Do you struggle with binge eating?
Do you feel guilt and shame after overeating?
Do you want to eat “normally” and stop feeling controlled by food?
If you answered YES you are in the right place! Remember: binge eating is not your fault, and you don’t have to live with it.
What is Binge Eating?
Binge-eating is defined as consuming a large amount of food in a short window of time. An episode is characterized by feeling out of control, distressed, numb, and / or overwhelmed. After binging, physical discomfort, guilt, and shame are common feelings.
Here are some key facts about binge eating:
Binge eating is NOT your fault and it has NOTHING to do with willpower
Binge eating is a survival mechanism. Your body binges as an attempt to keep you safe and protected
Binge eating happens for a reason. It’s a sign that your body has an unmet need(s).
Trying to control your food intake is making the binges worse
Applying the Intuitive Eating framework can help you stop binging!
Food Restriction Fuels Binge Eating
When new clients start working with me, often they believe that they need more willpower when it comes to food. This belief stems from diet culture.
In our work together, my clients learn that they are not the problem and food is not the problem.
The problem is restriction!
Binge eating is a normal response to restriction. Trying to avoid “trigger” foods, control portions, and be strict about eating are all forms of restriction that set the stage for a binge.
The Restrict- Binge Cycle
When your body senses food restriction and deprivation, it enters survival mode. Your body’s number one goal is survival and it views restriction as a threat to your existence.
Food restriction is found in two main ways:
Physical restriction: eating below your energy needs, eliminating food groups, eating mainly “air” foods that are not physically satisfying.
Mental restriction: telling yourself you shouldn’t eat something, judging your food choices, and actively trying to control your weight. Research shows that even having thoughts about limiting food is enough to trigger a binge. If you physically allow yourself to eat the foods you want but are telling yourself you shouldn’t eat something, you will stay trapped in the cycle. Your mindset matters!
Hormonal changes occur in response to restriction, which triggers a binge.
For example, on a diet, hunger hormone levels elevate in the body while fullness hormone levels decline. This physiological response is your body’s way of helping you survive. The intense cravings you experience on a diet are REAL, it’s not all in your head! Bottom line is that diets are unsustainable long-term because they conflict with our biology.
How to Break the Cycle
To break the restrict-binge cycle, the first step is to get curious about the restrictions keeping you trapped. Are your restrictions mental, physical, or both?
Ask yourself these questions to dive deeper:
Am I eating consistently throughout the day?
Am I eating a variety of food groups? Am I eating enough carbohydrates?
Am I telling myself that sweets are off limits, only to find myself binging on them later?
What are my food rules? Where did I learn them?
If you feel stuck coming up with the answers, don’t worry! Working with a professional can help you identify where you are restricting and how let go of food rules.
It may seem counter intuitive at first, but loosening control over food will reduce binge episodes. I’ve helped women from around the world break free from binge eating through Intuitive Eating. You can break free too!