Words of Encouragement Needed for This HealthyGirl.org Reader…

Hi guys. HealthyGirl.org reader Rachael, 21, left a comment this morning that I just had to share with you—and ask you to please weigh in on:

Can someone help me please? I have been stuck in a cycle of binge eating for the last 3 months. Every day. I’ve had this problem for over 6 years now but usually there is at least a few days a week where I eat fairly normally and exercise. I’ve done neither in 3 months. I feel like crap! How do you guys pull yourself out of these holes? Every morning I wake up with food hangovers, feeling sluggish and I look at my ever expanding body and just think “whats the effing point?”. I need some words of encouragement if anyone has any. Feeling very hopeless.

OK, first: Rachael, you deserve some credit for even reaching out and saying the word “help”—it’s hard for a lot of us to admit that we want and need it. So, try to give yourself at least a tiny, mini pat on the back for doing that for yourself. Let me just say that I feel as if I’ve been in a similar “hopeless” state as you feel you’re in countless times before during recovery. Things would be going fine and then, suddenly, I’d slip into a deep, dark binge hole and it felt like I was never going to be able to crawl out of it. But I did. And you know how? (This is such a common occurrence among us—just read Jessica’s story.)

I kept putting one foot in front of the other. And kept trying new things. Whatever you have been doing to help yourself get better from BED, perhaps this little three-month backslide is trying to tell you that you need to change it up. Need to add something to your recovery toolbox. Look at it with some curiosity—what the heck happened before and during these months that could’ve helped create the need in you to binge like this? Because it is a need, you know—not a weakness. You have been needing something; comfort, stability, emotional release, acceptance, support, something, and your default (like so many others of us) has been to search for any and all of that in food.

Speaking of support, have you ever tried a group? I know you’ve been part of this HealthyGirl.org group online for a long time, and that’s important, and it can help, but like I said, I found that each time I pulled myself up and out of a slump, I had to kind of step it up, add something to my recovery or push it forward in some way. (They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results!) And going to a group, which I did for three years, helped me immensely. Or, have you been reading any emotional eating/bingeing books lately? (Here’s a suggestion from one reader, and some others from me.) Any little thing you can do to move yourself forward can and will help.
Recovery takes a lot longer for some of us than we would like. But it can and does happen. It really does.

Now, all, please feel free to add your own insights and tell Rachael what you have done to get out of the spot she seems to be in now—’cause I know we’ve all ben there! xo…Sunny

15 Responses to Words of Encouragement Needed for This HealthyGirl.org Reader…

  1. Trish says:

    The first thing that got me on the way out of my hole? Remembering that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and magically be out of this rut — it’s going to take A LOT of time…So don’t abuse yourself when you don’t just change over to “normal eating” in one day! Give yourself more credit. Believe it or not, you are already on your way to getting better by recognizing the problem and asking for help. The next step? My suggestion is that after you have a binge, go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a mile-long walk — maybe just a walk around the block in your neighborhood. It will clear your head, and make you feel slightly less bloated and full. It’ll get you out into the fresh air, and maybe even kick start your desire to get exercising again… and while you’re out there, forget about the binge you just had. I’m serious — don’t. think. about. it. I know that is difficult at this point in your recovery, but go out and think about ANYTHING but binging and weight — bring an ipod, play a game on your cell phone, etc. Because the more you guilt yourself and abuse yourself, the further you dig your hole. YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO ABUSE YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU HAVE B.E.D.!! You are worth more than what and how much you eat. Good luck!!!

  2. Barbara says:

    I have gone through many of these cycles in my life…periods (sometimes long periods) of sanity, and then BAM! I’m in a bingeing cycle. I just came out of one, so I am close on the heels of where you are now.

    Oddly enough, the first thing that usually helps me is to give myself permission to be where I am. To know it won’t last forever and that something eventually will eventually get me unstuck, because I’ve always come out of those before.

    Instead of fixing the food part, I usually ask myself…what triggered this? Why I am resorting to this behavior? Usually (for me), it’s one of the old standbys: I’m feeling lonely, unloved, abandoned, etc. This isn’t to say I haven’t binged for no reason, but when I am in a cycle that I can’t break, it’s usually one of those reasons for me.

    Logic usually DOESN’T help in these situations. Saying that you should love yourself or know better doesn’t help….instead, try compassion. Tell yourself that you’re doing the best you can, give yourself permission to be where you are, and always ALWAYS love yourself.

