Binge eating - how to break the cycle
May 28, 2019
If you´re a binge eater, I feel your pain.
I struggled with this myself in my late teens and in my early twenties and it was not fun.
I would cycle between periods of being “really good”, where my calorie consumption was kept under tight control to other times where I would literally lose my sh.t and eat anything that was within my reach. It was horrible.
Every time I would have a binge episode, I would feel deeply disappointed and angry with myself. I would feel like a failure for not being able to control myself but I couldn’t see a way out of it.
Looking back at it now, I´m actually grateful for having gone through this phase because it taught me so many things about myself and how my body & my mind function that I wouldn’t have realized if I hadn’t reached the state of despair I was in.
So if you are dealing with binging at the moment, know that there is a way out and that it’s a challenge in which there lies great opportunities for growth.
A life without struggles is a life without growth. I know it may not feel like it at times but everything you are going through right now is necessary in order for you to become more connected to yourself, to your needs and to develop more kindness for yourself.
You are not alone in what you’re going through and you will find your way out of this. I promise.
Hopefully these things will help.
First of all, know that your lack of self control around food isn’t all your “fault”. Certain foods in our system, and typically the ones we choose to binge on, are designed to create a toxic form of hunger that no amount of willpower or discipline can outplay. Just like a drug, they trigger the parts of our brain that make us want more of them.
They have the perfect combination of sugar, salt, fat and chemical shit bombs that will light up your brain like a Christmas tree every time you take a bite. Trying to exercise “discipline” and “moderation” with these foods is like asking a drug addict to consume heroin “in moderation”. It´s just not an option.
If you´re a binge eater or that you feel like you lack self control around food, I highly recommend reading Michael Moss book “Salt, Sugar & Fat”about how the processed food industry manipulates our taste buds.
It was really helpful for me in understanding why I can never open a bag of chips and only have a handful. Or why the only foods I ever binged on were processed and never things like avocados, cherries or quinoa.
Secondly, start identifying the emotions that lead you to eat and start journaling about them.
Observe yourself as you would observe a friend and try and identify patterns of behaviors.
Identifying these patterns is the first step in freeing yourself from them.
Thirdly, stop seeing foods as calories and start seeing them as nutrients. This will help you make better choices around WHAT foods to eat but it will also help you stop seeing food as the enemy.
I spent a good 5 years of my life obsessing about calories. I was considerably chubbier back then and I was definitely well fed but I was under nourished because by avoiding calories I was missing out on vital nutrients and healthy fats meaning I felt constantly famished.
The most nutritious foods on the planet are also the most natural ones. This is why I´m a massive advocate for eating REAL FOOD and why I offer a 10 day REAL FOOD RESET as part of my online membership club FITBODYFRESHMIND.
It´s a great way of resetting your hunger, reduce cravings and start trusting your internal cues again. By becoming a member you will also get access to over 30 Pilates workouts & guided meditations to keep your body fit & your mind fresh.
Fourthly, we often use food as a crutch or to fill a void for something that is missing in other areas of our life. One of the first things I do with new clients is to ask them about their level of satisfaction in their relationships, in their careers and in their social & spiritual live because when we lack fulfillment in one of these areas, we are more likely to turn to food to fill the void.
So my tip to you would be to take an honest look at the areas of your life that lack fulfillment and to start filling them up with things that matter to you. When we are happy in our careers, when we pursue our purpose, when we help others and that we are surrounded by people we love and having fun, food becomes secondary. So make a priority of finding fulfillment in your life and of feeding yourself with experiences that make you happy.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, don’t judge yourself. When we judge ourselves and feel guilty, we are just digging ourselves deeper into a hole by making ourselves feel worse. Wherever you´re at on this journey, have compassion for yourself and speak to yourself as you would to a good friend.
When we judge ourselves, the areas of our brain that help us grow switch off so judging ourselves doesn´t foster growth or a change in behavior. Having compassion for ourselves does.
Perhaps the reason you are going through this struggle right now is for you to make a priority of taking better care of yourself, of being kinder to yourself and to start loving who you are.
I hope this helps. Feel free to reach out if you want to have a chat.