Binge eating urges
Binge eating urges can overtake our lives. Do you feel like you have tried everything to stop binge eating, but urges still persist? Maybe you have tried distraction, going for a walk, or having a hot bath – but nothing changes. You still feel like there is this tension building up inside. It becomes unbearable and you need to eat to resolve it. This is very common, so I want to break this down.
Even though binging at that moment is comforting, you are actually making things more difficult. At that moment, eating might provide comfort by dissipating the thoughts and uncomfortable sensations in the body. However, this is merely temporary. They will return – followed by those heavy feelings of guilt, shame, disappointment, and discouragement.
Urges are uncomfortable
Similar to any habit (i.e drinking or smoking), the urge will return because it is part of us. It is our survival brain being activated and sending a false message. Essentially, we move into fight or flight mode, and our brain sends messages to our body that we literally need food for survival. Now, this does not feel comfortable. And it won’t be comfortable or pleasent to move through these urges. All we want is for the feeling to go away. But it won’t. However, the less we act on it, the faster the brain will understand that we don’t need to binge.
So what can you do?
Separate yourself from the urge + observe the urge
Understand that the urge is not even you. We need to learn to watch and observe the urges from a distance. When we understand that we are separate from the urges, and it’s just our brain sending false messages – we can disassociate and consequently make different choices.
Ultimately, our brain is confused and believes we need that amount of food to survive. And you, (the rational part, which is the frontal lobe), knows the truth. It knows that you don’t need that amount of food at once. So, while you separate and observe that urge as something independent from yourself – with time you are weakening pathways in the brain that send these false signals and you change your brain to live a binge free life. With time, the less you act on the urges, the weaker they will become. Until, eventually it will fade.
Do this exercise to make the binge eating urges go away:
Imagine you are driving a bus. You are in control. But there is an annoying, very loud kid at the back of the bus. This kid comes over to the front, and wants to take over the bus! That kid is your urge. It wants to take over your life. It wants you to respond to them, and to act on it. But you are the driver of this bus. You are the driver of your life. You make the decisions. That frontal part of the brain makes decisions, and you need to send that kid to the back of the bus. Imagine, you are sending this annoying kid to the back of the bus and you can hear it, but it’s further away and not so in your face.
Don’t make the kid (urge) go away
Don’t try and make the kid go away – just separate yourself. This kid has no power over you, so tell them to move to the back. They will still be there, still talking to us, but it’s quieter because they are further away. Sometimes they come back to the front, and it’s really loud in our ear and they want to take over. But it’s YOU who makes the decisions. You tell the kid that ‘You are not going to take over my bus, this is my bus, and my life’. And then send them back.
Eventually, this kid (or the urge) will sit for longer periods at the back. We don’t want them to vanish completely, we merely want to make peace with them and reclaim our power. We might even binge eat from time to time (and this is ok too). What if we could allow ourselves to do that? This kid won’t be going away completely, but they will become quieter. Less overwhelming and have less control over our lives. So trust that through this process, at some point the urges will become less and less.
Keep repeating it as often and as long as you need until the urge is small, quiet and weak enough so that you can keep feeling in control of your life.
Become the observer
We need to separate ourselves from the urge. Watch and observe it and you will notice it will have less power over you. This is how we slowly rewire and reprogram the brain. What we fire, we wire. So what we act on will create new pathways in our brain and subsequently, new habits and realities.
Binge eating triggers
Finally, it’s also important to remember that one of the main triggers that cause binge eating is not enough calories. So the most fundamental thing you can do is ensure you are eating adequate and regular meals with sufficient calories. The Balanced Diet Framework is a self-study program I developed to help with this (I tell you what, when, and how much to eat to reduce cravings). I also suggest you eat food you tend to binge on, and integrate that into your daily diet (or regularly) so you don’t feel restricted. Because restriction, food rules, and not eating enough is the biggest trigger for binge eating as well.
BALANCED DIET FRAMEWORK
EASY SELF-STUDY NUTRITION PROGRAM
OVERCOME BINGE EATING AND OVEREATING URGES
Telling you exactly WHAT, WHEN, WHY + HOW to eat
- End the crazy binge and restrict cycle that leaves you feeling guilty and ashamed.
- Create a healthy relationship with food
- Strategies to stabilize blood sugar / reduce sugar cravings
- Most importantly you will never need to feel deprived, hungry or like you are missing out again.