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Hi, new chatter here. I'm having a bit of a rough time with


Hi, new chatter here. I'm having a bit of a rough time with eating right now. My binge eating started in childhood, leading to a sort of reactionary fall into anorexia. I kind of halfway recovered from that, then fell right back into my binge eating. I feel like I only know how to either ridiculously overeat or completely deny myself food. Any tips on beginning the process of finding a middle ground?

Apr 15

Welcome! Before we can make positive changes, we need education. Below is post I made some time ago. Perhaps in reading these words, you can begin making small steps for change: "OVEREATING COGNITIVE DISTORTIONS THAT LEAD TO UNWANTED EATING. Cognitive distortions are thoughts that create an inaccurate or exaggerated picture of reality in our minds. These types of thinking errors are like land mines charged with negativity that pepper your road to success. Here is a list of the 10 most common distortions. Recognizing your own cognitive distortions is the first step you will take to power your own and put those running tape in the shredder. 1. BLACK-AND-WHITE THINKING: Black -and-white thinking is probably the most common mistake among people who struggle with an eating disorder. This mind-set creates an all-or-nothing cycle that pushes you toward failure as soon as one single thing goes wrong.. “I hit the dessert tray – my diet’s ruined!” Only it’s not. Or “****, I ate my breakfast, then cleaned up my kid’s plates, too. “Forget my eating goals for today.” Only you shouldn’t. Or “I can’t believe I bought a chicken pot pie. No point now in hitting the gym”, but you should. Or you step on the scale after a particularly austere week of sticking to your plan and discover you didn’t even loose an ounce – “That’s it, I just can’t lose any weight.” But you can. Black -and-white thinking is the mind-set of habitual dieters because they constantly see themselves as being either on a diet – restricting themselves from foods they love—or off diet—eating “forbidden foods” with relish. One little misstep in your plan and it’s ruination. It’s back to the diet again tomorrow or, more likely, Monday or, what the heck, might as well wait until the end of summer when the kids are back in school. In the meantime, you indulge in the foods you crave because you know you’ll miss them once the diet starts again. ….”When you think in black and white, you get angry and tell yourself you screwed up royally (again.) You’re deflated and beating yourself up. You see recovery as an impossible task and even abandon your plan right then and there. You end up wallowing in your refrigerator and worrying about what you’re going to see when you find the nerve to step on the scale. People who live in back-and-white thinking fail to consider that there are choices between all or nothing. They have a difficult time getting back on track when deviation occurs. They view their day as ruined instead of accepting that one decision was just a mistake and it’s time to forget about it and move forward. When repeated over time, this kind of thinking creates a consistent barrier to success. 2. OVERGENERALIZATION: People with this mind-set see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. It’s the continuation of black-and-white thinking—a small misstep is turned into a blow-out-of-proportion event. Let’s say that you go out for dinner and your choice involves too many calories such as a rich dessert. “Not only did I order the wrong thing,” you tell yourself “but it happens every time I go out for dinner.” “What’s wrong with me? Eating out is just not possible for me.” You work yourself into such a tizzy over it, you start to question your self worth: “I’ll never get to where I want to be.” You abandon your eating program thinking “What’s the point? Until the next time you muster up the courage to start your program again. Over-generalization is a sure way to mentally talk yourself into failure. 3. MENTAL FILTERING: You’ve lost 15 pounds and people are noticing. Your office mates are smothering you with compliments: “You look great!” That new outfit really shows off your slimmer figure.” Then you meet your mother for lunch, and she says, “You’re looking tired.” I thought you were working on losing weight and improving your health. How’s that going?” Forget about the 20 complements you heard that morning. All you can think about its the fact that your mother hasn’t noticed what the people in your office are seeing. This is mental filtering. You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively, to the point where it darkens your vision of reality, just like one drop of ink can discolor an entire beaker of water. It almost brings you to tears. You mope through lunch, all the while feeling self-conscious about the way you look. Your mind is not on the compliments or your lunch. It’s on your weight, as you mindlessly eat your way through the bread basket. Now think beyond mental filtering. In reality, perhaps your mother really did think you looked tired because she’s worried that you’re working too hard and not getting enough sleep. Maybe she didn’t notice your weight loss because she’s concerned about the strained look on your face. On the outside chance she ignored your improved figure out of a little jealousy, one left out compliment should not negate the multitude of encouragement you heard all morning. 4. DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE: Let’s get back to those compliments from your co-workers. When you disqualify the positive, it means you’re just not buying it. You think what your co-workers are telling you is not really true—they are just saying it to be nice. You think “I’m still overweight and they know it.” Some people who are overweight have such a poor self-image that they can’t see themselves in anything but the negative. If you struggle with your self-worth, this cognitive distortion could be a major contributor to your negative thinking pattern. You may have trouble viewing yourself in anything but a negative vision, so when someone does pay you a compliment, you immediately dismiss it as untrue. …..When people feel bad about themselves, they make bad food choices. 5. JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: An attractively dressed woman stares at you at the grocery store and you think, “Why is she looking at me that way. I must look horrible.” That’s jumping to a conclusion. This mind-set constantly interprets every experience as negative without evidence to support the conclusion. There are no facts , no fact-checking. You constantly make assumptions about yourself. “She’s staring at me because she thinks I’m a slob,” even if it’s more like she’s staring at you because she thinks she recognizes you from somewhere and can’t put her finger on it. People who jump to conclusions don’t see themselves as others see them. They think others see them as they see themselves – and for those lacking confidence about their appearance, it is not in a flattering way. …..Worse yet, you tend to play fortune-teller, anticipating that something or an event will turn out badly thereby helping to make it a foregone conclusion: “I just know I’m going to eat too much and all the wrong stuff at the party tonight. 6 MAXIMIZING AND MINIMIZING; You should be able to relish in your successes and accept your failures without judgment, but people in this mind-set have difficulty seeing it this way. Instead they tend to magnify something they messed up: “I am certain the scale will be up 3 pounds and probably more tomorrow because I ate those stupid eggs Benedict.” They also tend to minimize things that should pleasure them. “I ran only 5 miles. I should be able to go farther by now.” This kind of thinking destroys your self-confidence in achieving your goals. People who are always maximizing or minimizing don’t have the ability to give themselves credit for their accomplishments. Worse, they make excuses for what they achieved. “The only reason I won is because there weren’t many competitors.” They have a tendency to take the blame when something goes wrong but don’t give themselves credit for something that goes right. They over-idenntify with their personal failures and attribute them to personal characteristics: “I over ate again. I’m such a failure.” In this way of thinking, there is no way you can win. 7. EMOTIONAL REASONING: Your the type of person who feels thing very deeply and lets your feelings drive your actions, taking the attitude “I feel it, therefore it must be true.” You feel you’ll never achieve a full recovery so you give up on yourself. You feel you’ll never stick to an exercise program, so you skip the gym. You feel you’ll eventually go back to your disordered eating just like in the past. Your fears are a trajectory to your inevitable outcome. But the reality is that, with some practice, it is just as possible to feel the opposite. 8. CAN’T, SHOULDN’T AND MUSTN’T THINKING: “I can’t eat that. I shouldn’t eat this. I mustn’t go into that pastry shop.” In other words, you’re punishing yourself. You’re living life in miserable deprivation. These are all negatively charged words that bring on guilt and snuff motivation. When you think in absolutes, – “I can’t ever have a milkshake again”--you are setting yourself up to failure. You are living in a sea of extremes and absolutes , a powerful mind-set that self-imposes limits and rules on yourself, which can take on a mind of their own. They do not serve you in any positive way. Not only do they make you feel like you’re missing out, it becomes a reality. …. In reality, you always have choices. Recognize this. You just have to consider the consequences. This is what motivation is all about. “I don’t drink milkshakes” speaks you conviction, while “I can’t drink a milkshake” is a reminder that you’re missing out. One study found that people who speak in terms of “ I don’t” instead of “I can’t” are perceived by others as having stronger convictions. 9. LABELING AND MISLABELING: This takes overgeneralizing to the extreme. People do it all the time. Instead of recognizing the event—ordering the wrong breakfast food—as only an error, you turn it on yourself: “There I go again, ordering off plan. I’m such a loser. I can’t get anything right..” It’s totally irrational. You are making assumptions about yourself without logical reasoning. However,, when you label the BEHAVIOR instead of yourself for (or others), you externalize the event , which allows you to respond to a slip up with more reason. “That wasn’t the best choice for me this morning, but I know I will make a better choice at lunch.” 10. PERSONALIZING: This kind of thinking occurs in all of us from time to time, but it happens a lot to people who always try to please others. You personalize when you attach an emotion to a result that was unintentional. “I should never have said that. It was so mean.” Or you are quick to blame others, failing to look at what your role in things might be: “This project is such a mess. I never should have trusted my partner.” Or you feel responsible for something that may have to do with you: “I can tell from her mood that she’s really angry with me.” when, in reality, she’s having a tough time at work. Sadness guilt, frustration, anger, anxiety, helplessness, and fear of disappointing or hurting others are among the many emotions we can bring on ourselves when we personalize the events of our lives. It’s the perfect example of how thoughts lead to feeling and feelings lead to food. The above information is covered in many self-help books in regards to correcting eating habits. I chose to take most of the words from “Brain-Powered Weight Loss” but I have taken the liberty of making some changes to make it more specific for those suffering from eating disorders. A dozen folks from this group are working a program to change our eating disorder thinking/habits. Working on these cognitive distortions is an important part of our course. If you would like to make some changes in your disordered thinking/behaviors, the author recommends that for at least a month, we observe each day for times when we use a cognitive distortion in our thinking/actions. If you’re willing to do this, I invite you to go to and download a free chart to help you document your information. Why not share your learning

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Apr 15

I'm literally right there with you! I was a binge eater as a child, developed anorexia, and now I'm in recovery from it all. I find that there is no perfect middle ground--nobodies diet is perfect. I have such bad slip ups of completely over eating or completely under eating. But I just have to push through and try my best to move forward in a healthy way. A really helpful thing when trying to find out how to maintain a healthy diet is seeing a dietitian. They can give you tips and meal plans that will make everything very clear and concise. Good luck with your recovery, you can do this!


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