Do You Still Secretly Binge?
I haven’t had the urge to binge in years though it used to be my primary method of coping with, well, everything.
If I’d had a bad day, come 4 pm, I’d fantasize about all the food I was going to eat when I walked in the front door. Chips, nuts, cheese, crackers, spoonfuls of peanut butter smothered with honey. All of it and probably all at once.
Thankfully, those days are long gone. It certainly wasn’t an easy road to shift my habits of numbing my feelings with food, but it has by far been the most rewarding. It’s given me countless gifts, including the path I now guide my incredible clients down.
And yet, every once in a while, I believe it’s good to get a reminder of where you used to be to see how far you’ve come.
And so, last week I was tested.
What could have caused such a relapse in binging behavior?
THE APPLE STORE ON A SATURDAY.
It was a regular insane day at Steve Job’s brain child. And that was fine. I could handle the crowds. I could handle being bumped into every 30 seconds. I could even handle the fussy toddler reaching for my sickly laptop. What I could not abide however was how, after an hour of unhelpful troubleshooting, I was told there wasn’t much they could do for me.
I saw RED.
I was furious and as if struck by lightning that brings to life things once deceased, I was suddenly obsessed with the chocolate cake in my fridge.
“What?” I thought.
“YES!” my brain replied. “Go home right now and stuff your face with that chocolate cake. You are pissed off, it will feel so good and you deserve it after all this bullsh*t.”
I quickly packed up my electronic menagerie and skirted out of the store. I fixated on the cake the entire ride home.
“I’m gonna eat it straight from the fridge,” I told myself. “Yeah, I’ll shove it into my mouth directly from the tin foil, then lick the wrapping to make sure I get every last morsel. There will be no “zen mindful eating” here. Just plain old-fashioned anger eating, served up cold.”
I walked in the front door, opened the fridge, pulled out the cake and as I was about to rip off the first luscious bite, I stopped.
“Jamie,” a little voice from the my lower abdomen, said. “I don’t really want this.”
“What?!?”, my brain replied. I decided to play deaf. I was locked onto this cake and determined to eat my anger away. I looked at the cake, warming in my hand, the frosting losing its chill from the fridge and again the voice came, “Jamie, I really don’t want to eat that.”
Now what is a food and body coach to do when such a voice appears? Answer it, damn it.
“OK then, what do you want?” I asked shortly.
“I want to punch the crap out of something!!” she said.
Well that answer was startling and awesome. What better way to get out the anger festering in my body than by punching it out? My body’s a genius!
I grabbed my gym bag, dropped the cake off at a friend’s house (he was all too happy to take it off my hands) and spent the next hour in kickboxing class.
Here’s what my “almost” binge reminded me.
Whenever we are overwhelmed by emotions, anger, sadness, confusion, loneliness, rather than stuffing them with chocolate cake, chips or any other food pacification, let yourself move it through physically. Take a wooden spoon to a pillow and lose your mind, punch it out at kickboxing, walk it off around your neighborhood or dancing it out at hip hop class. Whatever. Just let it out.
I never thought violence would be a weapon in my arsenal against emotional eating but I can tell you, it does wonders. Punching, kicking, yelling and screaming are some of the quickest ways to prevent getting sucked into a numbed-out emotional eating vortex.
So, the next time you’re pissed and suddenly nothing sounds better than cookies, cake or ½ a loaf of bread, trying punching something first.
Let your emotions out and move them through you. It may be exactly what your body was craving in the first place.
Big love and here’s to kicking ass,
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