“My Case is Different”

Some people think that quitting the binge eating habit may work for others, but not them. They think their lives are more complicated, that their binge eating developed for deeper reasons than others, or that they have too many struggles in their lives to just stop. First of all, know that you don’t have to “just stop” if you don’t want to right now, but also know that you are not alone in thinking that your case is different. Everyone can find at least one unique problem in their life that they think may prevent recovery, but I believe that most people can move forward despite that.

We are all guilty of thinking we are somehow different and have a tougher road, even in other parts of our lives. One example where I am guilty of this in my own life is in trying to be a more patient mother. I often read inspirational blog posts and books about motherhood, which address how to be more understanding with your kids, enjoy them more, put their misbehavior in perspective, and stay calm. While these writings are great and helpful to read, I often have a voice in my head telling me that most of these posts or books are or must be written by women who have 1 or 2 kids, and that the youngest is or must be at least 5 years old, and that the kids are or must be in school or daycare. But I can’t possibly stay calm with a 1, 3, 5, and 7 year old, while homeschooling and never getting a minute to myself, and trying to keep up with my writing at night.

I’ll often hear something like this in my head: “well maybe patience is possible for that mother because she has less kids, or maybe a maid, or nanny, or live-in grandparents.  I, on the other hand, am doomed to be stressed out every day.” That voice is not the truth. There are many moms in my exact situation, and those who have more kids and taking on much more than me, who handle it all with grace. Even if an inspirational mothering blog is written by a mom of a 9 and 11 year old who are in school most of the day, it doesn’t make it any less meaningful—that mom certainly has some reasons that she feels uniquely taxed beyond her means. That mom could find many justifications in her own life for becoming impatient or unhappy in her mommy role.

The point as it relates to binge eating recovery is: even if someone else’s life looks better than yours on the surface, you have no idea what that person is going through. I realize that in Brain over Binge, it may have seemed like my life was good at the time I quit. I didn’t have major trauma going on, I was happily married, and enjoying my job. That’s true. But, there were still countless problems under the surface, and my life was far from being easy. The truth is, we all can find an excuse. We all can find a reason that we can’t accomplish what someone else has accomplished. We can all find a reason to remain stagnant, to keep analyzing without acting, and to attribute other people’s success to their circumstances or their easy lives.

There are things that make you different, that is true; and that is why not everyone will recover on the same timeline and in exactly the same way; but whatever you are facing, you can make recovery work despite that. There are definitely reasons that some people stop binge eating right away and others take longer, just like there are reasons that some people have an easier time being patient with their kids! That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, or that you should give up. If you feel like you can’t stop acting on binge urges right now, and you think there are some issues holding you back, then get to work on those issues if you feel it will help; but know that the “my case is different” thoughts will likely still be there afterward–and at any time you attempt to quit.

I think the best course of action is to treat the “my case is different” thoughts as neurological junk. They are just habitual thoughts that you’ve grabbed hold of in the past, so now they keep coming up automatically. There is no need to give these thoughts any attention or value.  Everyone’s case IS different, but everyone can find a way to recovery.

10 thoughts on ““My Case is Different”

  1. Great post. I was doing great for six months. Then I was feeling ill and went in for tests. Turns out I’m insulin resistant. I can’t eat whatever I want in moderation. And though it threw me off for a bit I decided that doesn’t mean I can’t still be binge free. I just have to enjoy the foods I’m allowed, eat enough, work on acceptance of things I can’t change, and continue building strong neural pathways of non-binge behaviors. Thanks for your help.

  2. This is very timely for me. I had a good run at not binging for about two months and I went and did it. I thought to myself that maybe this is just my way of dealing with things, this is just who I am. I came to realize this is not true. I just caught myself in a bingeing trigger situation I had not encountered since I tried your method. I know what got me and I hope to recognize it in the future and not give into it. I so wanted to be like you and have a few binges and be cured for good. It’s not that way for me but I am learning what situations bring on the urges. I also realized that I sort of put myself on autopilot at that point and was not actively recognizing the urge and letting it pass. I might not get it done as you did but I really feel that I can do this. Thanks for the reminders and posts. It helps keep it in the forefront for me. Thanks!

    1. Hi CodeRed,

      Just writing to thank you for sharing. I also had a good opening stretch, and although I haven’t binged like have in the past, it’s been wobbly. In the last couple of weeks, I haven’t had the same “beginners luck” and have been overeating. Although not at the level of binge, it stills bad and like I’m letting the AV keep its hold on me. Thanks to your observation about yourself, I see I got complacent, thought I was “cured” and slowly let the AV seep in, whereas at the start, I was much more mindful, determined, and decisive about identifying and dismissing my AV.

  3. Hi there, thanks for the inspiration. I’ve just finished your book & implemented this strategy immediately. Day 2 of no binges. I don’t know if I’m doing it right, although I’m not binging on my usual food I’m drinking lots of tea instead. I was about to binge when for the first time I heard a voice say that’s not the real you. I stopped eating the cereal & put it in the bin. I felt like I was cheapening (if that’s a word?) myself by eating this food that’s just cheap n sugary. It’s good to have somewhere to express myself, thank you.

  4. Yes that voice is neurological junk! I get it now! And I completely agree! I can recover now even if other parts of life seem messy! Thank you Kathryn!

  5. Hey! Thank you so much for the book and the blog. It’s very helpful. I’m about 1/3 of the way done with the book and am enjoying your posts.
    I do have a question, however. Maybe I’m just being stupid and this is “neurological junk,” but in previous posts you have mentioned recovering binge-eaters shouldn’t eat a restrictive diet.
    I have IBS and do have to restrict my sugar/processed foods..I have to eat whole foods. But I definitely feel cravings for sugary foods ALL THE TIME. Basically the only things I binge on ARE sugary foods, and a lot of the time (not all the time) it’s because, “well, I’ll never be able to have this again.” Which, I’m really not supposed to. I just don’t know how to balance having to restrict, and not feeling like I’m being deprived.
    I’ve been trying the Paleo diet, but it’s just so expensive, I feel bad for my mom who has to pay for it all (I’m only 19 w/o a job). And it really hasn’t even helped all that much. I’ve noticed I feel the best when eating a lot of apples/fruit, but it leaves me ravenously hungry. I’m very satiated with a lot of fatty foods, but low energy and the desire for something sweet persists. Any tips/advice?

    1. Hi Jacob, I have a similar situation. I also have IBS, Hashimotos, wheat and dairy intollerances. I too feel better with a whole foods/paleo type diet. I am learning what I can get away with and still feel good. I figure it is better to eat some sugar or whatever the desired treat is here and there than bingeing out on them. I too have experienced the same thing with binges in this way. I know the damage I am doing with sugar binges especially with Hashimotos. Maybe try not to be so hard on yourself and allow some sugar. It does not have to be all or nothing. By experimenting you will find out how much you can handle and still feel well. Just my two cents. Good luck. 🙂

  6. I have a habit of believing it wont work for me. There are so many foods i wont eat (but binge on) chocolate, roasted salted nuts, bread, crackers, icecream, tortilla chips are my main ones…any dressings/sauces…i expect myself to eat just protein veg and fruit…maybe some rice. do not trust myself with any of the binge foods…even eating chicken tikka today made me anxious and ended up sneak eating it before it was served so i could get lots… :/ the urge to binge when it comes on is unbearable. How do i get past this?

  7. I’m almost done your book. Thanks for giving me hope. Is there a forum where readers of your book can discuss our recovery? I feel although we have different journeys we can sometimes feel like we need another person who’s been through it to share their story. Thanks for everything. God bless you!!!

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