Paige Smathers

Ep 69: Intuitive, Realistic, and Sustainable Eating (Interview with Paige Smathers, RDN, CD)

Brain over Binge free book

Brain over Binge Inspiration & Book Giveaway

“The view of bulimia as a coping mechanism is so pervasive in our society that it is generally accepted as fact … I changed once I decided to view my eating disorder differently: by dismissing the belief that I ate for deeper, more profound reasons and, in turn, completely changing how I approached my problem.”Brain over Binge, Preface

If the mainstream theory that binge eating is a coping mechanism is helping you recover, there is no need to change course. But if what you are believing now isn’t bringing you closer to a binge-free life, I want to encourage you to be open to a new way of looking at your behavior.

When I published Brain over Binge nearly 10 years ago, my goal was to provide an alternative perspective and empower people to use the amazing ability of their brain to end the binge eating habit. I did this by simply sharing my story—what I experienced and what I learned along the way. The book is raw and I didn’t hold back when talking about what I went through, how bingeing affected my life so deeply, and how the help that was available to me at the time wasn’t actually helpful.

I spent years viewing my binge eating as a coping mechanism, but it simply didn’t help me stop the behavior, and I’ve learned that I was not the exception. I don’t believe that my approach is the only way, but if you are interested in an alternative perspective and looking to simplify how you approach recovery, then keep reading to learn how you can receive a free copy of my book.

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You can get Brain over Binge for free in a book giveaway on Instagram, starting on Monday (9/21/2020) and repeating each Monday for 10 weeks. I have 100 books that I want to give to people who could benefit, so I’ll be giving away 10 copies every week for the 10 weeks.

Here is how the giveaway will work:

  • First, you need to find me on Instagram @brain_over_binge and follow me so that you don’t miss the giveaway posts.
  • Next, you need to look for the giveaway post every Monday at 9pmET on Instagram.
  • Finally, you need to be one of the first 10 people to comment on the giveaway post, and I’ll ship you a copy of Brain over Binge. 

*I need to limit book shipments to United States addresses only, due to postage. Even if you are not living in the US, I encourage you to share this information with someone you know who struggles with binge eating and who could benefit from the book.

If you are one of the first 10 people to comment on a giveaway post, you will need to send me the shipping address through Instagram direct messaging or by emailing it to me at kathryn@brainoverbinge.com. Your shipping address will be deleted after shipment, and never used to send any promotional materials.

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I hope that having a copy of Brain over Binge will be helpful to you at this time. If it supports you in finding freedom from binge eating, all I ask is that you share your story to inspire others.

When I wrote my book, I didn’t know the impact that sharing my story would make (and I wrote about this in my first blog post), but I’ve been overwhelmed by the response over these last 10 years, and I’ve loved hearing and reading the recovery stories of others who have used this approach. No one’s recovery is exactly the same, and even if Brain over Binge resonates with you and helps you, you will have your own insights and overcome your own unique challenges along the way. You will have a valuable voice to spread the message that complete freedom from binge eating is absolutely possible, and each one of us can achieve it.

I want to leave you with an inspiring message from a woman who emailed me recently, and I hope it helps you believe in your ability to change as well:

“I just wanted to write you an email to thank you for your book Brain over Binge. I struggled with binge eating for more than three years and when I bought your book I really thought that BE was something that would be a part of me for the rest of my life. Every time I binged, I promised it would be the last one but after a few days or weeks, I would do it again. Honestly, I lost hope and when I googled how to get over it, many articles/YouTube videos/testimonies focused on how to control it and reduce it, but not many talked about how to get over it once and for all. Someone in the comments of a Youtube video recommended your book and after reading a few reviews online, I bought it on Amazon. 

