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Four Steps to Overcome Binge Eating

One of the biggest challenges preventing people from overcoming binge eating is not knowing where to start. Is the answer in a new eating plan? Are there emotional reasons you’re eating that need tending to? Is therapy right for you? What about the latest book? Or an online program? It’s complicated, I know. 

So today I want to share what I've learned through my personal experience struggling with food, my experience coaching women to find peace with food, and my ongoing research into binge eating. I hope this insight will provide you with the clarity you need to move forward on your journey.

Here are the four steps to overcome binge eating:

1. Understand that Binge Eating is Not a Personal Weakness

In order to understand that binge eating is not a personal fault you need to understand your struggles from an intellectual perspective rather than an emotional one. This means going deep into how the brain works and understanding why you get caught in binge cycle, why it feels like you can't control yourself, and why dieting to compensate for binge eating only sets you up to fail.

Understanding binge eating from this perspective is empowering- once you know the facts, you can understand why you binge eat, and when you truly understand why you binge eat, you realize that it's not your fault. That's where a crack of light begins to shine- some space opens up to start getting curious and compassionate about your struggles instead of judgemental. You recognize that you're not broken or damaged, you're perfectly normal- just a product of your natural healthy brain tendencies, and also perfectly heal-able.

2. Calm the Survival Instincts

Once you understand binge eating intellectually, you can start laying a solid foundation to end binge eating. This is done by answering to some of the underlying physical and brain-based reasons you may be bingeing. For many people this means working to calm the body's own survival instincts which may be driving you to seek food. This is done by making sure you're eating enough food throughout the day (instead of restricting and controlling your food intake in an effort to compensate for binges).

This does two things: it tells the brain that you're not in a starvation scenario, and it also supports and fuels the higher brain which is responsible for rational thought, conscious decision making, and remembering your higher goals. If you can't access your higher brain because your lower more primitive brain is screaming at you to eat, you'll have a hard time recovering from binge eating.

3. Notice Thoughts, Allow Urges, Weaken Neural Pathways

From there it's time to watch your own brain- to listen in on your thoughts, and develop a deeper understanding of your relationship to food. Remember, you now have an understanding of what's actually happening up there, so instead of feeling powerless and judgemental over your actions, you can feel quite fascinated and curious.

Soon you see that most binge eating is initiated by habitual thoughts in the brain. That thought could be "I need that", "I want that", "that would be so good right now”, or other similar thoughts that create desire and drive. Getting to know these thoughts and putting the puzzle pieces together from your intellectual understanding helps you see your struggles very clearly and rationally. With this awareness you can begin to allow binge urges to be active without reacting or responding to them and each time this happens, you actively weaken the pathways in the brain that have been perpetuating the struggle.

4. Manage Your Mind 

As you become more aware, curious and compassionate to the reasons you turn to food, and more skilled at allowing urges, then you can move toward consciously creating the thoughts and beliefs that serve you better and move you faster toward your ultimate goals and highest intentions. It's often the case that we simultaneously want something (want to binge) and don't want something (don't want to binge) at the same time, and this incongruencey between the two thoughts creates emotional chaos. It leaves us disempowered and confused.

Understanding the way your thoughts and beliefs impact your whole life is invaluable and empowering. When you learn how to manage your mind around your urges to eat, your reactions, or belief in yourself, then you are truly empowered which has a direct impact on healing your struggles with food.

If you're feeling ready to be done with binge eating or overeating, then I encourage you to book a free discovery call. There we can begin a conversation about what you're currently struggling with and what would support you to create a peaceful relationship with food and self.

Listen to Andrea and Dr. Christine talking about this topic on Dr. Christine's podcast !

About the Author Andrea Lussing

Andréa is a personal coach who specializes in helping women overcome binge eating and overeating. To support her clients she draws on her own experiences of struggling with binge eating and bulimia for over 6 years. Andréa empowers women to create peaceful relationships with food by first helping them understand why they turn to food, then supporting them to reconnecting with their inner compassion, curiosity and wisdom so they can finally make choices that serve them without using willpower or structured food plans. Andréa is trained as a life coach, certified in plant based nutrition, was an adult educator for 10 years, and has a background in sociology and women’s studies. She is passionate about all things related to personal growth, wellness, and food. Instagram: Email: