treat of your choice, finished them all and had no recollection of having actually eaten them all?
The problem is, when you eat for reasons other than being physically hungry, you have no way of knowing when to stop. And not knowing where to stop is the very definition of compulsive eating. Before I sat down to write this week’s blog, I had breakfast and then made a couple more trips to the fridge to snack on a biscuit and some sweets. It took me a little while to realise that I was actually tired and was trying to overdose on sugar to energise myself. Sometimes, the kindest thing you can do for yourself is have a nap! The truth is, no matter how many sweets I ate, I wouldn’t have been satisfied, because that wasn’t what I needed at that time.
In this piece, I’d like to suggest a different, kinder way of doing things. My suggestion is that when you get the urge to binge or eat when you’re not hungry, that you take a minute to try and find out what’s really going on. This isn’t an easy option at first. It’s far easier to ‘eat’ our feelings than tackle them. But I promise you, the more you practice doing this, the easier it will become and the better you will get at identifying what you really need. Why should I try this, some of you might ask? My answer to you is that by continually stuffing your issues down with food, you are preventing yourself from becoming the fabulous woman that you are. Managing a problematic attitude towards food and being on a constant diet take time and effort. Time and effort that you could be directing elsewhere. Speaking from personal experience, I spent a lot of time, with my life on hold. Waiting for that time, when I would be at the perfect weight, so I could get on with the life of my dreams.
If any of this sounds like you and you'd like to get on with the rest of your life, why not contact us, to see how the Hungry Heart programme could help?
Until next week, go well.