I'm excited and nervous and happy and scared and all sorts of contradictory things right now.
Kathryn Hansen's excellent book--Brain over Binge: Why I Was Bulimic, Why Conventional Therapy Didn't Work, and How I Recovered for Good--has made me feel more hope (regarding getting over binge eating disorder) than I've felt in a long time. The concepts in the book aren't new to me; I've read about psychology, psychiatry, addiction, nutrition, lower versus higher brain, identification of the "addictive voice", neuroplasticity, etc. before. But there's something to the way Hansen has synthesized and presented this wealth of information that makes it click better. And there's something to the way she carefully distinguishes between terms like "trigger" (as in environmental, social, emotional triggers) and "urge" (urges to binge) that I find helpful. On top of it all, she tells her own story of recovery from bulimia very effectively. I recommend this book to anyone that binge eats.
So now it's time for me to make use of the things I learned from this book. I've already started; there was no "one last binge" or anything of the sort after I finished the book and decided to get going. That in itself is different from my usual pattern of behavior!
(The rest of this entry might not make total sense unless you've read the book...)
The thing I'm somewhat nervous about is my ability to disassociate from my urges. And I'm unsure where to draw the line in terms of food restrictions. Yes, it's my lower brain telling me to binge. It's also my lower brain telling me to eat mac and cheese for dinner when my higher brain/self has a weight loss goal and knows that other dinner choices would help me get there faster. The question quickly becomes: do I need to tackle everything at once? And how do I know, by cutting myself some slack (not by binge eating, but by eating less-than-stellar foods), that I'm not falling for the tricks of the lower brain and thereby strengthening it?
Hansen says she found it helpful to not be overly worried or restrictive about her food choices when she was kicking the binge habit. The main thing is to know what constitutes a binge for you, to eliminate binge eating, and then build from there as desired. (Read more on this, from her blog, *here*.)
So I'm taking that advice. Right now, I'm committed to NOT BINGE EATING. I don't view this as a license to eat junk for every meal and snack, but I am determined to not let the perfect be the enemy of the very, very good. And no longer binging would be very, very good indeed.
More to come on binges, separate nutrition goals, and the like!