Every week, I’ll post a Q for You-a topic to write about that can help you understand your eating behavior better and start healing your relationship with food. Today’s: Are you too focused on weight?
I ask because I have this friend who’s been struggling lately-bingeing almost every single day, unable to stop herself from stuffing down her feelings with food when the urge hits. She wants to stop so badly, and not being able to is making her very, very depressed. Well, when were chatting about it the other day, I noticed that she kept talking about calories. Instead of saying that she ate three donuts during a binge, she said, “I ate 800 calories worth of donuts”-and she described the healthier snack she wished she’d had as “100 calories worth of almonds.”
Ding! Ding! Ding! All that calorie talk rang alarm bells in my head. It reminded me of when I used to start some new diet every Monday morning, promising that this time it would be different. I remember thinking that my eating disorder would go away if I could just diet successfully and get thin. But I got thin so many times on so many different diets (and pills, ugh) and my bingeing disorder never left me for long.
What I’ve learned from therapists, books, mentors who’ve overcome their own eating problems, and from my own experience is that if you really want to stop bingeing and overeating, healing your heart and your relationship with food has to be your focus, not your weight. Focusing on the outside won’t fix the inside, in fact, it only makes it worse.
One thing that can help you focus on working on your insides rather than your outsides? Not weighing yourself. For a while I even asked the nurse at my doctor’s office not to say the number when I stepped on during yearly appointments. And it helped. I’m no longer afraid of the scale, but I’m not shackled to it, either. And, guess what? When I do check my weight or see the doc (like today!) it doesn’t ruin my day, no matter what the number is. Crazy cool, right?