Last week, my module in my holistic nutrition course at the Institute For Integrative Nutrition was all about disordered behaviours + food, one of which is compulsive eating.
A lot of the principles resonated with me after having personally dealt with this for a few months in recovery. I often felt compelled to eat even if I wasn’t hungry because I “had to” comply with my meal plan & often, that turned into binging.
Compulsive eating is defined as the mindless consumption of lots of food in a short period of time, even when not hungry. Often, the person is so out of tune with their body that they can’t stop once they had enough, leading extreme guilt & shame.
It’s often caused by depression/anxiety, lack of impulse control, low self-esteem, loneliness, trauma or bad body image. It’s different for all but one thing is true: there are always underlying life-affirming reasons why we use food for comfort/peace of mind, even if we’re not hungry.
Here are some of the principles I learned & felt wold be beneficial to share with you guys;
- Compulsive eating is the symptom, not the problem. When you understand WHY you do it, you’re able to get to the root & solve the problem & the compulsion slowly fades.
- Eat when you’re hungry & stop when you’re full. It takes time to master, but it’s attainable if you persist & don’t give up.
- Eat sitting down & without distractions. It’s easy to get carried away with portions when you’re watching TV or reading.
- Eat what your body wants & don’t settle for “low” sugar/fat/calorie options. They won’t satisfy you & you may end up binging later.
- Eat smaller meals, eat slowly & enjoy so that you never feel starving, digestion is enhanced + you appreciate the food.
- Approach your diet with love & the idea that food gives you the nourishment you need to feel good.
- What we pay attention to grows. Focus on building a positive relationship with food & it’ll happen.
- If you spend your life rooting out pain, you’ll become a hunter of pain, not a finder of joy. Don’t use food to conceal pain. Instead, heal your pain & you won’t need to use anything to mask it.
- The best way out is through. If the binge happens, don’t dwell on it. Move on & wake up the next day with a fresh perspective. You’re worth more than a binge.
What are some of your tips to cope with this common issue? I’d love to hear! xx