Today, I want to talk about Bingeing. Most of you will identify with that word, and although I tend to use the phrase “emotional eating” more frequently, bingeing is really what we are talking about.
I tend to use the phrase ’emotional eating’ deliberately on our FB page, because I think it is a less threatening phrase, and one that people can identify more easily with. Because you all know your overeating episodes are connected in some way to your emotions. However, once I am engaging with any client or group or audience watching a video or attending a workshop, I’ll use Emotional Eating and Bingeing interchangeably.
Many, many clients, and followers on FB, and email subscribers who listen to me can describe themselves as ‘Serial Dieters’. They see their primary issue as an inability to lose weight and keep it off. They beat themselves up because they believe they have no willpower, they ‘crack’ after a few days/weeks and go back to overeating/bingeing.
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) IS a thing – it is an official diagnosis of an Eating Disorder in the DSM V – the bible for psychologists and psychiatrists for diagnosing clients/patients. My audience are split into two groups – those who see themselves as having ‘disordered eating’ and will come to me because they know my area of speciality is Eating Disorders, and those who might never identify with having an eating disorder, but the reality is that they have Binge Eating Disorder. And no diet and exercise regime is ever going to be enough to resolve it, because it is not about food or weight, it is about how they feel about themselves, and how they handle (or don’t handle) difficult emotions.
Bingeing is a coping mechanism. Broadly, it serves two purposes:
- You binge to literally bury the feelings or emotions coming up in your body – push them down so you don’t have to deal with them; and/or
- If you binge, then you can safely get angry with yourself about bingeing, and sad about how your life is on hold because of your relationship with food, but what you might actually be doing is avoiding getting angry with someone else – your boss, your partner, your mother, or sad about something else that happened, usually in the past.
There’s a personality type that goes with bingeing as a coping strategy. My clients are black and white, all or nothing thinkers. They are very unassertive in some ways – people pleasers is the usual phrase that comes up. They are the strong one, the one everyone else turns to, and they put themselves last ALL THE TIME. They have a constant negative voice in their heads, critical, cruel and harsh, speaking to themselves in a way they would never DREAM of speaking to anyone else.
How am I doing so far? Is this resonating with you?
No matter how much you starve yourself, or push yourself in the gym or on the track/road, no matter how much weight you lose in any one focused period, if you don’t do the emotional work, your brain and body will not let you let go of the coping strategy of bingeing. It will ALWAYS return.
Here is a video I made with others several years ago when we wanted to try and capture the essence of what each ‘Eating Disorder’ looks like in a real person. ‘Denise’ is very representative of my clients with BED. She is sociable, has friends, puts a mask on at all times so nobody sees how vulnerable she is, would never dream of asking anyone for help or telling them what is really going on with her, but in private is desperately unhappy and feeling very trapped in her Eating Disorder. She goes on and off diets regularly and would rarely allow her friends see her actually eating any ‘bad’ food, but binges in secret, numbing out in front of the TV so she can eat without even really registering how much she is eating.
I know this post and video will resonate with a lot of you, and it will make a lot of you feel very uncomfortable. That’s ok – sometimes you have to move outside of your comfort zone for change to occur.
I have specialised in Eating Disorders for all of my professional career. I’ve learned an enormous amount in that time from my clients as well as experts in the field. And I now have over 20 Therapists and 10 Nutritional Therapists around Ireland (and available online) who can help you overcome Binge Eating and find TRUE freedom around food.
If you are READY to accept that your way of ‘diet/exercise/crash/binge/guilt/disgust/diet’ is not working, if you are ready to push yourself out of your comfort zone and finally accept that the issue is not just about food, weight and willpower, it will be the best investment you ever make in yourself, because it will fundamentally change your relationship with food and your body, forever.
Book a free, 30 minute online consultation with me and let’s talk about how we can help you. Click the relevant page to get all the information on both online support and one to one support on our 12 Week Program.
If it sounds like what you need, then book that consultation and let’s talk.