Bingeing is eating a lot of food in a short amount of time, with follow up feelings of guilt and shame. You may try to manage the after effects of bingeing by applying more willpower or setting up a programme for you to follow so that you don’t binge again – but this rarely works.
I know because I used to do exactly that. Each evening after a binge (it was a regular thing for me) I would vow to ‘be better’. I would plan my breakfast, my lunch and my dinner, whilst holding my painfully bloated belly, and I would pray that I would follow this plan the next day.
But by breakfast, I felt that I’d already eaten too much and I’d then eat in a way that was both comfort seeking and making me feel worse at the same time.
Binge eating can be a case of Jekyll and Hyde. You feel like you are living with this wild part of you that is totally uncontrollable. It’s like having a cookie monster inside that you just don’t know how to handle!
But no matter what you try, bingeing just seems to happen. So why do your efforts to try and stop bingeing, never work?
In this post I’m going to share with you lessons I’ve learned from my own binge eating experiences and what things I did that made it worse.
The Truth: You Can’t Control a Binge.
And another thing: Your Controlling Attitude Is a HUGE Factor in Bingeing.
Those are two truth bombs that were true for me, and are likely to be true for you as well.
What is dieting and diet culture? We say it’s to control the food we eat – but really it’s about controlling ourselves.
A lack of acceptance of who we are, which is the root of dieting and bingeing, means we attempt to correct our flawed selves regularly.
Some people attempt to correct their perceived flaws through unhealthy exercises patterns, or obsessively preening or cleaning. Other people, like you and me, have tried to control our flawed selves by controlling our food intake.
The belief is that a tight control on food will lead to weight loss and we will then be seen as perfect.
But you see, food control can’t lead to a change in self.
The more dissatisfied you are with yourself, the more pain you feel and the harder you try to get your eating to be perfect.
But as food isn’t the problem – and the problem is a lack of self-acceptance, controlling the food just makes everything worse.
Bingeing is an interesting combination of an inner-self trying to manage lots of different problems all at the same time.
It can result in this paradoxical thing where you try to feel better by eating a lot – but also want to punish yourself through eating a lot
Bingeing is almost a result or outcome of knocking a perfectly fine eating pattern totally out of balance.
If you think eating a regular breakfast and a normal sort of lunch is wrong or too much, then you’ve applied pressure on something that was actually perfectly fine. This means you have been squeezing something so tightly it’s bulging out the other end.
Have you seen those squishy toys that kids have? You squeeze it and it starts bulging out in other places.
That’s a pretty good image for what a binge is.
The squeezing isn’t created by you eating the ‘wrong thing’ – the pressure is applied by you thinking that you’re not good enough.
So why do our efforts to control bingeing never work? It’s because you’re focusing on the wrong thing.
The food is not the problem and you can’t solve the issue of being YOU through eating a different way.
Controlling food only serves to apply pressure to eating habits that will actually find their own way if you give them the right conditions. (I’ll be talking more about this in the Binge Eating Workshop).
Weight gain can be triggering for many of us. Knowing that the food you eat can contribute to weight gain is obviously going to lead you to try to change your eating.
The problem is, an intense focus on food can have really negative outcomes (i.e. bingeing!)
This is why finding balance with food takes a bit of work and it can’t be done if you just focus on food too much without balancing out your inner-self that the needs you have at a deeper level.
Balance with bingeing will happen over time, if you start to back off with trying to control your food so much. Finding balance with food and self is what I teach in all my workshops and coaching, so do take a look to see if there are any upcoming events that might be of interest to you.
Be kind to yourself,