Each year while I was bulimic, I made a New Year’s resolution to stop binge eating. The part of me that drove the binge eating (my lower brain/animal brain) loved this yearly ritual. It viewed the days leading up to January 1st as one non-stop binge opportunity. I (residing in my rational/human brain) went along with my lower brain’s demands for the most part, because after all, it simply made sense to indulge considering I would never binge again come January 1st (Of course, back then I didn’t draw a line of separation between the part of me that wanted to binge and the part of me that had made the resolution, so it certainly seemed like the only “logical” thing to do).
As New Year’s day arrived each year, there was a sense of dread. Can I really quit? I thought. In December, it sounded nice to think a New Year would bring a binge-free me; but looking back, my resolutions usually only served as excuses to binge prior to the resolution’s start date. If I was quitting tomorrow, next week, next year; it gave me reason to binge today, this week, this year. My resolutions usually only lasted a few days, possibly a week if I was lucky; but it always ended the same – back in front of the pantry, refrigerator, or nearest fast food restaurant.
In my book, I talk about the first New Year’s Eve when I didn’t have to make a resolution to stop binge eating. I wasn’t with family or friends or at a party; I was simply alone with my thoughts, watching celebrations on TV. It was a wonderful feeling knowing the next year would be different, that I wouldn’t just fail three days later, that I’d never have to resolve to quit binge eating ever again. I’d already done that, and surprisingly, it had not been difficult.
If you are in the grip of bulimia or BED, know that if you make a New Year’s resolution to quit binge eating, only part of you is making that resolution (your rational/human brain). The other part of you (your lower/animal brain) will not stop producing urges to binge come January 1st. It has no regard for time, and will automatically demand binges no matter what day or year it is. If you can recognize those automatic and faulty messages from your lower brain, put them in proper perspective, and know that they never have to lead you into the wrong actions; you can keep your New Year’s Resolution.