You need to love the part of you that falls.
The part of you that binges. Or the part of you that disappoints you or fails or procrastinates or makes mistakes. (Substitute any of those for “binge” in this post.)
You need to love the part of you that binges, because if you hate it, you are still hating some part of yourself, you are still ashamed of some part of you, and that is not love. Love is not selective; love does not say, “I’ll only love myself when I eat perfectly,” whatever “perfectly” means. (Read: “eating perfectly” doesn’t exist.)
You need to love the part of you that binges, because you will keep on binging if you keep on hating yourself.
You need to love the part of you that binges, because only then will you be able to ever change your relationship with food and eating. Slowly, but steadily.
Let me tell you this…
It was SO hard for me to learn to love the part of me that binged.
When I first started my journey of self-love, I learned to be okay with basically every part of myself– except that part. I learned to love myself in every moment… except the moments that I binged or overate. That’s when I felt most shameful, most self-disliking. I love myself now… why am I still binging? I’m done with school now… why am I still binging? I’m in a relationship now… why am I still binging? I’m happy and strong now… why am I still binging!?
That’s when I realized just how important it was for me to love myself even moreso when I binged. Because that’s when I needed myself the most. That’s when I most needed not to turn my back on myself, not to shame or blame myself.
The part of me that binged? The part of me that binged was lonely and scared– she was the girl who found herself home alone for hours at age 11, bullied at school for being ugly, with nothing to do but eat. The part of me that binged needed the most love and kindness and support I could give– she was the girl who felt ashamed at age sixteen for being sexually violated, believing it was her fault. The part of me that binged needed my love the most.
When you binge, that you is still YOU. There is no difference between the “you that binges” and the “you that is strong and happy and wonderful.” There is no separation. The you that binges is just as beautiful, just as wondrous, just as divine as the you that aces your projects and produces great work and is a generous, loving person.
Except for one thing– the part of you that binges needs especial love. Even more care & compassion, even more patience & gratitude & support.
What doesn’t the part of you that binges need? Blame. Guilt. Shame. Hiding.
You need to forgive yourself for binging, and then stop forgiving yourself because you’ve stopped blaming yourself for binging in the first place.
You need to be patient & radiant & wonderful to yourself before, during, and after a binge.Especially after.
Instead of fighting against the binge, be curious. Find out why you’re binging. What are you feeling, what are you thinking? What happened? How else can you cope with this? If you can’t cope with it another way, it’s okay. Accept the binge, then move on.
Be loving. If you’re going to binge anyway, eat what you love, and be present for it. Indulge yourself. You might find that you don’t want to binge at all, but even if you do, it’s okay.
Be patient. Staring your behavior straight in the eye and really figuring out why you’re binging, what’s BEHIND the binging, can be a hard and difficult journey. It may take days, it may take months. It may honestly take years, but it is so, so worth it.
I assure you that if you do this– if you love the part of you that binges, if you are patient, supportive, & curious when you binge– you will probably binge less. And be much, much happier for it. That’s the sweet, delicious irony of it.
You need to love the part of you that binges because it is impossible for anyone to be completely binge-free. Even if you’re ED recovered. Even if you love yourself completely. Even if you’re super-confident. Even if you’ve never had eating issues.
We all have our moments. We ALL binge once in a while– a little too much at the holiday dinner, a time when it feels easier to eat the ice cream than face the overwhelming sadness of the loss of a loved one.
The point is not to vilify ourselves for binging, or for being imperfect, or for making mistakes… but to use the binge as a tool. To figure out what’s really going on with us. To realize something’s wrong or something needs to change. To be even more kind to ourselves. To grow.
As Geneen Roth so lovelily states in When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair:
My students often say, “I want to be done with this thing with food once and for all.” But there is no place to get to, no such thing as arriving and never having to leave.
If you take a big view and understand that eating, or thinking about eating, will probably always be the way you alert yourself to changes in your inner world, you can relax. You can use turning to food as a method of exploring the corners of your soul; you can think about emotional eating as a gift rather than a curse.
P.S. If you’re dieting, stop dieting. You will never stop binging if you don’t stop dieting.Seriously.