Transitioning to a whole food, plant-based diet can be tough. Many of our members go through ups and downs… especially in the early days! It takes time to change our habits and for us to start enjoying a new way of eating.
Some days can be super tough and it’s common to slip up – after all, we’re not perfect (unless you’re Chef AJ ????). But what’s more important is what we do after a slip. Our successful members all share the same sentiment – don’t beat yourself up… you just have to get back on track for the next meal!
The best way to do that? Understanding our mindset when we cram and binge in the first place.
Hear from clinical psychologist Dr. Doug Lisle who’ll help you understand the importance of being patient and understanding with yourself when trying to get back on track.
Dr. Doug Lisle:
I think that what’s useful for binge eaters is to understand that there’s nothing pathological about them, but that they’re living in a pathological environment and they’ve got themselves neuro adapted to rich foods. And they also have a cram circuit, which is completely reasonable that they have one.
But the problem is that ironically, a lot of your binge eaters are actually intensively more conscientious than just a normal run-of-the-mill crammer. In other words, because a lot of what sets up binge eating is restriction. And so these people will restrict because they’re embarrassed and humiliated to discuss it with themselves cause they binged yesterday. And so now they’re like, I don’t need to eat, you know, I was bad. So now I’m not going to eat. Well now, they grit their teeth and they wind up, you know, four in the afternoon, they haven’t eaten anything all day and now they’re in trouble again.
And so if anything, we need some more, we need some more cutting ourselves a little more slack about this and to understand that, hey these are a combination of adaptive instincts, essentially playing out inside of the pathological environment where some people happen to be more susceptible than others, for very interesting reasons, none of which are pathological.
The fact that some people are more determined to grit their teeth and not eat for 16 hours or 12 hours after they’ve binged, that isn’t a pathological psychological problem. That’s a heroic determination to slap themselves on the back of the head and say, why did you do that yesterday? We’re going to make up for it today. That’s not a psychological problem to fix. It’s actually a characteristic that is walking us into the problem again.
So it’s almost essentially greater self-understanding and appreciation for how these things fit together, how these pieces fit together, can hopefully make a binge eater less critical of themselves for this process. And so we try to begin the next day by saying, let’s eat modestly but comfortably, you know, during this day and we’re not going to quote, lose all the way today that we gained yesterday, forget it. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to begin today with a much more important agenda, which is to unwind this pattern by not being so self-critical, by being more consistent with the amount that we eat and knowing that once you start to hit anything that remotely resembles a reasonable amount of food, you’ve got a condition cram circuit that wants to run away with you. Okay.
That’s why I tell people, eat a reasonable amount of food, for example, in the evening. And then you get up from that kitchen table and you do not come back. You are not back in the kitchen. You’re not back in the kitchen, fixing tea. You’re not back in the kitchen, with it’s just a handful of nuts. You’re not back in the kitchen for a carrot. You’re not back in the kitchen for anything. Okay? We’re not in the kitchen looking to put anything into your mouth. You drink water. The reason why is that… you know, what about this little low-cal thing? What about that? But what about an apple? Nothing. Okay. Nothing.
The answer is we want your nervous system to not be thinking that there is food coming after we’re full. That is how we’re going to counter-condition this thing. Because even if we put an apple in there an hour later, we’re not really that hungry, but we want a little something. We’re feeling a little bit of a craving for something and we’re going to be a good person instead of having a tray full of, I dunno, some chocolate yummy rich thing that we used to have that we threw out yesterday, we’re going to have an apple instead.
Don’t have anything. Air down the itch, counter this cram circuit. And in a relatively short order, we’ll have this thing under control.
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