Binge Eating and Mindfulness
Mindfulness is becoming a buzzword in our culture. Today I’m going to write about how mindfulness can be used to manage binge eating, and as a preparation for helping to learn how to manage feelings a different way.
Slow down and notice
Mindfulness, in regard to binge eating, is the practice of eating with attention.
How often do we throw food in our mouths without really tasting it?
- lay the table, using your best crockery, serviettes, candles, and savour the esthetics and aromas of the scene?
- put your snack in a bowl and notice this aroma?
- sit down, experiencing the shift in your muscles and your level of comfort?
- lay down your cutlery or container between mouthfuls, and chew, noticing the flavour, texture, effect of every morcel in your mouth, appreciating every bite that you swallow?
Notice that this approach is not asking you to stop eating, just to pay attention when you do.
The act of mindful attention helps us to think from the part of our brains that is more sensible, adult and concerned with our wellbeing. Where the impulse to overeat comes from an unconscious habit, is often begun in childhood, and is an instinctive reaction.
In mindful eating you might really enjoy the eating. I know that may be something you think you already do. But do you? Could you savour it more? From here, sometimes you might recognise that the flavour or the texture of your snack is not so great after all.
The more you practice this, even if you start gently at times when it’s easiest for you, the more you are likely to naturally think from that sensible, rational part of your brain that cares for, and acts on behalf of, your true wellbeing.
Mindfulness and the reason behind fast binge eating
The idea with mindful eating is to create a gap, however small, between reaching for the food and putting it into your mouth. This creates a space between the impulse and the action. Enough time to study what you’re actually doing and why. Perhaps you could practice allowing yourself to eat once you have figured out why you are so desperate for it? It’s possible you might even notice how abusive eating quickly, can be.
The practice of mindfulness is key to learning how to manage feelings in a different way too. This is perhaps further down the line if you’re just starting out with learning to manage your binge eating.
The idea is to feel your feelings, moment to moment. The practice of mindfulness is about learning to be aware of oneself, one’s thoughts, one’s behaviour and one’s feelings. So that you can be the one making the best, most informed decisions for you all round.
Could some aspect of these ideas be useful to you?
What’s your first step towards that going to be?
Binge eating mindfulness audio
I’ll be producing an audio later this week to take you through a mindful eating episode. Stay tuned!
If you want to go further with this, here’s a book, with exercises, that I can recommend:
”Shelley brought together a group of strangers who became genuinely close companions during our sessions. I was reminded of how powerful women can be when they work together – sisters can conquer anything!” – Janet