Food-Sanity Tipping Points: I’ve Reached One…Time to Act!

Ever feel like you're about to fall over the food-sanity edge?

You guys know that I rely on a few key tools to help me manage my stress, connect with my feelings in a healthy way, keep my mind clear, and keep me sane about food: exercise, meditation, and support. (Getting eight hours of sleep goes a long way toward helping me stay on an even keel, too.) The more consistently I employ these tools, the more stable, happy, and effective I am—I also I feel better about my body and don’t obsess about food.

Well, lately I’ve really been letting these super important tools slip. And a couple of days ago I realized something: If I don’t do something about that, I could be on my way to a binge. What exactly has thrown a wrench in my healthy routine? I started a new job, one I’m really excited about at a magazine where very cool changes are taking place. I have lots more responsibility than I did at my last gig, which is awesome and energizing—I wake up and want to get to work early to get a head start. But it’s tough to turn my brain off at night because thoughts are swirling, and the change itself—new office, new coworkers, new job description—is also pretty stressful. (We binge-eater types aren’t exactly the most amenable to change…I, for one, used to be desperately afraid of it.)

The result of all this excitement was this: As of last week, I hadn’t worked out in four weeks, I hadn’t meditated in about that long either, and I was averaging just six hours of shut-eye a night. But I didn’t realize how dangerous this month-long slide was until I was telling my therapist about it. The look on her face basically said, “Uh-oh.” That’s when I stopped and thought, What would I tell a reader who was in my shoes right this instant? How important consistently using stress- and life-management tools is, and how exercise, meditation, and sleep have been key to my recovery from binge eating disorder!

I’m happy to say that I woke up on Friday morning and, instead of going into the office early, went for a short jog—and felt amazing for it. I also meditated on the subway on the way to work, and have plans to do the same today.

I’m so glad that I didn’t have to have a full-on binge or have to slip into an emotional funk in order to recognize this food-sanity tipping point. Have you ever had a moment of clarity like this one in which you recognized the signs of impending trouble (with food or just life)? What were the signs, and what did you do to turn things around? xo…Sunny

10 Responses to Food-Sanity Tipping Points: I’ve Reached One…Time to Act!

  1. Sally says:

    Thank you for this post. This is something that I need to work on being aware of. Usually, I don’t notice that I am on a path to a binge until I am in my car driving to the grocery store to buy chips. I am able to notice when I don’t feel the urge to binge though. For me, I think sleep is a huge factor. And being true to myself and not over-committing myself. When I have too much going on, I tend to turn to food.

  2. Trish says:

    I was in the same place, and I’m happy to say I found my way out! I went on vacation, started my full-time internship, and am trying to have a social life in there somewhere too … diet and exercise were put on the backburner. But I had a little extra time yesterday, and I went to the gym, and this morning I feel great! It’s encouraging for me to have recognized that I was heading for a binge and doing something better for myself instead of continuing on the same path. Six months ago, I don’t know that I would have been able to handle it, but thankfully I’ve learned some steps that work for me. Woohoo!

  3. Lana says:

    Sunny, your website has been an incredible resource for me (and I’m sure to many, many other girls, too!) and this post is just another example that helps me realize that food issues are often multi-faceted (stress; perfectionism; not meeting your needs, whether that be spiritually, physically, mentally, socially, etc). Prior to this, I never really understood why I felt such impulse to turn to food in times of distress, but posts like this let me know how to be more aware of how to healthily manage stress and the changes in life. Thanks so much! (and congratulations on your new job!!!)

  4. Ju says:

    Hey Sunny, I just disvovered your blog! As a struggling ex-binge-eater, I confess I sometimes also feel like I’m loosing myself. It’s crazy, one moment you think you are, like, cured and binge and body shape obsession and food obssession are past, and suddenly it all comes back again! You can never stop being careful… I have to thank you, though! Your tips are really precious, they are helping me at this very moment and I have the feeling that they will keep helping me from now on. It’s very nice, very reliaving, to realize that you are not alone, that you are not the only one with a certain problem. It’s super important, for sometimes I think I’m crazy….thank you so much! I loved your blog!

  5. Heather says:

    I am only just starting to come up with alternatives to eating when I’m not hungry. My colleague and I were laughing at a suggestion to do a puzzle book, but really, I think it just depends on you.

    I’m learning to enjoy exercise for its mental health benefits, as opposed to its impact on my waistline. I’m making the effort to walk to work and get some fresh air and exercise before being stuck in the office.

    I’m trying to be more aware of how I feel before and after classes. Before, I would often rather head home, tired and beat down after work, and eat dinner, and zonk out in front of the box. After I get myself to a session, I feel lighter, my head is far calmer and I feel like I’ve done something. It also puts a distance between how I feel at work, and how I want to feel at home.

    I’m still in the early stages, and have panic-eaten after exercise, but I’m hoping to slow this down and eventually get to a point where I don’t feel the need to sabotage myself.

  6. […] bonus, I actually started learning something from those “slip ups” with food. I learned the warning signs for binges. I learned what I needed to do—namely, take some time for myself, journal, exercise, […]

  7. […] so busy, I deserve this cookie/chocolate/second helping!” Last, but not least, I haven’t been making the time to move my body. Most days, I’d rather just drag myself home from work and park on the couch with a streaming […]

  8. […] know that I’ve been struggling a bit to get back into my usual balanced lifestyle, and that I haven’t felt like I’ve had enough time of late to really take the best care of myself that I can. (Both possibly dangerous things for someone with a history of binge […]

  9. […] long it takes, getting healthy about food is always worth it. For me, recovery from binge eating is very different than I thought it would be all those years ago when I first started wishing for it. It’s […]

  10. […] so busy, I deserve this cookie/chocolate/second helping!” And last, but not least, I haven’t been making the time to move my body. Most days, I’d rather just drag myself home from work and park on the couch with a streaming […]

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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.