Inside Look

Why Am I Still Binge Eating?

Nov 10, 2023
Photo of breakfast.

I've been there. You have participated in therapy, support groups, and nutrition therapy, you may have even gone to residential treatment, but you're STILL binge eating. You feel hopeless and lost. It seems like the answer is a mystery as to why bingeing is still so frequent in your life. But the truth is that it is probably a combination of the following reasons that cause you to binge. Bulimia recovery isn't hopeless. Read on and see if you resonate with any of the following reasons that may be causing you to binge.

1. You aren't eating three nourishing, satisfying meals per day.

Our society has normalized substituting breakfast for just a coffee, opting for a quick unsatisfying lunch, drinking very little water, and eating a “low calorie” snack. No wonder your cravings and hunger are so intense. Our brains and bodies consistently seek balance. If your gut has no food and your brain is dehydrated, they are both sending urgent stress signals to eat now. It is more difficult to satisfy our emotional needs without first nourishing our physical bodies. Balanced regular meals + snacks and consistent hydration help your brain build emotional and physical regulation in bulimia recovery.

2. You are bingeing because you are stressed and anxious.

Eating disorder behaviors often arise when we don't allow ourselves to experience our feelings, or we try to numb them out. In order to manage anxiety and stress, I recommend having a consistent, non-negotiable self-care routine. Part of my self-care routine includes meditation and breathwork. If you live in Dallas, check out my favorite meditation studio: Breathe Meditation and Wellness located in Highland Park. I also use the Open app daily. Open is a mindfulness studio with meditation, breathwork, music, and movement. I love Open because you can search for specific meditations based on what you're feeling or what you need. And, they offer meditations as quick as 5 minutes, so there is truly an option for everybody, no matter how busy your life is. Download Open and use for an entire month FREE with this link. This app is a game changer for anyone in bulimia recovery!

3. You aren't satisfied with the meals you are preparing or purchasing.

Satisfaction is a huge part of feeling full. Have you ever denied yourself what you were craving, opting for a "healthier swap" instead, only to binge on what you truly wanted later on? This can become a cycle of binge eating when we repeatedly deny ourselves options that are satisfying. Next time you find yourself debating what to order or prepare for yourself, open up your senses. What sounds satisfying? Where would be a comfortable, peaceful environment to enjoy it? What kind of things will you tell yourself about the food you're consuming?

4. You are waiting too long in between meals.

You should be eating meals every 3-4 hours. This keeps your blood sugar consistent and allows for optimal digestion. When you wait too long, your hunger can become ravenous, leading to a binge later on. You should aim for three nourishing, satisfying meals per day, plus snacks when necessary. We all have different needs based on genetics, preferences, stress levels, hormones, energy levels, etc-so don't compare your plate to someone else's. This recovery is about you and you only, and comparison is the thief of joy.

5. You aren't setting realistic goals to stop binge eating.

Bulimia recovery requires setting both short-term and long-term goals that are REALISTIC. When you set a goal that is nowhere near attainable with where you are at in bulimia recovery, you are setting yourself up for failure. I like using the SMART goal-setting framework with my clients. This stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. One example might be to meditate once every day for the next month. At the end of the month, you can easily track your progress and see if you achieved your goal. 

6. The thin ideal and social pressure brings about anxiety and a lack of self-confidence.

We live in a culture that tells us that in order to be successful, beautiful, happy, or confident, you must be skinny. This is "the thin ideal." I always tell my clients that if being skinny was the recipe for happiness, why are so many skinny people so miserable? You create your own happiness, your own power. Happiness comes from knowing who you are and showing up as your most authentic self in the world. When we let societal pressure overwhelm us, it can be too much to deal with, leading to a binge. It's time to filter your media.  Check your social media apps and unfollow anybody that contributes to you feeling negative about yourself. You can spend your entire life at war with yourself, or you can decide that today is the day that your life is worth so much more than chasing a smaller jean size.

In conclusion, if you want to stop binge eating, you will need to be realistic in the way you set goals. You will need to stop judging yourself and start empowering yourself to take action in bulimia recovery. You are not powerless. You have more power than your eating disorder, and everyone is capable of achieving full recovery. But first, you have to believe in yourself. Only you can change the way you think and feel. You need to start thinking about the life you truly want to live in order to gain the motivation you need to recover. You can make bulimia recovery positive!! My recovery changed dramatically when I shifted my focus to the present and stopped dwelling on the past, and when I clearly defined and committed to a healthy future. Those “present” moments and promises to myself led me to my future of full recovery.

Author: Merrit Elizabeth

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