I get asked a lot “How can I distract myself from food?” Well, you kind of can’t. Because that’s like trying to distract yourself from going the bathroom. Think about it. What happens when you really have to pee and you try to hold it? You start dancing around, jumping up and down, but eventually you have to pee or your gonna pee your pants right there in Target. There’s no avoiding it.
It’s like that with food. Say you decide to give up bread because it’s “bad” for you. Now all you can think about it bread. All you want to do is eat the damn bread. Even if you really didn’t eat much bread before. It starts to consume you and the more you try to distract yourself from it, the more you want it.
I can tell you all day long to go for a walk, or call a friend, or meditate but what if that doesn’t work? What if what you’re trying to do INSTEAD of eating doesn’t work?
Because it usually won’t. Because binge eating and emotional eating are not about willpower or distracting yourself. And trying to resist puts you right back into obsession mode, right back into restriction mode, right back into diet mode.
When you try to distract yourself, or do something instead of eating, it’s like you’re saying eating is bad or that you are somehow wrong because you want to eat.
Binge and emotional eating don’t end overnight so be gentle with yourself.
Here’s what does work
A really good first step is to journal about what’s going on. What are feeling? Why do you want to binge? What happened? And it’s ok to journal while you eat a piece of bread. Baby steps.
And a really good next step is to stop trying to distract yourself from food because the more you do that, the more alluring food becomes, like a toy you’re not allowed to play with. And we all know how that turns out.
You’ll get there. You’ll get to place where no food is forbidden and you don’t need to distract yourself from it. It takes time, it takes self-care and self-acceptance. It takes changing how you think about food.
Need more support? Join my upcoming Break Up with Binge Eating program and get all the love, support, and tools (ones that really work) and end your battle with food.