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Regular Contributor to the "Brain Over Binge" Newsletter by Kathryn Hansen
Before the Beat the Binge program, I was a hot mess. I had just started another online diet program and couldn't understand why I kept 'blowing it' and instead of losing weight, I was gaining.
All day long all I thought about was food. What I was going to eat, how much, whether the food was 'good' or 'bad'.
Binges were the worst. Any chance I could get to 'sneak' away and eat massive quantities of food was torture. I hated myself and felt so out of control. I thought I was broken. Instead of living my life, I was a zombie walking around waiting for the next food thought to pop into my head (which didn't take long because that was the majority of my thoughts). The sad part was, that I didn't even consider there might be another way.
I've lived like this for so long, the idea of food freedom didn't even occur to me.
I decided to join the program on a whim. I've been following Lydia for well over a year (watching her videos, etc). She had sent out openings for her free coaching sessions before but one day as I was walking to the break room at work, I opened her email and scheduled the appointment. I had no clue that my life was going to change forever when I did that one simple thing
As I am writing this, I am so incredibly grateful. I have my life back. I'm doing all of these 'normal' things now that I never thought I could. I've given up restriction and guess what? I haven't had a binge since. I had one episode where the thought popped into my head and just like that I recognized how ridiculous it sounded! Why on earth would I eat massive quantities of food?!
If you would have told me that would be my reaction to a binge thought 8 weeks ago, I would have laughed (loudly) in your face. I am free to go where I want, eat (or not eat) what I want. My life has normal problems like anyone else's but now I don't lean on binging to 'deal' with things or numb out and avoid my life. I am truly free for the first time since I was 14 years old.
When I was 12 my body started changing as I was going through the natural cycles of maturing as a woman. These hormonal changes resulted in gaining weight in places that I considered unacceptable, as a result I started restricting my food intake so I could maintain a size double zero. I restricted and dieted very effectively from 7th grade until 10th grade, although I was beginning to eat large quantities of food (like icing, zebra cakes, peanut butter, ice cream etc.) after heavily restrictive bouts, but I never put two and two together to see the association between the two. I started becoming friends with girls who were athletes, they ate whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted and still maintained an amazing physique. The end of 10th grade is when my eating started to kick up, I started downing massive quantities of "off-limit" foods that I hadn't allowed myself to have in years. At this time I noticed my sister, mother, and two of my best friends were bulimic and a few other friends were anorexic. I never thought I had an official eating disorder, I thought they did, but once I found myself crying when I was drunk with my friends that I was "gaining weight" and couldn't drink these calories when I was 110 pounds and my new athletic friends said I was crazy, I started questioning the validity of that.
In college I was introduced to dining halls with all you can eat buffets...I started binge eating. To compensate I'd restrict and starve myself for 1 day at a time, did two-a-days at the gym (got there at 5am and again at 5pm, working out for a minimum of 1 hour each session as hard as I possibly could). My weight caught up to me though. When I was a sophomore in college I gained 40 pounds in 1 semester, I kept binge eating and this time I wasn't trying to starve myself, I couldn't. My metabolism was still in amazing shape so I figured I could keep eating this way and it wasn't "catching up to me" as badly as I imagined it would have given the massive quantities of food I was ingesting.
When I was 20 years old I panicked about this weight gain (which was gained only over the course of 3 months) and my horrible, obsessive relationship with food and my body. I went on every single diet I could find. I went vegan for 2 years, within that raw vegan for 6 months, week long juice fasts, would "intermittent fast" for 3 days at a time, the "eat only apples for a week" diet, and many more. I was able to lose all of the weight that I had gained and I was an absolute mess. As it came, so it went and I started to gain the weight back, I was losing my grip on myself and food, everything seemed to be spiraling out of control. This is when I remembered what my sister, my mom, my best friend from high school, and now my best friend and roommate of 4 years in college did...purge. I would be on a diet, mix in IF and not eat for 1-3 days to "shrink my stomach", and purge on the days that I would start bingeing or just eating more than I deemed acceptable to maintain my physique.
Eventually I got so desperate and SO sick (constantly getting strep throat, the flu, you name it) that I joined OA. I didn't think I had a problem with sugar, I believed I had a problem with carbs (bread, pasta, etc.), but everyone told me you have to get a sponsor, you're addicted to sugar you need to give it up and abstain, same as all processed foods. This is when I attempted to "abstain" from these foods. While I'm very grateful for OA because it represented coming to terms with and admitting I had a huge problem and helped me learn to eat after a "binge" to not enter the restriction cycle again, I was unable to "abstain" for anymore than 2 weeks from the time I was 20 until 26. I saw about 10 nutritionists, got so many different food plans and sponsors and I would call them everyday saying I will only eat __ today, and NOTHING in between, nothing other than this. Ultimately I'd fail, I'd lie to my sponsor until I could lie no more. I was wondering what was wrong with me, what did I have to do to change?
One day I got so desperate lying on my living room floor eating a full jar of peanut butter by myself and not even having the energy to purge and decided I was going to end my life.
The next day I luckily decided to try something different and get a new sponsor rather then end things. The new sponsor I got took me through the steps, which really helped balance things out for me so I wasn't in such a state of panic and despair. She and I went through all of the "red light foods" and I was abstaining from. This list had about 50 things on it and ranged from abstaining from: most fruit, nuts, added sugar in any capacity (including things like sushi, mayo, pretty much anything processed because more things have at least 1 gram of added sugar), all caffeine, artificial sweeteners, wheat, bread, chips, all desserts (cake, brownies, ice cream, candy, etc.). I maintained this for about 4 months, I lost a lot of weight, felt a lot more sanity return (in a way) but I started proselytizing the OA/AA literature, mainly the Big Book. I felt sorry for people who couldn't stop eating "junk food" and viewed myself as extraordinarily lucky that I wasn't succumbing to my "disease" and I was abstaining, anytime I could tell people my story I thought I was saving them from the monster of junk food and compulsive overeating. I was reading every single food label I came across, called restaurants beforehand and asked them to pull out their ingredients list so I could see for myself that there was nothing I "couldn't eat" in the mix.
At some stage I burned out and decided I was totally out of alignment with the life I was living, decided to quit my job and travel the world for a year. The first month I did that, I met a spiritual teacher who actually teaches concepts very similar to the concepts in the Beat the Binge program. He told me that the relationship I had with food didn't sound like food freedom to him, he recommended letting myself have the things that I wanted and getting in touch with how it made me feel* instead of making decisions based on external rules, shoulds/shouldn'ts. He mentioned the rules were the "thinking mind" (what Lydia calls the "chatter brain") and the "working mind" (the "you brain") was the logical part of our brains, those are the thoughts we can start to trust. With this new message I knew what he was saying was true, but I was absolutely terrified... Anytime I'd have a bite of something with sugar, wheat, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, etc., I would absolutely freak out, panic, do a 10th step inventory on it (part of the process in OA). This wasn't going to work if I was to be traveling on the road out of a backpack for a year. Seeing that madness in myself I decided it was going to be messy but I walked away from OA and decided to learn for myself what freedom would mean for me.
Throughout my travels I started eating things I hadn't had in 6-7 years...and hadn't truly allowed myself to have without guilt in probably 13 years. I was still restricting heavily, I thought yes I can start experimenting and if it gets "out of control" I can just not eat and skip meals again. At this stage I started reading Brain over Binge and Intuitive Eating but couldn't quite see what was missing. I went down to 110 pounds (which was my weight when I was heavily restricting in 10th grade of HS) and desperately struggled to try to maintain it. I had loads of caffeine, coffee, tea, etc. everyday. I refused to eat breakfast and often lunch as well, believing that once I started eating, the flood gates were open to I should limit it to just eating once a day. At this stage my metabolism dropped, I started gaining weight even though I was hardly eating any food. I was baffled and confused, crying all the time, trying to lose weight and feeling it slip through my fingers.
When I returned home I felt so crazy around food, started gaining weight again, I decided to go back to OA. This helped calm down many areas of my life, I looked at things that disturbed me and "caused me to eat" (which I believed at the time), I started eating adequately and it was going okay. Suddenly I found myself planning all of my meals again, cutting out major groups of food out of fear, I wasn't bingeing because that would be losing my abstinence but I was overeating everyday and was totally crazed/obsessed, plagued by food and my body, again. Suddenly it hit me that this is the very lack of freedom I was experiencing when I left OA a year prior. No amount of 10th steps were helping me drop my desire to lose weight, the hatred I felt toward my body, no amount of meal planning was making me feel more free...it was making me crazy. Although it resulted in many positive changes for me, I kept looking relentlessly for a real solution until I came across Lydia!
Wow I don't know where to begin with the freedom I experience now...the insights this program has delivered has been one of hindsight for me, it's easy to forget how completely different things are now as opposed to the way things used to be. Although I have wobbly days on occasion and tendencies can still kick up from time to time, I do not consider myself to have an eating disorder in any capacity, it's simply not true for me anymore. I feel as if I am a normal eater, and becoming more and more so each day. I never imagined the the freedom I experience now would be possible for me. I thought the only freedom I could know was abstinence, I thought I would be a "compulsive overeater" my whole life and it was something I'd have to manage as best I could (which implies rules, many many rules).
I may struggle to articulate what changed for me, it seems like the whole process has been so magical I can hardly believe it or iterate what happened but I'll emphasize a few key changes I've noticed. My definition of food freedom was this:
"Food freedom for me is no longer being afraid of, intimidated or discouraged by the presence or absence of food. It’s no longer obsessing about my body weight and size and instead feeling comfortable in my skin and coming to a size that is balanced and easy to maintain without 'control' or 'force.' It’s no longer obsessing about and planning what I’m going to eat vs. what I need to never eat again and abstain from that. On a daily basis this would mean having food and eating be a normal, right-sized part of my day that never takes up too much mental space, it’s a source of enjoyment or just a neutral event, but no longer a shame-laden, demonized opportunity to fail again or succumb to something. On a daily basis this would mean waking up and going to sleep with food not being the first or last thought of the day, and if there are a lot of food thoughts just knowing deep down that they don’t mean anything, and I’m totally fine and free regardless of the content of thoughts. I want to feel totally safe around food, and not worried that I’m going to “lose control” at any moment. I don’t want to believe I’m a food addict, someone that will forever be a compulsive overeater, I don’t want to believe that I need to change every defect about myself in order to be free of food, I want to know I’m always without a doubt free from this crazy compulsion."
I've experimented with eating almost every previously "off-limit" food, the fear has now gone away almost entirely around those foods, and I don't struggle to control my urges, to not certain things, I don't feel afraid of myself around food because now I'm allowed to have it...and I know that I can if I really want to, there's no crime in having what I want. Food and my body weight are no longer the first thoughts in the morning (unless I wake up hungry) or the last thought of the night. I haven't planned a meal since the 2nd week in the program, my hunger and fullness cues have come in abruptly, they're as obvious and apparent to me as the need to use the restroom and previously I didn't know what it meant to feel hungry or full, it was always a guessing game for me, a shot in the dark. Food can be a source of excitement for me, but I no longer believe there's anything wrong with that. When food feels a little "too exciting" I know it's because I've restricted that food in the past and have some lingering beliefs that I shouldn't have it or it'll go away eventually, I call out the chatter around that, and then move forward.
I go out to eat and I never worry about what's on the menu, since day 1 of the program I haven't purged, I no longer over-exercise to compensate, since week 5 of the program I haven't binged at all, I may overeat on occasion but I no longer judge it as "overeating" and feel no shame if I do overindulge. I know I can have anything on that menu and it won't hurt me, nothing will make me "spiral out of control", it's just food, it's no longer terrifying. The desire to "control" urges around food, food intake, circumstances, my body, etc. has nearly fallen away, there's nothing to control because nothing is "out of control" unless I start restricting again and denying things that I truly want. It's more and more apparent to me that the natural intelligence of the body isn't leading me astray and it won't. It's only when the fear chatter comes up, the restriction chatter drives up cravings to have MORE immediately that things begin feel untrustworthy. On occasion chatter revs up about my body image and tries to encourage restriction, this is the only aspect that periodically comes up for me, fear of restriction, fear of gaining weight, and sometimes fighting the chatter in this regard. It doesn't take long for me to bounce back to a place of neutrality and see that it's just a habit, it's nothing personal and I don't need to act on it, but it may take up to a day to snap out of the mindset of mental restriction, I don't act on physical restriction anymore.
As a result of previous programs and other common misconceptions, I heavily associated overeating with emotions, with "character defects", I believed it wasn't because the food that I overate, that the food was a symptom of a larger problem of self-centeredness, "self will run riot." I believed that I needed to address my fears, anxieties, turn the focus of attention off myself and be of service to others instead while facing myself to get in proper alignment. Now I no longer associate an emotional day with a risk for overeating. Just the other day I was extremely sad and a bit anxious, I didn't even think about overeating or bingeing. In the past that would have been my default, the very first thing I would have tried to avoid doing. I no longer believe that I am defective...but rather there are habits in place that are more or less helpful and may cause discomfort within myself. At first I viewed the chatter as something to erase, I demonized it and thought "if I can just get rid of this, then I'd be free." Luckily through the progression of this program I came to see chatter is a beautiful thing...it's a signal, a cue that I'm believing something that simply isn't true. I've come to recognize this feeling that "something is off/wrong" as a gift, that it means something is being believed that's causing some degree of internal conflict and the good new is it isn't true, it's simply chatter, it's only as valid as I make it.
I feel free so much of the day it amazes...I'm free to eat whatever I want whenever I want it, when I go to restaurants now I share my food and enjoy the person I'm sitting with more than the food, I've stopped obsessing about how much I'm eating, if it's too much or not enough in those environments. I'm free to feel and experience my feelings without condemning them or pushing them away, everyday I have the gift of questioning the idea that there's something wrong with me, the gift of accepting myself and loving myself exactly as I am and being gentle and understanding instead of harsh and condemning. I've recently started dating (which I avoided for years because I thought I needed to be in years of recovery until I could date anyone in a serious capacity), my life is becoming effortlessly more honest and in alignment, I care about people more because I care about myself more, I no longer see people as "defective" and I take what others do less personally because I know it's just their pattern of chatter. On occasion I struggle with body image, the fear of gaining weight especially after a weekend of eating less healthy foods and the resulting bloated feeling for instance, but I no longer hate myself for it, I accept how I feel and try my best to come to terms with it as a temporary truth, I know it will balance out.
Moving forward I can look forward to applying these principles to the rest of my life! I don't need to maintain such a tiny bubble in order to stay "safe" from myself, from others. I can experiment in life, play and discover what matters to me, I can see all of the other areas where chatter restricts and indulges and slowly but surely come more and more into alignment with a meaningful and worthwhile life. There have been so many surprises from this program, I feel like every single result of the program was a surprise! But one of the biggest surprises was seeing how perfectionism drives so much conflict in my life...I wasn't aware of the harshness of the perfectionism, the need to figure everything out, fix everything, fix myself, don't try something until I can do it perfectly, don't put myself in situation where there is a lot of uncertainty. I never realized how totally controlled and controlling I was as a result of that! It has been the main driver of most issues with food, relationships, self esteem, jobs, etc. and these self-imposed rules of the life I believed I needed to live, the things I felt I had to do. It's an incredible relief to see that it's simply not true and to see how many areas this carries over to! My life was revolved around not wanting to be rejected and seen as a failure, so I would try to avoid that by any means necessary...now that I see it's just chatter's method of maintaining a false sense of security, I'm free to be who I am imperfectly...I'm free from the belief that I'll arrive at some end goal one day, and with the disintegration of that thought I've been given the absolute gift and joy of having a life again, free of self-hatred and trying to constantly be somewhere or someone I'm not.
