KITK’s Guide To Understanding Binging, Why It Happens & How To Stop Mr. & Mrs. Binge In Their Tracks
I get so many questions about binge eating & TBH, I was always skeptical about addressing it because it’s such a touchy subject & it’s so subjective (what I consider a binge might not be what you consider a binge & vice versa). People also binge for so many different reasons that it’s hard to pinpoint a dominating cause.
Binge eating is also something that naturally, people don’t want to talk about. It’s something they often hide, keep to themselves & sometimes, even deny or avoid. But, at this point, I think it’s safe to say that I talk about ANYTHING & EVERYTHING. I pour my life out to you guys in hopes that any small aspect of it will help or teach you something or give you the inspiration & motivation to make a change & grow.
After the most recent question that I got about binging, I finally asked you guys for your opinions (thanks insta poll) & I got a much better reaction than I expected: you all wanted to hear what I thought about it. That’s when I decided that it was something I was going to address. I really hope that this post doesn’t offend anyone & please know that it’s not my intention whatsoever!
Before we get into it, I want you to know that emotional or compulsive eating & binge eating disorder can & does get cured. It’s not the result of a character flaw. You’re not weird, bizarre or crazy for dealing with it. You’re simply human. It’s normal to be filled with despair & for binge eating to rip holes into your self esteem. These are all reactions of a NORMAL HUMAN BEING, not someone who is flawed or ruined beyond repair.
You developed this habit that often transforms into an obsession or an addiction for one reason or another, but it has been sustained & perpetuated by a false belief that you’re powerless & that you lost control over your behaviour & that the THING has control over you. It doesn’t. Only you have the ability to give it that control & to choose to take it back.
I also just want to put it out there that I am not a doctor, but I am well-informed about this topic because it is a form of an eating disorder. Like all eating disorders, there is a clear-cut definition for it, but I personally believe that one person can quantify or qualify a binge one way & another person wouldn’t think it’s a binge. But, generically, when someone binges, they eat large quantities of food (more calories & energy than the body actually needs) in one sitting. Sometimes, they do it in hiding & most of the time, they feel badly about it because they’re not actually hungry & they don’t enjoy the food. This often leaves them feeling overly full & like they lost control over their ability to stop eating. Often times, they will eat so much to the point where they feel physical pain or they feel sick.
Binge-eating is not solely the act of eating large quantities of food in one sitting. It can also be engaging in behaviours that qualify as “grazing”, which is the act by which people snack incessantly & persistently & munch on everything in sight, throughout the day, without actually having set meal times or feasible intentions to eat an actual full meal.
All this to say, if we follow the clear-cut medical definition, binge-eating is usually qualified by behaviours along the lines of these:
- inability to stop eating or control what you are eating;
- rapidly eating a lot of food without even registering what you are eating or tasting;
- eating when full;
- hiding food to eat later in secret;
- eating normally around others but binging when alone;
- eating continuously throughout the day with no planned meal times;
- feeling stress or tension that can only be relieved with food;
- feeling embarrassed & feelings of numbness while binging (feeling like you’re not actually in the moment or you are just acting robotically or automatically);
- never being satisfied, no matter how much food you’ve eaten;
- feeling guilty, distressed disgusted or depressed after overeating;
- desperation to control weight & eating habits.
NOW, I AM NOT SAYING THAT IF YOU ENGAGE IN ONE OR TWO OF THOSE BEHAVIOURS THAT YOU ARE DIAGNOSED WITH BINGE-EATING DISORDER. Again, the way you qualify or quantify a binge is different than the way I would or than your neighbour would. I am just giving you my opinion & sharing my knowledge & what I know about this topic. RANT OVER.
Like all eating disorders, binge-eating behaviours are usually the by-product of certain psychological, environmental or biological factors or a combination of those factors.
Based on my personal experience, I believe they develop as a result of a combination of these factors. I don’t believe that people are biologically engineered to develop an eating disorder, but rather that eating disorders are a coping & compensation mechanism that people use in order to subconsciously cope with trauma or hardship & gain a sense of control, that ultimately leads to a feeling of being trapped by something stronger & bigger than oneself.
- From a cultural point of view, some risk factors can be the pressure to be thin (which adds to the fuel for emotional eating), critical comments about appearance, body & weight, vulnerability, cultural differences etc.
