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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.


Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.

At some point in your recovery work you struggle to truly stop bingeing and are on the edge of success.


But you are tempted.  No.  It's much more than that, and you know it.  You feel

caught in a tractor beam that relentlessly draws you to the binge.

How can you stop it?  How can you pull out?  What can you do before you are completely drawn in and lost again in the food?

First, of course, you need to be involved and committed to your recovery work so you have your therapist and your support system in place.  Recovery from an eating disorder requires psychological work.

Then you tackle the question of how to stop a binge from starting.

The urge to binge has a lot to do with your natural energy that has no place to go.  Anyone who has been in a binge or a compulsive eating episode knows that hunger for food has little or nothing to do with the activity.

So when you stop bingeing, your natural energy is bubbling up with no place to go, until now.

Jung said, "wash the dishes."  Buddhists say, "chop wood and carry water."  Vietnamese say,
"Sweep your hut, light a candle, read a book."

In other words, develop habits to hold on to your energy that used to go to a binge. Then channel it in a positive direction.

First, this is difficult to do. You feel like you are walking against a current of glue.  You drag yourself to a task where do something physical and necessary.  I used to weed the garden and trim bamboo. (Southern California).

Then you find interests you never had time to develop because you were so into your bulimia or other eating disorder. Start off gently, but don't be surprised if

your little interests turn out to be strong and authentic desires of your heart and soul.

When you find those interests, you put your energy there. Some people go back to school and develop first or new careers.  We're talking about a lot of energy. Some people discover how much they care about their animals or their garden.  They put mental, physical and emotional energy into caring for them better.  And this leads them to new people, new organizations, new relationships and even a new vocation.

Good luck! And let me know your answer to the question:  what do I do instead of going on a binge?

Here are a few suggestions for starters:

  • walk the dog
  • read a book
  • write a letter
  • take a shower
  • vacuum your house
  • scrub down the bathroom
  • clean out your car
  • clean and organize your closets
  • pay your bills
  • go to a park
  • go to a museum
  • get away from triggers and do something different that you like.
  • sketch a tree
  • write a letter or a poem or a short story - or just write what is immediately around you right now.
  • go to the library or a library you've never visited before.
  • put some energy into any task you've been postponing.

Please feel free to add to this list!

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