I full-heartedly recommend this program to anyone who is struggling with disordered eating and wants to have their life back. I've received more gifts from this program than I could have ever imagined. There may be other programs out there which may provide some degree of relief and freedom, but for anyone who wants to be free for a lifetime, Lydia and the coaches give every participant their all. They give their wisdom, their attention, their patience, and never put themselves above anyone to act as an icon, but rather they teach each person how to put the power back in their own hands again. This is the gift of freedom...freedom of not having an authority over oneself for validation, confirmation. I seek my own guidance, I can finally trust myself rather than externalizing that trust. What an incredible gift this program has been.
Over a 30 year period, my struggle with food and weight gain gradually worsened until it spiraled out of control and became very damaging to my mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
It began with me innocently "needing to lose a few pounds" and ended years later with me frightened to death with how rapidly I regained 45 of the 65 pounds I had worked so hard to lose over a period of a year and a half.
I was completely confused and disheartened because I could not keep the weight off, even though I always promised myself that I would stick to a "sensible eating plan" and not go off the rails again.
In 2016, in desperation, I joined a 12 step program because I had gained so much weight that I had to walk with a cane; my knees couldn't handle it. I truly thought that I had finally, finally found the solution to what ailed me.
I worked it, and it worked.
And then, I was horrified to find myself back into the binge grazing, out of control again. I was constantly telling myself that "I've already blown it, so I might as well continue to eat today, but I'll do better tomorrow" or "I've eaten this sweet, so I need to have something salty to counteract it".
Tomorrow would come and it would bring the same insane cycle with it. Mornings weren't hard, but by the afternoon, I was toast. I was completely worn out and demoralized from the struggle! Coincidentally (maybe not), there had been an interesting convergence of information of late about the power of the brain that I had been absorbing via podcasts and a book.
I believe this brought me to the place where I was ready to hear what Lydia had to say. So, when her video showed up in my Facebook feed, I clicked on it, and the rest is history!
I feel so smart, because, at the age of 62, I was open to learning new skills and I recognized the wisdom of what Lydia has to offer.
You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!
I am so thankful to be free of the constant anxiety that I suffered around food. Through the power of my own brain, the confusion has disappeared. Now I know why I kept falling back in to my old unhealthy eating patterns even though I didn't want to.
I had been in the habit of grazing on sweets and carbs whenever I was alone, pretty much every afternoon and evening.
That is no longer happening. I no longer have "good" foods and "bad" foods. My body and mind are slowly healing and in the process, my fullness and hunger indicators are returning AND I'm discovering what foods I really enjoy and what I don't.
I am figuring out how I want to eat and my body will eventually reach a comfortable and healthy weight. I am working on accepting my body as it is now and not focusing on forcing it to change like I used to.
In the months and years to come, I look forward to taking the time I used to waste obsessing about food to garden and learn some new hobbies like weaving. I am able to engage more with my family because my mind is more free. I'll always be a work in progress, but now I have peace.
Before finding Beat the Binge program, I was obsessed with food, my weight and trying to manipulate my body into a version I could more readily accept.
Forty-five years of my life was spent in food bondage.
Countless hours, dollars and tears were expended in trying to control, manipulate, change, correct, fix, or accept the “problem.” All the while, believing I was the problem.
I had come to the conclusion there was some essential flaw in my character making me incapable of managing a “right” relationship with food. My relationship with food was so distorted that I lived in terror of certain foods and lacked the ability to move freely in my life.
I had attempted and failed in every program, rehab, therapy, and twelve-step option. My weight fluctuated constantly and the reflected number on the scale dictated my mood. I weighed myself everyday for fifteen years in an attempt to control that number. Constantly believing I could stop it from going higher if I knew what it was!
There was a constant stream of noise in my brain, tortured obsessive thinking and hateful self-talk ran 24-7. The shame, guilt, frustration and despair were paralyzing. I wasn’t living; I was existing, barely surviving.
I decided to join the program because what I was doing wasn’t working. I was hooked when Lydia said, “There is nothing wrong with you.”
For some time, I had been considering that my problem was between the ears, however, I didn’t know the solution for my thinking problem.
I watched a number of the success videos on Lydia’s website and realized I was seeing the very thing I was looking for: Freedom from the bondage of food. I signed up the next day and haven’t looked back!
I am free! This program changed my life. I saw immediate results. I put away my scale, canceled my Weight Watchers membership--after eleven years of faithful attendance and participation--during the first week!
I did really hard things; in the past, I would have numbed myself and gone through it in a fog. I am more hopeful about my future. I feel fully present to each moment--recognizing it's not all butterflies and rainbows. I have so much time now--mentally and physically. Being able to have quiet in my mind and soul is transformative.
One of the things that surprised me was recognizing what I always called "waking up feeling thin." Midway through week one, I made the connection that the "thin" feeling I was experiencing was nothing more than the absence of a binge hangover! I could have that lean and clean feeling every day!
The other surprise for me was the power of celebration and how quickly my brain adapted to discovering "wins" and finding the evidence to support it!
I realized while reading through my evidence journal--another big surprising thing--I didn't need to heal/recover/deal with/ from any trauma or aspect of my history to get to freedom.
So much of my earlier work revolved around a false connection between my eating and abusive childhood. I'm not only surprised, I am shocked that all of that was a habit and the chatter used it to reinforce the habit! Recognizing what is chatter and separating it from my "critical" mother was one of the nicest surprises of this work for me!
Neutrality versus managing an eating disorder is different from every other approach I'd used. It's made all the difference. Empowered, aligned, balanced, purposeful, are descriptors I use now. Prior to this, powerless, distorted, broken, flawed, addicted, compulsive, hopeless--and this shift happened in eight weeks--miraculous!!
It all started with a difficult Phase in my life when I went through a breakup and thought it was all due to my Body shape and weight.
I developed anorexia and struggled with it for about 7 years. This eating disorder slowly developed into a Kind of bulimia: I would purge by moving and exercising a lot or take laxatives, although I was still restricting and depriving a lot.
One evening I suddenly lost it and ate all the Sweets and Candy I had at my flat in one go. I felt ashamed and was anxious as it this happened repeatedly and I slipped into the Habit of binge eating.
I felt alone and depressed, tried counseling and watched endless Videos on you tube by skinny Girls that said they knew the right way of eating and dieting. I became very unhappy and unsocial, the binge eating made me stop having Hobbies, made me an outsider, made me stop having any interests apart from eating and dieting... it was a vicious cycle.
All in all it kept going on for 5 years until I binged every single night, took Laxatives and restricted during the day just to binge in the evening, Feeling more and more awful and having Panic attacks. I had gained about 15kg by then.
Now I am not as afraid around Food as I used to be. I know that Food, and even Sweets, aren't my enemy and I've learned to slowly trust myself when it Comes to hunger signals.
I overeat and binge from time to time, but I don't beat myself up about it the way I used to, which makes the amount of Food become smaller.
Also as I know that I should and don't have to restrict after a binge, there are more days of normal eating, feeling actual hunger and satisfaction and I can allow myself to have candy when I want to.
I know it might take some more time for me to fully recover, as I've been having the habit for so many years, but ALL the BRILLIANT skills I've learned in this program are all that I Need for the time to come and I'm prepared to be fully recovered.
This program gives you so much strength and Motivation and I've met so many beautiful and authentic People here!
Over a 30 year period, my struggle with food and weight gain gradually worsened until it spiraled out of control and became very damaging to my mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
It began with me innocently "needing to lose a few pounds" and ended years later with me frightened to death with how rapidly I regained 45 of the 65 pounds I had worked so hard to lose over a period of a year and a half.
I was completely confused and disheartened because I could not keep the weight off, even though I always promised myself that I would stick to a "sensible eating plan" and not go off the rails again.
In 2016, in desperation, I joined a 12 step program because I had gained so much weight that I had to walk with a cane; my knees couldn't handle it. I truly thought that I had finally, finally found the solution to what ailed me. I worked it, and it worked.
And then, I was horrified to find myself back into the binge grazing, out of control again. I was constantly telling myself that "I've already blown it, so I might as well continue to eat today, but I'll do better tomorrow" or "I've eaten this sweet, so I need to have something salty to counteract it". Tomorrow would come and it would bring the same insane cycle with it.
Mornings weren't hard, but by the afternoon, I was toast. I was completely worn out and demoralized from the struggle!
Coincidentally (maybe not), there had been an interesting convergence of information of late about the power of the brain that I had been absorbing via podcasts and a book. I believe this brought me to the place where I was ready to hear what Lydia had to say. So, when her video showed up in my Facebook feed, I clicked on it, and the rest is history!
I feel so smart, because, at the age of 62, I was open to learning new skills and I recognized the wisdom of what Lydia has to offer.
You CAN teach an old dog new tricks! I am so thankful to be free of the constant anxiety that I suffered around food. Through the power of my own brain, the confusion has disappeared.
Now I know why I kept falling back in to my old unhealthy eating patterns even though I didn't want to. I had been in the habit of grazing on sweets and carbs whenever I was alone, pretty much every afternoon and evening. That is no longer happening. I no longer have "good" foods and "bad" foods.
My body and mind are slowly healing and in the process, my fullness and hunger indicators are returning AND I'm discovering what foods I really enjoy and what I don't.
I am figuring out how I want to eat and my body will eventually reach a comfortable and healthy weight. I am working on accepting my body as it is now and not focusing on forcing it to change like I used to.
In the months and years to come, I look forward to taking the time I used to waste obsessing about food to garden and learn some new hobbies like weaving. I am able to engage more with my family because my mind is more free. I'll always be a work in progress, but now I have peace.
I don't remember a time when I didn't have a very flawed relationship with food.
As a child I suffered various traumas and reached adulthood before I was diagnosed with ADHD.
I constantly felt restless and as if I did not have control over my life. I was diagnosed with anorexia at 16 (although looking back I think it may have in fact been bulimia).
For a long time, the ADHD diagnosis and treatment seemed to help with the eating disorder. Possibly because the medication deals with the same part of the brain where the basic animal impulses to binge come from.
But from 2016 through most of 2018 it has been one stressor added on top of another and I found myself bingeing again and again and putting on more and more weight.
Deaths in the family, job insecurity, close friends moving away, health issues, insomnia, an unstable ex sending me vaguely threatening messages - all of these thing weighed on me to the point where I craved the numbness binge eating provided - regardless of how briefly the numbness lasted.
Add to that my constant (failed) attempts to restrict and I was finding myself unable to focus on anything but food and my weight. Which acted as a easy distraction to the grief and anxiety I was trying to ignore.
Eventually, most of the external stressors began to disappear - my job status became guaranteed and my job itself became a less toxic environment for me.
My unhinged ex stopped sending messages and my husband and I put safety measures in place in case it started again. The fog of grief started to lift and I was starting to feel like things were going to be okay.
But I couldn't stop binge eating and it pissed me off.
My life was so great regardless of the things I had endured - I have a loving supportive husband, family I love and can count on, friends who care, a job I love - why couldn't I stop eating? Why couldn't I lose weight? Why did I hate myself when everything that actually mattered was going right for me?
I knew from the very first moment I listened to the Beat The Binge intro webinar that this was my answer.
When Lydia explained it was possible to have freedom from my eating disorder I literally burst into tears. Even during those years when the binge eating was not so rampant, my relationship with food and my body image were still very unhealthy.
I had long ago resigned myself to the probability that I would never be a "normal eater" or have body acceptance. I was so overwhelmed, but I knew Lydia could help me.
I knew I would get to be the person I wanted to be and finally enjoy the life I was given.
Yes, it would require work - but as Lydia often reminds us, you can continue doing the things you've always done - WHICH ARE ALREADY HARD, or try a new approach which might also be hard.
After completing the Beat The Binge program I am free from so many things I never thought possible.
Food doesn't scare me like it used to, I don't spend all day thinking about and planning around and obsessing over and hating it like used to.
I am free not only from disgust regarding my body as well as the body dysmorphia that plagued me my entire life - I actually love my body now and can see it for what it is, not the distorted jumble of flaws I spent too much time hating.
This program taught me how to access parts of my brain and change my thinking in ways that go beyond no longer binge eating - or more importantly no longer having the URGE to binge eat.
The principles Lydia teaches are invaluable in so many areas, I have a better handle on my ADHD without having to constantly up my medication dosage, my anxiety has lessened significantly, I no longer have terrible bouts with insomnia - all because of the very basic principles Lydia lays out in the program.
I even began to grieve properly for the losses I've experienced this last year - I had been trying to power through and not feel them because the hurt was too intense, but knowing I wasn't going to spiral into a binge-monster allowed me to feel the feelings and process them in a more healthy way.
I know I was probably primed for this level of success with the program due to a number of other factors:
I developed a poor body image after I developed an eating disorder - prior to that I had always found my shape and size to be perfectly acceptable - I believe the capacity for body acceptance was still in there.
I had already felt what freedom from bingeing could be prior to the program thanks to the ADHD treatment, I had been practicing the principles subconsciously in other areas of my life, and so they truly clicked for me regarding my binge eating when I heard them presented in a easy to comprehend manner.
It was only halfway through the program that I realized why I found this method so intuitive and it was a total AHA moment.
The biggest surprise was that I would gain so much more than freedom from binge eating.
I never would have dreamed how positively this could've changed my life - I just wanted to stop uncontrollably shoving food into my face.
Instead, I've found my tribe in the group of women and men who have shared this journey with me, I've learned how to change the way I view myself, accepted and even come to love what I am both physically and emotionally.
I have a much better relationship with food than I ever imagined possible. I get to enjoy my life now and I have been equipped with invaluable tools to keep changing my life for the better.
Before starting the Beat the Binge program I had 25 years of trying to hide my secret of Bulimia.
During those 25 years the biggest thing Bulimia stole from me was quality time that could have been better spent focusing on my family and friends.
I grew up in a pretty normal house, with loving parents who gave me a great childhood. I remember once in 5th grade, one of my mom’s friends, who was also a teacher at my school, mentioned that I was getting the “5th grade pudge.” This was the first time I remember thinking that other people saw me as being chubby or fat. Looking back at childhood pictures, I was nothing more than an average size, and for the life of me I still have no idea why the lady made that statement.
However, it was forever burned into my memory. I decided that same year that I wanted to be a cheerleader and do gymnastics, so I started classes. This lead me down the next pivotal road in my life. I became a cheerleader and in high school made the competition squad. It was important to be small so you could be a flyer...and look good in the uniform.
The spring of my sophomore year, I decided I really needed to lose weight. I think I was about 5’3” and weighted 115. I went to the store and bought my first diet pills. They made me shaky and feel weird so I decided that wouldn’t work. Then one night after dinner it happened....I became a bulimic.
Over that summer I dropped to 95lbs and Everywhere I went people noticed. Thinking back now, there is no way I looked healthy, but people told me how great I looked and I excelled in cheer. So much I ended up with a college scholarship to cheer at a 4 year anniversary.
