How to use the power of binges to heal

by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt on February 4, 2016

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Binging, more so than dieting, is filled with shame and guilt.

Binging makes you powerless, fearful and completely out of control. Binges are intense, immediate and almost primal.

I’ve you’ve tried all the tools in your tool bag, have read all the blogs and books out there but you’ve still not found the solution, it’s easy to feel hopeless and disappointed in oneself and all the advice out there.

If breathing, ritualizing, forgiving, adding more pleasure to your life, etc. hasn’t worked yet, it’s easy to want to give up and live with the pain that comes with the constant and overwhelming urge to eat more than feels uncomfortable.

I’ve been there and I know pressure, the senseless dieting to make up for the weight gain during the binges, the praying, the tears, the overwhelming sense of being defeated by your own urges.

No matter how severe your binges are, I believe that there is a way out and a way in to more balance and connection to the body. Here are more thoughts and strategies on how to learn to let go of your binges (or not quite yet).

Binging can be a necessary strategy

Are you trying to fix yourself without healing the root issue?

Are you listening to the messages that are being held in the binges? When did your binges start? What triggered them? When do they happen less often? At what times do they occur all the time? At what time of the day do you usually binge?

Inquire, dig some more and see if you can find a common theme that’ll shed some light on your binges.

Macronutrient balance and eating rhythm

When you’re a severe binger, looking at your eating rhythm and your macronutrient balance are two of the more practical steps to take. Most often, binges occur in the late afternoon or in the evening because of mental or physical restriction of food. Eating regularly when you’re prone to binging is important, starting with breakfast and ending with dinner.

If you’re eating too many unhealthy carbs or too much protein, it’s easy to get into the biological and mental binge mode. The more balanced your “normal” meals are the better. This means, no crazy high protein, low carb diets or all veggie days and instead choosing meals with protein, carbs and healthy fats throughout your day.

Restore electrolyte balance and short-circuit stress response

If you feel a binge coming up or if you notice that you’ve had too little to eat in the day, try some miso soup, veggie broth, banca tea, twig tea or a “green” drink. This might not prevent psychological binges, but it’ll help with the physiological ones.

There’s nothing wrong with your behavior

Your binging is a message from your body and you get to approach it with compassion and love and still see yourself as whole just as you are.

Your body is sending you a pretty loud message that must be heard. If you keep ignoring the message that is being send to you, your binges will continue. However, that doesn’t make the binges or your behavior wrong. You may just not be ready to listen to them.

Focus on everything else

Instead of obsessing over your binges, focus on everything else.

How do you spend your day? How do you behave in your relationship? What’s up with your career? Where else are you lacking nourishment in your life? How often and how lovingly do you move your body?

How do you feel about your life in general? If things are off in other areas, it’s best to start making changes there. Your overall wellbeing and your binges are closely connected.

The power of binges

A binge and the act of binging has an immense power to it and you get to explore all that power that is within you waiting to be expressed in all of the areas in your life.

You might perceive binging as a negative force but having this force within you is immensely positive. You get to tap into your power in your own time and use it for all your heart’s desires.

Healing takes time

And sometimes we’re just not ready to let go of our crutch. Binging might still serve you in profound and necessary ways. The healing that has to happen inside in order to give up your behaviors may not have taken place yet. You may not have found the real source of your despair and that is OK.

Give yourself the time to fully, wholly heal and stay inquisitive, knowing that you will get to the root of it all if you just – gently and compassionately – keep going inward.

Embrace the act of binging

During a binge, instead of fighting it, surrender into it. Embrace the act of binging and notice all the emotions behind the drive to stuff food into your mouth.

Food can be such a wonderful ally supporting you through digging up any deep emotional blocks. The more you embrace it the more likely it is that you’ll get to the core of your behaviors.

Binges carry an immense potential of not only healing your relationship with food and yourself, but your entire life.

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The Subtle Healing Power of Rituals

by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt on January 31, 2016

When I think back to my childhood, I inevitably think about all the beautiful rituals that my mom lovingly created for us.

There was the bedtime story reading – something, I’m sure, most parents do with their kids. But still, it was special, it was comforting, it was the perfect way to end a day.

There was the ritual of putting together an Advent calendar story every December– one day at a time for 24 days. Every night, we’d sit down, mom would read a story to us and then we’d add a section to our Advent calendar. It was beautiful and something I treasure until this day.

