Personal Note: Time Out

“The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room, not try to be or do anything whatever.” ― May Sarton

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

You’d be forgiven for thinking this was an abandoned blog, given the lack of activity in the past few months. I’m sorry I haven’t been around, I hope you’re doing OK.

There’s a very good reason for my absence.

The Coronavirus pandemic has been a challenging time for all of us.

It’s had a significant negative impact on mental health and, as this recent research shows, eating disorders in particular.

Awareness of binge eating disorder has been increasing and, understandably, those affected are reaching out for support.

The UK’s national eating disorder charity reports that calls to their helpline about binge eating have more than tripled in the past 3 years.

As a binge eating disorder specialist, it’s fair to say I’ve been inundated with requests for help over the past year.

I’m grateful to have worked throughout the pandemic, as I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but it’s been full-on.

Really full-on.

So I’m taking a sabbatical until early 2022.

This gives me the chance to have a proper break to relax and recharge.

It also allows me time to complete a larger piece of writing I’ve been working on for quite a while.

I’m aware there are a lot of people struggling with binge eating who want to access the service I provide but can’t because my private practice and my waiting list are full, and have been for some time.

It doesn’t feel good to constantly turn people away, even if I’m signposting them to help elsewhere. While I’m on sabbatical, I’ll be reflecting on how this can be improved, and how I work in general.

Before I go, I want to say thank you to my colleagues at the eating disorder charity for their understanding and support.

A big thank you also to my clients for their patience. It’s a privilege to work with you and I wish you all the best for the coming months.

Just a reminder there’s plenty of material on this site to help you reflect on your eating behaviour so feel free to plunder the archives.

Until I’m back, stay safe and well everyone – let’s hope 2022 is a cracking good year for us all.

With very best wishes,

Julie 🙂

“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither”. Alan Cohen

What Calorie Labelling does to People with Binge Eating Disorder

Trigger warning: description of binge eating.

A few nights ago, I went out for dinner for the first time since lockdown lifted here in the UK.

After months of being stuck at home, I sat in the restaurant with a big grin on my face, soaking up the atmosphere.

I was quite hungry but, as usual, took my time exploring the menu. Like a buzzard circling its prey, I was on the lookout for the dish that would truly satisfy me.

I knew I’d found it when I got that familiar “eureka” moment. Something in me said “that’s it!”. Instinctively, I knew it was exactly what I felt like eating and that I’d enjoy it.

I made my choice without judgement – either of the food or of myself.

Continue reading “What Calorie Labelling does to People with Binge Eating Disorder”

Dieting is Never the Answer

This is the time of year when most New Year diets have failed.

Yes, The Eating Silly Season is coming to a close. To be fair, Eating Silly Season is now all year long, but in January it’s especially silly as Diet Culture stages its annual Grand Parade of Bullshit and Misinformation.

Look – there’s that “celebrity doctor” shamelessly promoting disordered eating on social media in the name of “science”. There’s that “diet guru” on TV forcing people who are Not Thin to lose weight rapidly with zero regard for their psychological wellbeing.

Then there’s you.

How are you doing with all of this?

Continue reading “Dieting is Never the Answer”

What’s the Price of People-pleasing?

A friend phones to ask you for a favour.

You’re already swamped and you don’t have the time or energy to help them out. Plus, this particular friend never seems to return any of the favours you do for them.

They wait expectantly for your answer.

A voice in your head is advising: “don’t agree to this. You have too much on already. Say no”.

Into the phone, you say with a smile:

“Yes, of course, I’ll do it – no problem”.

Why?

Continue reading “What’s the Price of People-pleasing?”

Summer Rewind: Why Do We Need To Let Other People Own Their Feelings?

This post from 2018 explores why we often take responsibility for other people’s feelings, and the subsequent impact on us and our eating behaviour.

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You’re about to send an email and you’re re-reading it for the tenth time to make absolutely sure there’s nothing in it that could be misconstrued and cause offence.   Then you check it another ten times after you’ve sent it – just in case…

You bump into a friend in the street.  As you walk away, you replay the conversation over and over in your head trying to work out if you said anything “wrong”.  You’re still rerunning the conversation in your head as you lie in bed that night…

A work colleague seems a bit off with you.  You instantly rack your brain to recall your most recent interactions with them.  You spend the day desperately trying to work out what you did to upset them so you can apologise and make things right…

Sound familiar?

Continue reading “Summer Rewind: Why Do We Need To Let Other People Own Their Feelings?”

Summer Rewind: What’s The Big Deal About Exercise?

Here’s another post from the archives, this time exploring how it’s possible to find the same autonomy with movement, as it is with food. Hard to believe, I know, but true.

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“I’m just one of those people who hates exercise”. That’s what I used to say. And I believed it. Man, did I hate exercise. I felt angry (and guilty and ashamed) at the mention of the word and, I have to confess, I’m worried some of you may stop reading this post for the very same reason, but I hope not.

In the past, if a slim person said to me “I’m just going to the gym” I’d think “why the hell are you doing that? You’re already thin! You don’t need to go to the gym”. It was my assumption you only exercised to lose weight. It didn’t occur to me that people might exercise because they enjoyed it.

After all, what was enjoyable about exercise? Nothing. All that pain and sweating and discomfort. It felt like punishment.

Continue reading “Summer Rewind: What’s The Big Deal About Exercise?”