What Didn’t Work For Me

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Following up on my last post about strategies that have helped me achieve my recovery goals so far, I’m now going to talk about commonly suggested strategies that just completely backfired on me. However, these strategies may totally work for you! The main purpose of this post is to give you more ideas on how you can overcome the urge to binge.

You will find the following strategies all over self-help sites and in health sections of magazines, but my counsellor Karen also recommended them to me. I tried all of them for at least two weeks but found that I still binged immediately afterwards, sometimes more than I had originally planned. This may sound awful, but take the risk. Try every strategy. The payoff could be tremendous.

  1. Mindfulness – I hate mindfulness and meditation. I could rant about this for days. Karen tried to force this one on me so many times (“let’s try the exercise again, but this time…”) that I started crying in her office because it made me want to give up more than ever. Meditation and mindfulness have helped millions of people for centuries. But it doesn’t help me.
  2. Eating very slowly – I couldn’t enjoy my food when my mind was entirely focused on chewing.
  3. Listening to music – The thoughts in my head that were yelling at me to binge were unfortunately louder than anything I could hear through my headphones.
  4. Going for a walk or run – Exercise is definitely helpful, but going for a walk or run right when I wanted to binge always led to a massive binge as soon as I came back. I choose to exercise at a set time (usually at night before dinner).
  5. Positive or negative self-talk – I could tell myself positive things (“I am strong, intelligent, and capable of beating this eating disorder”) or negative things (“You’re already fat and hideous; why would you make it worse?”) but it made no difference at all.
  6. Safe place imagery – Sort of a variation on mindfulness that is slightly more tolerable but still useless to me.
  7. Sitting with the urge – The idea is that if you sit with the binging thoughts for long enough without acting on them, like a wave that rises and falls, they will eventually wash away. I have no patience.
  8. Writing down my thoughts and feelings – Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Be sure to strike a delicate balance – give a dedicated effort to each strategy, but recognize when it just isn’t working for you. If the strategy didn’t work, that doesn’t mean you failed. The strategy failed, not you. As long as you keep dusting yourself off and trying something new, you are beating BED. As long as you keep fighting, you are never failing.

Have any of these strategies been successful for you? Which strategies did you dislike?

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