I can’t believe that I’ve done it again. I feel awful. I feel sick.
This is the last time. I’m not going to do it ever again. I need to fix myself.
Yet a week later I find myself standing in front of the kitchen cupboard, shovelling food into my mouth and I can’t stop.
I can’t believe I’ve done it again.
You see, you are not alone. Compulsive eating is a very common issue amongst fitness competitors, but nobody likes to talk about it. We feel ashamed and we are afraid of being judged. We feel lost and can’t see a way out.
It wasn’t until earlier this year that I decided to take my power back, and not let food and my disordered eating rule my life anymore. After all, it’s my responsibility to make myself feel good.
I’m going to share some of the techniques that I use with you, but it’s very important that you understand that it all starts with what I just mentioned – deciding that you want to and that you are going to recover.
Here are some of the tools that helped me. A lot of them are quite spiritual but I believe that having a healthy mind and a positive mindset is key to recovery.
Have an eating plan
Increase your calories so you don’t feel hungry and include foods that you like so you don’t feel too restricted. If you are about to finish your comp season, have a chat with your coach and get an off-season plan BEFORE your show.
It’s essential to start the day with good spirit. Count your blessings, list everything you are grateful for. Be grateful to have unlimited access to food and to be able to choose what you put in your mouth. Thank your body for staying healthy despite all the abuse you’ve put it through.
Remind yourself of your goals
Include this in your morning routine and do it whenever you feel like a binge is coming. As a fitness professional and a young woman, my goals include wanting to feel and to look fit and healthy. Bingeing makes me miserable, it affects my health and it makes me hate my body.
Focus on the positives
Take 5 minutes every day to remind yourself of how you feel when you don’t binge. How it feels to go to bed knowing that you are one step closer to your goals. Visualise yourself feeling healthy, looking the way you want to look, having a good relationship with food, being able to go out for a meal with your friends and enjoy their company rather than obsessing about food. You can include this in your morning or bed time routine.
Write down your thoughts and feelings The last few times I binged, I took notes of I was feeling. I still have them saved on my phone and every time I feel like a binge is coming, I go through them to remind myself why I should stay strong and not give in to the urge to binge. It’s a very powerful tool.
Create better relationship with food
Say your gratitude before starting your meal. Think about how that meal is going to nourish your body. Have at least one meal a day without any distractions (no phone, no tv, no music etc.). Pay attention to flavours, colours, textures. Appreciate every bite.
Know your trigger situations and be prepared
Let me give you an example! I used to be unable to go out for meal without the day/night turning into a huge binge cycle. On my way home, I would pop into a couple of shops to buy a load of crap and eat until I’m sick. Now before I go out, I take 5 mins, sit in a quiet corner and write a list of all the reasons why I shouldn’t binge. I remind myself that I am in control of my eating and the choices I make, not the other way around.
Last but not least, believe in yourself. You are more powerful than you can ever imagine.