Updated: Sep 30, 2021
The first thing to do here is to get familiar with what it is that is triggering your binges. Until you learn what is driving you to binge, you will never be able to change it. If you have eaten this way for a long time, sometimes even from childhood, it can be very tricky to identify the cause. The cause is more often than not, a single thought – one that you may not even realise consciously that you are having. This negative thought then leads to negative feelings and ultimately negative behaviours. The best way to tackle this is to write everything down. If you start to write down your thoughts and feelings daily it becomes easier to spot triggers that may be driving you to eat.
Binges are commonly caused by stress so if you are a stress eater you are not alone! You might find this affects you more if you are an overthinker, a perfectionist, you have low self-esteem or find you have a constant need for certainty. So when you feel stress in this way your subconscious mind will find the quickest way to make you feel better – obviously it knows you don’t want to feel stressed. Your subconscious mind also knows that food makes you feel good and this is very much a quick fix which is exactly what your subconscious wants.
So if you can understand exactly what is causing your stress or your negative thoughts, you can work to change it and only then can you really take control of the root cause of your binges.
Secondly - Let yourself feel your emotions. When you binge you are quite possibly using food to bury or avoid emotions you are just not ready to feel. If you instead just understand those emotions and let yourself feel a certain way, you wouldn’t feel the need to stuff your emotions down with food. When you mix emotions and food, there is never a good outcome. 1 – you won’t actually deal with the way that you are feeling; and 2 your weight will always depend on how you feel. Letting yourself feel emotions can be very difficult at first but the more you conscious practice, the easier it becomes.
Lastly – if binge eating is providing you with a source of happiness or comfort, focus on what else brings you happiness. It can be anything that you enjoy doing such as taking a bath, going to for a walk or spending time with friends. Now I know this probably sounds like switching from one habit to another but as long as you're doing something positive that provides you with happiness that is perfectly ok. The more things you can do each day that bring you positive feelings the better you will feel in general and the less likely you are to feel the need for a binge.
So why do binge eaters struggle so much more in the evening time? In all honestly there is absolutely no difference between an evening binge and a binge any other time of the day. The reason the majority of binge eaters struggle in the evening is because that is when they have time to binge. For most people the evening is a time to sit and relax but if you're feeling stressed in general that is exactly when you will feel it as that is when you have the time to focus on the stresses of the day. For those people that constantly feel the need to be doing something (this is often the perfectionist), you might find that eating is giving you something to do. Apart from that you might simply find you have used up your motivation throughout the day and now you’ve just had enough and want to eat!
Often our motivation comes from emotional pain - "I don’t want to look like this" or "I don’t want to feel bad about myself." But when this is our motivation, it is often inconsistent. When we have a good day emotionally and we feel good about ourselves our motivation to achieve our goals drops so we are more likely to allow ourselves to binge. If instead we create our goals and motivation in a positive way by focusing on everything good we will achieve, in all areas of life, such as how we will feel and what we can do now we have reached that goal weight, our motivation will have much more consistency.
Even if you have spent years binge eating and feel that there is no hope - you absolutely can take control and achieve your goals.
I offer CBT and hypnotherapy packages to help you achieve your weight loss goals xx