Do you want to overcome binge eating, get food addiction help or have freedom from emotional eating? Are you finding yourself binge eating more during the COVID-19 pandemic? You may feel like you’re putting yourself first by obsessing about food or about your body, but actually you’re using food to satisfy cravings or to keep staying in your comfort zone first. You may also be overwhelmed by the quarantine due to COVID 19 and fears and anxiety about what’s happening in society. If you are black, indigenous, LatinX or a person of color, you may literally be feeling that you are not safe. The chaos of these times can reactivate historical and intergenerational trauma, triggering you and leading to binging. Now’s the time to prioritize your own well-being.
In this podcast, you will learn:
1. To identify triggers that lead to binging., emotional eating, food addiction.
2. 4 Steps you can take that will improve your mental and emotional well being.
3. Why counting on willpower in your recovery will never work.
Download my free e-book – The 5 Levels of Recovery: https://YourFoodBattle.com
Link to Beach relaxation meditation: https://carolynrossmd.com/loving-kindness-meditation/
More from Dr. Ross:
Check out my TEDxPleasantGrove talk on Intergenerational trauma here: https://youtu.be/ljdFLCc3RtM
To schedule a free consult with Dr. Ross – https://findingyouranchor.as.me/consult
Hi everyone, Dr. Carolyn here with Podcast Episode #60: Why am I binging more during the pandemic or quarantine? and this is part 1 of 2 part series. I don’t know how you guys are doing but it’s an overwhelming time for most of us I think. I know I had a rough week and so I hope you’ll stay tuned to learn to how to prioritize your well being something that we all need to these difficult times. Talk to you soon.
Okay, why am I binging more during the pandemic or the quarantine? Well, one of the hallmarks of binge eating disorder, food addiction, and emotional eating is that we unconsciously put food or our sessions about food or a body first. And this may feel like you’re putting yourself first by obsessing about food or about your body, but actually you are not. The behaviors become number one, that thoughts, that you know, you are obsessing about become number one and, you know, satisfying cravings takes a front seat. Also some of several of us are prioritizing staying in our comfort zone. And this is maybe completely unconscious to you. As well you may be overwhelmed by all the events going on in our society right now as many of us are.
So, what would it look like to put your own wellbeing first? Well, as first of all, let’s look at some issues. If you are a black indigenous or Latinex or another person of color, or if you’re from another marginalized group, such as LGBTQ+ you may literally be feeling a sense of not being safe. Now, some of this may be a reactivation of historical or intergenerational trauma. For example, many black people are starting to look at the historical trauma that is the legacy of slavery. Indigenous people around the world that may have some of the historical trauma that they’ve suffered be triggered and so on. So, you know, this historical trauma and there can also be intergenerational trauma. So for example, trauma, intergenerational trauma, which have talked about before and which you can learn more about by looking at my TEDx pleasant Grove talk is trauma that’s passed from one generation to another, and that could be something like, you know, your mother struggled with an eating sorter, and we know that that can increase your risk for having food and body image issues, or maybe you’re one of your parents was now alcoholic and they we’re also a rageaholic and that then had an effect on you growing up and maybe it being passed down to you.
So, I’m just giving you a little bit of a background because while discussions in the media about racism and race, racial oppression and oppression of other marginalized groups is really important right now in our country. Be aware that it can be triggering. So it can take you back to your own trauma. So you may need to pay special attention now to how you’re feeling and not let those feelings get pushed down by food, which is what we normally do. You know, if you have binge eating disorder, food addiction, or emotional eating your fallback is you know, your default position is just push those feelings down.
If I’m feeling uncomfortable, if I eat something, that’s gonna put me back in my comfort zone. But now is the time to really look at those feelings to allow those feelings, to be expressed whether you journal about them or whether you talk about them with a trusted advisor or therapist, that’s really important right now, this is our opportunity to deal with some deep dark issues that we may have experienced in our lives.
So in the anchor program, I work with individuals with all types of trauma and oftentimes trauma that has not been dealt with. And I’m seeing many of my patients for the first time having childhood issues come up for them.
And, and usually it comes up as “I’m feeling anxious” or “I’m really depressed” and they don’t connect the dots between their anxiety or their depression or their, that feeling like they need to binge and their trauma. And you may not think, well, you know, slavery doesn’t impact me. Maybe you’re not a black person. You maybe you didn’t have an experience of the legacy of slavery. However, if you are a person of color, you definitely have had microaggressions, experienced microaggressions, experienced actual, racial abuse, et cetera. So it’s time to just take a, take a beat and really ask yourself whether you have skated through life without any of this kind of trauma impacting you. And so just remembering that when you find yourself bingeing more you have to step back and ask yourself, what is that the binge really tried to tell me, what is the binge covering up? How am I using my bingeing to keep from feeling something that I really need to feel right now? So some of my patients have been feeling inundated with anger or anxiety about what’s happened to them in their workplace or with coworkers who have said certain things that they never told anybody about. And you can see reports to that on social media and in the press, which has, you know, looked at teachers looked at CEOs of major companies who have had having had experiences of racial abuse or oppression.
So many of you may also be disappointed to realize that people in your life, who you have trusted in light and called friends even have their own racist belief, beliefs. So, this is not uncommon where people are reacting to what they’re seeing in the media or reacting to something in their lives.
And with this reaction they’re revealing, that their own racist beliefs. So all of what’s happening though, I have to say is for our own longterm healing. So don’t get caught up in either your disappointments or in the fact that you are still using food to deal with your feelings, because all of this, I can’t emphasize enough all of what’s happening is for your longterm healing and for the longterm healing of our country and many countries, not just United States, it has had these issues being brought to the forefront. I know indigenous people in Canada, in Australia and throughout the world are feeling for the first time that they need to talk about things that have happened to them.
So let’s talk about what we can do to reduce our need to binge. So just think about a time when your mind has not felt good. For example, when your mind has been racing or worrying or full of anxious thoughts, you might’ve felt there was nothing you could do to change that. But there are things that you can do to bring mental wellbeing to the forefront.
So in this, in part one, we’re going to be talking about how to prioritize your mental wellbeing. In part two, we’ll talk about prioritizing your physical wellbeing. So, when you think about that these times, when you’re you, your mind has been racing or you’ve had obsessive thoughts about food or the desire to bend your cravings. Let’s talk about how we can shift that. So here’s some things that can be done: number one, try to quiet your mind whenever possible. Practices such as prayer, meditation, or any activity that can distract you your mind from the day to day, problems can help sometimes listening to music or dancing in your living room can allow your mind a little bit of rest. Now I’m putting links in the show notes about how to download my favorite meditation to quiet the mind and you’re welcome to download that at no charge to you and use that when you find yourself with that racing, anxious mind.
The second thing that you can do is question your old beliefs. Don’t allow all beliefs that no longer fit you to continue to run your life. Question whether or not the things you believe to be absolute truths really are the true at this point in your life. Also very important to question negative thoughts, such as I’m so fat, I’ll never be able to find love, or I’ll never have a good relationship or no one will love me unless I know and lose weight or fill in the blank. Other beliefs that need to be challenged or things like I can’t trust anyone, or you may need to question things that your parents told you growing up. You may need to question relationships in your life that are triggering these negative feelings and these unwanted behaviors. I know something my mother told me growing up is you have to clean your plate, eat everything on your plate. You know, children in China are starving. So whatever your parents told you that is making you continue to do things that no longer serve you. And now’s the time to question that, to challenge this kind of thinking, instead of letting this old record continue to play over and over in your mind and continuing to trigger you to binge or to obsess about food or to eat emotionally or engage in stressing.
The third thing is maybe a little more difficult and that staying conscious. Another component of mental wellbeing is being able to catch yourself when you have slipped back into unconscious or obsessive thoughts or behaviors. Being immersed in a visual negative frame of mind, always promotes food addiction binge-eating and emotional eating, thinking, and behaviors. When you’re able to catch yourself to become more aware you can actually choose to think and act differently. So this is about changing your way of being with food addiction, binge-eating and emotionally eating you may have used food unconsciously. In other words, you may have found yourself with an empty box of donuts with that any memory of reaching for the box. You may have also been unconscious about the emotions you were feeling before you ate the box of donuts. Or the situations in your life you were responding to with food. Now, we all have done that, but if you’re bingeing, if you’re food addiction, if you’re emotionally eating at this point, has, is causing you problems, causing you to feel bad about yourself, causing you to feel like a failure or causing you to feel in any way bad about yourself, that you’re not worthy of having the life you deserve? Then it’s really important that you become, I’m more aware of your emotions. That are leading to these behaviors. You may have been unconscious about the emotions you were feeling or the situations in your life you’re responded to responding to with food. But when you stay conscious, you stay aware of what you’re feeling and aware of your desire to use food, to numb yourself, or go unconscious. Then again, you have a choice that you can make. You may have more power to make the choices that support your recovery instead of just acting unconsciously through food. When you feel confused or frustrated about anything take that as a sign to stop and take them, look at what you’re about to do or say. So, one of my favorite sayings is confusion is an ally of your ego.
