There are so many of us that use food for more than just nourishment, or enjoyment, or as a way to connect with our community...there are so many of us that use food in a desperate way to fill some deep emotional hole that we have.
We use food to somehow make us happy, or calm, or just plain "feel better," whatever that means to us!
For the most part, we call this EMOTIONAL EATING (Check out the blog I wrote about emotional eating here https://www.realexcellentliving.com/post/emotional-eating-been-there-donethat)
But for some of us, the eating has reached a tipping point and it's more than just emotional eating, for some of us it's become something darker and seemingly harder to overcome.
Some of us have tipped over into Binge Eating.
So what is Binge Eating?
Binge eating is an aggravated form of emotional eating. Over time, an emotional eater moves from just eating in response to emotions to MASSIVELY overeating in response to emotions once you are no longer able to get the good feeling from food that you are used to. Often you tip from emotional eating to binge eating when you have a major life trauma or upset that you can't cope with or process.
So how do you know if you have tipped over from emotional eating to binge eating?
Well, if you are a binge eater you :
So maybe you've tried everything to gain some control over your eating and maybe you have always thought you were an emotional eater...but now you recognize yourself in the description above!
Maybe why all the advice you have heard and tried has never worked makes sense now!
Maybe you have done so much work on yourself, have walked the path of self-discovery and growth, have dived into self-care, and self-image and self-esteem work, but for some reason have not been able to let go of what you thought was emotional eating.
Binge eating might have a lot in common with emotional eating, but it requires a different strategy and mindset when trying to heal from it!
The first thing I had to realize as I went deeper into my relationship with food, was that binge eating was not something I was doing wrong, it was not a weakness or a lack of self-control, it was my brain actually doing what it was supposed to be doing!
I had to realize that it wasn't that I wasn't working properly, but rather that I was working properly!
See when we are emotional eaters we are using a different part of our brain then if we are binge eaters, when we are emotional eaters we are using our limbic brain that is responsible for our emotions, but when we are binge eating it is something much more primal, we are actually being controlled by our reptilian brain, where our amygdala is stored, which is where our fight, flight or freeze response comes from. The questions that our reptilian brain asks are "Can I mate with it? Is it safe? Can I eat it?"
If you are a binge eater it feels like you have no control, it feels like something else is taking over when you eat and that is because something is...you are being controlled by our most basic survival instincts. This is your mind trying to take care of you - not trying to harm you!
But so often we are trying to solve our binging by using our limbic or prefrontal cortex which we actually don’t have access to when our reptilian brain is in control.
Hence the reason that when we come to after binge eating it seems like we were someone or somewhere else, and why we promise ourselves it will never happen again (that's our prefrontal talking) but it always does.
For so many years, I was trying to fix my binging with my logic, reasoning, higher thinking, etc that my prefrontal cortex offers (focusing on self-love, etc), never realizing why I wasn’t making a dent. All that personal growth didn't help when I was faced with the temptation of food, or when the end of the day came. My brain was too busy trying to protect me!
So how do you deal with the reptilian brain?
Your work is to address the fear and create a space where you feel safe. When you create a space where you feel safe and you address that fear you can again access your higher mind. Without creating the feeling of safety, which is what the reptilian brain is trying to create with its overeating, you can not get past the instinct and begin to function from a higher level of thinking
Almost all advice on how to deal with emotional eating makes the assumption that you have access to your limbic or prefrontal cortex -which you don't have when you are in reptilian brain mode- which is why all that advice hasn't worked. All information that we receive first flows through our reptilian brain and then moves to the limbic and the prefrontal cortex.
So how do you create a feeling of safety for your brain so that the information can naturally flow into a part of your brain that allows you again to access things like reason, logic, self-love, disciple, etc?
Here are 6 things that worked for me:
So instead of consuming more food then my body could possibly ever need, I found myself learning how to make myself feel safe, accepting myself for who I was, and learning how to grow in areas that were long overdue!
Cheering you on as you journey,
Meg is a life coach, blogger and event host that is passionate about walking with people who want more out of life than just the status quo!
She believes that life doesn’t have to work out exactly the way we think it “should” in order to be enjoyed and that people don’t have to be perfect in order to be loved.
She believes that we all have the voice of truth inside of us but sometimes it can be hard to hear. And most importantly that we must live between the tension of accepting the things we cannot change and taking massive action on the things we can!
Meg creates spaces where women can slow down and process all the things that are influencing and controlling their lives - their everyday thoughts, emotions, and the stories they have been telling themselves.
Spaces where they can look at their inner world, gain valuable insight and then reclaim their personal authority, and make conscious decisions that transform the way they experience their lives!
Through one on one coaching, group coaching and workshops Meg helps women show up in the world with more love, and less ego, more compassion, and less judgment, more vulnerability, and less shame, more emotional agility and less fear!
Meg lives in BC with her husband of 20 years, two teenage boys and their little dog Charlie.
To learn more about Meg and her business, visit her website:
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