Thank you to our guest blogger, Director and Founder of Metro Behavioral Health Associates (MBHA) Jennie Kramer, MSW, LCSW. Jennie has worked with individuals with eating disorders for over a decade and opened MBHA to offer comprehensive outpatient treatment for all forms of eating disorders along the spectrum. Most recently, Jennie Kramer and MBHA team member Marjorie Nolan Cohn penned “Overcoming Binge Eating for Dummies.” For more information, to connect with Jennie Kramer, and to purchase this book please refer to the end of the post.
The summer months can be rough if you have Binge Eating Disorder or a problem with chronic overeating. There are many reasons: Schedules are different in the summertime, especially for parents, students and teachers. You may have a busier social life, with lots of barbecues, parties and nights out – fun, yes, but also tempting and sometimes stressful. In addition, drinking alcohol can trigger binges. You may be taking a routine-disrupting vacation or seeing family, which for some people is an emotional minefield. And then there are the stressors associated with how you feel about the way your body looks in revealing summer styles, shorts, or bathing suits.
First and foremost, it is a good idea to make a point of preparing yourself for these potential traps. Spend some time planning on what you can do to reduce the likelihood that you will binge. Don’t put yourself on a strict diet, since restriction itself is associated with binge eating; plan to allow yourself reasonable-sized portions of the foods you love.
Other good ideas: Keep healthy foods in the house so you have good choices on hand when you are hungry. Ask loved ones to be a support by just listening or perhaps accompanying you while you take an afternoon to figure out what outfits look flattering. Consider splurging on a new bathing suit and wrap or cover up that make you feel good.
Even so, given the unique pressures of the season and the fact that relapses do happen, it is smart to have a plan for what you will do, if, despite your best intentions, you end up binge eating. It happens. Don’t beat yourself up … remember this is an addictive behavior and, as such, usually seems automatic, compulsory and involuntary. Be gentle here. It takes time to break free of these behaviors. Consider this an opportunity to learn from what happened so you can take steps to reduce the likelihood it will happen again.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Now that you understand yourself a little better, here are some easy tips that may help you prevent another binge or over-eating episode.
But even if you try all of that, there may still be times you end up doing the very thing you want not to do. When this happens, remind yourself to “be curious, not furious.”
Our book, “Overcoming Binge Eating for DUMMIES ©” offers more information on putting your binge eating days behind you. Good luck and have a great summer!
For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and Embrace, the Binge Eating Recovery program at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please contact admissions, subscribe to our blog, visit our website, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.