I cried so much with your book because your story resonated so much with me, and at the time I thought binge eating was something very uncommon that almost no one did, and I felt a bit alone in that sense. To be honest, at the beginning of the book I didn’t believe what you said about being sure of not relapsing again. It seemed to good to be true, especially after trying so many other things before (food diary, tracking my emotions…). But almost two years later, I am so proud to say that I’ve never binged again and that now I too think that I will never do it again.
 I left your book to a friend that was also struggling with binge eating recently, and she gave it back to me the other day. I reread the parts that I had highlighted and I felt so happy to realize again how far I’ve come. It’s crazy to think that something that used to cause me so much pain and stress is now something that feels so far away. I just wanted to let you know that your book changed my life and that I will be forever grateful for you.”

 

If you want to participate in the book giveaway, remember to follow me on Instagram (@brain_over_binge).

Free help for binge eating (course preview)

Free Course Resources to Help You Stop Binge Eating

I want to let you know that I’ve created a free preview of the Brain over Binge Course. I realize that times are difficult right now, and you may not be in a position to purchase the whole course, but I hope you can use the free resources to help you stop binge eating. When you go to the preview, you will receive instructions and guidance. In the rest of this blog post, I will outline and explain what’s included in the preview, and answer questions you may have about the course.

Brain over Binge Free Preview

*You can use this preview anytime by simply clicking Course in the main menu.


Resources in the free preview:

 

  • Lesson 1 Welcome Audio: This audio will guide you as you get started using the Brain over Binge approach, or as you renew your commitment to stop binge eating.
  • A Writing Prompts Worksheet:  This worksheet will help you develop your own insights and get in the right mindset for recovery.
  • A Tips and Advice MessageIn the complete course, I’ve written 12 messages that include important ideas and information that I want you to keep in mind as you go through the lessons. The tips and advice message in the free preview guides you to get the most out of your writing prompts worksheet.
  • A Coaching Audio:  This audio is designed to help you focus on and grow your desire to stop binge eating. You can listen anytime you need some extra motivation.
  • 2 Q&A AudiosThese audios will give you detailed answers to the following questions/issues:
    • How much focus should I put on recovery?
    • Food is constantly in my thoughts. Even if I’m not having urges to binge, I’m incessantly thinking about eating.

If you decide to enroll in the course, you will get 8 lessons right away. The course includes 115 audios, 24 worksheets, and 12 tips and advice messages. 

You can begin the course at any time and go through the lessons at your own pace. The lessons will guide you in a carefully structured way, toward a new understanding of your binge eating habit, and will show you exactly how to end it.

The Brain over Binge Course is based upon my simple and practical approach, and the idea that you can can end binge eating without a major personal transformation, and without solving your life’s problems.

  • You’ll learn to use what works for you (and put aside what doesn’t) so recovery can be efficient and effective.
  • You’ll learn to trust yourself again, and stop feeling out of control around food.
  • You’ll be able to see a future without the pain of binge eating.

All of the information and guidance of the Brain over Binge Course is available for only a small fraction of what it would cost to work with a coach privately or in a group setting. I put all of my coaching, advice, and encouragement into this affordable format so that it will be more accessible to anyone who needs it.


FAQ’s about the Brain over Binge Course:

 

1.) Are the coaching audios in the Course the same as the coaching audios that are available separately? 

Yes. There are 15 coaching audios in the Brain over Binge Course, including an audio that will help you in moments when you are feeling tempted to binge. You can also get these same 15 coaching audios separately, which is a great option if you feel like you don’t need the whole course, but only some daily reinforcement and motivation from the coaching audios.
*Starting in May 2020, when you purchase the coaching audios, you will also get Lesson 1 of the course. There is no extra cost for this until July 7, 2020, when the price of the coaching audios (plus Lesson 1) will go up from $31.99 to $49.  Lesson 1 gives you a foundation in the Brain over Binge approach, which will help you use the coaching audios more effectively.
*If you purchase the coaching audios, and then later decide to upgrade to the complete course, 100 percent of your payment for the coaching audios will be applied to the course price. 

 

2.) I was a member of the former 8-Week Group Course, or the Independent Study Course.  Can I get a discount on the new version of the Brain over Binge course?