- From a psychological standpoint, risk factors might include depression, impulse control, trouble expressing feelings, low self-esteem, loneliness, body dissatisfaction or other trauma. A lot of people are emotional eaters & find comfort & relief in food when feelings of sadness, anxiety, or depression kick in.
- From a biological perspective, sometimes, the part of the brain that controls appetite (hypothalamus) may not send the right messages about hunger & fullness & low levels of the brain chemical serotonin may also lead to or play a role in compulsive eating.
IMO, one of the main causes of binge-eating is severe deprivation, restriction & starvation, a.k.a. excessive dieting. YET another reason why I don’t believe in diet culture. Basically, intentionally depriving your body of the calories & nutrients it needs to survive & sustain you puts a damper on you physically, but even more so mentally, as it shatters your belief in yourself (as you subconsciously hand it over to the addiction).
Let’s discuss this in a bit more depth.
When we are born, we all have a natural instinct to eat like all normal healthy living creatures: we eat when we’re hungry & stop when we’re full. Hunger exists to ensure that we fuel our bodies with the nutrients & energy it needs & when that need for nourishment is satisfied, suddenly, hunger subsides.
When someone first decides that they “need” to lose weight, they begin to be a salve to this misleading notion that in order to do so & for it to work, they must restrict energy intake &/or increase energy expenditure through compensatory exercise. This mentality requires that the person adopt the willpower to ignore the body’s natural hunger cues/signals & eat less, often while moving more (a.k.a. compensating with exercise). In fact, we’ve been taught to hold on to the idea that a forced reduction in calories (coupled with excessive exercise) is always the answer because it seems logical mathematically & because initially, short-term, it seems to work.
But, what we often fail to realize is that while we pursue the diet, we initiate tons of other consequences that eventually spiral out of control. The body realizes that you’re doing something wrong – you’re eating less & feeding it less than it needs to actually survive. Then, your body’s fight or flight response signal kicks in & it tries to save you, usually, through tremendous urges to eat. As opposed to satisfying those urges with nourishing, wholesome foods that would heal your starving body, you charge full-force for the ones that deliver fast & immediate energy (or so you think) & most importantly, those that you have been restricting for so long. You get this “illusory” high, that really is fake & fleeting because the foods consumed generally have little to no nutritional value, do not fill you up & end up leading to a vicious cycle where no food is ever enough & you end up eating until you want to explode.
And then, not only do you feel physically crappy, but you feel like you failed. You feel despair because you feel a loss of control. Instead of acknowledging that forced calorie restriction is the wrong approach, you promise yourself that you will try harder to increase your willpower. A cycle of dieting, binge eating, purging/compensating & more dieting is ignited. As time passes, the diets become even more depriving, restrictive & deliberate. Some people will even start eliminating whole food groups, or types of food. These types of diets are appealing because you don’t need as much willpower to follow them, for example: a rule to never eat wheat is easier to respect than adopting an approach where your long-term goal is to change your lifestyle & learn to eat with balance, in moderation & intuitively.
As the pattern continues, the gap between diets often widens & the out-of-control periods sometimes extend to days, weeks or years. As the number of failed diets increases, you lose belief in yourself & in your ability to succeed & the effort required to RESTART every diet becomes greater & HARDER.
At some point, the despair hits you. You suddenly get down on yourself over the fact that you will never have the willpower to diet again (& YOU SHOULDN’T WANT TO). You start to hate any & all form of restriction, exercise & dieting, but another part of you idolizes it & starts to fuel your mind with negative self-talk & disgust words your own body. You convince yourself that you must regain control, FAILING TO REALIZE THAT DIETING IS NOT A PERMANENT MEANS OF CONTROL OVER YOUR HEALTH (& is more detrimental than you think). You constantly tell yourself you will “gain control“, but you always make up excuses for why the time to do so is never now. You have hundreds of “last suppers“, filled with junk, that are never actually final, because that “perfect diet” never happens – IT ACTUALLY DOESN’T EVEN EXIST.
While binge eating may feel comforting for a brief moment as it temporarily helps to ease unpleasant emotions or feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety, eventually, reality sets back in. You’re flooded with feelings of regret & self-loathing, which only reinforces compulsive eating. The worse you feel about yourself & your appearance, the more you use food to cope.