Then, much later, there was the ritual of us three girls – my mom, my sister & I – watching Germany’s Next Topmodel together. Every Thursday evening, we’d gather in the living room and indulge in a world of beauty, drama and yes, make belief. I loved those evenings where all the sorrows and stressors of the week floated away and we’d just have a few hours of fun.

Family rituals don’t just provide nice memories, but they also serve as emotional stables in a child’s life; something that’s oh so important when growing up.

The same can be said for adults. We need rituals to feel safe, taken care of and at home.

When you’re trying to find your way out of diet prison, rituals can serve as a substitute for destructive habits and they can provide the platform from which healing takes place.

Here are my top 13 rituals that keep me grounded and happy in my body.

  1. Setting a positive intention

    Every morning, I take a moment to set an intention for the day and for my body. It can be anything from “I will feel energetic today” to “I will listen to my body” to “I will be appreciative of the little things in my life” or “I will give lots of hugs”.

    This little 5-second ritual sets the mood for my day and it helps me to begin anew every single morning.

  2. Checking in with my body

    I begin and end my day with a short awareness exercise for my body.

    I scan my body starting with my toes and ending with my head. This is a super simple way to ground yourself and to learn to embody your body. You’ll also see if something feels “off” and needs to be healed.

    The more often you repeat this awareness exercise the more in tune you’ll live with your body.

  3. Tuning in to my senses

    Throughout my day, I try to use my senses very consciously.

    I smell my coffee intentionally, I slow down when I eat, I try to taste new flavors in my food or I simply feel the ground underneath my feet. These moments of pure awareness bring me back to the present (which is the place where no fear or worries exist) and help me to feel truly at home in my body.

    This is also a ritual that reminds me of the beauty and magnificence of our world. I am often amazed at the different flavors and aromas that you can inhale within a single moment. Try it for yourself to see.

  4. Writing cards

    This one is a ritual that keeps on giving love. It creates a ripple effect that touches many people in a positive way. The trick here is – obviously – to be sincere and kind when you’re writing a card to a person you love, admire or don’t even know all that much just yet.

    I love to write cards to strangers and leave them somewhere in book stores or in misogynistic magazines. I know that those cards will fall into the hands of someone who truly needs to read a kind message – because who doesn’t, right?

  5. Being coached

    I have several coaches. Some coach me off and on, others coach me bi-weekly. It’s the ritual that I rely on the most because it is the most effective.

    I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to have the coaches I have and to be able to touch base with powerful women who have so very much wisdom to offer.

    However, mostly, I am just surprised about the insight that I can offer to myself. Once you show up fully open, vulnerable and authentic to a call or a coaching session (or a simple conversation with your best friend), the world is at your feet. You begin to see your own messy ways, your own feminine essence, your body’s intuitive guidance.

    It’s definitely the most profound way to ground yourself and get back in line with who you really are.

  6. Choosing gratitude

    Gratitude makes my world go round. I have a running list of things to be grateful for in my mind and I own a gratitude journal where I jot down what I’m thankful for on any given day.

    This small mind-shift from a space of lack and dissatisfaction (you know, the place we tend to dwell in every now and then) is miraculous. I also include my body on this list every day to highlight how important it is for me and my life.

  7. Bringing nature into my day

    I am a nature lover. We live close to the forest and I try to take daily walks outside with Johann. I breathe better when I’m outside, I think better when I inhale fresh air and I definitely sleep better when I’ve been outside for a while.

    When the weather is too nasty to go out (although that doesn’t happen often for me), I tend to get more creative and add lemon and mint to my water, use more nature-scented essential oils or hang dried eucalyptus in my shower, which is a trick I got from the internet a few years back and wouldn’t want to miss anymore.

  8. Taking baths

    Taking a bath makes me feel immensely luxurious. I can forget about all of my sorrows and worries when I am surrounded by warm water, candles and a good book. But baths are about more than relaxing, they’re also a way of dropping into acceptance of your body and of your self. Don’t look away, hiding your body underneath bubbles and foam and look closely, get acquainted with it, allow it to exist.

    When I don’t have the time for a bath, I make my shower more special by tuning in to my body, really experiencing the water pouring down my skin. Afterwards, I apply lotion and extend loving kindness to my body and myself.

    If you feel like you don’t have the time to do this, don’t worry. It may take a minute or two more, but you’ll feel a million times more refreshed and renewed.

