As someone who struggled with binge eating for years, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to break free from the cycle of overeating and guilt. But through trial and error, and with the help of a therapist, I was able to identify and overcome my binge eating triggers. In this blog post, I’ll share some of the insights and techniques that helped me along the way. (includes anecdotal information)
What is Binge Eating?
First, let’s define what binge eating is. Binge eating is characterized by consuming an excessive amount of food in a short period of time and feeling a loss of control over the eating. It’s important to note that binge eating is not the same as occasional overeating, which is a normal part of life. Binge eating is a disorder that can have serious physical and mental health consequences, including weight gain, digestive problems, and depression.
The 1st Binge Eating Trigger: Physical Restriction
One of the first binge eating triggers that I identified was emotional eating. I noticed that I tended to turn to food when I was feeling stressed, anxious, or bored. This type of eating is often triggered by negative emotions or stress, and can be a coping mechanism for dealing with difficult feelings.
The 2nd Binge Eating Trigger: Mental Restriction
Another binge eating trigger that I struggled with was the “forbidden fruit” effect. This occurs when you restrict certain foods or food groups, leading to intense cravings and ultimately overeating. I found that when I tried to cut out carbs or sugar, for example, I would end up binging on those foods later.
The “forbidden fruit” effect is also related to a phenomenon called food habituation. This occurs when we become accustomed to a certain type of food and require more of it to feel satisfied. For example, if you eat a lot of sugar, your taste buds become desensitized to it, and you may need more and more sugar to feel satisfied.
The 3rd Binge Eating Trigger: The All-or-nothing Mindset
The third binge eating trigger that I identified was the “last supper” mindset. This occurs when you feel like you need to eat as much as possible before starting a new diet or exercise plan. This can lead to overeating and feelings of guilt or shame.
How to Turn Good/Bad Foods to Neutral Foods
One technique that helped me overcome these binge eating triggers was to stop labeling foods as “good” or “bad.” Instead, I learned to view all foods as neutral and to practice mindful eating. This means paying attention to my hunger and fullness cues and eating for nourishment and pleasure, rather than using food to cope with emotions or restrict myself.
‘What if I Gain Weight?’/Binge Restrict Cycle
One of the biggest fears that I had about overcoming binge eating was the possibility of gaining weight. This fear can lead to a cycle of bingeing and restricting, which can be difficult to break. But through therapy and support, I learned that my worth as a person is not determined by my weight or eating habits. It’s important to focus on overall health and well-being, rather than a number on the scale.
In summary, overcoming binge eating is a complex process that requires self-reflection, support, and a multifaceted approach. By identifying and addressing binge eating triggers, practicing mindful eating, and focusing on overall health and well-being, it is possible to break free from the cycle of binge eating and live a more fulfilling and joyful life.