Can’t stop Binge Eating? Here is why
How much of your time and energy is spent trying to ‘be good’ with your diet and exercise?
You wake up, you know you’re plan, you start off the day with your healthy breakfast. Lunch comes and you really fancy that sandwich, but you are trying to avoid carbs so you decide to ‘be good; and opt for the salad. You rush through your day, trying to get through your never ending to do list, ignoring your hunger pangs, munching on a few carrot sticks mindlessly, still sticking your plan. You get home exhausted and STARVING and your healthy dinner of white fish and veggies does not even touch the sides. Your mind is consumed by thoughts of; “what else can I eat?” and you start to crave everything you have told yourself is ‘off limits’.
So you just have ‘a taste’ of that chocolate. But it doesn’t stop there as you think ‘f**k it, I have screwed up, I might as well carry on and just start again tomorrow’. Before you know it you are 2 bars down, plus some crisps, cereal and whatever else you can get your hands on. Then you finally snap out of this trance and PANIC!
“What have I done?”
“I have failed!”
“Why can’t I have enough will power to control myself?”
“Why can other people do it and I can’t?”
“How am I going to make up for what I have done?”
“What am I going to do tomorrow to get back on track?”
Then sets in the guilt and shame as you blame yourself for not having enough discipline, willpower or self-control. So, you decide that the solution must surely be even greater levels of control! You set stricter rules for yourself, getting things even more precise and even more tightly controlled. This creates so much internal pressure and anxiety which eventually results in the same thing happening all over again! Deja Vue!
There is a reason why this is happening! And it has nothing to do with you not being strong enough or not having enough willpower!
Since you can’t heal a problem you don’t fully understand, let’s start by defining what binge eating actually means. Despite attempts made by the dieting industry to prove that diets work, research has shown that 95% of diets fail with individuals gaining the weight back within 2 years and sometimes even more! It is also widely evidenced in scientific literature that binge-eating is primarily a symptom of dieting and attempts at controlling food and weight.
Therefore, binge eating is primarily a reaction to food deprivation.
Eating foods such as bread, chocolate, sweets or cereal because you cut these out of your diet completely for the last 4 weeks and the temptation and cravings have just got too much. This is a biological instinct to relief yourself from food restriction.
Continued eating because you have ‘already screwed up’ so you ‘might as well’ finish the packet because you can just start again tomorrow. This is called the last supper mentality, whereby your brain doesn’t know when it is next going to be able to eat these foods, so it goes ALL IN screaming that you must stock up and eat as much as possible!
This highlights that binge-eating is not a stand-alone or self-contained behaviour—it is simply one part—the second part—of the diet-binge cycle.
After a cruel comment was made about my looks I decided to embark on my first diet at just 16 out of shear embarrassment. I would take Slimfast shakes to school, snack on nuts and started skipping meals, cutting out carbs and avoiding eating with others. This became my life, my priority and guided whether I would have a good or a bad day. I would read health magazines, follow the latest diet fads and health trends online and was always looking for the next detox or food craze to follow. I was addicted and totally consumed myself in the world of diet culture. So, there was no escaping, I was trapped! Unfortunately. just three years later I had developed Anorexia and Bulimia, cycling between food restriction and binging daily. The more I tried to control my food the stronger this cycle became.
I tried all the self-help solutions out there, tried to understand my behaviours, control my stress, reduce my anxiety but still I would find myself binging at the end of the day. I thought there was something wrong with me and I was ‘broken’. It wasn’t until years into my healing journey, that someone finally suggested that perhaps my bingeing wasn’t just a response to difficult emotions or “neurological junk” in my brain. Perhaps my binges were a response to countless years of dieting and feeling deprived around food, as a result of innumerable attempts at weight “control” throughout my life.
Ultimately, the only way to stop binge-eating is to *truly* let go of dieting…which is not always easy in a culture that constantly tells you your life’s happiness depends upon you eating (and looking) a certain way.
Fear usually comes up.
Most of my clients ask; “but if I stop dieting, I’ll just eat and eat and eat FOREVER!” “I’ll put on so much weight and I will end up unhappier and out of control than I am now!”
The fear of letting go of your current ways is likely due to a deep fear of weight gain and what how you would feel if you put on weight; not good enough, unlovable, unworthy etc. This is the core of what needs to be addressed to help you PERMANENTLY overcome your symptom i.e. binge eating.
The thing is, how long are you going to put yourself through this, causing yourself so much pain over and over again? I know you want to change but if you look at how you r current approach is helping you get you to where you want to be and be honest about this, you will probably find that your current approach is holding you back rather than moving you forwards.
The definition of insanity is; “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.
So what if you just allowed yourself to TRY a different approach? You are clearly so unhappy where you ar right now, sure you can’t feel much worse?! What If this different approach allowed you to:
Think clearly without obsessive and controlling thoughts
Feeling calm and relaxed around food, which means you can actually enjoy what you are eating
Be more present and connected with your family
Go places which, in the past you have considered as triggers
Feel healthy and strong knowing you are fuelling and nourishing yourself
Start focusing on the things which are truly important to you
Start showing up in your career in the way you would like
Reach the level of health, happiness and success you desire.
The things are possible and these are the things you deserve, if you allow yourself.
NEED SOME HELP?
If you know you are falling victim to stress, your emotions or engaging in self-depreciating behaviour ( emotional eating, food restriction, binge eating, alcohol) and feel stuck and out of control book in a private 1:1 call with me and start to take back some control over your life.
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