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Are you a binge eater?

Is this something you struggle with? You’re not alone, this is a common behaviour I see regularly with clients. It is a powerful eating concern that doesn’t make us happy and is designed to get our attention. The good news is, you can overcome it.

The definition of a binge is a deep intense dive into excess, characterised by consequences such as guilt, shame, fear, confusion, self-attack, powerlessness and judgement and points to the hidden. It’s industrial strength overeating. It is sometimes complex, often simple and can stem from nutritional, emotional and/or lifestyle factors.

The flavour of binge eating is intense, immediate, driven, devouring and out of control. It can leave us feeling devastated, shocked and unsure. It can often feel more powerful than us. Binge Eating can be any frequency, any time, any amount and any food. It often has little to do with eating food. It’s about our unseen, unnoticed energies and emotions. Binge eating demands that we dig deeper, pay attention, explore both nutritional and emotional dimensions and often face our fears.

Nutritionally, you can be moved to binge if you are protein or fat deficient, as you will be limiting essential nutrients so your body will scream hungry. If you are a perfectionist with a diet, you will be prone to binge eating. We are hardwired to eat to survive, so when the brain senses nutritional lack, it will signal hunger. If you are a fast eater, you may binge as your body hasn’t had the opportunity to fully register your meal so you scream hungry. Our tight control of diet is driven by fear of weight gain, fat, hunger, good and pleasure which all create a stress response and can result in binging.

As well as nutritional factors, binge eating can be driven by emotion, life stresses, tough times, or a combination of nutritional and personal factors.

Often, when stress builds, we can go into the fight, flight, freeze or feed response. Our emotional metabolism uses food to destress from built up stress or emotion, ie feel stress – eat food- feel better. It makes sense, we have been programmed to do this since birth. A baby cries, we feed it, they stop crying. Basic really.

Binge eating is often a placeholder for a difficult to process life experience. We might have an undigested life event, or difficult to process emotions and that build up needs an outlet. Binge eating provides a temporary symbolic relief. It is letting us know something else is calling for our attention. We need to pay attention to it.

Binge eating at an emotional level, can be a result of (but not limited to):

- Past sexual abuse

- Undelivered communications

- Unspoken truth

- Past hurt

- A breakup

- A loss

- Grieving

- Letting go of something or someone

- Not living up to our own standards

- Perfectionism

The key to transforming binge eating is relaxation and presence. When we binge eat, a significant part of us checks out, goes unconscious, disembodies, abandons ourselves. Don’t abandon yourself. Re-imagine binge eating as a friend, a teacher, a whispering to listen to and learn the lessons.

Ask yourself:

- What’s this trying to tell me?

- What’s the message? - What is it asking me to pay attention to?

A binge has power. We need to redirect the power of the binge. The power that overcomes us can be transformed into a power that moves us. It’s important to let go of judgement, forgive yourself, get curious about your binge eating, see it’s wisdom, welcome it as a means to help it leave. This takes TIME.

If binge eating is a behaviour you struggle with, contact me here and we can talk. This is something that can be overcome, you may just need some support to get there.

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