Author Topic: Help with binge eating. Meditating -> buddhist+hedonist  (Read 1191 times)

Offline yona

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Help with binge eating. Meditating -> buddhist+hedonist
« on: January 25, 2016, 03:34:59 pm »
I have a serious problem with binge eating and I am hoping for advice.  I grew up eating incredibly healthy.  I still eat healthy foods but now too often in unhealthy amounts.  The binge eating first started happened when I moved to Thailand to teach English.  I was very financially insecure for the first time in my life.  Later I learned that many of the meals I was getting had MSG, a neurotoxin that essentially destroys one’s ability to feel satiated.  I think the binging started from one or both of these causes. Whatever the case, it hasn’t gone away despite being financially secure now and not having eaten anything with MSG for over a year.

While in Thailand, I began meditating and eventually did a Vipassana retreat.  My practice has been off and on for the last year, but I have noticed one disturbing trend.  When I meditate more, I have a tendency to binge more.  It often happens when I am working or doing something where my attention is out of my body.  I will start eating and stop caring if I overeat.  It’s like meditating makes me into 2 people - the meditator who observes the Buddhist precepts and the hedonist who hijacks my mind and body.  When I’m in that state I could care less about the values and ideals I have when meditating. It takes a lot of energy to balance these polarities and deal with the self-destruction of the hedonism. When I don’t meditate, I have a more constant personality that makes overall good decisions but becomes a little too cranial and disconnected from my body.  But the non-meditating self at least makes generally healthy decisions that the meditating self would approve of, just with a little less presence than could be hoped for.

Does anyone have any thoughts or advice? I am thinking of just pausing my meditation until I can go on a long retreat and have the time to deal with this on a deeper level in a supportive environment (probably the end of this year).


Offline Lobster

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Re: Help with binge eating. Meditating -> buddhist+hedonist
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2016, 12:55:15 am »
You could try a body satisfying meditation:

walking, prostration, tai chi, yoga for example or practice mindful eating as your meditation practice for now  :hug:

Offline a-skier-bows-to-the-dharm

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Re: Help with binge eating. Meditating -> buddhist+hedonist
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2016, 08:48:35 am »
(referring to lobster) like walking meditation, but you probably do that.
For me, you are talking about where the rubber meets the road with practice, so I think it is very important.
One type of beginning meditation (Zen, Chan) teaches us to look at a thought without judgement and let it go. If it returns, do the same, and so on. This is what I try to do with my "problem" thoughts (mostly anger for me). I truly believe that it works over time.

On another, non-practice level, food is really not very interesting, and too much food is super not very interesting. think of all the other things you could be doing, like looking at your photos of Thailand or reading Buddhist texts, or looking at manga for that matter.

Best wishes!

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Help with binge eating. Meditating -> buddhist+hedonist
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2016, 08:30:13 am »
Quote
Yona:  "Does anyone have any thoughts or advice? I am thinking of just pausing my meditation until I can go on a long retreat and have the time to deal with this on a deeper level in a supportive environment (probably the end of this year). "

I have had some success with a few beneficial approaches to binge eating:



1. To make myself aware of what I was eating, how much I was eating, where I was eating and why I was eating, I began keeping a log of my meals and snacks.
I went to the USDA website and found this:  https://reedir.arsnet.usda.gov/codesearchwebapp/(S(ixh0bcj1geexa5lbqwfm40uf))/measures.aspx?id=21101010
which will allow you to educate yourself as to the nutritional value of the foods you are currently choosing to eat.  I used steak as an example, but you can search  their database for any food item as to its nutritional values and ingredients.

2.  To make myself aware of environmental and situational triggers, I kept a log of where, when, with whom, and what I was doing and thinking about before, during, and after eating.  This allowed me to come to understand how these factors were affecting my eating behaviors.

3.  I joined a local organization, which used twelve step methods to deal with compulsive overeating.  Here is their website, which will allow you to find a meeting near you.  The twelve steps can be modified to accommodate Buddhist teachings.

OA:  https://www.oa.org/membersgroups/find-a-meeting/

Hope this helps.  Please feel free to PM if you have specific questions, or would like to share in private.

 :hug:  Ron
« Last Edit: January 30, 2016, 08:32:27 am by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Solodris

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Re: Help with binge eating. Meditating -> buddhist+hedonist
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2016, 10:44:37 am »
Fasting and meditating during extensive periods of time I have found to lessen cravings overall. If you wish to take up a more ascetic practice as a substitute for over-eating, then maybe meditating on the sensation of hunger, how it affects your volition by creating a bridge between feelings and mental formations by perception, and simply disconnecting them so that hunger no longer formulate the thought pattern of: "I have to find something to eat, something good." Those are mental formations. They are caused by the volitional impulse created by the feeling of hunger, you just need to relearn how to not associate hunger with mental formations that leads you to a circumstance which makes you eat.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 02:18:22 am by Solodris »

 


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