Binge eaters hate themselves because they can’t stop overeating. They promise themselves that they will stop tomorrow and be good, punish themselves for pigging out or panic because they can’t close their zipper. The one thing that bingers don’t do is to pay heed to the binge. Bingers tell themselves that binges are bad and the overeater is bad for being so weak.
If you are find yourself going out of control with a substance or behavior, I want you to consider that compulsive behaviors are a sign of a life out of balance. Instead of going into denial or trying to avoid binging again, let’s look at a binge as a message from your inner self trying to tell you that something is wrong in your life, and you are unwilling to face the pain or do something about its origin.
Stuffing yourself with food is like taking an aspirin when you have a broken leg. It may dull the agony a tiny bit, but it will not heal the problem. Often when an overeater curbs her gluttony she may often switch to another behavior that brings temporary pleasure such as overspending, gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc.
A young woman who had been hospitalized in her teens for treatment for her severe bulimia told me that she was grateful for that experience since she received help in understanding herself better and learned tools for problem solving, as she became an adult. A binge is an invitation to examine your life and create skills for dealing with the inevitabilities of life.
There are 5 steps to each binge.
Step 1 is the Trigger. When you are feeling angry, anxious or upset, and are not aware of the intensity of your emotions, this stress will affect the pleasure center of your brain and lead to cravings. Instead of feeling your feelings you feel a craving for something to eat without realizing that this will lead to a binge.
Step 2 is what I call the Desire/Decision. Once the craving to feel good appears, you decide to follow through. You know that you definitely are going to gorge yourself. It is interesting that although the craving may be strong, a lot of overeaters actually put off the binge until later. My client Jim related that he always made the decision during the day, dreamed about what he would eat, but only acted out after dark! All his overeating took place after 10 PM. What willpower!
Step 3 is the Binge, an act of overeating large quantities of food in a short time.
Step 4 is the Hangover, feeling sick to your stomach and uncomfortable.
Step 5 is the Letdown, a feeling of remorse and self-hatred that overwhelms you as you realize “I did it again!” At the end of the binge you are left with misery, guilt and shame as you realize that nothing has changed.
Learn From the Binge
Unless you are aware of these 5 steps you will continue to beat yourself up about your weakness with food. After each binge episode perform a Post Mortem exam of your binge. What can you learn from your behavior?
- What in my life is bothering that me today that I don't want to face?
- What in my life do I feel helpless to change?
As you uncover and face the situations and relationships that are causing your super stress, you will be able to regain the power over your life and your food. Many compulsive binge eaters are now using EFT acupressure tapping to both take away cravings and to deal with difficult situations that turn you toward food.
You can find instructions for EFT in my FREE ebook, Creating Happiness at www.GloriaArenson.com/creating-happiness. For more about overcoming eating disorders read my books How to Stop Playing the Weighting Game and Desserts Is Stressed Spelled Backwards.