Yes! If you participated in one of my previous courses, and you want to enroll in the new version of the course, please send an email to contact@brainoverbinge.com and you will receive special repeat member pricing.

 

3.) How is the course different from the Brain over Binge books and podcast?

The course is based around the same concepts as the books and podcast, but it’s designed to guide you in a more incremental way, so that you can better apply the concepts in your own life. The audio lessons take the most important information from the books and podcast and break it down for you in a way that is accessible and practical. Most people learn better with a structured and guided approach, but you know yourself best, so use what works for you!

The course also contains 84 Q&A audios, and many of the topics discussed are not covered at all in the books or podcast, and if they are, the discussions in the Q&A audios are more detailed and relatable to your own situation. In these course Q&As, I believe I’ve answered every question I’ve been asked over my years of helping binge eaters. The Q&A audios are very practical because you can find a question you have at any time of day or night (on the Q&A page), and click on the audio to get an answer when you need it. Most people find this to be much more convenient than trying to find an answer in a 300+ page book or somewhere in a podcast episode.

In the course, you also get 15 coaching audios to keep you focused and motivated, including a coaching audio to help you when you are feeling the urge to binge. There are 115 total audios throughout the course, so if you are someone who learns well with audio, or if you like to listen while doing other things you need to do, then the course could be a great fit for you.

Although the approach in the course is fundamentally the same as it is in the books and podcast, the value is in the structure, guidance, accessibility, detail, Q&A audios, and coaching audios. I’ve had so many people tell me that even though they read the books or listened to the podcast, the course gave them the extra help they needed to end binge eating for good. Here is one quote from a course member:
“This course is exactly what I needed to hear! I’ve read countless books on the BED-topic (including Brain over Binge) before, without any success. The course is full of deep insights and packed with valuable and practical information. I really appreciate the rational and organized form everything is presented. I’m exceedingly thankful for the course – it has really changed my life!“ – Justin

 

4.) Will you ever offer the 8-Week Group Course again, with the Facebook Group and live group calls? 

Although nothing is completely certain in life, I do not plan to offer that version of the course in the future. The original course that I created with Cookie Rosenblum was very successful; however, based on life and work changes for both Cookie and me, we are unable to continue that version of the course. I hope this new version will allow the course to be more accessible and affordable to more people who need it, and eliminate some of the challenges of a group format. Everyone is highly individual, which is why I want to give you all of the resources you need to be successful, as well as give you an extensive library of Q&A audios that you can use to stay on your own path to recovery.

 

5). How long will I have access to the Brain over Binge Course after I enroll?

You will have access to the private course website for as long as it is available, which I hope will be for many years. I do not have any plans to change the course in the future (aside from possible small improvements that you’ll get access to). However, I do not believe that promising “lifetime” access is realistic, considering the ever-evolving, changing, and unpredictable nature of life and technology. If I need to end the course in the future, you will still get at least 1 year of access from the date you purchased. I will also give you 2 weeks notice if I ever decide to change or replace an audio or worksheet, so that you can download and save it first.

 

6.)  How do I enroll?

Registration is always open. You can enroll here.

 

7.) Undecided? 

Remember you can check out the Free Preview to see if the course is right for you:

 

Affordable Help Binge Eating Recovery

Affordable Help: An Alternative to One-on-One Coaching

If you’ve read my blog posts or listened to my podcast, you’ve likely heard about my Course. The course will be starting soon (at the time I’m publishing this post), but instead of just listing the features and benefits, I want to talk from the heart a little about this course.

I wrote Brain over Binge thinking that if I could just help one person, it would be worth all the time and effort I put in. I feel humbled every day that the book has helped thousands, and I continue to get frequent emails saying that the book has changed a person’s life and they are done with binge eating.

