It becomes emotional. I know not only how THAT feels, but also what you can do to get rid of it.
What is binge eating?
Binge eating is characterized by periodic stuffing oneself with large amounts of food, usually calorie-dense foods. Anyone who suspects that they suffer from binge eating will certainly have taken a kind of “test”, true to the motto, if you can affirm at least three of the following symptoms, then you probably suffer from a binge eating disorder. The symptoms include eating hastily (“gorging”), eating until you feel very full, eating large amounts of food in a very short time, etc.
What are cravings and how is it different from binge eating?
Cravings are a classic conditioning according to Pavlov. I advise you to read the article “Best foods that help against cravings” so that you understand how cravings arise in you and how you can get rid of them.
Binge eating, on the other hand, is only partially conditioned and much more likely to be triggered by dieting, starvation, eating only at certain times, etc. In other words, eating is periodically limited. One of the biggest problems here is that those affected try to be “good” and disciplined after a binge, thinking that they can compensate for the binge with less food. The problem is that this triggers the binge even more.
Binge eating and cravings feel the same. So if you eat enough, but it still ends in a binge, it’s not binge eating, it’s just cravings that you’ve trained yourself to have. Our nervous system is programmed to ask for the most calorie-dense food. This is an instinct, but it can be resisted with the right knowledge. Further, this conditioning can fade.
This is often confused. Everyone has or has had cravings at some point in their lives. The problem is that for some it doesn’t lead to obesity and for others it does. This, in turn, is due to genetic reasons. This is where it helps to understand what role your genetics play. You can do this by reading the article “What genes reveal about your weight – The solution to weight loss“.
Why you don’t need therapy if you think you have binge eating – The real reason for binge eating
Therapists and clinics have well intentions for the patient but are currently still on the wrong track.
In medicine, it takes decades for new findings to become established. On the one hand, this is due to the highly bureaucratized system and the even more serious reason: the loss of status.
Physicians, therapists, and psychologists have created concepts on certain topics, literature, seminars, and many other methods. If from one day to the next the cause is found which is contrary to the current methods, one’s career would be built on a lie, so to speak. This is accompanied by a great loss of status and, on the other hand, one is often inclined to swim in the “confirmation bias” (the tendency to select, determine and interpret information in such a way that it fulfills/confirms one’s own expectations).
However, the problem in relation to binge eating and psychology/medicine is a bit more complex. Psychologists and medical professionals are in the pleasure trap themselves, i.e., they eat addictive foods on a daily basis, cannot get away from them, and are unaware of this dilemma.
Therapists, psychologists, and medical professionals try to change you or your attitude instead of the food that is on your plate. We try to moderate “normal” food, meaning food from industrialized countries. Because of genetic differences, some have a healthy body weight as a result, and others who have a different genetic predisposition reach obesity despite trying to moderate addictive foods. And because that’s not enough, on top of that they are labeled as having a “mental disorder.”
Steps to get rid of binge eating and cravings
1. The food must be right (most important point of all)
You can comply with all the points, if you do not comply with this point, then the rest is of no use.
Humans evolve on eating a diet that was based on whole natural unprocessed foods. With the introduction of the refining, the food became more calorie-dense. This means that people eat significantly more calories for the same level of satiety. This, in turn, often leads to obesity. Then one decides to make a diet. This goes well for a while, then comes the big hunger. You can no longer hold yourself back and shovel everything you can find into yourself. Really everything? So I don’t know anyone who binge eats with broccoli or onions. Isn’t it interesting that it’s always very calorie-dense food? Chocolate, pasta, bread, etc.
Show me one person who can’t keep themselves down because they have cravings for vegetables and eat kilos of them and are now overweight as a result.
2. Only healthy foods in the house
Make sure not to have junk food or other rich food in the house. By none, I mean none. Not even for guests or for other reasons.
3. Stop dieting
Stop limiting food during the day, portioning it because you were “bad” yesterday and binged. Remember, binge eating is a vicious cycle, because every day you try to compensate for the excess by dieting or starving yourself, the new binge is on its way. Break this circle for good!
“There is no right amount to eat. There is only the right food to eat.” Dr. Doug Lisle
4. Stop eating at certain times
Don’t force yourself into a corset. If you’re hungry at 8 am, eat at 8 am. Just because Harry does Intermittent Fasting and it works for him, it doesn’t have to for you. It’s not what times we eat, it’s what we eat. With the right foods, you’ll automatically lose weight and be binge eating safe. Isn’t that terrific?
Stress Eaters and Binge Eating
The reason you reach for unhealthy foods in emotional moments or stressful situations is not that you had a difficult childhood or you want to compensate for something or wanting to fill a “void.” The reason is that in emotional or stressful moments your mind does a cost-benefit analysis.
A healthy diet requires planning, organization, and preparation. When a new job comes up or other stressful life events, priorities shift. This happens subconsciously, of course, and so it is obvious to blame this on the stress itself.
