If I were the superstitious type, I would have thought I jinxed myself. I had recently told a few people: my husband, my Naturopath, my coaching group. I said out loud, “I don’t binge eat anymore.” And then Saturday afternoon after a big shopping trip, I came home, made a plate of crackers and cheese, and pretty much ate everything on the plate. As expected, I immediately felt disgusted. And because I am now coaching women on how to listen to their bodies and change their relationships with food, I also felt like a complete fraud. If I can’t stop binging myself, how do I expect to guide others? My mind raced:
I shouldn’t be coaching women in this work. I’ll just go back to what I know.
I can’t believe I ate that whole plate of cheese and crackers. I even had gluten. Why do I make choices that will make me sick?
I have tools, I should be using them! What is wrong with me?
My belly feels so bloated. I’ll need to hide that so no one suspects.
From the outside that evening, I appeared quiet, reserved, and disconnected from my family. I probably seemed a little melancholy. I went to bed early and wrote in my journal.
This is what binges do. They absorb us into a shame cycle. They have us questioning and doubting everything about ourselves. Our body feels sick; therefore, we assume everything about us is sick too. Binges make us withdraw from the world. We don’t want to show our disgusting selves to the people we love around us. After all, they must be judging us the same way we are judging ourselves, right? This episode refreshed my memory of how destructive binges are because the binge eater withdraws, hides, and feels terrible and full of shame.
We are disconnected from our bodies when we binge and overeat. I clearly felt disconnected on Saturday afternoon and resorted to an old habitual pattern. When I woke up Sunday morning, I reminded myself that I have a choice where I focus my energy. I can beat myself up about the afternoon before, like I have in the past, or I can see my experience as an opportunity to go deeper in my own healing. I’m choosing to go deeper.
As I look back to my earlier declarations of binge eating being something of my past, I realized there was a part of me that felt being binge-free was too good to be true. I secretly worried that all of this healing and new learning would disappear. I know now this process is not a delicate one. Our practice of connecting to our body grows stronger the more we listen to it. I don’t need good luck to be aware of my body. My journey to freedom around food and body struggles may have it’s share of up and down and side trips. I’m okay with that. I’m also really okay with not being perfect. I’ll take confidence and connection over luck and crossed fingers any day of the week.