As was discussed in the previous post, getting back into the driver’s seat with binge behaviour is about changing how we choose to relate to our binges; it’s also about creating a space for things to be different. Here is a simple but really powerful technique to empower yourself in the face of a binge. To employ it, you need to take a few minutes in a safe (non-binge) mindset and space. It’s something I did many times in my own therapy, and only recently did I realize that it’s a therapeutic technique called “The Miracle Question” (or some form thereof)—developed by a chappie named Steve de Shazer. The basic premise of the question is to ask “How would your life look if you didn’t have X problem?” (To read more about its use in a therapeutic setting, go here.) The idea behind this question is to shake up our perspective from what can be an all-consuming preoccupation to a mindset of hope and possibility.
So are you ready? Take a pen and paper and explore the following: If by some miracle you could wake up tomorrow and be free from binge eating, what would be different about your life? What would be better? Take some time to visualize a day in that life, from how you feel when you wake up in the morning to how you spend your evenings. Write it out in as much detail as possible. How are you feeling in these moments? Light? Joyful? Attractive? A sense of peace or calm? Sexy? Energetic? Feel these things in your body as you close your eyes. Breathe into these feelings. Take a few moments to breathe into this life and connect with these sensations: this is your life without the binges.
We can also take this question to the pre-binge moment, when you have the choice to go down binge- road or not: “If by some miracle, I could magically bypass this binge, what does that look like? Where are you? What do you choose to do instead? Would you be in your favourite pair of PJs cuddled up on your couch with a good book? Would you be doing some stretches or deep breathing on your yoga mat? Having a phone call with a good friend? Taking a bubble bath? How does THAT feel? Do you feel empowered? Nurtured? Visualize in as much detail your ideal binge bypass scenario, the one that feels loving and safe and nurturing.
At first it might be really difficult to visualize how life might feel without bingeing, but these questions help us to conceive that it’s possible. To even just consider an alternative plants a seed in your mind that there could be another way—a different outcome, a different reality. If you can spend time in the feeling created by this visualization for just five minutes a day, you can call it back to mind when that binge seems inevitable and insurmountable, and you will remember that you have a choice. The more often we experience feeling good in our bodies, the harder it is to disconnect and go to that self-destructive place. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel that way. What matters is that you know that you CAN feel that way, that IT IS possible and that the CHOICE rests with you! When we pave the way mentally then, the next time a binge beckons, we might consider bypassing the binge and going straight for the self-nurturing good stuff.
Did someone say good stuff? I have been blissing out on some amazing food lately, and no exception was this recipe—a perfect addition to a tapas-style meal with some good friends. AND, almond cheeze is a wonder in and of itself in that there are so many delicious by-products that occur from making it. It’s a truly delicious process (and be warned, it is a process!) from start to finish!
- 2 cups almonds
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp herbamare or sea salt
- ½ tsp of garlic powder
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ cup water
- 3-4 probiotic capsules
- Garnish- Parsley, wedge of lemon
Soak almonds in water overnight. Blend in a high powered blender and strain through a nut bag or cheese cloth, leaving some moisture in the almonds. Set the “milk” aside for another use (Delicious Byproduct #1). Add the remaining ingredients to the pulverized almonds with the exception of the probiotic capsules. Blend again and squeeze out the excess moisture (if using as a spread, you will want it a bit moist). For a crumbly feta, squeeze as much moisture out as possible! (Delicious Byproduct #2 – this will be a thick cream, delicious served over steam veggies or yam wedges). Break open the probiotic capsules and mix the contents into your cheeze. Place in a glass jar to begin the culturing process. Allow to sit in a warm dark place for 24 hours. When done, squeeze out any excess moisture using a cheese cloth or nut bag and store in the fridge (for spread consistency). For feta consistency, bake for 30-45 min at 350 until top is cracked and edges have browned. Serve as a spread on crackers, crumbled into salads, as a dip, in wraps or sandwiches, etc. or serve it up all fancy on marinated raw beet slices (proceed as follows).
- 2 medium beets
- ¼ cup balsamic
- ½ cup flax or olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
Combine everything but the beets in a shallow baking dish. Wash the beets thoroughly and slice thinly using a mandolin or sharp knife. Place in the marinade and marinate for 6 or more hours. To serve, spread a nice thick slather of almond cheese on top of each medallion, garnish with parsley and a squeeze of lemon and serve on a nice plate to wow your guests.
Sooo…where were we? Oh yes, that’s right. We left off talking about getting back in the driver’s seat with the binge behaviour. This week we are going to explore some strategies to do just that: How can we create an alternate outcome to the self-fulfilling binge prophecy?
One of the hardest sensations to overcome is the feeling of powerlessness we feel in the face of our binge behaviours. A good starting point is to realize that bingeing is a choice we make, and we can enact that realization by saying YES to the behaviour. “But I don’t want to binge” you’re thinking, “why would I say YES?” – well, have you ever heard that saying “what you resists persists?” – the binge cycle is fuelled by the shame we feel for doing what we think we “shouldn’t” be doing. When we are kind with ourselves and give ourselves permission to binge as a way of coping FOR NOW, we begin to remove the key factors that perpetuate our cycle and it becomes our choice again. (Our self care method of choice, that is – read on.)
Another way of thinking about this is to approach the behaviour (i.e., YOU) with love and tenderness. Try substituting the thought “I’m going to go home and binge tonight” with “I’m feeling really tender and I’m going to honour that tonight” and see what other possibilities that simple shift opens up in you: can you approach the same underlying anxiety in a completely different way? Our “yes,” our acknowledgement of our desire to binge, honours that the behaviour is serving a role for us (self soothing) and plants the seed that we DO have a choice. Part two of this opens up the space for us to really address what is underlying the urge to binge and reminds us to be gentle in however we choose to be with those feelings.
Say yes to where you are at, binges and all. The simple shift of choosing to see your binges as a call for tenderness as opposed to your demise can put YOU back in the driver’s seat. If the urge to binge is there, just say OKAY. Acknowledge it. And make the connection each and every time that a binge = I am feeling tender = this is call for self love and tenderness (and if I binge that is okay!). Try it out. More strategies to come!Spinach artichoke dip anyone? I must admit, I have tried a couple of different recipes for spinach artichoke dip, and they all fell flat. None were able to deliver the warm, rich, creamy and delicious dip that shows up at every potluck– until SOMEONE (ahem, Lisa) was invited to the party! With a renewed faith that a vegan version of this classic dip was possible, I took her base recipe and ran with it. My variation uses avocado (nature’s butter, huh? Huh!?) for creaminess instead of veganaise and/or tofu. This number will have you wiping up drool off the floor.
Creamy Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip
- ½ avocado
- ½ cup veggie stock
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ white onion
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- ½ cup daiya mozzarella
- 1 can artichoke hearts
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- Pepper to taste (you can add salt, but the stock and cheese provided enough saltiness for me).
Blend or food process everything together except the cheese, artichokes and spinach. Once creamy, pulse the spinach and artichokes through so that they are still chunky. Then add the cheese and pulse until just mixed. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes.