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binge eating urges

Binge Eating Urges Don’t Go Away – Do This Exercise To Make Them Go Away

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. 

 

Temporary comfort 

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.  

binge eating urges

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.

binge eating urges

Confused brain

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.

binge eating urges

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.

binge eating urges

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 urges

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.  

the causes of food cravings

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.

 

triggers

Binge Eating Triggers: Why Can’t I Stop Eating Chocolate Once I Start?

Binge Eating Triggers

Binge Eating Triggers are an interesting thing. Haven’t we all experienced moments when all we wanted is a piece of chocolate. But once we start, it’s like something takes over and we can’t stop.

 

Why is that?

 

For instance, have you ever driven past KFC and out of a sudden felt hungry.  Or walked past a fish and chips shop, inhaling the deep-fried aroma, suddenly feeling an intense wave of hunger?  But before this, you were not even thinking about food!  Or, you have one crisp, and suddenly you want to eat more and find it difficult to stop? 

 

What happens in these scenarios?

Binge Eating triggers

Sensory Binge Eating Triggers

Simply put, these are triggers.  To be specific, these are Sensory Triggers. From my experience and research, there are 8 binge eating triggers that cause us to binge or overeat.  This blog will specifically look at the 4 sensory triggers that create binge eating urges.

 

The 4 sensory triggers – activated by the senses

  1. We see food and are hungry for it (For example, seeing the delectable chocolate cake in a cafe cabinet)
  2. We hear someone talking about food (An advertisement for pizza and we think, yes we would like to eat it).
  3. Smelling food (Walking past a bakery and suddenly craving bread)
  4. Taste. You have a little bit and want more. Many people say ‘Once I start eating chocolate, I can’t stop
triggers

Strategies for mindful eating when confronted with Binge Eating Triggers

 

1. Create awareness around the craving

When we are confronted with one of these triggers, we need to STOP and PAUSE. This gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves, ‘Why are we now suddenly thinking about food?’.  Essentially, this creates awareness around this sensation of craving.  And, if you were not thinking about food prior, you are probably not hungry and your body does not require it. In THIS video I am talking where to start when addressing Binge Eating Triggers.

 

This is not about restriction

Now, the restriction mentality is certainly not what I am advocating, as this causes deprivation (and more binging).  So,  you can still decide to consciously eat the food. But, we want to eat mindfully and not on autopilot.  So, pause and ask yourself the following; 

 

  • Am I hungry for this right now?’ (if you are, eat it!)
  • Do I want it later?
  • ‘Does this particular food align with my health goals?

 

Ultimately, after acknowledging the trigger and asking these critical questions,  you can decide to eat the food or not.  Or, you might make a different more aligned food choice.  Remember, what you choose to eat needs to be delicious and satisfying.  This is critical as there is no point in eating food we do not enjoy!

Binge Eating triggers

Triggers activate endorphins

Further, certain foods trigger endorphins in the brain even by just looking at it.  The brain remembers the prior pleasure of eating that particular food.  Simply put, your brain might be urging you to eat something because we naturally seek pleasure.  This is our psychological design, making it more challenging to resist.  So again, be aware this is just a trigger, you might not actually be hungry for the food.  

 

2. Imagine and tap into the sensation

After you identify and create awareness around the trigger, imagine having the flavor of the food in your mouth.   For example, imagine biting into the chocolate cake and chewing it.  Then, imagine it in your stomach and the feeling of eating it all.  Then ask, do you want this right now? Do you want this sensation? Interestingly, sometimes your decision to eat it changes.   

 

This is not a guilt-trip

To be clear, this process is not to make you feel guilty or bad.  It’s about acknowledging the sensation and tapping into mindful eating practices.  Some days you will eat it, and others you will not.   So, these steps are very powerful to cultivate conscious eating decisions around our food choices. 

 

What are you really craving?

Finally, these strategies might shine a light on another need you might be craving at a deeper level (such as an emotional need)  Perhaps not, maybe you just want to eat it. And this is great too! 

Binge Eating triggers

Understand what triggers you

Sensory triggers are 1 of the 8 triggers that lead to binge eating and overeating.  I have created a free workbook so you can look through all of the triggers and identify what might be driving your own food choices.  In particular, the workbook has strategies about what you can do.  Importantly, these are practical tools you can apply immediately – so you can really change how you respond to food and ultimately feel in control around food. 

 

Finally, download the free workbook HERE and find out what works for you.

Eat when bored Stop Binge eating and emotional eating

6 KEY STEPS TO
END BINGE EATING CYCLE &
RELEASE EMOTIONAL WEIGHT

Regain power over food!

 

Binge eating and emotional eating is not a food problem, it is an emotional problem.

 

Ultimately, we can’t rely on will-power to stop binge eating. In this e-book I am addressing the underlying reasons why we use food as a drug and what our body is trying to tell us.

DOWNLOAD NOW
eat when bored

Help! I Always Eat When I Am Bored!

Help, I eat when bored! 

Do you eat when you are bored? Whenever you have any downtime at home, do you promptly find yourself in the abyss of your kitchen searching for a new snack to devour?  The kitchen seductively lures you into the cabinets, even if you don’t actually feel hungry? 

 

Let me be honest with you.  The two most common reasons people eat (when they are not actually hungry) is from stress or boredom.  Funnily enough, these are opposite sensations.  Boredom is not enough stimulation, and stress is an overload of sensation on the nervous system.  But both are very common in our life! 

eat when bored

I eat when I am bored!

So, in those bored moments, you might find yourself sitting alone watching television in the evenings, or having a rest on a Sunday.  Because life can be a hectic juggle of ‘go go go, busy busy busy’, you find this sensation of ‘not doing’ quite uncomfortable.  

 

Moreover, if we decide to eat when we are bored, it becomes a bandaid solution.  Why? Foods high in fat and sugar will give us a hit of dopamine and endorphins causing us to feel good.  But only temporarily.  So, we will inevitably feel bored again.  And most likely eat, again….(cycle repeat – forming a habit)

 

An opportunity

I see this boredom sensation as a wonderful opportunity to interrupt the dominant pattern and do something we enjoy.  Something that stimulates us.  Our feelings are never the problem, it’s what we decide to do with them.  Ultimately, we can all learn how to respond to our feelings, bodily sensations, and emotions.  And a great way for us to do that is to cultivate awareness of our behaviors. It’s like shining a light on a blind spot! 

eat when bored

Empowering activity if you eat when bored

Grab a piece of paper or your journal. Ask yourself the following questions:

 

1} Why am I eating at this moment? 

Often, it is not about what we eat, but more importantly WHY. ‘I am bored. I don’t have anything to do.  I feel lonely.’  Ask yourself if you can wait until you are finished your activity and eat later? PS- waiting until hunger sets in makes food 1000% more enjoyable.  Hunger is the best seasoning and spice!  Food tastes so much better when we have an appetite for it. So learn to check in with actual hunger cues.

 

2} How am I eating? 

Am I eating consciously and being present? Or am I eating fast and secretly so that nobody can see me? Are you hiding the wrappers? Are you eating fast and on the go? Am I eating mindfully and slowly so I fully enjoy my food?  

 

3} When do I eat?

Am I eating every time I have an internal bodily sensation that is uncomfortable (such as stress, boredom or sadness)?  Am I angry or frustrated? Lonely? Do I eat because it’s a certain time of the day? 

 

4} What am I eating?

What are the types of foods you are eating?

 

Reflecting on why you eat when bored

These questions allow us to become compassionately curious about our eating.  So,  put on your investigator’s hat. Without judgment, just observe what is going on.  Frame your writing around the central idea of ‘How can I learn about myself right now? ‘How can I grow?’

eat when bored

5} Identify your ideal

After answering these questions,  we can then ask, what is my ideal?

If we don’t know what we want, it’s really hard to achieve it, right? Because we start doing all sorts of random things.  But if those actions do not fully align with our desires and goals, then we won’t actually go where we want.  So, decide your ideal way of eating and write it down.  

 

6} What will you do to close the gap?

Then, decide what you are going to do to close that gap between where you are now, to where you want to be. 