But before that, my senior year, my parents found out about my eating disorder. Someone at the school called them and reported me being sick in the bathroom. My mom took me to a pediatrician who told me to eat a healthy diet, and then I was on my way to continuing my disordered eating.
To this day, my mom and I have only spoken about this once since my teenage years. I sometimes wonder if it’s because she too may have an eating disorder. But we have never discussed it.
So back to college, I continued my disordered eating through college and into marriage. My husband knew about the Bulimia when we got married and would encourage me to get help.
However, no counseling or doctor could help with the issue.
They wanted to dredge up other issues about my life, even though many of the things we discussed were just normal life issues. There was one therapist that even decided this whole disordered eating was about sex....I still don’t have a clue what she was talking about.
So, I would research and read, work myself into a panic, end up at a therapists office and drop out within a month because it all felt useless.
Then one day, I found Lydia's facebook page, which led me to some videos, and changed my life forever.
Not only have the principles you taught me changed my eating, they have helped me recover some (not all) of my self esteem that has been lost over 25 years of letting my chatter tell me what “I’m not.” I am forever grateful!
Now, I can eat a normal meal without feeling guilty. My food rules are gone, and I can keep whatever foods in the house I want without fear of a binge.
This has freed up so much time for me to just be present in life with my family and friends.
I am still working on the body image, but it’s one step at a time.
I also recognize chatter across multiple areas of my life, and can call it out for what it is. The biggest surprise is that I can eat normally and my weight did not drastically change!
Before Beat the Binge, I had lost all hope. I was convinced that I was never going to solve my food issues, I was going to continue to eat uncontrollably, and I would keep gaining weight until it killed me.
I had tried everything - self help books, online groups, week long retreats, prescription medications, over the counter supplements, every diet program out there, 20 years of counseling, rehashing my past over and over and over, reliving trauma and horrible emotions until I couldn't stand it any more.
Some of these things helped with my mental stability and taught me things about myself that were helpful in my life in general, but nothing seemed to help with the food.
When I signed up, I was bingeing every day. I was never a purger or over-exerciser, or even an extreme restricter. I would overeat or binge, then cut back, or diet, and be able to mostly maintain my weight for many years (even though I was constantly obsessed about the number on the scale and was never happy with how I looked).
Until the last 2 or 3 years... I reached a point where I could no longer diet. I could not stick to any type of food plan AT ALL. Like not even for one day. I felt completely out of control. The weight starting packing on, and I panicked and tried even harder to "do better" but nothing worked. I felt powerless and hopeless as I gained 50 pounds in about 3 years (on top of the extra 20 I was already carrying).
I was desperately looking for a solution. I had bought into the idea that my depression and eating issues were related to past trauma because I had been told that by so many people for so many years.
So I jumped from therapist to therapist, trying to find the one with the right method of treatment that would help me put it behind me once and for all.
I dredged up old memories and old emotions so many times, reliving traumas over and over and over, not understanding what I was doing wrong and why it wasn't helping.
I truly thought I just wasn't trying hard enough even though I was devoting my entire life to it.
My eating disorder and food has taken my entire life from me for the last 20 years.
I stopped expressing myself in any way. I stopped caring about how I looked, quit wearing makeup, didn't care about how I dressed.
I gave up anything and everything that gave me any kind of joy or happiness - I stopped doing the things I enjoyed, gave up hobbies and interests, stopped having opinions about things.
I just drifted along and let other people run my life. I lost all of my friends and became very isolated.
My marriage was in ruins. My daughter was growing up before my eyes and I was missing it. I didn't have a job outside the home for almost 15 years, so I spent nearly all of my time at home, either alone or with only my daughter or husband for company.
My life became a hollow shell of what it once was. I became a hollow shell of what I once was. My whole world was contained in this depressive state that I was trying desperately to get out of, but felt powerless to change.
Every bit of energy I had (which was not much) was spent either obsessing about food or obsessing about how to stop being so miserable.
I spent my days sitting on the couch watching Netflix and eating. It was all I could do to get my daughter to school, take a shower, and maybe run a couple of errands or do some laundry.
I was going through a fast food drive through pretty much every day, sometimes more than once per day. I had lost all trust in myself, in my ability to think clearly, in my ability to make decisions. I felt at times like I was truly losing my mind.
The battle that was going on in my head was almost more than I could take. I felt like the war I was fighting was against myself, and I had no idea how to win because no matter the outcome, somehow I would also lose.
Through all of this desperation, I could not allow myself to simply give up. I just couldn't believe that there was absolutely no hope for someone like me. So I kept looking, kept trying to be open to new ideas that might be able to help me.
And then I came across Lydia's videos on Facebook. I watched a few of them and they really resonated and made so much sense!
And then there was Beat the Binge. :)
Oh my gosh, how has this program NOT helped me!!?
I am getting my life back.
I am getting my brain back.
I am trusting myself again, learning how to make decisions that serve me, figuring out what I want for what feels like the first time in forever.
Just writing that sentence brings tears to my eyes.
It has given me hope back. Hope that I can have the life I have desperately wanted but felt unable to have for the last 20 years.
It has helped me rediscover my own power, and that I can truly create the life I want to have.
I no longer spend every waking moment obsessively thinking about food. I have food in the cabinet, the pantry, the freezer, my desk at work that has been there for weeks, and this is the same food that wouldn't have lasted a day in the past.
I am allowing myself a freedom with food that I didn't know was possible.
I have so much more mental energy and clarity now.
I just feel lighter in every part of my life and in every way. I know I haven't lost weight since my clothes still fit the same (and that's ok), but I feel a lightness in my body.
The anxiety, the tense feeling of always being on edge has eased. I am sleeping better - I have been having sleep issues for years and had tried pretty much everything to fix that issue as well and nothing has helped until now.
Things just aren't as big of a deal any more. Every little mistake I make doesn't have to be tied to guilt and shame anymore. The things that I eat and the struggles that I have no longer define me and determine my worth.
After staying at home for 15 years, I went back to work about 4 weeks into the program. I truly believe that would not have been possible without Beat the Binge.
I have wanted to for years, but didn't feel like I could for many reasons. For one, I didn't have the mental capacity. I didn't feel like I would be able to perform the duties of a job because I couldn't think straight, my thinking was so sluggish, and I had no physical energy.
Now, with the principles I have learned and practiced, all of that is changing.
My relationships are also improving. I am able to be present with my daughter in ways that I never was before.
I can be supportive of her emotionally and allow her to have her feelings. I am also communicating with my husband better and expressing my wants/needs more.
Maybe I may even be able to branch out and make some new friends soon.
This program has impacted me in huge ways. I love the ways it has helped me with food, but what I love even more is the impact in the rest of my life.
Calling out the chatter doesn't just relate to food. And the areas that don't relate to food are even bigger and better.
I used to think that if I could just stop eating uncontrollably, I would be happy.
All I wanted was to end my food obsession. What I didn't realize was that ending that obsession would open so many other doors and opportunities for the rest of my life.
I decided to join the program after seeing the webinar online and watching the video interview with Kathryn Hansen. I was getting desperate.
I was grazing constantly working overnight to get me through work. It felt like I couldn’t stop. I was so full of condemnation and negative thoughts about myself. I started thinking about getting weight loss surgery and going to diet doctors.
Even though I knew I had fix my brain first. If I didn’t fix my brain nothing would be lasting. I was so desperate I didn’t care.
I felt hopeless and thought things will always be this way. A few days after that is when I saw the video for the webinar.
I dealt with my food issues probably my whole life. My mom said she was trying to feed me peas so she added applesauce to the spoon. She said somehow I swished it around in my mouth and spit out the peas but kept the applesauce. I always remember having a fondness for sweets.
My dad killed himself when I was 9 and I’m not sure if that sparked using food for comfort for sure or not. I always was fixated on junk food and sweets. I thought it was what brought me joy and pleasure. The thing that hurt my heart was I’m a Christian and I thought this food issue was me sinning, being a glutton, being rebellious, and just a bad person. I didn’t want to disappoint God, but I sure felt like a failure.
[after participating in the Beat the Binge program ] My brain space is freed up. I don’t have to allow those thoughts about food to stay in my head. I don’t have to believe what the chatter is telling me anymore.
I knew how to work with my thoughts about many other things in life, but I didn’t know how to apply it to the food issues I’ve had.
I can go to the store and I don’t have to buy candy. I can choose to, but I’m not pulled towards the candy aisle like I used to be. I used to think of my freedom from food crazy thoughts would have me stop grazing all the time and I would automatically lose weight.
That’s not the case and I’m learning to be okay with that.
I used to think I was only healthy or beautiful if I was smaller. That has always been the goal in my life. Be smaller. I realized my worth was not in my size. It’s in what God says I am.
I have a wonderful husband and kids, I am kind, encouraging, blessed, and have the most fantastic friends. I can be with them and not stress or feel bad about what I’ve eaten.
I was depressed and despairing ever being able to eat normally again. My identity was so wound up in making "healthy" eating choices that there was very little food that I thought was healthy anymore.
I would graze binge on almond butter and nuts and all kind of "healthy foods". I was restricting flour, sugar, dairy, and all my favorite foods at one point.
I was exercising to try to modify my body type from an inverted triangle to a more hourglass shape, I wasn't accepting who I am or how I was made (by God) at all and it was hurting me very badly.
I had read many many books on stored trauma and the therapeutic approach to healing the traumatic memories from my past, and thought I was on the right track thinking I had PTSD from a painful childhood and a traumatic ex-boyfriend who abused me.
I had spent a couple thousand dollars on supplements, trips to the doctor and medical testing, and was looking into doing more special care that would have cost even more to treat the emotional pain and physical pain.
I was extremely depressed and doubtful of my own ability to accomplish anything. I was not recognizing my strengths or taking credit for all I have accomplished. I felt like I was slipping into having the only good moments in my life being those I spent with food and then regretting it moments later because I didn't have the perfect body that I thought I wanted.
I was shackled by my desire to please others with my body (through how I looked) and thought this was the most important thing, that if I could just do this one thing then everything else would come together magically.
After doing Lydia's program, I can see the truth of how my body is not an object for anyone else's pleasure (including viewing pleasure) and that I am much more important than that and that I shouldn't be making my goal to be an object for other people's egos.
I can see how to get out of that mindset. I can view the world through clearer eyes and see how much of this problem is not the result of wounding from my childhood but is actually programmed into us from society.
I can see that the problem is actually not my family, but the social pressures from the world. I can see how habits work and how I don't have to believe my thoughts if I don't want to. It sounds so simple but it was really hard for me to imagine being out of this mental and emotional anguish so quickly.
It's allowed me to feel my feelings, to not feel like an outsider but to feel like I am normal, and it's allowed me to stop shifting the pain of an extremely harmful first relationship to eating and to actually get healing for those pains.
The pain and emotions don't go away, but it helps to be able to process things, and I have gained new tools and a new approach to those old wounds and it has actually helped me to stop viewing myself as a victim!
I find my prayer life has been enriched, I am more able to turn to the Lord with my needs, and I am more equipped to face the challenges of everyday life.
I am inspired to follow the dreams that I had placed on hold while working a deeply unsatisfying day-job that sucked up so much of my creativity that I wasn't able to work on creating anything of value (I am a musician and artist) in the meantime and I am feeling confident to pursue other career options. I even applied to Grad school simply because I wanted to.
After a few years of restricting and over exercising, I started binging. Slowly they were getting bigger and bigger and becoming more frequent.
I had no idea what was going on and I thought I was crazy! I couldn’t understand what was going on, why my willpower was failing me, why I had done so well before exercising and restricting and it was becoming impossible.
I felt hopeless and ashamed and like I had no way of getting out.
I found Lydia’s videos and read [a book Lydia mentioned on her videos]. I did the [the study course that went along with the book] about a year before [Lydia's program], while it helped me lay the boundaries, I was becoming more frustrated that it wasn’t working for me- continuing to add evidence to the fact I was broken and would live like this forever.
Before [Lydia's program] I had no freedom around food- I thought that because my binges weren’t as bad as they had been in the past then maybe that was as good as it could be.
I would still feel hijacked by food, eating much more than I knew I needed. I feared being hungry and still worried about how much food I would need to eat and where it would come from, each day. I still spent too much time and energy thinking about food and was frustrated that I felt I should be doing better.
I felt lost, hopeless, broken and as if I was living someone else’s life. I didn’t trust myself to know what I wanted to eat or when I would be full. I’d wake up each morning and dread it, as I wouldn’t know what kind of day I was going to have and by the end if I’d feel like I’d have a ‘good day’ or ‘bad day’ and if I’d end up going to sleep that night feeling shame, regret and thinking I could start again tomorrow.
I had no idea how different life would be 8 weeks later [doing Lydia's program], it’s better than I could ever have thought it would be.
I genuinely feel free around food- and I had no idea what that would be like as I couldn’t comprehend it. Food isn’t a big deal anymore, I’m able to eat with much more allowance and am working to accept that this doesn’t mean I’ll eat perfectly.
My relationship with my body has also changed, I hated my body before, and just wanted to get back to the body I thought should have, thoughts that were keeping me trapped in the same cycle. Now, my body hasn’t changed but I accept it- it’s the only one I’ve got.
I have been able to enjoy loads of different activities and environments that would have caused me so much stress and anxiety- such as weddings, holidays and going away on road trips.
I’ve done them all and food hasn’t even been an issue, I’ve enjoyed the time spent with people I love. I can’t believe how much progress is made in a relatively short space of time and how quickly the principles can start to apply to other areas of my life. As is said in the program - ‘once you see something it can’t be unseen.’ The ideas about perfectionism and giving yourself wagons to fall off can apply to so many things I do.
I remember staying up late at night watching tv in high school, and eating. Later, during and after college, staying up late, watching tv and eating, regardless of whether I was hungry or not, was fun for me. Although I'm not certain how fun it really was...but it was rebellious, and I liked that a lot.
I never purged, and once I didn't live at home with my parents, often I binged just as part of a meal - regularly eating beyond fullness at a meal.
My mother is a restrictive eater, however she has managed to remain quite thin for her entire life; she is now in her early 90s. As I started gaining weight (due to overeating/bingeing) in my 40s, this opened up a whole emotional can of worms between us, as I gained more and more weight and moved further away from the person my mother thought I should be.
During a particularly stressful time in my life - my early 40s - I was single-parenting two school-aged daughters, working part-time and going to university full-time. It took me 5.5 years to get my degree, but it was so worth it, and I did really enjoy the learning. And, almost every day at school I would eat a huge lunch with dessert, and have a large hot chocolate - I felt I deserved it, it was a way of soothing myself thru the stressers of my life.
I can see now that this is where I solidified the habit of turning to food for soothing.
Although many things improved in my life once I had my degree, many stressers remained, and I continued to overeat and binge. Food was a stressful element in my parenting, as I didn't really enjoy preparing food for my kids, but I didn't have money to eat out or buy prepared foods. I feel guilty for all the food craziness I perhaps passed on to my daughters.
I do remember one time going out to a nice restaurant with two close girlfriends, and bingeing right there at the table on the delicious bread and olive oil. When I reached for my fourth piece and drenched it in olive oil, I could sense my friends exchanging a look. I remember feeling all kinds of emotions coming up, and I just stuffed that bread in my mouth, and then ate a huge meal.
