What to do after a binge

This topic really resonates with me, particularly today. I haven’t talked a ton about bingeing on the blog, but it’s something that has affected my life for a long time. My research over the years has shown me that TONS of people, especially women, are affected by bingeing. I plan on dedicating a large amount of blog space to the topic of bingeing-what it is, how it’s discussed (or not) in the U.S., and how to overcome it.

Today, I’m writing about what to do immediately after a binge, as in the few minutes after we put the food down and the reality that we’ve just binged sets in. In those moments, we often recoil in horror as we assess the empty food cartons, half-empty bags of chips or gallons of ice cream, and the half-eaten loaf of banana-chocolate chip bread. Unfortunately, the post-binge horror, shame, and embarrassment that we inflect upon ourselves is counterproductive. If we wallow in those feelings, we hit the food again, and often harder than before.

To avoid a second binge and to restore our minds and bodies to a peaceful state, here’s what you do:

You just move on. You binged. Acknowledge that. Then go on with your day (or night).

What does it mean to “just move on” look like? Specifically, it looks like taking a small, simple action to get yourself out of binge mode and into mental and physical calmness.

Here’s a list of small, simple actions that you can take to shift your entire day or night after a binge (I did all of these myself today):

1. BREATHE. Amidst all of the food wrappers and crumbs. Take 3-5 deep breaths. Try this technique:

2. Sip on a glass of water. No, I’m not talking about warm lemon water with cayenne so that you can detox immediately in a desperate and ill-advised attempt to lose weight fast. Just fill a glass with cool water. Sit down and drink it. Hydrate your body.

3. Research something cool/interesting/productive on the internet. Watch a TED talk. Plan your dream vacation; look up all of the cool places to visit. Today, I opened my laptop and did some job research. I found a couple of jobs that I want to apply to. This stuff takes your mind off of your binge, giving your body freedom to digest and your mind a break from post-binge anxiety.

4. Shave your legs. I know the last thing you want to do after a binge is see yourself naked. But I took a shower and made a point to shave my legs really well. Afterwards, I felt clean and a little sexy and summery. Not in a bingeing mood, that’s for sure.

5. Say really sweet things to yourself. Today I said (in my mind and out loud), “I love you. You’re doing great. You’re okay. I’m so proud of you. Everything will be okay. You’re doing the best you can, Sarah ol’ girl (a la Helga Pataki).” Say that stuff to yourself. It really does make you feel better.

6. Promise yourself that you will keep going and fighting. It’s so easy to wallow in self-hatred and hopelessness after a binge. But that mindset just sets you up to binge again. Make a promise to yourself that you WILL overcome bingeing, that you will never give up on yourself, and that you WILL live binge-free.

7. Do something with people. Post-binge feelings are smothered by positive social interaction. I went to the pool with a friend today and am going out with more friends tonight. Make a date with one or more people who make you feel happy and relaxed. This not only gets you out of the house (isolation increases the likelihood that we’ll binge), but it also takes your mind off of your body and food. My friends, and most of them don’t realize this, have pulled me out of my darkest post-binge feelings.

Take this list seriously. If none of this resonates with you, generate your own list of small, manageable actions that you can take SECONDS after a binge so that you avoid another binge and feel peaceful.

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More food on my face and just for this weekend, okay?

Currently writing this while a mixture of egg and raw honey dry on my face. According to bad-ass Alexis Wolfer (also the woman who I wish was my big sister), this DIY face mask can treat breakouts. Raw honey (the creamy, somewhat expensive stuff) contains antibacterial and hydrating properties that cleanse the skin without drying it out. Egg white tightens skin (I feel my skin tightening this very moment!). And the fat and cholesterol in the yolk reduce the appearance of acne scars. What the what? Check out the full recipe here!

Photo on 2014-05-08 at 23.40 #2

My skin has taken a beating this semester (this entire year, actually). The massive amount of stress I felt manifested itself on my skin. This is new territory for me. I’ve never really had trouble with my skin and for the past several months, I’ve been breaking out almost every day. Alexis Wolfer’s brain children have helped me focus on not only treating my skin very gently with stuff I already put in my body, but also having fun with skin care. We can all use more fun in our lives, right?

The stress from the past two semesters has also manifested itself in my relationship to food (duh. i talk about that sh*t all the time here)…and subsequently, on my body. While the way I view food and my body has certainly improved, I still have many moments where I ashamed of and frustrated with my body. Consequently, I also have many moments where I obsess about food (am i hungry? should i eat that when i already ate that other thing earlier today? am i really hungry? WTF is wrong with you, sarah!?!?). Slow your roll, girly. In those moments, I dig deep and force gentler thoughts into my brain (the irony there is not lost on me). I stop my dark and reeling thoughts. I DO something-breathe, take a walk/run, call someone, drink water, have a 5-min dance party, so many things.

very recent example: Today, when I freaked out about how I looked in my graduation outfit (um yeah i’m graduating. hollaaaa!) and then obsessed about whether I was hungry and should eat dinner, and why the f*ck I can’t just feel peaceful and normal about food and my body, I made a big decision. What if I just committed to being peaceful around food and my body for the next three days? The next three days are celebratory; full of being surrounded by family and friends, taking pictures, recognizing accomplishments, and of course, eating food. I don’t want to miss out on any moment of the next three days because I’m obsessing about how I look in my clothes or what I’m going to eat. I want to welcome my family, show them around the city, acknowledging the fact that I finished my freakin’ Master’s, take pictures with friends, and feel excited about everything. There will be no room for body hate or preoccupation with food.

Making this weekend commitment is keeping me calm. I don’t need to worry about feeling crazy around food/my body for the rest of my life. All I need to do is strive for peace in that area for the next three days. For the weekend, I will relax about this stuff. And I will be present with the people around me. Just for the next three days. I can worry about forever later. But this weekend, a very exciting and special weekend, I’m just going to act as if I feel normal and peaceful about my body and food.

DIY facials help. Mediating helps. Iggy Azalea and Madonna help. Yoga helps. So, so many things can help us regain our sanity and focus on the sh*t that we actually want to experience in our lives.

I’m starting to believe that American women’s obsession with thinness is a patriarchal rouse to distract us from doing real sh*t, from living our dreams so that we don’t become too powerful. Thoughts?

Food on my face

When I do a Beauty Bean mask, I tend to repeat the words “food on my face” to the tune of Miley’s J’s on my feet. I’m cool.

Greek yogurt and raw honey have donned my face today. It’s a soft and sweet combination that tightens and exfoliates the skin. And putting food on your face is fun. Try it!

Post-yoga facial mask pic:

Photo on 2014-05-01 at 16.26 #2

If you’re looking to give yourself a quick jolt of love, try a homemade facial. So much fun.

Food on my face. So get like me.

Unleash Yourself Challenge Day 3

Okay, yogis. I gotta post this and then do some schoolwork fo real. Why have I had such a problem getting myself to do work? Hmm another post for another day.

So yesterday I got unleashed again. It happened last night, actually. I ate a little too much food a little too quickly. Feelings that plagued me during my bingeing days weighed on me again last night. But I just decided not to give those feelings-guilt, shame, unsexiness, no power over me. Instead of sitting around and freaking out (and eating over) those feelings, I went upstairs and gave my hair a sexy blowout. I reveled in brushing my hair and getting warmed up under the heat of my blow dryer. Before I knew it, my body felt normal again. I digested the food quickly because my attention was focused on something so different than everything I ate and how fat I felt. Miraculous. Seriously.

So the next time you eat a little more than your body wants, just MOVE ON. Get out of the kitchen or off of the couch and go do something that makes you feel really relaxed and good. Do yo hair. Put lotion on slowly. Read a delicious book. Do some delicious stretches. Do a 5 minute yoga video. Take some deep breaths. These things may seem small and incidental, but I SWEAR if you shift from overeating or bingeing to consciously caring for yourself, those feelings of guilt and shame (which lead to more overeating and bingeing), will dissipate. And you’ll actually be able to unleash your sexy, peaceful, all-knowing self.

Also…I put food on my face again. Wine. Honey. Greek yogurt. On my face.

Photo on 2014-02-05 at 22.47 #2

Go unleash yourself today!

