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Q and A: Stopping the Urge

Posted Nov 06 2009 10:00pm

Hi Kelly,

I recently read your article about restricting and binging. I am currently having trouble with binge eating.
You wrote that the step to recovery is stop the binges, stop the urge. What helped you stop the urge to binge?
Any suggestions would be so helpful

Thank you

You kind of answered your own question in the question. You have to stop the binges first, then the urge goes away- you have to fight. It would be easy if it were the other way around- if you didn’t feel compelled to binge, you wouldn’t have to do it.

You have to fake it till you make it. White knuckle it. All those other cliches.

Of course its easier said than done. The first thing you have to do is decide that you have a choice. You always have a choice. Each bite of food that you put into your mouth is another opportunity to decide to stop. I used to have the mentality that, “well, I already started binging so I might as well finish it up because I blew bit already” but this is the wrong way of thinking- its just making excuses for yourself. Each step is a success, so if you stop one bite into the binge, or one bite

So what happens? You start to binge, and try and stop, but you get anxious. All you can think about it finishing your binge, and you won;t be able to calm down until you do. You might physically get shakey, or your heart might beat fast and your head spins (sounds like drugs, no?) but guess what? That feeling goes away. Research shows it goes away within an hour, but mine usually didn’t take that long.

The trick now is to distract yourself. You can go about it one of two ways: you can tackle it head on and try and sort through your feelings, or you can ignore them completely. Generally, in the beginning its best to just distract yourself, and do anything you can to pass the time: call a friend, go for a walk- but its usually best if you get out of the house and away from food until the urge goes away. Then, when you get better are resisting the urge, you can use your anxiety to try and figure out why you respond to food the way you do: why do I want to binge right now? what happened that is causing me to react this way? journal about it. talk to yourself out loud. Lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling and just listen to all the thoughts racing through your head and shoot each one down. No i dont need to binge. No it wont make me feel better. No this isnt going to solve anything. No this is not the person I want to be.

The urge will go away when you stop giving into the binges. You are binging because its the only way you know how to deal with your anxiety, but when you dont let yourself do it anymore, you will naturally lose the need to. The clearer your mind gets, and the better you feel about yourself after resisting a few times, you’ll start to realize exactly what triggers you and find a way to deal with it head on- not in a self destructive way. Good luck.

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