It’s a vicious cycle:
- you start a diet;
- you deprive yourself;
- but then, that deprivation leads to an overwhelming urge to eat at one point because the body can’t take the deprivation anymore;
- then you binge;
- post-binge: you feel ashamed & like sh*t physically & your solution: THE DIET.
Ergo, the vicious cycle. You eat to feel better, you feel even worse & then you turn back to food for relief. Basically, after a binge, we naturally feel the need to diet to compensate for the overeating & “get back on track”. But, dieting always backfires. The hunger & deprivation that comes with strict diets triggers food cravings & an urge to eat.
As powerless as you feel about breaking this cycle, I want you to know that you can learn to break the binge eating cycle, develop a healthier relationship with food, feel good about yourself again & better manage your emotions & regain control over your eating & health. Stopping to binge is possible & achievable – you don’t need to wait for the stars to align, for willpower to appear out of no where or to meet your prince charming. The cravings themselves are created by the mere act of engaging in the addictive behaviour in the first place, combined with a misunderstanding about where the problem actually lies. The cravings are not a piece of you. When you finally see & understand this, it becomes easier to stop & to realize that stopping is within your grasp & reach.
Nowhere in your body is there an instruction manual that says you must eat badly until you feel so horrible that you can’t do it anymore. You have the exact same genetic makeup as every other human being – you want to thrive, survive & live & be healthy. Bottom line is that if you starve yourself, you’ll create hunger. If you ignore it, your body takes control & nags you until you binge. YOUR BINGE-EATING BEHAVIOURS ARE A FABRICATION OF YOUR OWN BRAIN, triggered by the ridiculous theory that somehow eating less than your body actually needs to maintain a healthy weight is the answer to your optimal quest towards health. TRUTH IS: You can only get over binging IF YOU LET GO OF THIS MENTALITY & YOU LET YOURSELF.
In my opinion, binge-eating disorder can largely be cured when you understand why it is happening. IMO, especially when it comes to mental illness, when you understand the underlying causes, reasons, how & why they happen, you can tackle the cause & fix it. The solution to any problem in life is understanding the problem in the first place & where it comes from.
So the crux & million dollar question here is: WHY DO YOU BINGE?
Once you know & understand what causes or triggers your binging, you will then have the ability yo tackle the cause or triggers, eliminate them, learn to cope with them & find alternative ways to cope THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH FOOD &/OR COMPENSATION.
DEVELOP A HEALTHIER RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD
Unlike other addictions (such as smoking, drugs or alcohol), your “drug” of choice (a.k.a. food) is necessary for survival. Healing your relationship with food doesn’t mean avoiding or replacing it altogether. It means developing a HEALTHIER relationship with it, that’s based on meeting your nutritional & energy needs, not your emotional needs.
FUN FACT (Well, not so fun, but you know the expression): So many people who have anorexia or other eating disorders & recover end up developing binge-eating disorder or certain binge-like tendencies – weird, right? A person who once restricted day in & day out suddenly eats everything in sight? How? It’s actually not that weird. Let me explain. For those who have suffered from an ED, the body has been starved for so long. It has basically been on a permanent diet (especially for those who suffer from chronic anorexia), which is why everything I mentioned about diet culture & how it leads to binging applies, but in an even MORE amplified manner.
Suddenly, the body decides that now that it’s finally being fed, it’s going to binge on everything in sight BECAUSE IT DOESN’T TRUST THAT YOU WON’T BETRAY IT AGAIN. So, you binge. You binge on everything in sight because your body’s fight or flight system has been activated & it doesn’t know if it can trust you yet permanently to continue to feed it when it’s hungry & to sustain its everyday needs (Think of your body as an ex-boyriend or girlfriend that you betrayed & whose trust you lost after doing something horrible. When your ex is contemplating whether or not he or she wants to get back together with you, odds are, there are DOUBTS. Can he or she really trust that you won’t betray them again? Your body feels the same. Your body is your ex. Your body has no idea when the next time is that you’ll just feed off your ED thoughts & get trapped right back in & starve it all over again. Just like an ex has lost all trust in you, your body has lost all trust in your ability to listen to your hunger cues & to continue to feed it).
P.S. I’M BY NO MEANS SAYING THAT EVERYONE WHO RECOVERS FROM AN EATING DISORDER DEVELOPS BINGE-EATING BEHAVIOURS. I’m just trying to explain to you how & why it happens. And if it does happen to you in recovery or post-recovery, PLEASE KNOW YOU CAN & WILL TAKE CONTROL OF IT & IT WILL GET BETTER.
