You may be afraid to think about the possibility of relapsing from binge eating, food addiction or emotional eating in the future. In fact, many people believe that even talking about lapses gives you an excuse to go back to your old behaviors. The truth is that your cravings may come back when you least expect them. Maybe you’ll be doing well, but then you get a promotion at work and have old feelings of insecurity come up. Next thing you know, you’re standing at the refrigerator with an empty carton of ice cream in your hand. Relapse happens…here’s what you can do about them.
In this podcast, you will learn:
1. How to be ready for your next relapse from binging., emotional eating, food addiction.
2. 3 Steps that will change mindset about the meaning of relapses from binge eating, emotional eating, food addiction.
3. What “being woke” means for your binge eating, food addiction and emotional eating recovery
To schedule a free consult with Dr. Ross – https://findingyouranchor.as.me/consult
Hi everyone, it’s Dr. Carolyn bringing you “Episode 62 Are you ready for your next relapse?” I’m on the edge of my seat I hope you are too. Stay tuned!
Well, don’t know what’s happening in your world, but I feel like I’m stuck in that movie Groundhog Day where the same thing keeps happening one day after another, after another. You know, get up, eat breakfast, take a shower, work, have a couple other meals somewhere in the day, go to bed, do the same thing over and over. So I’m not sure if your state is. It has reopened yet, but here in California, we’ve mostly shut down again. So there’s not a whole lot else for us to do. Anyway, wherever you are I hope you’re staying safe and that you are having some fun.
Let’s address this big question that we need to talk about today, which is, are you prepared for your next relapse? That’s a doozy because many people are afraid to even think about the possibility of having a slip up in the future or the possibility of lapsing from their binge eating their emotional eating, or food addiction or compulsive over eating. In fact, a lot of you may believe that even talking about relapsed gives you an excuse to go back to your old default behaviors. Well, the truth is that craving may come back. Most likely we’ll come back and usually when you least expect them. You know, there are so many potential triggers to cravings right now. There’s all the worry about sending kids back to school. There’s the fears about the ongoing pandemic. If you’re a person of color like myself, you may be experiencing a lot of sadness and anxiety about the social unrest. All of these can be triggers for your next relapse for your next binge. So maybe you’ll be doing well. But then you, something happens and it doesn’t have to be something bad. Maybe you get a new job or you get a promotion at work. And then those old feelings of insecurity start to creep back up. Next thing, you know, you’re standing at the refrigerator with an empty carton of ice cream in your hand or if you’re me, you notice you’ve eaten a whole box of cookies in a day, which happened last week. I think I mentioned that to you guys, or you may start up in a new relationship, you know, how everyone is doing through online dating now. Online dating used to mean that you find your, you found your dates online, and then you met them at a coffee shop or now real virtual dating. Maybe you’ve been lucky and you found a new relationship and then find that you’re struggling with body shame or body hatred.
Just remember your old thoughts, feelings, obsessions, or cravings return. That’s no reason to despair. It really isn’t and I think this is one of the biggest nuggets of wisdom I can pass on to you because that when you have a binge, when you have a relapse, that feeling of, well I’ve already binged it’s hopeless. I might as well just keep going is what can trap you in that cycle of feeling like you don’t have any way out of the binge cycle. Most of my patients are like that and they think that for some reason life is supposed to be perfect in recovery. You know, if you have one binge, then you’ve screwed up your perfection and then that’s all bets are off. This is a common fallacy sometimes, somehow we forget that life is really just life it has its ups and downs. It has its periods of happiness. It’s periods of suffering. That is what life is and if you’re trying to live life from what you see on TV or in the movies or this vision in your head of perfection, and you’re going to be sorely disappointed when you have your next relapse.
So it’s never, life’s never been perfect and it’s not going to be perfect in recovery. And this is a fact, and it’s best that we accept this fact early on. When you feel frustrated about having cravings in the past, you may have been able to assume they were all part of your binge eating or you know, your compulsive eating or your food addiction, et cetera. However, let’s maybe reframe it now, instead of seeing that as Oh, you know It’s a big relapse. Let’s think about how, what we can learn from the relapse, what we can learn from the binge, if it is a relapse. So it’s important for you to listen and learn from your body. What these cravings or other emotions that are coming up might mean.
So let’s talk about a couple of things that might be helpful. The first one is don’t make assumptions, treat each relapse as a question, Mark, have I really relapsed or am I experiencing a normal bodily reaction that I’m just not used to paying attention to? So remember when you are in recovery, your body will be learning and adjusting to all the changes you’re making at the same time that your mind is going through these adjustments and changing your thoughts and your beliefs. Maybe you’re having a craving because you worked out hard for an hour and you, your body needs more energy. So maybe it needs a mid morning snack after a workout, or maybe you skipped breakfast this morning, that’s some of the old diet kind of behavior and now you realize it’s three o’clock or six clock and you’re starving. So the only way to distinguish these absolutely normal experiences of hunger from addictive cravings is to pay attention. Remember in the last two podcasts I’ve been talking about staying conscious, being woke is about being woke to yourself, to your body. I mean, we usually talk about being woke as paying attention and being aware of things that are going outside of ourselves, fully support that, but also important to be woke to what’s happening inside of ourselves.