 

Take the first step to stop eating when bored

What is the one step you are going to do?  You might decide, from now on, every time I am bored I am going to do this writing exercise.  Or every time I am bored, I am going to do some exercise or do some art.  It could be anything that resonates with you as something joyful.  For instance:

  • yoga
  • gentle stretching
  • painting
  • learn something new
  • read a book
  • call a friend
eat when bored

Boredom is not the problem

At the end of the day, boredom is not the problem.   We can choose what we do with boredom and how we respond.  This journaling process will help you identify where you are, where you want to be, and how you will close the gap!   Eating when bored provides an opportunity to do something that gives pleasure, meaning, and joy!   Let me know how you go.  I would love to hear from you. Eugenia x

Eat when bored Stop Binge eating and emotional eating

6 KEY STEPS TO
END BINGE EATING CYCLE &
RELEASE EMOTIONAL WEIGHT

Regain power over food!

 

Binge eating and emotional eating is not a food problem, it is an emotional problem.

 

We can’t rely on will-power to stop binge eating. In this e-book I am addressing the underlying reasons why we use food as a drug and what our body is trying to tell us.

 

calm

Supporting Yourself Through Stressful Unprecedented Times

women looking out into the sea looking calm

Finding calm within stressful and uncertain times

In these unprecedented times, it is important to acknowledge that many of us are feeling distressed in one way or another. Most of us find themselves in a not calm state.  Whether through the loss of income, work, separation from loved ones or a decline in mental or physical health. Uncertainty is understandably high for many of us right now. 

 

I would like to discuss the psychology of uncertainty (particularly around food, but also other aspects of life) and give techniques to bring calm and and a sense of certainty.  I discussed these issues and techniques around eating and food in more detail in my interview Kiwi Talks #43.

 

Psychology of certainty 

This pandemic is riddled with unknowns.  So, to combat this, our minds tend to search for what will bring us certainty. For some, it is food because we know how food makes us feel.  For example, binge eating junk food. Chocolate will make me feel good and I get a temporary high.  Is it alcohol? If I have a glass of wine, I will feel relaxed and chilled and forget about things for a while.  Are you obsessing about cleaning? If I clean the house I will regain some control back.  It could also be pornography or online shopping addiction because this releases dopamine and even adrenaline. Have you ever felt excited when you started buying things and felt like buying more and more? That is a combination of adrenaline and dopamine that drives those urges.

 

In times of uncertainty, we tend to go back to what we know. Often these tend to be self-soothing activities that give us a sense of control. These behaviors become like self-medication. Ultimately, in uncertainty, we move towards things that we know because we know how it will make us feel – control, happiness, numbness, distraction, etc. 

calm image of a flower floating on water

It is important to cultivate awareness of what you are clutching onto to bring certainty because the behavior might not be serving your highest good.  But I know from working with clients in relation to their eating habits, that people actually know what to eat. They know exactly what healthy eating looks like.  So if people know this, what is the problem? The issue, therefore, becomes ‘Why don’t we do it?  What are the roadblocks?   Some of this stems from how our human psychology works, specifically in relation to survival instincts. 

 

Psychology of the survival instinct in stressful moments

The survival instinct has a vital function for us as human beings.  When we were threatened by the tiger or lion in the wild, we needed to run away immediately to stay alive.  We didn’t want our brain to think ‘Oh should I run left or right?’.  No, we needed to act now to stay alive!

 

Hormones

So when the cortisol and adrenaline hormones elevate, the rational part of the brain is meant to shut down.  This survival instinct is why many people are not thinking rationally right now. Many people are acting on autopilot or mimicking others (panic buying) in the name of survival.   It is hormones creating this, so we simply need to create awareness and use techniques to get out of flight and fight mode, bringing hormones down. 

women at her desk with her head in her hands looking stressed

Find calm with awareness of habits

Apart from this survival instinct on overdrive, you might be noticing past patterns or habits resurfacing.    Thus, it is an important time to become aware of habit formation and how to change habits (read my blog on this), and become aware of personal triggers.  Self-awareness might also be simple strategy. For instance, if you find watching the news is affecting you, limit this to watching just once per day. 

