3 Steps to Forgiving Yourself

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I think we can all relate to the feeling of using something in order to numb out our feelings. This post in particular is based on binge eating, the stigma attached to it, and how to forgive yourself and move on.

Binge eating can be uniquely difficult to forgive because our society has gotten into the habit of moralizing our eating habits. In case you haven’t heard, there are no morals to your food. It’s food. It’s a life-force specifically used to keep your body and mind functioning, and to keep you alive. It gives you energy and life. It is neither good or bad, it simply exists. And we simply rely on it as humans.

Binging on food is something that is instinctual. There are many reasons behind it, but most of the time there is emotional reasoning. For me, when I binge on food it is because I am either craving a certain emotion (happiness) or feeling unfulfilled and want my bad feelings to go away.

I’m giving a three-step process to help if you find yourself in the midst of a binge. These steps have helped me identify and feel things that I had been numbing out, and have allowed me to reach better acceptance with my body and food choices. I hope they are helpful to you as well.

Step 1: Question Yourself

If you notice your stomach is hurting, but you keep reaching for something more pause for a minute. Maybe you can pause before you reach for your food of choice, or maybe you can catch yourself mid-bite or handful. Whatever works for you, take a second a breath. Slow down. Time out. Then ask yourself “why am I doing this?” “how is this going to make me feel?” “how do I feel right now?” Any or all of these questions can get the wheels turning in your head and allow a space of slowing down. This can connect you to your true feelings, and your body will likely answer truthfully. This is a practice, and takes a lot of concentration, but it can be so helpful in breaking up negative habits and coping skills and figuring out better ones.

Step 2: Step away

Or, in other words: stop,drop, and meditate. If possible, remove yourself from the room or area that you feel out of control in. Take some space, get deep in your thoughts, and move in a different direction. Sometimes just meditating can be really difficult. Something that has been really helpful for me is to put on a favorite song and start dancing. Dancing can be a great way to move your body, get out of your head, and release some of the negative feelings.

Step 3: Flush it out with some words

Journal! This is a powerful tool to give yourself time to recognize what is going on, and not engage in the action you are wanting to stop. Then, after assessing the situation and your feelings about it write yourself a letter of forgiveness. Go back through the situation and whatever happened, and physically write “I forgive myself for _________” Let yourself move on. Don’t get caught up in a cycle of guilt and shame. Release yourself. It’s just food. You can move on. You can spend the rest of your life focusing in on the hang-ups or you can let them go, love yourself anyways, and move on with your life. The choice is yours. Spoiler alert: You’re still a great person and overeating doesn’t change that.

so much love,

Ashley

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