Unleashed Challenge Day 2

Whew. I cannot turn my brain off. Real talk. I am feeling the stress of my final semester. My schedule yesterday, in particular, left me crying in bed before I fell asleep. The guilt of not getting enough done during the day, coupled with the fear of not getting enough done today, overwhelmed me.

But since I vowed to get unleashed for the next two weeks, I chose to do something active to heal my stress, guilt, and anxiety. I tapped. The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) hails from Nick and Jessica Ortner (two unleashed bad-asses) and involves tapping the fingers on various pressure points on your body as you talk about what’s bothering you.

As you talk about your emotions, for example, the stress and overwhelm I feel about my workload, and tap on those points (eyebrow point, side of the eye, under the nose, chin, collarbone, under the arm, top of the head), you actually feel an emotional release. Your emotion actually decreases, or often disappears, and you are restored to a state of peace.

I’ve been using EFT for the past few weeks, particularly when I feel overcome by negative thoughts about my body. I sit myself down and tap until that sharp, intense emotion of frustration or sense of inadequacy goes away. Wowza does this stuff work. What a way to get unleashed! Check out this video by angel-on-earth Gabby Bernstein:

Though tapping has really helped me work through emotions around my body, I have to say, last night’s tapping session did not give me the relief I was looking for. In fact, I feel like it made me more stressed out because I just kept thinking so much about my workload and all of the stuff I have to do. Many, many tears were shed as I tapped. So I did feel a bit of release just from crying so much. I’ll just continue to tap on this area of my life until I do feel peaceful.

Give tapping a try. If anything, it’s another great tool to get unleashed.

Also, to relieve stress, I made another lovely face mask that I found on The Beauty Bean.

Photo on 2014-02-04 at 22.22 #4

Avocado. Oatmeal. Honey. Lemon juice. Put it in a blender. Then put it on your face.

God I want Alexis Wolfer to be my big sister.

Unleash Yourself Challenge Day 1

I felt feisty today. A little unleashed. Unwilling to let the hateful thoughts about my body that swirl in my head control me. Part of unleashing my inner wild woman includes a bold, radical acceptance of my body as it is in every moment. I have to get unleashed from believing in the stagnating, debilitating thoughts about not looking good/thin/sexy/muscular enough. Because it’s bullshit.

So here’s what I did today to unleash myself putting stock into those hateful body thoughts:

1. Between spurts of work, I listened to a beautiful, inspiring Wellness Wonderland podcast with Alexis Wolfer. Alexis threw down about body image and eating disorders, and proclaimed something that shot straight into my heart. Her proclamation was so right on that I slapped it on a Post-it and stuck it to my computer and desk:

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Unless we respect our own bodies, we can’t ask others to respect them, also.

2. Throughout the day, I placed my hands on my body and told her that I love her. I literally touched my stomach and thighs and whispered or thought to myself, “I love you. I love you.” When I had a negative thought about my body, I put my hands on myself and said “I love you.” This action, courtesy of Sarah Jenks, slowly unleashes us from the stronghold of body obsession.

DSC052993. I followed the sage advice of Alison Leipzig. In order to shift our fearful, hateful views of our bodies, we have to become aware of what we think our bodies now. Ali recommends taking a regular toll of the thoughts we think throughout the day about our body. So every hour, I jotted down whatever I was thinking about my body. Wowza. This simple action helped me get out of my head and look at my body fears straight on.

DSC05300In fact, Ali is hosting a FREE tele-class entitled “How To Stop Being Such a Bitch To Your Body.” Timely, huh? Sign up now!

Photo on 2013-09-11 at 17.37 #6Day 1 of Unleash Yourself Challenge down. Stay tuned for how I get unleashed tomorrow.

Coffee? Psh.

Writing this post quickly, as I have my “History of Rhetoric” class in 13 mins. Guess what helps this grad student pay attention in class and vocalize awesome, useful insights on the expositions of St. Augustine?

That would be a concoction of frozen banana, spinach, and almond milk blended to perfection. While coffee depletes our cells of energy and nutrients, this baby energizes our bodies and makes us say HELLO.

Drink this instead of the coffee, college kids. Or drink this instead of coffee one morning. You can still luxuriate in the comfy chairs in Starbucks without a caffeinated drink in your hand.