How it works: Phase 1

Like any good diet (jk, all diets are terrible), Six Months to Sanity comes in two phases. Are you ready? Let’s get started…

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PHASE 1: Just Eat It.

This is the “six” part of the 6M2S plan. For six delightful months, you’ll give yourself full, reckless permission to freefall into all the food in all the world.

Nothing is off limits here, and there are no “bad” foods anymore. Food without judgment or restriction is absolutely key here, and you’ll be well on your way to sweet, sweet sanity.

Here’s how it works:

Whenever a craving hits, eat it right then. Anything and everything, in whatever quantity you like. Joyfully embrace your trigger foods, and forget they ever ruled your life.

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The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Whip up a box of mac and cheese, which has never been four servings anyway so who are we kidding with that, and polish the whole thing off.

Rekindle your romance with bread. Take a steamy stroll through every bakery that strikes your fancy. Eat a whole baguette and slather it with real butter. If you can’t taste the butter, put more butter on.

Drink real Coke, eat full-fat ice cream, grate a whole block of cheese over a whole bag of tortilla chips and put in the microwave for insta-nachos. Let your body feel fullness, and richness, and stomachaches, and the indescribable luxury of food security.

Here’s what’s happening behind the scenes:

Somewhere along the way, the primal, survival parts of your brain got hungry. Like hangry hungry. Your brain doesn’t care which diet you were on or why you were cleansing or how close your beach trip was. It simply got the message that food sources are scarce where you are and realigned its primary purpose to finding and consuming food.

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No judgment! You do you right now.

Food is, obviously, one of the most basic life needs. But most of us are fortunate enough to live in a time and place in which food is NOT scarce, and your life does NOT need to be driven by a search for life-sustaining nutrients.

The bottom line here is that your food issues have nothing to do with willpower. This has been about brain chemistry all along. (For a fascinating real-life example of this, read up on the Minnesota Starvation Experiment here.)

I bet you’re thinking ha ha har har that’s lovely in theory, but I’ll gain a thousand pounds and then I’ll be worse off than when I started. And yes, you might gain a pound or two or even ten. But a.) please stop weighing yourself, and b.) you’ll be surprised at how tired you’ll get of eating. Really! This is what it feels like to be sated and full — emotionally, mentally, physiologically, and chemically — and you are going to love it.

You may also be surprised to discover your body’s natural size, or set point. You may love it, or you may need to learn to love it. But that’s the gift of food sanity: it’s a rock-solid foundation that you can build upon. Can’t stress this enough, y’all.

No more counting or bingeing or seeing the world like a minefield of trigger foods. Just peace of mind and a really clear head to think about the things in life that actually matter. You, yes YOU, can do this!

Next up: PHASE 2!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Emily says:

    Hello,
    I’ve been struggling with binging a lot lately. After a 7 year battle with severe anorexia, I thought I was past my issues with food. Then I tried to lose a little weight, and all hell broke loose. I am now binging basically every single night, and gaining weight rapidly. I try to make up for it by going to the gym and eating healthy throughout the day, but then night comes and I binge on at least 6,000 calories. I’m terrified and don’t know how to stop. Do you offer a book or some sort of program to help start the 6 month process?

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  2. Oh Emily, I am so sorry to hear you’re going through this! It’s SO scary to feel that out of control. I don’t have a book yet — working on it! — but in the meantime, let’s talk through what I think is going in.

    If you are bingeing, it is because you are restricting. It really is *that* black and white. With that in mind, I suspect that your “healthy eating” during the day just is not serving your body’s true needs. In that case, your body thinks that you are literally starving and is driving you to consume in a way that is beyond your conscious control. Hence, the bingeing.

    Essentially, I bet that you are not eating enough. For someone who has been through anorexia, it might not seem all that restrictive, comparatively, but it is very telling that trying to lose weight triggered all of this. Trying to lose weight is a slippery slope for anyone, but for people who are prone to eating disorders it’s more like a slippery…cliff.

    So. Crazy as it might seem, your priority right now needs to be eating, not losing weight.

    Can you think of a time in your life when you have allowed yourself to eat with NO rules? In my life, examples would have been occasions like my birthday, a special dinner out with friends, or a Thanksgiving feast with my family. For a few sweet hours, I would give myself permission to exist in a universe where calories didn’t exist. That is exactly the feeling you need to identify and harness. You need to live in that feeling. Not just visit from time to time. Live there. For six months.

    Here are the top five changes I think you should try to embrace during this time:

    1. No scales, no weigh-ins
    2. No counting (no calories or carbs or macros or anything. No counting, period)
    3. If you are even thinking about food at any point during the day, eat that food as soon as you possibly can. Doesn’t even matter what kind of food it is. Eat it and enjoy it, 100% guilt-free.
    4. Let your body be in charge of when and how much it wants to eat. You don’t get a vote.
    5. Divorce your workouts from weight loss. Don’t punish yourself for a previous meal or to “earn” your next one. Move your body because you love your body, not because you hate it. (You can even take a break from the gym entirely, if you are struggling with this)

    When you have it in your head that you have weight to lose, I know how all-consuming that can feel. But while you work to break this bingeing cycle, just try to focus on loving yourself right now and accepting the way your body is right now, at this very second. (I know that’s not as easy to do as it is to type. But you must must must give it your very best shot, every single day.)

    Thank you so much for reaching out, and I KNOW you can get through this. Try those five things for a week (remember: NO GUILT!) and the binges will go away. And you can always email me at sixmonthstosanity at gmail dot com if you have any more questions or just need someone to talk to 🙂 Sending endless strength your way!!

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    1. Emily says:

      Thank you SO much for your response. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it means to me that you took the time to reach out and help me. What you’re suggesting sounds scary, but a part of me deep down knows you are right. I’m going to give it a try. At this point, I’m miserable, and have nothing to lose by trying something new.
      Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening and offering support. ❤

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      1. Absolutely my pleasure, Emily! Thank YOU for sharing your story!

        When you’re accustomed to “controlling” your food intake, the thought of eating this way seems just…unhinged! And definitely scary, but thankfully a different kind of scary than a binge. Scary like a trust fall, where there’s something to gain from the process, and when it’s all over, you discover you’re braver and stronger than you ever gave yourself credit for ❤️ You got this!

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