The Holiday Binge Blues: How to Finally End the Cycle

I was recently listening to a Brené Brown lecture on CD. You’ve likely heard of her. She does research and speaks on a very popular (not!) topic of Shame.

She begins this lecture by telling us that change doesn’t come from the popular “how to” list of just-do-this-and-you-too-will-feel more beautiful, confident, etc. etc. etc. Nope. Doesn’t work that way. Unfortunately. The path to feeling more beautiful and confident and whatever else you want takes digging into the deeper issues, Brené informs the listener.

I couldn’t agree more!

Although you may binge or overeat or purge or starve yourself (and everything in between) during the Holidays (and well, all through the year) it still isn’t about food!

Food is not your enemy. If anything, it’s your friend. (a topic that must wait for another newsletter.)

If you want to learn how to not binge this Holiday season, you aren’t going to get it from a quick-tip sheet. I know, I’m guilty of giving this “how-to” scoop because, well, that’s what people want (and what my business coaches tell me to do.) But it won’t work!

If you want to heal your disordered eating behaviors, you must dig deeper into the real issues!

I think the best way to do that is to use your relationship with food (what you do with food/how you are with it) to help you discover what is really bugging you.

Not necessarily an easy task, I know. But it is possible and will give you so much more than just feeling normal around food.

So if you’re ready to face the issues, even if you feel scared to do it, below you will find some ways to approach this. It’s not a “how-to,” it’s a guide to how to use your relationship with food to help you understand yourself better.

If you want more direct help with this, I will be available at the next session of “Anne’s Booth: The Counselor is In”. See below for the scoop on how to get my help just by calling in on the phone or computer.

In the meantime, here are some questions to ask yourself before you engage in any of your eating disorder behaviors. Ask yourself the questions and then go inside your body to feel the answer. A good way to do this is to take a deep breath and follow your breath into your body. You can also write down what comes up when you ask yourself these questions.  This will help you explore what you are really feeling. Doing so may even lead you to lose the desire to do that eating disorder behavior, because, after all, it isn’t really about food. Try it.

  1. What eating disorder behavior(s) are you thinking about doing?
  2. What is happening right now?
  3. What emotions are you experiencing? (Try not to label them as good or bad or wonder ‘why’ you are experiencing this emotion. Just notice it)
  4. What are you hoping will happen if you engage in the eating disorder behavior?

Below are some questions to ask yourself after you engage in an eating disorder behavior.  Go into your body or write down what comes to mind when you ask these questions.  This will help you learn more about what is driving your behavior.

  1. What type of eating disorder behavior(s) did you engage in?
  2. What was happening just before you engaged in the eating disorder behavior?
  3. What emotions were you experiencing immediately prior to the eating disorder behavior and immediately after?
  4. What did it feel like, physically and emotionally, to hurt yourself?
  5. What were you hoping would happen by engaging in your eating disorder behavior(s)?

You can also just ask yourself (with curiosity not criticism) “if this isn’t about food, what might it be about?” You may not know the answer, but try to take a breath and listen or feel for the answer. Usually the first thing that surfaces is the perfect place to go.

Learning about what you are trying to avoid, communicate, deal with by using food, is a huge step toward change. When you face your emotions, you no longer need food to help you cope. 

This Holiday Season commit to doing the above at least one time (or more if you can). It doesn’t matter how often, it only matters that you commit to yourself and then follow through! Pick a number that is a challenge but that you are likely to do. Doing this will move you in the direction you want to go. You may not be able to stop binge eating or other behaviors this month but just image what you will be able to do by next Holiday Season if you start this process now!


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