How many times can you "Start Over"?

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AS MANY FREAKIN' TIMES AS IT TAKES - especially when it comes to conquering your eating disorder - or simply making difficult nutrition changes.

I love that you guys and gals continue to reach out for support as you're struggling with eating disorders.  There is no magic cure that I know of - like anything, it's a process and can be a bumpy road.  

I don’t' know if this will help but here is a checklist that I have used to "reset" myself after a binge.

  1. Don’t starve yourself. Eat. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but fasting after a binge will only make you severely hungry, which can easily lead to another binge. Stop the cycle. Drink lots of water. Lots of veggies and lean protein works best for me. You can’t change the past, but you can prepare for your present and future by feeding yourself whole, healthy foods to prevent a future binge.

  2. Forgive yourself.  Be very, very kind to yourself: Beating yourself up or criticizing yourself won’t make you change. Compassion and regret (not shame – there is a difference!) can. Create an affirmation that makes you feel better or write down what progress you've made.

  3. Move the emotions through your body. Take 10-15 minutes to "let it out" - walk, write, cry - just don't stuff the feelings you have about your binge. Again, find a routine that works for you - that clears your mind and helps you reset. Take a bath - meditate - you get the idea! I use to go for walks and tell myself all the reasons it was "gonna be ok" - Also, prayer works! 

  4. Have a starting over ritual. Showering, bathing, walking, brushing your teeth: any thing that signals to you that you are starting over, starting afresh or anew is helpful after a slip. Writing out my feelings is part of my ritual. I get out my notebook and write down: “I am angry…,” “I am sad/regretful…”, “I am frustrated…” This emotional house cleaning feels so good. When I was bulimic I sometimes "started over" 6 times a day!!

  5. Get back on track as soon as you can. When you slip up with a sugar binge, you usually have terrible sugar cravings for the next 3 or 4 days. If you are trying to get back on track, do what you need to do to support yourself through the sugar cravings. Outside support is often crucial. I would tell my family, “Lisa, slipped up and had some granola last night. Can you help me by encouraging me over the next few days? I’ll be craving sugar and could use some extra help.” Plan your food and set yourself up for success.

  6. Offer yourself comfort. When you’re feeling remorseful about overeating, you don’t need to berate yourself any further. You already feel badly enough about bingeing. What you need is comfort, compassion and kindness so that you can objectively look at what happened and find ways to act differently the next time. In my experience, this is the difference between blame and learning.

  7. Move out of your head and get support. We tend to distance ourselves from friends and loved ones when we’re overeating or when we’ve made a mistake. We feel ashamed for being imperfect, so we try and hide it. . Talk to a friend or journal. I was too ashamed to talk to anyone, so I turned to journaling but ideally sharing is best! It’s easy to delve into overthinking, where you get trapped into a mental rut, going over and over something in your mind. Telling/writing your story stops the spin cycle and enables you to find the exit ramp.

  8. Give yourself self acceptance. It’s easy to offer yourself approval when you’re on your “best” behavior. But what about when you’ve been overeating? Do you offer yourself love and support at those times, as well? How would you treat a friend who called you with the same experience? What would you say to them? Now, give yourself that same treatment!

  9. When you’re ready, examine what happened. Binges are fabulous learning opportunities. Try and examine what was going on: how were you feeling beforehand? What thoughts were running through your head? What expectations or shoulds ran the show? Write about the event and see if you can make sense of it. This can help you prepare for the next time. Think of how you can support yourself next time so that you can act differently. Identify your triggers.

  10. Identify areas of progress. After binges we often can't think of anything that is going well or that we've made progress in. After completing the steps above you should have a clearer head and be able to see the you beyond the binge. Take a few minutes to focus on your progress or on what is going right in your life. Choose 5 things that are "working" in your life and write them on your bathroom mirror. 

Make Goals - Goals -Goals - write them down! Make them realistic and know they won't happen overnight.

Also, I strongly suggest getting the Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Implement at least 3 things into your routine ASAP.