During my mid-40s, perhaps as a reaction to all the hot chocolates, I cut out all sugar from my diet. And I really, truly, did - for 4.5 years, I ate no sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc, and I hardly ever used artificial sweeteners. Maybe a diet soda once a month or so. Actually now, I cannot imagine how I succeeded, but I did. But I stuffed myself with bread, pasta, cheese, rice...on and on (it was during this period that I had that dinner with friends, described above). And I gained 35 pounds in those 4.5 years, despite the fact that I was also a fitness instructor, and teaching/working out many times per week. I am now aware that I was burning out, and think I knew it at the time, but did not know how to change or get out of the downward cycle. I eventually gave up teaching fitness when I felt I was just too fat to be a realistic role model for students. And I went back to eating sugar, and have been eating it several times per day ever since (until this program!). And once I gave up teaching, I gave up exercising altogether - that strategy had failed too.
So, it's been 10 years since I last taught an exercise class, and 18 or so years since I started noticeably putting on weight. Just a few days, maybe a week and a half, before I found Lydia's program, I was getting ready to sign up for Brightline Eating, a restrictive eating program based, I think, on some commonly accepted restrictions in Overeaters' Anonymous. I was absolutely dreading starting the program, and couldn't imagine that I would be able to stick to it, but I was desperate and felt I had to try something serious and commit to it for real. I have never dieted, never used a scale, as I always knew that I had to "fix" something about me, or my life, and my eating would take care of itself. I've had YEARS of therapy, self-help, and I spent a few years (and many dollars) on a program that specifically teaches how to question our thoughts (The Work of Byron Katie). But the always hoped-for side effect of losing my eating disorder never materialized. So I thought I had to go back to addressing eating specifically.
Thank goodness I found Lydia's program, as it does specifically address eating, but it addresses our THOUGHTS about eating.
The program helped me to take so much of my mental energy and focus OFF food, and think about and do other things.
I am MUCH more free, I have more mental energy and attention, and I feel like the old me has been uncovered.
I have more physical energy - I have exercised spontaneously several times during the 8 weeks, and I have also done a lot of physical work on a new home I bought. I would have been wiped out by these physical efforts if it were not for the Beat the Binge program.
Food comes in to my mind mostly only when I'm hungry or planning a meal - and that planning is no longer obsessive and crazy. I live alone, so meals can be really anything I want, and since uncovering my restriction chatter, I really have opened up to so much more enjoyment of food, while (maybe paradoxically) thinking about it less.
I have had a few meals where I overate, and I binged a time or two in the last 8 weeks, but the program is so helpful in learning to just MOVE ON. No wagon [to fall off of], just calling out the chatter, allowing, coming back again and again to my desire to be free.
I feel like I have had an eating disorder most of my life. I always remember my mum being on a diet which I quickly joined the bandwagon. From there it was years of on and off binging. In the last 5 years I can't remember a week going by without binging.
Before finding Lydia's program I had hit the wall and really felt like there was nothing more I could do. I had tried other forms of treatment but NOTHING worked. It always felt like I was broken and like something was really wrong with me. I was made to feel that I would always have an eating disorder and it is my job to learn how to deal with it.
Food consumed my mind, I was always thinking about what I would eat next, what I wasn't allowed to eat and what diet I needed to go on to lose the most weight. Binging stopped me from loving life! Stopped me from exercising, going out with friends,, relationships and just living.
I felt so worthless, I just wanted it to stop so bad but the more I tried to stop the worse it would get.
The thing that surprised me the most is how easy the concepts are. As soon as you know them you put them into practice and your brain starts changing almost instantly. I am so much more aware of my thoughts and I love it!! I have control of my brain and can think about the things that I want to think about. My relationship with food has changed so much - it is just food!!! I can eat what I want when I want and its no big deal!
I have my life back. I can be spontaneous, not have to stick to a routine or diet plan and just do the things that make me happy. I move my body because I enjoy the exercise not because I feel like I have to restrict.
I decided to join because I have been struggling for over 20 years with eating disorders. 80% of my brain was busy thinking of food and how to lose weight. I couldn't even imagine starting studying at 35 years old with this obsession going on in my head. I was isolating myself and so ashamed and disgusted of myself.
My body image was absolutely horrible and I felt like I wasn't worth being seen and loved with this over weight.
The program helped me to accept my body the way it is right now and I actually enjoy doing shopping and taking care of me now.
My binge crisis are gone and I feel confident that if it happens again some day I would just write down the data and move on. I'm a normal person and I'm working on adding new healthy habits in my mind and everyday life.
I have my joy back and the way I see other women, overweight or not, just with their own body, has totally changed. I literally find each and every woman beautiful.
Today, I feel ready to meet my future husband and be a good mom.
During the process, I could see my habits changing only because of practicing, and I think it is absolutely unbelievable!
My before story is this: feeling bad and wrong in my body from aged 6 (despite being a totally normal size), going on diets from aged 10. Putting on. Losing. Putting on. Losing. Decades passing.
Now in my late 40s. Restricting is too hard and my only recourse is constant overeating in a grazing way. Body hatred. Feeling trapped and wrong. Feeling like I've let down the people I love. Feeling like I am going to be punished for having no self control.
Basically: a living nightmare.
My now story: I am learning that I have a choice. That I can eat too much if I want but I am learning more and more that, on the whole, I prefer not to do that. I am learning that I am allowed to move my body - even though I have decades of shame around it for being the 'wrong' size. I am learning that trust is a thing I have lacked so much over all these years.
I am realizing that I can learn to trust myself, trust myself with food, trust that I am ok. And none of this involves perfection. I have learned that the more perfect I aspired to be, the further and further away I was getting from perfection. In fact, there is no such thing. I am learning to stay present and call out the chatter now: not when I'm smaller, not when I'm in perfect health. Now.
I started binging when I was 18 years old (and I'm now almost 34!). I was spending a year abroad after high school and I started putting on weight. Up until this point I had never worried about my weight or the food I ate as I had always been slim and athletic. I decided that restricting my food would be a good idea, and I started to severely restrict what food I was eating, as well as my calorie intake. I also began going to a gym for the first time in my life. And then I started binge eating.
At first it started out more like comfort eating, a cookie here, a chocolate bar there, a couple of extra pieces of cake at lunchtime. But before long I was eating huge quantities of food in secret and then restricting and exercising super hard the next day in order to compensate. I even tried to purge, but thankfully that was something I was never able to do.
I thought that when I got back home and back to normal life, my eating and weight would go back to normal too, but if anything it just got worse. I had become a totally different person too - I was withdrawn, moody, controlling, selfish, secretive and just down right mean a lot of the time. I didn't like who I had become and I didn't really know this person. So much had changed in just one year.
Over the years I continued to battle with the restrict / binge cycle. I would lose weight through concerted effort and then before I knew it I would be binging and putting on all the weight I had lost.
I can't even say how many times I repeated this cycle, each time feeling more hopeless and despondent than the last. It affected my whole life, I didn't want to socialize with friends or family, I shut myself off, I stayed in a bad relationship for years because I didn't think I was worthy of anyone better, food and exercise and being in control was my whole life.
I couldn't do anything spontaneous as that was not part of my routine, eating slightly off plan would spiral me into a binge. I certainly couldn't go away for weekends or on holidays without feeling incredibly anxious or binging.
I am incredibly ashamed to say that I stole food from my flatmates, ate food out of a rubbish bin, drove like a mad women because I was more concerned about stuffing my face with food when I was driving, missed out on important social events because I had either binged or felt fat and worthless and let friendships deteriorate - but this was the reality of what my life was like as a binge eater.
There were definitely times where I thought I can't do this anymore, I don't care if I get fat, I just can't continue in this cycle. So I would loosen the control and eat in a way I thought was normal, but I was still emotionally restricting and feeling guilty about everything I ate and before long I was feeling so uncomfortable with my body that I would fall back into restrictive behaviours, ramp up the exercise and was back in a diet and restrict mindset.
Through this whole period of dieting / restricting / over exercising and binging I sought help, I was desperate to find a solution and end my disorder. I spent so much time and money on therapy, personal trainers, homeopathy, naturopathy, colonic hydrotherapy, self help books, hypnotherapy, regression therapy, meal plans, exercise plans.....you name it I tried it.
And none of it worked.
I really had lost all hope that I would ever find a way out of this awful cycle. I really believed that I would have to live with this for the rest of my life.
But I guess part of me was not willing to give up hope, I kept doing google searches on how to recover from binge eating. It was a couple of years ago that I came across Brain over Binge. I bought the book and read it in a couple of days. It gave me renewed hope and it really resonated with me.
I intellectually understand what Katherine was talking about but when it came to putting her principles into practice it just wasn't clicking for me.
I can't even recall how I came across Lydia, but as soon as I did and started watching her videos I just knew that this was the right thing for me. It was at least a year before I really thought ok, I want to do this.
I put off signing up for a breakthrough session countless times because I was scared or came up with excuses that it wasn't the right time for me to commit to something like this. I think part of me was also petrified of letting go of a habit I'd had for the past 15 years. It was a part of me, part of my identity and if I wasn't a binge eater, then who was I?
When I found out I was pregnant, that was when I made the decision that I had to do this. It was time to take another leap of faith and find my freedom. It wasn't just me anymore who would be seriously affected by my eating disorder if I didn't deal with it find a solution.
I did not want my child to grow up learning bad habits or seeing their mum obsess over food and exercise or wonder why their mum didn't eat the same meals as they did. The future health and well-being of my child was so paramount and was the final push I needed to make the decision to be free of this for good and to take that plunge. I wanted to be able to be an amazing role model for my child and to be someone they could look up to.
Scheduling that breakthrough session and joining the program was the best decision I have ever made and I can truly say that with my hand on my heart. It hasn't been easy, there have been days where the thoughts of restriction and binging have been overwhelmingly strong, and there have been times where I have binged.
But after 8 weeks I know I will never go back to the way I was. I don't want to. There are still things I have to work on and there are aspects of my eating I'd like to keep improving, but binging has lost its appeal.
The desire to binge is no longer there. I now eat the same meals as my husband, I allow myself to eat whatever I want and I have been surprised at my natural desire to eat well, to eat fresh food, but to eat normal food.
I have always had a sweet food but I can embrace that now and know that it's ok for me to eat something sweet every day if that's what I enjoy doing. There is no punishment, no deprivation, no obsessing and no meal plans.
I've completely relaxed around exercise as well. I've found what I enjoy doing and what works for me and I probably exercise more consistently now than I did when I had a rigid exercise routine and was forcing myself to exercise in a way that I thought I had to, but that only depleted my energy and left me feeling drained and lethargic.
My journey is by no means over. This is just the beginning, but in 8 weeks I feel like I have found my true self again, I have gotten my life back, I have regained energy and enthusiasm and I feel optimistic about my future.
Lydia, I honestly cannot thank you enough for being you, for creating a program that results in true freedom, for your honesty, your positivity, your quirky videos, your understanding, your wisdom and your encouragement and for creating a community of like minded and inspiring women. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!!!
I remember the first time I was obsessed with food and binged. I was only 5 years old. I was in pre-school and I stayed inside and kept eating - I couldn't stop - while I watched the other kids outside playing at recess. Even at that young age, I knew that was not normal, but I didn't know how to stop. My family tried to put me on diets. It only made me more obsessed with eating.
I'm now in my 40's, so I have spent a large chunk of my life feeling like a prisoner to dieting, food obsession, overeating and binging.
I remember in the eighth grade feeling so bad about my weight I literally wanted to die. And I was only 142 pounds, which would put me in a normal weight range.
Fast forward to my life right before joining Lydia's program - I'm at the heaviest weight of my life (definitely NOT in the normal healthy weight range), I'm more obsessed with food than ever, I'm spending countless hours and dollars trying to find the right way to eat, and I'm starting to isolate myself from friends and activities because I'm so embarrassed by the way I look and eat. I was becoming miserable, exhausted by this craziness nothing has helped me shake, and I'm afraid for my health.
I'm very successful in every other area of my life, but this area had me flummoxed!
I knew my life was about more than this food obsession, but I didn't know how to fix it. No diet, program or therapist had ever helped me stop acting so crazy with food!
I'm so grateful for this program. Finally, a SOLUTION to stop the food craziness and find freedom! I am no longer experiencing the urge to binge. For me, even better is the fact that I don't think about food that much anymore. It's quite liberating! I used to feel so obsessed about it. Now I can enjoy what I eat and then forget about it until I'm hungry again.
Another benefit I'm experiencing is that I'm feeling more accepting of my body and am being more social again. I'm no longer letting how I look prevent me from living life. And I know that I won't be eating (or trying not to eat) in a way that is embarrassing. Potlucks, parties, and dinners out are now just fine. I'm able to be around food, yet pay attention to the company I'm with and the conversations we're having.
One of the biggest surprises to me is how simple this process is. Yet it's so effective. And I've been practicing it in areas not even related to eating and it's helping me. For example, I tend to experience strong anxiety about flying. It begins long before my flight. So I started using these principles to help with the anxiety about an upcoming trip and it's working!
This program is opening up a whole new world. Most of my life I believed there was something fundamentally wrong with me, that I was broken. Now I know I am completely normal and I just had a habit that didn't serve me. I can change my brain. It's not difficult, and it doesn't take that long, either. I just needed to learn how to do it and get the support I needed. Which I got, thanks to this program.
I feel like I have a new lease on life, and I only just graduated. I feel normal around food most of the time now. And when I don't, I practice what Lydia taught me and it works. I feel more accepting of my body. This has given me more physical energy which feels very good. I'm spending more time with friends, and I have more emotional energy to devote to my marriage. And, with many hours a week I've freed up from researching the latest diet or "way of eating" I have more time to spend on my business as well.
Thank you Lydia for creating this program. I can't wait until everyone knows there's a simple, elegant, effective way to overcome the food crazies, and people know there is nothing wrong with them. It's just habits we've developed and there is a remedy.
Prior to doing Beat the Binge, I was binging around 4 times a week but it was more like an all day graze binge vs. sitting down to a pile of food, though I have done that previously as well.
There was a lot of secrecy to it still as I was ashamed I wasn't able to lose weight any longer or stick to a diet or food plan of any type at all. I have done counseling and different "healthy" food plans and "intuitive eating" and studied binge eating on my own before it was even an "eating disorder," and read a lot of self-help books, and stewed over the behavior for about 12 years.
I began binge eating late in high school. It was a meal here or there, not frequent. This behavior followed a 3-year stint of anorexia which had me down about 90 pounds as a freshman and sophomore in high school. In college there were a lot of life changes happening - I had lost my identity in sports and was trying to figure out my place in the world. I was a strong student and had the perfect apartment and held a solid job but the one thing that was out of control was food!
I worked for a raw foodist and was vegan for a time and this is when the binge eating was completely out of control!
I gained around 100 pounds through all of college. It was losing 30 pounds here, gaining 60 pounds there, losing 20 pounds...the swings were drastic.
This cycling continued to happen out of college and into my career. I landed a fantastic job that brought me into a good community with fun roommates and travel galore. The binging leveled out a bit for a few years and I was getting more active again and lost about 60 of the 100 pounds I had gained - life felt exciting!
I still wasn't happy with my body, even at my skinniest and fittest - the goal of perfect was always out of reach.
I am naturally a larger female - 6'2" and easily put on muscle mass and mass in general - there is nothing really dainty about me.
