Like preparing for any journey, you will need some equipment. In your case the equipment, while intangible, is essential in coping with challenges along the way. Similar to other journeys, you will gain expertise with your equipment and discover new and useful applications by continued practice.
Essential Equipment List
- Honesty - You will need honesty. Willingness to be honest with yourself clarifies your position, gives you more opportunities of choice and opens your eyes and heart to realistic solutions. The more honest thought you give to your overeating the more opportunity you give yourself to be free.
Being honest you will recognize that your unwanted eating patterns serve to numb your feelings and help you hide from living. The sense of danger which occurs when you do not overeat feels greater than the suffering you experience because you are overeating. By following the workbook exercises you will develop the courage you need to dare to face the fears which accompany a life of not overeating.
- Fully accepting that you don't know all the answers - When you know you don't know something, you know something. You become open, curious and more able to learn.
Overeaters usually know what conditions contribute to their overeating. For example they may be familiar with a usual pattern like eating all the leftovers after a party, or overeating when getting home from work or school when they know they are going to be alone. But they don't really know why they are doing this.
Once you know your undesirable food behavior relates to an attempt to help yourself, you can begin to help yourself in new ways. You are at the point of starting your triumphant journey.
- Increased self awareness - Self awareness is also part of your equipment. As you become more aware of your emotional states during the times you are vulnerable to overeating, you can discover clues about your inner secrets.
- A willingness to learn to recognize limits - Part of honesty and self awareness is the ability to recognize limits. When you recognize the limits of what you know or can do for yourself, you may feel anxious. Learning to tolerate this and be willing to learn something new helps you discover new opportunities.
- A willingness to learn to allow other people to hellp - You can overeat, starve or purge alone. You may not be able to stop these behaviors alone. Part of your journey involves a discriminating acceptance of other people's ideas and efforts.
Over time, with practice and growing strength, you can develop this discriminating acceptance of others. But for beginning your journey, all you need is the willingness to try.
- Appreciation of realistic time - Overeating numbs you quickly but temporarily. Permanent change takes substantial time to develop. Going from the fast numbing relief of overeating to the gradual development of genuine strength and feeling requires a sense of patience and acceptance of real time.
- Kindness - Perhaps the most difficult to use and most essential to carry in your equipment bag is kindness. Sometimes your journey will be arduous and you will be tempted to be severe with yourself. More powerful than any harsh criticism, kindness and gentle encouragement will sustain you. Daily reading out loud of the affirmations in Appendix B can be reinforcing and help you develop this most needed piece of equipment - kindness to yourself.