Do You Binge

Feb 19, 2024

 The medical definition of binging is eating a lot of food very quickly - usually in secret.  If you binge, you’re eating more food than your body needs unless you also purge (vomiting, using laxatives, or some other method to eliminate the food you ate), and you will gain weight.

      Binging is common. If you binge, you're probably ashamed of this behavior. You may eat your binge foods in secret and hide the evidence. 

     If you binge when stressed, the binge may help to calm you.  You probably binge on starchy or sugary foods.  You may also binge at certain times of the day or under specific circumstances.

     It is helpful to know what triggers your binges. If you binge at a specific time or when something is happening, plan alternative behaviors for when you want to binge.  Ideally, those behaviors should be non-food-related and incompatible with eating - such as knitting, gardening, or painting.

     If you're like many women who binge, you may first feel an urge (an intense desire caused by a thought) to binge.  Most cravings pass within 5 to 10 minutes if you let yourself feel them without “giving into” them. Even if you eventually binge, pausing for several minutes before you binge makes you more aware, and that awareness will subsequently help you binge less. 

     While pausing, try to figure out what triggered your urge to binge.   Ws happening and sit with the food cravings for 5 to 10 minutes if possible. Do you want to binge because you need to relax?  Are you anxious, stressed, angry, or feeling out of control? Has binging at a specific time of day become a habit? 

     If you can't pause before binging, try to stop in the middle of the binge.  Each time you practice a new behavior, that behavior becomes more effortless.   

     If you binge on certain foods, if those foods are unavailable, do you binge on other foods?  The more carefully you examine your binges, the more you’ll discover and the sooner you’ll be able to control much of your binging.

     Do you remember your first binge?  Do you remember what was happening before you binged?  How did the binge help you, and is binging still giving you that benefit?  Is it relaxing you, lessening your anxiety, or numbing you so you do not feel an emotion? The binge benefits you in some way, or you wouldn't binge.  Before you can stop binging, figuring out how the binge is "helping" you or what you are avoiding by binging is essential.

     Tara Brach developed a mindfulness practice called “RAIN,” which is useful when you are tempted to binge because you’re emotionally distressed.  “RAIN” stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture.  The first step to controlling a binge is to recognize your triggers.  Then, if you can, feel your emotions until they pass. If you investigate why you want to binge and nurture yourself without eating, you will eventually binge less.

     If you are unable to pause and you binge until you feel uncomfortable or are interrupted, investigate your binge like a scientist. What were you thinking about before you binged? What did you eat? What do you think made you want to eat? What were you feeling before, during, and after the binge? Then, make a plan to try the next time you binge. Keep your plan easily accessible.  Continue investigating each binge and try different strategies until you decrease your binges.

     I can help you control your binging or overeating. To find out more, set up a free, no-obligation, no-pressure consultation with me at:         

You can stop binging - and I can help you!


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