I knew that this want to be super skinny did not sit well with my conscious - I have always been one to fight for the people on the fringe - why did I have these feelings of hate against myself because I couldn't mold my body into the shape I wanted it to be in - why did I even want it to be that shape? This didn't resonate with my belief of loving everyone and everyone having value or my belief that women are WAY more than just something pretty to look at.
My insides were at war and I felt responsible!
Little did I know...we have "two brains" ; ) Four years ago I had my son and 2 years ago I got married. Having these two loves in my life were the mirror I needed to keep searching for a solution.
I have had a lot of healing in my life over the last 4 years but the binging was still there. I was brought to the point of just wanting freedom in my life - I had stopped dieting and just wanted to "eat normally." I "didn't care" if I lost all the weight I had put on over the years, I just wanted to be done with the anxiety around food that years of "good food, bad food" diets had brought into my life.
I wasn't completely free of the desire to want to be thin that lingered and I wasn't able to stop binging just by quitting the harsh restricting - it got slightly better in the last year after watching Lydia's youtube videos and all of the other support interviews she has with people like Isabelle Foxen Duke - but the binges were still hanging on.
After the 8 week program, I can say with certainty that my brain has changed.
My behavior is completely different around food. I haven't binged in weeks and I am working on overeating, though even that has changed for the better as well.
My relationship with my husband is stronger after learning these tools and now knowing that I am not hiding anything from him.
I don't have guilt or shame when I eat, like I used to after eating literally anything. I don't have guilt or shame around having "chatter" or "crazy thoughts," I am confident I have the tools to call it out and just look at it knowing it isn't really "me."
I have tasted freedom and there is nothing better. Love is freedom, the opposite of love is manipulation - I can confidently say I do not desire to manipulate my body at all - which is a huge step closer to loving it.
I also feel better about people - just being in the beat the binge program with these other AMAZING women was so heartwarming - I haven't ever been in a community like it.
We all share in this journey together and it is amazing to see women encouraging each other and celebrating wins together and just loving the new freedom we are experiencing.
The biggest surprise I got from the program was the layers of freedom. Not only am I free from binging, I am free from judgment of myself and my thoughts and perfectionism, I am free from the shackles that society imposes on women and mothers, I know how to navigate my thought life, I know how to problem solve better in relationships...the list goes on and on.
My mother often missed meals and I remember her clearly weighing herself and being very fed up that she couldn't get under 9stone. My father also always commented on women's weight and looks and the worse thing you could do as a woman is to be fat. We were not allowed chocolate or treats and so I remember trying to eat as many as possible whenever I could then my first proper diet was at 14 at boarding school when a friend and i decided we would just eat an orange a day which was successful and I had anorexic tendencies and ended up being expelled from school at 15 and one of the reasons was that I wasn't eating.
I know now this was possibly as a result of being sexually and physically abused by the priest at boarding school between 11-13 but I basically blocked those 2 years out of my brain completely. Once home I quite quickly started bingeing.
Then for the next 25 years I binged 2-3 times per week but wasn't overweight, even after having twins. I was however, always on a diet, obsessed with food and what I looked like and felt overweight even though I wasn't.
Then when i turned 40 I had a breakdown when my daughter reached that age i have been abused at boarding school and that is when the bingeing and my physical health got really out of control.
My weight went up very quickly and I went up and down by 3-4 stone and the diets I did got more extreme - complete meal replacement shakes for 3-4months at a time or every other day fasting as I couldn't seem to do anything less extreme - so basically starving and bingeing every other day. As they were so extreme the bingeing and bounce back was always fast and furious and I worried that I could burst my stomach or really injure myself and I was so ashamed as my weight went so obviously up and down but I couldn't talk to any of my friends or family about it.
I then started having therapy and that really helped but didn't completely sort the bingeing although it was much less as i had also pretty much stopped restricting. However, getting in touch with Lydia was the final piece in the puzzle for me to find the freedom I so desperately wanted all this time.
Now I feel free! I don't think about food all day and I don't have any of the overwhelming urges that i used to have all the time. I only had one minor binge in the 8 weeks working with Lydia so it was almost instant help for me.
I am still working on body image as having been slim for the majority of my life until the last 15 years I still wish I could be slimmer but that is getting much better and having bought new clothes has helped a lot with that.
I feel so much happier at home with my family and don't have the mood swings that bingeing made me have - I feel I am in my relationships and am more loving rather than most of my thoughts being on either trying to get food or avoid food.
I, like everyone, was so scared i was broken and it wouldn't work for me and I would have wasted my savings. Such simple principles and knowing that even if I have a slip and binge that i know the way out is amazing. I am much calmer and although I say I would like to lose weight I know that my body will find the set point that it is meant to be in its own good time and i am happy with that. THANK YOU LYDIA!!
My Binge Eating Disorder started when I was in my early teens. At that time, the fact that my parents talked about weight loss and commented about people's appearance (although never toward me) made me self-conscious about my weight and want to diet. That lead me to the Binge Eating cycle, where I would restrict during the day and binge or overeat almost everyday at night, and finish by using laxative. That period lasted until the end of high school and started again 2 years ago.
In summer 2015, I lost weight because I started doing a lot of biking in the city (which I enjoy), and felt really good about it. In order to maintain the weight or to keep losing more, I started to control what I ate. I would count the calories to make sure that I went to bed hungry. I even created a daily calorie limit for myself (funny for me now). Following that, I continued to lose weight for one year until fall 2016, when I started to Binge Eat again.
At the beginning, it didn't affect much my life because I Binge Eat once a week or 2 weeks, I could "cope" with that (I made sure to eat much less the next days and my weight stayed the same).
In August 2017, coming back from a trip (where I restricted a lot), my episode of Binge Eating became more frequent (3 times a week). That is where I started to attach much more meanings and emotions to this habit. On one hand, food has a capital importance in my life. For example, if I go out to eat with friends or my boyfriend, I will make to to choose the "best" restaurant or meal. I would look at the menu way before going, and even after that, I would be indecisive about what to choose in the restaurant. And when I ordered a meal that was not as good as I thought it was, I became frustrated and disappointed. I would also restrict myself during the day to be able to eat more in the restaurant.
When I am in a BE mode, I (my lower brain) feel so compelled, excited at the idea of eating without limit. On the other hand, I will feel horrible after a binge. Physically, I feel bad, and couldn't do anything for the rest of the day. I couldn't be physically in shape for the next days too.
There were times where I wonder if I would die one day of BED. Mentally and emotionally, I would feel regret, worthless, unproductive, and useless as a person. I typically BE alone at home between the end of class in the afternoon and before my boyfriend came back from his job. I will especially feel so bad and worthless for him to come home to a girlfriend who just eat. It impacted also my social life and my studies. I will procrastinate on my school work, and lower my standard and effort. There are many social opportunities with friends I cancelled, classes I skipped, or work days I missed because I want to BE or feel bad the day after a binge. There is a lot of things I enjoy that I just don't "feel" like doing anymore, things as simple as taking a walk with my boyfriend in our neighborhood. In beginning of 2018, there was a day I told myself I cannot continue like that because I could see myself handicapped with this BED for my whole life, living miserably.
I know I have potential and dreams I want to achieve, so I reached out for help to Lydia's team by scheduling a breakthrough session.
After the program, I feel so much better around food. First, I don't BE anymore, and even if I do in the future, it won't be a big deal because I have the tools to bounce back quickly.
It is incredible to realize that I don't even want the thing that bring me #1 pleasure before. I restrict much less than before, and if even I do restrict, I can spot the restriction chatter and quickly have clarity around that.
Being in the program made me realize how miserably hungry I was before because of all the restriction (to not gain weight), so I am really happy now. I am also able to truly eat what I want and rediscover my taste around food.
Before, I would eat things because they are low in calories or feel pressured to finish food before they go bad in the fridge. Also, I thought I really love dessert and ice cream, but now that I truly allow myself to eat everything, I am not as crazy about sugar as I once was.
As for my body, it became a reliable partner for me because I can trust its hunger and fullness signal, and my metabolism came back too. I started to see myself differently. There was one day I looked myself in the mirror and thought: "maybe I am prettier curvier" (I loved that new appreciation).
Lydia was amazing in teaching us these principles that even made us change our attitude in life. I feel positive about situations I would normally beat myself up before.
Finally, the most important thing I walk out from the program with is gaining trust in myself (feeling of empowerment), knowing that whatever happens in life, I have the tool to be free at anytime.
When I heard about Lydia’s course from a friend who had been through it, I was feeling very helpless about my eating and my weight. I’ll be 50 soon and I was carrying around 40 extra pounds that aren’t making me any healthier and while diets shock the body into results short term, after a month or so they stop working. And I have some physical limitations that make working out a bit of a challenge so the future didn’t look so bright. These physical limitations got worse with weight gain.
I had tried almost everything and I’d never felt more stuck in my life.
I had one really bad food habit that got worse and worse the more I felt stuck and helpless. That was night time comfort eating. High calories, high carbs, late at night. I wasn’t gaining more weight but I certainly wasn’t helping my body any. The physical issues felt like they would be with me forever because of it.
I felt tired and weak willed and in need of comfort food at night. So the junk food happened almost every single night. I tried to eat better things and I tried to eat nothing at all too. But every time, I would just go right back to eating chips or cheese popcorn. And since those foods are mostly air, it took ages to feel full from them.
I felt very trapped in the cycle I was in and was SO ready for change but I just wasn’t able to get there on my own.
Lydia’s course has been THE best decision I have ever made for myself.
I knew the instant my friend told me about it that it was the missing piece of the puzzle and I could see what I would have if I did it.
And what I have is the most incredible freedom I’ve ever known. No dieting. No HAVING to have anything. Only what I WANT to have.
And my choices are surprisingly healthy ones now. I know that I can have junk food if I want it. I can go get some any time! But the deep knowledge of the truth of that is what sets you free! When you are free to say “What do I REALLY want??” without any guilt or shame or fear about food, you are just making a simple choice.
And healthy food makes my body feel good and I love how it tastes and I choose better things 99% of the time now. Sometimes I see a commercial for something that looks good but then I use the principles I’ve learned and discover that I don’t actually even want it. If I did, I’d have it. But I truly don’t.
I care less about my weight and how I look than I ever have before. In a GOOD way. I know that I’m doing the best I can for the body I have and it’s somehow enabled me to deeply appreciate everything about myself.
It’s not a forced self love. It’s just a simple acceptance of everything I am. And there is a lot of joy in that for me. :)
I was also surprised at how quiet it is inside my head now. There was chatter about a whole lot of things in my life that I never realized was even there.
Now? There’s chatter at times but I just call it out on the spot and the quiet takes over again. Like if I don’t feel like doing something. I call out the chatter on that. Before I know it, I don’t even worry about wanting to do it. I just do it and I find pleasure in it as I go.
Life is just so EASY now, everywhere I look. I have less stress and worry and I’m slowly slimming down to my set point weight which will relieve the physical issues my body has. Losing weight has nothing to do with how I feel about myself anymore. It’s something to celebrate because I feel good and my health improves when it happens. But it’s not about how I look anymore.
That feels pretty weird after being female for nearly five decades. lol! It seems like no matter how well adjusted your thinking is, there is just always body chatter and meanness your mind wants to share with you over your appearance if you’re a woman.
That’s just...gone. All gone. I have no anxiety left in me at how the world sees me or my weight. That is a side effect of this course and it’s a priceless gift.
I struggled with food craziness from the age of 11 when I went on my first diet. I matured faster than most girls my age so I became a diet and weight loss veteran by the age of 14. I didn’t understand why I had so many more curves than other girls my age. When I quit fitting into my moms clothing (around the age of 15) I started the crazy and unhealthy diet cycles where I would starve myself most of the week and then sneak food when I couldn’t follow my diet anymore. I thought that I could maintain (or even lose weight) by continuing to crash diet and that eventually the weight loss would stick, but around age 25 my metabolism became almost non-existent and I began gaining weight RAPIDLY as I continued my binging and restricting cycles.
In a 3 year period of time I gained almost 70 pounds and there was no end in sight. I tried EVERYTHING to get the weight off (More than 20 diet programs and over $25,000), and most of the time the ultra restrictive diet would work to help me shed 30-40 pounds quickly but after 2-3 months my willpower would fade and I would sink back into my binging cycle again. I tried purging but was unable to purge enough to make up for the amount of food I was consuming each and every day. I started realizing that EVERY...single...time...I went on a diet I would lose weight and gain back more than when I started. I felt completely hopeless...it was like I was watching my life from the outside, unable to have any semblance of control over my eating, and unable to be the person that I wanted to be.
For the past 5 years I have kept the weight gain to about 10 pounds per year by following a strict diet program for a few months a year and then giving up because I lacked self-control. (Or so I thought) At my worst I was binging daily and sometimes more than once per day. I KNEW that something needed to change, but I was not equipped physically, emotionally or mentally to deal with my eating disorder seriously, or even admit that I had an eating disorder.
In the fall of 2017 I began seriously considering weight loss surgery and was in the process of getting doctor approval when I was diagnosed with BED (Binge Eating Disorder). I was stunned...I always knew I had a problem but I thought it was in my head, or that I lacked self-control. I immediately began looking for support groups for people who suffered from BED. Now that I had a true diagnosis I wondered...is it possible to get rid of an eating disorder or am I condemned for life?
As I was in the process of gathering more information I came across Lydia’s videos on YouTube and immediately signed up for a free coaching session. It was one of the hardest and painful things I have ever done, AND IT CHANGED MY LIFE! I learned that dieting does not work. I learned that I was consuming almost 1 million extra calories every single year because of my binging. I learned that I was going broke (and into debt) because of my bad habit. AND... I learned that my binge eating was a HABIT, and that I could change it! Everything she said made SO MUCH SENSE! After 20 years in the diet and binge cycle I was almost ready to give up hope that I could ever get my eating under control, but that is EXACTLY what Lydia gave me...HOPE!
For the first time in my life I feel like a completely “normal” eater. I eat when I am hungry and I stop when I am full. I AM ALSO NO LONGER A BINGER! I feel FREE!
At about the third week of Lydia’s program I knew that I never WANTED to binge again. I still struggled with binging thoughts and calling out the chatter, but binging had lost its appeal for me. By week 7 the thought of binging made me almost physically ill. By the end of week 8 my body and brain had adjusted to my new habit of not binging and my urges to binge have gone away completely.
I can honestly say that I DO NOT have an eating disorder anymore. I am cured...I AM FREE!
I feel like the person that is on the inside has finally become the person that I am in my everyday life. I am taking more chances, I am enjoying life with my family and friends. My digestive system has begun doing its job again and I actually know what it feels like to truly be hungry and full. When I started this program I honestly thought that I did not have a hunger or full mechanism because I NEVER got full. Now as I eat I notice the signs my body sends me to let me know that it is done eating. ITS MAGICAL!
My thought life has done a complete 180. When a thought about food pops into my head I am able to easily and naturally call out the chatter for what it truly is...chatter. I then can adjust my thoughts with the truth of whatever circumstance I am in at the time by waking up my logical brain.
Although I have not come to the point of loving the body I am in right now 100% I am learning to appreciate the body that God has given me. I have so much more confidence in my body than I used to. The chatter in my head has stopped chattering about food and I am now in the process of calling out the chatter around my size and weight. I have thrown out my bathroom scale and I am now choosing to live each day looking at all the wonderful things my body is able to do despite my size.
