About half a year ago, somebody asked me something. They said, “Madelyn, I want to know how to stop binging but I also want to go on a sugar detox.”

The lights in my brain set off, whereas in her brain, she’s scavenging for all the possible answers I might be able to throw her away.

Though I have a feeling my answer isn’t what she wanted to hear.

“In order to stop binging, you first stop detoxing,” I said.

“What?” she asked me.

“You heard me. If you want to stop spending nights in pain from eating too much food, you have to stop spending days limiting and starving yourself from food. Your body likes to get what it needs and wants every day. It doesn’t want to feel starved from any important nutrients, whether it’s physical or mental. Simply fearing a food, will cause chemical reactions in the brain. In order to balance out the fear your body has because it’s not sure when it will starve next, it will react by eating every morsel it can in a sitting. It’s a safety precaution.”

Just like that, she got a little taste of what freedom might be like.

No more rules written on the fridge door.

No more late night binging on the kitchen floor.

No more unexpected eating patterns.

No more “I’m going on a diet” talk.

No more weekly feelings of shame or guilt for cupcakes at 2 AM.

Normalcy. Balance. Freedom.

You can have your sugar, and also avoid binge eating, I promise.

Are you willing and open to learning how to stop binging? First, it starts with the mind:

1. Accept your feelings toward food.

Does food make you angry? Sad? Scared? Accept your feelings without judgment or shame in them. We are all fighting a battle somewhere in life, yours just happens to be with food!

2. Allow yourself to express your feelings toward food.

Write a letter to your relationship with food. Write a letter to the cupcakes on the counter that cause you to go running into your room. Write a letter to the love/hate relationship you have with Weight Watcher. Get it ALL out. Then rip it up into little pieces because it’s time to move on.

3. Acknowledge all food as if it was made for a purpose.

Sugar, fat, salt, carbs, protein, cholesterol, fiber and every other macro or micronutrient has a purpose, a time and a place. For some people, they find that most foods take up the bulk of their life because they make them feel alive. For others, it’s a wild card every day. But after you learn to accept your eating rules without shame and allow yourself to feel the emotions that arise when you think about them, you will be able to acknowledge the true purpose of food: to assist you in living. Not to control your every move.

Giving up the rules may mean that a lot of fear arises in your body, and you carry around unwanted tension everywhere you go. You may want to run to a binge because of the fact that you always binge when you feel that tension.

It’s difficult when your coping mechanism is your life’s biggest controlling factor.

Aim to do the three things above first, and then we’ll move on to a few more things that will take your journey even further…

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