From skwigg's journal:
Are you currently eating enough? In a healthy weight range? Not restricting? As long as those factors are in play, the binge urge is a biological response to a real or perceived lack of food. If you're still hungry, eating a whole lot of food will still be appealing, not because of habit or weakness but because of the whole survival thing. Addressing those nutrition/satisfaction issues is important for making the urges weaker, less frequent, and easier to dismiss as neurological junk.
If you enjoy the way you eat every day, you don't need a break from it. That was HUGE for me. As long as I was dieting and denying myself, eating food I didn't like, following rules that isolated me, and getting too hungry, I stayed pretty binge-prone, regardless of weight. Small steps like including favorite foods and planned treats as part of your regular nutritious meals can go a long way toward eliminating the power of "binge foods." If there are foods you only eat during a binge then there's a tendency to romanticize them and find them overly exciting. Including them regularly further weakens any appeal of a binge. If you take the reward or specialness out of it, then what stands out is only how terrible it feels afterward.
It may not just be the food either. If you only relax, only zone out, only watch a favorite television show, or only make time for yourself in association with a binge, it can stay appealing for those reasons. So, you want to intersperse those little pleasure hits throughout everyday life, kind of as a way to inoculate yourself against binge urges.
One way to approach cookies, or any other food you want to normalize, is to treat it as a mindfulness practice, just like yoga. We envision eating one cookie and immediately wanting twenty thousand more, but that's because we're envisioning eating it the way we do in a binge - fast, hungrily, guilty. The key is to set it up totally differently from that. First, you bring home a single cookie and not twenty thousand. That way there's no mishap. Second, you eat a full-size, normal, satisfying meal, one with some protein and fat in it. That way there's no blood sugar weirdness. Third, you sit down with your cookie and take a few minutes to eat it. Look at it, smell it, break off one piece and let it practically dissolve on your tongue. How does it taste? What's the texture like? If you were a food critic, how would you describe it? Is it chewy? Crispy? Soft? Is it everything you imagined? Or not that great? MOST IMPORTANTLY, after a few minutes of mindful cookie consumption, go do something completely different in another environment - a walk outside, a class, an errand, meeting a friend. You don't want to sit alone in your kitchen or next to a mountain of baked goods at Starbucks dwelling on cookies. Eat it mindfully, let it go. No guilt or judgment, and no dwelling on it for the next three hours because you have other places to go and things to do.
If you want to dismantle the strong urges, weirdness, and shame surrounding certain foods, repeating that kind of safe, mindful exposure can help tremendously.
It's interesting how my views have shifted on binges and trigger foods. It went from being a big scary issue that needed to be properly managed with careful instructions (see above), to now I would tell someone to eat as many cookies as they want and not worry about. Buy lots of them. Eat them fast. Eat them slow. Carry them in your pockets. You can always eat as much as you want of whatever you want. Don't label anything a binge. Don't react to any type of eating with guilt or shame because those painful emotions are the real troublemakers. If you eat a lot of food with no guilt, you'll be less hungry later. That's it. If you eat a lot of food and panic or punish yourself for it, emotions run high and the restrict/binge cycle only worsens.
Mindfulness is great if you're using it to savor your food and increase enjoyment. If you're using it out of fear, as a way to stop eating short of satisfaction, or as a means of weight control, that's going to end badly.
I don't think trigger foods are a thing. They only exist in the minds of restrained eaters. When you can eat whatever you want to satisfaction, there are no foods that render you powerless or cause you to eat in a frenzy. You have to be hungry, deprived, and spinning quite a tale of forbidden wonders for that to happen.
This is so good Swigg. You have no idea the help you give me. Currently trying to get out of a funk i am in after 'binging' last night.