So stay curious about how your body works and remember that your body is always sending you messages. You know, one of my favorite sayings is “the body is the source of all the wisdom that you need to run your life”, but it’s up to you to listen. So one way to listen more carefully is to keep a journal maybe journal about your activities and your hunger or journal about your emotions and your hunger. And over time, you might be able to see some patterns there. So in the beginning you can try just you won’t, you know, cause you won’t know the pattern in the beginning. If you have a craving, just try eating a small snack, to see if you’re creating really is from hunger. In which case the craving will go away with a snack or it’s if it’s from your or eating addiction, your food addiction, your binge eating disorder, emotional eating. If you get hungry every time you work out, then you should recognize this pattern and be ready to address that hunger. For example, I found that, you know, those kind bars, which are probably the only “protein bars” that I eat those come now in a half of a bar? And so sometimes after workout, I just need a small snack, like one of those tiny kind bars and that that’ll be fine. That’s all I need. Or I might need a small cup of yogurt. Just something small to satiate your hunger and make those cravings go away. So don’t make assumptions, try to pay attention, stay woke to what’s happening inside of your body and to stay woke, try journaling and journal your emotions, journal your hunger cues, journal the activity level that you’re having.
So the next thing is to think about, is it a lapse or relapse or is it an adjustment? Sometimes you have a relapse, but at other times what you assumed is a relapse is just your body kind of reaching equilibrium. When you have changes in say how you’re eating or how you’re moving your body.
It takes a while for your body to catch up and reach equilibrium. So for example, you know, last podcast, I talked about the issue of, your body not knowing whether it’s hungry or not, because you haven’t been feeding it regularly. So if you’ve been a person who skips meals throughout the day and then just seats one or two meals a day. Your body won’t get hungry during those other meals because it’s like, she’s not going to feed me why should I even go there with her? So if you start to feed yourself regularly, yeah body we’ll make an adjustment and then if you skip a meal, you will notice that hunger come up right in your face and say, feed me, feed me. So you have to redefine what misstep or relapses versus what is just a sign that your body is making adjustments, adapting to new experiences, even, or providing information about the changes you were making. This is really a normal part of your recovery and these adjustments will go on all the time.
Cause you’re going to be tweaking things in your life, tweaking your beliefs, tweaking your thoughts, tweaking what you eat, tweaking your body movement. Now you do not have to judge yourself or be ashamed when something needs to change recovery from food addiction should include a hefty portion of reflection and questioning whether the meaning you’ve given to certain signs still fits. Okay, so let’s take some examples. Raise your hand on the, on the podcast virtually raise your hand if you’ve ever had a craving for sweets. So if you’ve had a craving for sweets, maybe that’s a sign that you’re going to binge and, or maybe it’s a sign that you’re just hungry. If you have a binge, is it because you’ve waited too long to eat dinner? Or is it a relapse? These are individual reflections that you’ll become better and better at. If you stay aware, stay woke to what your body is going through and how you’re, how you’re feeling. So don’t get overly upset even if you do decide it’s a relapse, big deal, you had a relapse. The deaf, what, what defines success is not whether you’ve had a relapse, but how quickly you can recover from the relapse. So if you wallow in the relapse and just go on bingeing day after day, like I have just given up, I feel hopeless, it’s never gonna end. And that’s, you know, that’s valid cause I know many of you have been on so many different programs and diets and oh, it’s mind boggling how much money I hear people have spent and things that just were never going to work because they start from a very false premise that diets can actually change your life, which they don’t. They may change your weight, but only temporarily and changing your weight will not change your life. Now if you’re honest with yourself, you know that to be true because many of you have been on diets, lost weight and been just as unhappy as you are when you regain the weight. So again, it’s not about the weight and this is something that we talk about in the anchor program all the time. It’s not about the weight, it’s not about the food. It’s what all of that means to you. And usually what it means is that the meaning often comes from something that has happened to you when you were younger, that led to a belief like I’m not good enough or I’m not worthy or I’m unlovable and it is from these beliefs that we then binge. So it’s not the food that makes us binge it’s what the food means.
So you can think about food as metaphor. We talk about this in the anchor program as well. You know, you’re eating a lot of crunchy foods like chips. Maybe that’s a sign that can be a metaphor for being angry. Wanting really warm and nourishing foods like soups or, you know, hot chocolate, maybe a metaphor for sadness for you. Eating a lot of sweets may be seen perhaps as your life isn’t sweet enough, you don’t have enough sweetness in your life. And I don’t mean sweetness by food I just mean sweetness like love or companionship or affection or attention. So see if you can identify the metaphors in the foods that you crave and I think that will help you.