 

Techniques to bring calm and control when feeling overwhelmed

If we eat when we are not hungry, or drink alcohol to numb ourselves, we are ultimately looking to change how we feel.  It momentarily distracts us and numbs us from painful feelings. But there are other ways to change how we feel.  For example:

 

1)Movement (Singing, dancing, yoga, pilates, HIIT training). Movement powerfully and quickly shifts emotional states. 

 

2)Gratitude (If we think about what we are grateful for it changes how we feel). Studies show that brain and heart waves align and become congruent when we are grateful, creating calm. We can’t be grateful and angry at the same time.

 

3)Do something restorative (Yin yoga or deep belly breathing) In THIS Video I am showing three poses that will give you calm.

 

4) Talk to your inner child.  (We all have an inner child and need to check in with him/her.  Place your hand on your heart, and ask yourself how you are feeling. What is creating that emotion. Allow yourself to feel those emotions). 

 

5) The anchor of breath (Deep belly breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and send the signal to your brain that you are safe).

creating calm with dancing and movement can change emotional states. picture of mum and daughter dancing happily

Power of breath brings calm

When we are born, we naturally breathe deep into our belly.  This is our natural state of breathing. But as we grow up we tend to breathe through our chest.  This chest breathing signals to our brain fight or flight mode. It signals to our brain we don’t feel safe and kicks our nervous system into survival mode.  This mode makes us do irrational things like empty the shelves at the supermarket. This current crisis has many people in survival mode and they would be breathing shallow.  So if we take ourselves back to the breath, we can calm our nervous system down. It will signal to the brain that ‘I am ok,  I am safe’. You will consequently make different decisions and old habits won’t re-surface. 

 

Find calm 

These techniques of breath, gratitude, and movement are powerful techniques to achieve calm and control.  We start to think more rationally and take aligned actions around all aspects of life. Let your breath be your anchor in these uncertain times, as it is always available.  Forgive yourself, be gentle with yourself and allow these times to be an opportunity for radical shifts. Much love, Eugenia @ Mindfoodness. 

binge eating and overeating guide

FREE GUIDE REVEALS

 

6 Hidden Reasons for Binge Eating and Overeating During Covid 19 Lockdown

 

?Uncover what is driving your overeating and food cravings

? Beat binge eating with immediately actionable tips

? Feel in control with stocked up food without giving up eating food you love

? Create an easy relationship with food

? Address the root causes

? Eat flexibly without restrictions

 

break habits

Break Automatic Habits Based On Neuroscience – Master Healthy Habits

break habits

Break Habits

How can we break habits that no longer serve us?  Habits are regular practices that are seemingly difficult to give up.  We all have them. They can permeate all aspects of our lives and can be both subtle and forthright. Some habits can be positive, and others detrimental to our goals. But why are habits so difficult to change and shift from our lives? Let’s have a look into specifics about how to break habits that no longer serve you.  

 

Break Habits: Understanding The Process 

Ultimately, the process to stop unfavourable habits in their tracks is simple (I promise).  It is all about understanding the inner-workings of how habits form and interrupting this pattern.  We all have great intentions around eating healthy and preparing nutritious food (or whatever habits you would like to focus on).  So what happens? How come autopilot kicks in so suddenly and easily? Before we know it, we are nearly finished the bag of chips we never even planned on eating!  Then we find ourselves mindlessly eating again…. what?!  

break habits

Habits meet a need

First, we need to understand that all habits meet a particular need.  They give us a particular reward. Otherwise, we would not do it! Let’s look at a common issue people experience with night eating or NES. You are not hungry and you know this, but you are bored watching TV and go to the kitchen to eat.  Then you go back to watch TV. Then boredom kicks in again, and you go back to the kitchen for a snack. This repeats over and over until you go to sleep. Obviously, the reward is that the food is making you feel good and it gives you something to do = you feel less bored.   After all the back and forth in the kitchen, you eventually  feel guilty and bad. Luckily we can interrupt this process to change paths.

break habit

Understanding the habit process: Trigger – Behaviour – Reward

Apart from being rewarded, what else underlies a habit?  It is important to understand that a habit becomes automatic once we create a connection between the habit and the trigger. A trigger is an event that will initiate the automatic compulsion to do a habit.  The aim is to take the habit off autopilot by either eliminating the trigger or changing the behaviour.

