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Why we binge eat: It's not what you're eating. It's what's eating you.
May 22, 2021

Why we binge eat: It's not what you're eating. It's what's eating you.

There are four main reasons why we turn to food for comfort. Can you identify with any of these?

Physical hunger is felt in the body. Many different physical cues can tell you you're experiencing hunger. For instance, a change in mood, energy level, experiencing headaches, feeling spaced out, and thoughts about food can mean that you're experiencing hunger.

Strict food rules
Whether we mentally restrict the foods we eat and moralize certain foods by making them "good" or "bad," it causes stress. Unfortunately, this stress drives us out of our rational brain and causes us to eat more. Do you have a list of off-limits foods? When you eat these foods, do you think, "The damage is done, so why not eat it all?" I've been there before, and I know what it's like to feel out of control around certain foods.

Lack of self-care
While recovering from chronic dieting and disordered eating, it's crucial that our basic needs are being met. Many of my clients felt their needs weren't as important as others' needs. Maybe you have to look after other people, whether it's an ageing parent or a child. If you don't meet your needs, you can't possibly have the energy to take care of others. Practicing self-care is important, and you need to find options that work for you. Just learning to pause, acknowledge what you're feeling and then ask, "What do I need right now?" is invaluable. The more question and recognize what we need, the easier it becomes to identify what self-care looks like.

Using food to handle our emotions
For some of us, eating relieves boredom or distracts us from painful feelings. Food provided us with comfort and safety, and it became our preferred coping mechanism.
Learning ways to help you self-soothe or difficult process emotions can help you avoid emotional binge-eating.

Intuitive eating can help you stop binge and emotional eating, enhance your life and achieve true wellness by focusing on your body's needs rather than on how it looks.

Leave your comments / questions

Hi Sherry, I'm so glad you found the article helpful. Intuitive Eating is much more than eating when you're hungry stopping when you're full and there are no foods to exclude from your diet- it's really about connecting to your body and listening to it's signals and learning what foods feel good for you so you can find absolute food freedom. If you need some guidance, I'm an Intuitive Eating Counselor and I'd be more than happy to have a 30 minute discovery session with you to learn more about your goals and see if Intuitive Eating is right for you.

Sherry Turnbull3y

Thanks for the interesting article. Recently I noticed a problem of overeating, most often it happened due to stress. Thanks for your advice, I plan to start intuitive eating soon. Could you please tell me if I can eat any food with intuitive eating or should I exclude junk food?

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Hamilton, ON, Canada
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