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I do not write this because I discourage seeking treatment to help you stop binge eating. I write this because sometimes professional help is not as accessible, available or affordable, so I want to retrace my steps and share what helped me stop binge eating.

I’ve been in self-led recovery from bulimia since I quit fitness competitions in March of 2016. But even a year into recovery, I still suffered from extreme body dysmorphia, lack of self confidence, and non-stop binge eating.

Binge eating is something that affects soooo many people, yet no one talks about it because it’s not as glamorized as anorexia or even bulimia. As a result, binge eating is often disguised as “overeating” and goes hand in hand with bulimia because the sufferer tries to “make up for” everything they ate.

An eating disorder of any type is a way for someone to cope with problems… sometimes instead of coping with life’s struggles like loneliness, rejection, and fear, we blame our body instead because we subconsciously think that if we can change our outside, our inside will change to.

I think you and I both know that it doesn’t really work that way. Disordered eating has nothing to do with food itself because if it did, then the stereotypical binge eating advice of “just have more self-control and stop eating” would work.

But it doesn’t. That’s why we have to dig deeper. Look further within. And embark on this healing journey with the utmost love and compassion for ourselves.

Here are 6 tools to help you stop binge eating…

1. When you give yourself unconditional permission to eat, you’ll stop binge eating.

One night, after getting home from a long day of work, I found myself frantically digging inside my pantry for something to eat. I haven’t felt this feeling of urgency around food for a long time and at first I was extremely confused because I ate a good breakfast and lunch, so why was I so damn hungry?!

After taking a moment to self-reflect, I realized that I was feeling lonely (more on that later) so for a moment I slipped back into my past self, the scared young girl who wants to numb her feelings out with food. And guess what I proceeded to do? It’s not what you think…

I gave myself UNCONDITIONAL PERMISSION to eat. Yup, you read that right. I said to myself, “Mary, you can binge right now and it will not affect your worth as a human being at all.” I did NOT go paint my nails or brush my teeth or take whatever other BS advice I’ve gotten that involved “controlling” yourself around food.

But wait, it gets better!

When I gave myself PERMISSION to eat, the urge to binge went away. I suddenly felt calm, collected, and I was able to deal with my feeling of loneliness in a healthy way which involved having tea + chocolate and then going upstairs to write this post for you.

Giving myself permission to eat AND dealing with my feelings allowed me to address both the physical and emotional hunger I was feeling instead of trying to suppress one or the other. Eating is not a sin and the more you ALLOW instead of control, the less you’ll feel the urge in the first place.

Write this down 7 times in your journal (BTW, if you don’t have a healing journal, go get one right now! Seriously, having a journal is CRUCIAL for this work):

I have permission to eat as much as my body, mind and soul wants.

I have permission to eat as much as my body, mind and soul wants.

I have permission to eat as much as my body, mind and soul wants.

I have permission to eat as much as my body, mind and soul wants.

I have permission to eat as much as my body, mind and soul wants.

I have permission to eat as much as my body, mind and soul wants.

I have permission to eat as much as my body, mind and soul wants.

I have permission to eat as much as my body, mind and soul wants.

Now I know what you’re thinking… “Mary, I cannot give myself unconditional permission to eat because then I will eat myself into a coma and gain 100 pounds and hate myself forever.”

I know you have this thought because I’ve had plenty of that thought myself. But here’s the most important thing I realized: giving yourself unconditional permission to eat will take away the extreme urges to binge.

Sure at first you might “overeat” (whatever that means, we’ll get to this later), but then binge eating won’t be so desirable to you if you let yourself do it. It’s like telling a toddler “no.” The toddler starts screaming and crying until they get what they want and you feel totally defeated. But when you tell a toddler “yes, you can have that toy” they might play with it for a little, lose interest and move on.

Same with eating. It will take time (just think about how many years you’ve been restricting, it takes a while to unlearn that but with the right tools it hopefully won’t take as long), but you have to start somewhere.

