Naturally Thin: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

What I’m about to tell you changed my life. If binge-eating is a problem for you, this might just change your life, too. It is about binging, which I call wrecking yourself. It’s something I used to do, but it’s something I never do anymore. And I mean never.

My mantra is: Check yourself before you wreck yourself. In other words, stop yourself before you binge. But of course, this is easier said than done, so let’s talk about binging.

Binging is different from overeating. Everybody overeats now and then. On special occasions, on particularly hungry days, or when you have PMS, you know what I mean. Binging on the other hand is more extreme. When you binge, you lose control of your behavior. The food takes over and you eat much more than you know you should eat, but you feel that you can’t help it. Then you feel overwhelmed by guilt, helplessness, anger, and self-loathing.

As a single girl living in Manhattan, I found it particularly difficult to avoid binging. Many times I skipped dinner because I was having a few drinks or moving from place to place and never had time to eat. I would be on my way home from a night out with my friends, pass a deli and wouldn’t know what I wanted, so I’d get everything.

I think the key to binging goes beyond the physical. The mind and body are linked, and emotional denial can lead to a physical backlash. I believe the emotional component of binging is deeply rooted in a dysfunctional relationship with food. If you have a love-hate relationship with food, based on fear and obsession, binging can become the unhappy consummation of that dysfunctional relationship.

I used to fear French fries. I feared cookies. I feared ice cream. Somehow I convinced myself that eating even one bite of these foods would make me fat, so I avoided them like the plague. Today, this seems ridiculous to me, I’m not afraid of food any more, and my relationship with foods – all foods – has normalized.

It’s easy for me to say, “stop binging,” but I realize it’s a lot harder to actually stop. You have to decide to stop doing this. You have to break the habit. Listen to me: food is not your best friend OR your enemy. Food isn’t a dark evil force out to make you fat. It’s also not your BFF who will be there when you are feeling depressed. It’s food. I know this sounds obvious, but sometimes, it helps to remind yourself, and that will help you check yourself before you wreck yourself.

This is an excerpt from Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel, available on