 

Night Eating 

So for this example of night eating, the trigger is watching TV that causes the boredom.  There is a sensation of boredom in the body and mind that provokes you to eat (which is the behaviour).  Through eating, you will feel entertained for a short-period and experience temporary satisfaction. Then, your brain will remember this feeling (reward) and you will therefore do it again  (again and again). This then becomes the habitual and autopilot behaviour that we can not seem to shake.

break habits

How To Break the Habit 

1. Change the trigger or behaviour

We break the habit by identifying and deconstructing the trigger, behaviour and reward.   Many options are available here.  First, you can change the trigger (watching TV). Instead of watching TV you might decide to connect and talk to your partner.  Other possibilities could include playing games with your family, reading a book or going to the gym. What else can you do that won’t give you the feeling of boredom?  This changes the trigger, and the need to eat lessens. Plus you have fulfilled the reward via a different behaviour. 

break habits

2. Observe the Feeling

Secondly, another option is to observe the sensation of boredom in your body without the need to change it.   For many, the reason why we eat is to fulfil emotional voids, because we want to change how we feel.  Ask yourself, ‘What are you truly seeking’?  So, what if you simply observe the sensation of boredom in your body. Where is it showing up? How does it feel? What form does it take? Lean into it, and do not be afraid of it. You might notice other emotions arise also.  Watch these feelings and sensations pass.

 

You also become rewarded for this because you did not overeat and went to bed feeling good. You will sleep better and in the morning wake up fresh because you did not overeat in the night time.  Further, you will create a healthy cycle and eating pattern without skipping meals causing night eating the following evening. 

break habits

Break habits by identifying the trigger, behaviour and reward

In a nutshell, to break a habit we identify the trigger, behaviour and reward.  Then, we decide how we will change it – via the trigger or behaviour. It is as simple as that. You will consciously break the chain reaction and pattern. If you have trouble identifying any of these, I can help! Reach out and send me a message or email. I am happy to help.   

 

Free gift for you 

I have created a free Habit Planner and Habit Tracker.  This is one of the most comprehensive workbooks I have made, and it is completely free. You can focus on priority goals in any part of your life, such as finances, relationships, fitness or health and easily track your progress.   It will help you to easily identify and track habits whilst staying motivated. Super easy to follow. Fast track your goals and download below.

break habits

REACH YOUR GOALS  WITH THIS FREE PRINTABLE

 

HABIT PLANNER + TRACKER

  • Get closer to health, happiness, wealth, dream relationship or anything else you wish faster
  • Identify your current habits that keep you stuck
  • By focusing on only 3 habits at a time, you set yourself up for success to achieve any goals you have.

 

psychology

The Psychology Behind Why We Binge Eat – And 3 Tools To Stop

psychology

The Psychology Of The Binge

I was tired.  I was stressed.  Stressed from the busy juggle of work and life in general.  I had a rough day with a tense deadline to complete.  Obviously, I had to eat the entire packet of __________ (insert favorite ‘go-to’ stress junk food here).  Tim Tams, chips, sweets, lollies, a jar of Nutella, or whatever snack you can find with the highest amount of sugar, fat or salt. Sound a tad familiar? I think most of us would relate on some level.  The psychology behind why this happens is paramount to understand if we want to beat the binge for good. 

psychology

Why We Binge Eat

Absolutly, there are copious reasons why we binge eat.  However, the common culprits are restrictive dieting and stress.  In particular, food becomes a distracting comfort blanket or ‘drug’ to cover uncomfortable emotional states.  Many times, before we even feel the emotion of stress or overwhelm (or are conscious of what is going on at all), we have already devoured a packet of chips! What even happened? Moreover, diets (with their inherent restrictive nature) cause us to crave and binge more; turning eating into a vicious cycle. 

