I’ve heard this question from many of my clients; “why can’t I just stop binging?” Well, the answers are simple, yet complicated all at the same time. The simple answer is that it is the most rewarding experience for you in your toolbox at that moment in time. The complicated answer is much more intricate and depends on each individual person, and it may not just be one answer.
You have turned to binge eating at some point for some reason. Some of the more common reasons I find with my clients include attempting to numb their emotions, having experienced limited access to food in childhood and some have turned to it after sexual abuse. The answer is not one for all and the aforementioned reasons are not all-inclusive. What is it for you?
If we want to help our binging behaviors, we first need to begin to understand what function it serves you. In order to do this, you may want to start reflecting on some of the following questions. Do you remember when you began binge-eating? What did the binge-eating do for you? Did it offer you comfort or help to make you feel nothing? When do you find yourself turning to it? Do you binge-eat every night? Do you binge when you start feeling intense negative emotions? Do you binge after someone makes a comment about your body?
These questions are just to help you get started to discover what binging does for you. It serves a function, as do all of our behaviors, whether positive or negative, it helps you in that moment. Dealing with what leads you to binge is key and is the work of therapy. I encourage you to reflect on those questions I asked; write down your responses, give yourself time to allow yourself to think about your answers while trying to be non-judgmental toward them and toward yourself.
Once you begin to figure out what binge-eating does for you, you can then begin to work on those root issues. You can begin to replace the maladaptive coping skill of binging to other, more adaptive coping skills. That may not sound pleasing or necessarily what you want at this time because binging has been the most rewarding coping you have. But remember, that is the most rewarding coping skill you have in your toolbox right now. Allow yourself to be open to the idea that you may discover new coping skills that can be equally, if not more rewarding. It just takes some time and some work exploring and applying different methods of coping, and seeing what works and what sticks. One day, your coping toolbox will be filled with other behaviors that will be more rewarding.
I hope you found this post helpful and please share with anyone you think may also find it helpful. If you have any questions, concerns or requests for future posts, please leave a comment or message me privately.
I wish you an open mind and non-judgmentalness on your journey to finding your State of Balance!
Binge And Restrict Cycle
Eating Disorder Specialist
Healthy Self Vs. Eating Disorder