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The Actor's Diet is the daily food blog of Lynn Chen (www.lynnchen.com), a spokesperson for The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). The Actor's Diet is also a podcast! Listen here: http://bit.ly/1345JIP

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lynn - How to Fight Off A Binge

I'm fine now, but last night I felt binge-y for the first time in months. It's kinda hard to describe what that feels like, but basically the only thought going through my mind is "Food. Food. Food. Now." I knew it was coming up because I've been feeling overwhelmed with everything on my schedule, plus dealing with major PMS symptoms, but acknowledging that overwhelming frustration wasn't helping to quell the physical manifestation of my eating disorder memories.

Here's what I did. First, I made sure I consumed a delicious, balanced meal that was comforting emotionally to me (a PB&J sandwich with brussels sprouts and yogurt with granola). Then, while sipping a cup of burdock root tea (supposedly grounding), I made a list of things I could do to not binge.

1. Take a walk
2. Big lollipop
3. Chew gum
4. Breathe deeply
5. Take a shower/bath
6. Talk to a loved one (not necessarily about wanting to binge, but about what's going on in my life)
7. Hug Julius
8. Read Blogs
9. Journal
10. Read a book I love from my childhood (usually a Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary book)
11. Positive Affirmations
12. Listen to relaxation CD

I made it to about #8 before the binge-y feelings finally subsided. A lot of you had bad days yesterday too, and I felt a little less alone in the world. Hopefully those of you feeling blue are doing better today, like moi.

What would be on your list?

Before bed I had a long talk with Abe about what had almost happened - it's important that my biggest supporter knows what works for me (he had been out celebrating the Phillies victory with some friends, which is why I was by myself.) I also made myself some overnight oats:

This morning after a half hour of upper body weights in front of the TV, I ate this beautiful and delicious concoction.

After running errands for my new part-time job, I made a sandwich with multigrain bread, lettuce, Dijon, Applegate Farms Organic Uncured Ham, and Applegate Farms Yogurt Cheese.

Plus some frozen brussels sprouts, with a TB of TJ's Pineapple Salsa, S&P:

With an organic pear and a Yummy Earth lollipop in Mango Tango...

Now I'm off again! My own errands, acupuncture, packing for San Diego, hopefully a walk with Julius, and dinner/Yankees game with friends.

What do you do to fight off a binge?

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  1. This comes at a perfect time for me!!! I have been feeling bingey all week :( I don't know why. I gave in on Monday night and I still feel icky even today. But the other nights I focused on distracting myself and that kind of worked. One thing that I do (which is not the best, but sometimes it's the only thing that works) is to eat a unlimited fruit/veggies - like I could go through 4 big apples and that will prevent a bad binge. It's better than eating crap I think!!

    Thanks for your ideas :) I like them a lot.

  2. I think baking is what I would do in that situation. It may sound counterintuitive, but if you bake you have your mind solely on a dish that isn't made yet, so you aren't going to want or even have anything to eat until it's cooked, and that'll be an hour off which gives you time to think.

  3. great idea. i think i should make a list of my own!

  4. I love your list. Whenever my mind goes somewhere I don't want it to be, I turn to writing--often in the form of list-making. This is itself is very therapeutic to me--so I think you're on point with this approach. Or maybe I'm just OCD haha

  5. I LOVE that you wrote down a list - I need to remember that next time I feel like over-eating when I'm not hungry. The ideas are all great too. You should be really proud of yourself! :)

  6. Oh I totally can relate. I think the first thing I do is remind myself how bad I will feel, physically but more so emotionally, if I give in to the "eat eat eat" thoughts. Then I try to distract myself but it can't be food related so reading blogs doesn't help. Usually with me, it's TV...something like SVU or HGTV (NOT biggest loser or food network). Or immersing myself in a project at work that's stimulating. I've tried reading but often my mind will wander too much. Or if I have the time like on a weekend...I'll take a nap (cuz I can usually always sleep) and when I wake up, the binge-y feelings are gone. I've had a lot of those moments lately, and I hate when those "old" feelings creep back in on me.

  7. I think Tai-chi help me a lot when i feel binging.
    Deep breathing, slow movement exercise calm me down.
    I just stat Tai-chi for 4 lessons, already benefit me.

  8. Lynn, you are so strong and brave to share this. It truly shows how far you have come and that even though you may have put the worst behind you, there will still be those days where we are faced to deal with our demons and our strength will be tested. You totally proved that you have overcome the hardest part. Being healed does not mean we will not have these days of temptation, it means when we have these moments, we will be able to have control and choose the better option.

    You rock! :)

  9. I have these kind of nights/days a lot and it usually coincides with my "time of the month" as well. I love your list. The best thing for me to do is exercise when I feel that urge coming on, getting out of the house away from tempations helps. I also brush my teeth or chew gum. Reading healthy food blogs also really calms me down because I remember how awesome it feels to be accountable and eat in a healthy way. Nice job conquering your urge!

  10. Thank you for sharing! Your own list plus the other ideas mentioned here help me feel confident about fending off my own cravings the next time they creep up.

  11. Making a list is a wonderful idea to take your mind off the binge-y feeling. For me, drinking some water mixed with 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar helps.

  12. brushing my teeth helps me. or sipping some ginger tea. writing helps too.

    glad you're feeling better today!

  13. I hate that bingy feeling. I know what you mean. I think you did a great job of distracting yourself. I just try to tough it out...but it's hard. Oftentimes I trigger myself when I skip a meal or start eating samples at the grocery store. I'm trying to stop doing that.

  14. I try to watch tv, run or just talk to people on the cellphone, but sometimes its just too powerful and happens, totally understable and human behavoir. At least you recognized it and know what to do to try and ward it off, sometimes that will work, sometimes not. I appreciate also that you shared it, so I don't feel alone in this!

  15. That's really great that you were able to make that list and follow it so you didn't slip back into old habits. That's HUGE!

  16. I have been feeling really stressed, and I started some mindless eating a couple days this week. I had to remind myself that it "wasn't too late to stop." I think in the past I just didn't know how to stop. Distracting myself with some work helped... :) I like your list!

  17. Lynn, thank you for sharing this inspiring post! You are such a strong person and I admire the way that you dealt with the binge "urge" in a logical manner, which is obviously hard to do in that moment.

    Having experienced far too many of those moments myself, I just this weekend took up knitting again (I kinda gave it up last winter during the chaos of my wedding, starting a new job, etc) and realized that it is VERY therapeutic and is a great way to take my mind of mindless eating!

    Have a wonderful week!

  18. I have been really bingey for months now. I have gained quite a bit of weight as a result of indulging in those binges and the stress of living with a bigger body than I'm comfortable with drives me to feel guilty and miserable and bingey - so it's a sad, unending cycle! I know thjose things on your list wouldn't stop me thinking food food food food. Any more intensive ideas? Do you seek assistance from anyone? Happy to receive emails: cathwoods@gmail.com