This all boils down to what I said earlier about how any form of dieting, restriction, deprivation leads to the loss of the natural human innate ability to sense hunger cues & to listen to the body. You must learn to distinguish physical hunger from emotional hunger. Dieting teaches the mind to IGNORE natural hunger cues & to prioritize the willpower to look a certain way & ergo, pursue the diet.
But, in the grand scheme of things, this willpower leads to the individual teaching its body to stop listening to itself & if the diet is pursued for long enough, in the long run, an addiction to food is created. There is only so much time you can deprive your body of something it needs without it reacting. Remember, your body can’t talk to you. The only way it can communicate with you is through the behaviours it engages in & the signs it sends you. Think of binge-eating as your body’s way of TALKING TO YOU & telling you that it’s just about had it with the starvation, deprivation & restriction.
This is why I think that a crucial step in overcoming binging is to fix your relationship with food, to stop eating mindlessly & rather to be mindful about what is going into your body, why you are eating it & what benefits it’s providing you. Instead of scarfing down food in a trance-like state & not actually getting to enjoy & savour what you are eating, FOCUS ON WHAT YOU ARE EATING, slow down, enjoy it, savour the texture & flavour & in turn, you’ll eat until you are full & actually enjoy it!
You must learn to listen to your hunger cues & to eat for benefits, nourishment, nutrition, medicine & fuel, NOT TO TEMPORARILY CURE EMOTIONS OR FILL A VOID. If you are eating emotionally, again, you must understand WHY the emotions exist & find other ways to cope with them, let them come to the surface, feel them, cope with them, but not to have to mend or fix them with food.
You’re not your feelings & they don’t define you. If you understand why they exist & you are able to do things that will help you deal with them that has nothing to do with food (such as: doing research & reading to learn about why you should eat for certain benefits, talking to someone close to you, seeking therapy, doing yoga or meditation, exercising, walking, etc.), you will be better able to cope with the emotions & let go of the addiction with food to help you let go of what’s weighing on your mind.
LET GO OF THE VIEW OR IDEA THAT YOU’RE DOOMED NOT TO HAVE CONTROL AROUND FOOD FOREVER
Another crucial step in overcoming binge-eating is understanding that it is a form of addiction to food, but that you have control over it & that you can take control over your life. It’s important to get over the mentality that you can’t control yourself around food because if you have that mentality, you’ll never be able to take the first step towards fixing it. YOU ARE YOUR MINDSET.
Like any addiction, it’s important to wean off it slowly (alcohol, smoking, eating disorders) & to let go of the behaviours that promote the illness, disorder or addiction. In doing so, you’ll slowly start to see the urges & temptations go away. But, that can only happen once you let go of the idea that you are doomed not to have control around food forever. With a lot of mind work, you can find ways to deal with the underling causes of binging & get rid of it PERMANENTLY.
Many people binge eat out of boredom, fatigue, loneliness or a combination of those things. Biologically, food makes us happy. We have a natural human instinct to want to eat to survive, but also because eating releases endorphins & makes us feel good. And while there is nothing wrong with food making you happy & with you feeling good during & after you eat, you must find a happy medium & draw a fine line between eating to compensate for other more negative emotions & eating for sheer enjoyment because you’re human.
If you’re eating for compensation or out of pure boredom & you find yourself binging, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. Instead, do something more productive that will also help distract you. When you’re bored, go for a walk, listen to music, cook a meal, leave your house, go for a drink, see friends, read, write, exercise, take a bath – DO SOMETHING THAT WILL KEEP YOU & YOUR MIND BUSY & TO GET OUT OF THE “I’M ABOUT TO BINGE” MAINFRAME. Once you let yourself get into that mainframe, you surrender to it & you let it happen. But, if you distract yourself from it, you REMOVE the urge & trigger & you don’t let it happen.
All this to say, if in analyzing why you binge, you realize that you eat for boredom, it really does require that you take an active role in once again, fixing your relationship with food & not eating just to eat, in order to permanently stop this cycle.
BINGING & CRAVINGS
If you have cravings & you genuinely believe that you have the ability to satisfy them adequately, but in moderation, then do so. But, if you’re someone who does not think you will be able to do it moderately because you feel the incessant urge to binge, you must work to remove the temptation. You know yourself best.