And here’s where journaling can come in handy as well if you can journal about the foods that you find yourself craving and ask yourself. What are these foods mean to me? And so you may come up with nothing and then you go to, from that question, go to how do these foods make me feel? And oftentimes the food will make you feel comforted, make you feel happy, make you feel less sad, more calm, more peace, whatever it is for you. That’s the metaphor for the foods that you crave. So when you find yourself craving foods that have a certain meaning, then another way of addressing that is to ask yourself, what can you bring into your, your life that could serve the purpose that the food is bringing? So, if you need more, more comfort, or if you need a way to express your anger. So let’s think about a way to express anger. What are other ways you can express anger? You know, do a fast walk around the block, punch pillows, do artwork that just shows what your anger looks like and put that on paper. All of those things work if it’s comfort, you’re desiring. Call a friend who, you know, loves you and that you trust and ask them to comfort you in your grief or your discomfort or your pain, whatever that is. Food can serve as a metaphor and this is all part of, you know, like I say, we, we talk about this in the anchor program and it’s all part of waking up to who you truly are waking up to the authentic you. And then when you’re able to continue that process, you’ll find that the cravings will drop away. So these are all, you know, I can’t tell you what the metaphors for food are. Obviously I work with people in the anchor program to help them identify that, but these are really also personal reflections that you, you need to make on your own. And the most important predictor again of longterm success is how long it takes you to recover from a relapse.
All right, so we’ve talked about, don’t make assumptions, we’ve talked about, is it a lapse or an adjustment, and then finally don’t judge yourself or even more importantly, allow others to judge you. With each mistake you make, and I’m putting the mistake in air quotes, as it’s not really a mistake if you learn and use, use it to learn from you have the opportunity to learn something about yourself, your body, your beliefs, and your thoughts. There’s really no perfect way to heal. In fact, wanting your recovery to be perfect comes from this same thoughts and beliefs that promote your binge eating, food addiction and emotional eating. So again, we are in a very unique time in our lives in our countries lives in our world’s life and that is, it’s a time for self reflection. It’s a time for going deeper. So allow yourself this time to make these mistakes and, and I’m putting mistakes in air quotes again. I wish you could see my air quotes. They’re so cute, but I really call them now mistakes, but I call them learning experiences. So I, you know, I have many patients in the anchor program who talk about all of the negative messages that they have gotten from parents, from kids who bullied them in school from ex-boyfriends, husbands about how they think they should feel about their bodies. And those voices live inside of us and they can be the fuel, the fuel that ignites our next relapse. So when I say don’t judge yourself, that’s one thing, but don’t allow other people to judge you. And remember that many times when we incorporate these negative messages into our hearts, into our belief systems. We then start to judge ourselves based on these words that have been said about us. So don’t allow those words to fuel your next relapse, dig deep, you know, who you are and look for that authentic part of you that knows that you are worthy, that your size isn’t, shouldn’t define you that. One lapse or one relapse, shouldn’t be the end of your journey to healing from food addiction or emotional eating or compulsive overeating or binge eating.
So the most important key to dealing with change and to dealing with ahealing journey is to stay flexible. You know, when you go to the gym, or if you’ve worked with a personal trainer or gone to an exercise class, they’re always doing stretches and other flexibility exercises, because flexibility is important for us physically, obviously. However, similarly, you need to promote mental flexibility so that you don’t become rigid in your thinking or overly attached to those negative beliefs or even overly attached to the, the feeling that you need to kind of hate yourself. So you need to keep reminding yourself of how awful you are, and that will then theoretically spur you to do better and better and better that never works just like diets never work. So it’s time for us to let that go.
So part of mental flexibility is allowing yourself to not be perfect without judging yourself too harshly. And you have to defend this, you know, when you’re in a healing process, it’s kinda like being a newborn baby. And if you have kids or even if you’ve been around kids, hopefully you would never allow anyone to say something negative to a small child or baby. So think of yourself as you start this journey. This is what we talk about in the anchor program as like a newborn baby or a toddler. And that way you have to protect yourself from people around you who may judge you and have no right to judge you. I don’t care if they’re your parents, your auntie from Chicago, who you only see once a year. I don’t care who they are they have no right to judge you. So take care of your baby self, who starting on this healing journey and don’t allow other people to judge you harshly. When you stay flexible and spirit and protect that growing part of yourself, nurture that growing baby inside of yourself who’s just kind of relearning to be her authentic self or his authentic self. You’re going to continue that growth process and all of this is important in longterm recovery. This is really what the work of recovery looks like. And many of you may think the worker recovery looks like losing weight, but as you know, losing weight, doesn’t change those inner beliefs. It doesn’t get rid of those thoughts. It doesn’t help you with your food obsessions. It only makes things worse.
So if you’re ready to make a real change, you know, I’m here just. Look in the show notes, you’ll see the link where you can get a free consult for me. And if you’re interested in the anchor program, sign up for that free consult and I’ll let you know whether the anchor program is right for you. And you may be thinking if you’re one of those cynical people who makes those comments on my Facebook page. Oh, you never turned anyone away from the anchor program and you just want the money. Listen. This week alone, I’ve turned away five people who were not appropriate for the anchor program. So, yup.
I turned people away all the time, but I try to help them no matter what, I try to give them something of value. So if you call me, the only thing I can promise you is I will give you something of value. And if, if you’re appropriate for the anchor program, that I’ll be happy to talk to you about that as well.
So, thanks so much for listening to my podcast. Please write a review so I can help get the word out. And I’ll talk to you next week, Dr. Ross, Dr. Carolyn signing off.