And when I say ego, you can also substitute my food addiction. Confusion is an ally of my food addiction or my binge eating or my emotional eating. So when you feel confused or frustrated, that should be like a red flag or a flashing red light stop, think, be conscious, wake up, think about that and see if you can use those emotions, particularly confusion and frustration as a wake up call to give you the opportunity to interrupt your behaviors.
And then finally don’t take your thoughts too seriously. All these thoughts that run through your mind are usually automatic and repetitive. And they’re probably not nearly as meaningful as an important as they seem. Now, I’m not talking about the valid use of your mind to balance your checkbook or to make important decisions. I’m really referring to the thoughts that constantly trip you up and make you afraid and anxious or thoughts that insert themselves into places where they don’t belong. So you can change your perception of these thoughts. You maybe like, or someone who believes that what your mind is telling you is so important that you gotta pay attention, make a distinction between the repetitive, automatic thoughts that your mind generates and the valid, intuitive thoughts that are in, that are generated by your intuition, by your, your wise self. With conscious awareness, you can learn to recognize these thoughts for what they are. They’re just mind chatter, why you can’t get rid of these thoughts. You can certainly practice paying less attention to them. Just think of them as junk mail and then press delete and move back into your active email box. Particularly important during these current times, because there’s so much going on, I mean, we thought just having the covid pandemic was gonna overwhelm us, but now there’s social unrest, there’s politics, there’s, you know, just so much. I don’t want to even mention it because it’s so overwhelming. So sometimes you may have to take breaks from the news, honestly. I’ve taken days on end where I just don’t pay attention to the news. I’m also focused on doing what, one good thing for yourself each day. One thing that gives you peace. One thing that makes you feel happy. If you find yourself being anxious or fearful all the time, maybe spend a little time in nature because this is grounding and it will help reset your stress system.
So hose are ways that you can prioritize your mental wellbeing, deepening your recovery by awakening your spirit, spiritual connection, or nourishing your spirit brings more security to your recovery and a deeper sense of peace and joy in your life. As you connect with something greater than yourself, whether it be nature, God or love, your pets, you will find yourself less focused on the desire to binge or overeat. Recovery can never be based on willpower, I know that many of you have tried to use willpower to stop your behaviors or prevent behaviors or whatever. This is a shaky foundation to build a stronger foundation, go deeper into yourself. Now I describe this process in what I call the five levels of recovery and if you want to review those five levels, you can go to yourfoodbattle.com and download my ebook, The Five Levels. So that’s yourfoodbattle.com download free ebook that describes the five levels of recovery to building a strong foundation. Awakening to knowing your true self is associated with lower rates of binge eating food addiction, and emotional eating. This means that spiritual awakening or becoming more, your authentic self, more expressing yourself for more freely and nourishing your spirit is not an it’s, not for some woof purpose, but actually helps your brain recover and lowers your risk for relapse. There are so many ways to satisfy your soul’s yearning for fulfillment connection and a sense of meaning and purpose.
So it’s not about, happiness, one of my colleagues and friends can afford says it best finding happiness may not only reside in your genetic makeup, but may indeed be impacted by positive meditative practices, positive thinking, spiritual acceptance, and taking inventory of ourselves one day at a time.
So I hope you will use this podcast to begin to prioritize your own mental wellbeing. I want to give you a homework question to ponder. Make a list of the changes you’ve made so far in your binge eating disorder, food addiction, and emotional meaning, no matter how small those changes have been or how tenuous your progress may seem just make a list of those and re reflect on use this list I should say, to have hope that change is possible. So again, I’ll include in the show notes, a link to the meditation to quiet your mind. If you were interested in that, my free ebook, The Five Levels of Recovery, go to yourfoodbattle.com. And next week we will be talking about prioritizing your mental wellbeing on the podcast. So join me next week for prioritizing your mental wellbeing. It’s been great sharing this with you today, and I hope it’s been helpful for you.