A lot of people tend to binge more often if their trigger foods are readily available to them. Moral of the story: don’t buy your trigger foods. Yes, it sounds simple, but it’s not. When you’re at the grocery store & you’re looking your trigger food right in the eye, it’s not easy to say no. While you may hate what you go through & how you feel before, during & after a binge, your mind fuels you with this idea that you NEED to buy it because you NEED it for your binge. If you find it hard to resist & not to purchase trigger foods, DON’T GO ALONE. Go with someone you love that knows about your situation & that will help you develop that sense of sense control & logically explain to you why it’s best you leave the food on the shelf (Eating disorders are, by nature, illogical & irrational, so sometimes it helps to have someone lace into you & remind you why something is more logical than you may think in that given moment).
Similarly, a lot of people will binge more often if they spend time in their kitchens. Naturally, the kitchen is one of the places in the home where we spend the most time… cooking, eating, snacking, etc. For some, being in the kitchen means a switch turns on in their brains that tells them that they HAVE to be eating. You don’t necessarily need to suffer from binge eating disorder or binge-related behaviours to feel that way – it’s a natural human instinct. But, if you do suffer from any form of behaviour related to binging, this switch turns on EVEN faster & more intensely. The mind is so affected by the binge-eating tendencies that you’re not able to eat moderately, like someone else would if they aren’t affected by the same tendencies. This is why sometimes it’s best to just LEAVE the kitchen – leaving the kitchen means leaving your triggers & learning to avoid them in the first place.
Once again, I really cannot stress the importance of UNDERSTANDING why a behaviour happens. I was only truly able to recover from my eating disorder when I met the therapist who saved my life as he helped me understand the underlying causes of the development of my illness. He even convinced me to go see a grief counsellor because we determined that one of the causes of my eating disorder was my failure to accept, cope with & deal with my mom passing away & my repression of all the emotions that it led to (guilt, frustration & anger). Those emotions eventually came out in the form of anorexia: the one thing that allowed me to feel as though I had control over my life & what was going into my body. When I lost her, I lost control over my ability to help her heal & I found comfort in regaining that sense of control over something else: FOOD (or lack thereof). In understanding this, I was able to target the solution & PERMANENTLY recover.
In order for the mental shift to happen & for you to realize that you don’t need food to cure whatever is going on in your mind & your heart, you must really know WHAT is causing you to BELIEVE that you NEED food to CONTROL your emotions.
EAT REGULARLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY TO PREVENT BINGING
In line with learning to eat in moderation & to find balance, it’s important to eat regularly throughout the day (as opposed to waking up on a mission to starve yourself until you get so hungry that you want to devour everything in sight). I like to eat six small meals a day because I find that this is what keeps me feeling my best. I don’t get energy slumps, I never feel overly full & I never go into my next meal or snack feeling like I will overeat or binge because I never actually feel starving.
Believe it or not, starvation can actually lead to overeating, even if it sounds like a paradox. Try sticking to scheduled meal & snack times if that works for you to help prevent you from skipping meals (& opening the door to a binge later in the day).
BINGING & MEAL PREPPING?
Now, what’s the verdict on binge-eating & meal prepping? Do I think that someone who binges or has binging tendencies can meal prep & have all that food ready without being tempted to overeat? IT’S A PERSONAL CHOICE.
It can work one of two ways:
- Knowing that all the food is ready in the fridge might be the fuel that lights the fire & triggers a binge. If you think that’s what will happen to you, then maybe it’s best that you prepare your meals on the spot. Not only will this help you portion out your quantities & meals in such a way that you will cook it on a meal-by-meal basis, but you will also find a way to cure your boredom (if that’s one of the things that triggers binging for you) & perhaps learn to wean off the habit of using food to cure boredom or loneliness. Cooking & baking can in fact be VERY therapeutic. In fact, on my bad days, cooking & baking provide me with a sense of calmness; it literally soothes me & allows me to disconnect from my thoughts & focus on creating something delicious & beautiful!
- Meal prep can also help someone who binges, depending on how they cope & respond to triggers. Perhaps having the food in the fridge is a convenient way to know that healthy food is ready when you start to feel hungry. This might give you encouragement to pursue a healthier lifestyle, to eat intuitively & to choose healthier alternatives over take-out, packaged, processed & sugar-laden foods. In fact, maybe having the food read is not the trigger for you, but your emotions are. If you feel sad one day & you have no energy or motivation to cook, at least you’ll know the food is ready & you won’t retreat to spending the day in & out of your pantry.
