Mindful Eating For Binge Eating Disorder – My Experience
Using mindful eating for binge eating disorder is something worth trying yourself. I can 100%, wholeheartedly recommend it.
Let me share with you my own brief experience with mindful eating and how it once stopped a binge for me before it could even start!
What Is Mindful Eating?
Mindfulness can loosely be defined as a form of meditation, which lets you get more in tune with and cope with the emotional and physical sensations you’re feeling in your body and your mind.
Mindful eating is an extension of that as it transfers that concept of mindfulness into the food in front of you.
Mindful eating is a particularly popular or at least prominent approach to tackling eating disorders.
Part of that is because it helps remove the stigma of eating and the idea that hunger is bad. So you don’t try and suppress the hunger signals that your body’s giving you.
It’s particularly important for eating disorders that will involve undernourishing your body.
But it is a helpful tool for a range of eating disorders, including binge eating disorder.
I found in my so-far brief experience with it, is that it can help you find more fulfilment from the meal that you’re having so that you don’t end up going and getting that craving or the urge to binge.
My Most Memorable Meal In Years
Not including special occasions, my most memorable meal in years probably was actually from one of the few times, I’ve been able to try mindful eating. And ironically, it was from a very, very ordinary situation and a very ordinary setting.
I was travelling. I was staying in a hotel and I had a long day.
So I got back to my hotel room. I was really tired. And, you know, sometimes you can just tell when your brain is starting to signal, “okay, we’re going to want to eat this, this and this”.
It was that sort of signal that I was probably going to end up going down that route of wanting to binge that evening.
It’s almost like the conditions were perfect. And when I travel, I take a lot of snacks with me. So it’s not like I didn’t have them in very easy reach.
But because I was kind of able to detect those signals in my brain already, I could kind of approach it more proactively.
I had ordered some takeaway and it was waiting for it to be delivered and I was starting to get hungry.
Because I had that self-awareness to know that my body’s kind of starting to signal that it’s going to binge, I was trying to get ahead of it so I Googled ideas, and I can’t remember how, but I stumbled across a few tips for how to practice mindful eating.
Mindful Eating For Binge Eating Disorder – Here’s What Happened
So when my food finally arrived, I tried to find a way to savour every part of my meal. The hotel had a bar, so I ordered my Diet Coke from there, with a lemon and ice.
I set myself up at the desk or the dressing table, whatever you want to call it in the hotel room. So I wasn’t sitting on my bed.
I put a podcast on, in the background, a history one that I enjoy listening to.
So it was something to focus my mind on, but not to the extent that it was going to distract my thoughts and my actions or do something the way I would mindlessly stare at the TV while I’m eating.
And by making that switch, I could kind of focus more on my food, more on my thoughts, more on the sensations I was feeling. And I tried to slow down and savour every mouthful.
So then, because I slowed down because my mind was active but not distracted because I was creating this kind of experience for myself, I gradually started to unwind and relax as I was eating – as I was having my meal.
And by the end of my meal, I was calm, I was relaxed, I was full and I was fulfilled.
Any idea or notion of cravings or wanting to binge kind of just dissipated
I guess, being able to turn what would have been an ordinary meal into an experience made a big difference. And somewhere along the road, it kind of just blunted the binge signals that my brain was giving me.
Catching Your Binge Cravings
I still don’t know how I managed to catch myself before I binged and how I managed to sort of get ahead of it.
I suspect that just because I was in a different setting, a different environment, I was in a hotel having not travelled anywhere for months, I think it just meant that my senses were more alert.
That’s my theory. I could be wrong. It’s not my area of expertise, but that’s just what I’m guessing.
Since then I’ve had tastier meals and I’ve probably been in more ambient settings and better restaurants. But I don’t think I’ve had any that were more memorable.
I can also very clearly remember the episode of the podcast I was listening to.
So, I guess somewhere along the road, mindful eating just gave me that experience. It kind of heightened my senses at the time and it helped me get control of that situation.
My Mindful Eating Since Then
I haven’t practised mindful eating regularly since then.
Most of the time, I’m a little bit too busy to give myself 20 to 30 minutes for any meal. Things are a little bit hectic so I don’t get to practice it as regularly as I’d like to.
Having said that I still practice mindfulness. I do walking meditations and I do five minutes sort of end-of-day, wind down.
Unfortunately, I haven’t allowed myself to practice mindful eating as much, but I can see the value of it. And it’s something that I should and probably will return to at some point.
Mindful Eating For Binge Eating Disorder – Watch Out For This
There is one thing to be careful of with mindful eating. That is to not directly associate the positive feelings that you get from it, with the food that you’re having.
It’s going to create a stronger link between the foods you’re having and that calming sensation. So it kind of still ends up being an emotional relationship with the food.
Whereas if you look at my example, it was that whole experience.
It was being in a different setting, listening to a podcast and having my senses a little bit more alert. It was slowing down, savouring every mouthful and treating myself to drink from the bar.
If you can associate the experience you’re creating, rather than the food you’re having with mindful eating, then mindful eating for binge eating disorder is worth looking at.