Curiosity Killed the Craving (and the Bingeing)

I used to binge on cookies.

Giant peanut-butter chocolate-chunk cookies. 

Each binge was followed by relentless self-attack and self-loathing...feelings of guilt, shame and weakness....and, of course, promises to never ever do it again.

Yet, somehow, despite my best intentions, I’d find myself right back in the same place days later. Standing in my kitchen in the dark shoving cookies in my mouth. Crumbs scattered on my shirt. Chocolate smeared across my face. Belly beyond stuffed.

I haven’t binged like that in years. 

I no longer experience such intense cravings.

It’s not because I have tremendous willpower.

It’s because instead of beating myself up, I became curious.

Instead of shouting at myself, “You have no self-control, you suck!,” I started gently asking myself, “Hey, what’s this all about? What’s going on here?”

By pausing and becoming compassionately curious, I was able to cultivate greater awareness for why I was doing what I was doing. 

Stillness coupled with expanded awareness is far more powerful than willpower. 

Often, before we can say "no," we have to understand why we say "yes." Every action has a positive intention and every action is to fulfill a need. 

When I finally understood what was driving my compulsion—a rigid diet, false persona, pleasure deficiency—and the deeper needs I was trying to meet, my binge eating ended. 

I stopped focusing on keeping sweets out of reach and started focusing on fulfilling my unmet needs and desires. When I quit depriving myself of the life I longed for, I no longer relied on cookies to give me something they were never meant to.

How can you bring more compassionate curiosity to your relationship with food?