How to make it past two days binge and purge free

"If I make it through tonight this will be 2 days of binge and/or purge free! No idea how I will keep this up!" Beau

Thanks Beau for writing in with your challenge.


Let’s unpack it from the Eating Psychology lens and try to understand why this is happening and what you can do about it.


Remember that this approach is less about what you eat (diets etc) and more about who you are as an eater.


And right now, Beau is presenting as someone who eats and then purges food - bulimic behaviours. Without knowing what is causing this stressor / coping strategy (an important factor to determine in a coaching session) what could we do to help Beau get in the end result now?


And do I have an amazingly simple (and frankly fun) hack for you, so let’s dive in.


If you’re stuck and you can’t get past a certain threshold without reverting back to your food related coping strategy this can signal you’re stuck in a mental loop (negative feedback loop).



A mental loop is just a well worn thinking path that your mind is familiar with.


There will be highly valid reasons why that path is so well worn. Beau has a reason for bulimic behaviours, validation is important however, these well worn thinking paths are no more sinister than driving home from work and taking the same route. Despite their origins could be steeped in trauma, their ongoing nature is one of coping and protection.


The problem is that your mind is a jungle, and unlike roads that have sign posts, there are none inside your brain.


So first you have to stop expecting that you will go from being bulimic to not being bulimic overnight, you have to realise that you’re circling on a highway and it’s going to take some time to build an exit ramp to normal eating.


The first sign post you need to build is my hack called CELEBRATION.

Like Beau most people expect failure rather than success. He doesn’t realise that he already made it to one day purge free, completely bypassing that win as though it’s nothing, and expecting it’s a given to keep it up.


Let's draw an example: Imagine your kid comes up to you having built his first sandcastle, it’s pretty crap but he’s only three years old nonetheless, you ignore it. Then he builds another one, slightly better and you ignore that too, frankly it needs to be a work of art overnight or you’re just not impressed. Do you think he’s going to be interested in building any more sandcastles?


You may not realise it but CELEBRATION is the currency you can use to build your off ramp for the negative mental loop keeping you stuck.


If you gee up your three year old every single time he makes a sandcastle imagine the outcome versus ignoring him or telling him you’re not impressed.


When we celebrate we activate the reward centres of the brain and start to create new neural pathways to gain the thinking we so desire to transform our habits.


So instead of expecting yourself to become an intuitive eater overnight, celebrate being one day binge free!


Go overboard, tell yourself in the mirror what a great accomplishment this is, you’ve never done this before, you’re proud of what you have achieved. Don’t even think about tomorrow, thinking about tomorrow is like finally getting your bachelors degree and skipping the celebration because it’s not good enough until you have your masters. You need to make one day purge free or binge free a big deal. Then you need to make two days a big deal and so on. Call up a friend, tell a family member, journal about it.


Stop making out that you need to go from disordered eating to healed overnight, you don’t!

And the more you try and force yourself to or expect yourself to, the more entrenched your mental loop will become because you will be feeding yourself failure.


Your brain will want to convince you that it’s not good enough and this is where you really need to take control of the steering wheel of your brain…. and turn it to the CELEBRATION sign so you can create a new pathway through the jungle of your thoughts, take that off ramp a few more times and get to know slowly what it’s like going home in a new direction.


Remember no one else can control your thinking, you have to do this part.


#DoTheWork


It will be strange at first, but soon it will start to feel really good!


Imagine the feeling inside your body of celebrating a small victory!


Now imagine the feeling of ignoring it or feeling that it's not enough.


Which one FEELS better?


That second option is something you have been conditioned into, you can condition yourself out of it.


CELEBRATION is the first step Beau can take, it's a bridge between where he is now and where he wants to be... more days bulimia free and this is a great simple hack.




Also, be aware…. You will go back to purging and binging or whatever your coping strategy is.


Sometimes you will just have to take the well worn path.

Don’t be discouraged, just follow the CELEBRATION signs again when you’re ready.


This is how the road to recovery looks.


I know that we all want some simple quick fixes to get us over the intensity, a pill would be good, but I promise you CELEBRATING is just like a pill - if you allow it to be.


Your mind is powerful and you are in control.


Now tell me in the comments below you’ve achieved today and let me help celebrate you!


x Miriam

Certified Eating Psychology Coach

Psychological Science Major

Foodie


p.s. find out if the The Psyche of Food & Body is right for you by scheduling in an initial consult, completely complimentary! Book here.