For these reasons, I can’t give a clear-cut answer as to whether or not meal prep is the best idea for someone who suffers from binging. This is a personal choice that you have to make for yourself, because only you know how you cope & respond to triggers & whether or not the mere presence of the food will turn that switch on. What triggers your binges? Will having ready-made food trigger it more? If so, DON’T DO IT.
For me, meal prep is a way to keep my life in order. Know . Ewing I have all these healthy dishes & meals ready makes me less tempted to pick-up lunch or dinner & gives me incentive to eat at home, save money, stay motivated & continue on my journey towards healthy living.
EXERCISE, GET ENOUGH SLEEP & FIND WAYS TO COPE WITH YOUR STRESS / ANXIETY / EMOTIONS
When you feel physically & mentally strong, relaxed & well-rested, you’re naturally better able to handle curveballs that life throws at you. If you’re constantly feeling tired & overwhelmed because you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t exercise & you feel so stressed that it takes over your life, any little thing has the potential to send you off the trails & straight to the fridge. You will feel more tempted to eat because it’s easy & you might find comfort in using the food to copE. There are three things that are crucial to maintaining a healthy life overall (& not necessarily just to avoid binging) that have absolutely nothing to do with controlling the way a binge happens or trigger.
- SLEEP: Your body needs to be well-rested in order to be able to focus & to think optimally. Scientifically, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body craves sugary foods that provide a quick (but not sustained) energy boost. Sleep deprivation has actually been shown to trigger sugar addiction. Getting enough sleep ensures maintenance of a adequate energy levels, better mood, appetite control & reduction in food cravings.
- EXERCISE: You also need to exercise to feel good, boost your mood & energy levels, release endorphins & frustration, cope with stress & anxiety, let go & feel good & healthy overall.
- MANAGE STRESS/ANXIETY/EMOTIONS: If you think your binges are triggered by anxiety, sadness, depression & emotions in general, you must find other outlets to manage & cope with those feelings that have NOTHING to do with food. Overtime, you’ll realize that you’ll wean off this necessity of using food to cure the emotions as the other alternatives will be PERMANENT fixes as opposed to temporary relief, comfort or safety nets that you would find in food but that won’t actually help you cope with the emotions in the long run.
As you can most probably tell, these things have nothing to do with binging but will help you get away from the binging cycle indirectly as they will make you feel healthier & encourage you to pursue health in all aspects of your life.
DON’T RESTRICT HEALTHY FAT INTAKE, CREATE “SAFE FOODS” LISTS OR BAN CERTAIN FOODS OR FOOD GROUPS
It’s important that on your journey towards developing a healthier relationship with food, you don’t restrict your healthy fat intake, create “safe foods” or “comfort foods” lists or ban certain foods or food groups.
In the long term, you will end up craving the foods you DEPRIVE yourself of EVEN MORE. Instead, change your approach. If ice cream is something you crave very often, instead of saying you’re going to cut it out & never eat it, try fuelling your mind with a different approach: maybe you won’t have ice cream everyday, but maybe you can have it as a occasional treat on the weekends or you can find healthier ways to make your own!
REFLECT: WHY DID THE BINGE HAPPEN?
Each time you binge, STOP, DROP. REFLECT. DIG DEEP. Why did the binge happen? What triggered the urge? Was it the same thing as the time before that?
If you backtrack, you should be able to find an upsetting event or emotion that may have triggered the binge. Write it down. Write down what happened to trigger you, how you felt before you binged & what you felt as you were eating & afterwards. In order to permanently heal from the emotions leading to the binge, you need to learn to tolerate the feelings that trigger you & to cope with them more effectively.
After having investigated & gotten to the bottom of what caused the binge in the first place, next time around, you’ll be better able to resist the urge to give in to the binge & you’ll find other ways to cope the triggers that led to it.
IF YOU BINGE EMOTIONALLY, ACCEPT YOUR FEELINGS & LET YOURSELF FEEL, BUT DON’T LET YOUR FEELINGS DEFINE YOU.
