What do you feel when you look at this picture??
For me when I was in the midst of bulimia, cup cakes were a massive binge food for me. They triggered such happy pleasant memories for me of baking with my grandma.
We would bake cup cakes, biscuits, sweet crust pies, big cakes, slices, sponges, raspberry jam, and lots of different savoury treats. Think high teas, we made cakes to suit an amazing high tea. No surprises that she owned a bakery!
They were really special times and treasured memories. I would spend weekends with her and before and after school so got lots of time to practice making different things. I would be in awe learning from her. I felt loved, acknowledged and treasured, so it’s no surprise that all of those sorts of treats became my biggest binge foods and triggers.
Today, they are all still triggers for me. I was at an event recently and the lady that ran it owns a cup cake shop so bought it boxes of them and instantly my heart started racing and my mind went into over drive as to how I could sneak having more than one. How I could wrap them up and sneak some of them out and home with me to eat when I got home. As soon as I saw the cup cakes, I couldn’t focus on the rest of the event. It occupied my mind.
When they got bought around I knew I had a choice, take one, and know that sweet taste would set off thoughts of wanting and needing more, and if not these ones, I would have to go and buy others somewhere else, or I could not take one and set myself up for a potential fall.
So how do you feel when you look at the image? Is it a trigger food for you as well? Or if were just plain chocolate cake? Or it was a tub of your favourite ice-cream, or favourite cheese, or a block of your favourite chocolate??
Food is just fuel. It is energy. It like putting petrol in your car.
Yet for so many of us, we see it as something so much more than that. A way to ease discomfort, to stuff down feelings that are too hard to process. We pretend when we are spending $20 or more at the supermarket on our trigger foods that if asked, the binge food is not for us, it is “for a party I am going to”, or for my kids. But never for you, for heaven help if somebody actually knew what it was truly for.
In these moments, we need to ask ourselves what are we trying to not feel into? What has happened that day, or week that we are trying to bury? Somebody may have said something unkind, we had a fight with a loved one, didn’t get the promotion / job opportunity, etc.
Sometimes feeling into that emotion is challenging and confronting, so my biggest tip is, please don’t feel guilt or shame around the binge. Don’t hide the binge food so nobody will see it. Get a nice bowl to place the ice cream out of, and enjoy and savour every mouthful. With the cake or cookies, put them on a nice place, sit down on the couch or kitchen table and savour them. Enjoy them. Don’t place guilt around the binge food. If you have guilt, it creates a stress response within your body and you will more than likely put on weight.
Our strong desire for that binge food is a gift. It teaches us that there something we need to feel into and process. Learning how to truly feel into emotions that we have buried is not always an easy or pleasant thing to do.
If you need support, reach out to a friend or loved one, or feel free to drop me a line. Or even journal, that it’s exactly what I did when I got home from that event with the cup cakes! I journalled madly for a good hour to get everything out of my head.
We all need support, we can’t always do these things alone, so please reach out, you are not alone and believe me, there is always somebody going through what you are, or has been, that can you talk to.