You have so much power within you already. All the energy you’ve invested in micromanaging and controlling your life and food choices can now be put to better use in your healing. Your body will adjust and adapt to your new choices, and your weight might fluctuate as your body figures out where it is happiest and what your new set point will be.

girl with hat on eating fruit at floating breakfast in Bali hotel pool

Even if you do gain some weight, it will still be healthier in the long run than staying stuck in the binge/restrict cycle. And all of this leads into the second tip…

2. Stop fearing weight gain.

Part of healing means separating concerns of health with weight. There has been so much research over the last several years that proves that weight is NOT an indicator of health, and it’s definitely not an indicator of worth. Your body will naturally adjust to a weight that it feels most comfortable and happy when you are eating intuitively and have found a place of balance.

There are some things that can help you stop fearing weight gain. First, follow diverse size models, influencers, and activists on social media. You can’t be or accept what you can’t see. Your feeds should illustrate and celebrate that all of our bodies are unique and special and there is no single look that we all should be striving for. Everybody and every BODY is different! That’s a good thing!

Second, make a list of women you admire who are of different shapes and sizes (helllooo, Oprah!).

Third, journal about the worst thing that can happen if you gain weight. You’re not actually scared of extra gravity pulling you to the earth, you fear that people won’t love and accept you. Remember you are worthy of love and acceptance, no matter your size, and you are allowed to take up space!


This is SUCH a deep topic because fear of gaining weight has been ingrained in us since we were babies, but my e-book, The Body Confidence Guide, dives in deeper on how to overcome this in Chapter 6.

Click the image to get The Body Confidence Guide.

an e-book about being confident in your body, healing body-image struggles and building confidence

3. Read the book A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson

My mentor recommended I read a book called A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson which changed the way I perceived my eating disorder. Instead of seeing myself as just “fat,” I began to see myself in a dichotomy between “Healed Me” and “Struggling Me.”

***Note: I do not 100% agree with the title of this book as it seems to promote weight loss. I was very hesitant to read it myself, but again, there are a lot of helpful lessons in it if you’re at a place where you can separate certain wording from Williamson’s teachings.

Click on the image to get the book (this is my Amazon affiliate link)

***Another Note: I have changed the original terms used in Williamson’s book. While the book was a huge help to me at the time, it is a bit outdated and should only be read if you are capable of separating the positive message from the specific terms used in the book.

Healed Me wants to jump out of bed feeling ready to take on the day. The Healed Me wants to go on an adventure with my future grandchildren and outrun them in a game of tag. The Healed Me wants to have a healed heart and a high self-esteem.

Then there is the Struggling Me. Struggling Me sleeps all day to avoid facing the day. Struggling Me has unhealthy habits. Struggling me is filled with trauma, addiction, and shame.

Now that I had identified my two personas, I was able to distinguish between which one is my authentic self, and which one is my poisoned self. Although I did not prefer Struggling Me, I realized that she’s not bad, she’s simply trying to keep me alive after experiencing years of restricting, over-exercising, and abusing my body.

Struggling Me wanted to hold on to the fear of being who I was meant to be, especially if that meant gaining weight or not having a “competition” body. Healed Me wanted to be free to eat and live and laugh and have a full and happy life that wasn’t restricted by calories or obsessive workouts.

3. Get rid of shame

When I first committed to recovery I told everyone about what I was going through. And I mean my mom, my boyfriend, my friends, my family, everyone on social media, and even strangers. When everyone was aware of what I was going through, not only were they able to be supportive, but I was no longer able to hide.

All of my eating was done in secrecy because I was so ashamed to admit that I was struggling with an eating disorder, and the depression and anxiety that came with it. Once I stopped hiding I stopped masking everything and realized people love me for who I am, I stopped feeling so shameful about it.

Shame is a suffocating blanket of that attacks self-esteem and promotes insecurities. Feeling the need to achieve impossible perfection and then being ashamed that you’ve failed is a vicious cycle of self-destruction.

Shame also does not allow room for improvements because it forces the individual to bear unworthiness inside instead of seeking help on the outside. It’s crucial to break that cycle by embracing imperfection as a form of uniqueness and beauty, and casting the blanket of shame away.

4. Get vulnerable with those who are close to you

A flower that grows in the shade with minimal water might live, but it won’t thrive in the same way that a flower that grows with the right amount of sunlight, water, and visits from local bees will. Can you live without support from the community around you? Sure. But there’s a huge difference between living and thriving, and you deserve to THRIVE! We need community support to help us process our feelings, share our sorrows and celebrate our wins.

