“Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating” Book – Part 2

love2eatinpa, 11 February 2010, 12 comments
Categories: Helpful Books, Uncategorized
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Continuing from yesterday… here are 10 points, the second of a three-part series of notes from this amazing book I just read called “Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating” by Geneen Roth.

1. The first step in breaking free is letting yourself eat when you are hungry. The next step is learning what you are hungry for, and eating it. After that, you can learn when enough is enough. And whereas hunger can be insistent and loud and unmistakable, enough can be subtle and quiet and easy to miss.

2. Everyone eats compulsively. Everyone eats sometime during their lives because food is available and it tastes good and they don’t know what else to do or how to deal with their feelings. The difference between them and you is that they don’t punish themselves for hours or days afterward. They eat and then they go on to the next thing. You can do that too.

3. Push your plate away. Move it to the side. Ask the waiter to take it away. When you’re not looking at it any longer, your mind will focus on something else. If you’re at home, either push your plate away or get up and put it on the kitchen counter. Much compulsive eating occurs because the food is in front of your and you keep your hands busy by picking at it. When it’s not there, you can’t pick.

4. The worst part about eating is it’s over so soon. You look forward to it, you plan your day around it, and then it’s over. And you don’t want it to be over. Because it’s a high point, because you have to go on ot the next thing. And you might not want tot go on to the next thing. It might not be as instantly gratifying as food. It might not be gratifying at all.

5. Bingeing is an attitude; bingeing is qualitative. As with any symptom, the root causes must be acknowledged and, to some extent, dealt with before the symptom will disappear. Bingeing is not only the act of eating and its concomitant feelings but all the moments, decisions, and feelings that lead up to that act. Bingeing is a symptom, once it happens it becomes a problem in itself, but it is foremost a symptom – a symptom that decisions, feelings, and attitudes about yourself, your relationships, and food that preceded the onset of the binge are not serving you. Bingeing is only the tip of the iceberg.

*** This next one particularly spoke to me…
6. Deserving time for yourself is not a function of how smart or pretty or thin you are. Deserving time for yourself is not a function of how much you did or didn’t accomplish that day. Deserving time for yourself is a function of the fact that you are alive and deserve to have time for yourself.

7. When you let yourself eat anything you want whenever you are hungry, and I mean really let yourself – not trick yourself by saying, “Well if you want ice cream, you can have half a scoop of Weight Watchers ice cream”; or “I know you think you want ice cream but ice cream is fattening so you can have yogurt instead”; or “You can have vanilla but not chocolate because chocolate has more calories” – then the binge will slowly disappear. If you can eat whatever you want whenever you are hungry, then there is no need to eat it all now because tomorrow you are going to take it away again. Binges are last-ditch attempts to get all of what you want before you can’t have it anymore.

8. AFTER THE BINGE – It is crucial that you be KIND to yourself, that you be kinder to yourself now than you’ve been in a long time. This is when you need yourself most. Don’t leave. You are most prone to self-condemnation, punishment, deprivation at this time, and if you let yourself fall into that trap, you’ll be lost until you can muster the compassion to retrieve yourself.
Do something wonderful. Take a bath, go out and buy something special, take a walk, call a friend long distance, take a nap, buy a magazine. The something wonderful will counteract the deluge of self-condemnation. You need to let yourself know that you still believe in yourself.
Forgive yourself, you did the best you could.
Take some time, either by writing or sitting and thinking to learn from the binge.
A binge is never wasted if you learn from it. Learning from it takes you deeper into yourself, gives you clarity about your motivations, your needs and helps you for the next time.
Do not deprive yourself of food the next day. This is punishment.

***another one that hit home with me…
9. …how we eat is a metaphor for how we live, feelings about receiving pleasure, being nourished, taking time for oneself, and body image are also passed from parent to child. With intuitive wisdom, a child can sense how you feel about your body and how you feel about your body will be a model for how she should feel about her body. That child will usually either emulate what she sees or rebel against it and do the opposite. In either case, the example a parent sets is a powerful determinant in patterns that will deeply effect their children for the rest of their lives.

10. At a restaurant… look at the menu and choose what appeals to you immediately. Don’t second guess yourself: “Well, I really want a peanut butter sandwich but I can eat that at home, so I’ll have salmon”; or “I’d like a hamburger but I’ve heard their specialty is sautéed scallops. So I’ll have those.” You’ll have salmon or scallops at the restaurant and when you go home or in the middle of the night, you’ll eat a peanut butter sandwich or a hamburger….because you won’t feel satisfied from your meal at the restaurant.

I hope you are finding this book as interesting as I did. Stayed tuned for the third and final list of ‘nuggets’ tomorrow… =)

One Day at a Time... Nurture myself... Awareness... Letting Go... Listen to my Body

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12 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. […] "Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating" Book Part 2 | Confessions … Share and […]

  2. jackie callahan
    12 February 2010, 1:41 pm

    Thanks for bringing this up. I read this book quite a few years ago, and then recently took it off the shelf and read it again, and like you, I really got a lot out of it!


    love2eatinpa Reply:

    my pleasure. i feel like any little pieces of the puzzle we can’t get, from whatever the source, is helpful, dontcha think?


  3. Sagan
    12 February 2010, 2:17 pm

    I really like number nine. Thanks so much for sharing parts of this book with us!

    I find that although I’m good at being kind to myself after a binge, I still have more work to do before I can really break free. But it’s all baby steps.


    love2eatinpa Reply:

    i’m happy to share it! we are all hear to help one another, right? it’s good that you are being kinder to yourself after a binge, that is hard to do. baby steps for sure!


  4. Feelings and Attitudes
    19 February 2010, 4:03 am

    […] […]

  5. Shannon
    24 February 2010, 3:40 pm

    I don’t agree with #7 when it says binges are last-ditch attempts to get all of what you want before you can’t have it anymore. A binge for me is almost a food “fix”, something that will help me feel better in the moment and in order for that moment to last I have to keep on eating. I think the key to 7 is let yourself eat when you are truly hungry, not emotionally hungry.


    love2eatinpa Reply:

    hi shannon, thanks for the comment and i agree with you that binges are typically exactly what you said, it’s a food fix to help you feel better in the moment. i would need to double-check in the book, but i think the author was referring to bingeing right before going on a diet, that people have that last big binge before they start a diet and won’t be able to have any “good” stuff anymore. i apologize for not making that more clear.


  6. Jill
    28 February 2010, 10:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing all this with us!
    This same author has a book “Breaking Free From Emotional Eating” which does have the search inside feature enabled for it on Amazon, her other book does not. I’m going to check out the emotional eating one since I can’t look at the compulsive eating one.


    love2eatinpa Reply:

    great! i hope you find it interesting.


  7. Jill
    01 March 2010, 3:17 pm

    Thanks! I’m sure I will.


  8. […] “Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating” Book – Part 2 love2eatinpa, 11 February 2010, 11 comments Categories: Helpful Books, Uncategorized Tags: binge, compulsive eating, Geneen Roth […]

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