Thank you Lydia for your amazing insight and coaching. I can honestly say that with your help my life has changed forever!
I tried so many diets in my life since I was a teenager.
I wanted to be thin and I was obsessed with food and rules about what to eat and which food is bad. But after a while I always rebelled against those restrictive rules and so I binged.
The binge phases became longer and longer until I got physical symptoms after I had binged that really scared me. I felt totally out of control, just stuffing food (especially sweets) into my mouth. I felt lost, doomed. And I was afraid I could pass this behaviour on to my daughter by being a bad example for her. I also imagined getting a severe illness because of all that unhealthy stuff. That was terrible! I wasted much time with bingeing and feeling stuffed and being unable to do anything but lying on my bed or on the couch.
Because of the Beat the Binge Program I know what to do with the urges to binge now. And these principles are easy. I don't feel out of control and doomed any longer. I still overeat from time to time but that's okay for me.
I started to accept the fact that my way to eat will never be perfect. And that's fine, that means more fun and freedom. No calorie counting or strict rules any longer. In the past I thought that I needed strict rules. Now I don't let others dictate what and when to eat. That's my decision because this is my life!
I also began to accept my body just the way it is. That's not easy, but it's getting easier. Giving up the diet mentality and working on body positivity are important issues in this program - for a good reason.
Now I feel better. The physical symptoms of eating so much unhealthy stuff, especially sweets, are almost gone completely. I also have more time and mental energy for other things which are important in my life.
I struggled with an eating disorder for 20+ years. I started my first diet when I was 12 yrs old b/c I wanted to look like the models in “Teen” magazine. In addition, I was bullied and had horrible self-esteem. Together, it was the perfect storm for an eating disorder.
I spent the next 20 years, starving, binging, over-exercising, and being MASSIVELY depressed. I’ve spent probably over $200K on food, medical expenses, diet programs, supplements, gym memberships and clothes, all to support my disorder.
I used to go to the grocery store everyday, sometimes twice a day b/c I would eat all of my kids’ food before they came home from school. I would have to make a second trip to the store before they came home.
I’ve seen dozens of doctor and therapists. Along with that, I’ve have been prescribed dozens of medication and struggled with horrible hormonal imbalances. I’ve been diagnosed with infertility, adrenal fatigue, major depression, osteopenia, insomnia, IBS and I have been rushed to the ER twice for A-fib that results in me being cardioverted. The list goes on and on.....
My eating disorder has ruined multiple romantic relationships, one being a marriage. I’ve lost a ton of friendships as well. I’ve ruined vacations, dates, events, etc because of my binging/restricting and/or feeling fat and bloated. Regardless of my weight, I always felt hated my body.
My eating disorder occupied 90% of my time and thoughts. I have never held a full-time job because I couldn’t manage both career and eating disorder. I missed out on countless opportunities with my children, who have been greatly impacted by my eating disorder.
After working with Lydia, I have my life back! I do not have an eating disorder. I am a completely different person. Even though I never told anyone about this program, everyone can see a difference in me.
I don’t feel chained down and controlled by an eating disorder.
Just a few weeks into the program, I really started to grasp the fact that I didn’t have to believe my thoughts. It was like a light bulb went off and I couldn’t unsee it. I shattered my scale and stopped counting calories/macros. I started binging less and less.
I don’t love my body and that’s ok. I do, however, accept my body. I work on my body image issues everyday and am making progress day by day.
Now, I eat whatever I want every day. I don’t obsess over food and I stopped making daily trips to the grocery store. I have so much time to do the things I love and I am working more hours at work.
My relationships with my partner and my children have greatly improved. Mostly, because I am happier, have more energy and time, and can think clearer.
After spending years and years in therapy, I am shocked that I could be cured in 8 short weeks.
After week one of the program, I understood why I was binging/restricting. The remaining weeks, I spent practicing the principles to stop the behaviors. Slowly, week by week, I saw less binging and restricting.
One of my favorite parts of the program was the community of women. It is awesome to be a part of a group who knows exactly what you are going through. I could tell them my darkest eating disorder secrets and never once felt judged. Also, Lydia was with me throughout the entire program. I could reach out to her anytime of the day and she was always there to support me.
The live Q & A sessions were also a huge help. Hearing the questions and concerns that other women had, really added to my recovery.
Now, since I have so much time and energy, I want to improve other areas of my life. I didn’t even notice that my relationship with my partner had room for improvement. Now, I can work toward building an even better relationship. I also want to work more on my career and possibly find some hobbies and volunteer opportunities.
The possibility are endless. It’s great to be free!!!
Thank you so much for all your help. I think you may have cured me! I haven’t binged since I began the course with you. I was overeating for a while and I felt the strain of it on my body, but I told myself to be patient and that it was perfectly normal to allow my body to feel its way through this massive change. It felt right somehow and made sense that my body would need time to feel its way back to “normal” eating; and it did. I don’t even know when it happened. It was so gradual and natural. I can now hear what my body is telling me. I eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full and eat whatever I want! Not surprisingly, the foods my body wants most are fruits and veggies. I don’t feel deprived. I don’t feel like I’m restricting in any way. It feels natural and I believe I’m losing weight. I honestly don’t know, since I don’t weigh myself anymore, but my clothes feel looser and I feel better in my own skin. Does that make sense?
I barely have any stress around food. On the odd occasion that some chatter might pop up, because I understand what the chatter means, I can deal with it very quickly.
I’m happy. I feel healthier and my mood is steadier. I sleep better, I have tons of energy and I feel more mentally alert. That heavy sluggish feeling I had when I was binging and overeating is gone.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are my angel. I’m so happy I found you and finally received the right type of help.
I have some health issues, but whereas before being ill would’ve meant binging or overeating to comfort myself; I no longer use food for comfort in that way. It’s strangely liberating.
I’m reading more and I’m writing again! Two of my joys. I’m living life and find myself busier than I’ve been in years and now I have the energy to keep up!
I would recommend your course to absolutely everyone. It works! You have to put the work in and learn to be compassionate and patient towards yourself, but confronting the chatter works 100%!
I honestly cannot thank you enough.
What I loved about Lydia’s program was the simplicity of it…I love that these tools are like mindfulness made accessible and doable.
Just Lydia’s persona makes all the difference, her charisma, her incredible ability to listen and hear what people actually are saying.
How she used technology as a tool for our benefit is great.
Hearing her coach other women too is so helpful.
I had the confidence that if I messed up, she would be there. From there the momentum had been created.
The sense of community created was amazing as well.
My life before Lydia’s program was filled with sadness, self doubt, hatred for my body, and never feeling like I was in control of anything, and yet desperately trying to control everything.
Food and food thoughts controlled my life. Every thought, every decision was centered around food. Relationships were affected.
The way I felt about myself and the way I talked to myself, was more horrific, degrading, and hurtful than anything that another person could say much less think about me.
I was miserable and it kept me from living life. I was a shell of a person. Striving to make everything right for everybody else and not knowing how to make things right for myself.
I had moments of happiness. But I had no joy. I chose to do the program because I didn’t want to live another day wishing and hoping for the food thoughts and control over my life to just go away.
I chose to do the program to learn to live free and to find joy.
Now...The chatter doesn’t control me anymore.
If I am practicing calling out the chatter then I am doing the program and I found freedom from the food and food thoughts by doing this.
I learned that there are more ways than “right” and “wrong”. I learned that thoughts and emotions can’t hurt me. I learned that I can chose to eat what I want, how I want, when I want and it doesn’t dictate who I am as a person. I learned that I can let go and the world won’t fall apart. I learned that I am free to be me...As I Am.
The thing that surprised me the most about the program was the simplicity. I didn’t have to go back 30 years and figure out “why”...I just had to call out the chatter. I don’t have to argue with my thoughts and restrict my favorite foods...I just have to call out the chatter.
I don’t have to hate myself for not being the “perfect” size (whatever that may be)...I just have to call out the chatter.
It’s amazed me how in less than 8 weeks I was able to change the way my brain thinks- something I had never been able to do in 41 yrs (and through a Masters Degree in Counseling).
The best part is, that it has made me a better mom. I did this program for myself...I had no idea it would change so many aspects of my life all for the better.
This program gave me back my confidence and helped me to face fears. I have not one regret for doing this program with Lydia. Except, that I didn’t know about it sooner !!!
My history of disordered eating began when I was young. I have a strong memory of my 5-year-old self eating peanut butter sandwich after peanut butter sandwich, asking my mom for “one more please!” I have always loved food, and growing up, I was always tall and skinny. I was self-conscious throughout grade school that no matter how hard I tried, I could not gain weight. When high school hit, I was finally able to keep some weight on my bones. Part of me was intrigued by my new curves, but I decided I needed to get skinny again.
I played sports year-round in high school. In efforts to stay in shape, I started to run the 7 mile route to my house after school. I religiously counted calories, and never ate more than 2,000 a day. With my excessive exercise, I quickly dropped a lot of weight. By my senior year, my face was gaunt and I felt victoriously in charge of food. Although I still ate quite a lot, my food was nutrient-dense and low in calories, and my active lifestyle required more energy.
When I got to college, my disordered eating habits increased. I have a vivid memory of myself sitting alone in my apartment, stirring a bulk, Costco-sized jar of peanut butter. I ate spoonful after spoonful, until I felt so sick I had to lie on the floor and cry. My large appetite was a joke among my friends, and I was only able to laugh along because I maintained my thinness by overexercising.
A few years later, I graduated and was about to begin my career. I lived with my sister for a month before beginning my job, and while she was work, I raided her fridge and pantry, eating for hours every morning after the house was empty. I felt so angry, frustrated, and disgusting that I literally prayed to die. I tried in vain to get myself to throw up, but I never had success. I continued to wrestle with food over the months and years that followed.
The worst weight swing took place a few years ago. I went on a vegan, nutrient-dense diet and trained for a half marathon. Eating about 1500 calories a day and running on average 7 miles a day, I quickly shed the weight. I was positively reinforced by those around me, and my pants literally fell off of me. I loved the look of my thin face and flat stomach, but I had a never-ending, gnawing hunger.
I moved across the country and a switch flipped. I started binge eating on peanut butter and chocolate chips and stuffed huge amounts of “healthy” foods down my throat every day. In just a few months, I gained 30 pounds. I was mad, disgusted, and wanted to escape my body. Every day, I weighed myself and was full of frustration that my weight only crept up, despite “clean eating” and exercise.
The weight loss that seemed so effortless a few months before was now impossible. I was a slave to my eating habits and compulsions. I tried diet plan after diet plan, vowing that each one would be “the one.”
Although I occasionally lost a few pounds, it felt like I was white knuckling everything to do with food. I continued to battle cravings and urges, and I overate and overate...the pounds creeping on steadily each week.
Then I joined Lydia’s program.
Lydia was super kind, encouraging, and knowledgeable! She made the program easy and gave us all of the tools we need to succeed.
After the program, I don’t have to eat clean. Although I’ve found that I feel better when I eat whole foods that are nutrient rich, I no longer count calories or obsess over macronutrients. Eating “perfectly” used to stress me out daily, especially during social situations.
Now I can go out to restaurants with friends and order whatever looks good. I can leave food on my plate and not worry that I’m wasting food.
I can come home from hanging out with friends late at night and not go straight to my fridge for a “little snack.”
I appreciate my body so much more, even though it is bigger than it was in the past. I am realizing more and more that my worth is not my weight.
I understand and love that I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want, and that restriction only leads to binging later on.
This process is easy. Lydia breaks it down into manageable steps and clearly explains the neuroscience behind her principles. I think I wanted the solution to be hard and difficult because my life struggle has been so hard and difficult. However, I am so grateful that my mind and habits can be altered painlessly. My eating habits were the result of lifelong habits and choices and negative thoughts. Lydia helped me recognize these thoughts and cast them aside by calling out the chatter, and the program has empowered me to make the decisions that I WANT to make.
Graduate of the Beat The Binge program
When I began my journey with Lydia, I never imagined that it would lead to where it has. The skills that Lydia taught me, have not only helped me stop binge eating and overeating, but I have begun implementing this practice to help me manage my anxiety.
I mentioned the techniques to my therapist, and he has asked that I continue this practice to help me in my self-care efforts; allowing me to slow down my thoughts which is a critical component to keeping myself healthy. As someone who has lived with anxiety for quite a long time, it is empowering to know that there is something I can do to help myself. In a world where medications are prescribed abundantly, using techniques, like the ones Lydia teaches, is a game changer. It’s empowering to know that I can use my own brain to help myself and not have to entirely depend on outside resources for help.
Thank you, Lydia. This tool has changed my life more than I can fully explain. I am thankful for you.
Susan struggled for 41 years with an eating disorder. She wrote about her journey HERE. But she wanted to share how she felt after just a few weeks working with Lydia:
I am Free - being around food is no biggie anymore. I have treats in my house that are getting stale... and while it’ll feel weird just throwing them out to my backyard chickens if they get too far gone to enjoy, it sure beats eating them obsessed.
I feel like ME now, not this weird combination of ME + some freaky chic who can’t stop thinking about food all the livelong day.
I’ve got my tools to use on evvvvvvvvverything from work, writer’s block, relationships, and my body and food.
Surprised... it actually worked - and it was EASY. NO deprivation. NO white-knuckling. No mental gymnastics or self-trickery.
I started overeating as a child to comfort myself. I was an unhappy child. As a teenager, I realized that my body didn’t look right, so I started restricting food to shrink my body. I saw being thin as the key to everything I wanted - happiness, love, acceptance, admiration etc When I couldn’t control it any longer, I started bingeing/overeating. My weight went up and down a lot over the years. I never felt happy with my body. I saw myself as a food addict. I believed I was insatiable around food. I thought I had to choose between eating what I wanted and looking how I wanted. The two things I wanted most in life were incompatible. It set me up for a life of misery. Even when my eating improved, and became less extreme, I never felt free. I felt like bingeing and weight gain were just around the corner, the monster hiding in the shadows waiting to pounce. I felt trapped. My eating and body image problems spoiled holidays, social occasions, and everyday life. I bought so many books looking for a solution. I got bored with looking for a solution. I wanted to move on with my life, and think about other things, but I didn’t know how. I doubted whether freedom was possible. I worried about passing on my eating/body image problems to children, and that made me reluctant to have children. These problems often put me in a bad mood, and I felt guilty that my partner suffered such moods. My eating problems often meant I wasn’t fully able to enjoy the simple things in life - they were like a cloud hanging over everything.
I now feel free of eating problems. I don’t see myself as someone with eating problems. That’s truly amazing. As someone who self-identified as someone with eating problems for most of my life, that’s a huge change. I have finally moved on from the same boring thought patterns about eating. I’m no longer afraid of eating! Amazing! I think about eating less, and I enjoy it more! I don’t dread the future with regard to eating e.g. I don’t worry about overeating on holiday, and feel down about gaining weight. The program helped me to achieve food freedom. It surprised me how easy it was to change. It was also pretty quick for me. I was shocked to discover that I’m not a food/sugar addict. I was shocked to discover that when I eat what I want, I don’t want to eat everything all the time. I realized that my problems were not my fault - they were created by the culture I live in. Our diet culture makes people mentally ill, it creates obsession and eating disorders and misery. Experiencing huge, positive change so quickly and easily in this area of my life gives me hope that such change might be possible in other areas. So often in life we’re told that problems don’t go away, that they have to be managed/tolerated. It’s so refreshing to simply solve a problem and move on!
