It’s been a while since I posted a blog on this site, usually going directly via FB or Twitter, but as this was going to be a slightly longer post I’m back on here!
So today, I was handed page 39 -40 of the Daily Mail as the headline “Binge eating is the hardest addiction to beat”was a bit of an attention- grabber for the likes of me.
The lady who wrote this article, Kate Battersby, I reckon represents are a lot of us who have been where she’s been, and have felt, just like her, that it really IS hard beat this particular problem.
Reading through her article, I found myself thinking how brilliant she was to write such a refreshingly honest article..because let’s face it, it is still really difficult for many of us who have suffered or who are still struggle daily with binge eating, to talk about it openly, because so few people still “get it”. They don’t “get” that:
It’s not greed
or lack of self control
or yo yo dieting
In fact it’s really quite difficult to capture what’s really going on for binge eaters and to call it an addiction isn’t somehow quite right either.
Programmes that suggest that food is an addiction that can be managed in the same way as, say, alcohol or narcotics, can miss the obvious point here- we can live without alcohol. We can live without cigarettes. We can definitely live without narcotics. But if we don’t eat- we will eventually die, if not from starvation, something will get us first as a direct or indirect result of not consuming nutrients. So binge eaters have to face their nemesis several times a day, every day- for life.
I want to pick up on just one particular section of this article here- I’ll be returning to this article a few more times as there are some interesting things to unpick- so, to the issue of secrecy. That’s not just about keeping the binge eating secret, but eating anywhere, any time, in secret. In the car, at work, in the toilet, or even at home, alone, with food that isn’t “allowed”………to be honest, anything that is consumed in fear or guilt, usually as a result of a draconian set of diet “rules”, is likely to eventually trigger a binge. For Kate, part of her recovery was to stop eating in secret. No more wrappers in the car. No more eating in the car, actually. Having a piece of cake but only in company- like “normal” people do, but never buying a cake as it is going to trigger a binge for her. Eating in the car is a pretty common trigger; it was a problem for me at one time, and was the first thing I stopped doing. Apart from that fact it’s illegal to eat while driving anyway, any food eaten while preoccupied doesn’t allow the brain and stomach to connect and trigger any “I’m full now, thank you” signs – how many of us have eaten on the hoof and really not tasted it?
Think about your secret eating. Secret/ hidden/ shameful/ guilt-ridden- why should you feel guilty about eating, ever? But those of us who binge eat generally feel all of these things.
Kate realised that there were some things that had to go. For her, one of them was eating in the car. There may be many triggers for you, and when people work with me we look at those in a lot of detail.
So, if you and I were talking today to identify those “safe” / “unsafe” places to eat, and when and where you were bingeing, and I asked you which one of those could you work on breaking away from, where would it be?
Just making that one, small change.
Not all in one go, but day by day, just changing slightly, taking back the control.
How would that make you feel?
It would be great, wouldn’t it?
It can be tough to realise that for some of us, some things just have to go- for good. It’s like many other illnesses in that respect. But life doesn’t end just because some things have to change- the converse is actually true. Change can be liberating. But first we have to recognise what’s holding us back. Good for Kate.