I also get emails with questions and requests for more personalized help, beyond what’s in my two books; and over the years, my desire to help just one person has grown into a desire to free as many people as possible from this habit. As an extremely busy mom of 4, I’ve discovered that one-on-one coaching isn’t the right fit for my life at this time, and I am able to help more people in a one-to-many format. The course and the podcast have been ways for me to do that. (I realize many people still want that one-on-one help, which is why I’m now referring people to HealEd if they decide private coaching is the best way forward).

The Course has changed format this year, but I want to talk about how the current course has taken shape and how it offers an affordable alternative to private coaching. Although it does not provide one-on-one help or group coaching, the course has shown to be a powerful form of guidance.

In this course, I answer nearly every question I’ve been asked since publishing Brain over Binge in 2011. I’ve always kept notes of common questions that I received through email, and concerns that came up frequently in one-on-one coaching, and issues that people tended to struggle with when the 8-week course was in a group format. I’ve seen so many common themes and common areas where most people need some advice; and since I’m only one person, I decided it would be more helpful to consolidate all of my answers, insights, suggestions, and experiences, and record these responses. This went from an idea to a mission that I poured my heart and soul into and that took up much of my life for months. The result was over 80 Q&A recordings that are now part of the course. The course itself includes over 13 hours of audio, and the Q&As make up the majority of that time.

Just like with my books, what’s made it worthwhile is to hear from people who have benefited from the Q&A’s. Here is just one quote from a member of the June 2019 course:

“The Q and A’s were unbelievably helpful. Thank you, thank you. I feel completely confident that I’ll remain binge free for the rest of my life because, for the first time, I have the tools for ongoing recovery.”   

Now, I also want to share the other side of this, in order to help you make a decision that’s right for you. The one negative response I got about the Q&As through a survey was that it felt impersonal to have audios to listen to instead of a person to talk to. That’s a completely valid concern, and if you are someone who does better talking to someone directly and getting feedback, then private coaching might absolutely be the right fit.

I’m sure you already know that private coaching (and even group coaching) can be very expensive. It is definitely valuable to have a coach to talk to, and I’m not trying to discourage anyone from doing that. But if private coaching isn’t feasible for you, or simply doesn’t feel like the right fit right now, I hope my course can be the next best thing…and, for people who are more introverted (like me:-)) and hesitant to talk about their problems with others, it may even be the best thing.

I want everyone to get the help they need regardless of cost, and that especially applies when medical and nutritional interventions are necessary. However, for those who are stable physically and who are not suffering from severe and complicating mental health conditions, I hope my course can provide guidance in a refreshing and effective way.

I think back on my own recovery, and despite the thousands of dollars my parents and I spent on therapists, what ultimately led me toward recovery was a $12 book in 2005 (Rational Recovery). But, many people feel like they need more than a book (whether it’s mine or someone else’s), and that’s perfectly okay because everyone is different.

The Course can be a next step that is still affordable but provides so much extra guidance. When this course was in a group format, it was $399, but since I replaced the group calls and the Facebook forum with the 80 Q&A audios, the course is less than half of that price ($179).

You can learn more about the other features of the course. I hope you will consider if this is the right opportunity for you, and if you sign up, I hope the course leads you to a binge-free life.

To end this post, I want to share one more testimonial from a former course member:

“This course hit the mark on so many fronts. It was well organized and easy to use. I loved all of the audio recordings, including the informational Q&As. Most importantly, it spoke to me and helped me to solidify my decision to stop bingeing. Every week I learned something new that deepened my resolve to quit bingeing and enhanced my understanding of this terrible habit. Thank you Kathryn! This course was a wonderful addition to your two books.”

Brain over Binge tips

Brain over Binge: Tips to Help You Achieve Recovery, Part 2

[Read Part 1]

In order to end the binge eating habit, it’s necessary to stop acting on the urges to binge. You are trying to de-condition a habit, and to do that, you want to stop reinforcing the brain pathways that leads you to binge. Once the binge urges no longer lead to binge eating, the brain will gradually stop producing the urges. This is because the brain has the ability to change based on the actions you take or don’t take, and this is called neuroplasticity.