Lydia was very knowledgeable about my struggles. She clearly walked in my shoes and understands the nuances of eating disorders and thought patterns. I found everything to be helpful. Lydia helped me dig far deeper into my thoughts than I could have done by myself and she inspired me with advice that will forever be a benefit.
I have been binging for years and overeating for decades. I kept thinking that I could turn it around and I set goals but repeatedly failed at them. So I finally decided to get help but did not know where. I found a therapist that worked with BED. I worked with her for months and the binging got worse. I made absolutely no improvement. I was binging every night to the point of pain. I was eating foods that caused acne, bloating, poor sleep etc and doing it in massive amounts at night and then going to bed with a distended and painful belly. But I could not stop. I knew that this was a big problem. I was a gymnast growing up and was always healthy and fit. Once I had children and grew older life changed and I did not change with it. So I knew this needed help to make this important change. Binging robbed me of my self confidence, self esteem, at times even my sanity. I was setting a bad example for my children, especially for my daughter. I stole their Halloween candy and ate it when they were sleeping. They cried when they woke the next day. I offered to make them popcorn and ate it all before they knew it was done. CRAZY. I would eat so much at night that i couldn't pay attention to my family. All I could do was lie on the couch complaining of a stomach ache. I would mindlessly snack in the car and be too full to eat dinner with my family. Then later if an inch of space opened up I would fill it up with whatever snack foods we had in the house. The next morning I would be too full to go to my weekend yoga class. Yoga is a huge passion of mine and binging sabotaged this on many occasions. Then I stumbled upon brain over binge and Lydia. Through this program and with Lydia's help I retrained my brain to think differently.
Now the binge days are a distant memory. I am going to yoga 6 days a week, I have lost weight without dieting, I have my natural hunger signals back and I never feel deprived. I have time and energy to think about things other than food. I plan on taking a yoga teacher training class and I have new ambitions for my career because food is no longer wasting my time and thoughts. I have a new found confidence and I am in a better mood. I feel sane and grounded in my thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
I would like to put my "two cents" in here regarding working with Lydia Wente.
I suffered for 32 years with an eating disorder and I desperately wanted to "fix" myself.
I would cry in the middle of the night as I searched the internet for help, thinking I was the most awful and crazy person on the planet to be doing such hurtful behavior to myself despite my vast knowledge about health and nutrition.
Then, one day I found Lydia - I think she was being interviewed on a podcast to which I listened.
Finally, I had hope!
Her story seemed so similar to mine and she was saying that she was totally free from her eating disorder.
Since working with her and following her steps to stopping binging, I am a new person. I have freedom from food and weight obsession for the first time since being 13 years old.
And, I had tried everything I could and spent thousands of dollars on attempts to heal but nothing else worked until Lydia.
So, if you are on the fence but truly want freedom from binging and/or bulimia, please take the tiny leap necessary and do this. Freedom is possible. If I could do it, so can you.
Before I started I had very little time and was an extreme procrastinator. I spent entirely too much time obsessing about food and how bad I was to have this BED. I didn't even know that it was an actual disorder. Just thought that I was obsessed or possessed. LOL.
Now after working with Lydia for a few short weeks I have a lot more time for the things in life that are important to me. I am enjoying a whole new aspect of living in the moment and am done with food crazies. I no longer worry about my size and shape. I do enjoy feeling healthier and in control. I don't beat myself up if I overeat and I don't obsess over having eaten something that isn't "healthy." I can say no or yes to any food. And I don't have to eat every bite. In fact I can throw food away. I love surprise food and surprise myself when I find it that I don't have to eat it...right then.
Lydia’s program has given me all the insights and tools I needed to finally find freedom from my thoughts and habits, that have driven me to binge and purge for the last 30 years. Up until I found Lydia I had virtually tried everything to recover — nothing ever worked. Lydia’s concept includes all the crucial theoretical information and — even more important — practical tools to make a full recovery. I tried a lot of other programs before, but none of them came even slightly near the comprehensiveness of Lydia’s holistic approach. The knowledge I acquired here about my brain, thoughts, feelings and behaviors was eye-opening and will stay with me for the rest of my life. On top of all this, Lydia’s heartfelt kindness, care, wisdom and experience in guiding me through all the ups and downs of the recovery process were literally limitless. I will forever be grateful to Lydia for helping me to get myself and my life back.
Before the program I was really using my (poor) relationship with food to get in the way of my true feelings which was hurting my relationships. I measured my self-worth daily by the number on the scale and size of my clothes and spent valuable time obsessing over dieting/restricting/exercising and shopping, prepping and eating food.
Now I get to face my problems and I’m making decisions based on how I really feel and moving through the world in a totally different way. It really only took a few weeks to make the shift. I’m not perfect and still struggle some days but I have the tools to set myself free.
I was binging frequently especially at night. I wasn’t able to be alone without binging. I had a long history with restrictive dieting and over exercising. It was making me isolate myself and feel hopeless. I have been in a binge restrict mode for 22 years I felt like my life was out of control and I was going to continue to gain weight and feel ashamed. My eating disorder has hurt relationships. I haven’t been able to have fun, enjoy and thrive in life, and I haven’t been able to love my body.
After Lydia’s program I feel more free. I don’t compulsively count calories. I have learned to love and respect my body and other women of all sizes. I feel physically a lot better because I am binging less and not worrying about food so much. I am able to live more. Moving forward I am looking forward to more freedom, listening to my body more, and enjoying and living a more relaxing and thriving life.
I had been binging for 42 yrs. It was a difficult and crazy habit. It was taking my time, my energy, and probably took many years from my life that I could have spent differently.
I feel free now. After working with Lydia,
I can’t imagine that I can go back to that - old, useless - habit.
These principles have also impacted other aspects of my life as well, such as mood, fears and insecurities.
A beautiful note from a client of mine:
"Hey Lydia! Today is Greek Easter for us. Today was my first event that I hosted since using your principles. Let me remind you that every single event at my house for about 4 straight years now I have binged and purged. I would feel a huge amount of anxiety. Moody. Miserable around food. Stressed.
My last few days since our meeting I would think about the party. Chatter came up like it always did before parties. I called it out every time. Even did as you said by imagining the party and you were right chatter came right on up. I called it out!
Guess what??? I am free!!! I had fun, I wasn't anxious, I was mingling, I felt weight lifted off, I was happy, I ate and enjoyed my food, I ate some more, I DID NOT BINGE , I DID NOT PURGE, I DIDN'T EVEN FEEL LIKE BINGING OR HAVE THE URGE!
I want to stay up all night and celebrate. I feel like crying. I couldn't wait till our meeting Thursday. Thank you Lydia. Sleep well knowing you helped another person's life
Thank you for the bottom of my heart"
I love you! You are genuine, smart, beautiful & kind. You listen. You've been where I have. Because you have been where I have, I felt more comfortable with you. You were able to understand my stuttered, broken and unfinished sentences when I couldn't explain what I meant. You knew exactly how I felt and what I went through and go through. It was very important to me to find someone like that. When you coached me you didn't look at the time (as traditional therapist do to the minute). You made sure my questions were answered. You inspire me. You have showed me how it is to be free from food. Now, I'm not fully there yet, but
I have been binge and purge free since I watched your videos and read your eBook!
Even though I learned a lot from your eBook and videos, I still needed you. I needed more answers and more clarification. I needed more direction and guidance from you to make sure I was grasping this correctly. I looked forward to our quick clarity sessions. Someone to celebrate with! A recovery sister!
Your principles made me a better mom, wife & person. Your principles gave me another chance.
If I ever come across anyone suffering from an EDI will not hesitate to send them right your way. I will definitely check in with you. I will never forget you. you don't need to keep me anonymous , I'm proud of US
- Michelle Tantaros
I was anorexic in Junior High which, as you know how the story goes, led to the binging/restricting cycle which I have been in for the last 20 years (I'm 34). It was horrible and utterly ridiculous. So when I found your channel, I watched all of your videos in one sitting and it was like a light went on in my head. I began practicing the three steps and I've only binged three times in the last seven weeks, a miracle in itself for a long-time binger. The last time was 3.5 weeks ago and
I feel like I can say that I'm totally over it now.
The chatter to binge seemed to virtually disappear since exploring the idea of intuitive eating. It is so scary and I really appreciate how you encourage us to simply be curious about it. It is hard letting go of the control (which is not control at all!) and see what body 'shows up', as you say.
I am happier already and I'm so excited about not having to wake up each morning, afraid of binging that day.
The stupid thing is, I'm not even over weight, 148 lbs @ 5 ft 8 in. But I live in America and we are taught to hate out bodies. Well, no more!!
You are changing the lives of real woman who have been in prison for too long. I look forward to your videos each week. Blessings to you, Lydia!
"Anyone can tell you what to eat, how much exercise, etc. They tell you how many people have been successful on this program, the science behind it, the "rah, rah -you can do this girl" pep talks, and on and on and on. You can read all the facts and inspirational stories and quotes; and I'm not suggesting you stop doing that, but why is it different when you talk to Lydia about it?
Somehow she makes it seem like she has all the time in the world and it is all devoted to YOU - to helping you solve your very own issues, not some generalization of who she thinks you might be, but who you really ARE. It takes genuine love and caring for that to happen. You can feel it on the phone and in person... she blows you away.
Lydia has a way of making you feel good about yourself. She makes you smile in spite of yourself and you know in your heart that she is there for you and if you deviate from the path she is there with a flashlight and a kind word to get you right back on.
Don't mistake her loving kindness for a bunch of platitudes however -
she is whip smart and not afraid to tell it like it is when necessary.
Her knowledge of how to lose weight and keep it off is astounding. When you combine knowledge, love, and a desire to help that radiates from the soul, it is an unbeatable combination.
As the year was coming to an end, I began to feel hopeless about ever getting my binge eating under control.
I felt that I could not stop & I was trapped. I was at my highest weight ever and the holidays were in full force which meant being surrounded by delicious foods, invites to parties that I was too ashamed to be seen at (due to my size), invites to family events where I was the biggest one, oh the list goes on.
I was reading Kathryn Hansen's book "Brain Over Binge" for the second time when one day I decided to browse YouTube to see if there were any video reviews from people who had read her book and had success from it.
What I came across ended up changing my life!
I found an interview with Kathryn Hansen by Lifestyle Coach Lydia Wente, I was really excited to see what Kathryn looked and sounded like! As I watched the video I became drawn to Lydia's beautiful personality. I searched more videos by Lydia and ended up "binge" watching all of them on her channel!
I could not believe after watching and listening to her how the ability to stop binge eating suddenly started to make sense!
Through December my bad habits continued until January 3rd. That's when I decided to really look within myself and get to know my "two brains." I could not believe how I was able to separate them out! I began by "calling out the chatter" while running one day.
I used it when I thought about people in my past that were not worth wasting emotional energy on.
I used it at work when I was irritated with people.
Then after a few days, I applied it to binge eating.
It was as Kathryn and Lydia said, the binge eating pretty much just stopped.
Instead of white knuckling and bearing down trying to fight my urges, I heard the "chatter" I acknowledged it and I said, "Hmm that's interesting."
I continued to follow these principles for a few days until the cravings and the desires to overeat started to decrease and drift away.
As I began to use the tools I learned from Lydia's videos I realized how much more I wanted to learn from her, that's why I decided to start working with her!
I am currently doing my momentum sessions with her and its been an amazing experience! Like Kathryn, I too went to multiple therapists over the years for eating issues and found it never helped me gain control over binge eating. In therapy I was told things like "it takes will power and discovering what distractions work to take away the thoughts to binge." Nah none of that helped me. That primitive voice was too strong. I also thought it was my own voice in there telling me I had to do it or else!
Now I'm getting things more under control and working with Lydia weekly. I'm still a work in progress and have a lot of weight to lose.
Oh my gosh does it feel empowering to know I can separate my own voice from that crazy chatter voice!
Not only has this helped my eating decrease and pretty much made binge eating a thing of the past, but its also improved other aspects of my life such as work.
I am a full time RN and have made huge improvements in my career as far as becoming more confident and in control of stressful situations! As a nurse its pretty common to have angry patients and families, they are sick and stressed and scared and often take out their anger and frustrations on the nurse. This may seem unfair, but its part of the job.
This used to make me frustrated, sad and emotionally drained -- not anymore. Now that I can separate from that chatter that says "Fight or flight!" when someone is angry or even yelling at me, I can stay calm, I can keep my heart rate under control, I can listen and then calmly respond in an appropriate way.
I began doing this for about a month at work and I got huge compliments from staff and my supervisor! I plan to continue to work with Lydia and apply her tools she has given me.
I can not even begin to thank her for how she has changed my life for the better, I felt like I had been searching hopelessly for years for some bit of control and help and through social media was able to find the right person for me that made all the difference in my life! Who knew someone across the country from me would be the person to change my life! Thank you Lydia!
I started Binge Eating when I was 24. I had moved to a bigger city and started working in fashion. In the fashion business the perfect size is “0”. I was different than everyone else. In fashion words I was “fat,” wearing a larger size & having curves. In the real world I was just a beautiful, natural woman.
I started dieting. Oh, I remember soooo many rules. Thousands. One stricter than another. And this is how the black circle began. 3 years later I realized that something was wrong with me. I developed an eating disorder that felt like apowerful Beast. I remember there was a great fear inside of me because I didn’t know what happened to me.
My job and life had been successful so far.
I was able to manage everything that happened to me - everything but the binge eating.
My days where filled whit hours of sports, cooking very healthy meals, holding to a meal plan and then binge eating again and again.
I started to read and watch more about eating disorders. My first station was a community here in Germany which tries to help people with eating disorders. Mostly underweight girls with bulimia or anorexia. Binge Eating back then (and unfortunately still now) was not really seen as an eating disorder, so it was not as "famous" as it is in the USA. So nobody could help me.
I was also seeing a nutritionist but she couldn’t help me. All she said to me was to try to avoid binge eating with other activities like taking a bath, drinking tea etc. None of that really helped me.
My last nutritionist actually gave me a little sheet to fill out my emotions, eating habits e.g. Just a few weeks after my last session I read the quote on the last page.
There is a quote: if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.
That made sense and I wanted things to change, but how? I didn’t have an answer so I looked for a therapist. We worked together for a whole year and I remember that during this time I went trough a lot of ups and downs regarding eating disorders and learned a lot about me and my behavior.
We talked about both my childhood and the present. I remember counting 12 binge free weeks. I remember thinking of breaking out of the circle.
But after a whole year, I was still binge eating.
I felt empty because I was not sure if anything else in the world could help me out of this cycle.
During the therapist sessions I bought the best selling book "Brain over Binge” by Kathryn Hansen. I remember telling my therapist about this book and how happy I was to, for the first time, read about another person which had the same journey that I was going through. And secondly is giving advice on how to stop binge eating.
I totally understood the concepts the brains and it was all so clear to me that I didn't even have to finish reading the book. But still I binged. Now I know that back than I just didn’t trust myself.
The tools Kathryn described sounded so simple and I just didn’t trust them because fighting for about 6 years with an eating disorder I thought that there must be "something bigger" to stop me from that. A plan or what so ever.
