Compulsive Eating and Binge Eating Disaster Plan
Congratulations on waking up each morning and greeting the day with renewed determination! Perhaps you rise and say, Today's the day - I will make it through the entire day sticking to my diet goals." What a wonderful, optimistic way to begin a fresh day. Ahead of you lies the promise of a new day, a fresh start.
Sometimes though, as experience has shown, good intentions alone aren't enough to overpower the urge to binge. This is where positive desire needs to be coupled with a sound action plan. Willpower alone isn't enough to overcome a craving, the desire to binge or compulsively overeat. What provides empowerment is a predetermined, personalized plan of action. An individual plan that was carefully thought out ahead of time and written down.
Think about it - when was the last time you 'easily' sidestepped a binge or craving? Or 'effortlessly' drove past the fast food restaurant when a craving hit? Chances are, the urge to eat was so strong that it blocked out all rational, goal oriented thought. In a moment of crisis, focus and optimistic intentions seem to disappear.
Believe it or not, the part of you that woke up this morning and firmly stated that today was going to be a success, is still there. A part of you does still want to make it through the day without overeating. Hidden somewhere behind the overwhelming urge to eat is that aspect of you that was so confident earlier. It''s going to be your job to go looking for it and to bring it back to the forefront. For this, you''re going to need some tools in your tool box.
When you're in the midst of a crisis is no time to be gathering new tools. Instead, during strong and confident times is when it's time to prepare your tool box. That way, when you need them they are already there. You'll just have to open the box and dig them out when needed. Use the guidelines below to begin preparing your personal plan of action to bypass a possible binge or craving.
A. "CRISIS STRATEGY LIST" Develop a list of things you can do, or have done in the past, to overcome the need to eat. When a crisis moment hits, you can decide which category or categories of ideas might help you through the moment. Include ideas in all the following categories:
DISTRACTION Ideas that bring pleasure and/or distance from food. Examples might include craft hobbies, walking, cleaning house, planting in garden, etc.
BEHAVIORAL STRATEGIES Options that help you deal with your environment. These strategies might include drinking water to see if you were really thirsty instead of hungry, throwing away the tempting food, inviting a friend over, etc.
SELF SOOTHING AND COMFORTING STRATEGIES Instead of using to food to calm or feel better, what are other ways that you can soothe your soul with? Examples could include a warm and fragrant bath, deep breathing, yoga, peaceful music, or going to the park to watch the trees and feel the wind.
EMOTIONAL NEEDS Find alternative ways to first identify and then cope with the underlying emotion you might be feeling. Talk to a friend or counselor, journal, begin to sit with the emotion, are just a few ways of dealing with an emotion instead of eating to suppress it.
After your list is completed, keep it in a place where you can easily get to it when needed (i.e. purse, refrigerator, etc.). Revise or update your list as needed.
B. PHONE LIST It is also important to reach out during times of crisis. During moments of urgency we often feel scared, alone, and out of control. Reaching out to someone during this time can help to relieve some of the distress that you may be having. It might also help to prevent a slip or set-back. Talking to someone about your feelings can remind you that others care for you and that you are not alone. Below write down names and numbers of compassionate, understanding people you can reach out to. While it may initially be difficult to "reach out and touch someone," it will gradually become easier. The person that you call will be glad that you trusted them enough to lean on them during a tough time.
NAME PHONE NUMBER
C. PERSONAL MANTRA
* I have the strength to stand strong for everything I believe in.
* I have the ability to change anything in my life that I choose to change.
* I take complete responsibility for my life.
* Everyday in every way I am growing more and more confident.
Begin developing your own personalized strategy now. Don't worry if it's not perfect or if you're not sure if the ideas you write down will work. It's an ongoing plan that you will revise, and continue to fine tune. No one strategy works in every situation. Take a look at your past successes and begin to note what occasionally worked. Notice also what did not work.
Copyright 2005, Dr. Annette Colby, all rights reserved.
Dr. Annette Colby, RD
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