Continue eating according to "mouth hunger" until you can no longer feel the need to and that before you can begin to feel more grounded and secure you'll need a lot of actual eating experiences. Anxiety is a signal that something is brewing so please notice that.
Be aware of what's causing you discomfort so you can look at it with a clear head.
Is what I'm feeling so reprehensible?
Is what I'm thinking really so terrible?
Can I let myself feel what I'm feeling and know the feeling will pass?
Can I think through a solution to my dilemma?
Maybe I can just forget about what's bothering me and space out for a while.
Eating to cover problems inhibits thinking and treats all problems as if they were the same. Before you can address the problems, you need to address compulsive eating, your obsessive thoughts about eating and your body.
The sequence starts with DISCOMFORT produces ANXIETY then you EAT and it all ends with more DISCOMFORT and you SCOLD YOURSELF for eating. You need to put an end to the discomfort. You spend too much time, thinking and talking about your eating and weight and your unacceptability.
You hate having to go backward in time, you become in a sense your own angry parent. "When are you going to grow up?" "When are you ever going to be able to stand up on your own two feet and stop running back home for help?"
Reaching back to food for help and then scolding yourself is complicated -- every compulsive eater knows that food is not going to help and will make things even worse or more difficult.
Soooo they consider themselves STUPID and ridiculous and can't forgive themselves for needing to run home (turning to food). This is NOT a moral issue. It simply IS. As you care for yourself and eat out of stomach hunger (when hungry) you'll have less need for the symbolic care that MOUTH HUNGER offers. The first thing you have to do is STOP scolding yourself.
ACCEPT YOUR NEED TO EAT - when your energy is bound up in self-contempt you run head-on into two problems:
1) you lose sight of the real problem and even if you do gain sight of it,
2) you have no energy left for problem-solving.
Compulsive eaters go from compulsive eating to obsessive thinking -- You need to break
this circuit. When you eat from mouth hunger you eat because you must. When your mind starts moving in the direction of self-condemnation, you have an opportunity to intervene. You can break the addictive circuit in 2 ways:
1) Remind yourself every time you eat from mouth hunger that you WILL NOT SCOLD yourself after you eat.
2) Never take a "fat thought" at face value. Each time you find yourself shouting at yourself for eating or being fat -- remind yourself that you are referring to something else and if you can, make an effort to find out what that something else is. Something else is bothering you, what is it?
Breaking the circuit is easier said than done because yelling at yourself is compelling. Ritual of compulsive eating and berating yourself is an essential part of it.
To be continued another day, another time. I only wonder if I can really do this? I am certainly making an honest attempt. It's very hard for me to know when I'm hungry. I have to ask some of my friends how they can tell when it's time to eat...what signals hunger? It's been a long time since I felt that actual hunger in my stomach. It's time to start now.