If you have determined that your binge-eating has more of an emotional basis, that’s the first step. But the next step is letting yourself feel those emotions, allowing them to come to the surface, understanding why you feel that way & letting yourself EXPERIENCE the feelings that come with those emotions. I’m talking sadness, frustration, anger, guilt, shame, blame, loneliness & even depression.
You must accept what you are feeling without being too hard on yourself or judging yourself. Once you let yourself feel those emotions, distance yourself. Realize that you are not your feelings – they are passing events & they do not define who you are.
Sitting with your feelings is weird at first, I won’t lie. Maybe even impossible for some. But as you resist the urge to binge & understand your emotions, you will slowly realize that you don’t have to give in & that there are other ways to cope, even with the most intolerable emotions. They’re only temporary & they will eventually pass if you stop fighting them & preventing yourself from feeling them. YOU ARE IN CONTROL & YOU CHOOSE HOW TO RESPOND. KNOW THAT.
CONNECT WITH OTHERS & TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS
You don’t need to connect with a professional in order to do this. BUT YOU CAN IF THAT’S WHAT HELPS YOU. What matters is that you form healthy close relationships & engage in social activities, where you feel comfortable & at ease to share & talk about your feelings. If you don’t & if you lack a solid support system or network, you will be more likely to keep to yourself & succumb to binging.
Lastly, I want you guys to know that if you do suffer from binge-eating disorder or tendencies (such as compulsive eating, grazing, etc.), YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE. More people than you know suffer from this, especially if they’ve had a form of an eating disorder in the past or have continuously been on restrictive diets. Everyone is going through something, no matter how much it doesn’t seem like so on the surface. Knowing & acknowledging that the issue exists in the first place is a HUGE step. So many people live for months & years in denial (Just like I did, with my eating disorder). So, I think that if this is something that you deal with & you are aware of it & want to make a change, COMMEND YOURSELF for the strength you possess in being able to admit that it’s something you live with & something you want to fix.
And guess what? If you find that you need therapy to fix it or to help give you that little initial push, SO BE IT. There is absolutely nothing wrong with therapy. In fact, it’s what saved my life. One of the things I hate most is that society views therapy as a sign of weakness, vulnerability, lack of independence & not being able to cope with one’s emotions or problems on our own. TAKE A SECOND TO THINK ABOUT HOW WRONG THAT IS.
Most people who think that way have never actually experienced the magic of a mental shift when exposed to therapy (so yes, maybe they think that way & it’s because they don’t know any better). Truth is, you only really see the value in therapy once you go through it & see how it changes your life. But you have to let yourself take the first step & TRY.
If you need to talk to someone, a professional or not, a best friend, family member, a stranger, DO IT. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out & seeking help for a problem you’re going through if it means you’ll be able to BETTER YOUR LIFE. Don’t fall or give in to society’s views that it makes you look weak if you know it will make you BETTER. There is a cure to ALL mental illnesses & to all tendencies or behaviours that begin in the mind. Yes, that cure takes a lot of mind work, commitment & motivation but it does exist.
You are not doomed to not have control, despite what your mind is telling you.
I hope this post was helpful & provided some insight into my perspective on binge-eating & related behaviours. If you have any feedback, questions, experience, suggestions or constructive criticism to share, please feel free to leave a comment down below or contact me via email or through Instagram! I’m all ears!
IF YOU WANT SOME MORE INSIGHT INTO SOME BLOG POSTS THAT I’VE WRITTEN IN RELATION TO SOME OF THE TIPS I MENTIONED ABOVE, SEE BELOW:
- I Have Anxiety, But It Doesn’t Dominate My Life a.k.a. Why My Recovery Was A Blessing In Disguise.
- Why I Don’t Believe In Diet-Culture a.k.a. Why Less Of Your Body Won’t Create More Happiness.
- What Is Anxiety? & My Top Natural Remedies (& A Few Other Pointers!) For Coping with Anxiety.
- How I Healed My Relationship With Food & In Turn, Learned To Love My Body.
- The Nitty-Gritty on Metabolism & All The Deets About Getting It Back In Check Throughout Recovery (& YES, It Will Go Back To Normal – All In Due Time!)
- My Recovery Meal Plan & A Few Tips/Tricks On How To Get It Done, Implement It, Get Healthy & Not Despair When Times Get Hard!
- How To Gain & Maintain Weight The Right Way, Ergo The Healthy Way!