Binge-Proof Your Life
Having paid close attention to my many binges, and having been asked
countless binge questions over the years, I think I've gleaned some wisdom
that's worth sharing.
First, we all need to have built-in plunges into oblivion. We need to give
ourselves permission to check out from the frantic, overwhelming pace of our
lives. If you watch small children, you'll see that they race around madly and
then collapse. They put out huge amounts of energy, and then they need to rest.
We're like that, too, but we've forgotten about the downtime part.
We think we can be on the run endlessly and be fine.
The rhythm of exertion needs to be followed by rest. There is a time to run
around and a time to plunge into oblivion. If we don't build the latter into
our lives, we suffer. Either we become utterly exhausted or we sneak a plunge
on the sly, sometimes while sitting in a car at a gas station. We grab time for
ourselves by bingeing, and because we don't feel we're allowed the luxury of
downtime, we end up hurting ourselves.
Downtime is not a luxury; it's a necessity. The food-free version could
include reading, knitting, even watching soap operas. But if you are so tired
that you can't imagine doing one more thing, what you should do is simple:
nothing. Even for five minutes a day. If it's too outlandish to consider
resting and either doing nothing or doing what you love, then it's time to take
a second look at how you've constructed a life that includes everyone but
I also have some advice on what you can do when you find yourself knee-deep
in the Binge Trance. Try to become aware of the part of you that is separate
from the activity, the part that is witnessing what you are doing and saying,
"Wow, I am sitting in my car at a gas station by myself surrounded by $50
worth of pizza and donuts — I wonder what's going on?" Pay attention to
that voice at least as much as you are paying attention to the next bite. Be
curious about what you are doing.