In my books, blog, and on the Brain over Binge podcast, I share ideas and principles to help you avoid acting on binge urges, and you can get all of the basics in my free PDF. You can also read many additional ideas and insights in Part I of this blog series. But I want you to know that, when it comes to how to stop acting on urges to binge, there isn’t one exact “right” way, and different ideas work better for different people. Also, the experience of avoiding a binge feels a little different for everyone. I’ve found that the best tips for using the Brain over Binge approach and for recovery itself come from the people who have succeeded.

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to hear a lot of women and men describe their own experiences and what helps them detach from binge urges and stop acting on them. I want to share the experience of one woman below, who explained to me what was helping her, and gave me permission to share it on my blog. I really liked the analogy she described, which helped her visualize herself as separate from the urges to binge. Hearing someone else’s experience can spark your own insights, and help you change your own perspective in a helpful way. I hope you benefit from reading her tips and success story:

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While I was reading Brain over Binge, I had a light bulb moment. What the light bulb illuminated: “This book could be a real game changer for me. Am I ready to take the big step of having my game with food entirely change? Yes, I am!” And indeed, I am on Day 37 binge-free. I truly feel that binge eating has moved into my past.

My problem with resisting binge urges, for many years, can be summed up with one word: inevitability. It sounds ridiculous to me now, but I truly believed, for the longest time, that my binge eating was inevitable, handed down from above, totally out of my control. What helped me to overcome it unfolded in a series of steps: I happened to be reading, in the book 59 Seconds, a review of several different studies on what factors most enable people to achieve big long-term goals. When I looked at the list of factors, one of them stood out: “Go public.” The author recommended, based on solid evidence, that if you want to achieve something big, you should announce it to the world—kind of like giving a press conference. As a result of that tip, I got online and went in search of a public forum, a place where people announce their goals and give each other support, and announced my big project. 

The next step, based on something else I read in 59 Seconds, was setting “mini goals.” One of the tried and true techniques in accomplishing a big goal, is to break the project up into smaller sub-goals, and work on them one at a time. So I set myself my first mini-goal: “Go 30 days without any binge-type eating.” (I think the longest I’d ever gone between binges was 13 days.)

The next step came, then, when I was putting techniques from Brain over Binge to work, where the rubber meets the road, in dealing with a real-life urge to binge. What it felt like, to me, was a mental feat. Since my most recent experience with pulling off mental feats is memorization (at the advanced age of 58) of vocabulary in a foreign language, I found myself reaching for one of the mental tools I’ve learned—specifically, vivid imagery (visual plus other senses) with some sort of action going on.

Let me formulate this as a tip for you, in confronting your own urges to binge. As soon as the urge arises, look for some way of dramatizing, in pictures and sounds, how you, as the higher self, are very separate from the binge urge, which is “neurological junk.” For example, I thought of myself as a cool cerebral character playing chess, in a room where a ridiculous little yappy dog (the urge to binge) is trying to get me to play fetch with it. I imagined the dog as having a high-pitched yelp of a voice, barking away, and I imagined it holding the ball in its mouth and doing everything in its power to get my attention—butting my legs, knocking against the chess board, and so on.

Meanwhile, I am not exactly ignoring it: I am merely observing its frantic, silly behavior while I contemplate my next chess move. (Since I’m a higher being, I can do both of those things at once.) I’m not saying anything to the dog, nor am I reacting to it in any way. I don’t need to tell you the end of this story, because it’s obvious: the yappy dog eventually gives up and wanders off into another room.

You can use, adapt, that little drama however you like, or better yet, come up with a new one of your own, but take care to make the scenario very specific (imagine the dog’s little ratty tail), with more than one sense (visual, auditory, etc.) involved, with some kind of action taking place. The more ridiculous—even humorous—you make the urge to binge appear, the more easily you can be in the role of cool, calm, collected observer.

