Thursday, July 7, 2011

A dose of reality

Years ago I read that if you want to get to the bottom of what's bugging you, it's time to make a list.

So here's what I did. At the top of the page I wrote:
"The Results of Compulsive Eating."

Then I stared at it for a long time, before I started to write down all the negative things that will happen to me if I continue to binge eat. We're talking worse-case scenario here.

I am not going to bore you with my whole list, because it took up one side of an 8 1/2-by-11-inch piece of paper. The top three will show the direction I was headed:
1. heart disease
2. diabetes
3. cancer

As you can see, those three would be enough to make anyone sit up and take notice.

It's the next part of this exercise that is so very important: Reframing, looking at the worst possible outcomes of any situation and deciding whether you can live with these outcomes. In most cases, when the issue is minor, you can, which makes you feel less stress and helps you solve the problem.

In this case, I could live with these issues -- but not one of them is something I would want to be facing. So I better reframe my emotions in order to get on with my life.

Now this is really important: By writing down the consequences of binging elevated binging to a different plain. All of a sudden binging is not about the moment -- it's really about how that moment is impacting my life, not only now, but in years to come.

By making that list, I was confronting binging in a way I had never done before. For the first time, it was not about an uncontrollable behavior. It was about what that uncontrollable behavior was doing to my body.

That list scared me. Whether it scared me enough to never binge again is something only time will prove. But I do know that list will never be far from my grasp. I made copies of it, and put it in strategic places, the places where binging always begins.

That list is my motivator for change. Right now, it's giving me faith in my ability to cope with binging.

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