binge eating 101 – a how-to guide to binging like a champ
Warning: Some may find the content triggering.
TODAY FUCKING SUCKED.
The why does not matter. The details do not matter. And, one thing can help.
You weakly protest, but deep inside you know that it’s a binging kind of night. Now we both know that it’s probably going to happen. It will make you feel better. You know it will.
So let me show you how.
Yes, there is a right way to binge.
Today, I present the last binging manual you’ll ever need.
step 1 – SECURE SUPPLY
Buy the binge food of choice.
What is it going to be? You may already have a “menu” in your head. The script. The way this usually goes.
Are you heading to a local grocery store and pick up couple of pints of ice cream with all the fixins – maraschino cherries, whipped cream and walnuts? Drop by a bakery and buy a spread of freshly baked pastries? I have never been one to binge on sweets alone. Give me an actual meal, will ya? Then I will finish off with dessert.
You may order an extra large pizza with extra cheese, mushrooms and ground beef. Or mentally check out during a social dinner at a Chinese buffet – plate after plate.
Make sure that you buy more than you can possibly eat in any one sitting. Do not snack in the car. Your binge has not started yet. Just a little bit of patience, my darling.
You are doing this binge properly. Like a champ.
step 2 – SET UP (no, really… set up!)
Come home, and take off your shoes and coat. Normally you may throw them on the floor. But today you will hang the coat up and put away your shoes.
You are not rushing this one. You are going to binge, and you are going to enjoy it, damn it.
Wash your hands.
Light a couple of candles. Put on some music while you are getting ready. I prefer classical music. It has that “Silence of the Lambs” feel to it. [Hannibal Lecter listens to Bach’s Goldberg Variations, if you are stickler for details]. Ennio Morricone also works really well.
Open a bottle of wine, pour a bit into your glass and let it breathe, while you unpack the food.
Take the food out of the takeout bags, packages, containers – place everything on the counter first.
Zen master Suzuki Roshi said: “To control your cow, give it bigger pasture”.
With enough wide open space the cow relaxes. So, provide a wide open space for yourself, so you can relax into the binge.
Take out few plates, and transfer the food from the takeout containers to plates.
Get some cutlery, pull up a chair and sit down.
step 3 – ADMINISTER
Dig in. But… SLOWLY.
Chew each bite. Close your eyes. Lick your fork. Think about your day. Feel sorry for yourself.
It has been a tough day. It truly sucked. Go back to all the details. Ruminate.
What was it like? What was it about? How did it feel?
What did she say?
Take another bite. Slowly. Focus on each flavour.
The doughy warm bread layered on your tongue, its elastic texture under your teeth, with just a bit of give. Chew some more. Notice how the texture changes.
Is that music still playing?
Acknowledge how your stomach is feeling.
Is it empty?
Is it full?
The answer does not matter. But notice it.
Roll around the flavours on your tongue.
Salty? Sweet? Sour? What about the texture? Crispy? Smooth? Soft? Hard? Crunchy? Creamy?
Is it hot? Or cold?
Do you tuck some food behind your cheek as you chew the rest?
Is your body relaxing as you eat?
Do you feel calmer?
Can you catch the bite after which you feel full? Can you catch the first bite that feels slightly uncomfortable? Slightly overfull?
Are you still physically hungry? And it’s ok if the answer is no, but you still want to keep eating. You will eat however much you want today. You are binging, after all. But can you catch that moment in time when you cross the line between physical hunger and hunger for something else?
When do you usually stop in a binge? How do you know you’re “done”? It may be when the food is done. Or when you physically cannot eat another bite. Or maybe when you fall asleep at the table, or on the floor.
What will your finish line look like today?
Get curious. Sincerely curious. And observe. When are you “done”?
At some point your body will tell you that it’s full. You don’t listen. It is ok not to listen. Although it is now hard to swallow.
step 4 – TAKE A NAP (THEN RESUME)
Finally, you lie down on the couch. Just for few minutes. And fall asleep, just to wake up an hour later and stumble over towards the table once again, where the leftovers are waiting for you.
You eat some more. Don’t forget to sit down yet again. The food doesn’t really taste as good any more. It’s cold and you are still full, but you will eat anyway. You are not yet done.
This time it only takes a few minutes to feel the familiar tightness in the stomach. The full feeling which expands from your belly button and up into your throat, and crowds out any other feeling of emptiness. This is it, you recognize. This is the feeling. You can stop now. You are done.
step 5 – RELIEF.
Do you realize something?
Today was unlike other days. Today you binged. Slowly.
Today was a success. Success with red wine and candles and classical music.
You found it. You’ve felt it.
It was not about the food. It was never about the food.
And the binge was not done until you found that feeling.
Full and uncomfortable. The one that focuses all sensations on itself, and nothing else.
You looked at pain.
You acknowledged its existence, perhaps, for the first time.
You self-medicated. And stayed mindful through the whole thing.
You broke the rules tonight.
You, badass, you.
THAT is progress.
Next time you have an awful day, allow yourself to have an awful day for a while. Wallow. Feel sorry for yourself. What is the worst thing that could happen if you were to actually feel the feeling?
It may seem like the world would end. Try it for yourself. You may surprise yourself when the life goes on. It only feels like the end of the world. And yes, it’s just as scary as if the world was actually going to end. But once you realize the difference between the IS and FEELS LIKE, you can continue to sit with that feeling until it passes. Because that’s what feelings do. They pass. Every single one of them.
Those who love you, love you.
They do not care if you have a triple roll on your stomach when you sit down. They do not actually care if you run a 5k under 30 minutes. Or 20. Or 15. They also do not care how much you can bench press or how many push-ups you can do or whether you can do a muscle up.
What they care about is seeing you healthy and happy.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
You are loved.
Three times over.