Further, in stressful moments we look for more dopamine. The more calorie-dense a food, the more dopamine is released. Every food releases dopamine, but in different amounts. In particular, highly processed foods enriched with sugar, fat, and salt release the most dopamine. These include flour products, sweets, cheese, etc. Beware: even healthy foods, such as whole-grain bread, nut butter, and dried fruit are very calorie-dense. The only way not to eat these things is not to have them in the house first. This way is so obvious but is almost never considered. A former alcoholic also doesn’t have alcohol in the house and portions it out. It is exactly the same with these foods. True to the motto, “What’s in your house is in your mouth” – Chief AJ. It’s not a question of if you’re going to eat these foods, but when. And when you have a stressful moment, you will eat them. You should be familiar with that. When our ancestors had a stressful moment, they may ate more fruits and vegetables. But that doesn’t lead to obesity and other health problems. In short, your primal brain calculates what is the best move in your limited lifetime to ensure your survival. Especially in stressful moments, time and energy are limited and it is obvious to reach for the most calorie-dense food because it provides the highest dopamine output in a very short time. Fill your house only with healthy foods. The worst thing that happens is that you stuff yourself with healthy foods. Believe me, this is very hard and hardly ends in extra kilos.
Eating disorders like binge eating have only emerged in our modern environment. A woman wants to be slim, but can’t manage it with a conventional diet. She starts to limit the modern addictive foods, the hunger builds up, this ends in uncontrolled bingeing and the game starts all over again.
Bottom line: you’re bingeing because what you’re eating is wrong or too little. Binge eating has nothing to do with your childhood, stress, or other factors.
My personal experience with binge eating
For years I wondered what was wrong with me. What is it about binge eating, do I not have the discipline to moderate myself? I sought help from classical medicine. Their approach: it’s because of your childhood. On the one hand, this sounded very relieving at first, on the other hand, it didn’t bring me any solution and I felt even more terrible, because, in reverse, it was then up to me, wasn’t it?
The first binge went off after months of dieting. After that, they were part of me because I was on a permanent diet for over 13 years. I didn’t know it at the time though. I thought the amount I was eating was normal. Today I know that I was permanently eating below my basic caloric needs and that’s what caused binges.
This subject is fraught with so much embarrassment and shame. It’s obvious, no one wants to show others when they keep stuffing in unsustainably. One day I was so hungry – I was doing Weight Watchers at the time – that I ate dried up rolls out of the trash can that was thankfully still wrapped in the bag. But I certainly would have fished them out of there without the bag for sure. That’s how hungry I was. It’s clear, my body wants to survive. How can that be related to childhood or stress? And when the body is extremely hungry, it makes more sense for it to eat the most calorie-dense food that is around (in this case the bun) instead of a cucumber.
I attended pointless therapy sessions hoping to get help there. However, most therapists and doctors have virtually no knowledge on the subject of nutrition.
The wrong foods are the only reason for binge eating
The solutions were primitive and I also found it highly unnecessary to bring up things from childhood. These are Freudian approaches that are so outdated. “What are you trying to compensate for?” What did your parents miss to give you?” While these sentences were switching through the room, my stomach was growling. I was getting advice like eat a little bit of everything. Yes, but how, when I always wanted more of that little bit and subsequently gained weight. The majority of doctors still do not understand the principle of the pleasure trap.
It gets emotional when you gain weight from binge eating and from stuffing yourself with unhealthy foods. Binge eating itself triggers emotional problems and not the other way around.
I tortured myself with it for over 13 years. It only stopped after 13 years when I came across a certain approach. Namely, the approach of Dr.Doug Lisle.
From one day to the next, I was satisfied and even lost weight. I thought I could only be done by dieting and starving myself. I was so grateful and at the same time and annoyed why medicine doesn’t know about it or ignores it.
I don’t know a single person who didn’t have childhood problems or any stress. That’s Life! I’m not saying I’m not sorry for the bad things that may have happened to you, but these things have nothing to do with emotional eating.
Even if you’ve eliminated a stressor now, another one will come. You will again have little strength to eat healthy at this time. You can’t prevent every stress and fate or change your personality. But what you can change is your environment. You can change what you have in your refrigerator. You can change what you eat.
Sounds hard? Yes, it is hard when 99% of your environment is eating things they shouldn’t be eating while you try to do an outstanding job on your health journey. And because they can’t get off it themselves, and in some cases don’t have the knowledge that you have now, they don’t want you to get off it either. But you have a choice to stay stuck in the binge eating cycle.
From experience, I can tell you that the hardest part of changing your diet is not the food itself, on the contrary, but the environment around you. You eat more filling foods than you ever have before, and at the same time, you encounter a lot of resistance from the outside.
During this time of change, people have turned away from me or not understood why I eat the way I do. But you can still tell people why you’re doing it and if they don’t respect that, then the question is whether you want to be with that person anyway. I also didn’t know then what I know now, which is that people are afraid to lose their status if you eat healthy yourself. I made a lot of mistakes in communicating about this. You can find out how to handle social situations around food in the article “Why is eating healthy so difficult and what can you do about it” and in the following video:
I know this is quite a lot of information at once if the topic is new to you. It may have also raised a lot of new questions. Read through my articles and many questions are sure to be answered.
Since 2014 on a whole foods plant-based diet, I can say it is one of the best experiences I have ever had. Both mentally and physically. I wish the same for you.
Feel free to contact me if you need help with this.
- The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force That Undermines Health & Happiness
- The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss: A Revolutionary Approach to Conquer Cravings, Overcome Food Addiction, and Lose Weight Without Going Hungry
- The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good!
- TRAUMA VS EMOTIONAL EATING – Dr. Doug Lisle & Dr. Jen Howk
- Dr. Doug Lisle, PhD: The Cram Circuit – the story of binge eating and overeating
- DR. JEN HOWK ON FOOD ADDICTION, RELAPSE, RECOVERY
- Healthy Living LIVE with Dr. Doug Lisle – Cramming and Bingeing