I’ve had very few urges to binge since coming up with the yappy-dog scenario, and the ones that have arrived are so attenuated, they just float up briefly into my consciousness and drift away. To reinforce the thought that my binge urges are in the past, a couple of times I have visualized myself actually bingeing, and I’ve observed how the visualization, as if made of old fragile film stock, has a lot of little white and black blobs obscuring the view, like pixelated static, as it drifts further and further into the past. 37 days may not seem very long, but believe me, that behavior is ancient history. The last time an urge to binge surfaced, I just thought, “What’s this? We don’t do that anymore!” and the urge went poof! and vanished.

Thanks to all of you who’ve read this far, and best of luck in getting your own urges to binge into ancient history! 

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For more tips and guidance as you end binge eating, you can download the free Brain over Binge Basics PDF, or learn more about my Coaching Audios or Course.

simple approach to binge eating recovery (podcast)

Episode 55: What a “Simple” Approach to Binge Eating Recovery Means (And What it Doesn’t Mean!)

Ditch Diets (Eliminating foods in binge eating recovery)

Ditch Diets & Focus on Nourishing and Enjoyable Foods

I’ve been talking about eliminating foods for those who need to, and for those want to lead a healthier lifestyle (see Eliminating Foods Part I and Part II).  In this post, I’ll discuss the importance of ditching diets, and replacing foods you are trying to eliminate with nourishing and enjoyable options. I’ll also share information and insights with from a helpful book called Ditching Diets by Gillian Riley, which will help you understand how you can avoid letting healthy changes turn into restriction or deprivation. But first, I’m going to talk briefly about my own experience with needing to eliminate foods—which is something I addressed in Brain over Binge—and I hope it helps you see how it’s possible to give up certain foods without dieting.

An Example of Giving Up Foods and Giving Up Dieting

Since I recovered in 2005, I’ve gone through 4 extended periods of time that I’ve had to completely eliminate certain foods. My first child developed allergic colitis only several weeks after birth (which is a condition where the baby’s immune system overreacts to food proteins in the mother’s milk, which leads to irritation/inflammation, ulcerations, and even some bleeding in the colon). To treat this, I had to give up all dairy, beef, wheat, soy, eggs, and nuts for several months. When I had my second child, I hoped it wouldn’t happen again; but sure enough, when my daughter was a few weeks old she began developing the same symptoms. This time, I knew exactly what to do to help her, so I eliminated the foods again; and within a couple weeks, her symptoms disappeared. For my 3rd and 4th babies, I tried to prevent the issue by giving up all dairy—which was seemingly the biggest culprit—one month prior giving birth. My 3rd child did fine, but with my 4th (who is 8 months old at the time I’m writing this), there was about a 6-week period when I had to eat nothing but potatoes, turkey, chicken, olive oil, almonds, and some mild vegetables and fruits (and vitamins) in order to clear up his digestive tract. All my children are okay now. This was a temporary protein sensitivity in infancy, not a true food allergy or ongoing digestive condition.

Changing my eating in this way and giving up foods to help my babies didn’t cause any problem for me.  It never felt like a “diet,” or like I was depriving myself. There were certainly times that I wished I could eat the foods I was eliminating, and I did feel a little sorry for myself sometimes as I watched the rest of my family munch down a pizza, for example, and I was eating my 3rd meal of sweet potatoes and chicken for the day. Although it was inconvenient to have a lack of freedom around food, and it’s not something I’d want to continue for a long period of time; it wasn’t a bad experience at all. There was always a choice to put my babies on hypoallergenic formula, but that would have been costly and not as healthy for them. I chose to change my diet, and I felt like I was doing the right thing for them.

In the same way, people who lead healthy lifestyles and nourish their bodies well with real food don’t feel “deprived” when they eliminate certain foods. They know they are doing right for their bodies, and they feel good doing it; and in all likelihood, they would actually feel deprived if they were forced to eat a diet consisting of a lot of processed, low-quality, low-nutrient food. Wanting to nourish yourself well, and therefore avoiding foods that have no benefit to you, is much different than trying to force yourself to follow a bunch of food rules and starving yourself just so that you can lose weight.

