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Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Mindfulness Leads to ‘Goodwill’

I used to have two speeds and two speeds, only. I was either “on” or I was “off”. It felt like I had an internal switch and I never knew how it got flipped. I either felt driven and very productive… or I felt disconnected and did nothing. I was either dieting or I was eating everything in sight.  Even when I was “on” I wasn’t mindful, or connected, or conscious. I was just being busy. I’d obsess about a new diet, or about organzing a big project, or about something I was researching online.  Then, I didn’t have to feel or think about other things…

That’s how half of my garage gradually got filled with stuff I didn’t need or want anymore! In my mind, as the piles grew, and the task of organizing a garage sale or of transporting it all to Goodwill grew too BIG, I disconnected from it all. I went mindless and did nothing. Yup, all or nothing…that was me! If I didn’t want to think about or tolerate something, I’d ignore it. 

Then, on a Saturday before Christmas, my car battery died. I called AAA. While I was standing in my freezing cold garage watching the repairman install the new battery, I looked around at all the stuff I had accumulated. I connected with the fact that having all that stuff in my garage felt bad!

In that moment, I got mindful and I connected. In that conscious moment in my garage, I saw an opportunity to apply some new learning. I’ve learned I can be less “all or nothing”. I can take large, seemingly overwhelming tasks I’ve been avoiding and break them down into smaller chunks. So, while the new battery was being installed, I filled the car with one load for Goodwill–just what I could fit in the car while I was waiting for my new car battery to be installed.

It felt great! I dropped the items off at Goodwill on my way to do some Chrismas shopping and I didn’t miss a beat. Instead of focusing on emptying the whole garage, I thought about what I had done. I felt accomplished and proactive. I felt pleased that one car load of my stuff will hopefully benefit others.  I didn’t have to do it all to feel good. I love that my garage already looks better.

Now, I will consciously look for other opportunities to take one car load of stuff to Goodwill, on my way to doing other errands. Being mindful, living with more than two speeds (on or off), is a wonderful feeling…and it’s a skill that can be cultivated and appreciated!


Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in emotional and binge eating issues. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, ellen@aweighout.com

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