I used to have a really strange relationship with ice cream.
Or rather, looking back, my behavior wasn’t all that strange — it was normal. But it was dysfunctional and distressing. Perhaps you can relate:
I used to believe that ice cream was bad, and would avoid it as much as possible. If I did eat this sort of ice cream, I’d feel guilty all day, and maybe end up binge eating more of it, or more of something else.
Instead going out for a scoop of ice cream, I’d buy sugar-free, fat-free “frozen dessert” from the grocery store, and eat the whole container. Or, I’d go out for fat-free, sugar-free frozen yogurt, choosing fruit for toppings and skipping over the cookie dough, brownie bits, and fudge sauce.
While there’s nothing wrong with froyo shops, there is something wrong with binge eating frozen yogurt because I was afraid of regular ice cream, which is what I was really craving. The same is true for binge eating Fiber One brownies, sugar-free Chips Ahoy! or anything else. Binge eating is the sign of a bigger problem going on in someone’s heart.
Replace ice cream with any and every other type of dessert, and you have the reason that the food industry is exploding with diet dessert varieties, and the reason that disordered eating is so common.
When I used to eat in this way (binge eating diet food, avoiding real food) I felt awful. I hated my body and I constantly had a stomach ache.
So, how did I quit binge eating and start eating normally?
I gave myself permission to eat ice cream every day, multiple times a day.
Yes, that’s right. I went out for ice cream cones every day, whenever I wanted, any time of day until I stopped wanting ice cream all the time. When I stopped wanting it, I stopped eating it. When I wanted it, I ate it.
Of course, the journey toward healing my relationship with food was challenging and took years. But it all started with giving myself permission to eat ice cream, being intentional about including it in my day, and reminding myself that enjoying ice cream is normal and healthy, but binge eating is not.
What are the foods that you feel out-of-control around?