The Three Difficult Practices to Stop Emotional/Binge Cycle or( any habitual cycle)
We are creatures of habit and we get satisfaction from old chain of habits because we are afraid of feeling uncertain, of feeling grounded-less
We fear leaving the comfort zone;
the old habits that feels familiar and that we have identified with;
but if we got to the point where you had just enough,
where the comfort zone starts to bring discomfort ,
and you get to the point where you are so enthusiastic and so determined to have a fresh new start
Here are the fundamentals on how to top the chain of reaction , that intensifies the habitual cycle of emotional and binge eating. American Tibetan Buddhist teacher Pema chodron talks about "The three difficult practices" and how to cultivate fresh alternative.
I adapted her teachings which are the foundations to break any habitual cycle including Emotional/Binge Eating.
1- The first difficult practice when you notice yourself entering a pattern, i.e. symptoms of feeling tightening, feeling closing and withdrawal, when you notice an uncomfortable threatening such as when someone said something or something you did, and you get the urge to say something or do something to react just to get out of this feeling. So the first practice is to acknowledge that you have this urge instead of trying to get out of this urge. This get out of this urge is usually what makes us run away to food, so the 1st practice is to stay in the discomfort feeling (uneasy, insecure, anxious )so if you notice that urge, just acknowledge the feeling and let it go. Now, if you notice yourself caught up in the emotional eating episode (like you opened the fridge and ate that ice-cream pint) acknowledge that you are hooked, that you are on the default gear, that you are not grounded, that you are entering an old habit cycle, and say to yourself ‘I got caught, I got caught” , "this is an old habit". When you stay with the feeling of acknowledging you are caught up such as experiencing uncomfortable emotions or just started to use food , acknowledge and sit with it so you won't turn it into a whole episode of bingeing, which would lead to a whole season of dieting.
2-The second difficult practice is choose something different. When you acknowledge that there are certain emotions emerging i.e. you are stressed, or feeling bored, or angry, or someone triggers you at home or work, or you felt a moment of not-enoughness, choose to respond with a new fresh start . For example, choose to express your emotions out loud , write them down, express them, sit with them, call a friend, call a coach, but don't feed them .
Now if you are already in the cycle when you acknowledge that you have binged or went through emotional episode, choose not to enter the habitual reaction of continuing the binge cycle, and most importantly choose not to self hate and shame, choose not to be hard on yourself. Choose something different. I have to tell you "to be hard on yourself" is the most habitual chain reaction that most of us human so conditioned to play. Go do anything that makes you feel good about yourself… dance, or walk , or go help someone,talk to a friend, meditate, look at yourself in the mirror and point of one thing you like of yourself…do something different that comes from a loving and compassionate place.
The habituals thing of feeding more of emotional/binge cycle has always made things worse. The habituals thing of blaming yourself or going back on diet/restriction has always made things worse so just choose something different.
As we grew in choosing something different, we grew in confidence, we trust the grounded-less space and grew in confidence . This is an opportunity to start a fresh start, and access our wisdom and intelligence .
3- The third difficult practice is making this practice a way of life…REPEAT AND REPEAT.. It means this doesn't apply for one time thing, or just until you lose the weight. This is a foundation of practice for now and as long as you are on this earth, there is no finish line. The first and second practice will remain to be foundation practice for you, they are the planting seeds so you can sow your goodness, and grow trust in yourself.
Ghada B. Khalifeh is a Transformational Wellness and Body Mind Coach, and Feel-Good Activist.