How to climb out of an “eating hole”?

Dear Ms. Wollinger,
Thank you again for your wonderful book which helped me greatly on my path. I sense that I’ve been suffering from eating disorder all my life and don’t recall a time when it was not with me. Last February, I finally started dealing with my problem (based on the fact that I now understood what the illness “eating disorder” looks like). I’m doing much, much better, but let me ask you the following question: While I suffer the occasional setbacks, they’re no longer as intensive as earlier on. Still, they drag me down. For instance: During Christmas, I was eating carelessly, meaning without listening to my feelings; I felt terrible and continued not paying attention to my hunger feelings according to the principle of having slipped up once and then gotten stuck. Do you have any suggestions on how to get out more quickly of such a “hole”?

My response:

Dear Ms. S.,
I’ m so pleased that my book proved helpful to you. To your question: Preparation is of the essence, so the hole won’t become quite as deep.
Throughout the year, there are a few critical time periods for which one can prepare in advance, such as various holidays and family celebrations. It’s a good idea to prepare mentally for these occasions and to treat ourselves with special care, meaning not to hope that it won’t be a problem this time around (repression), but to anticipate that it might become difficult (self-honesty).
Since food is readily available especially during the holidays, making things not exactly easier, it is essential that we treat ourselves with understanding. During such times it is especially important to do some of the “butterfly exercises” from the book, helping us to care for ourselves in order to balance our eating.
During such times, I also try to be especially discerning. For instance, during the Christmas holiday, I won’t eat any mass-produced cookies that don’t even taste good to me. Instead, I will only have especially crafted high quality cookies and chocolate – only the best of the best.
If, however, you’ve fallen into the hole again, self-consolation is very important. You’re allowed to confirm to yourself that you haven’t reached point zero, but simply are continuing on your path. Each new experience is important in order to leave eating disorder behind. Please remember everything you’ve already achieved. You described very beautifully that the quality of your binging episodes has improved significantly. Moreover, the way in which you ask your question shows that you’ve already understood a lot about eating disorder. Thus, you’ve got every reason to be proud of yourself!

Don’t’ be upset if you haven’t been careful for a day, a couple of days or a couple of weeks. We can’t always work on our self-development. Sometimes, we simply need a break until we again feel that we want to continue, as your mail to me shows, – and then we go on. Please forgive yourself for not walking your path to healing perfectly.
Herewith a nice card that fits the topic of our conversation.
I hope to have been of help to you as you go through this current phase of your journey.

Best regards,
Olivia Wollinger

(translated by Ulli Wiesner)


“Don’t worry – it will be alright again!”

A few days later, I received the following response from Ms. S.:

Dear Ms. Wollinger,
Many thanks for your kind and soothing words. Since last week, I managed for the first time after the big holidays to wait for my hunger and to sense myself more. I really liked your card and have posted it above my desk.
Let me wish you continued success in your efforts to help others to overcome their eating disorder. In any case, I shall follow your progress as an author with great interest.
Kindest regards,