In this post I want to share three possible reasons why you might binge eat. Of course, there’s many reasons that could be deep, layered and complex other than the ones I present here. But see what you think; do you agree with this list? Do you see yourself here?
1. You don’t have a good relationship with yourself
- You don’t know how to talk to yourself
- You don’t understand your emotions
- You are very harsh and critical
- You don’t like yourself, so don’t listen to your inner-self
- You think you should be better all the time
Number one – you just don’t like yourself very much. It’s so common for people to think that they aren’t good enough. In fact, it’s not just a thought, it’s a deep seated belief that shows up in their lives and characteristics and actions in a range of different ways. Some turn to egotistical narcissism, others enter the rat race to achieve material success at the expense of real wellbeing – and others turn to punishing behaviours like addictions or self-sabotage. Compulsive, impulsive, over eating and binge eating would fall into this latter category.
Can you see yourself reflected in this list? How do you talk to yourself? What are your expectations of yourself?
2. You haven’t got a coping mechanism for your emotions (yet)
- You can’t tolerate discomfort
- You don’t like sadness
- You don’t cope with ups and downs
- You think that how you feel will last forever
- You don’t let those emotions out (talking or journaling)
Following on from the previous, this is the logical outcome of not liking yourself. You don’t listen to people you don’t like, and that’s true for yourself too. Your emotions are not going to be tolerated very well if you don’t think you should have them in the first place. Emotions are going to cause huge distress if you judge yourself as a bad person for even having that emotion.
It’s not surprising that many people are not so good at holding their emotions with acceptance. I mean, were you ever truly taught how to do this? I wasn’t. In fact, if you look around you and see how people may talk to their children, you often see the child’s emotions being denied. “You can’t be hungry – we just ate.” “It’s not cold in here, so leave your coat off!” “Don’t cry now, come on.”
In fact, some people get very very uncomfortable with displays of emotions. I mean, are we really allowed to cry in offices? No, of course not. It’s adult and professional and accepted that we control how we feel.
When someone asks ‘how are you?’ – how likely is it that you really answer with what’s really going on for you?
We don’t even have the language for some of our feelings. Our vocabulary may not contain the words to describe what’s going on for us – and sometimes language isn’t even the best way to share. Emotions are often felt in our bodies – and of course, if we don’t like our bodies, it’s another barrier to truly learning how to have a relationship with how we feel.
3. You are trying to change your body
- You may be dissatisfied with body
- You have a belief in dieting
- You hold a belief in looking and eating the right way
- You are trying to control calories
- You weigh yourself
And of course, body dissatisfaction (or full on hatred) is going to lead to all sorts of destructive behaviours. These behaviours may be on some sort of crazy roller coaster that goes between different erratic actions from starving yourself, purging, and bingeing – and the middle ground is rarely settled on.
This one sucks, and it’s hard to get to a place of acceptance with your body. And loving your body can feel totally alien and impossible.
A dissatisfaction with your body is a tough one, because you disconnect from your body totally and it becomes hard to care for a body that you’re too busy trying to fix and control. But without the love and respect for your body, how can you expect to truly treat it well?
The truth is, you can’t find comfort in your skin when you’re hating your way to a different body shape (which won’t work, by the way).
Dieting doesn’t work – but through billions of dollars spent convincing it that it does – it’s hard to shake that belief. We see the narrative everywhere through before and afters, and magazine covers and women talking about their new plan around the office water cooler.
It’s everywhere – and we get sucked in.
Low self-esteem creates the ideal environment for dieting, and then disordered eating – to flourish. You think, when my body is perfect, I’ll be perfect.
But it just doesn’t work that way, sorry to say. Happiness isn’t really found in a pair of skinny jeans. The hunt for the right weight can be addicting and familiar and what your life becomes all about.
Bingeing happens because you have no connection to your body, your self, your emotions. A total disconnect from who you are.
In my coaching and workshops, I teach you how to find this balance once and for all. How to eat food without trying to control every aspect of it, and how to settle in your skin in a way that leads you to treating yourself truly well so that you actually feel really good, from the inside out. I’m still learning this stuff myself – I have days where body dissatisfaction can creep in – but from learning all the tools I now teach, I don’t fall into dieting traps or bingeing, but have learned other ways to cope when these thoughts creep in.
I hope you found this post useful so you can see what you might be doing that contributes to your bingeing.
Take care – Rebecca x.