    I don’t know you, but I can promise you I am sending you all the love and compassion I have within me! You are not alone!

  3. Astrid says:

    Is there something that you love to do that you haven’t done in a while? Something not food related. Like going to see a play, painting, writing, going to a museum, etc. Connect to yourself and your passions again and see what has been missing. The best part about being in the slump (yes, there is a positive part) is that you can finally put your feet on the ground and climb back up. Ask yourself what you need right now. For now, I am sending lots of hugs your way!

  4. Erica8 says:

    Hey Rachael,

    First off, Sunny is right — you might not even realize how much you are helping yourself just by taking the time to reach out this morning, and you absolutely deserve to congratulate yourself. And to go along with what Trish said above about Rome not being built in a day, here’s another oh-so-true saying that has helped me through life’s low points: The only way out is through. Meaning sometimes things have to get worse (a lot worse) before they can get better. The struggles you are experiencing now may be necessary for you to grow as a person, so instead of looking at your situation in a negative, “why me?” manner (which is totally understandable because I’ve been there, and it SUCKED), try writing down, whispering, or mentally thinking the words THANK YOU. Thank God or the Universe or whatever you believe in for this tough time because girl I promise when you get through it (yes, WHEN, not if), you are going to come out 100 times stronger, and you will have learned so many positive things. You may have lost several battles but you WILL win the war, no matter how long it takes!!! xoxo

    Sending you love, health, & happiness,

    • Katie says:

      Another favorite saying that relates to the one Erica shared: “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”

  5. Kensington says:

    I agree with what the others have said about this taking some time to figure out and overcome. As cliche as it sounds, admitting you have a problem is the first step. I say that because with BED so many people don’t even know it exists or that they have it. I was shocked to find out I had it 10 years ago but also relieved to put a name to it. I have since recovered in full.

    You might want to check out this link on how to build a Recovery Toolbox:

    • Sunny says:

      Thank you for this link, Kensington! I would like to include more from something-fishy on HealthyGirl.org-we should talk: sunny [at] healthygirl.org.

  6. Carly says:

    After struggling with binge eating disorder for years, yesterday I finally went to see a counselor to get help for my problem. I had been bingeing really badly for the past week, and I could feel myself spiraling into a really scary, dark place. Taking that step and seeing a counselor has already made me feel a little better and a little less out of control. I think one of the most important things every binge eater should know is that it is REALLY difficult to get out of this by yourself. I thought I could get control of it and cure myself, but I finally realized that I need help if I ever want to rid myself of this disease. To any girls reading this who are in a dark place and struggling, PLEASE get help. Take that step and talk to someone. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you’re strong enough to want to get yourself out of this dark place once and for all.

  7. Sarah says:

    I just read a great book called “the me i knew i could be” by Crystal Phillips. She lost 147pounds and deals with BED. She helped me put some things in perspective. I KNOW where you are coming from. I’ve only been working at this for a couple weeks, and I’m in a peculiar place right now, cause I’m at my parent’s house for 2weeks where food is usually a free-for-all!! I ALWAYS struggle when i’m home, and I’m usually alone. So, I needed to come clean with my mom and I asked her to help me. Plus, she’s on a new health kick, so she’s not keeping my trigger foods around. Praise God! I’m gonna journal and watch out for my emotions….stressful times, ya know? “it is a need, not a weakness”…sunny, that brought comfort to me. thank you!

  8. Rachael says:

    Firstly I just want to THANKYOU.

    The love & respect & advice you have just shown me is so touching. To reach out to a stranger with such positive comments is so lovely and I thank you thank you thank you!

    I find it difficult to broach this subject with friends because having never experienced it, they often don’t know what to say. Or say things like “just stop”.

    Secondly, I want to say that this morning I got up and went for a walk! My stomach hurt and I felt bloated but I did it. I put my feet on the beach and I walked for 30 mins.
    Its amazing how much exercise and being around nature picks me up in an instant. And yet its the first thing I let go when I get into my binging holes.

    Having disordered eating for so many years means I have read so much on nutrition, meditation, exercise etc. I KNOW what is good for me. I KNOW what makes me feel better - but I put that all to the side to punish myself. What I really need to work on is why I hate myself so much. The rational side of me thinks I’m kind of awesome, with great qualities. But somewhere lurking in my subconcious is a massive b*tch who is out to get me!

