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If you binge-eat, it may be due to your emotional rigidity. You believe there’s an absolute right or wrong way to do things, hold yourself to ridiculously high standards, and strive relentlessly for perfection. You find it difficult to recognize or exist in a gray area or see a middle ground in most aspects of life. You lack the flexibility and fluidity that enables you to bend with the wind and roll with the tide. What you often seek in binge-eating is release of inner tension, pure and simple.
Binge-eaters vividly describe the release they seek in food—the damn breaks, the horses charge out of the barn, the tsunami washes over them and carries them out to sea. We might say that the more rigid your inner world, the more energy you seek to release. You yearn for the total abandon mindless eating provides because you find it hard to experience it anywhere else. The release is a paradox, both frightening and exhilarating, a surrender, but also oddly empowering.
If you identify with getting this sense of freedom-from-self due to binge-eating, consider what you are looking for in that moment. Are you wishing you could let go of reason? Seeking action without consequence? Do you yearn for oblivion? Are you out to break your bonds? Searching for the euphoria of not caring about anything? Like Thelma and Louise, are you looking to soar over the cliff to leave the world behind?
Questing after food in a mindless way is a metaphor for the missing freedom you want. The truth is that you really (really, really) are not looking to make yourself sick by eating, are not seeking to hurt your body and defeat your spirit. Your motivation is the letting loose you get from bingeing, not the food itself. Maybe life is too humdrum, too much weight is bearing down on your frail shoulders, or you feel shackled to your duties and routines (and goal of perfection) and want to break free, if only for a moment. Maybe binge-eating is your way of getting emotional balance for your wound-too-tight self.
You’re scared to let go in other ways and, instead, keep re-experiencing release through food. The problem is that the temporary discharge you receive from binge-eating keeps you satisfied in the short run, but prevents you from questing after whatever abandon you need and deserve in the long run. We all must find ways to let go, to make believe for a minute, an hour, or a week that life has no consequences, and that now is all that exists. Find whatever you need to bring you the release you yearn for and let food simply be food.
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