Ditching Diets, and Letting Go of Restriction While Eliminating Foods

It is possible to make healthy changes, or even eliminate a certain food completely because it creates an adverse reaction, without it turning into a rigid diet—and sometimes the difference is simply in your mindset. I recently came across a book that does a wonderful job of explaining why there is no need to think in terms of rules, restrictions, and prohibitions when it comes to taking on a healthier lifestyle. It’s called Ditching Diets, by Gillian Riley. I’ve had a few of my own readers tell me that this book is helpful to read along with Brain over Binge, especially if a healthy lifestyle is desired. Ditching Diets discusses some of the same concepts that my book does, but with a greater focus on helping you let go of the dieting mindset, and addressing addictive overeating—that gray area that doesn’t feel like a binge, but also does not feel like the way you want to be eating.

[Update: I’ve interviewed the author of Ditching Diets on my podcast: Episode 64:  Stop Yo-Yo Dieting and Take Control of Overeating (Video Interview with Gillian Riley), and she has also written a guest blog post: Fasting & Binge Eating: Not So Fast (Post from Gillian Riley)

What I liked best about Ditching Diets was how Gillian drove home the idea that we all have free choice about what and how we eat, and everyone is capable of achieving freedom and peace with food—without solving emotional problems first. But, she also makes it clear that having freedom with food doesn’t mean we’ll just be eating a bunch of junk all the time because we are “free” to do so. In fact, it’s quite the opposite—once we feel our free choice and give up dieting, we will be more likely to make better and healthier choices.

I could relate to so much of what this book talked about, because I’ve experienced it. When I was dieting, I indeed felt deprived when I created a lot of food rules and avoided certain “fattening” foods. My restriction led me to eat much more of the foods I was trying to avoid and led me down the path of binge eating. However, now, I don’t have the same reaction when I choose to avoid an unhealthy food, or when I gave up so many foods while breastfeeding. Without the dieting mindset, passing up a certain type of food doesn’t make me feel like I’m missing out on something great, and doesn’t create powerful cravings. (For more about letting go of the dieting mindset, listen to Episode 48: How Do I Let Go of the Dieting Mentality in Binge Eating Recovery?)

Nourishing and Enjoyable Replacement Foods—Not Perfect Foods

As you may know from my books and other blog posts, I’m far from being a “perfect” eater. Perfect eating doesn’t even exist because nutrition science is constantly expanding and changing. I eat unhealthy foods sometimes, but as Ditching Diets does such a good job of explaining—when there is a strong sense of free choice about how you eat, and you don’t feel out of control—choosing to eat less-than-ideal foods isn’t a problem. It’s simply a choice with certain outcomes you have to be prepared to accept. Yes, I choose convenience over nutrition when my life is busy, and I accept that when I do that, my body isn’t being optimally nourished.  I do strive to nourish my body well as much as I can, but it is a balancing act. Everyone must create their own balance, and it never has to be all or nothing. It never has to be perfection or binge. (If you struggle with perfectionism, read my blog post on accepting imperfection in your eating.)

If you are taking on a healthy lifestyle, I think it’s very important to make sure you have enjoyable and nourishing replacements for the foods you are not eating. When you give up a food, you also want to feel like you are giving yourself a food in it’s place—a food (or foods) that you actually like and look forward to eating. Sometimes people forget the “enjoyable” part, and then get trapped in the dieting and deprivation mindset. The goal should be to find foods you take pleasure in eating, and that make you feel good as well. This can take some experimenting. To illustrate this, I’m going to give one example from my own life of a food my family has been trying to eliminate, and how we’ve replaced it:

My kids love waffles (they like peanut butter and maple syrup on them, which I think is a bit odd:-)), and I slowly got into the habit of giving them processed, pre-packaged waffles too often. At the end of my 4th pregnancy and after my son was born, the older 3 kids ate the pre-packaged waffles every single day. I was so exhausted and sleep-deprived that I couldn’t find time or energy for anything better first thing in the morning, and it was the only easy breakfast that all of them liked. Around the end of 2012, my husband and I decided that we’d find a way to make healthy, homemade waffles so our kids could get a better start to their day. We experimented with some recipes and finally found something that worked—using eggs, coconut milk, coconut flour, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, and honey.  The waffles are delicious!  I’ve been making a big batch each week and I freeze them, so that the mornings are just as easy as when we bought the frozen waffles from the store. If you asked my kids, I’m sure they would still say they like the “waffles from the store” better, but they eat up the ones I make too. I know this is a simple example, but I want you to see that there are enjoyable, nourishing, healthier replacements for foods that you want to avoid or need to avoid.

Finally, as a reminder from my last post, try to keep making healthy changes to your eating separate from quitting binge eating. That way, if you choose to eat something like processed waffles one morning, you won’t pay any attention to any thoughts that say, “you’ve already failed, you might as well binge.”  When you realize that you can avoid binges no matter what foods you decide to eat, you set yourself up for a lifetime of complete freedom from binge eating.

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To jump start your recovery from bulimia or binge eating disorder, you can download my free PDF, The Brain over Binge Basics.  

If you want more help in ending the binge eating habit, and more information on issues like the one discussed here, you can learn about the Brain over Binge Course.

kathryn hansen books

My Book’s Journey: A Mission to Help Binge Eaters (Brain over Binge)

I want to introduce myself:  I’m Kathryn Hansen and I stopped binge eating in 2005. Now, I am awaiting two exciting deliveries—the delivery of the Brain over Binge books to my doorstep, and the delivery of my new baby girl. The baby should arrive in about a week (and we have yet to decide on a name!), and the shipment of newly printed books should arrive in a little more than two weeks.

Writing this book has been a long journey for me. I began taking notes and writing rudimentary chapters in early 2006, slowly documenting my experiences and ideas. Considering this was less than a year after my recovery, it may have seemed bold.  How did I know my recovery would last?

I just knew. My bulimia was over for good, and I was fully convinced that I had a powerful story to share.  Writing that story was a great challenge, and a great joy. Some months brought much productivity; but other months brought lulls, indecision, frustration, and simply a lack of time. When my son was born, I took a six-month break from writing, and I did the same when my daughter arrived. This is why, when we found out we were expecting baby #3, I knew I absolutely had to finish before my due date.

I’ve worked hard these past nine months to make this a reality, spending many weekends writing at coffee shops while my husband watched the kids, and staying up way too late most nights. The months seemed to fly by, but I’m proud to say it is finished.

My perfectionism tells me the book could be better, that there is more I can say and better ways I can say it, but it’s time to let my words stand as they are. I had a mission in mind when I set out to write Brain over Binge, and I believe I’ve fulfilled it. More importantly, I think the book holds great promise for helping others.

As for how the book will be received…Who knows?  Who cares?  It could cause only the tiniest of ripples in the field of eating disorders, or it could create a big splash. Either way, that’s not what my mission was about. It was about telling my story – embarrassing parts and all – to other bulimics/binge eaters who may want to listen and learn from my hard-learned lessons.

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Update (2018):  It’s hard to believe that this post was so many years ago, and I’ve now written a second book, (The Brain over Binge Recovery Guide), created an online course, a podcast, and had a 4th child! It’s been an amazing journey and every time someone shares their story of recovery with me, it makes all of the long nights worth it, and fuels my continuing commitment to my original mission. You can read reviews on Amazon to see what others have thought about Brain over Binge since I wrote this post.

If you are looking for somewhere to begin, you can start with my free PDF, the Brain over Binge Basics. It will teach you the fundamentals of the approach that helped me and many others end the binge eating habit for good.