I usually have about two to three binges a week. I have noticed that the binges continue to get smaller, lately I have felt a reluctance to call them binges, there just isn’t the same amount of food or the same gluttonous intentions anymore. I sense two things happening at the same time. One is that I am less willing to feel the bloat and discomfort of the excess food in my stomach and the other is that I am not as enticed by the thrill of it, nor as interested in going through with it. I am losing interest! For the first time in my 40 year battle with eating, I want peace and calm more than I want the food or drink. Well, blow me down! as Popeye would say.
That is a shift in my thinking that actually surprises me. I have tried to force myself to rethink how, what and how much I eat as a new standard to follow, but never has it come all on it’s own and been as persuasive as it have been since I began to practice the teaching’s of Buddha. The middle way, no extremes, gentle kindness, willingness to observe, and so much more.
The one teaching that has shifted my eating is the concept of being an observer of myself without trying to intervene. If I am in a shop and the desire to buy binge foods is present, I step back (inside myself) and watch what I think and what I do without any judgement or attempt to control or change it. It is an amazing experience! I have always grabbed binge foods and hidden them amongst normal foods in my basket, as though I could hide the intent. I would have mental conversations with the cashier, why yes, I may have junk food in my basket, but I also have healthy food. Surely a balanced diet!
Being my own observer was like knowing there was a hidden store camera recording every move and thought I had. I would pick up a packet of biscuits and found myself thinking a bit further ahead, like in how I would feel after eating the biscuits. I thought of the pain and discomfort, the disgust and regrets. Those are the very real end results that I always experience. I did not need to brow beat myself about ruining my current diet or worry about weight gains because that was only a possibility and too elusive to use as an effect prevention tool. No, I only let the real and immediate result be a part of the process of watching a binge formulate. The more often I did this, the less often I followed through with the binge and strangely, I actually started buying less. Instead, I developed new habits, like putting the binge foods that found a nest in my basket back on the shelf before going to the cashier. I also noticed that my thoughts seemed to have less edgy excitement as a catalyst. It’s stopped feeling naughty and secretive….it was after all, observed…by me.
Seeing oneself in unflattering situations is really uncomfortable. So I continued to be non-judgmental and as kind to myself as I could. No tears, anger, regrets, or repressing allowed. I would comment to my husband about my silly shop battles which ended up not being as shameful as I imagined because he had them too. I would take deep breaths and stop the flood gates of self hate swing open. So I when I did eat too much, I paid attention to it. Was this how I liked to feel? Is being stuffed and uncomfortable (even nauseated) really where I wanted to be? Not at all. When I ate foods that made my body and mind sing, I paid attention to that too. They were two different states I could experience, it was up to me which one was nicer.
I actually like feeling good. Imagine that! Instead of using guilt or motivational talks or scientific research to fuel eating changes, I let how I felt in my body and mind be the guide. I don’t think I was connected enough to my body when younger because I was fighting it so much. I let the weight scale and the diet dictate what I should eat and how much, now I let my bowl give me a boundary and the effects of the food be my guide to eating in a way that sings rather than hinders.
It doesn’t happen by decision making, it doesn’t click on like a light bulb, it’s not a rule to follow or a diet club to join. It’s shifting ideas until they feel balanced. It’s listening for the body to sing it’s song of nourishment.