How I started to get out of the binge cycle

The cycling on binge eating is a hard one to break. I was stuck in it for about 2 years, eating healthy breakfasts/lunches then having a huge dinner or eating 'clean' in the week and then having 'cheat meals' on the weekend, starting all over again the next week. So while everyone's relationship with food is really different here's a list of things that really helped me which I wanted to share.

Change your response to the binge

For me the thing that really helped me was to stop was changing my response to a binge. Usually, I would start to panic and then start the dieting and restricting the next day, limiting what I ate and only eating 'healthy' foods no 'naughty' foods allowed. But this meant that the cravings came which again would result in a binge.

So instead of beating myself up after a binge, I would care for myself even more. I would paint my nails or do some restorative yoga, something which felt like a hug. The next day I would continue to eat normally. Listening to my body. 

Listen to your body

After a binge, I would try and eat normally and really try and tune into my body's needs. If my body wanted chocolate, I would feed it chocolate, if my body wanted salads and veggies, I would give it that. If I wanted to go for a run I would go. The intention behind eating well or moving my body was not about losing weight but about listening to what I needed. Our bodies are so intelligent and it's easy to forget this, always allowing the mind to take over. 

When I first started listening to my body, I for sure put on some weight. My body wanted all the foods I deprived it of, all the foods I would restrict like crisps, cookies, chocolate. But then it started to settle down. 

Somedays it is still really hard to know what my body wants. I can sometimes be walking around a supermarket repeatedly asking my body what it feels like and have no answer.  But it takes practice, I've closed my ears to my body's real needs for such a long time and I'm slowly developing the trust I have with my body and believing what it needs. 

Ask yourself what you really need

For me, I went to food when I felt lonely. I used it to mask my real feelings. So after a binge, I would then journal, and ask myself how I felt. Even before I was about to eat 10 cookies, sometimes when I had enough awareness I would even make a cup of tea before a binge or again write down how I felt before the binge. Like a lot of things the  key is awareness and this takes practice.

I fell of the bandwagon so many times and continually had to keep working to help myself get better. So be kind and patient with yourself. Like you would a friend or a loved one. I think that the relationship we have with food can be very complicated, with lots of different factors impacting it, so we have to slowly unravel and unpick the deep rooted patterns we have created. It may take time, but it's absolutely doable.