 

De-Stress

Have you ever eaten chocolate to de-stress?  Chocolate is the perfect food that stimulates the reward system in the brain.  Namely, chocolate calms us down for a short period by releasing feel-good hormones like endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.  So there is no wonder why we develop the habit of eating chocolate when life becomes all too hard…

psychology

The Psychology Behind It All

The psychology around why we crave certain foods whilst under stress is very interesting.  Obviously, there is the science behind the feel-good hormones it releases.  But why is it that a mouthful of sugary goodness is so comforting and even normalised in our culture? Well, we possibly learn from childhood conditioning that food is comforting.  For example, we learn to associate feeling better and ‘cared for’ with treats. ‘Here little Jane, have some chocolate, you have been such a good girl getting at the doctor’.  Thus, this association, alongside an emotional attachment to comforting memories, generates a sense of love and connection that we crave at a deeper level (rather than the actual food).  Does this resonate?

 

Rules = Rebel

Further, not only can stress cause binge eating, but so can self-imposed food restrictions (i.e fad diets).  The ‘naughtier’ a certain food is, the more we crave it! For instance, it’s like telling a child they can not play with the red ball, only the trucks and dolls.  What toy do you think they will immediately want to play with? The ball of course. And psychologically, adults are the same.

 

Don’t Eat The Cake: The Psychology Of Scarcity

Ultimatly, if we make cake the forbidden food, we will focus so much on it that we will want it so badly! Thus, diets actually cause binge eating through its restrictions. It’s what we call anticipated scarcity – a marketing tactic used frequently by advertisers.  If something is only available for a limited time, we want it NOW! And when we do get our hands on the cake, we become so worried about never eating it again (our brain anticipates scarcity) and we decide to devour the whole thing.  Researchers Worchel, Lee, and Adewole asked participants to rate jars of cookies.  One jar had 10 cookies and the other just 2. Which one did the particants choose from more often? The one with the 2 cookies of course…

psychology

How To Stop Binge Eating?

The first step is learning to separate food from our emotions.  Easier said than done, right? We can do this by incorporating mindfulness around eating, whilst cultivating self-awareness around uncomfortable emotions.  So before we unconsciously devour an entire packet of biscuits we learn to feel into the emotion we feel before we grab the packet. Take a few deep breaths and feel what might be going on.  What unmet need do I have? What unexpressed emotion am I holding onto?   There are 3 powerful tools to help with this.

 

1. Deep Belly Breathing (Diaphragmatic Breathing)

Firstly, breath control helps quell the stress responses in the body.  It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which releases hormones that calm us down.  When we are stressed we tend to automatically breathe quite shallow, which releases more cortisol (stress hormone) and adrenaline causing us to feel more stressed.  To breathe deeply, you feel air coming through your nose, filling your lungs and the lower belly rises. At first this type of breathing might feel unnatural, however it’s all about practice and normalizing this type of breathing.  

psychology

Gratitude

Secondly, gratitude is a technology we can harness.   The human brain can not feel stressed and grateful at the same time.  Lack, anger and loss can not exist in the same space as gratitude.   So when you feel stress creeping in, stop, and mentally focus on something you are grateful for.  I guarantee this will change your current state and emotional response. I personally practice gratitude daily.  A gratitude journal can be very useful also. 

psychology

3. Move!

Thirdly, another way to shift emotional states and our mindset quickly is to move.  Essentially, a change in our physiology can be subtle yet very powerful. For example, if you are feeling down in the dumps, try straightening your spine, shoulders back, pull your chest up and breathe more deeply.  Or go for a run or a walk. Get moving. Pump some music and dance. When we change our body, our state immediately changes. Give it a go.  Ultimatly, physical movement shifts emotion.  Our physiology is key to changing our emotional state and coming unstuck.  

psychology

Psychology Of Binge Eating

Finally, understanding the psychology behind why we binge eat is an empowering step in stopping.  Techniques of deep belly breathing, gratitude and changing our physiology are three powerful ways to shift stress and feel into our emotional needs; to ultimately end binge eating and overeating.  In addition, I have created a FREE Binge Eating Guide – 6 Steps to End The Binge Eating Cycle.  You can download below now, completly free.  

Eat when bored Stop Binge eating and emotional eating

6 KEY STEPS TO
END BINGE EATING CYCLE &
RELEASE EMOTIONAL WEIGHT

Regain power over food!

 

Binge eating and emotional eating is not a food problem, it is an emotional problem.

 

We can’t rely on will-power to stop binge eating. In this e-book I am addressing the underlying reasons why we use food as a drug and what our body is trying to tell us.