September 28, 2019

Sometimes it really is just about the food. 

Have you ever binged? Food binged? If you have, how did you feel after the binge? How did you feel mentally after the binge? Did you feel guilty? Did you feel shame? We are told so many times that there has to be an underlying issue of why we binge. 

It has to be connected to something. Things that happened in our childhood or things in our past. The way we were treated or a myriad of other things. There has to be something, right? We start to believe it. We think we are flawed. We think we are broken. We think there is something wrong with us. 

This goes on forever. We are always told there are deeper issues and we need to find them. We need to unpack our lives and figure it out. When we figure out what the thing is we should be able to work on it and we will magically be cured from bingeing and overeating.

I remember when I was bulimic in high school. In gymnastics, I was told I needed to lose weight. I restricted food for a long time. I deprived myself of food for a long time. Until I couldn’t do it anymore. I felt so deprived that I started to overeat. I felt so deprived that I started bingeing and then purging. This went on for a few years. I always wondered what it was that made me do this. It was about the food.

Because even at that young age I knew or had heard that there had to be something wrong with me. There had to be something deeper that made me binge and purge. I always wondered about that. I always wondered if it was true. I stopped doing it, so did that still mean there was something wrong with me? It was a period in my life. It was done. For years after, sometimes I still fought the urge. I never acted on it. It was about the food

I wonder if society always has to have a reason for everything. What is the reason you are overeating? What is the reason you gained weight? What is the reason you keep drinking alcohol? What is the reason you don’t sleep and so on and so on and forever so on. There is always something, and there HAS to be a reason why. 

In no way am I saying that people don’t have issues. In no way am I saying that people may really need to figure out their issues with bingeing. 

The research on binge eating is interesting to stay the least. According to wikipedia, the causes of binge eating disorder are 50% genetic. They also say it is an “expressive disorder” a disorder that is an expression of deeper psychological problems. People who have binge eating disorder have been found to have higher weight bias internalization, which includes low self-esteem, unhealthy eating patterns and general body dissatisfaction. They also say binge eating disorder commonly develops as a result or side effect of depression.

Well that was enlightening. Don’t you think society has caused some of that?  

I find this all fascinating and I can totally understand how some of that may be true, but at the same time at what point can we get our heads out of the sand and realize it may just be about the damn food. Look at the food today. Look how we are surrounded by it. And I mean the food that tastes fucking good. You know what I am talking about. The pies, cakes, donuts, chips, fast food, slow food, etc. I don’t mean to make things any less important or make it seem like there aren’t problems with some people. I don’t mean that at all. 

In my opinion, and for myself, I totally believe it was just about the food. For me. I wanted to the damn food. And a lot of it. I didn’t binge because I had a shitty childhood or because I was abused. I binged because I wanted the food. I take full responsibility for my actions. 

In all the time I have been studying nutrition and behavior in people and all the books I have read, more and more FOR ME I know it was just about the food. I have never really been an emotional eater. If anything when I would be stressed or upset or emotional about something, I ate less. 

But can we really simplify it that much? Things are so complicated all the time, why can’t we break it down and simplify? This makes sense for me. It might not for you and that’s okay. I just want you to think about it. 

One thing that has helped me immensely when I want to eat something that isn’t the most optimal for me nutritiously, let’s say a donut, is to take a bite and really savor and taste it. I, of course, log it, and then I decide if I am going to finish it. I ask myself is this worth it? If it is, I totally enjoy it. If it’s not, I don’t eat it. 

That to me is the difference I have learned over the years whether I could have tailspinned into a binge. If it wasn’t just about the food, I would have eaten the donut and a few more, even though I really didn’t want them. That is when you need to dig a little to find out what is going on. That is when you want to take a step back and start asking yourself the hard questions. 

Does it have to be deeper than the food? Or do we just make it that way?

Change the chatter in your brain. You see something you really want, but you are tracking and you don’t have room to eat it. What do you do? I have learned to wait until I can fit it in my day. So maybe tomorrow I will have it. Maybe by then the craving will pass. If the craving is still there, I will fit it in. If not, I forget about it. 

Or do you say screw it and eat it anyway and go over for the day? But then you just keep eating and eating and eating. 

That is the crossroads of bingeing and abstaining. That is the choice between going off the rails and discipline. Take responsibility for your health. It takes a lot of time to figure this stuff out. Cut yourself a break and keep trying. Keep trying. You will get there. 

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