A few weeks later I started searching YouTube for answers. I found Lydia’s videos and I enjoyed watching the first, second, third and almost all videos by Lydia. She was natural and very honest so that in the next few minutes I thought to write Lydia an E-Mail without expecting anything.
And she wrote back and I was happy. I took this chance to speak to a person who also went the same path as I did and could totally understand me. Before we started our sessions I watched Lydia's videos again and again.
It was "scary" (just in a good way) that somebody is telling you to separate your brains and listen to your YOU Brain and calm down the chatter, and
you do it and it works! It works! Simple just soooo clear, to the point, so simple! I started to practice to calling out my chatter in different situations and couldn’t believe that it was working for me.
I am binge free.
All I do is to call out my chatter. I try to calm down more and more when I had a stressful situation. And what is very important to me is that I try to listen to my You Brain and most of all TO TRUST! Trust in myself and my upper brain became so important to me. No matter what my chatter, my boyfriend, or what my colleagues are saying, I am listening and trusting me.
My binge free weeks not compared to when I was seeing my therapist, it is so so different. Just as Lydia told me, that now it is a funny game that I am playing with my chatter. But now I just know the reason and know how to stop. It is not a rule or a daily meal plan that I have to follow it is just simply me.
In the past 6 years when somebody would have told me that one day I will be binge free I wouldn’t have believed it. I am not saying "Oh I am binge free from now and for ever ever". I am just starting and learn and teach myself and find out. I am on a very good path / road now and maybe even on this road I will have some up and downs, but I am 100% sure I will exactly know how to manage this.
Lydia was a great coach being very natural, very helpful and totally understand every word I said. She gave me the simplest but best advices ever. Even if my last session is over I still feel safe and won´t hesitate to contact her anytime because she gave me this feeling that she anytime will be here for me and help me as far as she can.
Unfortunately binge eating is not very well known in Europe/Germany. This makes me a little sad because I can imagine how many women and men do suffer for years from this disorder and doctors and therapists don´t really know what is going on with this person. My doctor and therapist didn’t know one thing about this "modern eating disorder". And that’s the point. People with BED will spend years in finding out what is wrong even if the answer to that is just so simple. I wish that in future this will change.
- N. in Germany
Meeting Lydia and having her coach me through a difficult transition has been instrumental to my mind shift.
She asks great questions and challenged me to think differently. She helped me become more aware of patterns I didn't even realize I had. She encouraged me to recognize just because my brain was saying it, that doesn't make it true.
I appreciated her approach to coaching. I never felt pushed or forced. She truly met me where I was and helped guide me with respect and consideration.
She is professional, prompt with replies, and a joy to work with. She makes you feel like anything is possible!
"Lydia & I met back in college and have kept track of each other through the years via Facebook. I got curious about her coaching and after having baby number three I decided it was time to take control of my life! That meant making diet changes and having some accountability. I feel so blessed how willing Lydia was to work with me. I had to save a little to start her program, but I kept feeling it would be worth it. She was never pushy and gave me the time and space to think about if this was a good match and timing.
I wasn't prepared for how beautifully I'd be treated. I don't feel like another client. I feel loved. I feel like I am a special part of her world. She has such a warm and inviting nature. She helped me feel like I could accomplish my goal, and that I would have a cheerleader the rest my life.
She is gifted at helping you take manageable steps toward your goals and helping you feel like you're winning...
She truly cares how you feel and knows how to take those feelings and spin them in a very real and positive light. I have a brain that goes from idea to idea very quickly and she has been able to navigate my random thoughts. Her words are genuine and loving and you can tell she has such a passion for helping people achieve not only their their health goals, but also their dreams.
I feel so empowered and have the energy to take care of my family and be the ALIVE and ENERGETIC mom I always wanted to be.
I have been changed for the better. Thank you, dear, Lydia, you are such a special part of my life!"
"Lydia Wente has changed my life in such a positively profound way. Before I partnered up with her, I was working at a job where I was under appreciated, over-worked and underpaid. I wasn't sure I would ever find a place to fit in. I doubted whether or not I would ever be truly happy. Then, I started working with Lydia...
she has helped me make mental shifts that have completely transformed my professional and personal life. I was able to step into a profession that has brought me joy on a level I never knew existed. I have experienced success that I never thought was possible. She has helped me feel the happiness that I always had inside.
She knows how to get to the root of the concept I am struggling with by asking concise and thought provoking questions. I always leave our conversations feeling empowered, grateful, and inspired. She is an amazing woman and I am blessed to have her in my life.
"Lydia always makes me feel like the one and only important person… her chosen favorite!! haha. Seriously, what I love about Lydia is how she listens to me and builds up what I am saying, not always trying to preach back her opinion.
By listening, she has helped me create a bigger vision for myself that I can’t always see. I don’t feel any judgement or expectations set by her. She helps me create personal value and validation. This creates a safe space for me to be in with her. Working with her has set an example of how I want to create a safe and trusting place for others.
I like Lydia's vulnerable and real person approach to coaching. she feels is no better than anyone else, and I feel her authenticity."
"Lydia has helped me to grow and improve my business by focusing on my goals and desired outcomes.
She has helped me to implement best practices, systems, and tools to improve organization and achieve business goals.
She is an excellent mentor who is transparent and skillful in her ability to help refocus. There have been a few times I have considered business strategies that were not in my best interest, Lydia kindly shared her knowledge and coached me on the best practice. I trust Lydia. Partnering with her has been a pleasure!"
"Lydia Wente has been a true joy to work with. I originally met her through my health coach and had no idea that one day she would become my coach, mentor and dear friend.
There are very few people out there that you can have extreme respect for, take constructive feedback from, have them truly inspire you, can confide in, and then you can, in the same breath, turn around and be completely goofy and get in trouble with. Lydia is that person!
She has helped me so much and has dared me to be a better version of myself; and with that, I have faced fears that I thought I'd never face and have come out on top.
She's the type of coach that will dive into the trenches with you, get dirty, make mistakes with you and improve with you.
I always feel like I smile a bit bigger when I'm on the phone with her. I am truly grateful for her presence in my life!!"
-- Laura D.
"It has been an amazing experience working with Lydia to reach my healthy goal. She is so supportive, knowledgeable, and caring.
With Lydia's help my life has changed for the better. Being a type I diabetic, my health has improved greatly and medication reduced drastically after losing a total of 57 pounds.
I have a whole new perspective on what I eat and how staying active can make you feel great. I am actually not ashamed to be seen in my bathing suit and am proud of the new figure I have achieved with diet, exercise, and Lydia's help.
Lydia is the most positive, upbeat, never ending supply of energy I have ever met. You can't help but envy her and have a positive attitude like she does.
After talking with Lydia weekly, I have the feeling that someone really cares about me and is there to help keep me on track. I love talking with her about life. She has helped to change mine.
Lydia has all my gratitude and is a person to model yourself after."
-- Kathy R.
"I don't even know where to begin.... how wonderful it is working with Lydia! She is the most upbeat, encouraging individual I believe that I have ever met. That characteristic is so important in her role as a health coach. When I speak to her on the phone or see her in person, she always makes me feel important and encourages me to keep moving on to where I want to be.
I could be feeling rather discouraged and, after I speak to her, I get much more motivated again to continue my health journey as well as to support that journey for others.
My life has changed dramatically since I met Lydia back at the beginning of this year. I am now much healthier, more active, and just generally happier then I was at this time last year. I attribute much of this to Lydia's encouragement and support over the past several months."
My name is Hlengiwe and I am 31yrs old. I met Lydia through a very good friend of mine after struggling with my body image and lacking confidence for many years. I had tried every diet possible to lose weight but they never delivered what they were promising.
Lydia Wente has changed my life in so many ways, not only have I lost weight and inches all over my body but...
i am living fully now.
She is always there supporting and encouraging me every step on my journey. She calls me to check up on me every week to make sure that I am reaching my goals. She has taught me a lot about how my body works and has given me necessary tools to make this journey a pleasant one.
My life has changed a lot since working with Lydia.
I didn't know or understood the power of silence until I met Lydia. I am now able to find time in my busy schedule to relax, meditate, and reflect. My mind is more clear now and I am doing things I never imagined I would be doing two months ago.
I look forward to our conversation because she always has something new to share with me. I love the fact that she is always interested in what I have to say and how I feel. She encourages me to make new goals every week and checks to make sure that I reach them. As I mentioned earlier, I tried to loose weight before but I was doing it all alone. There was nobody to support and encourage me on my journey. As a result, I failed. Now, I have confidence that...
i will not fail because i have Lydia supporting me. She is the sweetest and most loving person i have ever met and i am thankful to have her in my life
"I love Lydia! Since working with her, I have learned a lot about life and a lot about myself!
I can do hard things!
I can choose not to do hard things sometimes—and that’s okay, if that’s what I want.
Lydia has taught me so much about how to run a business. When I’m stuck in a rut, she is there to help dig me out. Lydia is a team player, and I know she’s always there rooting for her teammates.
Having Lydia as my coach and mentor has always been a positive experience. If I want to be pushed to get things done, she knows just how to help me get there. I am learning to change negativity into positivity. I appreciate that she is genuinely concerned about me and my life. She is a great listener!
After we chat on the phone, I always walk away with a renewed sense of self-worth and a desire to enjoy life to the fullest!"
"Working with Lydia has been a true joy. When I first started with her as my coach, I was very skeptical, but trusted her to help me.
She believed in me before I was able to believe in myself.
Lydia has a very gentle way of helping you acknowledge the areas that need some attention. She always helps me point back to center and what it is that I really want.
She's become one of my very best friends and she's stuck with me as a client for life! Love her!!"
-- Lisa N.
"I have worked with Lydia for a couple years now on my journey to better lifestyle choices. With my busy schedule, it is almost impossible to connect with me.
Lydia goes above and beyond to not only connect with me, but to do so in such a genuinely caring manner.
I would recommend her to help coach anyone toward better lifestyle choices."
"Lydia and I started out as coach and trainee, but quickly bloomed into a genuine friends. She keeps me accountable and teaches me, but I never doubt it's from her heart. I never feel judged or pressured, but rather, encouraged."
-- Laura Y.
"Lydia has been my health coach and business coach for almost 2 years.
In every encounter, whether by phone or in person, I leave feeling encouraged and motivated to take the next "baby steps" toward health or business success.
Besides the encouragement I feel, she always has ideas to share that I wouldn't have thought of except for our conversation. Thank you, Lydia, for sharing your life with me!
-- Steve Y.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Lydia…
she is helpful without being pushy and was very important in my weight loss journey.
The ability to call or text when I had questions was reassuring and helpful. Since I began working with her, to date, I’ve lost 32 pounds. She helped me see some bad habits and since last January, I’ve become MUCH more aware of what I eat, when I eat, and what causes me to eat poorly.
In other words, I’ve totally changed my life and the way I think about food.
Bad habits can sneak up on us, and yet we have the power to change those habits once we become aware of them. That’s what Lydia helped me do!"
"Its been awesome working with Lydia. I was worried at first because we knew each other in high school and I was embarrassed by how I let myself go. However, Lydia was kind and always encouraging. Lydia made sure to call or text each week and that's been a real help.
Since we have worked together, I don’t eat because I am bored or emotional. I have been able to cut my soda drinking down to much less then it once was. I am feeling better about how I look. I have a ways yet to go, but I am hopeful I will reach my weight goals.
I look at calories much differently now that I know the effect they have on me. I’m not the person who frets over my intake; however, I am mindful of what I eat and what I am going to do to work off the meal.
Lydia is not overbearing, and for me, that was the best part.
Whenever I had questions Lydia would answer them quickly and in a way that I understood.
When working with Lydia it never feels rushed or awkward.
She understands my time restraints with school. She is always upbeat and it makes me upbeat as well."
"It has been 3 years since Lydia & I started working together. I am happy to say Lydia has been an excellent mentor and guide for me.
She is always encouraging me to focus on the positive.
Lydia is never demanding or overbearing. She has allowed me to develop my business at my pace, and has guided me through helpful instruction and encouragement. I am deeply indebted to Lydia for all she has invested in me."
-- Dr. Mike
"It is awesome working with Lydia, she is always so positive and always knows exactly what I, or my team should do in any situation!
Working with Lydia, I have become a much happier, positive person!
That has a lot to do with Lydia because I have worked, or should I say relied, on her the most!
I have told Lydia more than once, that I strive to be just like her. she is always so upbeat & positive. always!
Lydia is always supportive & helpful! She may tell you things to do that take you out of your comfort zone, but she never pressures you to do anything. Lydia only wants to help you obtain your goals!
Lydia always makes it sound so "easy", or should I say, "do-able." It is awesome having Lydia as my mentor. She has a large toolbox of resources and is ready to share them whenever she thinks we are ready, or when we ask, whichever happens first."
"Lydia has been a constant in the last couple years of my life, in that whenever I find I am swerving off track in my health journey, she has supported me. (And I still have TONS to learn from her -- it is a rewarding process at every step!). Working with Lydia is like having a very good friend in my corner, with answers to every question related to the program (or health in general!) at her disposal.
She is professional and responsive. But even more than that, she is encouraging, kind-hearted, compassionate and genuine.
What is different about my life since I began working with Lydia is that I understand more about 1) what I put in my body, (2) what makes my body feel good, (3) portion control & (4 maintenance of blood sugar levels. These are quick statements, but each of these concepts is so fundamental to how I relate to food, and to myself. I think about food more now in that I think of food as (1) a means for nutrition and (2) as something I need to think about every 2-3 hours. (Prior to working with Lydia, I often would go for long periods of time without eating partially due to the pressures of work/life, but primarily due to my own lack of knowledge. This was a lack of knowledge that had dire effects -- it impacted my capacity to live well.)
Whenever I speak with Lydia, I always feel like I have so much to learn, but that it is doable and a worthwhile endeavor."
"I love working with Lydia! She is super positive and encouraging.
I love the tips/ videos she has and has really instilled the breathing technique in me- which helps tons when I'm stressed.
She is also dependable and supportive throughout my health journey."
-- Kim P.
"Lydia has been a great health coach! A breath of fresh air! She has been very good for me.
She has a knack for helping me put away feelings of guilt, and that is something I struggle with.
She has been very supportive in my crazy and somewhat unstable life at the moment. After speaking with Lydia, I always feel motivated to be a better me! That is a great talent I see in her. Thanks Lydia!!"
"Lydia has a positive attitude that is encouraging and reminds her clients that their goals are attainable. She is also able to address concerns in a knowledgeable and helpful way.
Above all, working with Lydia is fun!"
"When I met Lydia I really needed to lose weight ( 60 lbs overweight ). I've lost 45 lbs so far. Lydia has been there for me. She is a wonderful coach. She has a wonderful disposition, cheery voice, and just someone you want to talk to. She makes it easy. No intimidation, like other programs. Lydia makes you think about what you really want, and how to achieve it. She also makes you feel like you are an OK person, even though you are fat. I always enjoy our chats. She is helpful, by sending videos, and nutritional info.
I'm on a lot of regular food now and maintaining my weight. Lydia still checks in with me. She has helped me figure out what to do, and what not to do. Lydia is always available for questions, or help.
Thanks to her , I think I have finally changed my eating habits for the better... for the rest of my life."