3 Ways to Shift The Urge to Binge

My biggest breakthroughs have happened when I really got that I had to shift my internal perceptions, not the external behaviors. Because the perceptions drive the behaviors, it’s like a ninja move.

So the next question becomes, how do you shift your perception? There are 3 main things I’ve found to work for me.

1. One of the best ways I’ve found are to do things that are radically outside of my normal habits, routines or behaviors. When I do this, I then return to the familiar routines, but I have altered my perception slightly. In this way, I can alter the usual spin of thoughts urging me to binge.

So that might mean indulging in my favorite food with candles, music, etc. and making a huge event out of it. Or it might mean finding a homeless shelter and dishing out soup on a rainy afternoon. Or going to a workshop to meet new people, to surround myself with different ideas. Whatever it is, I know that when I’m getting in a rut, I need to be responsible for changing my state so I can change my thoughts. Usually the easiest state to alter is the physical state, because emotional states can be much harder to manipulate.

2. Secondly, I had to honestly give myself compassion and permission to eat what I truly wanted. I started with allowing myself a week of eating whatever I wanted–with the guideline of eating when hungry and staying present to the thoughts in my head as I ate. If I stayed focused, I would notice a subtle feeling when I reached “enough”.

At that point, I had to use all of my mental muscles to assure myself I had enough and to put the rest away.This meant using the rational, “higher” part of my brain (the neo-cortex) to assure the primal, “animal” part of my brain that I would be fine if I put the food away.

My primal urges always want me to hoard the good stuff, because I might not get any again. If I was living in a cave hunting my food each day, this is completely relevant and helpful. But, though our modern society has evolved very rapidly in the last 2000 years, our primal brains have not kept up.

The first time I was able to stay conscious and put the remaining food away when I had “enough”, I was shocked. I didn’t think I could, but I did. I felt powerful! I don’t always succeed, but like anything, this takes practice. I go through ups and downs with this, but remind myself that I’m human.

3. Thirdly (the one that’s taken the longest time), I’ve poured into self-help materials and courses long enough to realize that I’m more than my body. It sounds cliche, but this is a biggie. I understand that my primal urges for Milky Ways are not rational and I can choose to not act on them. There’s bigger things in life to get obsessed about.

Relating to yourself as someone that has a unique gift to contribute to the world takes your focus to a bigger playing field. Food can be a comfortable distraction that keeps you playing a smaller game in life. It’s easy to stay wrapped up in beating yourself up. The alternative is going out into the world as the greatest version of yourself, acting like any day could be your last. Saying what’s really on your heart, figuring out how to do what you’ve dreamed about but never thought you would really do. These things take up more time, energy and thoughts than thinking about food.

If I’m being straight with you about food being an issue for me, I can say that it comes and goes.

I can go weeks and feel comfortable, then have a week where I eat more than I’d like for 4-5 straight days. The difference is now I let myself do that, and I have learned to “watch” my thoughts and urges. I realize the urges are there due to habit or a triggering emotion or situation.

If I allow the urges to be there and not make them wrong, I can study them and feel them–but make a conscious choice not to indulge them. At this point I try to find something to do that’s radically outside of my normal habits/routine to shift and get juiced up again.

Is there something fascinating to you that’s new or out of the ordinary you might try this week, to shake things up a bit?

If you want step-by-step guidance to break through your habit of overeating or binge eating, my Binge Eating Breakthrough ebook is for you. You'll learn powerful tools and distinctions to be able to understand and overcome your urges to eat more than you want. You'll also learn step-by-step strategies for managing your cravings and feeling control with food.

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