    There is a B.E.D support group (the first of its kind for where I live in Sydney) coming up late September. my name is on the list, I’m just waiting.

    I’m going to print off everyone’s comments and read them as much as possible. Your suggestions are fantastic.


  9. Heather says:

    I think it’s a fine balance between focusing on recovery and focusing on life. Recovery has to be made a priority, especially at first and at varying points therein after.Life, however, will keep moving forward and it’s important not to let recovery become what the BED/other ED was - a crutch, an escape, an excuse. Very difficult to do and best done with professional support, at least at first.

  10. LovesCatsinCA says:

    This may sound weird and new age, but there is an energy technique that uses the acupuncture idea of the “governing meridian” to clear fear and anxiety from your system. You rub your hands together to make them warm, and then trace from your upper lip backward to the back of your neck either once or three times depending on what the protocol says, and say the statements. I don’t even believe in stuff like past lives but it works so I don’t argue with this. Just try it.

    The Governing Meridian runs the opposite way; this is supposed to unblock energy in it while you pay attention to your fears. I am not sure exactly how it works but it has stopped total panic attacks for me.

    Step 1: Say once “I now release all my fear blocks about causing my !
    Examples: I now release all my fear blocks about feeling emotions causing my bingeing.
    I now release all my fear blocks about my body size causing me to feel hopeless…
    I now release all my fear blocks about being good enough causing me to punish myself with eating…

    Step 2: Run a hand over your Governing Meridian 3 times while repeating each of these five phrases three times.

    -I NOW release all fears of failure in my ancestral DNA, this life and all past lives causing
    this condition. I forgive and bless myself and all involved.
    -I NOW release all fears of having too much success in this life, my ancestral DNA and
    all past lives causing this condition. I forgive and bless myself and all involved.
    -I NOW release all fears that I am not safe in this life, my ancestral DNA and all past
    lives causing this condition. I forgive and bless myself and all involved.
    -I NOW release all fears that the bad times will never end in this life, my ancestral
    DNA and all past lives causing this condition. I forgive and bless myself and all involved.
    -I NOW release all fears of being rejected and abandoned in this life, my ancestral
    DNA, all past lives causing this condition. I forgive and bless myself and all involved.

    Step 3: Run a hand over your Governing Meridian SLOWLY repeating each of the seven chakra statements ONE time.

    -I NOW release all 1st chakra fears and feelings of:
    Worthlessness, overwhelm, humiliation, failure, being unsafe, shame, terror that I can’t
    provide for myself and family, distrust in the Divine Plan, not deserving love or success.
    -I NOW release all 2nd chakra fears and feelings of:
    Guilt, being a failure at relationships, creativity blocks, feeling pissed-off, jealousy, envy,
    hiding my emotions, passions and desires, discomfort with my body, sensuality or sex.
    -I NOW release all 3rd chakra fears and feelings of:
    Not trusting others, victimization, life spiraling out of control, overwhelming responsibility,
    resentment, being taken for granted, identity loss, low self-esteem & self-confidence.
    -I NOW release all 4th chakra fears and feelings of:
    Being unlovable, refusing to forgive or love myself and others, grief, abandonment or
    rejection, being broken-hearted, unworthy, vulnerable, out of balance.
    -I NOW release all 5th chakra fears and feelings of:
    Inability to speak my truth to others, unable to safely express myself, can’t trust my inner
    voice and instincts, unspoken anger and rage at myself or others.
    -I NOW release all 6th chakra fears and feelings of:
    Never having powerful intuition or insight, inadequate imagination, needing to judge other
    people and situations, intellectualizing and not seeing truth.
    -I NOW release all 7th chakra fears and feelings of:
    Being disconnected and distrustful of my higher self, foggy and unfocused thinking, afraid
    of what happens when I know my higher truths and needing answers outside myself.

    Step 4: Think of whatever negative thoughts or feelings you had right before this, and see if you still react or feel the same. If you do, do this again. Or if there is some variation of the original thought, you can clear that. Don’t do this too much at first as it can be a little overwhelming-and drink water!


  11. LovesCatsinCA says:

    PS if you want more info on the technique, it’s called “FREED” and it is by Colleen Flanagan. You can google her if it works for you, and want to buy her ebook on it.

  12. Lucy says:

    I’m pretty new to the site and just looking through old posts, amazing! This is the exact situation I am in at the moment and these words have helped me a lot :)

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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.