Two years ago when I first sought help for my eating disorder, my mama and I decided to meet at our favorite cafe after my counseling appointment. This was when I first stopped competing; I was binge eating every single day, gaining weight like crazy, and spending hours per day at the gym making up for the previous night’s binge.

So I was running late to our coffee date, so my mama texted me saying that she’s waiting for me and she got me a mocha. My response was horrific.

“Well I’m not drinking a mocha are you kidding.”

The calories. The sugar. The dairy. The fats. Oh my. When I finally pulled up to the cafe, she came out to meet me and I was in hysterics. Bawling my eyes out, feeling too ashamed to see people, including my loving mama. She was so worried, trying to open the car door to make sure I was okay, but I wouldn’t let her. She thought something terrible had happened. And in my head, something terrible did happen.

Real screenshot of my text exchange between me and my mom after my emotional breakdown over a mocha.

I realized in that counseling appointment that I have to let go of the eating disordered/ fitness model identity forever. I drove away after assuring my mama that I’m okay and that I’m just having an emotional breakdown. I drove into an empty parking lot and spent all afternoon in my car crying, thinking that this guilt, this shame, this disorder, would never end.

Looking back now, the cry was cathartic. It was the turning point for me in deciding to pursue my recovery and healing.

Shortly after, my mama sent me a text and it was my phone screensaver that entire summer. Although I pushed her away, knowing that I didn’t have to explain myself for her to be there for me was all I needed.

5. Food blessing: ho’oponono

The metaphysics of food is REAL. Put real basic, metaphysics is the power of energy. That’s why I keep saying that you must bring good vibes to the table if you want a healthy relationship with food. A simple way to do this before every meal is to bless your food. There’s an ancient Hawaiian prayer that is meant for healing relationships through forgiveness and reconciliation called Ho’oponopono which says “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” Although we hear these phrases all the time, they’re some of the hardest ones for our egos to say (and mean!) which is why they’re so magical for healing.

I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you

I use this to show gratitude for my meal, this helped me recognize and honor the journey it took for food to get to my plate. From being grown to being transported to bought at the store to cooked, etc. This also gives me a moment to slow down around food and express gratitude. Put your hands over your plate and say this before every meal (even if it feels silly at first, just try it!).

Our intentions around food are important. If you approach a meal with negativity you won’t enjoy that food, you won’t be mindful of your emotions during that meal, and you’ll be more likely to ignore signals from your body about hunger and fullness or to eat foods your body doesn’t actually want to eat.

Your body deserves to be fed and nourished. And you deserve to enjoy what you eat. Honor your hunger, be grateful for the food you eat, and be kind to your body for all that it is able to do for you.

6. STOP RESTRICTING

The diet cycle is a negative feedback loop that will continue until you decide to break it. You must give yourself unconditional permission to eat. Diets teach us that eating is a constant negotiation—“if I eat this piece of pizza, I must do 2 hours on the treadmill” or “if I eat only salads all week, I can have a piece of cake at my friend’s birthday party this weekend”—this has to stop. Your value is not determined by how much or how little you eat.

Your body NEEDS food every day to survive.

Every morning you need to eat breakfast in order for your body to get you through the day. It needs more food in the middle of the day to keep it going and food in the evening to carry it through the night and help you sleep well. Instead of the negative feedback loop of diets and restriction, create a positive feedback loop of nourishment and kindness towards your body and mind.

Choosing to eat shouldn’t lead to a “punishment” or “trying to make up for” whatever you ate. Eating something one day shouldn’t lead to restriction or starvation the next day.

Instead, focus on the ROOT of the problem, the restriction. Feast or famine mode is a survival instinct in our bodies. Our bodies recognize when they’re not getting enough nutrients and will hold on to the energy it currently has for as long as possible.

Once you start feeding your body it will eventually realize the food supply will always be there and it will start processing food the way our bodies are intended to do. Get your body to start trusting you again by consistently feeding it and letting it know that food is abundant and will always be there.

>>>I talk more about this in my blog post: 10 Steps to Stop Binge Eating

Final Words

At the end of the day, only you have the power to make these changes. You have to decide that you don’t just want to live but you want to THRIVE! And you totally deserve to thrive.

You deserve to exist in a place of positivity where food is something to enjoy and something that nourishes your body and heart; NOT something that is fearful, shameful or stress-inducing.

I hope these tips help you and allow you to start embracing food freedom and live the life you are meant to live.

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