  9. Getting bi-weekly manicures

    Manicures make me feel super clean and feminine. I choose to spend time and money on my fingernails every other week and I reap the rewards in between.

    It’s an instant confidence boost for me and Johann loves it when I have colorful nails. :)

  10. Dancing in my underpants

    I’ve always been a dancer and have loved music for all of my life (as Johann does now). I’ve tried Jazz, Zumba, Ballett, Hip Hop and many other forms of dance, but the one thing that will surely get me out of my head and into my body is dancing in my underwear.

    It feels daring, audacious and quite vulnerable to strip down to your panties and a bra and move your body to the beat. This tiny bit of discomfort drops me into my body in a special way and it makes me powerfully aware of the skin I’m in. Try it. :)

  11. Bathing myself in beams of light

    I have adapted certain visualization exercises I learned from different teachers to create my personal No Diet Diet visualization method. I bathe myself in beams of green, violet or white light (depending on my mood and on what I need) while breathing in love for myself and breathing out love for the world.

    Sometimes a minute of this visualization helps, sometimes I need ten.

  12. Massaging my hands

    This is great for tense hands; especially when you work on the computer all day long.

    It’s also a great ritual to notice your body in your day-to-day life. Massaging your hands doesn’t need any equipment or a special place, you can do it anywhere and anytime. You can repeat your favorite affirmations for bonus points.

  13. Finding a spiritual practice

    Last fall I joined a Kundalini Yoga Studio and began to attend two Yoga classes a week. This experience changed me profoundly and nurtured my being from the inside out. The connection between moving my body in often crazy ways with a spiritual foundation brought me closer to the universe and to myself.

    I am not a super spiritual person (I’m learning to be though), but something about Kundalini Yoga simply made sense.

    Finding a spiritual practice that speaks to you is a powerful ritual helping you to escape diet prison once and for all.

Now I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite rituals that keep you grounded and sane?


The Blue Bathing Suit

January 28, 2016

When I was twelve, I had a super awesome blue bathing suit. It was sporty, it was audacious, it was totally me. At that time I was already conscious of my body, but I didn’t have a full-blown eating disorder yet. One day, I was walking down the beach of Ramatuelle wearing that gorgeous bathing suit, feeling […]

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“I am NOT going to diet next year”

December 30, 2015

It’s the time of the year where women (and men) resolve to “be better” next year. They promise themselves that starting on January 1st, they’ll stop eating sugar, join Weight Watchers, go to the gym at least 5 times a week, eat only 1500 calories, lose those 25 pounds and finally fit into the skinny […]

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A Gift of Self-Love

December 23, 2015

It’s only one more day until Christmas Eve, which is the evening Germans celebrate Christmas, is here. We do get two more holidays after that, but Christmas Eve is the one all kids look forward to. It’s the one evening where you unpack your closest family’s presents, have the first of a series of huge meals, are giddy […]

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It’s OK

December 13, 2015

It’s OK to choose you. It’s OK to feel. It’s OK to let go. It’s OK to break up. It’s OK to hang on. It’s OK to eat. It’s OK to be you. It’s OK to have arguments. It’s OK to stop. It’s OK to give up. It’s OK to start over. It’s OK to […]

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Binging on Christmas? No more!

December 8, 2015

  How will I deal with all of the food? What will my family think of my body? Can I indulge during the holidays or will everyone judge me? What if I eat too much and can never lose the weight? How can I prevent all the binging that I’ve done in the past? What if […]

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Why Intuitive Eating is BS

December 3, 2015

In a way, the intuitive eating hype has replaced the dieting hype for many people. What started as a really great approach ended up as just another way to look for weight loss solutions. Instead of counting calories, many people now obsess over only eating when they’re hungry without being able to bend the rules. Some of my clients […]

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It’s Impossible to Binge If…

November 27, 2015

you’re not in a stress response. Meaning if you’re super relaxed and blissed out, you can’t binge. Let me elaborate. There was a time when I couldn’t stop eating, when I literally ate from dusk til dawn. And I ate everything, EVERY THING, I saw. It was like there was a huge hole in my belly […]

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Best Of Body Image

November 23, 2015

Loves, I think it’s time for a big loving Best Of Body Image Post, don’t you think? I’ve been writing on body image for 4 years now and though I’ve changed my opinion here and there, refined my thoughts and skills and learned a ton, I still love the old-school body image posts I’ve written […]

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